Paul Allen Proudly Endorses:
|THURS., JUNE 20 (subject to change)|
OPEN: LIVE FROM VIKINGS MINI CAMP
9:33: BEN LEBER/GM RICK SPIELMAN JOIN
|9:55: leber/rick stay|
|10:20: leber stays/chipmunk story?|
|10:33: SPORTS ESSENTIALS/NBA FINALS|
|10:53: PETE BERCICH/WOBBY JOIN FROM WP|
|11:20: see 1053|
Click here to view the WCHT photo gallery.
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…)
Some of the Bears' defensive stats are as imposing as I have seen since the VOXing career began in 2002. Thirty takes. Plus 12 in take-give. Seven INT. TD's, which is tied for third in NFL lore (1961 SD Chargers had nine). They allow 16 1/2 PPG, which is third best in the NFL.
Seriously, a bunch of players have a bunch of sacks, CB TIM JENNINGS leads the NFL with eight picks, and PEANUT TILLMAN has seven FF's. OLB LANCE BRIGGS has five career INT. TD's, one off the NFL record for LB's held by BOBBY BELL and THELATEGREAT DERRICK BROOKS.
All of that is glitzy and all and, yes, winning the turnover bit this game is very important because the Bears are minus six in their three losses this year. But Chicago's run defense -- especially up the middle -- has become quite leaky, and that means ADRIAN PETERSON has to stay patient behind the Minnesota Moving Company. We have to lead early or stay close because the bit with the Bears' outstanding defense is if you keep pounding on these veterans you can wear them down.
Chicago has allowed 124 RYPG the last five after a terrific stretch of run defense. Seems like teams are avoiding the route-jumping and outstanding pass rush by going on fewer seven-step drops and running more. Adrian is averaging 157 RYPG the last four with five TD's and eventually will be the identity of our offense at Soldier Field.
I, however, truly believe to win this game with the offense CHRISTIAN PONDER needs to be efficient, keeping the passing game as a legit threat. If we can't pass for whatever the reason and Chicago floods the "box" with all those nice tacklers we might be in trouble. If CP keeps moving the chains with his arm and looks good on third down (a) the deep game off play-action passing comes into play and (b) they'll have to back off the line and that's when Adrian goes for big chunks.
So many factors play into what should be a tightly contested Division Collision but one thing is certain -- if we win this game and the champs beat GB Sunday night we are a first-place operation with five to sprint, and that vibe will be terrific into the next game at Football Americana.
Game-call depth chart is complete, and here are some tidbits:
-- Chicago has seven defensive TD's.
-- The Bears have five takes inside the 20, tied for first in the NFL.
-- DE COREY WOOTEN started at LDE over ISRAEL IDONIJE at SF and has 4 1/2 sacks this year.
-- DT HENRY MELTON is the player who drove BRETT FAVRE into the ground at TCF in 2010, ending his career. He has five sacks this year.
-- OLB NICK ROACH has averaged three TPG the last three and I'd like to see the Vikings test his mettle with Adrian.
-- Christian Ponder has been sacked 25 times and 14 on the road.
-- CP went for 221-2-0 versus Detroit.
-- The Vikings had zero turnovers versus Detroit this year and went 2-and-0.
-- JARIUS WRIGHT is celebrating his 23rd birthday Sunday. Aw.
-- WR DEVIN AROMASHODU played 2009-'10 with the Bears. He appeared in 24 games with four TD's.
-- Adrian leads the NFL with 1,128 rushing yards, which is just 100 fewer than Chicago has as a team and more than 21 teams in the game.
-- Adrian has had four consecutive games with at least 100 yards, one shy of ROBERT SMITH'S team record. Adrian also has had a run of at least 60 yards in three consecutive games, which is tied with MICHAEL BENNETT for tops in team lore.
-- K BLAIR WALSH has 90 points this year. The team rookie record is 106 by RANDY MOSS in 1998. He is 5-for-5 from 50 yards and beyond. He also is 6-for-6 kicking outdoors.
-- THEGREAT DEVIN HESTER has 17 return TD's. Three PR TD's have come against Minnesota and one KR.
-- The Bears average 299 YPG, 30th in the NFL into the week.
-- K ROBBIE GOULD has hit 10 consecutive FG's from at least 50 yards. He has 10 game-winning kicks and none against Minnesota.
-- P ADAM PODLESH never has had a punt blocked in his career.
-- JAY CUTLER has thrown four TD's and five picks at SF. He is 25-0 when he has a passer rating of 100 or higher. In the fourth quarter he has eight TD's and two picks and his passer rating of 135 in the final quarter is best in the NFL.
-- RB MATT FORTE has two career TD's versus the Vikings. He has averaged 2.7 YPC the last two games.
-- Cutler is sacked once every nine pass attempts.
-- CHRIS SPENCER replaces CHILO RACHAL ast LG. Spencer started the first two games of the year at LG and was benched. JONATHAN SCOTT replaces GABE CARIMI at RT.
-- WR BRANDON MARSHALL has five 100-yard games this year and eight TD's. He has 925 receiving yards, and the Bears' record for rec. yards in a season is help by former Viking MARCUS ROBINSON (1,400 in '99).
-- Bears' TE MATT SPAETH is an Albertville native and played for MASON at the University of Minnesota. He has zero TD's this year and eight games with zero receptions.
-- KEVIN WILLIAMS is starting his 151st game, second most for the team behind ALAN PAGE'S 157.
-- ANTOINE WINFIELD has 10 TFL's, which leads the team.
-- CHAD GREENWAY has 100 tackles, tied for most in the NFL.
-- The Vikings have lost five in a row to Chicago and four consecutive at Soldier Field.
-- Minnesota is minus four in the take-give.