We’re two days away from the 2013 strike-shortened NHL season beginning here in Minnesota and the excitement is palpable. Wild fans are giddy to watch this revamped team take the ice. Just a few days after we wrote that the Wild are not getting enough love nationally and that we were fine with that right now, NHL expert Barry Melrose has picked Minnesota to win the Western Conference. The last time Minnesota was seeing national attention to not only be competitive, but to win the conference was…well…never.
Melrose points to the fact that Minnesota was one of the best teams in the NHL last season before the holidays. Then injuries, particularly to Mikko Koivu, affected the Wild’s ability to compete night in and night out. (Melrose overlooks the fact that the Wild’s schedule was significantly easier before the calendar turned to 2012 last season, much like how the Timberwolves started the season this year.) Melrose even goes on to say that Koivu might be the “best NHL player that no one knows about” and that he may be a top 10 goal scorer this year. From your lips to god’s ears Barry.
A Stanley Cup appearance back in Minnesota? That’s everyone’s dream here. Let’s hope the team comes together as Melrose predicts. (Thanks to @BeeHeintzSKOL for bringing Melrose’s pick to our attention. Much appreciated!)