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The Official Site of the Minnesota Wild

Best Wild Week Ever

by Staff Writer / Minnesota Wild

 Bloomington native Mark Parrish can tell Stephane Veilleux and Mikko Koivu what hockey means to Minnesotans. He can also give Koivu directions to Coon Rapids.
There are brief moments when even the most positive Best Wild Week Ever staff member might wonder why he or she lives in the great state of Minnesota.

Shoveling an entire driveway only to watch a snowplow create a two-foot high snow bank mixed with ice and mud that creates a wall at the foot of said driveway. Or, anytime the Super Bowl is played and we realize our team is about 20 years away from big things. Or, when you come home from work and you forget to take your shoes off and your wife screams because you just tracked…um, sorry, I should leave my personal life out of the Best Wild Week Ever.

My point is this: for every few minutes spent scraping ice off the windshield, there are hours like those given to us on Saturday by FSN North. It’s those hours spent watching, or better yet, playing hockey.

Minnesota possesses such a rich hockey tradition, that nobody here at BWWE can fathom a better place to live. So you can have your sand, cacti and Gila monsters Arizona. We’ll even give you our national anthem singer. We’ll take our frozen ponds, our state hockey tournaments, our five Division I college teams and our hot dish, and we’ll be just fine. After all, we just finished 11 straight hours of hockey to wrap up the Best Wild Week Ever.

All you did was golf and sit by the pool.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Coming off a week that featured three straight road wins, the Minnesota Wild soldiers knew that they would have their work cut out to improve an even more important streak – 13 consecutive Best Wild Weeks Ever, which dates back to the beginning of the season.

Despite the fact that Monday was Martin Luther King Day, the Wild was right back to work in an effort to ensure seven days of hockey bliss. The mail stops on MLK day. The Wild does not.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Edmonton Oilers made their first visit to the Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday, and let’s just say they were not in the mood for a friendly visit. The Oilers were anything but courteous guests in our house. Not only did they leave with two points, but also they pushed us around, and never thanked us for the

 The Edmonton Oilers may have been in a bad mood last week, but the same can’t be said for these cherubs.

Despite a first period from Hades, when five different Wild players were injured, the Wild played very well. The only problem was Dwayne Roloson was even better. He only let in one goal by former teammate Wes Walz, and he shut the door the rest of the way.

We choose to ignore the foul mood of outsiders like the Edmonton Oilers, because we know a Best Wild Week Ever is still possible after one loss. However, there is some serious work to do in the remaining 576 hours.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Getting out and about in this great state is always a great place to start when looking to rebound from a loss. Interacting with Minnesotans just makes players feel better, and with so many injuries on Tuesday, a lot of guys needed to feel better. A total of seven Wild players tooled around town on Wednesday – the day of days when it comes to Wild player appearances.

Todd White was originally slated to appear at the taping of Call of the Wild, but he was one of the injured souls on Tuesday night. Wyatt Smith, who is used to call ups, got one more, and he came through as a last-minute sub, and was superb in his COTW debut.

Four other players – Mikko Koivu, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Stephane Veilleux and Niklas Backstrom – made appearances at Wells Fargo locations throughout the Twin Cities area. There was one minor hiccup, when Koivu called media relations guru Aaron Sickman five minutes prior to his appearance because he couldn’t find the Coon Rapids Wells Fargo location. The only problem was that he was looking for it in downtown Minneapolis.

Through the miracle of cell phones, Koivu was given proper directions and eventually made it to Coon Rapids to meet his adoring fans.

The coup de gras on Wednesday was Hockey Unplugged at Carbone’s Pizza Bar and Grill featuring Manny Fernandez and Brent Burns. The venue was completely packed for Manny and Brent, who kept the crowd laughing with tales of Burns’ pet python who repeatedly hides somewhere within his Woodbury condo.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The team squeezed in one more vigorous practice on Thursday prior to leaving for Chicago. Head coach Jacques Lemaire prefers to practice in the road city, but with no available ice, his hand was forced.

