ST. PAUL, Minn. Chuck Fletcher was still awake early Saturday morning, unable to sleep a little over 24 hours after the Minnesota Wild's season ended with a first-round series loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.
It was 3:30 a.m. and Fletcher was staring at the ceiling, still stinging from an abrupt end to a season filled with so much promise. Ever thinking and unable to sleep, he was running scenarios in his head about losing the first-round series to Chicago, 4-1, and what he needs to do to get his club to reach the Blackhawks' level.
"We've got a lot of work this summer," Fletcher said. "Let's not kid ourselves. I'm really happy with the progress we made and I mean that, not just saying that. We're really happy how far we came this year and making the playoffs was an achievement. When you look at Chicago and the talent they have and the depth they have it's not just us, it's most of the teams in the league but there's another level to get to."
Minnesota made strides this season,...