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Best Wild Week Ever

by Staff Writer / Minnesota Wild

 
 Sorry Dan Cloutier, but you ran into the Wild during the Best Wild Week Ever.
If you’re using quick math that you learned at North Branch high school, you’re going to have trouble calculating how last week was the Best Wild Week Ever. Most likely, you’ll look at three wins in three tries the previous week compared to two wins and one loss this week. Given that evidence, you’ll surmise that October 16 through October 22 couldn’t possibly be the Best Wild Week Ever.

Here at BWWE, we use a formula that they don’t teach in the public schools. Our process involves long division, some Algebra IA, some algorithms and a lot of “fuzzy” math. It’s really a hybrid, but it is surprisingly accurate.

For example, it is able to figure in player appearances by Mark Parrish, Brent Burns and Pierre-Marc Bouchard. It also takes into account that the one Wild loss in the week was actually one of the best performances by the Minnesota Wild all season.

If you need to check our work, please read our scratch piece of paper, which will chronicle how we arrived at the Best Wild Week Ever.

Monday, October 16, 2006

We’re pretty sure that Wild left wing Mark Parrish has given up sleep cold turkey. He just practices, plays games, and makes public appearances around town. Darby Hendrickson better watch out, because Parrish is heading full bore toward earning the new distinction as “The Governor.”

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 Brent Burns autographs a baby at Best Buy. We see nothing wrong with this.
Parrish shook more hands and kissed more babies at a Coca-Cola appearance, which followed a Coca-Cola appearance and a stint on Rosen’s Sports Sunday the previous day. Monday’s event was held at the St. Anthony Wal-Mart, and Parrish greeted a line of fans that practically stretched to Willmar, Minnesota.

What a coincidence! Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Brent Burns made the pilgrimage out to Willmar to appear at the local Best Buy. Riding in a limousine certainly made the two-hour ride luxurious, but the obscene traffic caused Butchie and Burnzie to arrive 30 minutes late. They made it up to the 250 Wild fans by staying an extra hour. Before leaving, Burns used his brand new Best Buy Gift Card to purchase “Click” starring Adam Sandler. The crew watched that on the way home in between repeated “refueling” stops for Burns to chow more food.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Most of the team boarded an air vessel on Tuesday and pointed it west toward California for the first road trip of the season. Two more players joined the team later in the day via a flight from Houston, Texas.

Wyatt Smith and Matt Foy became the first call-ups from the Houston Aeros this year to compensate for recent injuries to Pascal Dupuis, Mattias Weinhandl and Wes Walz. Smith and Foy had been playing for a team that had yet to win a game all season. They joined a team that had yet to lose all season. That’s one way to immerse oneself in the Best Wild Week Ever – get called up.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Wild made its road debut on Wednesday, looking to pick up its sixth win in six tries. By golly, they got it, thanks in no small part to a brilliant display by Manny Fernandez and his 34 saves. Brian Rolston staked Minnesota to a 1-0 lead midway through the first, flipping a loose puck into the net after a scramble in front. Former Wild prospect Patrick O’Sullivan tied the score with 1:34 to play in the first, and that’s what the score remained through regulation.

Just 25 seconds into overtime, Pavol Demitra found Marian Gaborik cutting to the net, and a quick sweep of the stick moved the Wild to 6-0-0, despite an effort that was bemoaned by players and coaches alike.

Do you want a sure sign that you’re halfway through the Best Wild Week Ever? Sure you do. When coaches and players are angry after a win, you’re well on your way.
 
Thursday, October 19, 2006

The team found itself in the O.C. on Thursday, but the steamy teenage drama was lacking. Instead, the team practiced at the Honda Center, and Stephane Veilleux was seen later in the afternoon returning from the Best Buy across the street from the team’s hotel with a slew of PSP games in tow.
 
Friday, October 20, 2006

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 Manny Fernandez was stellar, but it wasn’t good enough to defeat the Ducks on Friday.
The Wild turned in what was arguably its best performance of the season on Friday night against the Anaheim Ducks. Sure enough, the team lost. According to Wes Walz, who sat out with a hip flexor injury, the game featured a “playoff atmosphere.” Head coach Jacques Lemaire praised the effort from his team, which faced a team with two of the best defensemen in the game – Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger.

All of the scoring occurred in the second period. Anaheim jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Niedermayer and former Wild captain Sean O’Donnell. Pierre-Marc Bouchard answered back with his first goal of the season, but the heavily padded Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped all 11 Minnesota shots in the third period to send the Wild to its first loss of the season.

Dampening the mood was the news that Gaborik strained his groin, which threatened to derail the Best Wild Week Ever, but a win on Saturday would assuage that grief I’m quite certain.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Hockey players need their sleep. They play at night, and it takes hours after a game to come down from the adrenaline coursing through the veins. At least, that’s what I’ve been told. I seem to recall sleeping like a baby on the car rides home from my Mite games, but times have changed.

But early on Saturday morning, the Wild players were forced out of bed by alarm clocks and wake-up calls. The team had to catch an early flight to San Jose due to a flight curfew the previous night.

The team shook off the jet lag and fatigue for one more road game against the Sharks. Even without Gaborik, the Wild thumped the Sharks with four straight goals. Veilleux and Walz each picked up their first goals of the season, and both added an assist on each other’s goals. Parrish and Rolston also scored, and Fernandez was once again “Da Manny!” (sorry). He stopped 31 San Jose shots in a 4-1 victory, and he’s a legitimate candidate to have the Best Wild Week Ever.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Wild returned home on Sunday afternoon, and was given the day off from practice. Gaborik headed to the clinic to undergo an MRI to determine the severity of his groin strain.

While thinking about an injury to a star player is not how you want to end the week, it certainly doesn’t deter Monday, October 16 through Sunday, October 22 from earning the distinction as the Best Wild Week Ever. It just assures us that Marian is not the person…

…Who Had Best Wild Week Ever?

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 Wes Walz dons the hat awarded to the person who is having the Best Wild Week Ever.
Wes Walz. The Wild’s version of a courageous lion only played one game last week because of a hip flexor injury. But Walz’ return was a banner day from the Wild original. In the second period of Saturday’s 4-1 win, he tipped a Nick Schultz past Evgeni Nabokov for his 100th career goal.

Plenty of players have scored 100 career goals, but it’s still nothing to sneeze at. Walz, who spent four years playing in Switzerland prior to joining the Wild in 2000 definitely was proud. He told Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press, “Before I went over to Europe six years ago, I never thought that number was attainable, let alone another game in the NHL. I don’t care what anybody says. Guys can downplay it, but one hundred’s a special number.”

Here at BWWE, we listen to Wes Walz because he’s a leader. We will not downplay it, and we don’t care what anybody says about Wes Walz having the Best Wild Week Ever.

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