The 2013 Minnesota winter sports season is about to begin, and about to get busy.
A Gopher Basketball squad with a new coach that's looking to run-and-gun, a revamped Minnesota Timberwolves club that's looking to get back to the playoffs for the first time in 10 years, and a Minnesota Wild bunch that is looking to build on, what some looked at, as a rather underwhelming playoff appearance in 2012-13.
That's not even touching on a Gopher Womens Hockey team that is ranked No. 1 in the nation, and Gopher Wrestling, a perennial powerhouse every year.
The first of them all to play in meaningful competition are the Minnesota Wild tomorrow night at the X.
Where do they stack up after their No. 8 seed in the Western Conference last year? As could be expected after no one has played for five months, opinion varies.
We start north of the border with TSN, the foremost hockey experts on the continent, they have the Wild at No. 11.
Larry Brooks, of the New York Post, clearly a brilliant hockey mind, agrees, claiming a big year for Zach Parise is coming.
The Hockey Writers think the Wild are 18th(?) best in the league, saying "in contention" for a playoff spot is what the Wild can hope for.
ESPN has Minnesota at 19(?!), claiming youth as a rather large issue with the squad.
Bleacher Report may actually be the voice of reason on this subject, slotting the Wild at No. 15.
The Hockey Writers and ESPN are officially dead to us.