He skated the boys hard at the Xcel Energy Center, before everybody boarded the charter for a short trip to the Windy City.
Friday, January 19, 2007

It’s not likely that Lemaire will rethink his strategy regarding practice the day before a road game, but it worked like a charm this time. The Wild put a 3-0 whuppin’ on the Chicago Blackhawks to sweep the season series, and more importantly, establish a club record with four straight road wins.

Despite missing Pavol Demitra, Kurtis Foster, Keith Carney, White and Kim Johnsson, the Wild just needed some solid goaltending from Fernandez and a couple more goals for Marian Gaborik. His goals in the first and third periods sandwiched a Veilleux tally in the second, and that was enough for a big road win.

Couple that with a Minnesota Swarm victory over the Rochester Knighthawks and some serious progress was made toward making this the Best Wild Week Ever.
Saturday, January 20, 2007

 Thanks to the tireless efforts of those who worked on the Baudette Bay Classic, Baudette Bay was transformed into a Hockey Heaven.
Saturday was Hockey Day Minnesota, and if you don’t think 11 consecutive hours of hockey coverage on FSN North is enough to make this the Best Wild Week Ever, go back to Delaware.

The daylong celebration featured a high school game between Lake of the Woods – Baudette (pronounced Buh-dette by the locals, not Baw-dette like you city folk like to call it) and St. Paul Johnson (pronounced Jawhn-sohn by the locals, and not Yawn-sohn like you Swedish folk like to call it).

Lake of the Woods defended their pond, literally, defeating the Governors outdoors on Baudette Bay, which separates the State of Hockey from the Country of Hockey to the north.

In the afternoon contest, the Minnesota Gophers held off the Denver Pioneers in a physical and highly entertaining game. The Gophers escaped with a 5-4 victory, which set the stage for the Wild to close out the celebration of hockey.

Before that happened, Mike Schmidt, the national anthem singer we’ve grown to know and love, made his final appearance before relocating to Arizona. He received a hearty ovation as he asked the fans one last time to "please join me."

The going was rough out on the Xcel Energy Center ice, as the Dallas Stars put the clamps down defensively. Koivu was finally able to break through and tie the score at 1-1 in third period.

That set the stage for the longest shootout in club history. The breakaway contest lasted nine rounds as Backstrom and Marty Turco traded big saves. Turco finally came out on top when he charged from the net and knocked Pascal Dupuis off the puck.

It certainly wasn’t the end of Hockey Day Minnesota that we were hoping for, but three points in back-to-back games is nothing to sneeze at. Quite the contrary, it was enough to secure the title of January 15 through January 21 as the Best Wild Week Ever, with one day to spare!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The All-Star Break began on Sunday, and it started on a sour note for Shawn Belle and Joel Ward, who found out they were being sent down to the Houston Aeros.

Fortunately, Belle knows that one of the mottos here at BWWE is, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” So, with that in mind, he joined his Houston teammates on Sunday night and led them past the Milwaukee Admirals by scoring two goals for the first time in his career.

Perseverance, my friends, is the overriding trait of Minnesotans, and the theme during the Best Wild Week Ever.

…Who Had The Best Wild Week Ever?

 Deal with it you other 49 states. Minnesotans had the Best Wild Week Ever.
Minne-SOH-tans. You can make fun of our accents all you want, and maybe some of our residents were made fun of by no-talent hacks like Simon Cowell. But if you outsiders want, we’ll be happy to take this one outside on the frozen ponds, where real scores are settled.

After we get done pasting your state in a game of shinny, we’ll even invite you back to our mom’s house for some hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies to show there’s no hard feelings. After all, it’s nothing personal. Our state is just better at hockey than yours. There’s no shame in that. It’s just a matter of fact, as is this: Minnesotans had the Best Wild Week Ever.



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