In the United States Marine Corps, the last part of basic training is the ordeal called the Crucible. It is a 72-hour test of endurance, perseverance and mental fortitude as they prove they are ready for the rigors of combat. It pushes the recruits to their limits and what is forged out of that process are Marines. Maybe that is what is happening to the Minnesota Wild right now. With so many veterans out of the Wild's lineup, Minnesota's young talent is going through its own version of the Crucible. The youngsters are forced to take on roles normally not assigned to them and we'll find out what players are truly ready for the rigors of the NHL and who are not. The young players have been forced to step up and I think the Wild have benefitted from their energy and creativity. Considering this isn't some random self-imposed experiment Wild fans have been both accepting of the play of its young players and enjoying the results so far.
Can the Wild's collection of young talent earn a victory against another team filled with talented young players in the Colorado Avalanche? The Avalanche's struggles have given them a collection of blue chip draft picks and they've had enviable success with their development so far. Colorado is 5 points ahead of the Wild in the Central Division standings, will Minnesota climb a little bit closer or will the Avalanche wash out the progress the team has made so far?
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