Who needs a playoff run? The passion of cheering for a team, your team, as they get closer and closer to the greatest prize in professional hockey, Lord Stanley's Cup. Not I.
Especially when for the Minnesota Wild there is Granlund Watch.
For most of the past two years, one of the few saving graces for a Wild team that hasn't reached the postseason since 2008 has been the play of 2010 9th overall pick Mikael Granlund. Putting up over a PPG in SM-Liiga (Finland's highest league) as a 20 year-old is no easy feat - by comparison Mikko Koivu put up 20 points (7G-13A) as a 20 year-old - and in the back of every Minnesota fan's mind is the small fear he won't sign with the Wild. It's not that there isn't faith in Minnesota to get the job done or that the Finnish forward doesn't want to play in the American version of his homeland but hundreds upon hundreds of "will Mikael Granlund sign" questions always come up. Plus being a sports fan in this state teaches to not count one's chickens before they hatch.
So for now we watch. From today until either Granlund signs his entry-level contract or June 1, when the Wild lose his rights and he goes back into the draft, we will chronicle the good, bad and non-news of this situation.
Day 1: Mikael played his final World Championship game for Finland where the defending champions lost the Bronze Medal game to
After the game, Granlund was asked about his future by Italehti and through the power of Google Translate said something around the lines of "I have absolutely no clue what happens in the summer. I just can not think about the future now." Maybe it was just the timing of just finishing a game he had lost, a bad translation or something more sinister but at least for Sunday he is dwelling on the end of a long European season
Regardless, Mikael did not sign today. And so we wait some more.
Photo Credit: Andre Riguette/HHOF-IIHF Images