|Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn/USA Today|
Needless to say it appeared that the season was about to be lost, right?
A four game winning streak to kick off the month of January gave the Wild a serious shot in the arm, despite their top players being out. They rode that four game winning streak to start January to a 9-4-1 record in the month, and a 11-4-2 record since the calendar flipped to 2014 overall. The team started the year 10th in the West, and now find themselves sixth with a six point lead as the top Wild Card team.
The young kids in their lineup were forced to take on larger roles with the team due to all the injuries, and they did not fail to impress. Every game saw a different hero (talking about skaters here, if we included goalies, Darcy Kuemper would be the clear cut winner). How many times in the history of the franchise can you say there has been a total team effort, like the one they are on right now? Certainly not many.
So you have to go back to the thought process at the beginning of January. Did you ever think this was possible? Not many, if any, did.
Minnesota now enters a three week Olympic Break riding a great stretch of hockey. They are only sending five players (this number will probably go down to four in the next few days) over to Sochi, allowing the rest of the team to get some much needed rest and relaxation (maybe not a whole lot of the last part).
When the team returns, they face a daunting final seven week schedule that will fully test them on whether or not they are a playoff team. Please, go look at it. Its quite unpleasant.
But don't forget, the Wild are in a position that no one thought they would be in. They were left for dead.
Its been a pretty sweet ride to the Olympic Break.
See you on the flip side, and enjoy the Olympic Games.
Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell