Her Wild Side Hockey Podcast

In this episode, Mikki performs an autopsy of the 2023-24 season for the Minnesota Wild. She also touches on how a fresh start will be good for the Wild next season and the two brackets that she put together for the NHL playoffs this year.

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Creators & Guests

Wild Hockey Fan | Cozy Mystery Writer | Mom of 2 | MN Raised | She/Her | Hockey Takes that No One Asked For

What is Her Wild Side Hockey Podcast?

Her Wild Side combines hockey knowledge with a side of vibe checks. The weekly show will have game breakdowns, any topical news about the MN Wild, and fun things going on surrounding Wild's social media. This show aims to be informative while also sparking good conversation about the Wild and hockey in general without having to keep everything serious.


welcome to Her Wild Side Hockey Podcast.

I am your hostess, Miki,

aka HockeySheWrote.

And we are at the end of the

Minnesota Wild season.

All 82 games have been played,

and the exit interviews,

all of that has been, it's all done.

So today,

what I'm going to do is do kind

of a post-mortem on this

very strange season.

And then I'll also talk

about just playoffs in general,

kind of the brackets that I've set.

Yeah, so it should be a good show.

Like I said,

I'm going to start with kind

of a post-mortem, an autopsy, if you will,

on this season.

Because, you know,

it's kind of easy to forget

how this season started.

I was at the season opener in St.

Paul against the Florida Panthers.

And that game was...

Electric, like just amazing.

Not only just the atmosphere,

like the atmosphere was great.

They passed out those like

the light up towels.

They're all different colors.

Like they, you know,

they did the intro part where it's dark,

but they have like the hype video going.

Everyone's got their towels lit up.

I mean, it was just amazing.

completely electric not only

that they played amazingly

that game like so good and

this this was against

florida panthers who had

just you know gone through

what they won two rounds of

the playoffs the season

before so to play that well

against a team that is

tough to beat uh was so

good and it was even it was

a shutout like gustafson

was in net he had a shutout

he stopped 41 shots

I just remember afterwards,

my brother and I just kind of being like,

this season is going to be amazing.

That was so good.

And then we all know what

happened because then they

lost basically every single game.

I think they dragged a few

to overtime to get a few points there.

And then we had the coaching change.

Actually, first they went to Sweden.


They went to Sweden.

I didn't go back and look,

but I'm pretty sure they lost both.

No, I think overtime.

They went to overtime at least.

But it was fun to see that.

It was fun to have them do

something a little different.

It was nice to have...

Minnesota actually like

included in that kind of a thing because,

you know, usually they just don't.

But it was after that,

I think it was like the week after that,

that they had the coaching change.

And we saw it coming, right?

Everyone saw it coming.

I didn't want to see it

coming because I love Dean Everson and I

wherever he coaches next,

I will cheer for them.


I'm not going to promise that because I

can think of a few teams

that I'm absolutely not

going to cheer for, but I would,

I will cheer for Dean

Evason and I miss his funny

faces and I miss how he

punches his coaches and I miss it.

But John Heinz was kind of

the shot in the arm that

the wild needed because

they want to tear after that.


you know,

if it was not for all of the injuries,

I think they would have

kept kept going like that,

like they would have been

on an absolute run.


Unfortunately, the injury bug came,

not only the injury bug,

but then for a while, just sickness, too.

You know,

you had half of them were out sick,

half were out with the flu and, you know,


We had Kaprizov out.

We had Gustafson out.

We had Rodin was out and Spurgeon was out.

And I mean, everybody died.

It's almost like the top two

lines and the top four

defensemen and the starting goalie,

it's like every single one

of them was just out of commission.

That was the point in time

where I think we were just

lucky to get through it.

And that's kind of...

it's almost unfair to look

at the stats because at

that point in time,

the team was basically made

up of rookies and AHL players.

And they held their own.

They tried.

They did try.

And I know at the end of the

interviews they were doing

last week after the end of the season,

they did not try to put the

blame on the injuries.


