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Dutch Schnell: Happy Holidays

by Staff Writer / Minnesota Wild

Dutch Schnell, goalie-racer here, and as you can tell by examining the photo to the left, I am overcome with the holiday spirit on this fabulous Christmas Eve Eve.

We have so very much to talk about State of Hockey legion. But since this is my allotted space on, I’ll do the talking. You do the reading. Then, you are free to discuss with your family over a holiday ham or fondue bowl.

Or, you could email me directly, like my new best friends -- Kelly Brown of Maplewood, and Abby Asuncion of Montana (a state west of here) -- did last week.

Here’s the agenda for today’s discourse:

1. Wishing everybody a Happy Holiday season
2. Recapping last week’s goalie race
3. My Olympic thoughts
4. Special welcome home to Andrew Brunette and Antti Laaksonen

First off, this is the Grand Poobah of holiday seasons my friends. We’ve got the Emperor’s Birthday in Japan tonight, followed up by Christmas Eve on Saturday. We welcome Christmas day and the beginning of Hanukkah on Sunday. Then, we completely blow it out on Monday with parties celebrating Kwanzaa; Boxing Day in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia; and St. Stephen’s Day in Ireland and Italy.

If you’ve got anything left for New Year’s, more power to you. But, I will be so drained by Tuesday; I may have to ask the powers-that-be for some “recuperation” time in the latter half of the week.

As for presents, I haven’t yet determined what I’ll be getting all my faithful readers for the Holidays, but I still have a shopping day left. Most likely, I’ll be making a donation in all of your names to the Human Fund. Stay tuned for confirmation.

Second on the agenda is last Saturday’s goalie race, in which yours truly lambasted the competition in a runaway victory. I’ll be the first to admit, it was an anti-climactic race, as my competition provided little in the way of…well…competition.

I don’t know if the other goalie-racers were affected by the lockout, or if they just need to intensify their training regimen, but I will tell you this: Come the next goalie race on January 20, these guys need to rebound from their pathetic performances and start bringing it.

 Bob Saget (left) was always looking over his shoulder at Dave Coulier (right) as the two battled for comic supremacy throughout the nineties.
I feel like Tiger Woods with no one providing me a challenge. Every Ali needs a Frazier. Every Gretzky needs a Lemieux. Every Saget needs a Coulier. Every artist needs someone constantly pushing him or her to be the greatest. A goalie racer is no different.

Enough about my ongoing racing success, let’s get on to the Olympics. Goalie racing was passed over once again this year in its bid for a medal sport. To answer your questions: yes, I’m miffed and no, I’m not giving up for 2010. And plus, we still have ice dancing, so who can really complain?

This past week, the international hockey federations released their rosters for the hockey Tourney in Torino.

Four of our Wild players – Brian Rolston (United States), Marian Gaborik (Slovakia), Mikko Koivu (Finland) and Filip Kuba (Czech Republic) – will morph into Captain Jack Sparrow, questing for golden treasure.

Personally, I feel that Canada snubbed Derek “The Boogeyman” Boogaard. And I may or may not be typing that knowing full well that it’s always advantageous to stay on the good side of a man who stretches the rulers to six feet, seven inches; tips the scales at 250 LBs; and possesses fists the size of small suitcases.

I’m proud of you guys. I really am. And I know I speak for the entire State of Hockey legion when I say that.

Finally, let’s get to the task at immediate hand, which is tonight’s confrontation with the Colorado Avalanche and their team of NHL replay officials. Now, I’m not going to harp on a bunch of t.v. watchers for costing the Wild a much-needed win last night. That’s not how I get down.

I am simply going to offer up a welcome back to a couple of familiar faces in Andrew Brunette and Antti Laaksonen.

 This will be Manny Fernandez’ view of the action tonight when Andrew Brunette plants his kiester in the slot.
Last night, both of the former W’s netted goals against their former team, in much the same way they did when they donned the Forest Green and Iron Range Red. Laaksonen’s goal was a result of pure hustle, determination and stick-to-it-ness. Brunette’s was a result of him planting his rather ginormous posterior in front of the Wild net for a tip-in goal.

Congrats you guys! Now cut it out. We miss you and all, but making us root against you is just not cool.

Side note: It may sound weird to say this, but seeing a pair of ex-Wild players succeed is actually positive for the Wild in my humble opinion. Stay with me here.

In the old days, when the Wild parted ways with a player, it was most likely that player’s swan song. Most coffers that left the Wild (see Aaron Gavey, Stacy Roest, Scott Pellerin) did not find success elsewhere in the League.

Now you’ve got guys like Brunette, Laaksonen and Richard Park, who are contributing in big ways to their new teams. It just shows that the Wild is reaching a point where some top players are expendable to make room for up-and-coming talent.

I am nothing if not a Wild historian, and I will remember everything that Bruno and Laakso provided us fans in years one through four.

In fact, I will take it upon my self to start a slow, drama-filled clap in honor of our old friends. I anticipate my solo clapping will crescendo into a synchronized applause by all of you sitting at your computers, resulting in shivers running down all of our spines.

Ready! And…


I am Dutch Schnell, and I…am a goalie racer! Happy Holidays everybody!

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