At Wild media access Monday, I spent a fair amount of time trying to discern whether the words coming from the mouths of players and coach Mike Yeo were evidence of confidence or whether they were trying to talk themselves into believing they could once again rally from a 2-0 playoff hole, this time against the defending Stanley Cup champions.
It's difficult and dangerous territory trying to interpret tones and dissect facial expressions. So after an hour or so, I stopped trying. Whether they believe they are Chicago's equal — as was suggested Monday — the only thing that matters is there is a playoff game in St. Paul on Tuesday where the Wild can prove it.
And that is the fun part. The playoffs this time of year are fun, a fact that might have escaped us in recent years. But as thrilling as the seven-game series against Colorado was, imagine having not just the NHL playoffs going on here, but also the NBA playoffs. It is allowed to happen, even if the 2002-03 season is the only time it's happened for both the Wild and Timberwolves.
To prove it, here is a list of the markets that had both NBA and NHL teams from 2000-01 (the year the Wild started) until now — minus Los Angeles and New York/New Jersey, which have multiple teams that tilt the odds in their favor. Here's how much playoff fun those teams and markets have had:
Market Times NBA and NHL Combined titles
teams made playoffs in that span
Boston 9 (Celtics, Bruins) 2
Detroit 7 (Pistons, Red Wings) 3
Chicago 6 (Bulls, Blackhawks) 2
Dallas 7 (Mavericks, Stars) 1
Philadelphia 7 (76ers, Flyers) 0
Denver 4 (Nuggets, Avalanche) 1
Miami 1 (Heat, Panthers) 3
San Francisco 3 (Warriors, Sharks) 0
Toronto 2 (Raptors, Maple Leafs) 0
Phoenix 1 (Suns, Coyotes) 0
Washington, D.C. 1 (Wizards, Capitals) 0
The Wild figures to have a playoff-worthy team in future years. Now it's up to the Wolves to add to the fun.