Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Fillers

This is one of the biggest weekends for Minnesota sports in a long, long, time. Consider the following:
  • The Twins have a meaningful (for now, at least) series at home against the Royals. If any combination of Detroit wins and Twins' losses equals 2, then the Tigers win the division. If the Twins sweep KC and the Tigers lose 2 of 3 to the White Sox, there will be a one-game playoff at the Dome on Tuesday. If the Twins sweep and the Tigers get swept, the Twins win the division.
  • The Gopher football team plays its first conference game at TCF Bank Stadium against the Wisconsin Badgers. The forecast is for rain and 56 degrees. People will be whining for the Dome by the end of the first quarter.
  • Sunday marks the final regular season game in the Metrodome for the Twins. I penned my ode to the old teflon dump for the Examiner Friday morning, attached here. My Top 10 Metrodome Twins' moments are here and here.
  • The Todd Richards era for the Minnesota Wild regular season begins Saturday in Columbus against the Blue Jackets. The first home game is Tuesday night against Anaheim.
  • The Gopher hockey team opens its 2009-10 season with an exhibition game against British Columbia on Sunday afternoon. My Examiner season preview for Gopher Puck is here.
  • The ridiculously-long NBA preseason gets underway for the Minnesota Timberwolves Sunday night in Mankato against the Milwaukee Bucks.
  • The Vikings play the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football at the Dome. I heard the Vikings' QB used to play for the Packers?

That's quite a weekend, no?

  • We've been busy at my Examiner WCHA home page over the past week. My final two season previews for St. Cloud State and Wisconsin hit the wire mid-week, followed by my pre-season picks on Thursday. Friday morning, the first of the weekend preview editions appeared, which will become regular features all season long. This weekend is but a warm-up for the WCHA members, as they all play exhibition games. Next weekend, 8 of 10 teams are in action against NCAA teams. It's hard to believe hockey season is upon us!
  • Gopher hockey-specific, as my preview edition states, I believe this year's squad will be much-improved over the past two seasons. This year's team is perhaps the most talented team coach Don Lucia has had since his arrival on campus in 1999-2000. The key is Alex Kangas in goal. If he plays like he did in 2007-08, the Gophers will be tough to beat. Denver, North Dakota, and Wisconsin will also be in the mix, and the league is wide-open. However, the Gophers' experience in goal and talent up front should put them in contention.
  • The coaches and media polls came out this past week for the WCHA, and the Gophers are projected to be #4 in both polls. For the record, I have the Gophers second. In the USA Today national preseason poll, the Gophers are ranked #6. Denver is #2 (behind #1 Miami), North Dakota is #8, St. Cloud State is #13, and Wisconsin is #14.
  • The Timberwolves opened their training camp this past week and even get some preseason action this coming weekend. The roster has been completely transformed from the squad which finished the 2008-09 season, with third-year man Corey Brewer being the longest-tenured Wolf. Star Tribune beat writer Jerry Zgoda had a long one-on-one with President of Basketball Operations David Kahn this week, and the Meerkat expands on his philosophy for the upcoming season. It is going to be a long season at "Meerkat Manor" this year. However, there is reason to be optimistic for the future, and the hope is that the young nucleus of Al Jefferson, Kevin Love, Jonny Flynn, and Brewer can get valuable experience and come together as a squad.
  • The Wolves also restructured their front office this week, promoting Assistant GM Fred Hoiberg to VP of Basketball Operations. This is the title held by Kevin McHale in past years, but the duties are more limited, as Kahn has the final say in personnel matters. Former GM Jim Stack was moved to a scouting role, along with former assistants Jerry Sichting and Dean Cooper. Former Assistant GM Rob Babcock will oversee the scouting department. The beefing-up of the scouting activities was presumably done in advance of what promises to be a ripe free agent class of 2010.
  • In Seth Stohs's "Expert NFL Picks Pool," I have managed to sandwich a 9-7 week 2 between 14-2 weeks 1 and 3 to move into a four-way tie for third place. I went for some upsets this week, so we'll see how it goes.
  • Be sure to check out my Examiner pages for the Twins and WCHA over the next busy week. I'll be out of town next Thursday and Friday. so we'll be back here on DP for a Gopher football recap early next week. I think I'll skp recapping the hockey team's exhibition against UBC!
  • Finally, one more RIP for Twins' baseball in the Metrodome! The place was a dump, but it was OUR dump. A lot of great Twins' moments took place in that place, and the roar of the '87 and '91 post-seasons will not be forgotten by this humble blogger. For that, it will be missed. In the name of progress and long-term survival of this franchise, Target Field will be highly-anticipated, and if the pictures are any indication, it will deliver.

No comments:

Post a Comment