|The Team of 18,001 salutes Chad Rau's Wild career.|
Every so often in sports, you have a particular player who you like far more than you should.
Whether your favorite obscure player over the 14 year history of the Wild was Stacy Roest, Jeremy Stevenson, Mattias Weinhandl, or Petteri Nummelin, you had to face the music at one point. That player will leave the team much before you are ready for it.
Today, I had to face that reality. The Wild dealt Chad Rau to San Jose in exchange for some player (I'm too depressed to research the guy's name), in a pure minor league swap between the two sides. Rau, as you no doubt can tell, was a personal favorite of mine.
Rau, a Eden Prarie native, only played in nine games for the Wild in 2011-12. He never really got passed the fourth line, but he had a knack for scoring on some kind of hockey day. In fact, both his NHL goals came on Hockey Day Minnesota and Hockey Day in America.
Chad Rau's final and greatest Wild moment, came when he beat Tim Thomas on that wrist shot to give the Wild a 1-0 lead on Hockey Day in America. To make that moment all the better, he was fortunate enough to have legendary announcer Doc Emrick calling the game on NBC that day. Not a bad way to go out, eh?
Rau never returned after his nine game stint that year. But that did not stop him from leaving a lasting impression on me.
Thank you, Chad Rau. Best of luck to you in San Jose.
Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell