I’m not sure what hockey players enjoy less, going winless in five games, or talking to the media for three days about going winless in five games. In the NHL, slumps happen. Every team has at least one, but many times they’re able to snap it quickly because games can pile up one of top of the other.
Unfortunately, the Wild fell in overtime in Dallas on Saturday and then had to absorb four off days of “what’s wrong with this team?” questions from the media. Sure, every player knows he can be better and the team can be better, but I have yet to see someone lose their mind in the locker room, stand up in front of everybody and then walk out with nothing but a goldfish in a bag and Renee Zellweger in tow. I’m not saying it won’t happen if a win doesn’t happen soon, but it hasn’t happened yet.
With the exception of Guillaume Latendresse, James Sheppard and Josh Harding, everybody is healthy. Martin Havlat is scalding (I’m running out of synonyms for “hot” to describe Havlat these days). Pierre-Marc Bouchard is acclimating nicely with points in his last two games. The top lines showed signs of domination on Saturday. The Wild has the best goaltending tandem in the NHL. And the kicker, only six points separate Minnesota from eighth place Anaheim in the standings, and the Ducks have played five more games.
So a nice little swing through the Southwest starting tonight in Phoenix is only going to serve to give the naysayers something else to talk about like…the cold weather. And just wait. After these three games in the next four nights, the Wild has another three days off next week to talk about everything that is right with the team.
As for me, I stuck my nose up at this current trip to warm weather climates to stay true to my roots. Actually, I’m supposed to go to a planning meeting today for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, but I’d rather be here than Phoenix any day of the year.