Any week that sees the Wild snap a three game losing skid by beating one of the hottest teams in hockey, has to be ranked in the top three. When you add in the fact that the past week featured Brian Rolston and Pascal Dupuis at Wild Hockey Unplugged, the biggest kettle in the history of the world was lit up AND we honored the late, great Sergei Zholtok, there is no doubt that last week was the undisputed champion of Wild Weeks.
In the words of National Anthem singer Mike Schmidt, "please join me" in recapping the Best Wild Week Ever.
Monday, November 14, 2005
| Iginla did his best to try and wreck what would turn out to be the Best Wild Week Ever. |
Ouch! Tip for the future. The key to starting out the Best Wild Week Ever is not to blow a two-goal lead in the third period against a division rival. Unfortunately, that’s what happened when the Wild suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Wild hater, Jarome Iginla and his Calgary cronies.
Superman had Lex Luthor. Austin Powers had Dr. Evil. The Three Little Pigs had the Huffy Puffy Wolf. The Wild have Jarome Iginla, he of 13 goals and 12 assists in 24 career games against Minnesota.
The Wild appeared to be on cruise control through two periods, leading 2-0. Then, the 20 minutes from Hades engulfed the Wild and Iginla played the role of Zeus, setting up two goals and putting home the game-winner with just over a minute to go.
Lesson learned. The Wild won’t make the mistake of not playing a full 60 minutes again. And we already know that one day does not a week make.
We’ve still got six days to go and we are all confident that this will indeed be the Best Wild Week Ever.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Wild fans in the State of Hockey awoke to the site of clean white snow on their lawns, and clear, two-inch thick ice on their cars on Tuesday. Thoughts of hitting the frozen ponds began to dance in the heads of Future Wild players throughout our great state.
Wild players awoke, eager to start a new day and forget about the “Chaos In Calgary.”
The team held a “closed door” practice at the Xcel Energy Center, in which several Wild players were skated heavily by the Wild coaching staff. Even if we had been allowed to venture inside the arena on this day, it’s unlikely we’d be able to print any of what may have been said at that practice.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
| Hockey Unplugged host Kevin Falness giggles with delight while interviewing Brian Rolston and Pascal Dupuis. |
Major’s Sports Bar in Bloomington was the place to be on Wednesday night. Hungry people, thirsty people, autograph seeking people and heat seeking people flooded inside to watch Wild forwards Brian Rolston and Pascal Dupuis join host Kevin Falness for another night of Wild Hockey Unplugged revelry.
Rolston and Dupuis took part in a Q&A session with Falness and other Wild fans, quizzed the fans with Wild trivia and fulfilled each and every autograph request before retiring for the night.
Falness provided the night’s highlight when he called out the two forwards for not naming any of the Wild coaching staff among their dream linemates.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
| The lighting of the World’s Largest Kettle means only one thing, the season of giving is upon us. |
The Holiday season doesn’t start when Thanksgiving ends, or when Department stores announce their Holiday sales.
No sir, the Holiday season starts when the Salvation Army “lights the lamp.” And for once, we’re not talking about the lamp behind the head of Vancouver Canucks netminder Dan Cloutier; we’re talking about the 24,000 lights on the 56-foot tall Kettle outside the Ecolab Plaza in downtown St. Paul.
Wild television color analyst Mike Greenlay braved the icy conditions to serve as the young MC for the Kettle Kickoff event on Thursday evening. The traditional lighting of the kettle kicks off the Holiday Kettle Drive and bell ringers will be featured at five Wild home games leading up to Christmas.
Let’s move on to Friday before I try and insert the word “kettle” into another paragraph.
Friday, November 18, 2005
The Wild closed out the workweek with one more brisk practice before beginning an important four-game homestand featuring Nashville, Edmonton, St. Louis and Columbus.
Already on its way to becoming the Best Wild Week Ever, we got news that Todd White would return to the lineup on Saturday night after missing five games with an injured groin.
Monday’s loss would be a thing of the past if I’d stop bringing it up. Sorry, won’t do it again. Moving on.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
| Edgar Zholtok (left), the 16-year-old son of the late Sergei Zholtok, is comforted by Wild captain Filip Kuba. |
Wild fans ran the gamut of emotions in a three-hour span on Saturday night when the Wild hosted the Nashville Predators, one of the surprise teams in the NHL this year. Before getting down to business, the two teams honored the late, great Sergei Zholtok, who skated for both teams prior to passing away a year ago due to heart failure.
Following a touching video tribute to honor number 33, Edgar Zholtok, Sergei’s 16-year-old son, came out to center ice for a special presentation. Amidst a standing ovation from 18,568 pairs of misty eyes and clapping hands, Edgar accepted gifts from Nashville captain Greg Johnson, and Minnesota captain Filip Kuba.
The sight of Edgar fighting tears while Kuba comforted him will rank as one of the all time special moments in the already prestigious history of the Xcel Energy Center.
No way the Wild would honor a winner like Sergei with a loss. Our boys played an inspired game following the tribute, turning in a complete effort while defeating the red-hot Predators, 4-2. Kurtis Foster, the Wild’s newest blueliner, scored goals on his first two shots as a member of the Wild.
On his first one, he deftly aimed for a Nashville defender and put the puck in off his stick. For an encore in the second period, he simply fired a canon underneath the crossbar that sent the water bottle skyrocketing into the air. Now that’s cool.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Some teams might take a day off on a Sunday, just one day after dismantling one of the hottest teams in the NHL. Not the Minnesota Wild. Satisfaction is not in the vernacular on the banks of the Mississippi. There will be plenty of time to rest in July.
The boys in Forest Green and Iron Range Red were right back on the Xcel Energy Center ice on Sunday, getting some early prep work in for Wednesday’s contest with the Edmonton Oilers. The players were well aware that the last seven days made up the Best Wild Week Ever, but that’s the past.
However, before we usher in a new week, let’s find out…
…Who had the Best Wild Week Ever?
| Hold that puck a little higher Kurtis. YOU are having the Best Wild Week Ever! |
Kurtis "Bananaz" Foster. There was no doubt about this one. Not only did this guy not have to board a plane when he was called up to Minnesota (he and the rest of the Houston Aeros were in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport during a layover on the way to Winnipeg), but he also potted two goals on his first two shots with the Wild.
Foster became the third player this year to score a goal in his first game in a Wild sweater. He’s also the fourth Wild player this season to pick up his first career NHL goal. Foster capped off his week by being the guest on Sports Huddle with Sid and Dave on Sunday morning.
And, until he gets angry about it, he will be dubbed Kurtis "Bananaz" Foster on wild.com.
Congratulations rookie! You had the Best Wild Week Ever!