What Beef Is, Or Why Do We Boo Louie?

Sunday afternoon, during the pageantry of the post-game shootouts, each player got a chance to skate in on the goalies and do their thing in front of 7500+ people. There were cheers for the now well-known prospects- the Coyles, the Granlunds, the Zuckers, etc. some murmurs for other lesser-knowns and invitees (although Stillwater native Cody Corbett got a nice hometown pop), and amazingly enough, Louie Nanne was greeted with a chorus of boos.

That must have been a bit of a surreal moment for the Nanne family, stationed in a suite above the lower bowl; seeing their son/brother/cousin/grandson out there participating amongst some of the highest end prospects in the World, as a member of the Minnesota Wild organization- Louie Nanne was Minnesota's Seventh Round Pick in the last Entry Draft. A proud moment, no doubt, for those involved.

And he gets booed.


I don't get the animosity for someone who many people have never met- people in and out of hockey circles have told me he's a great kid with phenomenal character. He, as a player, isn't exactly a world beater, but plays with the characteristics that Minnesota looks for- he did make their "list" after all. Is it because he has the same name as his Grandfather, who is without a doubt Minnesota Hockey Royalty? Or that he lives in the affluent suburb of Edina, making him a "cake eater"? Is it that because his dad Marty also happens to scout for Minnesota, making Louie's selection look like nepotism?

If there is anything to be miffed about, its that Marty Nanne admitted that they didn't take the highest rated player on their list- a tremendous guffaw considering that it goes against the time honored cliche of "taking the best player available." However, we also need to keep in mind the curious nature of the late rounds of the NHL Draft. Tampa Bay took David Carle in the 7th Round of the 2008 Draft, despite Carle telling teams that he will never play competitive hockey again due to a heart condition. Philadelphia took Derek Mathers in the 6th Round last year after the Peterborough Front Office called Flyers GM Paul Holmgren on the Draft Floor and lobbied for him to select Mathers. Legend has it that Defenseman Pavel Kubina was picked by Tampa Bay because he was the "Czech kid with the giant head at the U-18's." Florida tried to draft Alex Ovechkin late in 2003 because then GM Rick Dudley argued that leap years made him eligible that year, despite his birthday being two days past the cut off.

Buffalo drafted a player out of Japan that never existed for christ's sake.

I saw it last year; once the 5th round hits, that's when you see staffs begin to get a little squirrely. GM's will wander around the floor and schmooze with media and fans. The process, which essentially is a year long in the making, wears thin late on the second day, and sometimes you get some zany results. Maybe that's what the Nanne pick is- nothing political, token, or nepotist about it, but that maybe it makes for a nice story. Something fun, but within the confines of the ideologies set forth by Brent Flahr's staff. A perfect storm if you will.

Louie Nanne didn't asked to be drafted by Minnesota, in fact he asked not to be. He didn't ask to be Marty Nanne's son, just as Marty probably didn't ask to be Lou Nanne's son. That being said, he's earned what he's gotten. His last name didn't get him into Select tournaments growing up, or in the Hlinka Memorial Tournament last Summer. Things like this did.

So why should he get all this spite and vitriole when he hasn't asked for it?


  1. Perhaps he was "Lou"ed and not "boo"ed? It's common for sports fans to use the name in that fashion when it rhymes with "boo." Remember "Boo"gaard? Or "Lew" from the Twins? Or currently for the Twins, "Plou"ffe?

  2. Do the crazy ass Northstars Nuts draw a correlation between Lou Nanne and Norm Green? That is the only thing I can think of...

  3. Many of my elder family members have always had fond memories of chanting "Luuuuuuu" at the Met during his playing days when he had the puck.

    The fans were just bringing a little taste of that to the X. (It may be their only chance.)

    I love you guys, but you missed the mark on this piece.

  4. He shouldn't, Dan; that's profoundly unfair and stupid (I'm quite sure you're able to tell the difference between a "Loooo" and a "boooo"). People are morons.

