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The Wild stumble with the season on the line, making their playoff hopes more and more dim with each game. As usual, Wild analysts Jeff Hartfiel and Peter Ripka answer questions from Rambling On god-king Erik Ritland.
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With increasingly less time left to change course, the Wild still haven't looked very inspired over the last week. They lost to the Avalanche, Hurricanes, and Predators, while somehow getting a win in Washington.
Was there any silver lining to their losses?
Jeff: It is hard to see a silver lining in any of those three losses. They do "a no call no show" in the Hurricanes game than have two losses to teams inside the division. Where is there silver lining any of them?
At the most important part of the season, especially for the Wild, zero points and ont point isn't going to cut it. They are getting passed by Dallas, Colorado, and Arizona. Even the Blackhawks and Oilers are at there heals. If they are going for better draft position, then they are going the right direction. If the are trying to make it to the playoffs, it hasn't been showing in the way they've been playing. Their home record this year is holy cow-level atrocious.
I see no silver lining.
Peter: They finally looked like they cared during the Nashville game, but they couldn't find a way to score. Seems the be the Wild's story throughout their existence.
What went right in Washington? Is there any way to carry over how they played against them?
Jeff: In the Washington game, the Wild did what they've done all year: play great game against a top tier team. They played the same way against Toronto and Tampa Bay earlier. Every one on the team came to play, from offense to defense to the goaltender.
The problem is that can't bring that into the next game. Being inconsistent is the only thing they have been consistent with all year.
Peter: They buried their chances. It is hard to understand why this team is so streaky with finishing, but again, that's been a Wild thing since their inception.
We've talked a lot this year about the Wild "not showing up." Was the Hurricanes game the biggest example of that this year?
Jeff: That is a perfect example of the Wild "not showing up," and in one of the most important games of the year. The Wild just don't seem to want it bad enough this year, and it shows game to game and week to week.
Peter: It wasn't so much not showing up as it was giving up once they got down.
The Wild have always played their best hockey when their backs are against the wall. Do you think they have it in them this year to go on a run and squeak into the playoffs?
Jeff: I have no trust of or belief in this team. They haven't shown enough. They have no will to win, no urgency. Hopefully the learn from this season and come back stronger next year.
Peter: I am becoming more and more discouraged about them figuring it out here at the end. They haven't given us much hope to think that they will. It wouldn't surprise me if they found a way, but they have a mighty big hill to climb now. I'd expect this team to be playing golf in the middle of April.
Peter Ripka is the original Rambling On podcast co-host and has been a contributor since its inception. He’s currently a Wild and Twins analyst, a position he’s held for several years. A Wild and Twins season ticket holder, his writing combines the passion of a fan and the insight of a beat writer.
Jeff Hartfiel is a Minnesota sports analyst specializing in the Wild and Vikings. He's been a part of Rambling On since 2018.