Just days after Jacques Lemaire resigned as head coach, the Minnesota Wild have fired Doug Risebrough as GM. A full housecleaning will see a new era in "the State of Hockey."
Hopefully the new era is an exciting one. Since joining the NHL in 2001, the Wild have been one of the lowest scoring teams around, and one of the most boring.
And it's all been by design. Minnesota's old ownership did not seem to care. Minnesota hockey fans, amongst the best in the world, flocked to once again see the NHL, selling out game after game. In the pre-salary cap world the Wild had one of the lowest payrolls and were raking in lots of cash. Ownership was happy.
Now in the salary cap world, which also means a salary floor which exceeds what Minny used to pay out, new owner Craig Leipold is not happy that his team has missed the lucrative post season.
The fans can't be happy either. For nine years now they've been force fed this boring hockey that is detrimental to the game. And it has only resulted in three appearances in the Stanley Cup playoffs. They deserve better. They deserve a team with legitimate championship hopes, not an underachieving bubble team year after year.
Lemaire preached it, and Riser supported it. Don't get me wrong, both are good hockey men and real quality guys. Lemaire will catch on somewhere without doubt. I'm real happy for Riser as he salvaged his reputation after a less than successful stint in Calgary. He did a really good job in Minnesota, but he did not take his team to the next level. He will find work easily, too, maybe as a GM yet again.
But good on you Minnesota, for changing up that regime. And good for hockey.
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