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Wild ‘missed an opportunity this year’

May 31, 2013, 10:37 PM EDT

Minnesota Wild v Chicago Blackhawks - Game One Getty Images

The Minnesota Wild have been out of the playoffs for a while.

But the sting seems to be lingering for forward Matt Cullen, even if the Wild were dispatched in five games in the opening round by the Chicago Blackhawks.

“It was about as disappointed as I think I’ve ever been. I really felt we missed an opportunity this year probably more than maybe any other time in my career,” Cullen told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

“Maybe it’s because of where I’m at in my career and being from Minnesota and not knowing if this was my last season in Minnesota. It was really a tough one to handle.”

Cullen, 36, is a pending unrestricted free agent.

He scored seven goals and had 27 points in 42 regular season games coming out of the lockout and had three helpers in the five-game series loss to Chicago earlier this spring.


“I feel good about where my game and body is at,” Cullen told the Star Tribune.
“I know I’m getting older and later in my career, but I feel better than I’ve ever felt on the ice. It helps keep you feeling young and excited get work this summer.”
  1. idonthavethebloodyoucrave - May 31, 2013 at 11:24 PM

    Maybe if 198 million dollars didn’t buy you a -12, they might of had a chance.

    • therealjr - Jun 1, 2013 at 12:26 AM

      Without Suter and Parise they’d have had a chance at Jones or MacKinnon.

      Anyone that expected the Wild to make a run this year was fooling themselves. You can’t build a team with just two good FA signings, it takes several years and the cheap, young talent has to deliver.

      • polegojim - Jun 1, 2013 at 10:17 AM

        CMon man… you Wild fans keep saying stuff like that…. but obviously the FANS are the only ones who are either thought that… or are making apologies to feel better.

        REREAD the article… even the PLAYERS expected more than a hard R1 bounce.

      • mp1131211 - Jun 1, 2013 at 2:12 PM

        the “PLAYERS” were not interviewed for the article that I REREAD. A PLAYER was. And it was Matt Cullen. How many more years does this guy have? 3 at most? Of course the guy was bummed, man.

  2. rebekah319 - May 31, 2013 at 11:49 PM

    Seriously?? When do people get over that amount of money? That had nothing to do with the wild getting knocked out so quickly!! People outside of Minnesota should not care about this team ( yes I have live here) so I’m going there… Sorry it gets old and if people knew the facts it would be different

    • 19to77 - Jun 1, 2013 at 1:20 AM

      The money has everything to do with it. Suter’s clearly earning his keep with the Norris nomination, but bad cap investments (Parise, Suter and Heatley each at $7.5m or greater, Koivu at $6.75m) leave them little room to build the kind of deep team that succeeds in the playoffs. And those “stars” aren’t earning their keep – Heatley’s sucked since 2010-11, Koivu’s always been hideously overpaid, and Parise’s been abysmal. If they hadn’t blown half their cap space on underperforming “stars,” they could build a better roster. But they can’t do that with their cap so f*cked up.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jun 1, 2013 at 3:07 PM

        Okay great and all, buts lets not forget Dany Heatley was acquired for Martin Havlat who has 15 goals combined in his 2 years in San Jose 7 goals in 2011-12 and 8 goals last year. Meanwhile Heatley isn’t what he used to be, he still scored 24 goals in 2011-12 and 11 last year.

    • polegojim - Jun 1, 2013 at 10:22 AM

      rebekah… sorry if it gets old… but the money IS an issue when most of the Wilds top paid guys, you know… the guys they paid to be top performers… NEVER SHOWED UP for the playoffs… er… butt kicking.

      Teams don’t bring in Heatley, Parise, Suter to ‘rebuild’ or look THAT bad in the playoffs.

      Not trying to be a jerk… but this year was a failure without reasonable excuse.

      • mp1131211 - Jun 1, 2013 at 2:16 PM

        Heatley? This proves exactly what rebekah is saying. You obviously don’t know your a** from a hole in the ground if you think Heatley was the bright star on the horizon for the Wild. Keep quiet and stop making a fool of yourself. Mind your own business, we’ve got a team to rebuild.

      • 19to77 - Jun 1, 2013 at 2:56 PM

        Sooo… what, you took on three years and $19m of his contract for him to be a secondary scorer? Or was it just for sh*ts and giggles? If he wasn’t a part of the rebuild, your GM’s even worse than I thought. You don’t acquire a player with a $7.5m cap hit without expecting he earn some of that.

      • mp1131211 - Jun 1, 2013 at 3:05 PM

        You do know that the Wild started the season with an extra slot open on the team and cash to spare, right? Its not exactly like you can just go buy up all the stars in the NHL. You take what you can. Look at Heatley’s page: He’ll either perform or be gone in the next two years, which is exactly when the Wild are looking to complete the rebuild.

