Four years in a row the Minnesota Wild have reached the Stanley Cup playoffs, and tickets are very tough to get at Xcel Center — 19,000 occupied seats with standing-room only has been the attendance for virtually all 41 home dates. The Vikings, Twins, Timberwolves, and Gophers would love to have the Wild’s problems, a great home venue and incredible fan support in the state of hockey.
Yet no Stanley Cups, and that frustration is what has led to the organization hiring their third coach since January. First Mike Yeo was fired in his fifth season when the team hit a losing skid mid-season. Then the Wild hired as interim coach John Touchetti and the team was eliminated four games to two in the first round by Dallas.
Bruce Boudreau is now the new leader of the Wild. He’s experienced and wins a lot — 409 wins, 192 losses and 80 ties in nine years is impressive. So is a winning percentage of .659. The Wild have a good, deep roster and, like most teams, they have three or four players that are not producing consistently.
Boudreau is expected to take the Wild to the next level. He has won several Division titles and gets the most out of his players and teams. But can Boudreau squeeze the kind of sustained, consistent effort from this roster that will bring a Stanley Cup to Minnesota?
The NHL Draft is here, so the Wild should be able to add a couple of good young players to this roster. Or, will the Wild try and shake up this current roster to get more players to fit the up-the-ice attacking system Boudreau prefers?
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.