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Best Wild Week Ever

by Staff Writer / Minnesota Wild

 
 The Wild can celebrate once again. Last week was the Best Wild Week Ever.
Do you want to know what was a great invention? The Internets.

Thanks to them, we can find out everything we need to know about the Wild, whether we live in Katmandu, Glasgow or Cape Town. In fact, if you travel to destinations like Phoenix, Nashville or Ottawa, you’re only a few clicks away from finding out about Wild current events such as: two assistant coaches signing contract extensions, four Wild players now on the NHL All Star ballot or a spectacular come-from-behind win.

It just so happens that all these things (and more) happened last week, during the Best Wild Week Ever. So, before you resume your search of dogs barking at vacuum cleaners, please do me a favor and read about the Best Wild Week Ever. Then, you can go vote for Wild players to play in the NHL All Star Game, but you can only do it via the Internets.

Monday, November 13, 2006

We always like to start out the Best Wild Week Ever with some positive news. Fortunately, that’s easy this week because on Monday, the Wild announced contract extensions for assistant coaches Mario Tremblay and Mike Ramsey. This is very good news for a variety of reasons. First off, these guys are winners and they know what they are doing, and have the respect of head coach Jacques Lemaire and the entire

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 One of these gentlemen recently signed a contract extension to remain as an assistant coach with the Wild. The other used to work for the Minnesota Twins.
team. Plus, few people are more entertaining to listen to than Tremblay, who could excite you by talking about laying down sod on his front lawn.

But, the most promising result of the extensions is that Wild Director of Events and Promotions and former Twins employee Wayne Petersen, will be able to recycle his Mike Ramsey Halloween Costume for another few years at least.

Look at that photo! This will cause you to think twice about any public appearance that Ramsey makes. There’s a good chance we might just insert Petersen in there to take his place. Even the most ardent Wild fans would be none-the-wiser.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

On Tuesday night, Wild fans packed themselves into Buffalo Wild Wings in Blaine for a viewing party during yet another road game in Phoenix.

After 21 minutes of action, a plate full of 18 Teriyaki wings and a couple wheat-flavored beverages, things were looking good for these party people. Pavol Demitra and Mark Parrish had put the Wild up 2-0 early in the second, but those party-pooping Coyotes responded with two goals.

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 The stupid Coyotes will not prevent these guys from having the Best Wild Week Ever.
And even after Wes Walz scored to give the Wild a one-goal in the third period, the Yotes lived up to their no fun allowed rule and scored two late goals.

The 4-3 loss could very well put a damper on this week, which I’m sure is how those nerdy Coyotes would want it. The only thing that might help is some type of miraculous comeback on Thursday night. We’ll see.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

On Wednesday, Wild fans could officially start voting early and often for their favorite players to represent the Western Conference at the 2007 NHL All Star Game in Dallas. Now, I’m not one for telling folks to copy me and to do what I do. You’re your own man, woman or child.

However, if there’s one bit of advice I’d like for you to accept from yours truly, it’s to make a few daily visits to the NHL.com voting page to push for Pavol Demitra, Manny Fernandez, Marian Gaborik and Brian Rolston to play in the showcase. We all know they deserve it, and quite frankly, I can’t think of any reasons why you wouldn’t want to vote for them.

I’ll even make it easy for you by providing the link right here.

There. You don’t have to register at any precinct, you don’t have to punch out any chads, and you certainly don’t have to watch any attack ads. Just stuff the ballots for your Minnesota Wild and you’ll feel like you made a difference.
 
Thursday, November 16, 2006

Now this is what I’m talking about. Thursday’s amazing 7-6 come-from-behind shootout victory in Nashville is exactly why a column like this was created. As far as regular season games go, this one was a doozy and a half!

The Wild has had its share of struggles in Nashville, and many previous Best Wild Weeks Ever have been tainted due to some ugly results at the Gaylord Entertainment Center. Even I, the sunshine on a cloudy day, was mildly skeptical when the Wild trailed 6-3 late in the second period. Fortunately, I am not a Wild player, coach, trainer and/or adviser. I’m merely a lowly writer who was as enthralled as everyone else with what transpired after the Preds took the aforementioned 6-3 lead.

