Safe to say Chuck Fletcher’s press conference yesterday didn’t quell the growing media skepticism in Minnesota.
A few excerpts from a column by Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, following the Wild GM’s day in front of the cameras:
He preached more patience, spun statistical gold out of cubic zirconia and praised the resiliency of his club.
The Wild, quite simply, are adrift. Their identity changes slump to slump, streak to streak, game to game, shift to shift. They are a difficult team to defend until they throw away the puck. They play tentatively until confronted by absolute crisis.
He needs a miracle worker behind the bench to engage this group over 82 games.
He has to wade through a thicket of prohibitive contracts to create cap space to acquire one or two of the top-flight forwards he craves.
Indeed, it was Fletcher’s optimism that many were struck by yesterday. While conceding that the Wild had a “disappointing” season, he insisted that better days were ahead:
Now, granted, any GM that’s been on the job as long as Fletcher will be loath to admit he’s got a bit of a mess on his hands. He’s the one who put this Wild roster together. He’s the one who gave out all those big contracts. He wouldn’t be the first GM to put a positive spin on a challenging situation.
Or, perhaps Fletcher isn’t spinning anything. Maybe he’s really and truly optimistic about the potential to improve the Wild this offseason.
“I’m much more comfortable with our flexibility this year than last year,” he said. “It’s going to give us more options.”
One thing’s for sure, though — Fletcher will be a GM to watch this summer and into next season.
The pressure’s on to justify the optimism.