“This is the first year that we’re trying to get [to the playoffs] in five years,” Yeo said. “It’s supposed to be hard for us.”
The inconsistency is maddening, though, both as a group and for individual players. The Wild looked like a team capable of a deep playoff run in winning seven in a row in March. That same team now has lost five consecutive at Xcel Energy Center. The team that averaged 3.6 goals in March is averaging 1.7 goals in April.
“I think that’s just some signs of a somewhat inexperienced team that hasn’t been in this situation,” Parise said. “When we won seven in a row, we felt like no one could beat us. But then all of a sudden you lose one and you lose another one and you can get some doubt creeping in your mind. That doesn’t happen as much when you have teams that have won on a regular basis and won at a high level.”
The Wild finds itself in a different place, which prompted a meeting Monday to “get the feelings out and see where everybody’s head is at,” according to Yeo, who also noted, “We can’t get too wrapped up in all the big-picture stuff.”
Yeo found one comment from an unnamed player particularly useful.
“We can’t sit around and hope for anything,” Yeo recalled. “We can’t sit here and hope that a team that we’re ahead of loses.”
That’s true, but frankly, the time for pep talks is over. The Wild needs to play better defense, score more goals and eliminate costly lapses in focus. Do that, and the big picture will look a lot different.
Chip Scoggins • email@example.com