Well, sadly, the 2011-12 Minnesota Wild season has officially come to a close with a disappointing 4-1 season finale loss tonight at Xcel Energy Center against the Pacific Division-champion Phoenix Coyotes.
“We’d have the same feeling regardless of how the game turned out today,” coach Mike Yeo said afterward. “I think every one of us has to accept our share of the responsibility here. As much as anything, we have to use this feeling that we have right now. It’s an empty, disappointed, embarrassing feeling, and we have to use that – every one of us – as a force that drives you to be better next year.”
Similarly, captain Mikko Koivu said of the Wild’s fourth consecutive missed postseason, “We have to face it: We’re not where we want to be, and that has to change. I think everybody knows that it’s been too long that we finished a season like this. Being part of teams that are done at this part of the year, it’s just been too long.
“You have to learn from it. Obviously there’s things we can do better and we have to do better. You can’t just sweep it off and move forwards. You have to analyze what we have to do better to get where we want to be.”
In the finale, Chay Genoway, in his NHL debut, assisted on Dany Heatley’s 24th goal. Goalie Niklas Backstrom didn’t get his 20th win and Devin Setoguchi didn’t get his 20th goal – robbed by a scintillating save by Mike Smith on a power-play one-timer.
Backstrom told me after the game he won’t play for Finland on his home soil in the world championships. He’s been playing with an ankle injury since December, it’s been killing him the last couple weeks and he expects to undergo surgery next week.
It’s the end of the season, but I’m not done.
On Tuesday at 2 p.m., I believe, I’ll be hosting a live chat on startribune.com.
Read the year-end package in Sunday’s paper and the notebook on Guillaume Latendresse and Pierre-Marc Bouchard, as well as stuff on potentially re-signing Clayton Stoner and some other tidbits on Erik Haula and fellow prospects Charlie Coyle and Zack Phillips. In Monday’s paper, I will have a three-year look at Chuck Fletcher as GM. In Tuesday’s paper, I’ll have an odds and ends notebook. In Wednesday’s paper, a playoff preview. In Thursday’s paper, I’ll have an interview I conducted with owner Craig Leipold.
Check back in the blog Monday or Tuesday, too, because I’ll post pieces of the transcript from my interview the other day with Fletcher.
That’s it for me. I hope you enjoyed the Star Tribune’s coverage of the Wild this season.