Back in April after Wild owner Craig Leipold fired Doug Reisbrough, he now had a team without a GM, without a head coach, and possibly a team without an identity. So the first order of business was to find a new GM. Leipold had a host of names to choose from. A few of the names I remember floating around were Pat Quinn, Pierre McGuire, and this Chuck Fletcher guy, who honestly I had never heard of before (sorry I didn't know the Asst GM for Pitt). I liked the possibility of Quinn and McGuire, mostly because I know who they are – they're big names in the hockey world. I still believe Quinn is a great hockey mind and it would have been excellent to have him here. As for McGuire, he talks a lot on NHL broadcasts. Some people I know living north in Canada absolutely ripped the guy, so I guess it's good it didn't wind up being him. But the sentiment in the media was always that it would be Fletcher, and that made sense to me. He is extremely well respected in the hockey world and regarded the "next big thing" in the GM role, also because this is still a Minnesota team, and we don't go big.
Chuck Fletcher was hired in May, and he came in talking about a change – about up-tempo hockey. We didn't know how he was going to do it, but it was the first we heard of a change in philosophy to an offensive style from the defensive clog-fest we've come to love when it gets us into the playoffs but hate when we miss the playoffs by 3 points. He said all the right things, he didn't insult DR (although no one would have been too upset if he did) and he breathed a little bit of life back into the Wild fan base.
Stay tuned for Step 2 – Hire a Coach and Answer Questions about the Checked out Prima Dona.