Found January 22, 2014 on
Much has been made about the NHL’s Western Conference superiority over the hapless Eastern Conference throughout the first half of the season. Caught almost directly in the middle of the meat grinder is the Minnesota Wild, who is currently caught in between the 7th and 8th seed with their former division rival, the Vancouver Canucks. With the home stretch off in the distance and the wear and tear of an NHL season beginning to show for some teams, playoff seeding and matchup predictions will begin popping up soon after the completion of the Olympics in Sochi.
The Wild are currently sitting in a position eerily similar to last year. At this time last year, they were slotted in the 8th seed and had only 4 points less than they have now. Fans are beginning to wonder if this year will be any different than last year or if they will face another quick first round exit from the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The reality is frustrating as they simply can’t compete with the top teams in the Western Conference. Teams such as St. Louis and Chicago have too much depth for the Wild to compete with in a seven game series.
One issue that is necessary for any playoff run is the need for stellar goaltending. With that position in flux because of Josh Harding’s complications with MS and Niklas Backstrom’s inconsistent play and rash of injuries, there is almost no chance for an upset of one of the top seeds. Darcy Kuemper has played fantastic in relief of both goalies, but he is untested in the playoffs and simply too young. Both of those concerns spell disaster when it comes to the intensity of an NHL playoff series.
The Wild were only able to take one game from the Blackhawks last year (Photo Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn – USA TODAY Sports)
The second and possibly most pressing issue is their lack of depth in comparison to the cream of the crop in the Western Conference. The skill players on the Wild’s roster are very capable of matching up with the premier teams, but the problems begin when you look at the third and fourth lines. For example, if you watch any of the top teams, it’s evident that every line has the ability to constantly create havoc in the offensive zone which leads to turnovers and prime scoring chances. They have a plethora of puck moving defensemen who get the puck out of the defensive zone quickly and aren’t afraid to sacrifice defensive responsibilities to create scoring chances. The Wild lack elite speed and grit in their bottom 6 forwards and rarely do you see the defense jump ahead into the play looking for a late trail play which is becoming commonplace in the NHL.
Follow isportsweb on twitter
The beauty of the NHL playoffs is that nothing is set in stone. Seeds are simply a number and upsets can be expected. Unexpected heroes emerge to carry teams to unimaginable heights. It’s nearly impossible to predict which team will play beyond their capabilities and there is no reason that it can’t be the Wild. But the fact of the matter is that thus far this year, they have yet to show anything that would lead someone to believe they are this year’s Cinderella story.
Read more Wild rumors, news and opinion on our Minnesota Wild page
BEST OF MAXIM
Images of the outfit the U.S. Olympic team will wear next month were released early Thursday morning. Soon after, the pictures were showing up around the Minnesota Wild locker room.
Wild forward and USA Hockey member Zach Parise was one of the models for the U.S. Olympic wear. One of the more striking pictures is Parise standing tall in the sweater the athletes will wear for the...
Winning seven of their past 10 games, the Minnesota Wild are about to get a big piece of their lineup back on Thursday night.
Forward Zach Parise, who has missed the past 14 games, will make his return Thursday at home against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. Parise, who has been practicing for the past week, just wanted to get through Thursday's morning...
Minnesota Wild alternate captain Zach Parise will play for the first time in 14 games on Thursday night against the Chicago Blackhawks. Parise has been out with a foot injury since Dec. 22. Parise says he’s feeling good: we’re going to give it a shot tonight. #mnwild — Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) January 23, 2014 Parise, 29, has 15 goals and 12 assists in 37 games this season...
Even when the Wild are healthy, you'd have to consider Minnesota an underdog against the Chicago Blackhawks. With the current roster the Wild are using, you'd have to say Wild would be huge underdogs against the defending Stanley Cup Champions. Minnesota has managed to keep pace with the West, but admittedly in games against opponents that are not exactly what you call...
Concerns about safety in Sochi have prompted some U.S. Olympians to tell their family members to stay home. Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter, who will play for Team USA, is one of them.
Suter said after practice Wednesday that his wife and two young children won't be traveling to Russia for the Winter Games. The long trip is part of the reason, but Suter said recent news...
Earlier this week, there were reports of possible "black widow," suicide bombers sneaking into Russia. [ CNN ]
One Yahoo! expert , in a chiling article, said it is not " If, but when." [Yahoo]
On this subject, a few athletes have already told their families not to come to the games. And now, the StarTribune in Minnesota reports that Zach Parise and Ryan...
WildHBcommunity: Minnesota Wild Needs Action Not Words From Fletcher
The Wildâs Young Core has Earned Respect Deserves to Stay in MN
Through the adversity created by the brutal string of injuries the Minnesota Wild has endured, the young core of baby faced forwards has taken a step forward in their growth and development at the NHL level. I will never deny my bias towards...
The question was: How would the Wild respond?
Tuesday, against a mediocre Dallas team the Wild had been both listless and scoreless. Thursday the opponent was the team with second-best record in the Western Conference.
In a 2-1 victory over the mighty Chicago Blackhawks at Xcel Energy Center, the Wild:
• Came out with amazing focus in a first period to take a 2-0 lead.
Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise will make his return to action Thursday night when the team faces off against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. As confirmed through the team's official Twitter account, Parise says that he's feeling good and will give it a shot. He has missed the last 14 games with a foot injury."Felt good again this morning so...
from Kent Youngblood at Russo's Rants,
Parise said he’s confident the foot has healed, that there is no risk of re-injuring it simply by playing. He also said he feels worlds better than the first time he returned and tried to play through the injury. “It’s night and day how much better I feel,” he said. “That’s a good sign. It still hurts a little bit at times...
Sometimes the toughest thing to do is to move on from a good moment. its like a hangover. You keep living in that moment of glory from the past, you become distracted from the present. I hope the Wild are not going to be living too much in the afterglow of the dramatic overtime victory on Saturday against the Stars to not take care of business on Monday against that same Dallas...
WildHBcommunity: Zach Parise Returns ***LIVE Twitter Feed*** @TonyDean1204
After missing 13 games with a broken foot Minnesota Wild Super Star Zach Parise returns to the lineup with the rival Chicago Black Hawks in Saint Paul tonight. Parise will play on the top line tonight with Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter. Parise's return is important on multiple fronts but maybe...
One of the charms of the Olympics is seeing and hearing the family members of the athletes cheering from the seats and waving the national flags after traveling around the world to get there.
Concerns about safety in Sochi have prompted some U.S. Olympians to tell their loved ones to stay home, however. Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter, who will skate for Team USA next month...
The Minnesota Wild might be getting a top player back just in time to face the top team in the Central Division.
After missing 14 games with a foot injury, Zach Parise could return Thursday night when the Wild host the Chicago Blackhawks.
"The plan was to get him involved, full duty in practice and see how he responds to that," Wild coach Mike Yeo told the team's...
Minnesota Wild (27-19-5) 59pts 4th in the Central
2.33 Goals For (26th)
2.37 Goals Against (6th)
18.4% Power Play (17th)
79.5% Penalty Kill (24th)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #29 Jason Pominville ~ 19G 14A = 33pts
2. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 6G 25A = 31pts
3. #22 Nino Niederreiter ~ 9G 17A = 26pts
4. #24 Matt Cooke ~ 6G 14A = 20pts
5. #64 Mikael Granlund...