April 19, 2009

Wolves Improve Chances

The Minnesota Timberwolves took a step closer to winning the NBA lottery on Friday. The Wolves finished with the same record as the Memphis Grizzlies so a tiebreaker needed to be set to determine who would have a better shot at winning the lottery. The league conducted a random drawing between the two teams and the Timberwolves won that drawing. They now have the fifth best chance to win the lottery, coming in at 7.6 percent. The Grizzlies now have the sixth best chance and are coming in close behind the Wolves at 7.5 percent. The draft does not take place until June, but the NBA lottery is only a month away. The Wolves, like 14 other teams, are hoping to get lucky and win the first overall selection in the NBA draft. Last year the Wolves won the third overall pick and coincidentally traded it to the Grizzlies. The two teams struggled this year and find themselves in similar situations. Now the Wolves must scope out potential draft candidates and play the waiting game for the lottery.

Twins Sweep Angels

The Minnesota Twins were off to a rocky start before they opened a three game series against the Anaheim Angels on Friday night. In fact, after seven and a half innings of play in that game they were still rocky, but that all changed when Jason Kubel hit a grand slam to win the game for the Twins. They carried that momentum into Saturday's game and right on into Sunday's game. They Twins completed a sweep Sunday behind the arm of Glen Perkins, who pitched 8 innings of baseball for the third time this season. Perkins earned his first win of the season giving up just 4 hits and 1 earned run. The Twins are back to .500 for the season and now head to Boston with a lot more confidence than they had just three days ago. Perkins was hit in the leg by a line drive in the seventh inning but remained in the game and pitched one more inning after that. He most likely would have pitched the ninth inning as well but the leg was getting a little tight due to the hit he took. The Twins have Monday off before playing a two game series at Boston starting Tuesday night.

April 12, 2009

Beavers are 14,000 Strong

No one expected the Bemidji State Hockey team to go anywhere this season, much less to the NCAA Frozen Four. The only person that isn't surprised is the head coach, Tom Serratore. He says this isn't a fairy tale, and is proud of his team for showing everyone that a little campus of 14,000 can play with the big universities. The team has taken the town by storm, and everyone is supporting them. The school bookstore has run out of Beaver gear, and is constantly trying to order more. The team, which features no drafted players to the NHL as of yet, has outplayed teams that are filled with first round NHL draft picks. The players are a tight-knit group, who are around each other year round and usually for four years, as not many of them leave early for the pros. Many see the team as David, and they must constantly battle Goliath, week after week. One thing is for sure, the team has brought a lot of pride to the small Minnesota town from up north, and even more respect from teams across the country.

Twins Struggle Against Sox

After jumping out and capturing the first game of the series against the White Sox, the Twins dropped the last two, and the series against Chicago. The White Sox won the series finale Sunday with a 6 -1 over the now struggling Twins. Jim Thome homered in the 6th inning to make it 3 - 1 and the Twins couldn't rally from there. Nick Blackburn pitched decently but couldn't get any run support early on. The first run scored by the Sox was unearned and caused by a throwing error from Michael Cuddyer. The Twins blew out the White Sox on the series opener Friday night, scoring 12 runs and commanding the game. After that the Twins scored just one run in the next 18 innings, a number that wont win you a lot of games. The Twins did show a sign of life late in the game Sunday. They loaded the bases with no one out in the ninth inning. Closer Bobby Jenks then entered the game and ended the threat with a strikeout followed by a double play. The Twins now head home for what they hope to be a good homestand.

April 5, 2009

High School theft

Multiple students have allegedly stolen over $1300 dollars worth of goods from student lockers at Winona high school. The students supposedly broke padlocks off some gym lockers and took cash, cell phones, credit card, and an ipod among other items.
One of the student was caught with the goods in his backpack and then turned in the other two. The other two students have denied involvement but one was found with a wad of cash falling from his pants.
The students have been charged with felony counts of theft and receiving stolen property. They are due in court at the end of the month.
It is not clear if the students stole the items during school hours or if it was before or after school hours.

