What to do, what to do? The Wild have four games this week, none of which much of anything at all. They have resigned even themselves to the reality that the playoffs are gone, and are riding an eight game losing streak. The only thing left is to improve draft position by losing out, but try telling that to professional hockey players. Of course, even with their coaches job security on the line, the players themselves have shown little interest in playing out the string.
To start the week, the Wild have a re-match against the St. Louis Blues, in St. Louis, on Tuesday night. After being thumped by the Blues 6-3 at the X, the Wild held a 30 minute, closed door meeting to discuss the situation. Fans and media alike would have liked to see some fire come out of that meeting, but most of the quotes were depressed and sounded ready to quit.
While most teams would come out and exact some revenge, the Wild haven't proven anything can motivate them. This likely will be no different.
Returning home to St. Paul likely provides little comfort, but the Wild then have two games as part of the "Fan Celebration" to end the season. They face a defeated, yet resilient Edmonton Oilers team on Thursday, and will give away the "Jerseys of Our Backs" as has become a tradition. The game should be entertaining, if for no other reason than it is a final chance to see Taylor Hall come to town.
To close out the week, the have back to back games, one against the Tampa Bay Lightning at home, and then a game in Detroit against the mighty Red Wings. The Bolts bring Steven Stamkos and other high flying offensive players, and will still be battling for playoff positioning. It will be the only visit from the Lightning until 2012-13 season, so maybe that will give the fans a reason to show up.
Playing the Wings on Sunday, the Wild could run into a team resting its stars, tuning up for the playoffs, and resting on its laurels. Or, they could run into a Wings team gearing up for the grueling battle that is the NHL playoffs. If it is the latter, the Wild are in a great deal of trouble. Giving up 40+ shots to the Wings will result in a blowout that the Wild's moral just does not need at this point in the season.
How this week plays out will show fans just how much pride these players have left. At this point, it doesn't look like much.