It's about time.
The State of Hockey has been waiting for a team that enters each game with a "play-to-win" style, instead of a "play-to-not-lose" mindset. When Owner Craig Leipold re-worked the Minnesota Wild's front office this past offseason, he delivered this much-needed system to a fan base that had grown weary of the defense-first hockey Jacques Lemaire had been providing. But the style of play wasn't the only thing that changed.
Out with Lemaire, Marian Gaborik, Marc-Andre Bergeron, and Martin Skoula.
Bring in Todd Richards, Martin Havlat, Shane Hnidy, Greg Zanon, and Petr Sykora.
Just two games into the season, it can be said with full confidence that things are going well for the Wild. Games have finally been exciting. The Wild are creating chances, defensemen are encouraged to participate offensively, and the defense has been staying away from the trap like it has H1N1.
In their first game of the season, a 2-1 loss to Columbus, the Wild showed off a new style that, despite the loss, generated plenty of scoring chances and a final minute that kept everyone at the edge of their seats. But this was just a taste of what this squad has to offer.
The home opener against Anaheim was a full demonstration of the capabilities of this team. Down 3-0 in the 3rd, the Wild came out determined to give the home crowd something to cheer about, and delivered by capping the dramatic rally with a 4-3 OT win.
It's far too early to tell how the season is going to play out, but the Wild have wholly embraced Todd Richards' new style. The cat is out of the bag, and he's hungry.
Minnesota is ready. Are you?