As a franchise with relatively little history, Minnesota Wild fans enjoy clinging to the one shining moment in 2003 when the team did make you proud. In order to prepare for tonight’s game, you watch old Youtube videos of the miraculous run to recall the last time you had something to cheer about. Ten years have passed but you cling to that moment like the old girlfriend who left and you haven’t quite gotten over.
The game gets underway and things seem to be going well. Instead of rooting for the Wild to score a goal, much of the game is spent praying Colorado doesn’t score. They do. The instant mindset is “well there goes this game.”
The Wild manage to get on the board which restores your confidence in humanity. Before you can blink, the score is 4-2 going into the 3rd period and thoughts of 2003 start to creep back in your mind. Unfortunately, you are from Minnesota, and you know that as the most tormented fan base in the country, no lead is safe. Colorado scores on a goal where Brodziak might has well have shot the puck into his own net and said “oops.” At this point, in a 4-3 game with 10 minutes left, your thought is that they might as well just give Colorado the 4th goal. But Minnesota leads you on. Time dwindles down and your thinking maybe, just maybe they can sneak out with the win. You’re still not confident, but the thought of a win is within reach.
One minute remaining. Your standing now. You don’t necessarily know why but it is more comfortable than the ugly furniture in your living room. As the Wild can’t get the puck out of the zone similar to a squirt team running around with no defensive system, you realize you’ve seen this before. Still, you think this time might be different. Sure enough, the puck drops on Stastny’s stick like a gift from God at the pearly gates and you turn away because you know what happens next. Your heart is racing and you breathe heavily in disbelief as you murmur curse words sick to your stomach.
The teams don’t even need to play the overtime frame. After a goal like that with 13 seconds left, the outcome is written in stone, a predetermined occurrence on the time-line of Earth. Despite a pipe by Pominville that is painfully close, your confidence is at an all-time low. Stastny scores again to put you out of your misery humanely in the first overtime.
The immediate shock of the moment doesn’t quite set in at first. It takes a few minutes of your head buried in your hands and the thought that if you wish hard enough time might reverse. Speechless isn’t the right word because you have one friend sitting on that old La-Z-Boy recliner explaining what the team should have done differently and the only thing you can think is “Stop talking and go home.” Considering the way Minnesota sports have made you feel in the 2000’s, we’ll say the loss to Colorado Thursday evening is about par for the course.
For the fifth time this calendar year, you consider rooting for another team because it would be far easier with less stress. It’s either that, intensive psychotherapy, or die years sooner than expected having never celebrated the thrill of a championship.
As you lay down in bed, it’s eerily silent as you enter the stage of where you look for someone to blame. Brodziak for coughing up another puck that turned into a goal? Spurgeon for not clearing with 30 seconds remaining? Yeo because it’s easy to throw the coach under the bus? Staring at the ceiling, you decide on all them because it’s easy and you don’t want to think about it anymore.
So life has to go on the next day. The day is already ruined but it still has to happen. The Friday commute takes far longer than normal as you sit in traffic listening to KFAN still sulking over the game. You know that nothing they say is going to help, but you just want someone to understand your pain so you still hear what they have to say. As assumed, the radio host analyzes the obvious and makes you feel worse as he offers no new analysis of how the Wild blew a two goal lead and lost in overtime. You and your 1997 Buick Lasabre with the worn interior crawl into work and prepare for the longest day since the Vikings season ended, again.
So there you are. Sitting in your black rolling office chair with the one squeaky wheel. The pair of Paul Stastny goals festering in your mind as you file papers. Not one person in your office wants to talk to each other because you all know how the conversation is going to go or the non-fans are clueless to what happened. The dull ache in your body remains like an Avalanche fan repeatedly punched you in the stomach while simultaneously hooting “Go Avs Go” and waving his free white pom-pom he got at the game in your face. And what do you do about it? Nothing. Because he is right. And you are used to this feeling.