    But I'm guessing there's a larger question you're also getting at: even short of jerks booing, why the level of anger, and Internet grumbling, over a 7th round pick, from even relatively sane people? I think it's that, with all due respect, they don't believe that he's earned what he's gotten, and their reasons aren't all completely shallow and misguided. Without necessarily agreeing with all of the reasons I list, I think the combination helps explain the resentment (which, I stress, if voiced at all, should be aimed at others and not the kid):

    * Way back when, Marty Nanne was widely perceived as getting opportunities based solely on his name (despite an unexceptional high school career, he played for the Gophers, was drafted, and made a US Junior team). Pretty much the same is true for Louie. People with long memories do wonder why Lou's lineal heirs always seem to catch the breaks.
    * It's widely believed that Louie isn't getting much if any financial help at the U since his family can afford it and the team can use the scholarship money elsewhere. This reflects very well on the Nanne family, but it does contribute to a notion that he's getting chances due to his background.
    * People are aware that Vinni Lettieri will play for the Gophers and that Tyler Nanne is likely to as well. Even though Lettieri would be highly recruited no matter what his background, and Tyler is also regarded as a very promising player, it adds to the perception problem. As do the three incoming Reilly brothers, whose megarich father is believed to be paying the way for some of his kids at the U. Rich, connected kids seem to be getting all the breaks, even though Mike Reilly is like Lettieri and would be recruited no matter what.
    * This is generating a minor backlash against the senior Lou Nanne. He is by all accounts a good man who's led an admirable and highly successful life, professionally and personally, but he's also seen as being something of a self-promoter. The idea, false or not, that his grandsons are getting opportunities they might not otherwise get, and that he's some sort of Godfather of Minnesota hockey to whom subjects must pay tribute, is clearly out there. People are jealous, petty, and small. Also, and more defensibly, they like to think of athletics as more of a pure meritocracy than the rest of society, and this conflicts with that vision.
    * Dan, I know you see things in him as a player that you like, and I really respect your views and the amount of work you put into scouting. But there are a lot of people who follow hockey, not just "haters", who simply don't see him as even a longshot NHL prospect. I know point totals are only a small part of assessing a hockey player, but it is very hard to think of a forward who scored that little in high school (and this at a time when the talent level of Minnesota high school hockey is perceived as being way down), with his small size, ever developing into an NHL player. And while a 7th round pick has very little value, it's not worthless, and it really bothered people that they'd make a pick that appeared to be based so much on nepotism. I think that served as a kind of tipping point prompting people to voice opinions they may have kept silent previously.

    Did the morons booing have all that in mind? Probably not. But in some cases had they picked up on the undercurrents of discontent from more rational quarters? Most likely. And given how it eventually found voice, it probably should caution the rational types as to how things can snowball. While I wish the kid well and really respect how he's handled everything, I think once you factor all this in you can, as Chris Rock would say, understand, even if you don't agree with it.

    1. This was a really good comment here Anonymous...very well thought out.

  5. Thanks, Dan. I really enjoy reading what you have to say about hockey here and in other venues. I don't always agree, but I can always tell you've done your homework and put a lot of thought into it.

    I might also add that there's a reason I signed it Anonymous, and it wasn't cowardice or cloak-and-dagger fantasies; were I identified, what I said might have been linked to someone whose name is recognizable and who had absolutely nothing to do with what I wrote, or knowledge that I wrote it, and it wouldn't have been fair to that person.

  6. I can't speak for the others that were there on Sunday, but I was definitely "Lou"ing and not "Boo"ing him in that shootout.

  7. One word..... EDINA

  8. it was Louing around me, too. Who knows about the rest of the arena. i don't feel strongly about it one way or the other but if it had been boo's i heard it would have struck me as stupid.

  9. All I have to say was that it was indeed booing.

    The reason: 555 players in the state of MN had more regular season points than Lou.

    Enough said.