Yesterday in his blog, Russo was talking about the Wild-Blackhawks upcoming playoff series, and then towards the bottom of the post, he tossed in a quote from Blackhawks F Patrick Kane. Kane was speaking to the Chicago Tribune's Chris Kuc about the Wild:
“When they play like they want to, they can score four or five goals a night and keep it out of their net with maybe one of the best defensemen in the league [in Suter]. It’s a dangerous team. You definitely have to be careful with them. They’re a team that I’ve watched throughout the year and it seems like one night they look like the best team in the NHL and the next night they look like they don’t even want to be out there.”
Folks, that quote summed up the 2013 Minnesota Wild season. Kane could not of hit the nail on the head anymore.
We saw this past week in games against bottom-feeder teams Calgary and Edmonton, the Wild had an extreme lack of interest, and by the third period in both those games, they just plain gave up losing 4-1 and 6-1 respectively. Meanwhile, their game against Los Angeles was the exact opposite. They were focused, poised, and executed very well, looking like a playoff team in a 2-1 victory. Then on Saturday against Colorado, in a game the Wild had to win, they were found to be unfocused at times, but narrowly escaped with a 3-1 empty net goal victory.
Kane was definitely right, when he said that quote. But if I'm the rest of his team, I would not be happy with him.
The quote makes sense to all who are reading it, but if that gets read in the Wild dressing room, Wild fans may be thanking Mr. Kane for putting this out there.
The Wild are very capable of playing great hockey, as we saw during the month of March (11-4, including a seven game winning streak). But, the team lacked a motivating factor and suffered in April, with their sometimes lifeless play. Now that this quote was said, it might be the motivation that could drive the Wild to do great things, and play well night after night.
Where the season goes from here remains to be seen. But when all is said and done, and we look back on this in July, we will either remember this as the turning point, or it will just be forgotten all together.
I hope the former turns out to be true.
Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell