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Best Wild Week Ever

by Staff Writer / Minnesota Wild

 Branko looks happy, but all Butch can think about is scoring four more points.
Can you believe that 2007 is already 2% over?

It just goes to show that time flies when you’re having the Best Wild Week Ever, and the first full week of 2007 was undoubtedly that. Forget the fact that the Wild will not stay undefeated in the new year, because there is so much more to the week than one regulation loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. There was a pummeling of Atlanta, a slew of player appearances, and the return of that special somebody in a number 10 sweater.

That’s not to say we don’t care about winning here at BWWE. As you read later, you’ll learn that it’s all about winning. After all, a great athlete once said, “If you’re not first, you’re last! You know what I’m saying?”

So please, be the first to join me and recap last week, or, as it is now known in State of Hockey circles, the Best Wild Week Ever.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

The Wild wasted no time showing that 2007 is our year. It’s our time to shine. The Atlanta Thrashers? They can go back to 2006, because they certainly weren’t prepared for the shellacking that awaited them in the New Year.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard went nuts, and when a 5-foot-10 bald man goes crazy, it’s best to be with him than against him. He buried two goals, and assisted on two others. Mark Parrish, who if you didn’t know, is from Bloomington, scored two more times. Just for good measure, Brian Rolston hummed a slapper in to open the scoring for his 21st tally of the season.

Only Jon Sim’s goal with 23 seconds left prevented a 14-save shutout for Manny Fernandez, but at BWWE, we’re big proponents of the cliché, “a win is a win.” We think Mr. Fernandez would agree, unless he has shutout incentives in his contract. We wouldn’t know. Terms of Wild contracts are not disclosed.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

 As this Wild fan points out, not everybody in Wisconsin wears a yellow foam triangle on their head.
You couldn’t go anywhere on Wednesday without running into a Wild player somewhere in the Metro area, and even in the state immediately to the East. He might have pumped your gas at the fueling station. You may have seen him walking two Dobermans, a poodle, a German Shepherd, two golden retrievers and a foxhound around Lake Phalen. He may have even delivered your milk.

If you did some banking in the afternoon, you probably ran into Petteri Nummelin, Derek Boogaard, Kurtis Foster or Wyatt Smith at a local Wells Fargo location. Nummelin was in Richfield. Boogaard hit up Crystal. Foster turned up in Maple Grove. And Smith got some free checking at Golden Valley.

Meanwhile, Todd White and Kim Johnsson were the featured guests for Hockey Unplugged at Joe Sensor’s in Bloomington.

Finally, Call of the Wild went national when Wes Walz appeared for the taping at JW Kalidas in Hudson, Wisconsin. The show played to a full house with fans from New Richmond, River Falls and Ellsworth, but some came from as far away as Cumberland, which is about a two-hour trek in the family truckster.

Never discount the love of the Wild among the cheeseheads. Their football team might stink, but they’re welcome at our rinks anytime.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Another unfamiliar foe arrived at the Xcel Energy Center on Thursday in the form of the Tampa Bay Lightning. A familiar player did accompany the 2004 Stanley Cup champions. Defenseman Filip Kuba played his first game against the team he spent five seasons with. Kuba and his team laughed all the way back to Busch Gardens after eeking out a 3-2 win, despite a ferocious rally by the Wild, and its fans. Goals by Mark Parrish and Pavol Demitra were not enough to overcome Marc Denis and the goal post to his right. Parrish’s wrist shot in the closing minutes hit the pipe, but it may have been a blessing when you consider how loud the building already was at that point. If his shot had gone in, all of the arena’s windows facing West Seventh could have easily shattered on passers by.

The home win streak was cooked at eight, but nevertheless, the Best Wild Week Ever was still ripe for the picking with three days left.
Friday, January 5, 2007

 You know you want one. Why not stop down to Wendys, enjoy this tasty treat, and support Minnesota Hockey.
I was always told that the best cure for coming off a loss is to gorge on delicious burgers. The best place to do that is Wendy’s, and wouldn’t you know that on Friday, it was announced that Wendy’s now features a Minnesota Wild Bacon Cheeseburger with hot and smoky southwest pepper sauce. Look at that photo! Sans vegetarians, is there anyone that can look at that photo and not dream of biting into a mouth-watering, spicy burger with the Minnesota Wild name attached to it?

Even better, every time someone purchases a Minnesota Wild Bacon Cheeseburger, $.25 is donated to the Hockey Education Program of Minnesota Hockey. Plus, Wendy’s has also launched the Wild Gameday Sweepstakes at Minnesota and Wisconsin locations. Youth teams can enter to win 30 tickets to a Wild game, as well as the opportunity to play an on-ice intermission game.

Let’s hope the winning team has someone as cute as Chance, the kid who was interviewed following the Old Dutch Little Chippers game on Saturday. Click here to see the video.
Saturday, January 6, 2007

Speaking of Saturday, it was the long-awaited return of Marian Gaborik on that fateful day. Gabby returned from a 34-game hiatus to face the Colorado Avalanche, and he was even more excited to play at Xcel than his buddy, Chance. He was held off the score sheet, but Mikko Koivu was not. He reached double digits with his 10th of the season to give the Wild a lead. Chronic party pooper Kyle Cumiskey tied things up in the second, and that was enough to force a shootout.

The Wild doesn’t lose in shootouts, except on Saturday. Koivu and Rolston inexplicably missed their shots, and Bouchard rang one off the crossbar in the fourth round. Those kinds of things normally don’t happen in the Best Wild Week Ever, but having Gaborik is reason enough to celebrate the one point that came out of Saturday’s shootout loss.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

 Don’t be bringing that weak stuff in here. Kurtis Foster will own you in air hockey.
A 1-1-1 record on the week meant that we needed something big on Sunday. And, quite frankly, it doesn’t get much bigger than a Winter Bash for Season Ticket Holders on the floor of the Xcel Energy Center.

All but two Wild players were in attendance for the event, which benefited the Special Olympics. The players took on their fans in Bubble Hockey, Air Hockey and foosball, and also signed autographs and just had a good time. That’s what we do here at BWWE. We just have a good time.

The two absent players were Gaborik and Parrish, but don’t worry. They were earning their keep for the non-season ticket holders by appearing at Cub Foods locations on the East Side. Gaborik signed autographs at the Stillwater Cub Foods, while Parrish was in Hastings.

…Who Had The Best Wild Week Ever?

 If Derek Boogaard is taking care of your kids, you know you’re in good hands, and in the middle of the Best Wild Week Ever.
Season Ticket Holders. For Season Ticket Holders, it’s about wins. So I had to think they liked what they saw in Kurtis Foster (who had the Best Wild Week Ever last week). Kurtis Foster played to win at the Winter Bash. He went 10-0-0 air hockey, not letting anybody have a chance.

He even trash-talked my four-year-old niece, and you know what? I don’t blame him. She needs to learn that life isn’t fair, and the Best Wild Week Ever is about winning…at all costs!

The Season Ticket Holders were the real winners though, because they got the chance to play games and get up close and personal with the players. Engaging in a little competition is a bit more meaningful than walking through an autograph line.

Add on three home games, a recent eight game home winning streak and the return of Gaborik, and there’s no doubt that Season Ticket Holders had the Best Wild Week Ever.

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