HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
April 23, 2006

Wild and Twins make for a good night

By Matt Kane

With the position I hold at this newspaper, I probably shouldn’t admit this, but, before Thursday, it had been a long time since I sat down in my living room to watch a sporting event in its entirety on television.

I picked a good day to do so, as I not only saw the Wild dominate the Anaheim Ducks (they are not Mighty anymore) in a 4-1 win. I also saw the Twins lay a 11-2 whoopin’ on the Seattle Mariners.

Like two go-carting Shriners at a Fourth of July parade, the two games worked together flawlessly. Playing at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, the Wild started at 8 p.m., so I got a good hour of solid NHL playoff hockey in before the first pitch of the Twins’ game in Seattle.

The Twins started at 9 p.m. Central Standard Time, so the games overlapped, but it worked out perfectly.

The way the Wild were playing, I, and my two roommates, were glued to the 27-inch JVC in the basement, watching every pass, shot, body check, and verbal exchange between Wild enforcer Derek Boogaard and, pretty much, the entire Ducks’ team.

It was probably four seasons ago, when the Wild were making their run through their first playoffs, since I was as intrigued with a hockey game on television as I was Tuesday night. And much of that had to do with Boogaard.

Good, true hockey fans love their hometown enforcers, but rarely do the goons get the biggest ovations of the game for just stepping on the ice.

That’s what Boogaard did in the third period, and everyone took notice. Especially the Ducks, who, with Boogaard sitting on the bench, had just taken their frustrations out on the least-goonish of all the Wild players, Kim Johnsson.

Ducks’ bully Brad May sucker-punched Johnsson, and got a game misconduct.

Getting ejected from the game, and eventually the rest of the series, may have been the best and safest thing that could have happened to May, a fourth line player at best. If May would have stayed in the game, he may have exited the ice in a more painful way if it were up to Boogaard.

The rough stuff is not for everyone, but that’s playoff hockey, whether you like it or not. So is scoring goals, and the fact that the Wild lit the Ducks’ defense up for a dominating four goals had my adrenaline pumping even more.

It’s too bad my excitement for the Wild didn’t carry over to Thursday’s game, where the Wild were eliminated with a lackluster 4-1 loss at Anaheim. Thursday’s game was, literally, a sleeper for me. With not much scoring from the Wild and very little rough-housing, my eyelids didn’t feel the need to stay open much following the second period.

After calming down following the Wilds’ victory in the must-win game Tuesday, I flipped over to the Twins game, where the Minnesota scoring frenzy continued.

Ramon Ortiz cruised on the mound, as he had done in his first two starts, and the Twins’ offense turned the game into a laugher.

Ahh, how sweet it is when the teams I love win. And to have the Wild and Twins do so on the same day is even sweeter.

The Twins, unlike the Wild, followed their Tuesday win with two more wins to sweep the Mariners for the first time since 1996.

So, now that the Wild are finished, it is officially baseball season in Minnesota. The high school season is finally underway, so I will get my fill of spring time days under the sun, and, when it rains, I will head to the Metrodome for a date with the Twins.

I will still turn on the other NHL playoff games, but I highly doubt I will sacrifice an entire Twins game to watch two NHL teams not nicknamed Wild. Until the Stanley Cup finals, anyway. Not watching the Cup finals is almost sacrilegious for a Minnesotan.

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