The Minnesota Wild made a statement when they signed Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to matching 13-year, $98 million contracts. Mediocrity wasn’t satisfying and respectable wasn’t adequate. They hadn’t made the playoffs since 2008 or won a postseason series since 2003 when the duo joined the Wild, but with that move, the franchise loudly declared their Stanley Cup aspirations.
Their first season was a step forward in the sense that they did advance to the playoffs, but being swiftly eliminated in five games by Chicago made the campaign disappointing by the elevated standards they set for themselves. It looked like this season might not turn out any better though. Minnesota ran into injury problems and ended up settling for a Wild Card spot.
That’s moot though as they eliminated the Avalanche in Game 7 tonight.
“It’s huge,” Wild captain Mikko Koivu said of their victory, per the Pioneer Press’ Chad Graff. “Not just for the organization, but for the fans.”
“Especially on the road, it’s not easy when the home team gets the momentum, but the whole series was back-and-forth hockey. It went up and down,” Koivu added, according to the Denver Post.
The Wild have only ever gotten this far one other time in their franchise’s history, but if they want to keep going, they’ll have to exact revenge on an intimidating foe. They will face the Blackhawks again and they’re just as strong a team this time around.