Dean Evason Needs to Stop Crying

Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn - USA Today

The Minnesota Wild went down 3-2 in their opening round playoff series vs the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night, after losing a game that felt hopeless from the very beginning. Marcus Foligno took a major penalty and game misconduct within 2.5 minutes after puck drop. The Stars, of course, scored immediately after going on the power play, taking a 1-0 early lead that they eventually stretched to a 4-0 easy victory.

Same losing script for Wild vs Stars this series

The script was a lot like what we’ve seen during the other two Wild losses in this series. Dallas goalie and MN native, Jake Oettinger, was great again and the Stars scored two more power play goals, bringing their total to NINE power play goals in just FIVE games this series. Meanwhile, the Wild had a few more breakaways that were stonewalled by Oettinger and they failed to cash in on any of their three man advantage opportunities.

Sure, the Wild have been the better team during 5v5 but they’ve fallen devastatingly short on special teams, so far this series. Referees haven’t helped their cause much, either. Stars players have been taking “dives” throughout the series and the refs have, oftentimes, rewarded those European kickball tactics with power plays. It’s something Dean Evason and many Wild players have talked and complained about extensively since the end of game 1.

Dean Evason goes in on refs again

And after the loss on Tuesday, Evason went back to the well again, going at Stars players for diving and at refs because they continue to fall for said dives. He starts with the Foligno penalty and continues to list his grievances from there. The reporters, in turn, push for more. Evason happily gives them what they ask for.

Reporter: Dean, your thoughts on the Foligno major? If you had to drop a worse way to start a game, that had to set you back for sure…

Dean: “[Foligno’s penalty and ejection] took some life out of us for sure. With everything that’s going on and all the whining and stuff about everything, we disagree with it. We don’t think he changed his path. He could have changed his path and probably stepped in hard. If anything, their guy changed the path. We watched it several times. [Foligno] does not move. Moose does not move. He doesn’t move his legs, nothing. He just stays straight, he braces himself. It’s incidental contact. Two big men and you know, if anything, we thought their guy moved and our guy did not.”

Reporter: If the calls are still going to go against you, how do you negate the impact that the Stars’ power play is having on this series?

Dean: “Well, we have to stay out of the box. Would we have liked a few more calls? We got a couple of diving calls against them which was maybe a little bit too late. We think there’s some of that going on. You know, we had two breakaways. We thought that, you know, both were penalties. [Sam Steel] gets chopped and and then Nyquist has one at the end and gets can opener.

I don’t know, it’s tough. Again, we don’t wanna whine but, you know, there’s calls out there. But, bottom line is we’ve got to find a way to stay out of the box and play within the whistles, which we are. But, you know, clearly they caught some breaks and, when I’m saying breaks, that’s not necessarily just goals. They caught some breaks throughout the entire game, different situations, and what have you, and we did not.”

At some point, you have to stop crying and play the hand that is dealt.

Look, I like Dean Evason and love the direction the Minnesota Wild are heading in, under his guidance and that of General Manager, Bill Guerin. In addition, his complaints are (mostly) justified. Foligno is getting called for a penalty just about every time he hits someone, at this point, and the hits he’s laying are legal. And it’s dumb that Stars players are being rewarded for a cowardice sports practice like diving.

But hello, your team is on the brink of elimination. Complaining about referee blindness or Dallas players continually flopping to the ice like a limit of crappies freshly pulled through a fishing hole, has done nothing to help the situation through five games. Stars players are still taking dives, Foligno is still getting called for stupid penalties and the refs still don’t care.

So, instead of hoping these blind zebras finally hear your complaints, it might be more worth your time to focus elsewhere. Control more of the things that you can actually control. Like, how to get a puck past Jake Oettinger, how to get Kirill Kaprizov and Matt Boldy going, or even, how to be better on special teams.

Wild need to focus on controlling what they can control.

At this point, Dallas isn’t going to change their on-ice tactics, especially when those tactics are working. The refs are not going to change, either. Especially when, on paper, penalty calls do not look one-sided. The Wild have 20 power play opportunities to the Stars’ 22. The difference? Dallas is 9 for 22 (41%) and Minnesota is 4 for 20 (20%).

There are no losses left in this series for the Minnesota Wild. It’s win or go home. So, it’s time for Dean Evason to stop crying about what the opposing team is doing or not doing — or what the refs are calling vs not calling — so he can focus more on how to force a game 7 on Thursday night.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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