Dutch Schnell, goalie-racer here, and as you can tell by analyzing the picture to the left, I am a solid 15 pounds heavier than I was when you last saw me.
A potent combination of Thanksgiving leftovers coupled with four Xcel Energy press meals over the last two weeks has me starting to develop a noticeable waddle when walking to and fro. It also has the future Mrs. Schnell dropping not-so-subtle hints that I may be slightly less attractive than when we first met three years ago at the wedding of goalie-racer/day care provider, Eldrick “Piney” Woods, and his wife Sandy.
It starts with her suggesting that we start hitting up Good Earth on our Friday nights out. It continues with her recommendations for movie rentals that all star Richard Simmons in the lead role.
Let’s get to the business at hand, which is Wild hockey. After all, this is wild.com is it not?
The Wild suffered a shootout loss to the lowly Columbus Bluejackets on Wednesday, and then were
| Dutch will be seeing plenty of this man if the future Mrs. Schnell gets her way. |
suffocated by the suddenly spectacular Nashville Predators last night. We are now staring down the loaded barrel of a weapon that is four games on the East Coast.
Now, I am nothing if not a reader of message boards, and it appears to this goalie-racer that a select few of you have lost some confidence in our boys.
I hate to get stern with my readers, but this cannot happen people! And I am now considering it my job…nay, my duty…NAY, my MISSION IN LIFE, to reverse this march toward negativity and assure you that everything is going to be okay with the boys in Forest Green and Iron Range Red.
| Head Equipment manager Tony Dacosta is easily the best in the business, but the hoopla surrounding his 1000th NHL game was an obvious distraction for the Minnesota Wild on Thursday. |
Thursday night’s loss was disappointing, I will grant you that. And you won’t hear Wild players making excuses, so I’ll do it for them. You must remember that Thursday night was the 1,000th game of head equipment manager Tony Dacosta’s
career, and the hullabaloo that surrounds an event like that is tough to block out, even for an ultra focused group like the Wild.
When you’ve got everyone from Chris Berman to Joan Rivers barging into your locker room, trying to get a piece of Tony for whatever show they’re pumping, things can get a little distracting to say the least. Let’s not forget that the sweeps period is wrapping up folks, and Mr. Dacosta is the Nick & Jessica of 2005.
Thursday night was also the first time all season that the Wild fielded a complete lineup with absolutely no one on the injured list. And that’s reason enough to crack open an adult beverage of your choice provided you are over 21 years of age and not driving anywhere.
It takes some teams a half season to get completely used to each other. My prediction, even though I’m completely banned from making predictions by the powers-that-be in the front office, is that the Wild just needed one game to mesh and will win this one going away.
This means bad news for the New Jersey Devils, and their all-Minnesota roster that includes Zach Parise, Paul Martin, Barry Tallackson, Neal Broten, Robb Stauber, Dave Spehar, Frank Pietrangelo and Buzz Christiansen. What’s worse for the Heathens is the breaking news that I just learned.
| Sorry New Jersey, it’s Aaron Sickman’s job to make you uncomfortable. How’s he doing? |
I have it on good authority that the Wild will be unleashing a secret weapon on Saturday in an effort to reverse their fortunes. The plan (and I can’t believe I’m sharing this) is to place Wild media relations guru, Aaron Sickman
outside the home locker room at the Continental Airlines Arena as the Devils make their way to the arena.
As they file in, they will be confronted with that man to the right. He will simply stand near the locker room entrance, arms crossed, and cast a steely glare into the face of each Devil. Then, as they slip into their gear, the poor Devs won’t be able to remove the image of the fury that must be building inside that man.
How are innocent young men like Zach Parise, Paul Martin and Scott Gomez supposed to focus on the upcoming game with the Wild with that image in their heads? The answer, of course, is they can’t.
And they won’t.
Wild head coach Jacques Lemaire is a fair man. But above all, he wants to win. And if that means sending Mr. Sickman across the hallway to scare the collective pants off the team he won a Stanley Cup with, then rest assured, that’s exactly what he’ll do.
There you have it folks. I’ve risked my job by revealing the Wild’s secret weapon AND by making a prediction. And since I’ve gone this far, I’ll keep going with it.
Marian Gaborik gets back on his two points-per-game pace by netting four goals and two assists to make up for his last two pointless games. Kurtis “Bananaz” Foster keeps pace with Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin in his campaign for Rookie of the Year with two more points.
I won’t go on record predicting a win, but I can sense a turnaround in the very near future. It’s as imminent as the future Mrs. Schnell buying me a treadmill for Christmas.
I am Dutch Schnell, and I…am a goalie racer.