Being shutout at home by a team that had lost its last 12 games might be rock bottom for the Minnesota Wild, who have been put on alert by first-year general manager Paul Fenton.
Before Thursday's embarrassing 3-0 loss to the Anaheim Ducks, Fenton traded Nino Niederreiter to the Carolina Hurricanes. The move created some salary cap space and brought in Victor Rask to provide depth at center, but Fenton also made the trade in an effort to send a message to the rest of the team.
“It shows players that nothing is forever,” Fenton said, via The Athletic. “It gives them an alert that if they want to be here, they’re going to have to play the way that we want them to play.”
Maybe the players didn't get that message before taking the ice and falling flat to a Ducks team that hadn't won since a week before Christmas (Dec. 17).
But head coach Bruce Boudreau said he warned players that Anaheim was likely to come out firing on all cylinders in an effort to break their losing streak, and they did with two goals 11 seconds apart and then went up 3-0 fewer than eight minutes into the game.
"I wish I had answers for why we start out some games the way we do," said Boudreau. "We got caught sleepwalking. Maybe there's something more I should've done, I don't know."
When asked if players were still in shock about Niederreiter being traded, Boudreau said: "Geez, I hope not," noting that they're professionals and its their job to be ready to play.
It was rock bottom, perhaps, to whats been a miserable week. Minnesota lost to two of the worst teams in the NHL, Detroit and Philadelphia, while giving up a combined 12 goals. Then they barely beat another bottom feeder, Los Angeles, in a shootout at Xcel Energy.
"We’re playing teams that are bottom in the league and a team coming in on a 12-game losing streak,” said Zach Parise, whose 11 shots-on-goal were a career high. “And we get one shootout win out of it. It’s just not good enough."