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Best Wild Week Ever

by Staff Writer / Minnesota Wild

 It took a Philippe Boucher bank shot to beat Manny Fernandez and the Wild on Monday night. (cr. Bruce Kluckhohn)
You could make an argument that last week wasn’t the Best Wild Week Ever. You could. I wouldn’t even fight you on it, considering the Minnesota Wild did lose its only two games last week.

But if you did make that argument, you’d just be scratching the surface of the week and you’d only be focusing on the negative aspects. And by now, you ought to know that here at BWWE, we dwell on the past every now and then, but not the negative mumbo jumbo. We’ll leave that to the media types.

We are here to focus on happy things like rainbows, sugarplums, Hockey Unpluggeds and Wild player appearances. But even I will admit that I may need some help with this week’s edition, so I will call on my favorite Christmas present that I just got up and running, my magic iPod Nano.

The 453-song play list is set to shuffle, and my magic iPod Nano will pick the perfect song to correspond with that day. It will help to prove that simply because the Wild was 0-2-0 last week, does not mean it wasn’t the Best Wild Week Ever. Case in point…

Monday, January 9, 2006

The first song the magic iPod shuffle dialed up was “Two Wrongs” by Wyclef Jean, which features a chorus that includes; they say two wrongs don’t make it right. That couldn’t be more appropriate considering the way the Wild was helped, then wronged, by some crazy bounces off the Xcel Energy Center boards.

The Wild scored in the first period to take a 1-0 lead thanks to a courtesy bounce off the backboards behind the Dallas net. Brian Rolston’s errant pass carommed off the boards, and popped out front for an easy Randy Robitaille goal. Of course, the Stars tied the game early in the second. Then, midway through the period, they got the game-winner when Philippe Boucher’s shot sailed wide, bounced off the same backboards and into the crease, where it hit the back of Manny Fernandez and trickled in.

Two wrong bounces in the game, with the second leading to a Dallas win. That’s just not right. Let’s hope we can make it right later in the week.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

 Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder knows that there is no Better Man than Blair Mackasey when it comes to finding talent.
Who better to summarize Tuesday, January 10, than Eddie Vedder and his bandmates in Pearl Jam, with their smash hit, “Better Man.”

The Minnesota Wild could not have found a better man to put in charge of the team’s professional scouting than Blair Mackasey. Mackasey was named the team’s director of professional scouting on Tuesday, just days after the team he assembled for Canada won the World Junior championships for the second consecutive year. He also assisted Wayne Gretzky in selecting the names to build the roster for gold medal favorite Team Canada at the 2006 Olympics.

“I feel really good about working for Minnesota,” said Mackasey. “This is a team in my opinion that is ready to take it to the next level and I’m excited about what’s ahead of me.”

Mackasey will be instrumental in finding out the best players to bring into the Wild fray, while remaining true to the plan of building a consistent winner from within and through smart acquisitions, much the same way that Ottawa, New Jersey, Tampa Bay and Buffalo have done, or are doing.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The song to recap Wednesday comes courtesy of Dave Matthews and his song, “So Darn Lucky.” (I changed a word that rhymes with Ham in that title to a different word). Anyway, Dave couldn’t be more right on this Hump Day, because there was plenty of luck to go around.

During an intense intra-squad scrimmage, Marian Gaborik and Wes Walz collided along the boards with Gaborik’s elbow catching Walz a little higher than recommended. Walz responded with a jab towards Gaborik’s face before the two skated away from each other as Willie Mitchell shouted, “Now that’s INTENSITY!”

Neither player held any hostility towards the other after the practice ended. “He knows I love him,” said Walz. “He’s just lucky it was me and not Boogey.” Amen, although I doubt Gaborik would be able to reach the head of the 6-foot-7 Derek Boogaard with his elbow.

Gaborik wasn’t the only lucky one on this day. Nick Schultz and Todd White were fortunate enough to be the guests of honor at the most recent Wild Hockey Unplugged featuring Kevin Falness as host. Joe Senser’s in Bloomington was the packed house on this night, and “fun” was the theme as White and Schultz took turns taking jabs at each other, and Falness.

