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Dutch Schnell: Six-Shootin’

by Staff Writer / Minnesota Wild

Dutch Schnell, goalie-racer here, and as you can tell by surveying the photo to the left, I am sweating profusely. Since when did the tectonic plates beneath the earth’s crust undergo such a seismic shift that St. Paul ended up five miles south of the equator?

Only a refreshing citrus-y drink can cool me down on a day like this, and this time, I’ll pass on the Fresca. I need a Five Alive! (Note: I’m quietly, but pompously laughing at that reference and saying to myself just over a whisper, “Atta boy, Dutch! Atta boy!)

My apologies if this week’s column is a little later than its usual Friday morning arrival. Andy The Intern

 Andy (left) is caught red-handed delivering a document to former Twins employee Wayne Petersen, when he should be transcribing.
was futzing around working on game notes for tonight’s throwdown against the Columbus Bluejackets. He should have been diligently transcribing my thoughts for the week.

Seriously, I hate to harp on a kid trying to make his way in this world, but that kid is one late Double Cinnamon Mocha Frappucino delivery away from being out on his derriere with no hope of a letter of recommendation from this goalie-racer.

Of course, I know what you’re thinking State of Hockey legion, because as I said before, I’m nothing if not a certified mind reader. You’re disapprovingly shaking your head as you lament, “Dutch has gotten too big for his britches, he won’t even type his own columns.”

I assure you, that is not the case.

You try typing a dissertation with a blocker and a catching glove attached to your hands. It’s nearly impossible without hitting backspace every other keystroke.

Here, watch this. Let me just…Andy…I need you to move for a sec…just…trust me…LET ME USE THE COMPUTER YOU LITTLE TWERP!

***Muffled noises***

Okay, sorry about that. Ready?


You see that? I just tried to type, “Dick and Jane chased the fox over the grassy meadow.” I trust you see my point now.

Let’s get back to the column, and let me get one thing out of the way. Many (three) of you are wondering if I’m ashamed, embarrassed and/or disconcerted about finishing third in last week’s goalie race, two spots behind puppy-hater Egg Olson.

Listen, I want to win every night, but winning four consecutive goalie races is unprecedented. Do I look like Jacques Lemaire and his band of fiery streak masters who habitually defy the naysayers with five victories in a row?

I’m merely a goalie-racer. The Wild on the other blocker hand, is an emerging juggernaut looking for its sixth consecutive victory tonight against the Jax in a matter of hours.

 If Dutch has his facts straight (which he doesn’t), the 1934-35 Montreal Maroons are the last NHL team to win six straight.
I’m fairly certain that a five-game streak is just shy of an NHL record (I think it’s actually like, two short of the record, but I’ll have to double check that later when I have more free time). But five consecutive wins is nothing to sneeze at my comrades. I can’t even think of something I’ve done five times in a row. I do know that the future Mrs. Schnell considers herself fortunate if I brush my teeth three consecutive nights.

The quest for number six begins tonight in Ohio, and you and I both know I can’t make predictions in this column, so don’t even ask. But I will bring up the possibility of the third shootout of the season between the Wild and the Bluejackets. Two of the three meetings between these two clubs have ended in tear-inducing shootout losses for Minnesota.

Jacques Lemaire and I see eye-to-eye on most world issues, but if there’s one thing we agree to disagree on, it’s shootouts. Mr. Lemaire is less than enthused by the spectacle as he’s said many times in front of a microphone with his smooth French-Canadian accent.

I love ‘em even more than I love Fresca! The only problem is, I’ve only gotten to see four this year, which is way lower than I would have expected. Two years ago, 74 of the Wild’s games would have gone into shootouts had they existed back then. Again, I’ll have to go back and check on those statistics, but for now, mark it down as fact.

 Aaron Sickman: President of Bon Jovi fan club: chapter 12.
This year, the Wild has only participated in four shootouts, winning a measly one of them in Anaheim. I for one, wouldn’t be opposed to another showdown between shooter and goaltender tonight, if for no other reason than to make media relations guru Aaron Sickman squirm in his Armani suit up in the Nationwide press box because he so wants to get back to St. Paul tonight in time to catch Bon Jovi’s encore rendition of “Bed of Roses.”

For me, there would be no better sight than to see Pierre-Marc Bouchard sneak a backhander between the legs of Marc Denis in round three of the shootout, setting the stage for a showdown between Trevor Letowski and Dwayne Roloson, who snares a shot bound for the upper corner and holds his glove high for just a second longer than normal as he savors this well-deserved victory.

Again, that wasn’t a prediction, just a hopeful vision. But before I go tight roll my jeans and apply mousse to my hair in anticipation of the Bon Jovi show tonight, I’ll leave you with this lil nugget.

The Wild has never lost (1-0-0-0) on January 27…ever! Think about that. Lather up the sunscreen before going outside. Then, think about it some more.

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

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