What!? You didn’t know last week was the Best Wild Week Ever? I hate to do this to you, but I’m going to have to sit you down this instant for a recap. I mean, my goodness, the Wild won three out of four games, with two of the wins coming on the road and all of them coming against hated division rivals. Minnesota now sits just three points out of a playoff spot.
Plus, there was a plethora of hockey games to watch all week, not just Wild games. Before you watch another Big Ten football team lose a bowl game, sit up straight, put your glasses on and follow along as we re-live the Best Wild Week Ever.
Monday, December 26, 2005
Monday was Boxing Day, which is a holiday celebrated the day after Christmas in England and most countries eventually settled by the English (with the United States being the major exception) including Canada, which is where the Wild found itself after an early morning flight. The theory of Boxing Day is believed to date back to the middle ages, when servants in England were required to work on Christmas Day, before getting the next day off (Thanks google.com).
| Hate to break it to you, but Boxing Day has nothing to do with a rematch between Refridgerator Perry and Manute Bol. |
It has nothing to do with returning boxes of gifts, or the sport that gave us Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Peter McNeely, Tonya Harding and Manute Bol.
Still, the Minnesota Wild celebrated by punching the lights out of Rexall Place in Edmonton with a 4-1 blitzing of the previously streaking Oilers. The Wild’s skill players shined on this night, with Pascal Dupuis, Marian Gaborik, Brian Rolston and Todd White scoring the goals, and Manny Fernandez preventing them.
White’s goal was his ninth of the season, and seventh in the third period, which has wild.com staff members seriously considering the option of bestowing upon him the nickname of Todd “Trey” White.
In other hockey news, four Wild prospects – Benoit Pouliot (Canada), Julien Sprunger (Switzerland), Anton Khudobin and Roman Voloshenko (Russia) – began the quest for Gold at the World Junior Championships in Canada. Thankfully, we don’t have a representative from Norway, which was ambushed on Monday by the United States, 11-2.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
| Click on the photo if you want to realize why kids and hockey are the greatest combination since peanut butter and jelly. |
With another game remaining with the Oilers on Wednesday, the Wild held a morning practice and spent the rest of the day killing time.
That more than likely included a lot of lounging around and watching the World Juniors, OR logging on to to watch highlights of one of the most entertaining Old Dutch Little Chippers games in Xcel Energy Center history. I challenge you to click here and watch the entire game without cracking a loving smile at these adorable pint-size munchkins.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
The Vancouver Canucks may be the most fun team to beat if you’re a Wild fan, but the Edmonton Oilers have to be a close second. The Oil may not have as many players that are as fun to heckle as the Nucks, and their fans aren’t nearly as irritating. But it’s worth your time to read the whining that shows up in the Edmonton rags after the local team gets pasted twice in a row by the “trapping” Wild.
| Ho hum. Brian Rolston scores one of eight boring goals the Wild scored in Edmonton last week. |
If you need something to do to kill time, log on to edmontonjournal.com and read the sports sections while attempting to count the phrases, “anything but Wild,” “boring style,” and “Jacques Lemaire’s trapping system.”
It’s one thing to frustrate the opposing team. It’s even sweeter when the opposing team’s media members want to slam their heads repeatedly into their keyboards.
The bottom line is the Wild left Edmonton with two wins, an above .500 record, and an 8-3 combined goal advantage in two games with the high-flying Oilers, 8-3. I wasn’t bored in the least.
At this point, the week could already be considered the Best Wild Week Ever, but we’ve still got four days left. Let’s keep chugging along.
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Technically, the Wild’s longest winning streak in team history is four games. But, that streak spanned over 15 months so it never really felt like a four-game winning streak. The Wild had a chance to achieve that elusive true fourth-win-in-a-row on Thursday night in Calgary…but it didn’t happen.
