As I’ve been known to do, I’m writing a monthly mailbag focusing on the Minnesota Wild, but also not shying away from questions about life. This month is extra special because it is my final mailbag. Hopefully you enjoy it, and hopefully you learn something about the Wild, hockey or something in my life that helps you.
There’s a lot of harsh words in there, Bryan. I would expect no less.
1.I cannot fully put into words the stupidity of the leadership of Ottawa’s hockey team. It starts and the top, and brother, that S flows downhill. Not giving Colorado their 2018 first-round pick for Matt Duchene, and instead opting to give them their 2019 first-round pick, then subsequently burning their roster to the ground until they had 19 percent odds at the No. 1 overall pick, is profoundly stupid.
2. Probably not. Mediocrity is the spice of life. I mean that sincerely, as the glimmer of hope that comes with mediocrity feeds the human soul, more so than the certainty of being either really good or really bad. The Wild have been selling hope for going on 20 years now, and I don’t think they plan on stopping, so long as the arena keeps selling out every night.
3. Luckily for me on that topic, I’m not much of a drinker. Also luckily for me, when I do, it’s fairly rare for me to find myself hungover. So yes, to answer your question. I’m like a super resilient dad created in a lab, in some sense.
I think the Wild go after a center regardless of who they have under contract. I’ve been saying for weeks that counting on a full Mikko recovery is dicey at best, and it’s a very real possibility that he misses lots of time next season. Sturm has looked great so far, and Eriksson Ek has looked great for stretches, but trusting any one of this bunch, including Staal, is probably foolish. That said, landing a center worth a damn is likely outside of the Wild’s cap space.
As for the RFAs I’d be fine giving a lengthy, team-friendly deal to Donato for sure, and possibly even Eriksson Ek, depending on what you think of him. With Fiala, it just makes way more sense for him and the team to work on bridge deals. He’s so much more boom-or-bust than the other two, locking him up for a long time at a low number seems like trouble down the line either way.
I’m very much not looking forward to my kid realizing that I’m flawed and mortal. I think having that god-like appearance to your kids allows you to give them the best advice you can, and having them really listen to it without question. Then when they become a teenager and realize you’re just another dude, you’ve got more of an uphill battle, or at least it seems that way.
But honestly, I want so much better for my kids! I hope my kids are taller, stronger, faster and have better hair than me — low bars, all of them. I hope they’re smart enough to know how intelligent they are, and smart enough to know that it doesn’t mean a thing without hard work. I hope they achieve their wildest dreams, and live in a house bigger than mine, with a pool, and drive a truck with fewer miles and rust. I hope they excel where I have failed, and maybe even be able to actually dunk a basketball.
I’ve railed on this pick plenty, and it’s good to hear the godfather Russo do the same recently. I’ve heard plenty of arguments that this pick was Brent Flahr’s pick, and that it’s definitely his type of player, etc. And I believe that. I believe that he was the one who championed this pick.
However, in no way, shape or form is Fenton off the hook for it. First, he had already essentially demoted Flahr at that point. Letting him have complete control of your draft as a lame-duck AGM is wildly irresponsible.
Second, Fenton is supposedly a “draft guy,” having run the draft for Nashville for many years. You can’t tell me he didn’t know the lay of the land. Me, a small-time writer for a local website, that did several hours of draft research to write articles in the weeks prior knew it was a terrible pick, and it’s hardly my full-time job and career to know these things. That’s flat inexcusable.
Finally, Fenton signed off on the pick, ultimately. Not only that, but he lauded the pick immediately after it was made as well. If he knew the pick was terrible, he could’ve prevented all of it. It’s not like Brent Flahr went rogue and ran up to the podium alone. So much of being in upper management is having your finger on the pulse of what your people are doing, and being able to delegate and direct those actions. If Fenton isn’t responsible for that pick, he isn’t doing his job.
I will definitely miss the writing for sure. Even as I write this, it makes me sad to know that I won’t be doing it again. This stuff is so much fun! After getting the show of love and thanks for all the work I’ve done over the last five seasons, creating content for people to enjoy is a reward in itself. To know that someone took time from their day, just to consider something that you’ve painstakingly crafted, there’s nothing like it.
I also really like how sharp it keeps me. Before I wrote about the team, I’m not sure I could tell you anything moderately intelligent about the team. I watched a lot of games, but it was so secondary to me that I could have never spoken on the topic with any accuracy. Now I feel like my conversations about the team are so much better informed, so well thought out, and I’m going to miss that. I’m going to get rusty on the Wild, and although I’ll still remain very connected and knowledgeable, not rolling up my sleeves and diving into the numbers anymore is going to dull my sharpness on the topic, and that’s just a reality.
Right-handed shot trees only sprout fruit every decade or so, or at least it seems, in this area. Also, the mostly baseless claim that making a right-handed person play hockey left-handed makes them better is to blame. It just makes you left-handed at hockey. In all actuality, this is mostly Canada’s fault. South Park was right, again.
I’m fortunate in that I don’t feel much guilt on some things, and hiding/throwing away/burning loud toys is without a doubt going to be on that list. Adults need to learn things too, and my friends and family are no exception.
I’d invent Amazon, I guess. Does that count? Remazon.
But seriously, I might steal something very near and dear to both of our hearts, Tony, and that’d be the comedy of Mitch Hedberg. I’m sure the movie Yesterday tackles the difficulties of becoming famous off someone else’s work, but at the same time wanting to share that kind of brilliance with the world, and that’s where I’m at with his comedy. In another life, I start doing standup immediately after high school (or during) and make my living doing that. It’s a dream that may always haunt me for not pursuing it, and not only pursuing it, but reciting the classic, beautifully simple and timelessly intelligent jokes of Hedberg would be absolutely amazing.
Well, Crazy Pills Paul has the right to fire Bruce, regardless of the moves he’s made this season. But luckily for Wild fans, he also has a boss, and his boss is the one paying Bruce Boudreau to coach next season regardless of whether he’s coaching or not.
I don’t really know much about Evason’s head coaching abilities, but his results in Milwaukee weren’t exactly eye-popping. The power play this season hasn’t been excellent, for sure, but I think it was pretty darn good until the injury to Matt Dumba, and then nosedived hard, but managed to recover a bit recently. Either way, I’m not sure that’s entirely on Evason as much as Fenton’s roster, but I’m still not in favor of the ‘coach in waiting’ model or the ‘hiring my loosely qualified buddy’ model, either.
Tom Reid’s Hockey City Pub, Giles, everyone knows that.