The venom directed towards the now ex-Minnesota Wild general manager Doug Risebrough over on Russo's Rants (the blog authored by Minneapolis Star Tribune scribe Mike Russo) is utterly astonishing. With rare and few exceptions, the mood is positively celebratory (one poster quoted the first verse plus chorus of old Bill Withers song Lovely Day to sum up his view of the decision by owner Craig Leipold to find a new GM).
The consensus seems to be that Risebrough did a decent job of making the Wild competitive, but couldn't get them to the next level, largely because of his difficulty in dealing with star players - drafting them, developing them, and then hanging on to them once they became productive NHLers.
Indeed, the departures, via free agency, of both Brian Rolston and Pavol Demitra last summer, left the Wild desperately short of offensive talent - and when Marian Gaborik spent much of the year on IR, it pretty much undermined their entire season.
If not for Nicklas Backstrom's goaltending, it's hard to imagine that Minnesota could have stayed in the playoff race until the final 72 hours of the season.
The hope now is that the clean sweep - first Jacques Lemaire's resignation, now the decision not to renew Risebrough's contract - may convince Gaborik to stay in Minnesota rather than follow Rolston and Demitra out the door.
Risebrough had similar issues in his first GM position with the Calgary Flames, where contract disputes or stalemates ultimately led to the departures of Doug Gilmour, Joel Otto, Gary Suter and Al MacInnis.
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