I like that they were basically like, yeah,

that happened,

but we're supposed to still

be able to do our jobs.

But, I mean,

it was just this back and forth.

Kaprizov comes back,

and he... The second half of the season,

he was amazing.

He basically made up all of

the points that he didn't

get in the first part of the season.


It was kind of confirmed at

the end of the year here that,

like everyone was saying,

Kaprizov was definitely

injured at the beginning of the season.

And I feel bad because I

think it was not an injury

where it's like he shouldn't play,

but it was just like he

couldn't be himself.

I'm glad that he came back around.

Hopefully he can stay

healthy over the offseason here.

And we'll see.

But the top line in general, Erickson, Ek,

Kaprizov, and Boldy,

that line was one of the

best lines in the NHL this season.

One thing that Hines did

when he came in that I really appreciate,

because this was something

that we kind of had a

problem with for Everson,

is that he is not afraid to

switch things up.

He is not afraid to switch lines,

D pairings, even mid game.

You know, we've seen him do that.

And that's what they needed.

Because Zuccarello and Kaprizov,

do they work well together?

Yes, but not all the time.

They go through points where they just...

They're too busy playing

catch with each other to

actually try and put

something on the net.

And when that would happen, Heinz was like,

nope, OK, different lines.

So I appreciate that because

that obviously worked.

One of the good things this

year was seeing all the rookies.

I would need to go back and look,

but I feel like they said

something about 10

different rookies made

their NHL debuts this year for the while.

Some of them were only there briefly.

Or, you know,

I'm thinking like like Damon Hunt.

He was there looking back now briefly.

I mean,

I think it was maybe four games he

was in and then he sat out

for a few of them, too.

You know, we had Volstead come up.

And again,

we're not going to talk about Dallas,

but he had two games here

at the end where he played amazingly.

We had Husan Dinov come over from Russia.

That has been really fun to watch him.

We had Liam Ogren came over

after after his season ended in Sweden.

And just having even Rossi

and Faber play 82 games

held the team together like

the two of them.

were basically the only

reason why the Wild did not

turn into the Sharks or the Blackhawks.

They held things together.

And it's just really fun to

see the rookies and where they're at.

And I know Iowa had a tough

year this year.

I mean, it was really obvious.

And I don't blame them, again,

because half of their team

was up with Minnesota.

Hopefully next year they

will have a better team

that can kind of help

develop some of the younger

guys a little bit more.

Besides Hunt,

the other defensemen are not

ready for an NHL debut.

And that's partially because

Mermis was pulled up to

Minnesota the entire year.

And he was not there to kind

of help with that.

Let's see, what else did we do?

The third jerseys also came out.

And I know people go back and forth.

I think people either love

them or they hate them.

I know they look like Subway.

I get it.

I like it.

I think it kind of provides a nice,

different feel.

You know,

it's always like when they have

the third jersey where it's the same,

basically the same thing,

like same colors,

maybe like a very small

tweak for the logo.

I want them to be different.

That's kind of the whole point of it.

And I like that they have

the breezers that have the

stars down the side.

And it's just kind of a fun,

like totally different look.

And I would love to see... I

am not a stats person.

You know that.

I want someone to write about...

what the stats were for the

Wild when they were in

their third jerseys, you know,

versus the rest of the year.

Because I feel like they

played really well in those jerseys.

And maybe that is just me thinking that.

Who knows?

And the last thing that I

want to talk about for this

post-mortem is actually not,

it doesn't really have to do with

hockey um but it has to do

with the team meaning the

experience in the excel

center this year was

incredible it was top notch

uh I loved the hype video

and the the whole intro um

it just like it gives me

chills and the fact that

they were able to use uh

born to be wild this year I just

it like,

it gives me goosebumps and I will

be interested to see kind

of how that morphs next season.

You know, are they,

cause obviously they change

it every season.

I hope they don't change it

too much just because it was incredible.

