The Minnesota Wild aren’t off to a tremendous start this season, and it’s bringing up the ugly topic of the yearly Wild swoon. Usually the Wild go on a horrendous losing streak sometime after December, and crater fans’ hopes for a positive outcome in the season with a horrific stretch of 10-15 games. The Wild have a rich tradition of mid-to-late season disappointment, dating back to the last NHL lockout.
2012-13: 3-8 from April 1-21
2013-14: 2-8 from Dec. 10-31
2014-15: 2-12 from Dec. 16-Jan. 13
2015-16: 1-13 from Jan. 10-Feb. 13
2016-17: 4-12 from March 1-31
As you can see, the Wild swoon is about as inevitable as the end of the season heartbreak they foreshadow.
So are the Wild starting off the present season swooning? Well, in order to determine that, we’ll have to determine the criteria for an actual swoon. All of the swoons listed above are 10 games or more and featured the Wild losing more than 70 percent of their games, which is a pretty atrocious percentage and seldom found throughout a full season, even for the worst of hockey teams.
With that definition pretty agreeable and well-defined, it follows that, much like an economic depression, you won’t necessarily know that you’re in a swoon until you’re well into one. Even a six-game losing streak, which is pretty bad, can end up without swoon classification, as long as it’s bracketed by two wins on either side. Once a team loses seven games straight, or eight out of nine, a swoon, by definition, is guaranteed, but at that point, fans are already painfully aware.
If the Wild find themselves swooning this season, I’ve taken it upon myself to name the swoons for the season, like hurricanes. Also like with hurricanes, I will prepare as though there will be several more swoons this season than normal, although I think they’re going to run out of hurricane names in this particular year.
Swoon Pierre: The first swoon is more annoying than anything, much like NBCSN personality and former Wild GM candidate Pierre McGuire. Though mostly trivial, it will still rile many Wild fans to the point of uncontrollable anger, even if they’re still very much in line for a playoff spot, as they were last season.
Swoon Clarence: Named for Minnesota sports personality Clarence Swamptown, this is the swoon that would cause you to question everything: the front office, the coaching, and, most notably, the players, specifically in regards to veteran leadership.
Swoon He Who Shall Not Be Named: At this point, the team has lost as least 21 games out of 30 at various points during the season. All hope is lost. Your favorite secondary characters are dying left and right and you have no idea how things can ever be OK again.
Are the Wild in the midst of an early season swoon right now? We’ll find out eventually, but there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary. Justin Bourne just wrote a wonderful article($) on the The Athletic detailing the Wild’s first two games, and despite injuries to Parise and Granlund, the goaltending hasn’t proven itself to be truly abysmal yet, which is usually a primary cause of the swoons the Wild have endured in the past.
The early warning signs aren’t necessarily there, and we’re five games away from anything official, so it’s more than likely that the Wild are just stumbling out of the gate for a multitude of small reasons rather than starting off the year in a full-blown swoon. But if they do end up in a swoon, remember the name Pierre.