Apr 29, 2013, 5:26 PM EDT
Say this about Craig Leipold — he’s not short on confidence.
Two days after Minnesota made the postseason for the first time since 2008 — as the Western Conference’s No. 8 seed — the owner said his club reminded him of another eighth-seeded club:
Last year’s Los Angeles Kings.
More, from Leipold’s interview with Bob Sansevere of the Pioneer Press:
BS: In every sport, there have been teams that struggle at the end of a regular season and then have renewed life. Is that what you’re expecting to happen?
CL: There is no better example than what happened last year with the Los Angeles Kings.
The L.A. Kings only won four of their last 11 games and they lost their last two games. Still got into the playoffs and end up winning the Stanley Cup. We don’t have to go very far to find a model. We think our team is very much like the Kings. We go hot. We go cold. We did it all season.
Now we’ve got to go hot, and we think we can.
To build on this theme, recent success of No. 8 seeds actually goes beyond Los Angeles:
— In 2012, Ottawa took the New York Rangers to Game 7.
— In 2011, Chicago took Vancouver to Game 7.
— In 2010, Montreal made it to the Eastern Conference finals.
— In 2009, Anaheim beat San Jose in Round 1.
But there’s a problem in comparing this year’s Minnesota team with last year’s Los Angeles team, and that problem is playoff experience.
Specifically, how the Wild fall short of the Kings.
The Kings, meanwhile, went into last postseason with four Stanley Cup winners (Justin Williams, Dustin Penner, Rob Scuderi, Colin Fraser), five more Cup finalists (Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Simon Gagne, Matt Greene, Jarret Stoll) and an experienced playoff vet in Willie Mitchell.
Despite this, Leipold remains confident in his group.
“This is a whole new season,” he explained. “It’s the hot team with the hot goalie and hot players that will now start to rise. We think we’ve got a chance to do that.”
- Voracek turns monster season into massive eight-year deal 41
- Report: Canucks, Sutter closing in on five-year deal, north of $20M 24
- Voynov serving sentence at jail that once advertised it had flat screen TVs 45
- Report: Bernier and Leafs more than $2 million apart ahead of Friday’s arbitration hearing 10
- Flyers re-sign Couturier: six years, $26 million 40
- Benning calls Sutter a ‘foundation piece’ for Canucks 24
- Here’s a chart that shows which teams have been good/bad at drafting 40
- Penguins sign Fehr to three-year, $6 million contract 22
- Trade: Penguins send Sutter to Canucks for Bonino, Clendening 54
- NBC Sports to broadcast 105 NHL games in 2015-16 58
- Bettman says NHL would have to ‘consider’ putting Quebec City in the Western Conference (70)
- Rangers sign Stepan — six years, $39 million (62)
- NBC Sports to broadcast 105 NHL games in 2015-16 (58)
- Trade: Penguins send Sutter to Canucks for Bonino, Clendening (54)
- Voynov serving sentence at jail that once advertised it had flat screen TVs (45)