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Hockey Wilderness
  • An attempt at perspective


    Perspective is defined as

    Let's make no bones: the Wild have been playing terribly. some of the worst hockey they've played since 1995... perhaps worse than that year (no, I'm not misremembering, that's the joke).


    First, the good news. The Wild are in the playoffs right now. They have a full standings point (1) over the 2nd Wild Card team, and 3 over the next team in line. The better news is that the Wild have games-in-hand on just about everyone in the conference. Now, those 4+ games in hand aren't enough to catch St. Louis (the team above them in the conference standings), but it's still good news. In addition, the Wild still have more than 30 games left in the regular season: plenty of time for a trade to spark a reaction, or for the team to simply just start playing better.

    The Wild are healthy! For once, they're not dealing with major injuries to their star players. Some will see that as a negative, but it's definitely good: the team has all the tools they need to play better.


    The Bad News:


    Just about everything else. The Wild are trash. Unmitigated, unimpressive trash. The players aren't playing well, the coaches aren't coaching well, and dare I say it, Fletcher isn't GM-ing well.The Powerplay is about as anemic as it has ever been, and even more infuriating, the Wild isn't changing their approach, for all the talk of them doing just that. The Wild have the 11th-worst CF% in the league at 5v5... the worst it's been in the regular season since 2011-12.

    In Jarret's defense, he was also brought in to win faceoffs, which he's done well. He's winning 54.46% of faceoffs; only Koivu has won more of his facoffs. At the same time, both Graovac and Haula have been over 50%.. and clearly Stoll's faceoff wins aren't all that effective, or he'd be preventing more scoring chances than he is.

    You may note one other name missing from that list: Jason Zucker. That's because Zucker played 0:00 on the powerplay last night. In a world where the Wild's offense is in a slump, sitting your speediest player who drives to the net hardest on the bench on a powerplay is simply unacceptable.



    This situation cannot be completely Yeo's fault; the players are not playing well, deployments be damned. But he is doing himself zero favors, and the Wild cannot rely on Fletcher to trade out of a slump every year; the WIld's cabinet is already almost completely barren, and the team has no more to give.

    Again: for all these problems, the Wild are still in control of their own destiny. They need to snap out of whatever funk they are in (and fast) but it is doable. It's not yet time to #PANIC. But it's getting close.

    Think you could write a story like this? Hockey Wilderness wants you to develop your voice, find an audience, and we'll pay you to do it. Just fill out this form.

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