(Ed. Note: As the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue, we're bound to lose some friends along the journey. We've asked for these losers, gone but not forgotten, to be eulogized by the people who knew the teams best: The bloggers who hated them the most. Here is Colorado Avalanche blogger and old Puck Daddy buddy Jibblescribbits, fondly recalling the 2013-14 Minnesota Wild. Again, this was not written by us. Also: This is a roast and you will be offended by it, so don't take it so seriously.)
Today, I’m here to eulogize the Minnesota Wild Hockey Franchise.
Today, I fully empathize with Father McKenzie.
First, let’s all congratulate them on their 2014 NHL Western Conference Central Division Finals Appearance, the second best season in team history. All it took for this moderately successful season (by most other teams standards) was having a very good Blues team collapse down the stretch, allowing them to match up against the Avs, one of the worst possession teams in the league (not to mention a team playing without Matt Duchene and their best offensive defenseman due to a skate-by Cooke-ing).
Still, they were only able to barely squeak by in Game 7 OT.
Maybe in 11 more years the stars will align once again and everything will fall into place for another Cinderella run into the second round by upsetting a modestly favored opponent.
And yet, the comedy of this win is that, in a few short months, the team still won’t be remembered for winning. In another universe, this series could be redemption for their previous division champion team getting upset by the same Avs in 2008. It won’t be remembered for that, because no one cares. The series will ultimately be overshadowed by Nathan MacKinnon’s coming out party, Patrick Roy proving pulling the goalie earlier is better and Matt Cooke cementing himself as this generation’s Ulf Samuelsson.
No one outside their home state will remember or care about their third-ever series win.
Even with all this said, I fear I’m selling the team short, because this is a franchise that is truly remarkable in its ability to be inconsequential.
When fans around the league divvy up their season tickets, the games against this team are given to nieces or nephews who only get one game a season, or given to a local charity as a tax write-off. They, we, have more interest in seeing their team play the Carolina Hurricanes, Winnipeg Jets or Nashville Predators than sit through a boring game against a nameless, faceless hockey franchise.
Those tickets are like preseason tickets in that they are included to guarantee seats against teams people actually want to see.
If the franchise got up in the middle of the night and moved to Texas, no one outside the franchises’ home state would notice.
It’s time to come to grip with it, fans: The team is a filler franchise, a team cast into the league for no other purpose than to be the faceless dirty blonde that a notable competitor faces on the way to facing someone else.
Montage filler. Team Tommy:
We also won’t get into the trap hockey which the fans insist doesn’t happen anymore despite two-and-a-half home games against the Blackhawks that prove otherwise. There’d be even more evidence but no one cares enough about the regular season to dissect the teams’ system.
Even the team name, colors and logo are boring. Some team executive said “I want a name that really represents the...wild...wilderness of the state?” and voila! A team name was born.
What colors should we use, “well, it’s green outside!” Perfect.
The logo tries to mix in a ton of clever ingredients into a cake and makes a bowl of mush. It’s the equivalent of a person misusing big words to impress on his/her first date despite thinking “Wild” is two syllables.
Being irrelevant hasn’t stopped the franchise from trying to boost its importance by plastering the haughty “State of Hockey” slogan on everything it can. That slogan is on their sweaters and hangs from the rafters because co-opting a slogan about a high school hockey tournament might be the franchise’s most remarkable accomplishment.
It’s either that or being owned by one of the owners instrumental in driving the NHL into another lockout.
Maybe it’s booing their own goalie on his return from being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
Whatever their biggest accomplishment is, their slogan is perfect in that it represents the delusional self-importance of a franchise whose career leader in games played is a 2013-14 Edmonton Oilers Defensive Cast-off.
Make no mistake though, this franchise's fans think they are important, and “State of Hockey” is a saying that indulges that delusion. This is a geographic region whose propaganda feeds whatever image they want to create for themselves.
It starts with the indoctrination of their children into the fanbase with the most god awful anthem this side of the 1980s, sung during every single home game. The home state brainwashing includes a whitewashing of the subjugation of the Sioux people. They even call the conflict “The Sioux Uprising” which is the kind of passive-aggressive propaganda that oppressive dictatorships hope to master someday.
We will fight to the end
We will stand and defend
Our flag flying high and free
Indeed. Maybe it’s for the best if everyone just forgets about the state.
“The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.”
Good riddance to the team that is the opposite of love, art, faith and life. People will think of you again in four months when they are trying to figure out what to do with those tickets they got stuck with for a Tuesday in February.
Jibblescribbits writes a Colorado Avalanche Blog, with bits of other sports sprinkled in.