ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The All-Star break is over. It was back to work for the Wild with practice Monday afternoon.
And they have some work to do.
A terrible January in which they lost 10 out of 13 games caused them to tumble out of playoff position. Minnesota now trails Nashville by one point and Colorado by two in the wild card standings.
“We were in a pretty comfortable spot,” assistant captain Zach Parise said. “Now all the sudden we’re on the outside looking in.”
And as they get ready to start the season’s second half Tuesday night in New York, we’re hearing an all-too-familiar refrain.
“We know where we’re at,” coach Mike Yeo said. “We know what we’re up against.”
The Wild start the second half in familiar territory: Once again needing to save their season with a strong second half.
“I think the break came at a good time,” Yeo said. “I think it was needed for our group. But I think it would be a mistake on our part – and this is one thing we talked about – a mistake on our part to just assume that the break is going to be the cure for whatever’s been ailing us lately.”
What’s been ailing them, more than anything, has been a lack of scoring.
“It’s been a period of time that we haven’t been scoring, and now we’ve just got to find it again,” captain Mikko Koivu said. “I don’t think there’s any magic on it…. You’ve got to work on it. It’s not going to happen just by hoping or thinking about it. You’ve got to make it happen.”
In a way, at least this is familiar territory. The Wild have found a way, each of the last several years, to save their season and make the playoffs with a strong second half.
But there’s also a false sense of security in that.
“What we did last year, what we did before to get in, really has nothing to do with tomorrow or the day after or no impact on today,” Parise said. “And so I don’t think we are – hopefully we’re not – just assuming that’s gonna happen again. We have to start playing better. There’s no way around it.”