No, they're not household names- unless you live in Minnesota, but the State of Hockey has adopted the Minnesota Wild. It's a passionate affair, especially now that the Wild have made it to the Western Conference finals for the first time in their three-year history.
You know how in cartoons when an anvil drops out of the sky and lands on somebody's head and they just shake it off? It's like that with the Minnesota Wild. Nothing bad phases them.
It doesn't matter if they're down 3-1 in a playoff series or trailing 2-0 in a Game 7 or if they get run over by a Zamboni. They're immune to prolonged misery.
"We don't even think about it,'' Wild forward Jim Dowd said. "It's just something that has happened.''
Like a rainbow after a storm, it's something wonderful that has happened to a franchise that just seven years ago didn't exist anywhere but in the dreams of a few hockey fans-slash-businessmen....
OK, so they lost the first game yesterday afternoon, 1-0 in double overtime, but it was a HELLUVA defensive struggle. It took 88:06 of hockey before either team could score, and it's not often that you can call a scoreless tie exciting. What was truly impressive was that the sellout crowd in St. Paul stood and cheered BOTH teams as they left the ice. It was a classy gesture by some of the best hockey fans anywhere.
The nice thing about the Wild's improbable playoff run is that I am now quite probably the only operson who misses the North Stars. F**K NORM GREEN!!!! And, if any of y'all need another reason to root for Minnesota, Bryan at Arguing With Signposts tells us what rooting for Anaheim REALLY means.
(PS: Yesterday was the Opening Day of fishing season in Minnesota. Only the opening of deer hunting season is bigger in the state. Even so, the Xcel Energy Center was sold out- and probably could have been sold out 2 or 3 times more.)