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Taking a walk on the Wild side of Detroit

A shot of Wild captain Mikko Koivu I took during warm-up (Monica McAlister)
A shot of Wild captain Mikko Koivu I took during warm-up (Monica McAlister)

The Minnesota Wild headed into Detroit just a day after the Red Wings had clinched their 20th consecutive playoff appearance - the same day that the Wild were officially eliminated from the playoff race.

To show my support of the Wild I headed downtown Detroit to the game…

Follow the jump to hear about my Wild time in Hockeytown….

Last night was the last meeting between the Minnesota Wild and the Detroit Red Wings for the 2010-11 season - it just happened to be in Detroit.

Donned with my Koivu jersey shirt and a sign I made that read "Onnea" (Finnish for good luck) I headed down to Detroit with my hockey buddy (my mom - what can I say hockey love runs in the family).

We made it downtown in time to find parking and hit up Hockeytown Café before catching a shuttle over to Joe Louis Arena. As tradition (and superstition) dictate I did take my Red Wings Nicklas Lidstrom jersey as I have worn it at every Red Wings game I have even attended and they have done good by me and won every game (Sorry wild fans but like I said I did wear my Koivu shirt last night).

Not one person said a word to me at Hockeytown Café wearing Minnesota Wild gear. Not even a chirp from the 100’s of people there in winged wheels. Only two people even seemed to notice that I was not "one of them": My mom who kept telling me that I needed to go change and a little girl whom I’d guess was 7 or 8 - she just kept staring at the logo and her mom pushed her away to stop her from being rude. Honestly - I would of preferred if the girl had asked "Why the Wild?" or something.

Like a typical winter (it is still winter) day in Michigan it was overcast, cold, and wet. We stood outside (well I stood in the lobby watching the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers in overtime and the shoot out before I headed out into the cold) waiting for the shuttle. I ended up covering my Koivu shirt with my Lidstrom jersey. Between the standing and waiting for the shuttle, then the standing in the wind, rain, sleet, freezing cold outside of Joe Louis Arena for over 30 minutes for the doors to open - I was soaked - as was Lidstrom (sorry Nick!).

As usually I took up position down on the glass for the pre game skate - this time right next to the Wild bench. I was the only one down there so I got ready. Put my purse that was soaked down in a chair (sorry to the person that had tickets for that first seat in the second row right next to the Wild tunnel yesterday if your seat was wet that was my fault) and then took off my Lidstrom jersey to expose my nice and dry Minnesota Wild Mikko Koivu shirt - and got a thumbs up and a smile from the crowd control manager.

It took awhile for other Wild fans to show up but eventually one did. A guy from Minnesota in a green third jersey of Guilaume Latendresse. He and some friends had driven from Minnesota and spent the weekend in Detroit; ends up like myself he had not heard much chirping from the Detroit fans.

Which by the way they enjoyed their stay in Detroit; however, they thought Joe Louis Arena was a bit of a dump compared to The X.

The Wild came out and I put up the sign that I said I would "Onnea!"

I managed to get a smile and a head nod from Niklas Backstrom who was the back up for the night as Jose Three-or-more Theordore was set to start opposite Jimmy Howard. I got about as up close and personal with Kaptain Koivu as one can get though the glass; and according to my mom shouting:

"Monica! Are you holding that sign up you made?"

"Yeah that’s why I brought it why?"

"Because the cute one wearing number 9 keeps looking at you and smiling."

Now THAT is winning Charlie Sheen.

I did not have my first "run in" with a Wings fan until I went to go sit in my seats. Mind you I paid good money for these seats in the top of JLA (Row 22 in the upper bowl - if you’ve been there you know how high that is) and as I went to walk down my row I had a lady put her leg up and tell me "you can’t cross" To point out she was smiling and laughing as she said it. She then let me through and I got a few boos from people in the area (again nothing serious just fans having a good time).

Once I sat down a lady two rows up started chirping; and then admitted that her daughter actually wears Dallas Stars gear to the games vs. them and it was just nice to finally give someone else a hard time as she gets when she’s with her daughter at those games. She then turns to my mom and asks "I know we did not wrong by them they must have gotten this from their fathers’ side."

During the game I didn’t hear anything. Not a word when the Wild scored, the Wings scored, not when I walked around the concourse during the second intermission. Not. A. Word.

Now post game was different. Walking around Joe Louis Arena with my Minnesota Wild shirt I got many "Good game" and "have a good night" comments, applause, "Hopefully you guys make it next year" and "Thanks for making to trip to Detroit - hope you’ve enjoyed it minus the loss tonight."

It was after I threw on the super warm brand new zip up Red Wings hoodie my mom bought me (because we were freezing form standing in the rain pre game; and a hat she bought me a hat too) that we ran into a large group of Wild fans. One was even donning a North Stars Jersey. When I got then harassed by the Wild fans.

Oh the joys of being a hockey fan... no one is ever happy.