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Best Wild Week Ever

by Staff Writer / Minnesota Wild

 Welcome home Eric! More importantly, welcome to your first ever Best Wild Week Ever!
I, like you, would have preferred more than two Wild players to score goals last week. Certainly three wins would have been desired as opposed to one last week. You’ll get no argument here if that is your contention.

However, I’ll fight you tooth and nail if you dare to say that last week was not the Best Wild Week Ever. As you know, wins and losses are merely statistics. Sure, wins are fun, but they don’t socialize with us, and they obviously don’t take time out of their schedules to sign autographs or shake your hands.

That’s why, here at BWWE, we look beyond the W’s and the L’s. We look at things like public appearances from two of the newest Wild members. We focus on a Kids Club outing at the Xcel Energy Center. And, we remember Benito Juarez, who, if he were alive today, would want us all to be thankful that March 20 through March 26 was the Best Wild Week Ever!

Monday, March 20, 2006

With a 3-2 heartbreaker to the Calgary Flames the previous night, plus the loss of Todd White to a fractured left fibula, the Wild already had an uphill climb to turn this week around. In fact, the Wild brass would have to look toward the reserve list to bolster the hockey spirits around here.

That meant a phone call down to Houston, Texas to Erik Westrum, the former Apple Valley Eagle who has torn up the American Hockey League this season. “We need you in Minnesota immediately if not sooner,” said the voice on the other line.

Westrum sprinted for the nearest phone booth, shed his Aeros garb for some Wild gear, and boarded a northbound jet plane for his home state to ease the vocal cords of those who had been clamoring for his call-up to the big club.

Westrum practiced with the team on Monday afternoon. Then made a call to his parents to tell them to head over to his Eagan estate and crank up the heat since its been running at a cool 60 degrees Fahrenheit all winter.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Tuesday was the birthday of Benito Juarez, the former Mexican pioneer and president who was once proclaimed the Outstanding Patriot of the Americas for his work for civil liberties (and you thought you wouldn’t learn anything constructive here on The Wild celebrated this monumental day by finally getting a win over the Flames for the first time since Opening Night.

Westrum made his Wild debut, but it was Marian Gaborik’s franchise-record-breaking 31st and 32nd goals, and Brian Rolston’s highlight-reel breakaway goal in the second that lifted Minnesota to a 3-1 win. Most impressively, Jarome Iginla, who has somewhere near 334 career goals against the Wild, was held without a point on the night.

To that, I say, “Feliz Cumpleanos Senor Juarez! ¡Esto es la mejor semana Wild jamás!”

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Wild didn’t get to celebrate a win over the Flames for very long. They immediately boarded a southbound plane for a long night of travel to Texas, where they would face Willie Mitchell and the Dallas Stars.

Former Star Martin Skoula used the daytime to go back to his old place in Dallas to get three suitcases worth of clothes to bring back to his new place in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, he couldn’t bring a win back with him.

Gaborik and Rolston each staked the Wild to one-goal leads, which they had going into the third period. But a 5-on-3 conversion by Dallas knotted the score and the floodgates opened from there. The Stars rolled to a 4-2 win to take a 2-1 lead in the season series.

Twas a minor setback in what still has the potential for the Best Wild Week Ever.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

It was right back to work for the boys on Thursday, as the Wild held practice at the Xcel Energy Center. With only one game over the next five days, the Wild hopefully got some rest. Beginning on March 28, the Wild won’t have consecutive days off until the end of the season. It’ll be 11 games in 19 days, and that is nothing to sneeze at.
Friday, March 24, 2006

The State of Hockey’s focus shifted from the pros to the college game on Friday. The Minnesota Gophers were expected to throttle the Holy Cross Crusaders in the West Regional in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Apparently, this was the weekend of the upset, because hockey’s version of George Mason hung tough for 60 minutes, then shocked the Gophs a minute into overtime for an amazing 4-3 victory over the top-ranked team in the country.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

 When you’re a kid (like the one on the far right), wearing hockey gloves to the Xcel Energy Center is cool. If you do the same thing as an adult, you’re just plain weird.
On Saturday morning, 175 kids and their parents skipped their usual Saturday morning cartoons to head down to the Xcel Energy Center to watch the Wild practice. I know you must be thinking that Wild practices are normally closed to public, are they not?

Well, perhaps if you were a member of the Wild Kid’s Club, you’d get your chance too. The little cherubs watched the Wild morning skate before bouncing around the arena to take part in a slew of activities like interactive hockey games, face painting, a magic show, and free ice cream provided by Cass Clay. The kids even got some gift bags with trading cards, a mini Stanley Cup and a puck. Cooool!

Remember, it’s never too late to join the Kid’s Club, well, unless you’re old enough to shave. All you have to do is sign up at the Wild Kid’s Club page.

Man, being a kid is great. I long for the days where all I didn’t have a care in the world. There was nothing to worry about back then like bills, work, pollution, and a 5-1 Wild loss to the San Jose Sharks, which threatened to derail the Best Wild Week Ever.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The majority of the Wild players were back at practice on Sunday, but Manny Fernandez was not. He was given the day off to rest after starting the last nine Wild games. That meant that for the second time this year, Wild video coordinator Ian Andersen was called into emergency practice duty.

The returns were good, as every Wild player scored at least once on Andersen, and hopefully that’s the confidence boost the boys need to start putting the puck in the net again.

To round out the night, and solidify the Best Wild Week Ever, Josh Harding and Mattias Weinhandl made public appearances on behalf of Coca-Cola. Harding showed up at the Wal-Mart in Maple Grove, while Weinhandl greeted shoppers at the Wal-Mart in Shakopee.

It was a valiant effort by Weinhandl and Harding, but it was not enough to unseat the person...

…Who had the Best Wild Week Ever?

 Anthony Aiello
 Not only do you own a fancy suit Anthony, but you’re also having the Best Wild Week Ever!
Anthony Aiello. Who is Anthony Aiello you ask? Why, he’s the Wild’s fifth round pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft of course. More importantly, he’s a freshman defenseman for the Boston College Eagles, and thusly, he’ll be the lone Wild prospect at the Frozen Four in Milwaukee.

Aiello helped the Eagles to a 5-0 shutout of another Wild prospect, Ryan Jones and the Miami-Ohio Redhawks. He was then an instrumental cog in the wheel as B.C. shut out Boston University the very next night.

With the win, Aiello and the Eagles will face the red-hot Fighting Sioux of North Dakota on April 7. Best of luck to you at the Frozen Four, Anthony, but in the meantime, enjoy your status of having the Best Wild Week Ever.

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