But because I need to fill a word quota, and because you have some time you need to kill when you should be working or studying, we’re going to give you the gravy, along with recapping the two stirring Wild victories.
Plus, even though you already know that last week was the Best Wild Week Ever, you still don’t know who had the Best Wild Week Ever. Hopefully, you’ll read through the entire column instead of just skipping to the bottom to find out if it’s you.
I have complete faith you won’t skip ahead. After all, we have a timing mechanism built into our mainframe to measure how long each visitor is on a certain page. Don’t make me follow up with an email.
Now then, please hold my hand and we’ll take a walk back through the Best Wild Week Ever.
Monday, October 2, 2006
Monday is the day that kids go back to school, but 12-year-old Nick Jackson admitted he was at school physically on Monday, but probably not mentally.
“I’ve pretty much been thinking about this all day,” said Jackson on Monday night.
| Brian Rolston and his buddies from Woodbury smile after going over the Rules Enforcement Clinic in Woodbury. |
Jackson is a PeeWee hockey player in Woodbury, and he, along with several others, took part in a Standard of Player and Rules Enforcement Clinic at Bielenberg Sports Center in Woodbury. But Jackson wasn’t revved up because his coach was going to hand out a rules manual. He was gearing up to welcome Brian Rolston
, who would be the guest speaker and demonstrator.
USA Hockey and Minnesota Hockey are taking a proactive approach to educating youth players on the rules that were enforced last year in the National Hockey League. You know. No more hooking, no more holding along the boards, no more using the stick on a player…period.
While it might work to just throw a manual at a bunch of teenagers, listening to and watching demonstrations from Brian Rolston is probably going to register more effectively. Before he went through is spiel, Rolston got dressed with the kids, answered their questions and posed for a few pictures.
Ford Pendleton, another Woodbury PeeWee thought the clinic was great.
“This will help me stay out of the box,” he said.
Pendleton was then asked who his favorite Wild player is with Rolston within earshot.
“I’m not sure,” he said.
Tuesday, October 3, 2006
As tradition dictates, each Wild player puts on his finest suit, gels up the hair (or in the case of Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Pavol Demitra, shines up the ‘ol cueball) and gets his shoes shined for the Saint Paul Chamber of Commerce Face-Off luncheon. If you weren’t privy to the event, don’t feel bad. Neither was I.
But, from what I hear, broadcasters Mike Greenlay, Bob Kurtz and Dan Terhaar emceed the event, and did a bang up job from what I’m told. They introduced each Wild player, and then handed the microphone over to President and General Manager Doug Risebrough, who laid out his expectations for the highly anticipated 2006-2007 season.
The one guy that may have felt a little queasy in the stomach after lunch was goaltender Josh Harding, who found out shortly after eating that he would be starting the season with the Houston Aeros. Josh is a great kid, and a highly talented netminder who we undoubtedly have not seen the last of. But it’s probably safe to say at this point that he did not have the Best Wild Week Ever.
Finally, on the website side of things, Wild.com re-launched Wild Fantasy Hockey, the popular (and free) game that Wild fans can play on a weekly basis. All one needs to do is register; then select three forwards and three defensemen from either team playing in each Wild game.
You receive two points for a forward goal, three points for a defenseman goal and one point for an assist. And, if you missed the first week, who cares? If you get your lineups in, you have a chance to win next week, and then you’ll be an early candidate for having the Best Wild Week Ever.
Click here to register.
Wednesday, October 4, 2006
The Wild had one final tune-up for the regular season opener, but first things first. The team couldn’t go onto the Xcel Energy Center ice and face the Colorado Avalanche without a captain. Otherwise, Joe Sakic would be the only guy talking to referees as they sorted out a possible melee.
So prior to practice, the team named Brian Rolston the captain for the month of October. There wasn’t the usual ceremony involving the recipient of the “C” putting on the jersey and skating a lap around the rink.
Head coach Jacques Lemaire opted for a low-key ceremony in the locker room before practice. Following the skate, Rolston expressed his happiness to become the Wild captain for the second time since joining the team last year.
“We have a lot of leaders in this room, so it’s definitely an honor,” Rolston told the Pioneer Press. “When you get it, you do your best with it and lead by example. I’m excited to start the season.”
Wild fans should be excited too, because with Rolston leading the way, this week is shaping up to be the Best Wild Week Ever.