Twins start final season at dome

The Minnesota Twins will move to a new stadium in 2010, perhaps not soon enough for some Twins players. Joe Mauer says he will not miss the dome at all and looks forward to moving on to the new stadium.
For the fans however, it may be a different story. The metrodome has been home to the only World Championships this state has seen in its existence. It has been a while since the last championship but those memories are still there.
When the Twins move down the road they will no doubt create other memories, but this season will be spent remembering the ones that happened on that infamous green turf and those hard plastic blue seats.
The Twins will unveil the top 100 memories at the dome throughout the season and even wear throwback jerseys from the first season they played at the dome, 1982.
The Twins have been very successful at home and that will be onen thing the players may miss. The Twins have adapted to their ballpark unlike any other team in the league. The Twins look to continue that trend this season.
While this season may be the last at the dome, the Twins intend to look back on all the good times they have had there, and just maybe send the dome out with another memorable season.

Wild all but eliminated

The Minnesota Wild lost a heartbreaker 3-2 to the Detroit Red Wings Sunday afternoon. The loss dealt what could be the final blow to the Wild who were only 3 points back of the final playoff spot going into the game on Sunday.
The Wild did not play well for a majority of the game and rode the hot glove of goaltender Niklas Backstrom. Backstrom stopped 41 shots and kept the Wild in the game until a minute left in the third period.
The Wild appeared to be headed for at least one point in the game but instead gave up a 2-1 breakaway to one of the games most dangerous teams and payed the price. Marian Hossa, one of the games best players, buried the puck and the Wild with just over 50 seconds to go in the third period. The Wild did not have time to rally and left without a point.
The loss all but eliminates the Wild from playoff contention with only 3 games to go in the season. This will no doubt be a game where the Wild look back and think what could have been.

March 8, 2009

Gophers basketball face must win

The Gophers men's basketball team finds themselves on the bubble of the NCAA tournament. They are currently 21-9 on the season with a 9-9 record in the big ten. They do have some quality wins this season, including a win against top 5 Louisville. That may not be enough at this point however, and the Gophers know it. They face Northwestern on Thursday morning in what is a must win for both teams if either wants to make the big dance. The winner of that goes on to face Michigan State, without question the best team in the Big Ten. Coach Tubby Smith said he is confident his team will come out playing on Thursday, something they didn't do in the last half of a 67-64 home loss to Michigan on Saturday. The Gophers blew a 12 point lead in the second half in a game that would have virtually solidified their spot in the NCAA tournament. Now the Gophers are on the outside looking in. The Gophers went 1-1 with Northwestern this season. The game will start at 11 am on Thursday and is being played at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Gophers Draw St. Cloud

The Gophers men's hockey team managed to somehow hang on to home ice for the WCHA playoffs by winning against Michigan Tech on Saturday night. The Gophers lost 6-5 in overtime on Friday night to give Tech only their second win in the WCHA this season. The loss could have been crippling for the Gophers but both Duluth and St. Cloud State, who the Gophers were tied with, lost. This meant the Gophers could retain home ice with a win Saturday, and they shut out Michigan Tech 2-0. The Gophers now face a St. Cloud State team that they have beaten 4 times this season and have not lost to. They play the Huskies in a best-of-three series at Mariucci arena starting Friday night at 7. Some other good news came out of the Gophers win Saturday. Ryan Stoa took the scoring title with 36 points over the season. His linemate, freshman Jordan Schroeder, was second in the conference with 35 points. Stoa missed all but two games last season due to a season ending knee injury. The Huskies are coming off a series with Minnesota State Mankato in which they took only 1 point, a critical point that jumped them ahead of Duluth. The Huskies coach says they are ready for the Gophers. It should be a good series come Friday night at Mariucci.

March 1, 2009

Wolves drop 6 straight

The Minnesota Timberwolves lost their 6th straight game Sunday night and moved to 1-8 since losing their star player Al Jefferson for the year to a torn ACL. On Sunday the Wolves fell to the Houston Rockets 105- 94 in a game that wasn't as close as the final score indicated. The Wolves found themselves down 20 points in the fourth quarter and didn't make a game out of it after a 17-0 run by the Rockets in the third quarter. Yao Ming had 17 points and 11 rebounds in the Rockets win. The Wolves were led by 24 points from guard Randy Foye and 20 points from forward Craig Smith, but it just wasn't enough against the Rockets. The Wolves have now last their last two home games by a combined 31 points, something that fans aren't exactly impressed with. The Wolves had been playing better basketball before Jefferson went down, they even had the best record in the Western Conference in the month of January. They are a different team without their star however, and it appears the Wolves will struggle to find any more wins this season. Their next chance comes Tuesday night at the Target Center against a hot Golden State team.

