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R.S.S. Feed Special: Looking ahead

Monday, 10.05.2009 / 10:37 AM / Blogs
By Ryan Stanzel  - Wild Digital Content Manager
The Wild opens the home portion of its schedule Tuesday against the Ducks, which got me to thinking...what are some other games I'm looking forward to this season. Once I got thinking and looking at the schedule, it was hard to narrow it down. So without further ado, here are the 13 games the R.S.S. Feed is most looking forward to.

And don't forget, you can currently get tickets to these great home games. Call 1-800-745-3000, run to the Xcel Energy Center box office or visit Wild.com to purchase tickets. Groups should call 651-222-WILD today!

Tuesday, Oct. 6 vs. Anaheim
There is nothing quite like opening day/night in sports. Preseason is great, but it starts for real in front of the home fans, against the Ducks. Wild fans have not yet gotten to see Havlat, Sykora, Hnidy and others up close, and here's your first chance. Oh, and there's that little matter of brother versus brother - former Montreal Canadiens captain Saku Koivu signed with the Ducks in July.

Wednesday, Oct. 21 vs. Colorado
The last time the Wild debuted a third jersey, they were so well received they now wear them as their home jersey. Tonight, the Wild will wear their new green third jerseys for the first time against rival Colorado. This is also the night, of course, fans can pick their pre-ordered third jerseys up, or start buying them at the Hockey Lodge.

Friday, Oct. 30 vs. N.Y. Rangers
This may be THE most anticipated home game for many fans, as original Wild winger Marian Gaborik returns to Xcel Energy Center for the first time since leaving the Wild as a free agent July 1. It's always fun when the Broadway Blueshirts come to town - last time it happened, Gaborik lit them up for five goals - and this return (along with that of Aaron Voros) will make the night all the more electric.

Friday, Nov. 20 vs. N.Y. Islanders
The Islanders are expected to be young and much improved, thanks to 2009 top overall pick John Tavares, who scored in his debut over the weekend against none other than the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.

Wednesday, Dec. 23 vs. Edmonton
The night before the Christmas break has always been one of my favorite games, regardless of what level I've worked at. And this gets heated up because it's Edmonton's first trip into St. Paul this season. It'll be Kyle Brodziak's first time against his former mates, and also Patrick O'Sullivan returns to Xcel Energy Center three times a year now, instead of two.

Saturday, Jan. 2 vs. New Jersey
For those that don't rank Marian Gaborik's return on the top of their list of most anticipated games, this could be the one. Jacques Lemaire returns with the Devils to the building he called home from 2000-09. And it's not just Jacques. Mario Tremblay is his assistant, and Brian Rolston is back at Xcel Energy Center for the first time since signing with New Jersey as a free agent July 2008. And New Jersey always has several Minnesotans on its roster. This has all the makings of a classic matchup.

Monday, Jan. 11 vs. Pittsburgh
The Wild is fortunate enough to get a home-and-home series this season with the defending champs. It will be Sid the Kid's second game in St. Paul. He played at Shattuck St. Mary's, remember. Wild GM Chuck Fletcher spent the last two years in Pittsburgh as an Assistant GM, while Head Coach Todd Richards coached the AHL's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Baby Pens, including a Calder Cup finals appearance. Petr Sykora won a Stanley Cup with the Penguins last season. There will be no nametags needed for this one.

Saturday, Jan. 23 vs. Columbus
It's Hockey Day, Minnesota! The annual Wild/FOX Sports North production hits the ice. A full day of hockey programming from peewee to the pros, including the Wild/Blue Jackets game. History has shown that Hockey Day Minnesota games have consistently been entertaining.

Wednesday, Feb. 10 vs. Phoenix
After all the Coyotes' courtroom drama all summer, it will be interesting to see what this team is doing on the ice. They are quick - I watched some of their opener against the Kings - and this could turn into a high-flying matchup.

Sunday, Feb. 14 vs. Vancouver
It's Valentine's Day, but no love lost between the Wild and Canucks, picked by many to compete for the Stanley Cup title. This also marks the last game before the Olympic Break. If the Canucks look a little cranky, it's because they have a 14-game road trip (seven before the Olympics, and seven after) so they'll be looking for their beds at this point.

Sunday, March 7 vs. Calgary
The first home game after the Olympics involves another intense rival, the Calgary Flames. New coaches and style for both sides, but that shouldn't change the teams' feelings about each other.

Tuesday, March 21 vs. San Jose
It's National TV against the defending President's Trophy squad. One of two-home games in a two week span against the team that gave Todd Richards his first NHL assistant coach job. Former Wild video coach Matt Shaw replaced Richards on the San Jose bench.

Saturday, April 10 vs. Dallas
The final home game could also be the final game of Mike Modano's illustrious career. The all-time leading scorer among American-born players could be nearing the end, and it could happen in the state that drafted him first overall in 1988.




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