Furthermore, if I’m looking at my schedule correctly, I’m seeing that the Wild has just 14 regular season games left on the schedule. I’d like to think there will be more, but let us not forget that here at Best Wild Week Ever, we never look too far ahead. We don’t look too far behind either. Only a week back in fact, but you should know that by now.
Last week, I’m sorry to say that the Wild failed to pull out a win in two tries. However, if you’re going to sit there and argue with me by saying it wasn’t the Best Wild Week Ever, I don’t have time for that nonsense.
The fact is, what happens on the ice in no way affects what happens off the ice. And, if you’ll sit down and recap the week that was with me, you’ll soon agree that the week of March 13 through March 19 was undoubtedly the Best Wild Week Ever.
Monday, March 13, 2006
| Happy Monday! Remember, spring is just one week away! |
Now this is how you start out the Best Wild Week Ever. Snow Day dude!
We all know that snow days are the best days of the year, and on Monday, we finally got enough of the white stuff to stay at home and put off the homework for one more day. If there’s anyone who doesn’t enjoy a snow day, I certainly don’t want to meet him or her for they would surely ruin the Best Wild Week Ever.
For the Wild, there is no such thing as a snow day. Jacques Lemaire used to tunnel uphill both ways through nine foot Montreal snow banks to get to practice, so he wasn’t going to let his team take it easy because of a few snow flakes. He had the boys right back at the Xcel Energy Center frozen water for practice the day after a 4-3 victory over Dwayne Roloson and the Edmonton Oilers.
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
For the 25th consecutive game, the Wild was playing in “the most crucial game of the year” on Tuesday night when it hosted the Oilers for the second time in three nights. The Wild was looking for its fifth straight win over the Oil, but it was not to be on this night.
That was apparent when Mattias Weinhandl appeared to have his first-ever goal in a Wild uniform in the first period, but the apparent 1-0 Wild lead was waved off because of Wes Walz’ “incidental contact with the goaltender.”
That, coupled with Edmonton scoring less than one minute later on a Chris Pronger goal, took the wind out of the Wild sails. Kurtis “Bananaz” Foster scored in the third period to cut the Edmonton lead to 2-1, but that’s how the game would end.
However, even when we lose, we win! As they were leaving the Xcel Energy Center, Wild fans were handed a special edition puck that commemorated the Greatest Wild moment in Year I, which was obviously the return of hockey to St. Paul in October of 2000.
As they say when the dealer busts, “Heevvvv-reee body wins!” Just not the Wild.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
| Brent Burns showed no mercy to any and all comers at the foosball table. |
Hump day marked the first of four straight days this week without a Wild game. So the players passed the time by playing more games of course. But they weren’t playing against NHL opponents, or even themselves. They were taking on their fans in some cutthroat games of pool, bubble hockey, air hockey and ping-pong at the St. Paul RiverCentre.
Season ticket holders who left money on their accounts through last season’s lockout (sorry to have to bring that up again) were invited to hang with the homeboys at the RC. The majority of players took it easy on the significantly younger competition, although Brent Burns was seen pumping his fists after scoring an air hockey goal against four-year-old Tina.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
While Wednesday was fun and games, Thursday was all about food and drinks at the Wild About Children event at Morton’s, The Steakhouse. With the exception of Randy Robitaille, who welcomed his bouncing baby boy Cole into the world, all the Wild players were on hand to serve dinner and spin drinks behind the bar.
| It’s going to take more than bunny ears to get Nick Schultz to spill one of those drinks. |
Walz and Brian Rolston took over the mixed drink duties and the consensus was the drinks were a bit stronger than normal. They said it was because they were going to have the rookies drive everybody home at the end of the night.
Filip Kuba and Marc Chouinard impressed everybody with their martini concoctions, but Nick Schultz earned the Morton’s MVP award after navigating through the entire restaurant with a tray full of wine glasses without spilling a drop.
Burns was not so lucky. He mistakenly spilled water on a female patron, but was able to make a getaway before she noticed who did it. It probably didn’t matter because the food was just so good, you could have dumped grape juice on the customers and they’d be happy as bears roaming a honey factory.
All the money that was raised from sold tickets and the silent auction was donated to Children’s Hospitals and Clinics. Once again, everybody wins!
Friday, March 17, 2006
Just like that, we made it to Friday as the Best Wild Week Ever keeps churning along. The Wild practiced in Minneapolis to make room for the college kids, who were taking part in the WCHA Final Five. Several Wild players were able to take in the bizarre Friday night game that featured an 8-7 overtime win for St. Cloud over Minnesota.
Two guys who were unable to attend were Foster and Chouinard. Those two upstanding young men were making public appearances in the Western suburbs. Chouinard signed autographs and posed for pictures at the Wells Fargo in Shakopee. Foster did the same type of thing at his Coca-Cola appearance inside the Pagel Ice Arena in Minnetonka.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
A bit of a surprise announcement came out of Wild camp at Saturday’s practice. Walz was awarded the captain’s “C” in mid-month for the remainder of the season. It’s not that Brian Rolston was stripped of his captaincy, but Lemaire wanted to give him a few more games with the honor since he only had it for seven contests in February.
Walz will don the “C” for the first time since December of the Wild’s inaugural season. Whether he has a letter on his chest or not, Walz is an unquestioned leader in the Wild locker room, but it’s still nice to see the “Warrior” get recognized by his head coach.
And speaking of Mr. Lemaire, he took in the Gophers third place game against the Wisconsin Badgers. Later in the evening, the North Dakota Fighting Sioux ended St. Cloud’s hope for an NCAA Tournament appearance by winning the Red Baron WCHA Final Five with a 5-3 win in the championship.
Sunday, March 19, 2006
A win against the Calgary Flames on Sunday would easily seal the deal of making this the Best Wild Week Ever. A loss? Then we would have to go to the judges.
The Wild gave all it had on Sunday, trading goals with the Northwest leaders, and dominating play for the majority of the game. The Wild outshot the Flames, 39-19, but Jarome Iginla, ever the Wild party-pooper, decided to take things into his own hands again, scoring once and assisting on Kristian Huselius’ game-winner in the third.
It was yet another one-goal loss in yet another strong Wild performance. I hate to say, but we’re going to have to go to the judges to get the results…and…yep, it’s unanimous, last week was the Best Wild Week Ever.
Who was the judge you ask? Why, it was none other than the person…
…Who had the Best Wild Week Ever?
Brad Bombardir. It was a banner week for the Wild’s community partnerships liaison, who was everywhere this week. In his position, Bombardir is in charge of getting players to appear in the community. He also serves as a Wild representative and keynote speaker at various functions.
| Despite getting mauled in air hockey, Brad Bombardir got over it when he found out he had the Best Wild Week Ever. |
With a plethora of Wild player appearances spread out over the four consecutive off days, Bombardir certainly scored an “A” in that area. In fact, give the guy an A+ since he also participated in the Morton’s and Fun and Games events.
He also served as a speaker at the WCHA Awards banquet at RiverCentre prior to the Thursday night play-in game.
To top off the greatest week of his life, his alma mater, the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux took home the Broadmoor trophy by winning the Red Baron WCHA Final Five.
Probably the biggest shocker for Bombardir was that he was able to go a full week without dealing with some type of office prank from in-studio radio host, Kevin Falness.
For a kid from Powell River, it certainly doesn’t get any bigger or better. Congratulations Brad! You can’t say your name on an airplane, but you are still having the Best Wild Week Ever.