Is it me, or are people around town walking around with a little extra giddy-up in their step? Some warm, sunny weather helps. The eve of the WCHA Final Five always gets folks around here a little geeked (especially when UMD is involved). And I’m sure folks are enjoying one last day of serenity before getting their Irish jig on tomorrow for St. Pat’s Day.
But I think it’s generally because we Minnesotans are an optimistic bunch, even on the heels of a three-game losing skid from the Minnesota Wild. Despite some negative reports today from the media bottom feeders about the Wild’s current position, there is some good news to talk about.
First off, every team the Wild needed to lose last night, did. Calgary, Dallas and Nashville all took the L’s in regulation, which is a double bonus.
The big result was the Calgary game. If the Wild are going to make a run at any team in the current top eight, it’s got to be the Flames. Calgary has played two more games than the Wild, which means those four points can be made up with Calgary not having any say in the matter.
Granted, Anaheim and Nashville are also ahead of the Wild and the Ducks have actually played one fewer game than Minnesota. I’ve got some good news there, too.
Once the Wild plays San Jose tomorrow night, they’ll play six of their next seven games at home. The opponents include Columbus, Montreal, Toronto, St. Louis (twice), Edmonton and Tampa Bay. Those all look like winnable games, with Montreal and Tampa being the only current playoff participants.
Further, the schedules for the other big three (CGY, NSH and ANA) look much more daunting. After a game against Colorado, the Flames must go on the road to take on Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose. The Preds are up against Boston, Detroit and Buffalo in their next three games. The Ducks get St. Louis tonight, but then have to face L.A., Calgary, Dallas and Nashville.
Not long ago, we were worried about almost every result in the Western Conference. Now, it’s time to focus only on those three other teams and pull for wins by Los Angeles, Phoenix and even Dallas and Chicago. Let those teams beat up on the others as we climb up. Plus, the Wild owns the regulation win tiebreakers over Calgary and Nashville.
Basically, I’m saying the Wild can go 8-3-1 over the last 12 games, which would put them at 94 points, which I think gets them in. The Flames would have to go 7-3-0 to get to 95. I don’t see that happening. Nashville has to go 7-4-1 to get to 95. Anaheim has to go 7-5-1 to get to 94 points.
That was a lot of positive thinking right there, so I hope your head doesn’t explode.
In other news, the Wild recalled Marco Scandella yesterday due to Marek Zidlicky getting banged up in the Vancouver game.
A few other things of note:
- Make another mental note that Sunday’s game against Montreal is at 5:00 p.m. and not 6:00 as was originally scheduled. Better yet, write it on your wrist with a Sharpie. Don’t worry about that looking unprofessional because it will match the other stamps that get placed on your body as you visit several establishments in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.
- Today is the last day to bid on the camouflage jerseys the Wild wore during warmups on February 22. Click here to bid.
- The United States National Junior Team is going to announce its head coach for the 2012 World Juniors at Xcel Energy Center on Friday at 12:30. The press conference will be streamed live on Wild.com. One would think it’s going to be a WCHA coach that gets named. Perhaps Nebraska Omaha’s Dean Blais or Wisconsin’s Mike Eaves, both of whom have won World Junior gold medals. Maybe Minnesota’s Don Lucia gets the call this year? We shall see.
- Hopefully you’ve had the chance to see the Boys’ state tournament music recap courtesy of KSTC-TV, but even if you have, it’s worth another look here. A huge thanks goes out to KSTC and the Minnesota State High School League for allowing Wild.com to show that. I’ve seriously watched it 24 times in the last 24 hours. And I’m not done.