The last time there was this much hype about the Minnesota Wild was last fall at UBC.
Following a spirited practice in advance of facing the Vancouver Canucks, the newly acquired dynamic duo of Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi broke out the baseball gloves. And the symbolism of watching Heatley's big windup and subsequent heater into the glove of Setoguchi wasn't lost on anybody.
If the Wild were going to climb out of the Northwest Division wilderness with the 26th-ranked offence, the new guys would have to lead.
And they did. For a while.
The Wild won 20 of their first 30 games, were first overall in the NHL by December, and Heatley and Setoguchi were getting the kinks out with seven and nine goals respectively in that span.
But the Wild would turn into, well, the Wild. While Heatley would lead the club with 24 goals and 53 points — Setoguchi was fourth with 36 points including 19 goals despite a knee injury — the collective offence dried up.
Minnesota finished 14 points shy of a Western Conference playoff position because a 30th-ranked offence and 27th-ranked power play proved to be their demise yet again, and turned the State of Hockey into a State of Confusion.
Enter all-stars Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.
Parise, Suter can't save Minnesota Wild on their own
Vancouver Province | Jul 5