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Dan a lifelong hockey guy having followed the game in depth since he was a kid growing up just across the river from Philadelphia in the 1970s. He has coached the game from Mites to Varsity levels spending numerous quality hours in the rinks of North America.  His experiences with players, coaches, and executives from all levels of this great game have shaped him to become who he is today. Dan's goal is to give each reader a little bit more to look at and think about to enhance their own hockey experience.  He and Tony Dean will share Minnesota duties this season on HockeyBuzz!

Hello Wild community and State of Hockey. I want to introduce myself to you as we embark on the 2015-16 NHL season together here on hockeybuzz. My name is Dan Wallace and I am a lifelong hockey junky. My love for hockey began in the 70s with the Broad Street Bullies, Big Bad Bruins, and the Mighty Montreal Canadiens. From Parent and Clarke to Orr and Esposito to Lafleur and Cournoyer I was hooked from the start. The game has evolved along the way from the 80s with Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers and Mario Lemieux with the Pittsburgh Penguins taking the game to astounding new scoring levels to the trap era of the 90s to the removal of the center line and the shootout, but through it all the passion remains constant. With every new October the slate is clean and the new season is ready to unfold with great anticipation.

I was born and raised in Philadelphia Flyer country, so I know a little bit about passionate fan bases. That said the passion here in Minnesota is every bit as deep, but much more pure. They call it Minnesota Nice, but that doesn't really mean nice. I know first hand that Wild fans don't have any love for the Blackhawks, the Red Wings, the Blues, the Avalanche, and now once again the Jets. The rivalries are well established and growing deeper with every game they play. I say that with all due respect to my brethren from the east coast because they stand behind their team through thick and thin., albeit in a bit of a different manner.
So I may be new to Minnesota but I assure you my passion for the game runs deep throughout my veins. The hockey traditions are rich here and the Wild are looking to capture their rightful place amongst the lore. My hope is to bring a fresh approach to Wild fan base, one of optimism and objectivity. That said I truly believe this is a team with great promise. I know they have three straight playoff exits at the hands of the Blackhawks, but 2015-16 starts anew and this team is better equipped to handle the regular season and to make a run in the post season.

The Wild are built with defense and theis may be the finest the NHL has to offer. Led by Ryan Suter the quintessential rock able to log all the critical minutes and excel in every situation from 5 on 5 to quarterback in the power play to guarding the fort on the penalty kill. Allow that said Mike Yeo will have the luxury of being able to cut down his minutes with the emergence of Marco Scandella, Jared Spurgeon, and Jonas Brodin. Combine that with a full season with rising star Matt Dumba who is on the cusp of becoming a real game breaker. Nate Prosser and Christian Folin are very solid defenseman and Mike Reilly could be the x factor on this unit. The forward unit is much the same as last season but the youngsters are a year more mature and also a couple of playoff rounds more experienced. This season brings stability in goal from day one with Dubnyk firmly entrencentrench the starter and Kuemper ready to back him up.
I am going to save my preview for early next week for now it is wrapping up the pre-season to see who grabs the final roster spots and who will be heading down to Iowa or heading out all together. Heading into tonight's game against Buffalo the Wild have made a move claiming former St. Louis Blue , Chris Porter. Porter is a physical presence and is big and fast. ironically he did score a goal in the Flyers pre-season game last night. He knows his role and could be a good fit here as the Wild need some more size and speed on their depth lines.

Looking forward to connecting with the Wild community and hearing from the State of Hockey.

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