I’d be happy to show up on “Meet the Press” with Tim Russert and argue with all comers that last week was the Best Wild Week Ever, and I’ll have evidence to back it up.
I’ll point to three victories, zero losses, an undefeated overall record, one re-signed coach, Manny Fernandez posting a 0.95 goals against average, Brian Rolston being everywhere on the ice, and Mark Parrish being everywhere in the community.
Those are the issues folks. We can’t ignore them. We must form a healthy dialogue about them. WE MUST RECAP THE BEST WILD WEEK EVER! (Congregation rises to a thundering ovation as I flash the Peace sign).
Monday, October 9, 2006
Monday was an EBay fanatic’s ultimate fantasy at the Xcel Energy Center. Two auxiliary locker rooms at the arena were filled with Wild jerseys, sticks, pucks and photos, which were to be signed by each member of the team following Monday’s practice.
The proceeds from these items could generate could enough money to pay for an entire smear ad campaign for a local politician. But that would be missing the point. These items are given to those deserving of them, like corporate partners, local charities or Wild.com Fantasy Hockey winners like Kevin Borstelmann, who won a game program autographed by Wes Walz.
Way to go Kevin! You’re the leading candidate for having the Best Wild Week Ever after one day.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Going into Tuesday, the Wild had won two highly entertaining, free-flowing, fire wagon hockey games against Colorado and Nashville. That all changed on Tuesday when those trapping Vancouver Canucks came into town with their suffocating defense and heavy reliance on goaltending. Does it sound like I’m complaining? Sorry, I just pulled a post off the Wild message boards from a Vancouver Canuck fan last year and changed the teams around.
It is possible to win games even when a team clogs up the neutral zone against the high-powered Wild attack. You just need to get some friendly bounces, like a Brian Rolston attempted pass in the third period that bounces off the skate of Vancouver defenseman Lukas Krajicek, and into the net.
Then, all you need to do is have Manny Fernandez hold the fort and force a shootout where you can send guys like Pavol Demitra, Mikko Koivu, Brian Rolston (who missed) and Petteri Nummelin to shoot. A quick Demitra shot to the stick side, an unstoppable Koivu backhand flip and a Nummelin backhand deke move and you’ve got yourself a shootout win.
You’ve also got a 3-0-0 record and a great start to the Best Wild Week Ever.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
| Brian Rolston and Mark Parrish were the season’s first victims for Wild Hockey Unplugged. |
The Wild won its first three games, but a season can’t truly begin until the first Hockey Unplugged takes place. Jimmy’s Food & Drink in White Bear Lake was the site. Kevin Falness was the host. And a couple of big names in Brian Rolston and Mark Parrish were the headliners for the event.
As per usual, Falness fired off a few questions at the players followed by some fans asking more pressing questions, like the little guy who asked Brian Rolston if the Wild would win tomorrow night.
Note: Rolston said yes, marking the first time a Wild player has ever guaranteed victory. Let’s hope he’s right.
The night also featured some prizes and an autograph session. But of course, the highlight of every Hockey Unplugged is the friendly banter between the jovial host and the players.
For example, Falness inserted a trivia question, which was read by Parrish and went something like this:
“Three players scored in the shootout last night. Who was the only one to fail?”
But it’s all in good fun, and Rolston is certainly a good sport. He reminded Falness that he makes way more money than him. Actually he didn’t, but he could have and it would have been a valid point.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Perhaps in years past, and in weeks that could in no way compete with this one as the Best Wild Week Ever, a visit from an NHL superstar like Alexander Ovechkin would be the reason to take in a Wild game.
Those days are gone, thankfully, and the main attraction these days is the Wild team, which was looking to move to 4-0-0 against the aforementioned Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.
The Caps traded goals with Kim Johnsson for a couple periods, and the score after regulation was tied at deuces. Manny Fernandez took over from there, robbing Ovechkin with less than a minute to play in overtime. Then, he turned aside all three Washington attempts in the shootout.
Mr. Shootout himself, Mikko Koivu threw everybody for a loop by going to the forehand on his shot, and his goal was all the Wild needed to move to 4-0-0 and just inches away from the Best Wild Week Ever.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Even when you’re five days deep in the Best Wild Week Ever, not every news item is going to be considered wonderful. For example, Pascal Dupuis found out that he’d be forced to sit out the next four to six weeks with a ligament sprain in his left knee.
That’s not good news, but hey, nobody ever claimed that the Best Wild Week Ever was going to be without a few casualties here and there. Pascal told reporters he’ll be back in three weeks, and that’s the kind of optimism that we encourage, nay, DEMAND here at BWWE.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
| These Wild fans are messin’ with Sasquatch, but so far, are still in one piece. |
Okay, we get it guys. Unlike last year, you can win one-goal games this season. Can you please give all of our tickers a break for just one night and lay a pasting on one of these teams?
Perfect. A 5-0 victory to move to 5-0-0 is just what the doctor ordered, and now we can celebrate with a big plate of Cheesy Bacon Fries with Sour Cream and some chocolate malts.
The Wild overcame a sluggish first period against the Columbus Blue Jackets thanks to a late goal by Brian Rolston. When the second period started, it was all Wild. Keith Carney scored his first goal in a Wild uniform. Marian Gaborik got into the action with a power play goal off a feed from his buddy, Pavol. Mikko Koivu put home a pretty two-on-one dish from Stephane Veilleux. Rolston capped it off with his second goal of the game and Manny Fernandez came away with his first shutout of the season.
Even Sasquatch, who was taking in his first Wild game, was thoroughly impressed with the club’s performance.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Everybody got the day off on Sunday, except for Mark Parrish who was all over the map. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Vikings were on a bye week, and that allowed Parrish to visit his hometown of Bloomington for the Grand Opening of the new Festival Foods. Parrish signed autographs for his adoring fans, and then he did an interview on-site with the folks from KARE 11.
He must have gone straight from the grocery store to the WCCO studios for Rosen’s Sports Sunday. He was the featured guest, and sure enough, he was wearing the same Team USA track jacket that he had on at Festival Foods!
Mark, don’t worry about it. You don’t have to dress up to make this the Best Wild Week Ever. You just need to play your heart out for the man…
…Who Had Best Wild Week Ever?
| The gum just tastes a little better when you’re undefeated and having the Best Wild Week Ever. |
Jacques Lemaire. Lemaire has won, like 45 Stanley Cups in his lifetime. He’s also married with kids, and grandkids. No doubt he’s had some great times in his life, but has he ever had the Best Wild Week Ever?
He has now.
Lemaire inked an extension on Wednesday to remain the Wild’s head coach after this season and beyond. Lemaire addressed the media following Wednesday’s practice and discussed how much he likes coaching in Minnesota, how much he enjoys working with the current players and how he wants to be a part of the next run of accomplishments that this team has.
Not only did he sign an extension, but he also coached his team to three wins in the week, and a 5-0-0 record overall.
That left little doubt that Mr. Lemaire had the Best Wild Week Ever.