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The State of Hockey has been waiting for it all year and finally the Stanley Cup Playoffs are upon us. Even the weather seemed to know that hockey was still in session, dropping a nice layer of snow on Minnesota.
Anyways, as the Wild gears up for its Round 1 series with the Avalanche, there is plenty to get caught up on. So fair warning: grab some coffee or tea, get your reading pants on and your brain ready for some awesome playoff knowledge.
First up, Managing Editor Mike Doyle caught up with some of the players regarding this year’s run to the playoffs and overcoming last season’s first round disappointment.
We also have a series of stories including why the Wild will win the Stanely Cup, why Erik Haula may be the Wild’s X-Factor this postseason, the Wild’s new look since it last faced the Avalanche on Jan. 30, and how the goalie rotation has led to the Wild’s success this season.
And if you like to see a matchup in a nice, bullet-pointed graphic, we’ve got you covered there too. Check out this awesome infographic.
Last Thursday, in the Wild’s penultimate game of the regular season, John Curry became the fifth Wild goalie to make a start this season and register a win.
He made 43 saves on 45 shots that night, setting a career high in front of his home state crowd.
I caught up with Curry last weekend after the performance, simply to chat. But what I expected was going to be a quick exchange of details regarding the win and his journey to the NHL quickly turned into a long conversation and a great feature on the quotable goalie. Check out the story here.
Finally, speaking of goalies, our social media team put together this awesome infographic breaking down the season by each of the five goalies that played. It’s pretty amazing so take some time to look it over.
Once the postseason was finally underway, it was time to hear from the Wild’s leadership.
Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press first talked to Mikko Koivu on making the playoffs again and going for that first series win. He also sat down with Moulson and discussed the winger’s crazy year between three teams and another chance to go for the cup — oh and the desire to sleep in his own bed.
Jim Rich from Fox 9 also caught up with Ryan Suter, after their loss in the regular season finale to Nashville. Suter was a trooper after the less-than-stellar decision and spoke about the playoff berth and more with Rich.
As I mentioned before, the Wild and Avs have not seen one another in action since Jan. 30. That’s about two and half months.
Undoubtedly both teams have been through quite a bit during that time. Colorado went from the constant third team in the Central Division to Division Champs. The Wild had its own slight roller coaster of a playoff push before finding its game and surging into the postseason (sans that last game. We’ll pretend it never happened).
So maybe it’s time for a little refresher on these two teams and the clashing styles they bring into the postseason. Michael Russo thought so and gives us a nice rundown on what to expect.
Last month, when the Wild’s postseason hopes looked like they could soon be in jeopardy, the Wild came together for a players-only team meeting.
It was, essentially, an airing of the grievances. They talked and eventually came out with the same focus, the same drive.
It appeared like the meeting immediately made a difference as the Wild won its next two games and finished the season 6-1-1.
Rachel Blount of the Star Tribune recently caught up with some of the players to discuss the meeting and how impactful it was. While they’ve downplayed it, there’s no denying it seemed to be a key moment in the Wild’s season.
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