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Best Wild Week Ever

by Staff Writer / Minnesota Wild

 Mikko Koivu rose to the occassion as often happens during the Best Wild Week Ever.
Sitting at home last night, watching the Academy Award shows, I had to thank the heavens above that I was not asked to be a member of the Academy. First off, my vote for Best Picture would easily have gone to Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and my award for Best Actor would have gone to one of the sled dogs in Eight Below.

But the real reason why I was glad to be holed up in my home with a sagging roof due to two feet of snow as opposed to awarding statues to glamorous celebrities, was the dress code. All of these people in their Gucci and Prada and Cavaricci, hurrumph!.

We keep it business casual around here, unless you’re a hockey player. Then, we encourage you to wear your colors be them iron range red, or Blake green, or Stillwater black.

This is the State of Hockey. We may not have the glitz, the glamour or the parties with free champagne and caviar, but we do have a hot NHL team, two new state champions and our true fashion expert, the Boogeyman. We may not be sheik, but we did enjoy the Best Wild Week Ever.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Uncertainty surrounds every Monday during the Wild season. The Wild has only played one game all season on a Monday (a loss to Detroit), and questions continually swirl about how the upcoming week can possibly live up to the previous seven days and capture the crown of the Best Wild Week Ever. That’s probably why people dread Mondays so much. They’re nervous.

The butterflies quickly dissipated on this Monday because there was no school thanks to our fore fathers. Getting the day off to start the week is the way to go, and skating at the Xcel Energy Center is the way to

 No school AND an Xcel Energy Center season ticket holder skating party? Sounds like the Best Wild Week Ever is off to a great start.
spend that time. The Wild held a skating party at Xcel for season ticket holders in the afternoon complete with a coloring station, hockey shot station and Al Shaver Press Box tours. See? The benefits of being a season ticket holder don’t stop at watching the best team in the NHL. You also get to see where media relations guru Aaron Sickman works his magic.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Wild hadn’t beaten the Dallas Stars all season long. In fact, Dallas had won the last six meetings between the two clubs, and in the process, frustrated us with their exceptionally unexciting brand of play. But all of those meetings came in lesser weeks. This is the Best Wild Week Ever, and nobody knew that on Tuesday better than Mikko Koivu.

In the second period, Koivu muscled a puck away from Dallas goaltender Marty Turco behind the net and fed Brian Rolston for the first goal of the game. The Stars tied the score later, and that set the stage for a battle of two of the best shootout teams in the League.

After Niklas Backstrom and Marty Turco turned five shooters away, it was up to Koivu. With 18,568 fans on their feet and screaming, the shootout specialist calmly buried his backhand flip shot past a helpless Turco for the win.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

On Wednesday, the team headed west to Denver, Colorado, but the hockey action was still going strong at the Xcel Energy Center with the start of the Minnesota State Girls’ Hockey Tournament.

The arrival of the girls signaled the beginning of one of the most entertaining stretches for downtown St. Paul with tournaments galore. The girls are followed by the wrestlers, who are followed by the boys’ hockey teams, who are followed by the WCHA Final Five contestants. It’s around this time that I like to call St. Paul “Tournament City, USA.” I certainly hope that name isn’t trademarked by anybody.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thursday brought another one of those “four-point games” we hear about from the media experts. A Colorado Avalanche win, and the Wild lead in the West is down to seven. A Minnesota Wild win, and the gap grows to double digits.

A win appeared certain after Adam Hall, Wyatt Smith and Todd White beat Peter Budaj to build a 3-0 lead after two periods. It was time to kick the feet up, order a Mai Tai and coast to an easy victory, but the Avalanche raced back in the third with two quick goals.

Koivu, realizing the gravity of the situation late in the third period, took a nice feed from Mark Parrish and whipped a shot off the crossbar and in to stop the madness…for about 30 seconds. Marek Svatos scored with 1:45 to go in the game, setting the stage for a wild finish.

The Wild hung on for dear life and came away with two points. The Avs received zero points, but with a solid effort, we’ll send them one of those “No Fear” T-shirts that says, “I’ve never lost, I’ve just been a little behind when time ran out.”
Friday, February 23, 2007

Friday was Fight Night, so of course Derek Boogaard was involved. But Boogey used his hands for shaking hands, grading and propping his chin up while nodding approvingly, not for throwing haymakers. The Wild behemoth served as a celebrity judge for METRO Magazine’s Fashion Fight Night at Uppercut Boxing Gym in Northeast Minneapolis.

Boogaard was in charge of judging models and photographers in this unique runway show. It doesn’t sound overly difficult, but just in case, Boogaard brought along Josh Harding and Stephane Veilleux as advisers. They are fashion experts.
Saturday, February 24, 2007

 The Blake Bears took home the state title in Girls’ Class A, but they came up just short in the race for the Best Wild Week Ever.
The Girls’ State Tournament wrapped up on Saturday with Blake and Stillwater coming out as A and AA champions, respectively. The Bears took down the Tigers of Farmington for the second title in school history, while the Ponies fought off the North Metro Stars, for the first title in school history.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Let’s recap: two wins, two state champions and Derek Boogaard judging fashion models. Sounds like a Best Wild Week Ever has already been signed, sealed and delivered. But we will not rest on our laurels, even though that sounds rather enticing as opposed to shoveling 18 inches of snow.

Still, the Wild forged on and solidified the glorious seven-day stretch with a complete effort to dispose of the Edmonton Oilers. White, Brent Burns, Marian Gaborik and Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored the goals in a 4-1 win, and you know that’s plenty of insurance for Backstrom, who earned his third win of the week. It just so happens that a three-win week for a goaltender will seal the deal for the person…

…Who Had The Best Wild Week Ever

 Sorry Nik, it comes with the territory of having the Best Wild Week Ever - you have to deal with the bottom-feeding media.
Niklas Backstrom. He was a backup at one time, and he might be again. For now however, Backstrom is the heavily padded hero for the Wild, and the National Hockey League has taken notice. Backstrom was named the League’s first star of the week (also known as the Best Wild Week Ever) for his 3-0-0 record to go along with his 1.62 goals against average and .933 save percentage. It’s no BWWE award, but a significant accolade nonetheless.

Like Jacques Lemaire, who is an outside consultant to the Best Wild Week Ever, we don’t pay much mind to statistics. After all, they’re just numbers. But they are very impressive numbers, and nobody else had any like them last week. So while they might not earn you a gold plated bald man, they will earn you the distinction of having the Best Wild Week Ever.

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