So, Can We Trust the Wild Now?

AP Photo/Abbie Parr

The past two days were the tale of two games. First, the Minnesota Wild seemingly didn’t show up to play against the Philadelphia Flyers. Then they made a strong statement against the Washington Capitals, even if they did lose in a shootout. So, did the fans learn anything?

Marco Rossi Is Climbing the Ranks

On Friday, Marco Rossi showed the star qualities he has that fans have been excited to see for the past two years. He was strong on the puck. He made amazing passes and plays in front of the net. He scored a great goal. He’s showing that “eff you” that Bill Guerin wanted him to gain. 

Rossi has had a hard go of it. Between COVID-19 and the myocarditis that didn’t allow him to do much of anything physically for months, Rossi lost an entire year of his development. Combine that with moving to a new country and speaking a new language; it was obvious at the beginning of last season that Rossi was in over his head. Sending him to the Iowa Wild was a hard pill to swallow, but Rossi took it as motivation to work hard. After a great season in the AHL and a summer training in Minnesota, Rossi returned as a different person.

Special Teams = Nah

The Wild could have been better at special teams. They didn’t capitalize on any of their five power plays (although there were times with great pressure). And they only cleared two out of three penalty kills. Plus, they allowed the Capitals to score a short-handed goal. Overall, not great.

Fleury Was On Top of His Game

Marc-Andre Fleury had the start after Filip Gustavsson started last night. Against the Flyers, the Wild had a hard time keeping shots away from the Gus Bus. Gustavsson turned away a lot of shots but can only hold out for so long. On the flip side, the Wild seemed to understand where they’d gone wrong because there were less shots on goal from the Capitals, and Fleury was able to turn most of them away, even in the shootout.

5 on 5 = Getting There

Unlike the sad show against the Flyers, the Wild applied great pressure when they were 5 on 5. Also, unlike recent games, the Wild were ready to play from the first puck drop. There was no lag time. In fact, Rossi scored the first goal only 2:17 into the first period. Have the Wild learned that they need to play at 100% from the very beginning? Let’s hope.

Injuries Need to Heal

Look. the Wild are doing all they can without big pieces of their lineup. Jared Spurgeon is not only a world-class defenseman, but he is also the captain. He might be quiet, but he still has that presence. Matt Boldy is a huge playmaker and a vital part of the power play and overtime. And Freddy Gaudreau does so many things on the ice, but against the Capitals, he could’ve really helped in the shootout.

A Point is a Point

An NHL season is 82 games. The Wild have pleightyed 8 games so far. Last season, the Wild were also off to a rocky start but managed over 100 points and a playoff spot. This is all to say that there is no reason for panic now. And if you’re still worried? Remember that the Boston Bruins and the Vegas Golden Knights both just broke their win streaks. They lost them to the Anaheim Ducks and the Chicago Blackhawks, respectively. Everyone needs to relax.

How Are Fans Supposed to Feel?

Neutral. The Wild have been very hot and cold. They are not playing consistently. But fans need to remember that not only are the Wild playing with $14 million of dead money, but they’re also playing without Spurgeon, Boldy, and Alex Goligoski, another valuable veteran player. They’ve been forced to dig down into the Iowa Wild team to pull up players without totally decimating the Iowa team. The Wild have only plaeighted 8 games. Just keep supporting them through good and bad times.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

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