Wild eliminated from playoff contention despite 8-4 win over Nashville; Lemaire made up mind on future; Gaborik waves goodbye?Posted on April 10th, 2009 – 11:28 PM
By Michael Russo
The Wild’s 8-4 victory over Nashville was quite the party. Unfortunately for the Wild and its fans, the celebration didn’t last two hours.
The Wild needed Columbus to beat St. Louis, or Dallas to keep Anaheim from overtime. Neither happened.
The Blues beat Columbus 3-1, and in a painful manner for the Wild, Dallas rallied to tie Anaheim in the third period on a Fabian Brunnstrom goal. If the Wild somehow saw that before its plane hit wheels up, the elation didn’t last long.
It took Marty Turco 13 seconds to give it up on an Andrew Ebbett goal. Dallas forced OT on a Steve Ott goal with 13.1 seconds left, but the Wild was eliminated the second that final buzzer sounded. Anaheim eventually won in the shootout.
Too bad the Wild didn’t have more efforts like tonight this season. The Wild won its second straight game for the first time since Feb. 21-22. The Wild’s eight goals matched a team record and were the most ever scored at home.
Coach Jacques Lemaire’s eyes sparkled after this one. He was so proud of the Wild’s effort. He was so proud he finally got the team to play like he’s wanted them to all year. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late.
Lemaire might have coached his final home game. He said afterward that his mind’s made up on whether he plans to step down or not. My gut says he will coach his final game tomorrow in Columbus.
This is a man who needed two weeks away last year to determine if he wanted to coach again. He had to be convinced to come back by Doug Risebrough persuading him that he didn’t lose the team and that he can still reach today’s players.
Judging by his rants lately, I think Lemaire’s questioning that again and has decided he’s had enough.
Marian Gaborik had two assists in what could have been his final home game. He is currently unsigned and did a slow loop after the game, waving to the fans. Was he waving goodbye? After the game, he said he didn’t know. That has a lot to do with what the Wild’s new offer will be after the season.
He said during the final minutes, he started to wonder in the back of his head. You can read the quotes in tomorrow’s notebook from both gentlemen.
The Wild got two goals tonight from Marc-Andre Bergeron and goals from Dan Fritsche, Andrew Brunette, Kim Johnsson, Mikko Koivu, Cal Clutterbuck and Marek Zidlicky.
Fritsche was injured in the second period when he was clocked by Jordin Tootoo. Fritsche has a “chest injury,” and did not make the trip to Columbus, where he played and near where he grew up.
The Predators were also eliminated tonight.
I know I’ve been hard on the Wild this season, but the teams that deserved to make the playoffs did. St. Louis was 15th in the West. St. Louis has been absolutely demolished by injuried. Yet, the Blues overcame all that and rode to the postseason thanks to tremendous young talent, team play and work ethic.
The Wild was ravaged by key injuries too this season, but this team never got on a single real winning streak. It left tons of critical points on the ice. December killed this team.
The Wild put itself in a position where it had to depend on others. Well, if you want things done right, you better do them yourself.
The Wild finished 6-0-4 at home though, but even those lost points in OT would have gotten it done. OK, I’m out of here. I’ll probably tinker with the blog before my flight, but right now, I’ve got an early flight to Columbus.