If you’re a Minnesota sports fan then you know that in all likelihood, your teams are never going to get to a championship final. Yes, the Minnesota Twins delivered in the early 90’s while the North Stars got to the 1991 Final when they lost to the Penguins, but since then, it’s been the deja vu for Minnesota sports teams.
This is going to be the case this season with the Minnesota Wild. The season hasn’t even started and I can tell you how it is going to go.
The team is going to have a solid regular season and be one of the better teams in the Western Conference. They will then go to the playoffs and get knocked out in either the first or second round. That is how it’s been for the Wild ever since they made the Conference Final in 2003 when they ended up losing to the Ducks.
Despite this, and maybe because he has to, Wild owner Craig Leipold told Wild scribe for The Athletic Michael Russo that he believes his team going to be awesome this year. Just take a look at this:
“Honestly, I’m excited about it. I like our team, I really like our team. I look at it and say, sure, other teams have better marquee players, other teams may have better top lines or second lines, but I love our four lines. I love ’em a lot. Our D, I think our top-four D is as good as any. I’d say they’re in the top five of the league.
“I love (Devan Dubnyk). Duby’s the kind of guy, he can win a lot of games for you. If things can go right for us this year, good things can happen and that’s what we hope is going to happen for us.”
I hate to tell you this Craig, but no, that is not going to happen this year. For starters, you have a head coach in Bruce Boudreau who is simply a great regular season coach and nothing more. He’ll win you division titles, Presidents’ Trophies, etc., but come crunch time, his teams always fade.
Secondly, I still don’t think Devan Dubnyk is an elite netminder that will get you to the promised land. Sure, he’s put up solid numbers in the regular season, but much like the team in front of him, falters in the playoffs. Only elite goaltenders can be consistent for the whole year and in my mind, Dubnyk is not one of those guys.
The Wild also don’t know how to get it done in big games. It seems that they have yet to understand that the regular season and postseason are two completely different animals that require different styles to have success. The style they have been using in the playoffs over the last five or six years clearly has not been working.
Lastly, they play in an unbelievably difficult division and conference. With teams like the Predators, Jets, Golden Knights, Sharks, Kings, Ducks, and Blues, I cannot see them coming remotely close to the top.
It’s simply not going to work for the Wild. Leipold needs to be realistic and see that when it comes to winning a Cup, the Wild are not close.
*Photo: Star Tribune