The boys held a 2-1 lead on goals by Pascal Dupuis and Calgary-native, Kyle Wanvig. But the Flames burned them in the third period with two goals, and surprisingly, they didn’t come off the stick of Wild killer, Jarome Iginla. Dwayne Roloson, who must own 13 black cats and probably spends his down time shattering mirrors left and right, was again done in by a lack of goal support as he fell to 4-12-1 on the year.
The loss was disappointing given the solid effort of the Wild, but it was not enough to diminish a successful three-game trip…or to taint the Best Wild Week Ever.
Friday, December 30, 2005
The W’s shacked up in Calgary on Thursday night and then boarded a homebound plane on Friday morning. But a monster snowstorm caused delays for planes hoping to land at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport. The team plane was included in that group, and was one of the aircrafts asked to circle around for about an hour while waiting for clearance. But a lack of fuel sent the jet plane to Fargo, North Dakota for a refueling session before returning.
By the time the team arrived on Friday afternoon, it was too late to practice because the Xcel Energy Center ice needed to settle for the upcoming women’s game between the United States and Canada.
The U.S. women fell to the Canucks, 4-2, in the warmup for the Olympics in February. It was but a minor setback for the ladies that will get their revenge in Torino, Italy. You heard it first at Best Wild Week Ever.
Saturday, December 31, 2005
| Shortly after this photo was taken, Wes Walz and Marian Gaborik were given minors for hugging. |
Is there any better way to close out the week, let alone the year, with a win over the Vancouver Canucks? Of course there isn’t, even if the United States falls to Canada at the World Juniors by a 3-2 score, because the U.S. was forced to pull the goalie to go for a win, rather than a tie.
The Wild handled its business against the Nucks, emerging from an intense intra-division contest with a 4-3 win. From Mick McGeough’s bizarre penalty calls and non-calls to Todd Bertuzzi slamming his stick against the boards while leaving at the end of the game, this was as entertaining as it got in 2005.
Unfortunately, Todd White’s goal came in the first period, meaning we’ll have to hold off on the “Trey” nickname. But we’ll take his tally anyway, just as we’ll take the goals from Wes Walz, Kurtis “Bananaz” Foster and Randy Robitaille that contributed to Manny Fernandez’ third win of the week.
Sunday, January 1, 2006
There must have been WAY too much caffeine in my soda on New Year’s because I was up late and extremely tired on Sunday. After winning three out of four games in one week, the Wild players and coaches probably fatigued as well, so I gave the team the day off.
If they chose to, they could have sat at home and watched the Vikings win a meaningless final game of the season over the Chicago Bears, shortly before Mike Tice got fired.
I realize we’re supposed to focus on hockey here at BWWE, but I must share an extremely important note about Tice. He possesses the largest hands in the history of the world.
I found this out when I shook his hand at a Wild game a few years back. It felt like I was shaking hands with a goalie glove. Another note about Tice, he seems like a great guy, but he definitely did not have the Best Wild Week Ever.
Do you want to know who did? I thought so. Let’s find out…
…Who had the Best Wild Week Ever?
| Give yourselves a hand hockey fans. You are having the Best Wild Week Ever! |
Joe and Jill Hockey Fan. With all due respect to Manny Fernandez, who was undefeated in three games and was named the NHL’s Defensive Player of the Week, he didn’t come close to Joe and Jill.
For anyone who had the NHL Centre Ice package, his or her week was filled with nothing but hockey. There was four Wild games, including one at home. There was always a game going on at the World Junior Championships if you had TSN. Even if you don’t get the package, you could have taken in the Gophers winning the Dodge Holiday Classic.
Or, you could have watched one of the 548 Schwan Cup high school hockey games taking place throughout the area.
To think, last year at this time, we hockey fans were without a single NHL game to watch. We are now fully immersed in our beloved sport, and our team is hot and contending for the postseason. There’s no denying that last week was the Best Wild Week Ever for hockey fans, while 2006 promises to be the Best Wild Year Ever.