Wild weekend for Minnesota hockey fans

Bringing the National Hockey League Draft to the Twin Cities over the weekend was a needed dose of hope for area sports fans.
I ventured to St. Paul on Friday, curious to see how a pro draft worked and to see what sort of excitement it would bring to local fans.
Part of the day was spent at the Wild’s Fanfest. There was a strong sense among Wild fans that the weekend’s events would change the face of the franchise and they were right.
The possible trade of Brent Burns was seemingly on everyone’s mind. Wild fans have grown bored of watching a team with very few scoring threats. Heck, they mostly just wanted someone who was willing to shoot the puck when they got within 10 feet of the net.
Knowing that Burns was one year away from free agency, Wild fans weren’t expecting Burns to bring a huge haul in return. They were wrong. San Jose gave up two players and a first round draft choice for Burns. This could easily end up being the best trade the Wild has ever made. The Wild received an established scorer in Devin Setoguchi and a highly promising forward in Boston University’s Charlie Coyle. The draft pick was cashed in for another bright offensive prospect, Zach Phillips.
The deal gives the offense an immediate jolt with the addition of Setoguchi. Coyle and Phillips may be a couple years away from contributing in the NHL, but they immediately become two of the brightest offensive prospects for the team’s future.
Now if the Wild can add another sniper in free agency and get Guillaime Latandresse back to health for the upcoming season, the team’s fans might not be subject to watching more 1-0 losses by an offense-less Wild team.
The personal highlight of the Fanfest was sitting in on a coaching roundtable by NHL legend Scotty Bowman, former Minnesota Gopher coach Doug Woog and Minnesota high school hockey coaching legend Willard Ikola. Like most of the crowd, I was there mainly to hear Bowman, who has coached nine teams to Stanley Cup championships, an NHL record. Bowman was entertaining, candid and colorful. After watching him be a stern taskmaster as a coach, it was surprising to see him be jovial and open with the fans. It sounded like Bowman had some regret about being such a strict coach and not befriending more of his players, but it was his belief that that style was his best way of being a successful coach at that level.

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