By Michael Russo
For some reason, being down at the rink today, I had Ben Harper’s, “Another Lonely Day,” reverberating inside my head.
I just felt like the song was apropos.
The Wild didn’t go on the ice this morning. To add insult to injury after last night’s blown 3-zip lead, the Ottawa Senators, before their trip to Nashville, was practicing at noon while Wild players were behind their locker-room door being talked to by General Manager Doug Risebrough.
By all accounts, it was a very positive meeting. In other words, Risebrough’s sole objective was to put last night’s loss behind them rather than a wake-the-heck-up meeting. Risebrough also made clear his belief that there are only “four or five good teams in the league” and “the rest of us are all the same.”
In other words, get your act together and you can make the playoffs. The problem, of course, is the Wild is out of the playoffs, won’t play again until Thursday, has four days now to think and hear about last night’s meltdown and the reward for being so patient to play again is Calgary, Detroit and Chicago.
For most of what went down today, I implore you to read Monday’s article because quite frankly, I need to make this quick. I’ve got a lot of things to do that I saved for today because I didn’t expect to have to head down to the X.
But couple tidbits:
– Marian Gaborik is skating, Risebrough said, and Risebrough maintains that he expects Gaborik to eventually return to the Wild’s lineup, not somebody else’s. However, Risebrough said Gaborik has a big physical that he must pass March 3 in order to really ramp up his training. You know me by now. I’m a conspiracy theorist. I find it interesting that 1) Risebrough knows the date because he normally lets Tom Lynn handle details about most everything and 2) March 3 is one day before the trade deadline. Or maybe it’s just a coincidence, eh?
– Risebrough did his best to lower expectations for any “magical trade deadline” move for a scorer. Risebrough said, grinning, “He’s recovering,” meaning Gaborik. He said all teams are in the same boat, and because half the league is pretty much right up against the salary cap ceiling, he said most teams will be ”switchers,” and can’t “add, add, add.” More on that in the paper.
– I asked Risebrough what’s going on with Niklas Backstrom, and I got the customary, “I don’t know.”
– Lastly, I thought it was interesting that Risebrough wanted myself and the other Wild beat writer to interview him in the locker room right after the meeting with lots of players around. Typically, he’d want to go into a room somewhere or a hallway. But Risebrough clearly wanted players to see us interviewing him, and at times, he even raised his voice to air his overall point over again, which was, “Today was about you’ve got to get through these things, you’ve got to get by these things.”
My opinion? The Wild’s in deep trouble. Starting next week, the Wild opens 14 of 17 on the road. This is a team that’s shown zero ability to win more than two games in a row this season. That’s the facts Jack.
As Brian Rolston used to say, “it is what it is,” and this is a consistently inconsistent team that gains and loses confidence by the hour.
With that, enjoy your Sunday. Talk to you after Monday’s practice.