7 Minute Miles

Wild Win Game 47 vs Leafs, 6-1

Posted Wednesday, January 28th, 2009 02:32 am GMT -5 in Hockey at 2:32 AM

Thanks to a last minute invite, I got to head down to the X to watch the Wild play a rare game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. We met some nice Leafs fans last week in Vegas, and as they bluntly told us, “our team sucks.”

This was the type of game the Wild is suppose to win (and usually don’t). I still hold the theory that if the Wild get in to the playoffs as the number 8 seed, they will win the cup. They can beat the best teams in the west and have dominated almost every eastern team they have played this year.

The Maple Leafs are struggling right now, but I don’t imagine that will last too long. Check back in a year or two and see what Mr. Burke can accomplish in the fish bowl that is Canadian professional hockey.

Thankfully, the Wild took advantage of poor Justin Pogge. The minor league goaltender was up for only his second NHL start and knew he was going to be sent back down tomorrow. Stats in this game were misleading: Toronto had more shots on goal (28-21) and dominated face-offs (60/40), but poor Justin let in six goals and was serenaded with the sieve chant by the team of 18,000.

A few other notes:

  • Fans received boxes of Hot Tamales on the way out that had a donation request for the Salvation Army’s HeatShare program. Text “Army” to 90999 to donate $5 to the program.
  • There were a ton of empty seats (and lots of ads on Craigslist today with very low prices). I’m beginning to think that the Wild are buying seats to keep the sell-out streak alive (just like other teams are doing to earn their league revenue sharing money).
  • Boogaard just couldn’t get Brad May to dance tonight, despite multiple invitations. Probably a smart move, Brad, but wow do you look bad when you run away.
  • Clutterbuck is starting to become our own little mini-Ovechkin: skates all over with passion, hits everything in sight and now is displaying a nice scoring touch. Nine hits tonight.
  • Johnsson was a +4. When was the last time we had anyone be a +4 in a game? Nice job, Kimmy! Can you teach some of those skills to Skoula before you get traded?
  • The Bethel women’s hockey team was selling game programs tonight and several of their players sat next to us after the first period. Nice kids.
  • New singer tonight for both of the national anthems – I believe her name was Lauren Redpath. This blog says she auditioned to be the singer in 2007, but I’m not 100% sure this is the same person. Her last name was Redpath, but she looked different to me.
  • Congrats to Andrew “Iron Man” Brunette today on his 500th consecutive game. After running into him at The Nook a few years ago and seeing him crash knees first into the boards four games ago, I would have never guessed he’d make it to this milestone intact. Too bad the Wild didn’t make a bigger deal out of it tonight.

The Wild’s next game is at Edmonton on Friday night (8PM on FS North, no HD), followed by another away game the next night in Vancouver (9PM on FS North, also no HD). That will be followed by a four game home stretch against the Ducks, Preds, Oilers and Avs. We’ll be there for two of those four, so stay tuned for more full Hockey in Minnesota blog entries.

I’d also like to thank all of the new people following us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/hockeymn). I really enjoy getting other people’s quick hockey updates via Twitter and hope you like our little contributions to the online Minnesota hockey community too.

Originally published by DK on January 28, 2009 at 2:32 am

Cirque du Soleil LOVE at the Mirage

Posted Thursday, January 22nd, 2009 01:27 am GMT -5 in Concerts,Food,Travel at 1:27 AM

A day after our return from Florida, Colleen and I took a two night trip out to Las Vegas to celebrate my 40th birthday. We stayed at the Bellagio and met our friends the Millers for dinner at the new BLT Burger restaurant, followed by the 9:30 showing of the Beatles Cirque show, LOVE. The American Kobe burger was great, especially with a vanilla shake. It was sort of weird eating where the white tigers used to lounge around…

We are huge fans of Cirque du Soleil and had high expectations for LOVE. Unfortunately, they were a little too high. If you take away the incredible music of the Beatles, you are left with a very average Cirque show. We’ve seen many of these acts before in other shows, but performed with more flair. One exception to this was the roller blade act, which was truly remarkable. It’s a shame so many of the other acts were just so-so (by Cirque standards). At least there weren’t any annoying clowns!

Despite the recession, Las Vegas is still an expensive town. While we found good deals on the hotel room and the show tickets, almost all of our meals were more than $50 for two people (even breakfast) and I still can’t believe places think they need to charge for refills on $4 sodas.

I was a little disappointed in two of my favorite travel companies – Sun Country Airlines and the Bellagio. Sun Country has added the luggage charge to the first checked bag, added fees for advance seat selection and most importantly, dropped the free cheeseburgers. I guess I’d rather have them stay in business, but they were one of the last “good guys” when it came to these nice customer-focused policies.

As for the Bellagio, I had emailed them ahead of time telling them we were coming out for a special event, but no one said or did anything until the last day. A casino loyalty program worker came up to us while playing video poker and offered to bring us reprinted cards (we had left ours at home). When he checked my ID, he wished me a belated birthday. I know they are a huge hotel run by a huge corporation, but that’s what databases are for, right?