  3. rsmaggiemae - Jun 1, 2013 at 1:16 AM

    I am from Minnesota, it was not the money for the two players that caused the Wild to cave in ..
    They dont have a sniper on the team, they need another pmd-puck moving defensemen who can score, and get rid of Heatley, buy out his contract, Bouchard will be gone, and I would get rid of a few other players who dont contrribute much at all..
    They just dont want to seem to play to win, or they dont know how to….
    I watched better hockey at the Minn Gopher college games than going to the Wild games.
    They also made a huge mistake in thinking that the john lennon of Finland was so great, as Grandland has done nothing this year, and I really doubt if he will make it in the NHL
    Another huge mistake was trading Leddy to the Blackhawks, Larrson and Hatckett to the Sabres, yes we got Pomanville, but we should have got Vanek also, as he lives here in the off season, and we see him all the time.. I dont know what thier thinking is sometimes…
    now they are worried about the goalie position, which they would not have to if they had not traded Hackett…..
    I feel sorry Brodin that he was not up for a award, as he is a great player with Suter….
    he will get much much better as he gets older, but what a great year for him as a rookie,
    I also like Zucker as he is faster than Parise on skates. He will be a good player also in a few years, just needs more experience.
    But then in the farm team they have Haula. and Lucia and two French players who are doing very well, so hopefully the future will not be so dim..
    I for one, did not expect them to do well this year even with the two players they got in July, as two players dont make the team, but then I dont like YEO-YEO either… He made some huge errors in his play making that cost the Wild games,…. I wish we would get a different coach…
    Like Tippit, Boucher or Vineault anyone is better than YEO-YEO
    Enough said.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jun 1, 2013 at 8:17 PM

      I get that you listen to that complete moron on KFAN with the John Lennon of Finland comment, but Granlund’s 1st season was on par with what Mikko Koivu had his first season in North America.

      Mikko Koivu
      2004-05 (lockout season) with Aeros 67 Games, 20 Goals, 28 Assists, 48 points
      2005-06 (first season with Wild) 64 Games, 6 Goals, 15 Assists, 21 points

      Mikeal Granlund
      This season:
      With the Aeros 29 Games, 10 Goals, 18 Asssits, 28 points
      extrapolate the games played to match Koivu’s season with Houston
      67 Games, 23 Goals, 42 assists, 55 points
      (that’s more goals, more assists, and more points than Koivu)

      With the Wild 27 Games, 2 Goals, 6 Assists, 8 points
      extrapolate the games played to match Koivu’s first season with the Wild
      64 games, 5 goals, 14 assists, 19 points
      (that’s one goal and one assist less than Koivu)

      Point is, Granlund is going to be just fine. For some reason, it takes European players a year to adjust to the North American style of hockey.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jun 1, 2013 at 8:25 PM

      Everybody knows trading Leddy to the ‘Hawks was a mistake, the GM has also said that. But did you now that Fletcher didn’t even pull that trade off? It was Craig Leipold who pulled that trade off. It’s been reported on local Minneapolis radio stations by Lou Nanne, who is just as plugged in as anybody about the Wild.

      Why in the world would Buffalo trade both Pominville and Vanek to the Wild for 2 draft picks and 2 prospects. Heck, maybe we can call Pittsburgh and they will trade us both Malkin and Crosby for Heatley and 2 draft picks. You have no logic in thinking Buffalo will just throw in Vanek. By the way, Vanek will be the one replacing Heatley next summer when both of their contracts are up.

      Trading Hackett wasn’t that big of a deal. Kuemper was out playing him in Houston all season. Kuemper was 13-8 with a 1.88 GAA and .934 save %. Hackett was 19-20 with 2.66 GAA and .907 save %.

  4. pgaasenbeek - Jun 1, 2013 at 1:18 AM

    The injuries did not help their playoff chances. Pominville, Heatley, Backstrom…all out. They will be better next year. Their young D-man will be a year older. They need to trade one of their goalies for another player, though. They need a little more scoring.

    • polegojim - Jun 1, 2013 at 10:18 AM

      So…. the injuries caused them to get bounced that easily?

      NOOOOOOO…. they had NO KEY PLAYERS out for the playoffs… try again.

      • mp1131211 - Jun 1, 2013 at 2:18 PM

        OK, I thought your last comment was asinine, but this one wins.

        You do remember that Pominville got elbowed in the head by Brown in game 46 right?

      • polegojim - Jun 1, 2013 at 4:05 PM

        1) I don’t give a flip about your ‘qualifying’ my comments
        2) One player???… and that changes EVERYTHING… NOT.

        EVERY SINGLE TEAM was playing without an impact player at some point… or ALL of the playoffs.

        Try Detroit without HELM… nobody crying about it either.

        The Wild FAILED, it’s just that simple.

