Paul Allen Proudly Endorses:
|WEDS., JUNE 19 (subject to change)|
OPEN: AARON GLEEMAN IN-STUDIO
|9:20: aarongleeman.com stays|
9:33: COREY CHAVOUS joins
|9:55: more with draftnasty.com|
|10:20: RICK ANDERSON twins pitching coach|
|10:33: SPORTS ESSENTIALS/TREVOR MBAKWE|
|10:53: MARNEY GELLNER FSN IN-STUDIO|
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We celebrate the 1983 Wayzata Club Hockey Team and one of its stars, Jonny "The Mouse" Mikkelson, who once told me "Our team was so good the varsity wouldn't play us." When asked why he didn't play varsity Mouse said, "Too little." Cutest ever. So, we salute the greatest Club Hockey Team ever, a squad so vaunted even Jim Craig's Miracle team wanted nothing to do with it. Trottier, Bossy, Gretzky, Messier ... dead! Long live the 1983 Wayzata Club Hockey team!
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NHL DRAFT B/B ...
Even though we are closer to the 4th of July than Memorial Day, the NHL is still extremely intriguing to hard-core hockey fans. The playoffs have been outstanding. The Cup final is shaping up to be a classic with two classic, old-school squads. Two of the best uniforms in hockey too. Once the Finals are over, the much-anticipated NHL draft is next. Well, it’s probably as anticipated as the new phone books arriving at your house in that plastic bag which 98% of people just toss it into the recycling bin, but I digress….
That leaves Halifax Moosehead Nathan MacKinnon going to the hockey hotbed Florida Panthers. Me and my hockey-playing buddies have gone to visit Halifax for the past 8 years. Through business and friendships with Moosehead owner Bobby Smith (yes, former North Star Bobby Smith), we go up to Halifax, play against Moose coaching staff, trainers, and yes owner. We get our butts kicked. Hitting many of the local watering holes, golf, boat rides, more watering holes and going to Moosehead games is included. The Mooseheads got to the QMJHL finals against Sid the Kid back in ’05. Then got really bad. Then, through multiple trades, this year Bobby Smith got the Mooseheads to win the “Q”, then the coveted (well, in Canada anyway) Memorial Cup. Nathan MacKinnon being the main reason (hat trick in final game.) Smith traded 3 first-rounders for MacKinnon. Worth every penny. Projected to go right after the Shattuck-St. Mary product MacKinnon will be Jonathan Druin. He will go to Tampa Bay. I have seen these guys play in person and they’ve been jaw-droppingly good. (yea, I even have a #22 MacKinnon Moosehead t-shirt…)
I would love to see Chuck Fletcher make a move to get the 2nd pick, but it would cost the farm. The Wild don’t have the farm. It won’t happen. So, long story longer, you have read it here first. Nathan MacKinnon will be the best player in the NHL in a few years. The thing that sucks is it will be for a team nobody cares about, the freaking Florida Panthers.
(I’m guessing this will be the only NHL draft-related material on this website. PA, if you were going to break this down too, I apologize…)
Podcast the 9:55 a.m. BRANDON ROY interview from today -- very well spoken individual, long-winded with his answers and very excited to be here.
I pressed him on playing time and he said that will be kept in-house. That's an indicator to me he's going great guns and will play a bunch right out of the gate. If he is relatively close to the guy he was three years ago we are in business at the two-guard spot. Brandon is very, very good off the dribble and gets to the line. One December game in 2008 he went to the free-throw line 21 times against Phoenix and made 18. He shoots threes, too, and gives us great position flexibility in that he plays the point and small forward, too.
We know what we have in KEVIN LOVE'S offense and rebounding. PEKOVIC and centers du jour will bang and be a thousand times better than DISEASED DARKO. CHASE BUDINGER will hit some threes and help the offense in transition. That leaves four wild-card scenarios that if most or all of them go the right way we not only are a playoff team but we can advance through the dance:
RICKY RUBIO -- Love is the team's best player but this sucker starts and stops with Ricky. His energy elevates everyone and he's the best defensive player we have. In many ways he's the team's most-poular player and his penetration should help the perimeter guys get open for some threebies. His revovery obviously is key and I don't expect him back until Christmas. If the Wolves are a playoff team by the time he returns we'll move up in the standings once he starts playing.
AK47'S defense -- With Love's rebounding we don't need Kirilenko to snatch 10 boards a game, we need him to change the game defensively ande handle these sweet-ass 3's around the league. We also need him to have pop in his jumping from the weakside because his shot-blocking skills are elite when he is spry. Our overall defense still very much is in question -- especially until Rubio returns -- and in Roy, Love, Budinger, RIDNOUR, BAREA et al we are not making the Pistons' Nasty Boys blush.
Roy's long-term health -- Seriously, if he stays healthy he will press Love for leading-scorer honors. He and Love will get to the line a bunch and both hit shots from deep.
Defense -- It was non-existent after Rubio went down last year, and even though we are equipped to win high-scoring games we need some stoppers late who can handle the pick-and-roll and one-on-one battles with isloated players. These guys have to know the offense will come off the God-given talent we put on the court; defense is effort, desire and awareness, and for the Wolves to become a playoff factor they'll have to be schematically sound and get big-spot stops in the final stanza.
-- MID-WEEK PEEK TO NEXT WEEK ... I expect RG3 to play, and a key here will be to keep him in the pocket so the lethal run-pass bit is not in play. JARED ALLEN, BRIAN ROBISON and EVERSON GRIFFEN -- our primary DE's -- must keep contain while pondering sacks because if this kid gets the edge there are problems.
The Redskins allow 29 1/2 PPG, which is near the bottom of the NFL. They consistently have communication issues in the secondary, and this looks like a game like Tennessee where we will pass to win. I believe JEROME SIMPSON will be good to go and will be a factor. Washington sorely misses studs BRIAN ORAKPO and ADAM CARRIKER, who were lost for the season a few weeks ago.
LESLIE is undefeated against the Redskins and should stay that way this weekend.