Wild Insider: Hey, Ducks, remember us?

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 20, 2007 - 2:53 PM

The Wild hasn't forgotten Anaheim, but players say Sunday night's game is about victory, not retribution for past abuse.

If you plan to tune in and watch the Wild's first visit to the Honda Center since the Anaheim Ducks hastily eliminated Minnesota in last season's first round of the playoffs, here's one thing you shouldn't expect tonight: Kim Johnsson fighting Brad May.

"That would be utterly stupid of me," the Wild defenseman said.

In fact, May -- a k a Public Enemy No. 1 for knocking Johnsson out with a shocking sucker punch at the end of Game 4 last April -- probably won't be accepting any invitations from Derek Boogaard either.

"I doubt it," Boogaard said. "He doesn't fight guys like me, and the main thing is the game. You've got to worry about that first."

While that type of attitude might not get the blood flowing in all those revenge-seekers out there, the reality is that beating up Brad May wouldn't take the Ducks' Stanley Cup away.

"Anaheim is the measuring stick of the league right now and obviously there's a little bit of history, but I don't think it's going to get out of hand," Wild veteran forward Mark Parrish said. "I'm sure it'll be a very physical game, but I wouldn't expect four or five different fights and a total bloodbath.

"I just think it'll be a good, intense game. Two points is what we want."

After a franchise-record 48-victory, 104-point regular season, the Wild was dismantled in only eight days. But it's amazing how much happened in such a short time. Here's a look back at some highlights:

• Gamesmanship between Games 1 and 2: After Dustin Penner's controversial winner late in Game 1, Wild coach Jacques Lemaire watched Anaheim's next practice. Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said it didn't bother him, even though, unsolicited, he twice brought it up in his news conference.

Lemaire watched practice because "they were all in the pressbox upstairs and watching our practice."

•Game 4 excitement and incitement: Trailing 3-0 in the series, the Wild blew out Anaheim in Game 4 for its only victory. Late, a scrum ensued and May hunted Johnsson, earning a three-game suspension.

Angry words flew into the next day in Anaheim, fueled by Carlyle's absurd assertion that "there was a push, and then May and Johnsson came together, and punches started flying." Boogaard said May is a "mush-head who's not going to fight me, so he picks on somebody who's never going to fight."

• Game 5 pre- and post-game fireworks: Hours after May's excuse-laden "apology," a skirmish broke out during warmups after Boogaard elbowed Chris Pronger.

"He crossed over the red line, so I got in his way just on their side of the ice and then he shot a puck at me," Boogaard said.

After the Wild was eliminated, GM Doug Risebrough forbid Boogaard from joining the post-series handshakes, saying, "I did not trust what [Ducks players] were going to do." Lemaire and his assistants also refused to shake hands with Ducks coaches, with Lemaire saying: "[Ducks GM Brian Burke] started first to say his team is bigger, tougher, they had more fights and all that [stuff] before the playoffs, and I didn't appreciate it. Then ... what May did, that's the reason I didn't shake."

Even after the series Risebrough and Burke -- friends in real life -- continued the verbal war, with Burke saying, "They started whining after Game 1, they whined after Game 2 ... after Game 3 ... after Game 4 ... after Game 5. I suspect after Games 6 and 7, we'd be treated to more whining."

Michael Russo • mrusso@startribune.com

  • WEEK IN REVIEW Record: 2-0 • The Wild shut out Edmonton for the fourth time in five meetings, winning 2-0 Wednesday as Niklas Backstrom posted his second shutout in three starts. Brent Burns scored his second consecutive winner and Pavol Demitra scored off one of Marian Gaborik's two assists. They then beat Phoenix 3-2 Saturday night behind a late shorthanded goal from newcomer Eric Belanger. This week: Three road games at Anaheim (7 tonight, Honda Center, FSN, 830-AM) • Six months after being dispatched in five games in the Western Conference quarterfinals, the Wild meets the Ducks. at Los Angeles (9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Staples Center, FSN, 830-AM) • The Wild completes its three-game trip against a team it swept in four games last season. Michal Handzus and Rosemount's Tom Preissing are two of the Kings' new acquisitions. at St. Louis (7:30 p.m., Saturday, Scottrade Center, no TV, 830-AM) • Fireworks exploded after a recent exhibition game in which Derek Boogaard retaliated against Doug Weight for a slash to his right arm. After the game, Blues coach Andy Murray put the Wild's skilled players "on alert." So, be alert, too. The quote: "I don’t want to say anything." — Wild coach Jacques Lemaire, on how good Backstrom has been in goal.
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