So close, yet so far away. For many Wild fans, that could have been the theme for Tuesday’s pre-season game in Columbus. I know for myself, I was actually feeling good about the game. Yet, one should know with this team, you should never, and I mean never, feel comfortable with the way a game is going. In my case, I let the thought of “hey, the just might win this one” take over all sense of reason.
What ultimately does not bode well for the Wild, is that for many of this year’s pre-season games, they iced a roster that was pretty close to what one expect for a regular season roster. Looking at the rosters for their opponents, the same can’t really be said. With that in mind, I have to admit I’m a bit fearful of how this season will ultimately play out.
Tonight, fans have one more chance to see if the Wild can find a way to pull everything together before embarking on an 82-game regular season. Of course, we know that they’re not just embarking on an 82-game season, nor just getting ready to start the season on a “normal” road trip. Regardless of tonight’s outcome, the Wild will head to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport after those sixty (or more minutes) minutes have expired. As we all know, they’re set to open the regular season in Finland. While the idea is a good one on paper, we can only hope that this sort of epic roadtrip doesn’t turn out like last season’s abominable, lengthy, start of season roadtrip.
The injury bug has once again struck early for Minnesota. As we all know, we are without the goaltending services of Josh Harding for what is most likely the season. Also, on the banged up list are Cam Barker with some sort of hip flexor issue. He is skating on his own, so it’s most likely just a matter of time to get it feeling normal again. Also battling early hip flexor issues of his own is Guillaume Latendresse. Personally, I’m not worried about the lack of Barker on the ice, as he has had his struggles on the ice. His absence really doesn’t hurt Minnesota for now. On the other hand, with Latendresse’s absence, the Wild are without last season’s goal scoring leader. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Barker, Latendresse as well as an injured Marek Zidlicky are all expected to be on tonight’s flight to Helsinki.
So here we go. And as a reminder for the Wild. In case of turbulence, return your seat and tray table to the upright position and buckle your seat-belt.