T.J. in town

The Minnesota Vikings reportedly had free agent wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh in town for the weekend are hoping to sign him to the team. T.J. has also visited the Seattle Seahawks, but has been in Minnesota since Saturday. T.J. is expected to make a decision Monday morning, that decision will likely be to play with Seattle, Minnesota, or possibly his former team Cincinnati. T.J. himself has said he would like the chance to play with Vikings pro-bowl running back Adrian Peterson. The Vikings appear to have more to offer T.J. than other teams in terms of on the field success. They are coming off a season in which they made the playoffs after winning the NFC North. Seattle and Cincinnati both struggled to 4 wins and had lackluster offenses. The Bengals do have one thing going for them however, they appear to be offering the most money. Houshmandzadeh needed to sleep on his decision Sunday night and is probably weighing his options of money versus on the field success. Houshmandzadeh is 31 years old and is repeatedly near the top of the league in receptions, even while playing for what is usually one of the worst offenses in the league in Cincinnati.

Gophers get needed win

On Saturday night at Mariucci arena the Gophers men's hockey team got a much needed win to keep their home ice playoff hopes alive. After a 2-2 tie with Duluth on Friday night the Gophers bounced back for a 5-3 win Saturday. The win moved the Gophers into a tie for fifth place with both Duluth and St. Cloud State. The Gophers do however hold the tie-breaker over both of those teams. This means that if Minnesota can get two wins against lowly Michigan Tech next weekend, they will host a first round WCHA playoff series, something that looked bleak a few weeks ago. Minnesota jumped out early 2-0 but Duluth scored the next three goals to take the lead halfway through the third period. Minnesota rallied for 3 more goals to get the much needed win at home. MacGregor Sharp had all three goals for Duluth, giving him a team-leading 17 for the season. The Gophers rallied behind the large crowd and also perhaps behind the two seniors, Justin Bostrom and R.J. Anderson, who were honored Saturday night. The Gophers hit the road this weekend and go to Michigan Tech and then the WCHA playoffs start the weekend after that. The Gophers need to win this weekend and most likely their first round series in the WCHA playoffs to ensure a spot in the NCAA tournament later in March.

February 22, 2009

Harding gets victory

The Minnesota Wild earned a victory at home over one of the best teams in hockey Saturday night when they beat the Detroit Red Wings. After that game the Wild immediately went to the airport and flew to Chicago to face a very difficult Blackhawk team with no rest. The odds certainly were not in the Wild favor, at least not until backup goalie Josh Harding took things into his own hands.
Harding notched his first victory since November and made 44 saves as the Wild beat Chicago 2 - 1 Sunday night. The 44 saves are a career high for Harding as well, some of those saves were nothing short of spectacular. He even got notice from head coach Jacques Lemaire who said Harding was fantastic Sunday night. Peter Olvecky scored his first NHL goal for the Wild and Dan Fritsche scored for the second time in three games. The Wild picked up four crucial points over the weekend and moved themselves into a playoff spot in the ever so tight Western Conference. The Wild have a few games in hand on most of the teams that are around them, but gaining points against teams like Chicago and Detroit are hard to come by, and are huge for a team that was off and on as of late.
Now the Wild will have a day off before preparing to play the Los Angeles Kings Tuesday night at the Excel Engery Center. Weekends like this sometimes get teams going in the right direction, lets hope that is the case for the Wild.

Twins trade for Crede

New Twins third baseman, Joe Crede, faced injury questions before he even took the field. Crede answered questions before he took the field for his first practice as a Minnesota Twin on Sunday.
Some questions were asked about his health, like how healthy he was now, after his second back surgery in as many seasons. Crede said he is close to 100 percent and that he can do everything except running at this point.
The team isn't hoping for a lot of running, instead they hope to see Crede lightly jogging around all the bases after his hopefully many home runs. The Twins are trying to add power to a third base position that has been lacking power for years.
Crede also brings an excellent glove to the team, something that has been commonplace for recent Twins teams.
Crede will look to return to his all-star self this season, and do so for a team that was formerly an arch rival. He will now swing against the White Sox, the team that knocked the Twins out of the playoff picture last season, on the last day of the season. He signed a one-year contract worth $2.5 million but that could go up to $7 million based on the number of at bats Crede gets this season.