And then, um, I sit club level,

they did renovations club

level before the beginning of the season.

And it was great.


It wasn't – I guess it

wasn't so much like – I mean,

they got new furniture and

stuff up there to sit.

But I was really impressed

with the new food that they

had on club level.

It's incredible.

I was able to go to an event

where I – my husband and I

tasted everything.

So good.

And, like,

stuff that I normally would not –


Um, like I'm not a big hamburger person,

but I liked their hamburger.

Um, I ate the rectangle pizza a few times.

It is so good and so filling.

Um, what else?

Oh, I just,

and actually this is not club level,

but I just tried the cookie

dough when I was at the

And just in general,

I like that they are

bringing in this new stuff.

I know they want to renovate

the rest of the rink.

And, you know,

I don't know how that's going to go.

I don't know where that

money is going to come from.

I don't know.

I do hope that somehow that

also translates to the parking situation,

because the parking garage

across the street that I

normally use is not in great shape.

It's very handy,

but it's not in good shape.

So in general, I yeah.

This year is disappointing.

It's very hard when you get

to the point where the team is out of it.

Like you just mathematically,

you are eliminated.


that didn't happen for the

Wilds till close to the end

because it was already

strange enough to kind of know

the exact moment that the season ended,

you know, like you just, okay.

After that game on Thursday,

like that's it.

That's the end.


It's just, it's a very strange feeling.

So I am going to talk about

kind of what I think for next season,

like kind of a fresh start,

but I am going to quick,

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There have been plenty of

complaints at the end of the year.

First of all,

there's always a lot of complaints.

Minnesota fans are going to

complain no matter what.

I am pretty sure that I have

heard every single good

player of the Wild called a

bust this year at some point.

Even Kaprizov.

I heard people being like, wow,

he's a bust.

Like, wow, why are we keeping this guy?

But we need to slow down.

We need to slow down.

And here is what I think

next season is going to be like.

Because the end of the year here,

they're just it didn't make a difference.

How to change things.

Meaning, you know,

Goudreau's had had a really slow season.

Johansson had a really slow

season and still they were

being put on like the

second line and people were like,

what is going on?

First of all,

they were kind of forced to

be there because of all the

injuries and stuff.

You as much as you want to go.

give the rookies a good chance.

You can't just toss them on

the first line and expect

them to know what to do and

be able to do it.

You need to have that experience.

So JoJo and Freddie,

they have veteran experience.

They have been there in the

league for years.

They are able to step up.

They might not be successful,

but they're able to skate

the minutes and they're able to keep up.

You know, you can't just pull up

someone and put them out

there for the Sharks.

I know you want to see these

people on the first line,

on the second line.

You have to slowly get them into it.

So I think next season,

they will be able to do

what they want to do.

Hines was saying that the rookies,

if they prove that they can

play on the top line, on the second line,

they will get that slot.

If they prove,

if they come in and they can

take over a veteran spot,

they will take it over.

They're not going to just

hand out things to the veterans.

And people are like, well,

why don't you do that at

the end of the year?

You know what?

It wouldn't have mattered, first of all.

And I think having a fresh

start coming out of

training camp is going to

be the perfect time to do that.

Because then you don't have

to demote them mid-season,

if that makes sense.

I feel like it's a lot more

respectful to veterans to

come out of training camp

on a lower line instead of

tossing them on a higher

line and then bringing them down.

Maybe that's just me.

I think next season is going

to be interesting.

We're still in salary cap hell,

still are trying to think

like what is next year going to be?

Will they make the playoffs?

Will it be similar to this year?

I feel like there was just

so much up in the air this

season that that's just

really affected them.

So I think next year,

I hope that they would make the playoffs.

But we'll have to see.

We can't take it for granted.

And I think this year really

showed fans and showed the players that,


One thing that I did like,

is someone asked kaprizov

about you know next season

if the team doesn't make

the playoffs again is that

gonna affect your decision

about signing a contract

extension in minnesota and

kaprizov is basically like

uh but we don't know that

you know like at this point

in time we can't say

anything about the playoffs next year

If it was up to Kaprizov,

obviously they would be in the playoffs.