Thursday, October 5, 2006
| These Wild employees are way too happy to be up at 6:00 in the morning. It must be the Best Wild Week Ever. |
Thursday has to be the most underrated day of the week. Ask anybody in college. Thursday is when the weekend really starts, so the Wild got the party started at sunrise on Thursday morning and kept it going right through sundown and beyond. We know how to party on the corner of West Seventh and Kellogg.
A throng of Wild employees rolled out of bed and lined up along Kellogg Boulevard to hand out coffee, breakfast treats and other knick-knacks to passers-by on their morning commutes. There was live music and generally a lot of upbeat attitudes, which is impressive at six in the morning.
The festivities continued in the afternoon in lovely Rice Park. There was more live music, more food and drinks plus some interactive games and such.
It was all a prelude to the main event, which was the Wild’s season opener against the Colorado Avalanche. The Trencin Connection (Pavol Demitra, Marian Gaborik and Branko Radivojevic) connected twice with Radivojevic batting home a Gaborik rebound for the first goal of the year. “Radio,” as Lemaire calls him, then returned the favor and fed a perfect pass to Gaborik who converted and gave the Wild a 2-0 lead early in the second period.
Avs forward Brad Richardson, always the party pooper, tried his best to ruin our Opening Weekend by scoring two goals. But Todd White would have none of that negativity. He put a wrist shot underneath Peter Budaj in overtime and the Wild was one step closer to an 82-0-0 season, but more importantly, it was one step closer to the Best Wild Week Ever.
Friday, October 6, 2006
It was a tough day for Minnesota sports fans on Friday. Torii Hunter was called out on a phantom tag and the Twins were swept out of the playoffs by those punks in Oakland and my new least favorite baseball player, Nick Swisher, who apparently must always have a huge wad of something in his mouth. Classy guy.
Whoops! Got off on a tangent there and forgot that this is a hockey website. Well, the news wasn’t good on the Minnesota hockey front either. Apparently a pre-game speech by Nashville forward Paul Kariya and Wild defenseman Keith Carney helped boost their alma mater Maine Black Bears past the Minnesota Gophers in the United States Hall of Fame Game, 3-1.
Whose side are you on, Keith? It’s about time you started adopting the local teams.
Saturday, October 7, 2006
The 2006 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony took place at 317 Washington Street in
| Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer did not have the Best Wild Week Ever, but they did have a good time on Saturday night. |
downtown St. Paul on Saturday afternoon. Mike Milbury, Gary Gambucci and Milton (Curly) Brink were the 2006 inductees.
Gambucci and Milbury then gave the traditional “Let’s Play Hockey” declaration, which must have inspired the American contingent on the Wild roster. Mark Parrish scored his first goal in a Wild sweater. Rolston pocketed the game-winner in a highly-entertaining game that featured: 11 total goals, goaltender Niklas Backstrom’s first NHL win in his first NHL appearance, Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer getting a standing ovation, six different Wild goal scorers, five Wild power play goals and most importantly, a 6-5 win and a 2-0-0 record.
We are now 1/40th of the way to that 82-0-0 record, but with a day to spare, we’ve already captured the Best Wild Week Ever.
Sunday, October 8, 2006
Lemaire gave the boys a day off on Sunday, so how the players spent their time is really none of our business, but it’s still fun to guess. Perhaps they watched the Vikings beat the Lions. Perhaps they shopped for groceries. Perhaps they held a WCHA Fantasy Hockey Draft. What?!? Don’t act like that’s weird. I’m sure there are plenty of people involved in WCHA Fantasy Hockey! Don’t you judge me!
Let’s change the subject. I know! Let us find out…
…Who Had Best Wild Week Ever?
| Is that the Noid? Whatever it is, it’s having the Best Wild Week Ever, here at Party Central aka The State of Hockey. |
Party animals. As that annoying techno song repeatedly says, “We like to party/We like…We like to party.”
Well, it’s true here in Minnesota. With apologies to Mardi Gras and Sturgis and Super Bowl Sunday and Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, the Wild and their fans know how to do it up right.
So if you were looking for a good time last weekend, you were best served if you stayed within a five-block radius of the Xcel Energy Center for the better part of three days. There was the Caribou Coffee Wake Up Rally on Thursday morning, the pre-game rally on Thursday afternoon, a post-game concert in Headwaters by High and Mighty on Thursday night, the Hall of Fame Lunch, and another post-game concert featuring Pop Rocks on the 7th Place Park Plaza following Saturday night’s win.
Here’s another excuse to have fun tonight party animals! Y’all are having the Best Wild Week Ever!