Lockout Day 17- Interview in “Wild Country” part 1


Oct 28, 2010; St. Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild head coach Todd Richards during the second period against the Washington Capitals at the Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Capitals 2-1. Mandatory Credit: BraceHemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

I happened to be in contact with the FanSided blog editor of the Minnesota Wild a few days ago. I was lamenting how we in Columbus felt hugely screwed by the lockout  because of the scheduled All-Star Game and after a summer of changing the face of the Columbus Blue Jackets, we were not getting an opportunity to show what the changes would do for the team that finished 30th last year.

Then I realized how the Wild fans must feel after a summer of acquiring 2 of the biggest stars on the free agency market, and the anticipation that would go with it to have a season that is not happening…. that also has to be very frustrating!!!.

As we talked about it, I realized how many things the Blue Jackets and Wild have in common or are intertwined, so I requested and interview with the editor, Derek Skykalo, to kick around some thoughts. I think you will find them interesting. And If anyone has some questions you would like to ask Derek, send me an e-mail and I am sure he will accommodate us. [and yes, we get to the Wiz’s suspension]

Q–First of all Derek, tell us a little about yourself and the blog site.

"I grew up playing the game of hockey my entire life so to be covering it daily and writing about the sport I love, it just feels natural.  Gone Puck Wild is a site that provides the most insightful and extensive coverage of the Minnesota Wild, ranging from rumors, news, opinions and analysis, if it breaths Wild, we cover it.  We also like to discuss the happenings around the hockey world and are always looking for a good hockey debate."

As I noted above, the Blue Jackets and the Wild have some things in common and similar, before we get into the Wild side, I’d like to remind the Columbus fans of something we have in Common and that is the CBJ head coach Todd Richards, who was also the head coach of the Wild.

Q– Derek, can you tell us a little about Todd Richards and his time as head coach of the Wild?

"Richards was yet another victim of win or there’s the door in what is a dog eat dog world in the lives of hockey coaches.  Despite two winning seasons and remaining in the playoff hunt for most of the season, Richards couldn’t take the Wild to the promised land known as the playoffs and as a result a new direction was called for in Minny.  Being a Minnesota native, the firing of Richards rubbed some fans the wrong way but he has since been forgotten about thanks to a busy summer.  More on that later."

Well Derek, nobody ever will accuse you of not being politically correct. Na, just kidding, I didn’t know he was from Minnesota. That was a good phrase “win or there’s the door” particularly in pro sports, fans are paying money to see winning teams. But by my astute calculations in a given day exactly 1 team will win and 1 will loose or 50% win and 50% loose. Tough odds to live your life under.

Q–Another commonality is that both teams were established in 2000. How do the fans feel about the success and lack of it since the team was formed?  [FYI note inserted here. The Wild is actually a re-establishment of NHL in Minnesota. The North Stars  moved to Dallas after the 1992-3 season. NOTE Note note — Browns Fans -you remember how you felt when the Browns went to Baltimore]

"To put it mildly the natives are getting restless.  Just two playoff appearances, both first round exits in the past eight seasons is below expectations for the organization and the fans are antsy for a contender.  The run in 2002-03 only increased the fans appetite for that chance to see Lord Stanley in person and maybe it was too early into the existence of the Wild, but fans want to support a winner.  Don’t get me wrong, the club has been competitive, but four straight seasons of missing the playoffs, fans feel they deserve more for the support they’ve shown."

Sorry folks, We are just getting into the interview, but we will continue part 2 tomorrow.