It’s a bit harsh to get too down after the type of season the Minnesota Wild just had, snapping a four-year playoff drought to earn their first playoff berth since 2008. Unfortunately, their seeding as the No. 8 team in the Western Conference pit them against the record-breaking, season points-leading Chicago Blackhawks, but there’s certainly no shame in taking a game from a juggernaut like Chicago in the first-round series before falling in five games.
However, 36-year-old veteran center Matt Cullen doesn’t quite find that satisfactory, and believes the Wild missed real chance to pull the monumental upset.
“I don’t think they were at their best at the time [we faced them]. I just feel like we had a real opportunity,” Cullen said, via ESPN. “I don’t think anybody really felt like Chicago played their best hockey against us. It was a series we really could have won or made a lot closer than we did.”
Heading into Game 4 in Minnesota this was a tight series, with Chicago up 2-1 while it easily could’ve been 2-1 Minnesota after the way Game 1 was decided by a single goal. Bottom line is: Minnesota needed something to show from an offseason that brought in Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, and they indeed took the first step with a playoff berth.
Now for step two: the 2013 offseason.
“The next six weeks are fun,” Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher said, via ESPN. “Especially in the cap system, it’s difficult to make a lot of changes during the season. It’s difficult to make a lot of adjustments to your roster or move a lot of players out or in. The decisions you make in the summer, much more so than in the past, will clearly define what you’re going to be in the next year.”