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Dutch Schnell: Olympic Preview

Friday, 02.10.2006 / 1:02 PM / News
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Dutch Schnell: Olympic Preview

altDutch Schnell, goalie-racer here, and as you can tell by peering at the photo to the left, I am beaming with patriotism. Can you believe the Winter Olympics are upon us already?

The answer is no, you can’t. And neither can I.

The Olympics are what it’s all about my friends, whether goalie-racing is officially sanctioned by the USOC or not (in case you’re wondering, it’s not). It’s a full two weeks of expressing outrage at the latest figure skating controversy, being intimidated by a German luger named Georg or Wolfgang, and cheering your heart out for the motherland, whatever that may be for you.

You might guess the event that I’m looking forward to the

 
 Three words of advice when it comes to dealing with intense German luger Georg Hackl...keep your distance.
most, and if you’re thinking it’s the men’s and women’s hockey tournaments, you’re exactly correct.

If you said short-track speed skating, which is as close to goalie-racing as you’re going to get, you’d also be correct. Is Apolo Anton Ohno taking part this year? If not, the US should put him on the hockey squad. He would quickly replace John-Michael Liles as the owner of the best United States hockey name.

Some (four) of you are clamoring to hear my prediction for how the United States boys and girls will fare in their upcoming quests for the first place ribbon.

Without further adieu, I give you my special edition Olympic hockey preview:

Gold medal sweep for the United States of America.

And there you have it. That’s as much as you need to know, and quite frankly, you already know too much. Why bother with a bunch of team capsules featuring “Why they’ll win” and “Why they won’t” segments? In the words of our former governor, “I ain’t got time to write capsules.”

I do have time to address our neighbors to the north who are stewing over the aforementioned preview.

Canandians are a proud people, and they take their hockey and curling like I take my Edwin McCain Fan Club membership…seriously. I like Canadians. I even share office quarters with one. His name is Brad Bombardir, the Wild’s Community partnerships liaison. He’s what they like to call a “new hire,” and he’s passing his hazing with flying colors.

If you’d like to meet him, stop by the flag pole outside the Xcel Energy Center and say hello. Just don’t cut the duct tape. He has to earn his stripes around here.

Where was I? Ah, yes, Canadians. I love ‘em. I love their tenacity. I love their comedians. And, they have

 altalt
 The potent Canandian combo of Stephane Veilleux and Junior Lessard will have to wait for 2010 for Olympic glory.
what I like to call “strong” hockey clubs. I’m pretty sure that their men’s and women’s teams won a few recent hockey tournaments as well. However, Mircosoft Word can check for spelling, and it can check for grammar, but it lacks fact-checking capabilities, so I can’t be certain whether or not Canada has indeed won anything.

Still, there is one thing hampering the Canucks, and that of course is a severe dearth of players from the Minnesota Wild and the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs. You can get by without one, but not the other.

You’re trying to tell me that Wild forward Stephane Veilleux and former Bulldog-turned-Iowa Stars forward Junior Lessard wouldn’t have provided the most potent red-haired scoring combo since Raggedy Anne and Andy?

In the words of Frank “The Tank” Rickard, “you’re crazy! I like you…but you’re crazy.”

 alt
 Frank "The Tank" Rickard...yet another great hockey name.
The United States men’s team on the other hand, while short on Bulldogs, is high on local flavor, or as the kids like to say, flava. The Americans boast Minnesotans like Jason Blake, Mark Parrish, Bret Hedican, and Jordan Leopold, who, despite his Gopherness, seems like a good guy, and one heckuva defenseman.

The wild card could be Hedican, who will no doubt be looking to tie his wife, Kristi Yamaguchi (also a great hockey name), in the family race for Olympic gold medals.

The ace in the hole is of course Wild forward Brian Rolston, he of the cannon slap shot and wicked-cool facial hair.

The Flint, Michigan native just happens to be the NHL’s top scorer among Americans, and I expect that to continue in the boot country.

Rolston will edge out his Wild teammate, Marian Gaborik, for the tournament scoring title with two goals in the gold medal game between the U.S. and Slovakia.

The two will exchange a poignant moment at the medal ceremony, where Rolston will bow his head to receive his gold medal. As he straightens up, he looks over at a teary-eyed Gaborik, who glances up from his silver medal to make eye contact with Rolston.

 alt
 This photo has nothing to do with Dutch’s Olympic preview, but he insisted it go in the story anyway.
Gaborik’s frown morphs into the slightest smile as Rolston points to his heart, then points at Gaborik. Gaborik then quietly bumps his chest with his fist three times, as if to say, “I appreciate all you do. It does not go unnoticed. Congratulations.”

Then, bronze medalist Mikko Koivu walks over (Finland upset Canada earlier in the afternoon in a shootout so he’s already in his power blue jumpsuit), and the three Wild players pose for a picture, taken by none other than Wild vice president of communications and broadcasting and Team USA media relations manager, Bill Robertson.

If it happens any other way, I’d be shocked and dismayed. But if I’m wrong, just remember that I am Dutch Schnell, and I…am a goalie racer.

Should the urge strike you to read more Dutch thoughts, click here.

Should you feel the need to contact Dutch, click here.


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