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Best Wild Week Ever

by Staff Writer / Minnesota Wild

 
 Photogrpahers caught Kim Johnsson and Adam Hall informing Pavol Demitra that he was part of the Best Wild Week Ever.
I don’t want to start this column off on the wrong foot and disappoint you. But if you haven’t realized it yet, you must. The past cannot be changed.

I mean, let’s say you didn’t go to college, or you didn’t like the one you went to. You can’t just go back to school and enroll in classes that may conform to a new career choice, can you?

Wait, you can?

Okay, well let’s say you bought a Stairmaster for your spouse, and he or she says an Xbox would have been a better gift. You can’t take the Stairmaster back for a full refund and then buy the Xbox.

Wait a second. You can do that too?!?!? You are totally ruining the point I’m trying to make.

Even if you can change the past, why would you want to if you were a Wild fan? You might want to play those games in Calgary and Vancouver again, but then you wouldn’t be assured of a point in each of them. You might want to try and get that 2007 third round draft pick back, but then you’d be giving up a Harvard graduate.

I say, embrace the past with no regrets and an open mind, because it contained what was undoubtedly the Best Wild Week Ever.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The team was in town for all of one day last week, so the folks at the Wild corporate offices took full advantage. Following practice, each player had to make his way through three locker rooms filled with jerseys, sticks, pucks and photographs. The players worked vigorously to sign the items, which are later given to community partners and programs.

Several Wild staff members were on hand with ice packs should a player suffer a wrist cramp, but they weren’t needed. The players escaped the signing day without injury, and they were rewarded with a delicious spread provided by Cossetta. At least, I heard it was delicious.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

After weeks of rumors and whisperings, the NHL trade deadline finally arrived at 2:00 PM on Tuesday. Several big name players switched teams including Bill Guerin to San Jose, Ryan Smyth to the New York Islanders and our old friend Pascal Dupuis to the Atlanta Thrashers.

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 Dominic Moore was a plus-two on Wednesday, which is better than we can say for the 2007 third round pick that Pittsburgh acquired.
The Wild immersed itself into the trade deadline fray by sending a 2007 third round draft pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for center Dominic Moore.

After looking at this trade from all possible angles, the consensus among the BWWE staff is that the Wild won this trade hands down. Not only did Minnesota pick up a hard-working, speedy faceoff specialist in Moore, but also it got rid of that 2007 third round pick, which was nothing but a locker room cancer. Third round pick has some upside, but for the most part, it has really disappointed and will not be missed.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Moore was held out of the Wild’s first game of a three-game road trip through Northwest Canada. Minnesota took on the big boys in Calgary on Wednesday, and a tight-checking affair featured some scary moments. Niklas Backstrom left the game after a scoreless first period due to a groin injury. Marian Gaborik was later hit in the foot with a slap shot from Pavol Demitra.

Gaborik shook it off and Demitra apologized by scoring the first goal of the game early in the third period. But the Flames came back to tie the game late on the first goal given up by Josh Harding this season. It would be the only shot of 22 in regulation and overtime that would get by him, but one more snuck past him in the shootout, which was won by Calgary. 

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Even after a loss in which the team picks up a point, moods are not boisterous by any means. The plane ride is usually sullen as the players eat their late meals in silence.

The Wild didn’t have to worry about in the wee hours of Thursday morning, because their plane to Edmonton didn’t work. Instead, the team bused it up to Edmonton Clark Griswold-style and arrived at about 4:00 in the AM with a game in mere hours. As they made their way through the cold Alberta night, players and coaches alike had to be wondering how this would turn out to be the Best Wild Week Ever as they argued over who was on whose side of the seat.

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 Beware Boogaard! There’s more where this came from!
Well, a 5-0 pasting of the Oilers certainly helped assuage their anguish. The Slovakian trio of Gaborik, Demitra and Branko Radivojevic accounted for all five goals, while Harding accounted for all zero of Edmonton’s goals.

While Edmonton didn’t score, they certainly delivered a message to Derek Boogaard, which was, “If you’re going to hit us with clean hard checks, you better be ready for three of us to come after you and hit you in the face with gloves and draw stupid penalties. Do not say we didn’t warn you!”
 
Friday, March 2, 2007

By Friday, our fair state was covered with white stuff from a volatile weather pattern that swept through. The Wild corporate offices were closed, but the Minnesota State High School Wrestling Tournament at the Xcel Energy Center kept right on going, as did the Best Wild Week Ever.
 
Saturday, March 3, 2007

The Wild had another day of practice in lovely Vancouver, but there was a lot of game action back here in the State of Hockey. The pairings for the Boys’ State High School Tournament were finalized on Saturday as several section final games wrapped up.

The Best Wild Week Ever picks?

Northern Rule my friends. Grand Rapids and Hermantown will be your 2007 State Champions. Fill out your brackets accordingly.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

By Sunday, the Best Wild Week Ever was clinched, which may have explained a mildly sluggish performance from the boys in white jerseys during a 4-3 shootout loss to the hated Vancouver Canucks. Despite getting outplayed, the Wild found itself tied with the Canucks after regulation thanks to timely goals from Radivojevic, Gaborik and Kim Johnsson.

The Wild participated in the second shootout of the week, but again came up short after six rounds. Nevertheless, the Wild earned a point, remained within striking distance of first place in the Northwest Division and increased its chances for a playoff spot. You have to like those results almost as much as you have to like the organization…

…That Had The Best Wild Week Ever

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 Josh Harding sports his pink ribbon mask in an effort to raise awareness and money for breast cancer research. Visit www.fundthefight.com for more information.
Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Wild goaltender Josh Harding’s brilliant performances on Wednesday and Thursday did more than just help the Wild earn three points and a stranglehold on a playoff spot.

Harding also debuted the paint job on his goalie mask, which features pink ribbons as well as the words, “Fund The Fight; Find A Cure.” Harding’s older sister has breast cancer, so Josh is taking it upon himself to increase awareness and raise money for the fight against the disease.

Throughout this year, he will be auctioning off various game-used hockey equipment from other NHL stars, along with his now famous helmet. While his 51 saves on 52 shots in five periods were great for the Wild, Harding’s efforts did more to help the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which had the Best Wild Week Ever.

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