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Souhan on Sports

Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene

Souhan: Five playoff games isn't good enough, no matter what Fletcher says

Chuck Fletcher held his season-ending press conference on Tuesday.

I wish he hadn't.

Instead of admitting that spending all of five games in the playoffs was a failure, Fletcher tried to put a positive spin on the season.

That's a mistake.

What's most interesting is trying to figure out why he's making this mistake.

Is he speaking directly to owner Craig Leipold and trying to bolster his job security?

Is he speaking to the players and thinking that positivity will help them win next year?

Or is he tacitly acknowledging that his roster is going to remain largely static and that he might as well try to put a happy face on his biggest problem?

I think it's some combination of the three, with the third factor being the most important.

I hate Fletcher's characterization. But I understand his problem.

With Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Devan Dubnyk and Mikko Koivu eating up payroll and a bunch of young players failing to elevate the team during the playoffs, I'm not sure what magic move would make this team better,.

I only know that five playoff games is not good enough, no matter what Fletcher says.


Our season-ending podcast with Michael Russo will be 6 p.m. Wednesday at Hell's Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis. Please stop by or find all of our podcasts at

We'll also run Sports From Hell on Friday at 4:45 at Hell's Kitchen with Michael and a guest to be named later.

Wild pregame: Fluctuations

Writing before Game 5 from the X:

What’s most interesting to me about playoff hockey is that the old saying about ``mistakes’’ turns out to be true.

And that players’ performances fluctuate dramatically from game to game.

Usually, when coaches say a game will be decided by mistakes, it sounds like coachspeak. But each game in this series has been decided by a mistake. And sometimes just one.

When Dubnyk has allowed a soft goal, the Blues have won. When Jake Allen has given up a soft goal, the Wild has won.

The other fascination thing about the playoffs, and the Wild in particular, has been the fluctuation of performances.

In Game 4, right after I Tweeted something about Jason Pominville’s poor performance in this series, he began playing as well as he has all year.

Same for Martin Hanzal. I have not been impressed with his game but he turned it on in Game 4 and his goal was perhaps the prettiest of this series.

Charlie Coyle was a problem early in the series and now has turned it on.

Who else needs to improve their play for the Wild to become the rare team to win a series after falling down 3-0? Mikael Granlund. He was one of the Wild's best players all season and he's been made invisible by the Blues' defense this series. The Wild need more from him.


And apropos of nothing I’m sitting in the Wild’s media room, looking at a photo of Parise and Suter after they signed with the Wild. Man, they look young.


At you can find my podcast with Michael Russo, as well as Sports From Hell with Russo and LaVelle E. Neal, in which they make fun of me for having a doggie stroller. But I can explain!

Both shows were recorded at Hell’s Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis.