October 31 – November 6
Halloween was one week ago, and we hope you’ve come down from your sugar high by now, because it’s time to recap the Best Wild Week Ever. It was a week that started on a sour note, with the Wild dropping its first two games of a four-game road trip, and losing two of its top three scorers in the process.
But a pair of weekend wins – one coming in a Sunday Night Shootout – transformed a week of woe into the Best Wild Week Ever.
Monday, October 31, 2005
| Wild fan Rodney Muehlbauer has some skills with the pumpkin knife as evidenced here. (credit: Rodney Muehlbauer) |
Halloween came and went, signifying the start of a two-month eating binge that starts off with consuming abnormal amounts of candy, followed a month later by a week of leftover turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes, followed by no less than 10 holiday feasts in December.
Weight issues aside, the Wild continued to get down to business, heading to Calgary to start a four-game road trip. At practice, perennial minute-muncher Filip Kuba was named the Wild’s November captain for the second time in his career. After practice, Kuba took the customary victory lap around the rink while wearing the “C” sweater. “I just hope he doesn’t pull his groin,” quipped President and General Manager Doug Risebrough to the Star Tribune.
Kuba also held the honor in November of 2001. During that time, he recorded one goal and five assists. Through October of this season, Kuba was again atop the team in average ice time with just over 25 minutes a game. My math tells me that’s not even half of a 60-minute game. Quite frankly, I think a true captain would stay out on the ice for the full 60, and not need to take these so-called “breathers.” But, nonetheless, congratulations are in order for Mr. Kuba, one of the five Wild originals still with the club.
Tuesday, November 1, 2005
Tuesday was All Saints’ Day in the United States, so naturally I took the day off. The Wild didn’t. They had a fierce battle with their Northwest Division rivals, the Calgary Flames at the Pengrowth Saddledome. It was just the second meeting of the season between the two clubs, but the 3-0 Flames win set the tone for the next six matchups. Three fights broke out – including one that saw Nick Schultz morph into “Guile” from the Street Fighter video game when he took on Tony Amonte.
Even Jacques Lemaire tossed a barb at the Flames, who took their liberties with some of the Wild’s smaller skill players throughout the contest.
“They hit our little guys,” said Lemaire to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “Go hit the big guy. Never mind Bouch.”
“Bouch” of course, is the 5-foot-10 Pierre-Marc Bouchard. A tough little firecracker if you say the wrong thing to him, but not a physical presence, as I’m sure he would admit. The “big guy” that Lemaire is referring to would be the 6-foot-7 behemoth, Derek Boogaard, who repeatedly sent Flames “tough guys” scurrying for cover anytime he tried to engage them in a little waltz.
Wednesday, November 2, 2005
By Wednesday, Wild fans were wondering how in the name of Hnat Domenichelli could this week turn out
| Wednesday was a rough night for the Wild in Vancouver. The team lost and a Wild fan was nearly eaten by the Canucks mascot. (cr. Jeff Vinnick) |
to be “The Best Wild Week Ever.” Not only did the Wild fall 2-1 to the Vancouver Canucks despite a dominanating performance, but two of the Wild’s top three scorers left the game with injuries, as well.
Marc Chouinard sustained a shoulder injury after a collision with Todd Bertuzzi in the game’s first minute. And Todd White suffered what else? A groin injury. Andrei Zyuzin also suffered a knee strain when he was hit by Ed Jovanovski.
At this rate, the Wild will be returning home from the four-game road trip with a starting lineup featuring Bob Kurtz and Dan Terhaar on defense. Although, that may not be such a bad thing. Terhaar is known throughout the league as the strongest play-by-play man in the League, able to lift 100 pounds over his head in one fluid motion.
Thursday, November 3, 2005
The Wild boarded a plane, and like the late Notorious B.I.G., they were “going, going, back back to Cali, Cali.” The Wild had some time to travel to nearby San Francisco to take in the sights. Although, at the rate things are going, the odds of someone pulling a groin muscle while getting off a cable car was 3-to-1 at last check in Vegas. Best to rest up guys. Take in the sites another time.
Friday, November 4, 2005
The Wild had another day off, and it was revealed that the club would be without the services of Todd White, Marc Chouinard and Andrei Zyuzin for the next two games at least.
Through five days, this is definitely not the Best Wild Week Ever. Still two days – and two games – left.
Saturday, November 5, 2005
Ah yes, leave it to the weekend to brighten the day. The Wild lose the homesickness in time to beat the
| The Wild needed a win in San Jose, and they got it with help from Willie Mitchell. |
San Jose Sharks, 3-1 at the Shark Tank. Dwayne Roloson once again continues to make a case for an emergency vote to be put forth on Election Day as to whether or not there should be a huge bronze statue built in honor of him, and Manny Fernandez.
“Roli” made 35 saves on 36 shots and even took a penalty to prove his toughness. Okay, it was a delay of game call, but he’s still a rebel in my book.
But it was the other “Roli” who starred on this night. Brian Rolston scored all three Wild goals, becoming the fourth player in Wild history to accomplish the feat. Rolston joins the exclusive club with inaugural member Antti Laaksonen, newcomer Marc Chouinard and club president, Marian Gaborik.
Sunday, November 6, 2005
In the words of Vanessa Williams, “Just when I thought our chance had passed, you go and save the best for last.” The “I” in that lyric would symbolize Wild fans, and the “you,” would obviously mean the Minnesota Wild. Suddenly, the road trip looks like an overall success as the Wild pull out a big 4-3 road win in Anaheim, in a shootout no less.
We all know that Wild head coach Jacques Lemaire isn’t a big fan of the new method of breaking ties. But even he had to enjoy watching Mikko Koivu make a should-be-illegal move to his backhand. Then, Lemaire was probably downright giddy when Randy Robitaille made Jean-Sebastien Giguere look human when he wristed a shot off the post that the netminder barely even flinched at.
Meanwhile, Manny Fernandez continued to wear a cape, stopping 39 shots and rebuffing every Anaheim onslaught.
Sure enough, the two weekend wins easily make the week of October 31, 2005 through November 6, 2005, the Greatest Wild Week Ever.
That brings us to who had the Best Wild Week Ever…
| Time to celebrate Brian Rolston. YOU are having the Best Wild Week Ever! |
Brian Rolston. You score a hat trick in one win, and then pick up where you left off a night later by scoring the first goal in another win, and you are undoubtedly having the Best Wild Week Ever.
Rolston’s only other hat trick in the NHL came on November 16, 1996 when he was just a pup, playing for Jacques Lemaire and the New Jersey Devils. Coincidence? We think not here at Best Wild Week Ever.
Congratulations Mr. Rolston. You are having the Best Wild Week Ever!