But to hear him say that,

it made me feel a little better.

I genuinely think that he likes Minnesota.

I genuinely think that he

likes playing on the wild.

He likes his teammates.

He likes living here.

I think he likes it.

And I know people are afraid

that he is going to sign somewhere else,

in a bigger city, on one of the coasts.

I don't think so.

I really just, you know,

I get this sense from him

that he doesn't care as

much about his contract.

You know, I think he's just kind of like,

you know,

I want to be here and I'll be here.

So he'll have to sign his contract.

contract I think next summer

he's available for an

extension but it'll be

interesting to see in the

next couple of months here

what extensions they're

going to be handing out

because Faber they can sign

an extension this summer

and obviously he still has

a year left on his ELC so

it would not kick in until

after the salary cap you

know after that 14.9

million is off the books so

But they need to start kind

of mathematically fitting everything in.

They've got Faber,

they need an extension for Kaprizov,

they have a bunch of

rookies that'll be coming

off their ELCU soon.

It'll be interesting to see.

All right,

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I will talk about the

playoffs and my brackets.

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Welcome back.

So playoffs started yesterday,

the first two games.

Today, this is Sunday.

They start in 40 minutes.

I just want to talk about my

bracket a little bit.

My brackets, plural,

because I make a real bracket,

meaning like who I think

will actually win.

And then I always make my dilute bracket,

which is like who I want to win.

And pretty much always it's the Wild,

except for obvious reasons

this year it's not.

So I'm going to just say for

the real bracket,

I keep putting that in

quotes because they're both real.

I have the Avalanche winning it all.

I have Avalanche versus the

Hurricanes and the Avalanche win it all.

And I felt good because my

brother was like, yeah,

I also have the Avalanche to win it all.

And I'm like, okay, thank goodness.

Someone who knows a little

bit more about hockey and

doing brackets thinks so.

Let's see.

So I've got Dallas over Vegas,

even though not a Stars fan.

I've got the Avalanche over Winnipeg.

I've got the Preds over Vancouver,

Oilers over Kings,

Panthers over Lightning,

Bruins over the Leafs.

Here's my phone.

I'm trying to read this.

The Rangers over the Caps

and the Hurricane over the

Islanders for the whole first round.

Now, let's move on to my favorite bracket,

which is the Dolulu bracket.


I have the Vancouver Canucks winning

the cup.

I just really adore them.

Last year was such a rough

year for them and for Brock

Besser specifically.

Besser is a Minnesota boy.

So I'm always rooting for him,

but he just had such a

rough season losing his father and just,

you know, trying to deal with that.

And it kind of spilled over

into his on ice play.

He just, he could not score even like,

you know, an empty net barely.

But it was a struggle and I

understand why.

And I love that this year he

has just come roaring back.

I would love if he would be

able to win the cup.

I also love... Just... I don't know.

There's just something about Vancouver.

I have them winning over the

Capitals in the final.

And that would be just

because it would be fun to

see Ovechkin win.

But I mean, honestly,

a lot of my picks are the

same between my two brackets.

And again,

it's nice because my brother is

kind of the same,

has the same picks as me.

Now, if Colorado does win,

I will be excited because

that means that Brandon

Duhame would win the cup.

If the Leafs move on,

I will be happy because

Connor Dewar is there.

So those are kind of the two

things that I'm also watching,

the two guys.

This has turned into kind of

a rambly podcast.

That's okay.

I am going to, you know,

cut myself off here.

And we will talk more about

playoffs as they go.

And hopefully everyone is doing good.

Hopefully you've all got your brackets in.

I have joined a bunch of leagues.

I don't really know why, but I did.

And half of them I use my Delulu one.

And half of them, I use my normal one.

So anyway, I'm rambling.


I will see you soon.

Happy playoffs, everybody.