As is normal, the two stayed long after the Q&A and trivia sessions ended to sign some autographs, and chat it up with the fans.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Thursday’s musical ensemble comes courtesy of Guster and its hit from a couple years back, “Careful,” featuring the lyrics, I’m ringing all the warning bells/Careful you don’t hurt yourself. Captain Willie Mitchell sounded his warning bells to say the Wild needs to play with desperation for the remainder of the season.

“We need to feel that sense of urgency to do it now,” he said.

Willie, you may be all of 28 years old, but like Ryan Miller, the lead singer of Guster, you are wise beyond your years.
Friday, January 13, 2006

Rachel Yamagata checks in with “Worn Me Down” to cap off the workweek, from which I was definitely worn down. After work on a Friday, I prefer a nap to recharge the batteries before taking in some college hockey. Mitchell on the other hand, wrapped up practice and headed straight to Super America on Broadway in Minneapolis.

Sure, he probably filled up his Hummer with gas and got some jerky treats and a big jug of blue windshield cleaner. He might have even bought a couple Powerball tickets for a chance at 78 million. But the real reason Mitchell was there was to sign autographs for his throng of fans, who braved some icy conditions by standing in a line that stretched outside. I’m sure the anticipation of meeting Mitchell kept them warm; as I’m sure it was worth the wait once they got inside to meet the reigning Wild captain.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Everybody loves U2, and their poetry in the song, “Stuck In a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” rings true to describe Saturday night’s 4-1 loss to the Calgary Flames. The Wild power play couldn’t get it together on six of seven power plays, and the result was a second straight defeat, and the fourth loss in five games to the stingy Flames.

Kurtis “Bananaz” Foster drilled home his seventh goal of the year, and Marian Gaborik did everything but score a goal and paint the ceiling of the Xcel Energy Center. But the efforts of the youngsters were not enough to earn a win to close out the week. The Flames scored four unanswered goals en route to a 4-1 win.

As Bono would say, “You’ve got to get yourself together,” and that’s exactly what the Wild are sure to do on Sunday in preparation for Monday’s game against the Ottawa Senators.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Yeah, I’ll admit it. I’ve got a few Janet Jackson songs in my magical iPod repertoire. What of it? Jackson’s “All For You” sums up Sunday, which was all for the Wild fans, who needed something to erase the memories of two losses to Dallas and Calgary. Pascal Dupuis, Randy Robitaille and Marc Chouinard set out to wipe away those tears by making Edy’s Ice Cream appearances.

Chouinard and Robitaille were on hand at Festival Foods in Andover to sign autographs from 5:00 to 6:00 PM, while Dupuis flew solo at the Festival Foods in Vadnais Heights during the same time period. Other than Chouinard having some Mapquest issues, this appearance was deemed a success, if for no other reason than “The Rookie” from KSTP AM Radio showed up to do interviews with players and fans alike. He even signed two autographs, tying his career high.

See that? With the help of a magical iPod Nano, we got through the week. It certainly contained some hardships, but we can still call it the Best Wild Week Ever.

With that, let’s find out…

…Who had the Best Wild Week Ever?

 Cretin Derham high school grad Bill Robertson is making the Raider faithful proud by having the Best Wild Week Ever.
Bill Robertson. Robertson is the vice president of communications and broadcasting for the Minnesota Wild. His job is to make sure that Wild has a solid presence in the local media, and the Wild message is getting out to its great fans in the State of Hockey. Last weekend was a banner weekend for the Cal-State Fullerton grad, and his crack staff of media relations guru, Aaron Sickman, media relations assistant Wayne Carlson, and the rest of the broadcast crew.

On Saturday morning, KFAN debuted its new hockey-exclusive show from 10:00 AM to 12:00 noon with Wild assistant coach Mike Ramsey as a featured guest. Later that afternoon, fans could watch episode number two of Minnesota Wild Country on KSTC.TV, Channel 45.

Sunday was the coup de gras for Robertson’s staff. In the morning, WCCO Wild Sunday was on for the second time with Bob Kurtz and Tom Reid, who welcomed guest, Willie Mitchell. Later that evening, Mitchell appeared on Channel Four’s Rosen’s Sports Sunday. At the same time, Marc Chouinard and Kurtis Foster appeared on Sunday Sports Wrap on Channel Five.

Whether watching television or listening to the radio, you could always find something Wild on (and I’m not referring to the E! channel), and that solidifies January 9 through January 15 as the Best Wild Week Ever.

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