Photo: Bruce Bennett

As some of you know, I have a rare autoimmune condition. Earlier this month, I went up to the Mayo Clinic to Rochester, Minnesota to get some of that crazy stuff sorted out. As someone who’s never been west of Chicago, I was uniquely well-positioned positioned to ask vaguely informed, stereotypical questions about the State of Hockey. I directed them at former Minnesota Golden Gopher Nate Schmidt, who hails from St. Cloud. Here’s our conversation from last week.

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On Tuesday afternoon, the Minnesota Golden Gophers tweeted the Washington Capitals with a suggestion: play Nate Schmidt.

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Bjugstad and Schmidt (right) bump fists before the 2012 West regional semifinal (Photo credit: Sherri LaRose-Chiglo/St. Paul Pioneer Press)

After the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers were upset by Yale during last spring’s regional semifinal, a few of Minnesota’s star players left the program to pursue professional careers.

Among them were defenseman Nate Schmidt, who signed with the Washington Capitals as an undrafted free agent, and Florida Panthers’ 2010 first-round pick center Nick Bjugstad. Both spent three years in college hockey, and both were all-stars in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

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