Rand: Current Wild feels a bit like 2002 Twins

  • Updated: May 15, 2014 - 6:41 AM

What does this feel like?

The question lingered Wednesday, many hours after the Wild’s season and playoff ride came to a sudden end after numerous failed chances by the home team and a fortunate bounce for the Blackhawks.

Every season for every team is an entity unto itself, but it’s also natural to make comparisons when trying to sort out feelings. Is there any local comparison to make regarding the 2013-14 Wild’s season and the way it ended?

It didn’t feel like the 2002-03 Wild or any other Wild team. That lone previous playoff run was built on a trapping style, veteran moxie, great goaltending and the generosity of Vancouver goalie Dan Cloutier.

It didn’t feel like the 1998 or 2009 Vikings, even though those seasons, too, ended with punches to the gut. The 1998 Vikings felt like a team of destiny, the unstoppable force riding an incredible wave for the entire season. That does not describe this year’s Wild, which had many fits and starts — at times looking as though even making the playoffs was in question.

The 2009 Vikings were “all-in.” When Minnesota pushed in the chips for Brett Favre to go with a lot of other veteran talent, you knew that even if it worked, the window for success was open only a crack. As it turned out, it slammed shut in New Orleans after a single year. That does not fit the description of the Wild, either, since the mix of veterans at or near their primes and youngsters emerging means we should have several years of potential playoff runs ahead.

It didn’t feel like the 2003-04 Timberwolves, the best team in the West during the regular season and a crew heavy with veterans. When Sam Cassell’s back flared up in the conference finals against the Lakers, that series had the feeling of impending doom. The Wolves haven’t even made it back to the playoffs since then.

The best comparison we could come up with was the 2002 Twins. That team took a step the previous year, winning 85 games, just as the Wild took a step by making the playoffs in 2012-13. That team relied on some veterans, such as Brad Radke, but really went to the next level when its young players emerged. Those Twins had a surprising opening-round playoff series win, taking the deciding Game 5 on the road in Oakland. And they proved to be set up for a sustained run of regular-season success.

The question that remains: Will the Blackhawks be the Wild’s version of the Yankees, or will this Minnesota team continue to take steps on the way to a championship?

Michael Rand

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Washington 102 FINAL
New York 91
Oklahoma City 114 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Cleveland 91 FINAL
Miami 101
LA Lakers 24 2nd Qtr
Chicago 27
Golden State 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
DePaul 69 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 72
Ohio 58 FINAL
Nebraska 71
Colorado 66 FINAL
Hawaii 69
George Washington 8:00 PM
Wichita State
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 FINAL
Rice 30
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question