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…)
I know I am the Purveyor of Positivity and it's out of character for me to rip people, but I am becoming sick of KEVIN LOVE. His whiny act bugged me repeatedly tonite in the loss to Houston, and I must concede ever since he ripped the organization in that Yahoo! story two weeks ago I have waited for him to back his his prattle with team-carrying performances.
Instead, he continues to be broke from three-point range (24 percent this year, 0-for-7 tonite) and complains more than any player I have seen. He shoots and shoots and shoots and generally is wide open from deep, and cannot get close. He was beaten for key rebounds tonite and couldn't stop STUD JAMES HARDEN on a huge hoop late. James exploded straight down the key and the slow-footed Love seemed to lack the desire to even foul him. Too, he led the Wolves in turnovers with five.
James Harden is a max-contract guy, Kevin Love is not playing like one. I know he's coming off a broken-hand injury, and I am willing to cut him some slack for the shooting, but other facets of his game continue to bug.
To wit, I have seen him repeatedly miss and not hustle back on defense. He did it several times tonite, and it's unacceptable for (a) the highest-paid player on the team and (b) for a guy who torched the organization for lack of direction. When you rip the way he did you have to personify hustle every single play and he doesn't. He seems afraid to pick up fouls because it may affect his opportunity to fill his stat sheet if he has to sit.
Those who claim he is nothing but a big box score at best are looking accurate. His defense at times is deplorable. But the thing that irked me the most tonite happened in the first half, and it was a subtle exchange between him and JJ BAREA. JJ shoots too much sometimes and at best is a role player, but he's scrappy as hell and always gets the most out of his game. Barea has ring cred, and Love does not.
Kevin made a nice pass to Barea under the basket in the second quarter, and Barea refused to shoot it. JJ is five-foot-nothing and most likely would have had it blocked. Love passed to the shortest guy on the court under the basket and became pissed off JJ didn't shoot it. His arms went to flailing and he screamed something at Barea. Then as the ball went the other way Love continued the histrionics and seemed more interested in showing up Barea than hustling back on defense.
Why? Why become pissed at the littlest guy on the court for not launching a stupid shot amongst the trees? Why not shake it off and become the team leader you swear you are? If you rip the direction of the team publicly go out and outwork everybody so we know the passion comes from your heart.
Kevin clearly is frustrated his shot is way off and is not handling it with aplomb. He has bitched about calls and lack of ref cred all of his career, and when he got into Barea tonite it bugged the heck out of me. Execute your defensive prowess with more effort, and watch some James Harden tape if you want to know what a true max-contract guy plays like. James is smooth, tries hard on defense and didn't act like a child when he was traded from maybe the best team in the NBA. Instead, he goes out every game and guides the Rockets like the born leader he is.
We need a better overall game from Love while THE SPANISH KID rounds into form -- he's not close, by the way -- and more is required from Kevin to assist this team to the postseason. I hated what he said in that Yahoo! story and it makes him look awful when he shoots terribly, doesn't hustle on defense and shows up players on the court. It has to stop.