      • mp1131211 - Jun 1, 2013 at 5:05 PM

        Nobody is arguing that the Wild didn’t fail. My point is that the only ones arguing that the Wild should spend their money differently are the ones that don’t know what they are talking about, like you. It wasn’t one player, btw. And I’m not bringing that up as a way to make an excuse- I’m bringing that up as a way to show that you don’t know what you are talking about.

      • polegojim - Jun 1, 2013 at 11:40 PM

        Sorry MP… you haven’t convinced me or anyone else.

        My point is the Wild didn’t even REMOTELY get what they paid for from those big money guys and the heat should be on. Forget the ‘others’… these guys should have performed, and only Suter did so.

        Oh…. and I totally know what I’m talking about… just ask me! ; )

  5. rgledz - Jun 1, 2013 at 1:26 AM

    Brilliant rsmaggiemae……get rid of guys that don’t contribute much and get a pmd. Your phone is about to ring my friend because this is amazing analysis. I especially like the “they should have got Vanek because he lives here and we see him all the time” take. That’s sheer genius. So the Wild were unsuccessful because they lost in round one, but the Gophers played better hockey……and lost to a 4 seed in game number one of the frozen four………wait, I ‘m trying to work it out in my head…..okay, not working. Please keep your takes to yourself and please don’t mention that you live in Minnesota, you’re giving us a bad name. Thanks

  6. bobhpine - Jun 1, 2013 at 2:01 AM

    Great point. The Wild were a mere 15 playoff wins short of the cup. Great regular season too. Just a few dozen points off the number one seed pace.

    It hurts when those truly great teams let a season get away. RIP 2013 Minnesota Wild. Right there with the 1974 Bruins, 1986 Oilers, and 1993 Penguins.

  7. lordfletcher - Jun 1, 2013 at 2:30 AM

    What’s with the hate?

    Any who follows this team should understand their Cup run lies within next year and the following 3 season, realistically speaking.

    It was one year, big whoop. Let’s evaluate in another 2-3 before we start bashing. Pyramids weren’t built over night LOL :)

  8. prov1x - Jun 1, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    Your owner could screw up a cup of coffee. Never gonna see round three, let alone a cup.

    • lordfletcher - Jun 1, 2013 at 12:00 PM

      but we are guaranteed playoff hockey and winning rounds in the future?

      I would think most would be happy with that


  9. rebekah319 - Jun 1, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    First of all Parise and Suter have been great addictions to this team and also it was a short season and they succeed their expectations. Mikko Koivu is the captain of this team and has never been a flashy player or for that matter someone that everyone talks about- he does his job every single night so he is not getting overpaid just because he is not putting up the points every night. The owner went out and made the team better- and every other team would have done the same thing with those 2 guys so the money thing that bothers everyone is getting old! Wild took a huge step this season by making it into the playoffs now they have to build on it.

    • credible316 - Jun 1, 2013 at 4:51 PM

      “The owner went out and made the team better- and every other team would have done the same thing with those 2 guys so the money thing that bothers everyone is getting old!”

      Ahhh, the sweet smell of jealousy! Isn’t it nice to have an owner who cares!!

  10. mp1131211 - Jun 1, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    I can’t help but think that all that time between seasons due to the lock out with nothing to talk about except who was supposed to win this year and who wasn’t didn’t help the Wild’s image much. The amount of talk about a winning season for the Wild on general forums was excessive during the lockout. If you read the local blogs, no one expected a cup and I think that few people in Minnesota are upset about the direction here.

    BTW, with all this talk about player’s performances this year, little has been mentioned about Clutterbuck. It was Clutterbuck’s fault that the Wild lost in Game 1. He relies too heavily on his physical play, imo. I would like to see him add a bit more discipline next year and few more shots on net even if it means trading in some of the heavy hits. He’s a rough diamond and with a bit of polish could become more of a key element.

  11. 950003cups - Jun 1, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    $200,000,000 for a playoff win (in Game 4) is worth it every day. That investment would make Warren Buffet blush.

    • credible316 - Jun 1, 2013 at 4:43 PM

      How’s that Kovalchuk contract working out?

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jun 1, 2013 at 8:29 PM

      Being the Wild won Game 3 and not Game 4…

  12. credible316 - Jun 1, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    Still one more playoff win than your team!

  13. rebekah319 - Jun 2, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    Some of you need to get reality checks show up?? The top guys as some of you like to call it did “show up” just because they were not racking it up on the score sheet does not mean they were not doing their jobs on the ice. Mikko Koivu was playing like he does trying to contain Toews and that whole top line look what happened? It worked so when people say the top guys did not show up during the playoffs you might want to rethink that. The Wild did not fail this year they made it in and they lost in the 1st round it was a huge step for a team that is trying to build on it plus who would have thought these young guys would come in right off the bat and make such a impact so in all it was not a failure this year. People here did not expect anything different from this team this season. Everything takes time so I suggest the negative comments stop because it was not all that bad here.

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