Dutch Schnell, goalie-racer here, and as you can tell by inspecting the photo to the left, I am playing with fire (in a figurative sense).
Like most goalie-racers, I am of the superstitious variety, and I usually make it a point to avoid interviews on race days. I heavily debated not writing a column today, as some could construe that as talking to the media (because I know KARE 11 morning weatherman Jonathan Yuhas is an avid reader).
But I would be doing a disservice to loyal reader Abby Asuncion of Maplewood, who has graduated from being my new best friend to my bestest friend after her flattering email last week requesting that I make a public appearance to sign autographs.
For you Abby, I will dedicate my upcoming performance tonight in your honor.
You read it right my friends, during the second intermission of tonight’s Minnesota Wild throw down with the Chicago Blackhawks, I, Dutch Schnell, goalie-racer, will look to set two records today.
| Like Forrest, sometimes Dutch "just feels like running." Click here if you need proof. |
The first record was trying to fit as many unnecessary commas in that last sentence as possible. The second will be to win my fourth consecutive goalie race tonight. The four-peat has never been accomplished in the history of goalie-racing, but I have to like my chances after December 17, when I ran away from the likes of Egg, Piney, Legs and Ugly like Forrest Gump running from the hillbillies
Which brings me to the real reason I’m here, and in the business, we call that a segue.
December 17 was an important day not only for me (it marked my return to the goalie-racing game for the first time in two years), but also for our beloved W’s, who were so inspired by my runaway victory, they went out and took down the Montreal Canadiens in overtime on Kurtis “Bananaz” Foster’s patented howitzer from the blue line.
At that point, the Wild was trailing to the Habs, 2-1. No doubt the boys were watching my race as they sat in the locker room during the first intermission and poured PowerAde down their espophaguseses. I’m also going to assume they heard my shouts of encouragement as I was escorted past the Wild locker room following the race.
I hate to say that I’m completely responsible for the dramatic win. But I’m completely responsible.
Certainly the Wild deserve credit for what transpired in the weeks following, however. The Canadiens win sparked a run of seven victories in the next nine games for the Green Machine, and for that, I effusively give props to the players and the coaching staff. That run was all them.
Now as for a recent three-game skid that was low lighted by a 6-1 punch in the throat from the Ottawa Senators on Monday night, some might call it "a good thing coming to an end." I know better. The likely culprit for said conundrum was most likely deer-tick breeding Egg Olson who has been known to sully the teams collective psyche with his surly attitude and general malaise.
Fear not State of Hockey legion. I’ve taken it upon myself to send Egg a message tonight that his negativity has no place among us at this critical juncture in the season. And my impending victory can only serve as good juju for the Wild tonight.
| Different town, same tiny breezers for fomer Wild-turned-Hawk, Jim Dowd. |
However, I can’t guarantee that a Dutch win will translate into a Wild win. The Chicago Blackhawks are not to be handled with kid gloves. They are coming off a big victory over the Colorado Avalanche last night, and they will have undercover agent Jim Dowd working on behalf of the Windy City tonight.
Dowd, of course, was an original member of the Wild, and his friendly demeanor and “good ‘ol boy” disposition helped him become a fan favorite of the team of 18,000.
Little did we know that he was on a recognizance mission for the Blackhawks the entire three-plus years that he was here.
I knew he wore those tiny breezers for reasons other than to show off his quadriceps. It now seems obvious that he was undoubtedly was using them to hold a microscopic microphone to relay Jacques Lemaire’s message to Trent Yawney and the rest of the Hawks coaching staff.
It worked once Jimmy my old friend. You guys got the best of us back on October 23rd. Don’t think Mr. Lemaire hasn’t adjusted. He has a memory like an elephant and the cunningness of a preying mantis.
I am nothing if not a sleuth of the highest degree, and I have learned that Lemaire will counter Dowd and the Hawks with a heaping helping of Todd White, who will be eager to remind his former team of why they signed him as a free agent out of Clarkson.
White refused to show any inkling of seeking revenge against his former team in this interview with radio henchman, Kevin Falness. But he did exhibit some excellent helmet-head hair as he eloquently spoke of how big these next to games against Chicago will be.
Todd certainly is a friendly little fella when he talks to Falness, but when it comes to third periods he is downright ferocious. Nine of his 12 goals this season have come in the third period this year, and I smell a haunting aroma of two more third period tallies tonight.
That’s not a prediction, as you and I both know that those are forbidden around these parts. However, I will leave you with this nugget before heading off to my pre-game ritual of chewing on broken glass and listening to Shakira.
The Wild has never lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in the month of January. Think about that, drink a couple beverages of your choice, talk it over with your co-workers at the water cooler, and think about it some more.
I am Dutch Schnell, and I…am a goalie racer.
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