For me, there are a couple of websites that I check out every day, occasionally a couple times if I got the time, or am hungover from the night before: Kukla's Korner, Buzzing The Net, and Puck Daddy. Between these three (and a few other supplemental ones) I can pretty much get everything I want from the world of hockey. Kukla's is the ultimate clearing house of hockey news, Buzzing The Net deals with Canadian Major Junior hockey, and Puck Daddy is the variety show; Greg Wyshynskia and his merry band of hooligans tend to run the gamut.
I'm also a fan of Ryan Lambert, he of The Two Line Pass, and the weekly "What We Learned" (an excellent column by the way) and "Trending Topics" pieces found at Puck Daddy. Anyone who's read Lambert's work is aware of the skepticism, the snark, and the willingness to get people going *cough* Wings and Canucks fans *cough* so when he talking reckless about someone's team, its one of those things where you just have to go along with the bit. All in all, its an entertaining read a couple of times a week.
Today his Trending Topics column ignited a bit of a brush fire with some Wild-related folk; Beat Writer Mike Russo got riled up, Wild PR guy Ryan Stanzel chimed in, and fellow FRB writer Nate added his two cents. While Lambert admitted that the "Wild being terrible at almost anything to do with hockey" may have been a bit strong, he just was saying he wasn't impressed with the playoff race in the West as a whole, and that the teams involved are all flawed in one way or another to the point where the possibility of winning a series or three isn't likely (goaltending and defensive systems were the key points made in a rather sweeping generalization.)
(Did I mention we're two points out of fourth place?)
There is nothing wrong with this; it's Lambert's opinion, conveyed in the manner that Lambert conveys opinions in. Mike Russo argued that the opinion wasn't well researched, which is a familiar but peculiar issue when it comes to the Minnesota Wild- that people just don't care enough to learn about the team.
So why should we bother getting riled up at something like Lambert's column (whether he was serious or not)?
Perception is reality- if we used the trap before, we still use it now. If we were mediocre, if not flailing weakly, last year, then surely we're mediocre now. Let's be honest; we don't have the media presence in the NHL (think about that relative to the NHL on the National sports scene) to where people are current on the latest Wild news; so you tend to get coverage based off of preconceived notions or outdated observations. Don't believe me? Go ahead and read the team previews every fall, and the same crap is jotted out by nearly every outlet.
Being a Wild fan is like being inside a closed door meeting; the only ones who know whats going on are the ones involved; the fans and the local media (and I use that loosely, since the Wild get the redheaded stepchild treatment for the most part.) I'd imagine its due to market size and the aforementioned presence. but at this stage of the game we can't be surprised when we behind "the closed doors" see what is viewed as uninformed or outsider opinions.
And we shouldn't be bothered to be bothered by it either.
(Again, we're two points from 4th place in the West.)