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 Pavol Demitra’s shootout goal helped complete a shocking comeback for the Wild.
Late in the second, Stephane Veilleux put one through the legs of Chris Mason, who had made some unbelievable saves throughout the game. In the third, Mark Parrish spotted an open Demitra on the power play, and the Slovakian sniper buried that one to close the gap to 6-5. If you’re a Wild fan, you know that Minnesota has never lost when scoring at least five goals, and they wouldn’t on this night either. Brent Burns converted with 8:21 to play in the third, and that was just the beginning of the excitement.

Niklas Backstrom was stellar in goal, especially in overtime when he repeatedly thwarted Nashville scoring attempts, which included two Paul Kariya breakaways. With 38 seconds left, Kariya was pulled down on another breakaway and was awarded a penalty shot. He put that one off the post.

That set up a shootout, which of course went into sudden death and included its share of zaniness. In the third round, Martin Erat put one past Backstrom, but after a lengthy review, it was correctly determined that Backstrom had poke checked the puck backward before Erat’s skate kicked it forward again.

After the delay, Rolston calmly slid one underneath Mason and Backstrom stuffed Josef Vasicek and the improbable comeback was complete.

That’s how you do it in the Best Wild Week Ever.
 

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 These Rosemount Irish were plenty happy to invade enemy Minnetonka territory in order to meet Doug Risebrough.
Friday, November 17, 2006

After 10 days on the road, the Wild was finally back in the comfy confines of the Xcel Energy Center for practice. The boys were tired and just wanted to be at home with their families, so their fearless leader, Doug Risebrough, took it upon himself to fill in as the featured guest for “Call of the Wild” at Total Hockey in Minnetonka.

The show will air on Saturday, November 25 on ESPN 2 at 10:30 AM. But I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll let you see a few photos from the event, and all you have to do is click here.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Lemaire admitted to being wary of his team coming out flat for Saturday’s home game against the Colorado Avalanche. As he pointed out, teams often lack enthusiasm and focus after a long trip and a day at home with the fam. But that won’t happen with this team, and certainly not during the Best Wild Week Ever.

The Wild played a great game in a tight-checking affair with the Avs. After a relentless effort for 55 minutes, Mikko Koivu finally solved Peter Budaj with a power play tip-in goal. That started a raucous celebration in the Xcel Energy Center, but the roaring was eventually distinguished when Colorado won the shootout, 2-1.

Of course, that all happened after the Wild had salvaged a point and solidified the Best Wild Week Ever.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Wouldn’t you know? Sunday was another travel day for the Wild players, who didn’t even have time to unload their toiletry bags. The destination: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and the northern nation’s capital.

In the afternoon, I feel asleep on the davenport and had a dream that the Minnesota Vikings lost to a football team quarterbacked by Joey Harrington. Some of my co-workers said they had the same dream. Weird.

That’s not all folks. Before you skedaddle to watch the Wild take on the Sens, please go home with the knowledge of…

…Who Had Best Wild Week Ever?

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 Back up y’all! Make way for Niklas Backstrom, who is having the Best Wild Week Ever!
Niklas Backstrom. Backup Backstrom was unusually busy last week, but as fans of the Finnish League will tell you, his performance was anything but unusual. The two-time Finnish League champion was spectacular in relief of Manny Fernandez on Thursday. After giving up a goal on the first shot he faced, he put his net under lock and key the rest of the way. He finished the night with 24 saves in 31 minutes as he bagged his third win in his third relief appearance.

Backstrom’s brilliance earned him the starting nod on Saturday, and although he eventually lost in a shootout, his performance was not diminished. He finished the game with 30 saves.

In the year of Fernandez, Backstrom will always be able to say he owned a week, and it was the Best Wild Week Ever.

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