The Minnesota Wild made the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season and had a similar aim for this season. Minnesota has an intriguing core consisting of Kirill Kaprizov, Matt Boldy, and Marco Rossi. Furthermore, players such as Ryan Hartman and Filip Gustavsson have stepped up in the past. They certainly have the talent to make another run at the playoffs.
However, things have not gone to plan early in the 2023-24 season. Minnesota lost their last game of the NHL Global Series against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday. This loss dropped their record to 5-8-4 on the year. As of this writing, they are sixth in the Central Division, just four points clear of the last-place Chicago Blackhawks.
Prior to the NHL Global Series, general manager Bill Guerin had enough. Following an 8-3 loss to the Dallas Stars, he called a team meeting before their flight to Stockholm, Sweden. And the former NHL winger made his feelings on this rough start crystal clear.
A much-needed meeting for the Wild
“Was it a scream-fest? Bit of both.” Wild forward Marcus Foligno told The Athletic. “The one thing about Billy, when he talks, everyone respects the s**t out of him. That guy talks, you’re gonna really, really listen.”
Forward Ryan Hartman expressed a similar sentiment about the meeting. “It was kind of a kick in the a**, figure our s**t out kind of meeting,” he told The Athletic. “Something we definitely needed.”
Guerin said his main focus during this meeting was on the team's effort level. He recognized that the players were working hard. However, there's a level of “compete and focus” he feels Minnesota just doesn't have at this moment.
Minnesota's loss in Sweden on Sunday is their fifth consecutive loss. Furthermore, it is their 11th defeat in their last 14 games. “I’m not happy. I’m not happy with where we are,” Guerin said prior to the game against the Maple Leafs.
The Wild have a few days to figure something out to potentially turn the tide. They take the ice next on Black Friday when they play host to their Central Division rival Colorado Avalanche.