It’s March Madness time and everyone is busy filling out brackets. Again in 2017, Wild fans have a bracket of their own to fill out. Last season when this tournament debuted, the infuriation level with this team was at its fever pitch, and there were plenty of reasons to be unhappy. This season brings a whole new team and a whole new set of challenges, but plenty of reasons to be displeased.
Some participants are returning from last year, ready to take another shot at filling you with rage, while this season’s accomplished team has provided a handful of new reasons to scream. So print this out, fill it out, and show your internet friends what is making you so darn angry.
Here are some expert takes on this year’s tourney:
Met Center Implosion Region
- The possibility that the Wild may not let you down is a new contender this season, but a strong one. Many fans are very unsure of themselves cheering for a good team in this state, so I could see this entry making a deep run.
- Lots of media-related stuff in this one, but my darkhorse is the FSN broadcast. While many fans somehow enjoy it, there a pretty decent sampling of Wild fans that simply can’t stomach the entire ensemble that FSNorth puts forth.
- The Wave makes its return this season but it isn’t as high of a seed. It seems Wild fans are actually entertained with the product on the ice, or have finally learned how to be decent hockey fans — either is fine.
- NHL officiating may be under-seeded as a No. 2 here. It’s been a rough year for the Zebras and it’s quite possible that many Wild fans have had enough.
The Al Secord Region
- Another new entry to the tourney this year is the inevitable letdown, and it figures to make some noise, parallel to that of this possibility of the Wild not letting you down. Many Wild fans are just hoping and praying for the other shoe to drop on this squad, so they can nestle in their warm familiar blanket of misery. Expect this top seed to go far.
- Egregious defensive breakdowns could give the inevitable letdown a strong run for its money as an eight seed, but its season has been inconsistent, so it’s really tough to tell how the fans feel.
- Chicago claiming to be a state has been red-hot lately, and trolling hockey fans from Illinois has been having a field day on social media at the expense of Wild fans. It’s tough to take anything that wasn’t around before 2010 seriously, but Blackhawks fans could really stir the pot in this region.
- The name of the team and still wearing those red jerseys are a great first-round matchup and perhaps a fitting tribute for still wearing those red jerseys, which are to be retired at the end of this season. They could very well make a run in their swan song.
The 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins Region
- 2016 powerhouse the continued employment of Chuck Fletcher made it back to the tourney and gained a No. 1 seed on reputation alone. They were almost bumped from tourney contention by the fact the Fletcher has constructed a good hockey team, but many fans that would pick one of those entries would likely pick the other anyway.
- The firing of Mike Yeo makes a surprising comeback to the tourney after a strong showing last year. Plenty of folks out there are still part of the Church of Yeo, so it’s entirely possible that we could see an interesting Yeo versus Fletcher region final.
- Koivu’s sweater patch is another returning entry from last year, and even though it’s been a down year for complaining about captaincy, there’s still plenty of very angry Minnesotans who prefer the Finn not be seen as the leader of this team.
- The having to buy out Vanek and Jason Pominville’s contract matchup is a doozy, and should be a nail biter. Both sides are deeply rooted in Fletcher hate, but only being about to pick one thing to be upset about will likely drive some Wild fans batty.
The Brian Lawton Region
- The existence of Kurtis Gabriel is a controversial top seed in this region, as it’s a very polarizing topic for some. It’s very possible some fans will have this one going deep while others may pick it for a rare first round upset. It’s quite flummoxing.
- Darcy Kuemper’s ‘off nights’ returns again this year, and could be poised for a very deep run. Some Wild fans just can’t accept poor showings from a backup goaltender and are very vocal about it. However, it faces a very tough potential second-round matchup with Dumba turnovers, which is arguably the hottest entry coming into the tourney.
- Ryan Suter’s minutes probably don’t belong in the tournament again this year, but the committee apparently waxes nostalgic every now and then, and granted them another shot. Marco Scandella’s rough season will likely mean a first-round exit for Suter’s minutes, however.
- Don’t count out Jared Spurgeon’s Tempstar commercial. There’s been plenty of grumbling about it over the past few seasons, and that it continued to run without any update is sure to annoy some regular Wild watchers. If there’s a low seed Cinderella story this year out of nowhere, it very could be Spurgeon’s Tempstar commercial.