from Brian Cazeneuve of Sports Illustrated,
Sure, hockey-crazed Minnesota has yearned for a successful team in the NHL, but a winning Wild would also be just as good for the league as it tries to recover from the long lockout that bruised its image. While Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles have won the last three Stanley Cup titles, Minnesota is hockey's answer to Green Bay, a smaller but vital market with enthusiasm that far exceeds raw numbers.
"It would mean a lot to the NHL and the game if we won our first Cup here," says forward Zach Parise. "If you judge hockey markets by how much it matters to people, Minnesota is as strong as any market in Canada."
Before the lockout took hold, the Wild had made hockey's biggest offseason splash by signing Parise, the Devils' captain last season, and Predators defenseman Ryan Suter to belt-busting (and identical) 13-year, $98 million free agent contracts. Both players are skilled and savvy, former All-Stars and U.S. Olympic teammat...