ast night at the Bank Atlantic Office Depot National Car Rental Center in Sunrise, Fla., I was treated to a rare occasion. The Northwest Division leading Minnesota Wild were in town for a date against the Florida Panthers. The Wild came in with five straight wins against the Panthers and were 5-1-1 all-time in the series.
Anyway, it was rather surprising to me to see all of the Wild sweaters bouncing around the building. I thought for sure that they would be rather scant, with perhaps occasional North Stars colors popping up here or there. Sure enough, Minnesota fans were rocking their colors and I saw quite a bit of the sweater which is starting to grow on me.
I like the brand of hockey that the Wild employ. In addition, it was nice to see knowledgeable fans who sit and actually watch the action, not needing endless other diversionary antics to keep them into the game. Plus, they have some skillful players too, from Marian Gaborik to Pavol Demitra to Niklas, don't spell my name Nicklas, Backstrom. He is a quality backstop. Unfortunately, Derek Boogaard was out with a back injury. He is one of my favorite players in the league. The teams also got to see Olli Jokinen and Pierre-Marc Bouchard skate against each other, two names bandied about at the trade deadline who might have been wearing the opposing sweater.
All in all, it was an enjoyable night. It was my second straight Panthers game and a similar fate - a one-goal loss. It seems that the Panthers have been just a little short, as they try to avoid missing the playoffs for the 12th time in the past 15 years. Meanwhile, the Wild picked up their 77th point to get to the top of the Northwest Division.
I wish that the unbalanced schedule would be done away with so I can see the likes of the Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, Edmonton Oilers, Minnesota Wild, San Jose Sharks, etc. on a more regular basis. Hell, I even went to see the Los Angeles Kings last time they were in town.
Don't penalize me because I live in Florida. Trust me, no offense to the Atlanta Thrashers or Carolina Hurricanes, but it gets boring seeing those teams come in all the time.