Saturday, June 14, 2014

Flip The Page

Well here we are again, at the end of another hockey season.

First and foremost, congrats to the Los Angeles Kings. Winning the Cup two out of three years is not an easy feat. Also a congrats to our old friend, Marian Gaborik, as he got to finally lift the Cup for the first time in his career.

Secondly, congrats to the New York Rangers on an outstanding run to the Finals. They were not the best team, but they had Henrik Lundqvist in net and as we all saw, he is very good at tending the net.

Now that the Stanley Cup Final is over, it is truly time to flip the page and begin the 2014-15 season. Technically, it will not start until sometime in October, but the work and preparation for the season begins now as we get into the draft and free agency.

Before we get into how the Wild should go about their offseason, I want to take a little bit of time to reflect on the season that we are now leaving behind.

From a Minnesota standpoint, this was a true roller coaster season. There were extreme highs, and there were extreme lows. The team never had a real shred of consistency. I never loved/hated a team as much as this one. They either had me feeling great or ripping my hair out at night's end.

The lows were obviously the month of December and early March. The losing six game losing streak that carried the Wild into the new year nearly saw Mike Yeo lose his job. The team was simply underperforming. Luckily, he was able to right the ship and get the team back on track. You just had to have faith.

There were even points year (mainly during the low times) when the bloggers went head to head with each other. I recall a time when Joe and I had to meet up for a postgame beer just to vent. It was dicey there for a while, but luckily we all pulled together. Hopefully, it never gets to that point again.

When thinking about the highs, there were a few, but there is only one that needs mentioning. The Minnesota/Colorado Game 7 (the series for that matter) was the most gut wrenching game I have experienced, and yes, that includes the first MIN/COL Game 7. To make it more sweet, I was one of the proud Wild fans in the stands at Pepsi Center that night. I will never forget that feeling (Note: Thank you to my friend Tiffany for making that whole trip possible). 

The Wild went toe to toe with the Blackhawks in Round Two. The series may have ended in six games (damn stanchion), but I was proud of how we played the defending Champs. The kids really grew up on the fly in April/May, and too the Wild to a place they had only been once before. I love where this team is headed, and can not wait to see them get back on the ice in October.

Another high this year, was all the people that were a part of the gameday experience.

There Dan (who is a bigger Erik Haula homer than I am), Graeme, Dana, and the staff (who knew me very well by the end of the year) over at Tom Reid's Hockey City Pub who made the pre/postgame very enjoyable. Thanks to you all (if I forgot someone, yell at me and I will so note you).

Not forgetting, we all finally got to meet Felix, as he came down to the Twin Cities from the hockey town of Quebec City. I learned he loved poutine (as most Canadians do) and Dustin Brown (kidding). But then in the playoffs, he kept showing up and has more appearances on the way. So the question has to be asked: When is Fel becoming a permanent MSP resident? 

Finally, there's the blog perspective. The site came a long ways this year (although there was that one day when I thought I was writing for a Winnipeg Jets site), but there is still much work to do to get it to where I feel it needs to be. Many thanks to all of you who continue to read along with my nonsense. It means alot.

The site will continue on through the draft and free agency, but then when the offseason dies down in late July, I will take some time away for A) my mental health and B) to study up and come back better than ever next year. You need to get away for a bit and recharge the batteries.

So that's that. That was the 2013-14 season in a nutshell for me. I just thought I'd share this with you as we now leave this season for the history books and look ahead to 2014-15.

We will return to regularly scheduled programming tomorrow. Have a great Saturday.

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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