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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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f the Wild were Judge Charles H. Older, the judge that sent Charles Manson to the clink: “2 weeks in the workhouse and 1 month probation!”
This time last year when I would write in this spot, chat with Rubes or do radio interviews I had an easy-winner take -- KYLE RUDOLPH looks unstoppable and will have a big season. One could see it early and often in training camp, and the young man finished with nine TDs and now is considered a top-five TE in the game.
This year it's different because we have more good players than we had last year. The competition is tremendous. I get the same questions locally and nationally and don't exactly know what to say after three days of practice in pads. I like EVERSON GRIFFEN to have a monster season rushing the QB, but he finished full of fire last year.
GREG JENNINGS catches everything thrown his way, but he did that for many years in Green Bay. I have mentioned #92Noon repeatedly WR JEROME SIMPSON will bounce back quite well off a non-descript debut in our colors last year. Still, I cannot put Jerome on more than four TDs given we all of a sudden have some cool options.
CORDARRELLE PATTERSON looks the part, but it's tough for me to stamp a rookie like I did in 2009 when during mini camp I called BARREIRO and proclaimed PERCY would be Rookie of the Year. I do think Patterson will be an elite kick returner relatively early, but in terms of becoming a R.O.Y candidate I cannot go there yet.
I see things I like but have not become overwhelmed with anything yet. I am, however, astounded off three ACL surgeries rookie MIKE MAUTI is getting around as well as he is. Shoot, I have gone from thinking he'd be a practice squad guy to feeling he makes the team, which further complicates the number count at LB.
If the team keeps six 'backers it can keep and extra DB. If it goes with seven we probably will pull from the DB stable. That means -- assuming Mauti makes the squad -- GREENWAY, HENDERSON, BISHOP and HODGES are cinches. Put in Mauti and that makes five, which means AUDIE COLE, LARRY DEAN, TYRONE MCKENZIE and MARVIN MITCHELL might be squabbling for one spot.
McKenzie led us in ST tackles last year. Dean is considered one of the team's best ST players. Cole plays MLB and Mitchell has experience and some nasty to him. Cutting down this group will be very tough for the Vikings, and at least a couple of guys most likely will be snatched up by other teams.
Mauti making the team would be a cool story. We got him in the seventh round due to the risk associated with his knees, but when you see him you see an almost perfect build for MLB. He was running around quite well at practice today, too, and the kid seems to be a born leader.
When totally healthy there were times Mauti was the best LB in the Big 10, and the Penn State product already is very crafty at getting around the field. Maybe I am wrong here and he has too tough a mountain to climb, but I knew the first time I saw him at rookie camp he looked the part and had stud appeal if those knees hold up.
Mauti will be fun to watch this preseason, his first game action since bleeping up his knee late last season at IU. I pull for players like this because Mike Mauti went from a stone-cold cinch in the NFL to kind of a longshot to even get drafted. If those knees make it through the battles we have secured a steal of the draft and will enjoy watching him grow as a pro.