A look back at the last two weeks and how the Wild dealt with all of the Staal brothers:
MINNESOTA 3 – COLORADO 2 (SO)
ST. LOUIS 3 – MINNESOTA 1
MINNESOTA 3 – CAROLINA 2 (OT) (STAAL #1)
CHICAGO 3 – MINNESOTA 1
MINNESOTA 3 – NASHVILLE 4
MINNESOTA 3 – NEW YORK RANGERS 2 (STAAL #2)
(STAAL #3) PITTSBURGH 1 – MINNESOTA 2
Again, 5-9 isn’t quite where the Wild want to be right now, but hey 4-3 is improvement! The question is now how much has this slow start damaged the Wild’s chances at a respectable record at the end of this season?
Let’s look at what they have to do to reach some milestones with regards to wins. I broke down the schedule into the remaining home and away games. Since the lockout about 1 in every 4.5 games (22%) goes to overtime (charity point!), that is pretty much constant regardless of the ability of the team, so it’s safe to project about 15 more overtime games in the remaining 68 games. Assuming a 50/50 chance at winning those, that’s 8 losses that will still garner the Wild a point (I’ll arbitrarily split them up 4 at home, 4 on the road).
There are 32 games remaining on the road, projecting the Wild’s current record, they will go 3-29. Now that’s very bad and not very likely, but I think we’ve got some good evidence this isn’t a terribly good road team. In the 4 previous seasons, only two teams won less than 10 games on the road all season, so a reasonable floor for the road win percentage would be .250. That puts the likely worst record from here on in at 8-24. Toss in the games already played, and the projected overtime losses and that’s a road record of 9-28-4. I’m willing to bet the Wild do better than that, so here are some other possibilities.
|Win %||Record in Remaining Gms||Total Pts on Road|
Same drill for home games. This time 36 games remain on the schedule, and the current .800 winning percentage is unlikely to continue, but what is the most likely outcome?
|Win %||Record in Remaining Gms||Total Pts at Home|
Given those four outcomes for home and road games, the range of possible points for the Wild runs from#1 draft choice (~62 points) to pretty likely playoff team (~98 points) without doing anything too unbelievable (usually more than 10 teams finish with more than 55 points at home each season).
So, again, the start of the season could have definitely gone better for the Wild, but given some improvement in the coming months, a respectable season hasn’t been ruled out. Just in case you remain unconvinced, I give you this.
That right there is Petr Sykora battling for a puck in the corner. And if that is possible, anything is possible.