Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Where Do We Go From Here?

Photo: Ann Heisenfelt/AP
Last night, the Wild again took another gut wrenching loss in a late season game to the Edmonton Oilers, 4-3, in a shootout. The loss comes after Minnesota took a commanding 3-0 first period lead, but fell asleep at the wheel and allowed Edmonton to get back in the game.

Despite the lone point, Minnesota still holds a three point lead on the first wild card spot over charging Dallas. Phoenix, the first team on the outside looking in, is just four points behind Minnesota.

Before we sit here and irrationally lose our minds over another loss to Edmonton , lets try being rational for just one second.

First of all, the season is not over. There are still 17 games left on the schedule. The remaining schedule may not be pretty (16 games against teams still in the playoff picture, the next seven against the East, four out of the last six games against Stanley Cup Contenders, etc), but they still show up to play the games. Anything can happen in those games, and anything can happen in the remaining games of the team's who are chasing the Wild.

Secondly, this is still a very young hockey team. Yes, they have established veterans (Koivu, Parise, Pominvile, etc), but they are relying on younger/inexperienced players (Granlund, Niederreiter, Coyle, etc) for key roles on this squad. Also keep in mind, that their number one goaltender, Darcy Kuemper, is 23 years old at the moment.

Now where does the team go from here? Well, that's up to the team of course. They can take this loss as a swift kick in the rear and turn it around, or they falter down the stretch for the third consecutive season and hope the teams chasing them do the same so they have a chance of making the playoffs. One would sincerely hope that the "swift kick in the rear" is the winner here. Because the latter option does not appear to signal a playoff year for the club then.

With all that has gone on in the hockey world in the past week (see Matt Stajan and Rich Peverley), it has really put things in perspective. Seeing a player lose a newborn son or watching a player collapse on the bench is something to be upset about. Losing to the not one of those things to go crazy over.

So before you decide to panic today (many of you already have), try the rational thinking for three seconds. It will save you a lot of sanity.

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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