Gambling was as fun as ever, although I ended up down about $25. I wish I could be like the guy in jeans and a T-shirt sitting at the $300 minimum blackjack table with his girlfriend, but I got nervous enough at the $5 table and quit after about 15 minutes. The poker room at the Bellagio was calling me too, but I chickened out – I think I need a few test runs at the local casinos first. Video poker was a nice substitute, though, and I actually enjoyed playing the slots this time too.

What a city…

Originally published by DK on January 22, 2009 at 1:27 am

First Post of 2009

Posted Tuesday, January 13th, 2009 12:47 am GMT -5 in Running,Travel,Work at 12:47 AM

7 Minute Miles has totally been neglected for almost a month. Facebook and Twitter seem to get all the attention these days, but I need to get back to the original programming here too.

The holidays were great, but I got sick right before them and there is still this damn cough that just doesn’t seem to go away. This was especially bad, as I was signed up to run the 2009 Walt Disney World Marathon yesterday. I ran a total of 12 training miles the entire month of December and hadn’t run at all in more than 3 weeks. The lack of training, combined with a really hot and humid day, led to a very slow time of 5:07:51 (more details on my Facebook page – bah).

Aside from the physical pain of running a marathon, it’s amazing I haven’t keeled over from an anxiety attack at work. I spent hours and hours the week before I left for vacation trying to pin down some network problems at HSRA and was sure I had it fixed the day before I left town. Everything was humming along the morning I left, but the dreaded call came an hour before I was supposed to get on the flight. I’ve been on the phone a lot since we got here with a contractor, but I’m mostly mad at myself for not building a more robust infrastructure. I guess it is aging, but it makes me look stupid.

I’m trying my best to actually be on vacation the rest of the week. We are planning to just hang out tomorrow, then go to Animal Kingdom on Wednesday, dinner at the Animal Kingdom Lodge Wednesday night, lunch at the Canadian pavilion in Epcot on Thursday, followed by some additional time in the Magic Kingdom. We travel back to MSP on Friday, then head to Las Vegas on Sunday for two nights to celebrate my 40th birthday.

I’ll try to be better about spreading the news around all of the sites – although I might be busy looking for homes and jobs in Florida the next few months…

Originally published by DK on January 13, 2009 at 12:47 am

Wild Lose Game 37 to Wings in SO, 3-2

Posted Sunday, January 4th, 2009 12:43 am GMT -5 in Hockey at 12:43 AM

Attending tonight’s Wild-Red Wings game at the X was sort of a last minute decision for me. My aunt got fed up with the team after the Chicago game and wanted to boycott, so I filled in for her in section 216.

The first period was a return to the bad trends of December: Detroit scored the first goal and the Wild got shut out. Shots stayed closer than I expected, though (11-8 Wings), and it was refreshing to have zero penalties on either team. I didn’t see Samuelsson’s goal very well, as it was at the other end, but I did see my buddy Skoula standing over Josh after it went in.

It was still 1-0 Detroit at the end of two, but the Wild ended the period with a 5-on-3 that carried over to the third. Somehow they also managed to out shoot the Wings in the second 16-8, although it really didn’t seem like it to me.

The third period started off with a bang, with new assistant captain Owen Nolan deflecting a Brent Burns blast from the blue line, quickly followed by a quick wrist shot by Antti Miettinen 16 seconds later. It was the aggressive play of Cal Clutterbuck that created the second goal, giving Clutter-butter his first assist of the year. Slim night for Cal on hits, though – only 3.

I have yet to see the disputed Franzen goal on replay. That goal was also at the other end of the arena from us, so I couldn’t really see anything. The ref that was standing right there with the perfect angle immediately waved it off and play was about to begin when Toronto decided to study the issue further. I’ll withhold further opinion until I see what the war room saw. Falness said on the post-game that he thought it was the right call…

I do have to say that the appeal of the shoot-out has faded for me. I now agree with those that say it’s a tricked up skills exhibition that awards an extra point instead of “real” hockey. One part of me wants a return of ties with no extra point, while another part of me wants to have them play until someone wins, like in the playoffs. Four-on-four, three-on-three, I don’t care – make them work for the extra point for real. They are professional athletes that get paid a lot of money – let’s see the show.

Not much else to report from the arena experience tonight. AT&T was handing out those packs pictured above, although I’m still not sure what’s in there. The Wild also had tables set up to hand out the mugs that didn’t arrive in time from one of the December games. I’m guessing they will have a bunch of those left over, as you needed a voucher and I’m sure a lot of those got lost.

The Wild travel to Denver to play the Avs tomorrow at Pepsi Center (7PM, FS North HD). I’ll be curious to see who starts and how well they bounce back from this game. Jacques said they would get pillows for the guys with big ice time (Burns – 33:33, Johnsson – 30:18, Skoula – 27:55). At least Colorado is dealing with some of the same issues we have right now (key injuries, on the outside, looking in, etc.).

Originally published by DK on January 4, 2009 at 12:43 am

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