Look, I know it's super tempting for some Minnesotan hockey fans to get all geeked because Danny Irmen's making his NHL debut tonight, and for the Wild no less, and in St. Paul, no less. Well, maybe it is to the Minnesotan Gopher hockey fan. And I guess we should include the North Dakotan Gopher hockey fan, too. That's right, Mr. and Mrs. Irmen and Mr. and Mrs. Potulny, all four of you.
Wait, so that's Gopher Puck Nation and the Irmens and Potulnys, right? For those scoring at home?
Okay, so back to not getting too geeked up.
Most people with at least a cursory knowledge of hockey in North America know that Minnesota is a hockey hotbed. Lots of NHLers with Minnesota ties right now, including some of the better young American players. Names like Erik Johnson, David Backes, Keith Ballard, Brandon Bochenski, Dustin Byfuglien, Ryan Carter, Tom Gilbert, Alex Goligoski, Jordan Leopold, Paul Martin, Peter Mueller, Matt Niskanen, Kyle Okposo, Zach Parise, Kurt Sauer, Mark Stuart, and Blake Wheeler.
But there is a frustratingly vocal minority of Wild fans that seem to think that every Wild team should be populated with as many Minnesotans as possible. I've written about this here before. It's still annoying.
Danny Irmen was the best option to get called up now from Houston. That's great. He had a decent camp. He's been kicking around the A for a while (this is his 5th season in Houston)....but there's the rub, no? He's played 247 games in Houston (according to hockeydb.com) and he's put up 40-50-90 (.36 pts/gm), as a guy who's not cast in a checking forward's role, in other words, you'd think some offense would have been expected.
But, even if this is the beginning of a long and beautiful NHL career for Danny, it should not be a call to take up the banner for more Minnesotans on the team, to those that would be inclined to take it up in the first place.
To begin with, Danny's Minnesota connection is tenuous at best. He went to school at "The U." But he ain't from the land of sky blue waters, folks.
Let me put it this way. If, God forbid, there is ever another strike in the NHL and a bunch of American ex-communicated NHLers got together and decide to get through the layoff by playing a tournament of "home state" teams, Danny would have to ask permission to play for the Minnesota team - and that's assuming the NoDak team either didn't want him or the Pony Express was shut down up there while they were trying to organize the league so no one got word of it. Same goes for that Kessel dude up in Toronto (I'll let the implied parallel between NoDak and Wisco sit there for their own peeps to sort out.)
But, more importantly, IT DOESN'T MATTER WHERE HE'S FROM!!
Why the heck would it?
Here's a general guideline for those of you that are girding your loins to march on Wild HQ with Danny's mug on a banner screaming for more players with Minnesota connections:
Demanding that the Wild trades for every Minnesota-born NHLer is dumb. It makes you look dumb. Don't do it, unless you want to look dumb. Same goes for demanding the Wild trade for every player with Minnesota hockey connections. Dumb. What about Sid Crosby? Why not scream for him? Because you'd look dumb. That's why. So don't do it for anyone else with the smallest Minnesota connection.
We call ourselves the State of Hockey, for the love of Mike (Ramsey). Act like you've been there.
Reminds me of this nugget...my cousin Matt who lives in Texas and is a Stars fan, while watching the broadcast of Wild v. Stars a couple weeks ago. He said that Daryl Reaugh (Razor) mentioned that the team from the State of Hockey didn't have any American-born players on the roster. Brought forth a chuckle.
Sort of related, but funny at least.
Excellent post, as usual, Nick. I hate the territorial hockey fans here. Hate them more than I hate Canuckleheads.
I would love to see players like Balke Wheeler, Kessel, Goligoski, Byfuglien, etc on the Wild roster, but it has nothing to do with where they are from. They could all be from Iowa, and it wouldn't matter.
Put the best guys on the ice, win a Cup. Who cares where the players take it after the parade.
I think the Wild should trade Irmen, Sheppard and Boogaard for Ovechkin, Malkin and Kovlachuk.
Why won't the Wild GM make that trade?
By the way, that is written SARCASTICALLY folks, for all the numbskulls out there who keep trying to propose outlandishly 1-sided trades that would never, EVER happen.
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