February 15, 2009

Wild have time to think

The Minnesota Wild will have 4 days to think about the devestating loss they suffered Saturday night at the Excel Energy Center. Up 3 - 0 after the first period, the Wild couldn't get anything else going and lost 5 - 3 to the Ottawa Senators.
This loss even prompted a visit from General Manager Doug Risebrough, whose comments were not full of anger but instead, of support.
The Wild play in the extremely competitive Western Conference where the Wild's loss on Saturday dropped then to tenth place. The Wild remain mere points from 6th place however, and will hopefully rebound from a loss that could come back to haunt them.
The Wild need to gain focus as they prepare to play 14 of their next 17 on the road. Wild players still believe they are as good as the other teams in the West, they just need to find the confidence to play like them.
Confidence is hard to come by when you are staring at a road trip as long as the Wild are.
They have 4 days to forget the loss Saturday and move on to a huge game against division rival Calgary Thursday at the Excel.

Gopher mens hockey get needed win

The Gopher mens hockey team had recently accomplished something that hadn't been done by them since 2000, they lost 4 games in a row. The team got a much needed 4 - 2 win at home Saturday night against the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves.
Minnesota Goalie Alex Kangas made only 15 saves but it was good enough to get the victory against the Seawolves.
Jordan Schroeder, Cade Fairchild, Jay Barriball, and David Fischer all scored for the Gophers.
The Gophers have played well recently, even better than they played Saturday night, but they haven't been able to get the wins.
"I can't say its the best game we've played the last four or five, but we won the game," said coach Don Lucia.
The Gophers moved within a point of 4th place and face a big road series against Colorado next weekend.
"Hopefully some of those guys will start loosening up and start having fun," said Cade Fairchild, who tallied a goal in Saturdays win.
It would be a good time for the Gophers to start playing well, with only 6 games remaining in the regular season and post-season bids on the line.

February 8, 2009

Jefferson Hurt in Loss

Minnesota Timberwolves superstar center Al Jefferson was injured in the closing seconds of a tough loss against the New Orleans Hornets Sunday evening. Jefferson came down on one leg and when he did his knee buckled.
Jefferson later told reporters that he heard a pop sound when he landed.
Jefferson is the heart and soul of the basketball team and it was easy to see that from the reaction of his teammates. "He's our main thing, the focus of what we do," guard Randy Foye said after the game.
Jefferson was not able to put any weight on the knee after the injury happened. He was helped off the floor very slowly by his teammates and went directly to the locker room.
After the game Jefferson did say the knee felt a lot better than it did moments after it happened. He also said the pain wasn't as bad as when he sprained his MCL last fall.
That is hopefully good news for the Wolves who have now lost 6 of 7. They led late in this game and were in it until the closing seconds, but in the end it is another tough loss, and potentially a devestating one.
The Wolves next game is Tuesday, a game Jefferson will likely miss. He will be re-evaluated on Monday morning, hopefully it is nothing more than a bruise.

Gopher Mens Hockey

The University of Minnesota Gopher mens hockey team is free-falling in the standings as of late. They have now lost 4 consecutive games, the last three were at home. To make matters worse the last 2 were suffered at the hands of arch rival Wisconsin.
Nothing appears to be going the gophers way as of late. They cannot find the back of the net even when they outshoot their opponent 2 to 1 like they did on Friday night against the badgers. When they do put the puck in the net their goalie gives up even more goals to the opponent.
The gophers were once ranked number one in the country this season but will now fall out of the top ten and are in danger of having much worse things happen to them. They are now ranked 7th in the WCHA standings and are in desperate need of change this weekend when Alaska comes to town.
Things are so bad that senior captain Ryan Stoa did not even address the team after Saturday's one goal loss. "There's really not too much you can say to cheer them up." Stoa said.
Head coach Don Lucia said there may even be a goalie change in order. "There are some thoughts," Lucia said, after being asked about the possibility of mixing it up.
The gophers need something to shake them up, or they are headed for a road they haven't been down in nearly a decade, missing the NCAA playoffs.