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Dutch Schnell: Casual Undefeated Friday

by Staff Writer / Minnesota Wild

Dutch Schnell, goalie-racer here, and as you can tell by taking a gander at the photo to the left, it’s casual Friday.

Not only am I wearing jeans today (Bad Idea Brand), but I’ve also untucked my shirt. I know, I’m pushing the envelope, but sometimes that’s what you do when the National Hockey League team you write a (sometimes) weekly column for is undefeated.

Things get a little nutty here at Wild headquarters on 317 Washington Street in lovely downtown Saint Paul when the Wild are winning games at an unheard of clip. Employees start blasting eighties punk rock and start playing air instruments on the desks in their cubicles. You should see Director of Advertising and former Minnesota Twins employee Wayne Petersen break it down with his air trombone while highstepping around the third floor.

At 10:30 AM today, a game of laser tag broke out between the Ticket Sales department and the Finance department.

At noon, we had pizza and watched "The Land Before Time" in the boardroom before we all curled up on our sleeping mats. We need our rest because the skeet shooting competition begins at 3:00 PM.

It’s not always constant zaniness around here. For example, if the team loses two straight games, you can see the entire staff scrubbing out the Xcel Energy Center toilets or changing out the Odor Eaters in Mike Greenlay’s shoes.

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 A snapshot of the Wild corporate office break room on casual Friday.
Fortunately, we haven’t been called upon for these types of chores this year, because I don’t know if you know this yet, but your Minnesota Wild is undefeated this year. The team is sitting at the top of the entire NHL in the wins and points categories. I assumed that no team in the history of the League had ever started the season with four straight wins, but apparently I turned out to be wrong.

The Toronto Maple Leafs started the 1993-94 season with 10 straight victories. That team fizzled to a 43-29-12 record and later lost in the Conference Finals.

A little more research revealed that if the Wild can win its next 78 games, it would be an NHL record.

Vice President of Communications and Broadcasting Bill Robertson has assured me, that if the Wild does win its 82nd game on Saturday, April 7 over the St. Louis Blues, we can take a half day on Monday, April 9 provided we have all of our work done.

While dreams of undefeated seasons and half days are hard to ignore, I know my friend and mentor Jacques Lemaire is not the least bit satisfied. In fact, I was watching last night’s postgame press conference right here on Wild.com and he said these profound words.

And I quote: “We’re happy as a coaching staff, but also worried. We’re looking for perfection, and we know it’s hard to get but we want to be as close as possible.”

Is there any doubt as to why this guy was awarded a contract extension this week? He’s like Buddha, only he wears much better suits and his accent is more fun to listen to. It’s as smooth as milk chocolate.

If I can try my hand at interpreting Lemaire’s words, I’d surmise his aforementioned quote to mean, “We not only expected an 82-0-0 season, but also 82 shutouts, and while it’s disappointing that one of those is wiped from the books, we can still be satisfied if we achieve the other goal. But, I am a fair and decent man and I won’t assign anybody to the Quad City Mallards if we don’t go undefeated.”

The Columbus Blue Jackets are on the docket tomorrow night. They’ve got a 2-0-1 record, Rick “Nasty” Nash, and a guy named “Duvie,” so I don’t have to tell you that 5-0-0 is going to be tough, let alone 82-0-0.

If the Wild can get by Columbus, it has to prove its mettle on the road with three games out west with Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Jose, which are a combined 9-1-1 as of 1:46 PM on Friday.

Here is my suggestion for the day: let’s take things one game at a time. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

And that reminds me, The Great Goalie Race, which was originally scheduled for Opening Night, has been rescheduled for either October 25 or October 27 to allow Egg Olson time to recover from an “upper body injury.” I didn’t know having a brain with the consistency of scrambled eggs qualified as an injury but I’m not a doctor.

All I am is Dutch Schnell, and I…am a goalie racer.

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