Perhaps not “working out” in the sense that I’m developing an “attractive” physique, mind you. After all, I’ve already found a gal who likes me for me, and not just the goalie racer on the outside.
But I have been putting my medulla oblongata through an intense training regimen as I’ve contemplated how to sum up an entire month since we’ve last corresponded. I have to say, my head is pounding at this point, and I’m only 95 words into this thing!
I know what some of you are muttering to yourselves in your cubicles or workspaces. You’re wondering how I can simply fall off the face of the earth for five weeks since season’s end with nary an update. Well, my little negative Nellies and Nelsons, I’m not here to play the “blame game,” but Wild graphic design/publications guru, DeWayne “Stats” Hankins is entirely to blame.
| "Stats" Hankins surveys his team of Wild player biography writers. |
“Stats”, despite an unhealthy obsession with the Chicago White Sox, generally means well, and he can turn an EPS file into a JPEG faster than Brian Rolston can blast a shot to the upper corner.
However, as part of his roles and responsibilities, “Stats” is in charge of the production of the 2005-2006 Minnesota Wild Season Summary, which documents and tabulates every nugget of information from last year that a stats dweeb would want to know. And Mr. Hankins cracks the whip with Mike Keenan-like aggressiveness.
He enlisted the help of this goalie racer to work on a few select player biographies, and I am nothing if not a team player, so I acquiesced to his request by churning out bios for Nick Schultz, Martin Skoula, Stephane Veilleux, Daniel Tjarnqvist and Todd White.
I think I had the most fun writing Veilleux’s bio, but Hankins took a big red pen to my blurb about him ranking second among all NHLers in fieriest red hair behind Carolina’s Mike Commodore. I feel these
| Mike Commodore again led the League in reddest hair this season, edging out the Wild’s Stephane Veilleux. |
are the facts that people really want to learn about.
Anyhow, the Season Summary has been put to bed and the plethora of information is now available for public knowledge. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking up a copy. It is so choice.
You can even read it online by clicking here.
Some things are not covered in the Season Summary. For example, you can find out how many games Derek Boogaard missed with lower body soreness (just one), but you can’t find out about how many warm fuzzies were generated when Kurtis Foster beat the Canadiens in overtime, or when I got Randy Robitaille’s autograph at a Hockey Unplugged appearance.
It also doesn’t track what happens following the regular season, and that’s where I come in. Cue “Enter Sandman.”
I’m going to fill you in on what’s happened in Wild land since the wild.com department slackers have yet to produce a Best Wild Week Ever since the season ended on April 15. It’s time for me to pitch in and help. That’s just what I do.
Most of us reside in the State of Hockey, but we’re going to begin our journey in Texas, a state that I refuse to taunt or tease, due in no small part to the fact that it is home to my favorite American Hockey League team, the Houston Aeros.
The Bombers beat up on the Peoria Rivermen like they stole Marian Gaborik’s techno music collection. But after a four-game sweep of P-town, the ‘Ros couldn’t come down from the first round high, and were summarily trounced by the Milwaukee Predators…I mean…Admirals in four games.
I think we learned an important lesson about the people of Milwaukee. You can’t trust ‘em. But give them credit. They took it upon themselves to mess with Texas, and they succeeded, which is rare.
Moving on to a related story. The Wild signed Benoit Pouliot, who decided he no longer enjoyed the thrill of making junior hockey defensemen and goaltenders look silly. He can now pack away the blue and grey Sudbury Wolves jersey, and it remains to be seen if the jersey he wore in his one game with the Aeros will be a collector’s item.
I fully expect Benoit to not only contend for having the best hockey name in the Wild system next year, but also to be amongst the League rookie scoring leaders. Whether that’s in the NHL or the AHL remains to be seen. I’m leaning towards the former.
Staying on the ice, we’ve got three Wild players, three Wild prospects and one Wild doctor competing in the World Champions over in Latvia, home to our beloved Sergei Zholtok.
| The Wayne Gretzky of hot dog eating...Takeru Kobayashi. |
I’m torn because, although I’m what you might call a potpourri of origins and nationalities, I was born in the very country that I live in today, the United States of America. Thusly, I cheer for my homeland in every event whether it is hockey, baseball, water polo, synchronized swimming, or hot dog eating. Blast that Takeru Kobayashi
But I’ll admit to being somewhat conflicted recently, because, I mean, I wrote Nick Schultz’ bio! How can I root against someone when my job is to make him look good?
Nick, I’m speaking just to you now. If it comes down to you facing the United States in the gold medal game, my allegiances must be postponed. For one day, you will be my archenemy, and I must will your heart to be broken in the cruelest of ways.
When you return however, I’ll buy you a root beer float to show you there are no hard feelings.
Turning away from the rink for a spell, I know you guys think it’s all Solitaire and water cooler talk at Wild headquarters.
Think again Mensas!
The scouts and general manager types are brainstorming possible free agent signings and certain draft picks. The Wild will pick ninth overall at the June 24th Entry Draft in Vancouver, and we’ll get another pick later in the first round as well. There are names like Bryan Little, Chris Stewart, James Sheppard and Bobby Sanguinetti being tossed out as possible first round picks for Minnesota.
As y’all know, I swear by players with strong hockey names, so keep your eye on Cal Clutterbuck of Oshawa in the Ontario Hockey League, or Cody Wild of Providence College. I already have a mental picture Equipment Manager Tony DaCosta chuckling to himself has he sews a “Wild” nameplate on a “Wild” jersey.
And speaking of signings, the Wild and Anheuser-Busch folks met for a few wheat sodas and decided to hammer out a partnership extension. Being a role model, I won’t drink any alcoholic beverages until I officially retire from goalie racing and start appearing in commercials alongside Keith Hernandez and Kareem-Abdul Jabaar.
But still, the agreement means many more Hockey Unpluggeds to come, and for that I say, “Hooray Beer!”
| Happy Trails to you Andy The Intern. Former Twins employed Wayne Petersen will certainly miss your daily newspaper clippings. |
I regret to finish on a bit of a sad note, but it is important for my loyal readers to learn that Andy the Intern
, a recurring character in this column, has returned to his stomping grounds of Mankato, Minnesota, where he can untuck his shirt and wear jeans every day.
Andy will now be selling used helmets and jock straps at a Play it Again Sports, where he is now a part owner.
If you’re thinking something along the lines of, “How in the world is Andy the Intern a part owner of something when he couldn’t even promptly bring Dutch’s Double Cinnamon Mocha Frappucino in a timely and courteous fashion?”
Believe you me, I’m as flabbergasted as you, but I also feel a deep sense of pride that I groomed young Andy for the next phase of his life, in which he will constantly ask, “would you like some talc to go with those dumbbells?”
When you’re in the Mankato area, stop in to wish Andy “Godspeed,” and if you don’t mind, tell him I noticed the tape dispenser missing from my desk.
Until next time State of Hockey legion, I am Dutch Schnell and I…am a goalie racer.
To go back and re-live the 2005-2006 season through the eyes of Dutch, click here.
To contact him, click here.