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Best Wild Week Ever

by Staff Writer / Minnesota Wild

 Marian Gaborik celebrated his goal that introduced the new Wild goal song.
Preseason schmeeseason. That’s what we have to say about that. The Wild wrapped up the six-game preseason schedule last week, going 1-2-0 to finish up at 3-3-0.

Now it’s onto the games that count for something, but just because the Wild is still 0-0-0 with zero points, does not mean that last week wasn’t the Best Wild Week Ever.

Case in point: A tryout player earned a contract through hard work and grit. St. Paul and Xcel Energy Center landed a major political convention in 2008. And, our friendly neighborhood baseball team won its fourth division title in five years.

You add all that up along with a few other variables, subtract a couple meaningless preseason losses, and that’s a formula for the Best Wild Week Ever. Continue reading for further evidence.

Monday, September 25, 2006

I already had doubts about this week evolving into the BWWE, because my Fantasy Football team stinks. It’s possible that you don’t care, although I don’t know why you wouldn’t. Still, I won’t bore you with my football managerial ineptitude.

Instead, I’ll liven things up by talking about television broadcast naming rights. The channel formerly known as the Outdoor Life Network (OLN), officially changed its name to Versus (Vs.) as it positions itself as a player in the national sporting scene. That means the Wild’s game against the Sharks on November 29 can be seen on Vs.

It might not blow you away, but it certainly is a baby step toward making this the Best Wild Week Ever.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Wild practiced at the Xcel Energy Center Tuesday morning, followed by a flight to Detroit, home of the 2006 Major League Wild Card champion Tigers.

I guess the biggest news of the day was the release of the new Weird Al Yankovic album; “Straight Outta Lynwood” was released. The Grammy race is on!

Oh wait, I almost forgot. The Republicans announced their choice of the Xcel Energy Center as the host site for the 2008 Republican National Convention. Regardless of your political standing, the convention should bring in some greenbacks to the local economy, and I think we can all be happy about generating some bucks…especially Republicans.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

 Joel Ward won’t start the year with the Wild, but his impressive camp might give him a shot early in the 2006-07 season.
Hard work does not go unnoticed in these parts, and it often times goes rewarded, as was the case on Wednesday for Joel Ward. The workhorse power forward that began Wild training camp two weeks prior as a tryout player, found himself as one of the few hopefuls remaining at camp. He also found himself with pen in hand and a professional contract in front of him.

With a flick of the wrist and a flash of said pen, he joined the Wild family, and whether or not he starts the season in Houston or in Minnesota, he certainly opened some eyes of Wild coaches and may have earned himself a call up to the big club should one be needed this year.

Later on Wednesday, the Wild sans Ward and a few others let one get away in Detroit. Minnesota held three different leads thanks to goals from Pascal Dupuis, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Mikko Koivu. But the Red Wings rattled off four goals in the third period to win, 5-3.

Good for the Wings, but I hope they know that it doesn’t really matter. After all, it is just preseason and an exhibition loss isn’t going to take away from the Best Wild Week Ever.
Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Wild wrapped up a three-game road swing with a nice, solid win over the St. Louis Blues. The power play accounted for three of the four goals in the 4-2 Minnesota victory, and the flying Finns (Mikko Koivu, Petteri Nummelin and Niklas Backstrom) were, as the Guinness guys would say, “BRILLIANT!"

Koivu tallied a pair of goals and assisted on another. Nummelin continued to impress on the power play and set up Brian Rolston’s goal in the third. And Backstrom, playing his first game in North America, stopped 26 of 28 shots.

That’s an impressive night for the Finns, and don’t you try and tell these Scandinavians that it’s just another preseason game, because a win is a win no matter where you’re from.
Friday, September 29, 2006

The team was afforded some time to sleep in on Friday after returning late from St. Louis late Thursday night. The Wild held an afternoon practice, in which head coach Jacques Lemaire proclaimed that the lineup he starts in the preseason finale would be very close to the lineup we’ll see on the Xcel Energy Center ice sheet on October 5.

As for off-ice news, the Wild’s parent company, Minnesota Sports & Entertainment, named Tom Garrity the vice president of minor league properties. That basically means he runs the show for the Houston Aeros and the Minnesota Swarm, and he keeps things loose at 317 on Washington Street with his witty humor and Johnny Cash-like outfits.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Saturday was a tough day for two Wild hopefuls in defenseman Shawn Belle and center Wyatt Smith, the Minnesota kid, who were sent down to the Houston Aeros as the big club’s roster was trimmed. The night proved even tougher for the remaining 26 players on the Wild roster, who were pushed around by the preseason juggernaut Chicago Blackhawks.

It was the status quo for Gaborik, who scored his requisite goal and debuted the new Xcel Energy Center goal song (Crowd Chant by Joe Satriani), but that was all there was to cheer about other than the fact that

 It was a big day Sunday for Joe Mauer. He won the American League batting title, and his team was a part of the Best Wild Week Ever.
it was just a preseason game, which doesn’t really count for anything. Remember?

Sunday, October 1, 2006

The Wild, the Vikings, the Timberwolves, the Swarm, the Lynx, the Gophers, the Vixen, the Saints all took a backseat to the Twins on Sunday. The division champs were an inspiration to all of the local teams this summer, and we know they made one Wild power forward from Bloomington very happy. We’re also happy that games one, two and three will not coincide with Wild games this week, and hopefully that will be as many games as the Piranhas will need.

What else can be said about that baseball team on the other side of the river under the building with the baseball-colored roof? It was a great week for the Dome, but surprisingly the Metrodome didn’t have the Best Wild Week Ever. Do you know who, or rather…

What Had Best Wild Week Ever?

 It’s been six years, and the Xcel Energy Center has finally earned itself the honor of having the Best Wild Week Ever.
The Xcel Energy Center. You might have thought six years after its introduction into the sports and entertainment venue that the novelty of the Xcel Energy Center might have worn off by now. But you would have thought wrong. The accolades for the beautiful structure on Kellogg and West Seventh just keep rolling in.

The Republicans picked Xcel for its big convention in 2008, when they will announce their candidate for president.

Then, just days later, Sports Illustrated, a national publication which focuses mainly on sports, named the Wild’s home base as the top National Hockey League Arena.

You can almost see the smile among the windows on the West Seventh Street side as you drive by. And how can you blame it. The Xcel Energy Center had the Best Wild Week Ever!

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