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Year In Review: 2010

Thursday, 12.30.2010 / 3:05 PM / Minnesota Wild | Features
By Glen Andresen  - Manager of Social Media
The Minnesota Wild says goodbye to 2010 tonight after one more showdown at Xcel Energy Center. Although the year didn't feature a playoff berth for the State of Hockey, there plenty of moments that we can look back on each month fondly as the best Wild moments of 2010:

January 9 - Not long into the new decade, the Wild played one of those games that nobody in attendance will soon forget. Trailing 5-1 to the eventual Stanley Cup winning Chicago Blackhawks, the Wild somehow pumped in four goals in the final 13 minutes of the third period. Finally, Josh Harding denied future Wild center John Madden in the eighth round of the shootout, and the greatest comeback in Wild history was complete. 

February 15 through 28 - For sports fans, the month of February can be a dreary time with very little going on in the way of games that actually mean something. In 2010, that was different, because the NHL took a two-week break so players could participate in the Vancouver Olympics, which provided some of the most stunning hockey we'll ever see. Five Wild players - Finland's Niklas Backstrom, Mikko Koivu and Antti Miettinen and the Czech Republic's Martin Havlat and Marek Zidlicky - took part in the Games. The Finns came away with bronze medals while the United States team that featured four Minnesotans, came away with silver after a thrilling overtime loss to Canada in the gold medal game.

March 7 - The Calgary Flames come to town like they do so often, but this one was different. A crowd of 18,217 filled Xcel Energy Center, marking the Wild's 400th consecutive sellout.

April 10 - The Xcel Energy Center has already hosted an NHL All-Star Game, an NCAA Frozen Four and World Cup of Hockey games. In April, the NHL awarded the Entry Draft to Minnesota. The two-day event will take place on June 24th and 25th, 2011.

May 26 - A hockey tradition that keeps on growing, Hockey Day Minnesota will take place for the fourth straight year. In May, it was announced that Moorhead, Minnesota will be this year's site for the popular outdoor high school games.

June 25 - With the ninth overall selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, the Minnesota Wild select…Mikael Granlund. Already stockpiled with talented Finns, Minnesota grabbed the highest rated European player in the Draft. Granlund, who is currently playing with HIFK in Helsinki, Finland, is expected to be an NHL-ready prospect when he comes to North America.

July 1 - General Manager Chuck Fletcher showed in 2009 that he won't hesitate to make a splash when the free agent signing period begins. That year, he inked Martin Havlat and Greg Zanon to multi-year deals. This year, he was able to land Minnesota native Matt Cullen, as well as Eric Nystrom on the first day of free agency.

August 5 - As part of an online contest on Wild.com, kids aged 18 or younger were asked to design the mask that Niklas Backstrom would wear for the 2010-11 season. Peter Best of Plymouth was picked by Backstrom as the winner. Best's design included skylines of Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as two wolves on each side to depict Backstrom's personality in goal.

September 15 - Playing in the Traverse City Prospects Tournament in Michigan, the Wild prospects defeat the Detroit Red Wings, 3-1, to secure an undefeated record and the championship trophy. Cody Almond, T.J. Barnett and Marco Scandella score the Wild's goals in the championship game.

October 7 - In a first for the Wild organization, the club opened its season overseas, taking on the Carolina Hurricanes in Helsinki, Finland as part of the NHL Premiere. The Wild fall in the opener, 4-3, despite goals from Guillaume Latendresse, Cullen and Brent Burns.

November 26 - After a dazzling Havlat goal led to a thumping the Nashville Predators by a 5-2 score, 1,131 mustachioed men flow onto the Xcel Energy Center ice sheet to establish a Guinness record for the largest gathering of people with mustaches. More importantly, the event concluded the Wild's Movember efforts to raise money for cancers affecting men. All tolled, the Wild raised $28,270 for the cause.

December 1 & 3 - It was a sight we weren't sure we'd see again. But after more than a year away from game action, Pierre-Marc Bouchard returned to the lineup after being sidelined with concussion symptoms. Two nights later, he scored the Wild's first goal in a game against the Calgary Flames. 




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