Xtina warmed up the crowds by getting “Dirrty” at General Motors Place, Rexall Place and Pengrowth Saddledome on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and the Wild just blew the roofs off on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
The tour continues this week here in St. Paul, but before we get to the show, let’s check out the reviews, which all came to the conclusion that the seven days spanning from March 12 to March 18 made up the Best Wild Week Ever.
It was a week when Head Coach Jacques Lemaire said there “Ain’t No Other Man” in goal other than Niklas Backstrom, and three wins in three games was “Beautiful” in every single way, that even words can’t bring it down. But, that doesn’t mean we won’t try.
Monday, March 12, 2007
On Monday, we were smack dab in the middle of March Mayhem (we’re afraid to use another term that features the word “March” and a second word that starts with the letter “M” because of copyright issues with another sport and their television affiliate), but we didn’t have a lot going on Wild-wise.
The Wild continued its North American tour with a stop and practice in Vancouver. The news of the day was Lemaire admitting that Backstrom would be the team’s number one goaltender through the end of the season, and the playoffs.
As I’ve mentioned before, I love debates. But I am not about to go toe-to-toe with Lemaire on this decision. I’ve crunched the numbers and I’ve done an uneducated, hands-off analysis of Manny Fernandez’s knee, and this decision is the correct one.
There is no other way around it.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
The first game action of the week came against the Vancouver Canucks for what we believe to be the
| Xtina took in the Wild's 3-2 overtime victory over the Canucks, which was "Beautiful." |
34th meeting of the season between the two clubs. With a regulation win, the Wild could have moved into first place in the Northwest Division. Instead, the club would just have to settle for an overtime victory, but we’ll gladly take it after the Canucks had gone two up after one period.
Mikko Koivu cut the lead in half in the second period, and Brian Rolston unleashed the fury with a wicked slap shot late in the third to force overtime. Overtime is now Brent Burns time, and for the second consecutive game, he pounced on a Marian Gaborik rebound and won it for the Wild right before Kevin Bieksa threw him to the ice.
Burns responded with a scream in Bieksa’s face before celebrating with his teammates.
Like Denny Green, he took the high road, which is right where you want to be when rolling toward the Best Wild Week Ever.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Wild fans don’t have it so easy, even though we’ve got the best team in the whole wide world. Because our boys play in the Northwest Division, we’re forced to stay up late on many occasions so we can watch big victories like Tuesday’s OT thriller. It makes for a fun night, but it also makes us cranky the next day due to sleep deprivation.
Luckily, there is such a thing as coffee, which is the great motivator in our society. And what better way to get motivated on a day like Wednesday with some Tough Beans Minnesota Wild Gourmet Coffee?
The Joe mix can be purchased at either of the two Hockey Lodge locations with $5 from every bag sold benefiting the MSE Community Giving Fund. At BWWE, we refer to situations like this as win-win-win. The consumer wins because they perk up in the morning. The seller wins because the money goes to a good cause. And BWWE wins because we have something to talk about on an otherwise uneventful day.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
| Who's number 23 for Edmonton? Oh yeah! I'm so dumb! How could I forget that it's Kyle Brodziak. |
As the best college hockey tournament in the land kicked off at the Xcel Energy Center on Thursday, the Wild continued to rack up wins away from home. Minnesota took on the Edmonton Oilers, or at least hockey players wearing Oiler jerseys. These are not the same guys that used to pummel the Wild at every turn a few years back.
Nevertheless, the Wild had all they could handle in the likes of Danny Syvret, Zachery Stortini and Bryan Young, musterting just two goals from Mark Parrish and Marian Gaborik and that’s it. Backstrom shut the door on all but one shot and kept the playoff train headed back to Minnesota.
Friday, March 16, 2007
The WCHA Final Five kicked into high gear on Friday with four teams left playing for the Broadmoor Trophy. In the afternoon session, the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux disposed of the St. Cloud State Huskies. Later that night, Blake Wheeler posted a hat trick as the Minnesota Gophers skated past the Wisconsin Badgers to reach the championship game.
I suppose this is as good a time as any to mention that I was in the penalty box for each of the Final Five games serving as a Time Out Coordinator for FSN North. This requires me to turn on a red light four times a period to signal to the referees that we’re going to a TV timeout. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Well, actually, it’s even easier than it sounds if that’s at all possible.
Basically, I had a front row seat for these great games and got to listen to players talk to each other and the refs as they sat in the penalty box. I think I’m now scarred for life.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Something has to be going right this year, because on Saturday, the Wild finally overcame the curse of the sunken roof in a 4-2 win over the Calgary Flames…at least, that’s the rumor going around. The game actually was not broadcast by either team, so all we have to go on is hearsay.
Apparently, Gaborik, Rolston, Stephane Veilleux and Pavol Demitra scored goals, and Backstrom stopped 19 of 21 shots.
I’m just telling you that’s what I heard. Of course, I didn’t see it, so I have no actual proof. But are you really going to dispute another Wild win at this point? They’re as automatic as the Gophers playing during primetime of Final Five Friday.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Just like that, the Wild’s 2006-2007 regular season road trippin’ is practically over. Just one more round trip remains this season before playoffs begin and that’s a one-gamer to Denver.
As for college hockey, the NCAA hockey tournament brackets were released, and the committee made an unforgivable oversight and left the UMD Bulldogs out. Despite the snub, it’s hard to argue that March 12 through March 19 was the Best Wild Week Ever, and it’s equally difficult to counter the decision of…
…Who Had The Best Wild Week Ever?
| Wake up Gopher fans! Your team just won the Final Five, and you're having the Best Wild Week Ever. |
Gopher Hockey Fans. Apparently there are some people in this state that cheer for the Gophers. I don’t know how this is possible when you have a team like the Bulldogs already in the state, but I guess people in Minnesota love to cheer for the underdogs, so cheering for the Gophers is only natural.
They were rewarded on Saturday night, as the Gophers defeated the Fighting Sioux for the Broadmoor Trophy. Wheeler was the hero again when he dove for a rolling puck and slapped it past a stunned Philippe Lamoureux.
The next day, the Gophers were awarded a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament and they will face the Air Force Falcons in the first round. Even though BWWE fully endorses the Bulldogs, as chairman of the organization, I will go on record as saying that we…we fully support…oh I can’t do it!
(Note: The views expressed in this column in no way reflect the sentiments of the Wild or the Xcel Energy Center).