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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!”
People text, email, holler and tweet at me claiming I am blind to the fact Vikings quarterback CHRISTIAN PONDER has his limitations and struggles. Like I am programmed/paid to defend the young man and if I don't I'll be flogged by Vikings Veeps, lose access to Winter Park, get a tongue-lashing from BOSSBERG and maybe even lose my Voxing job.
None of that is the case and I am very much in touch with what's going on with Ponder, our offense and what needs to be done to make it better. I liked Christian's second half at Chicago (10-for-16 and 146 yards) but it still is not enough to claim from my heart he's absolutely the full-time starter for Our Favorite Team for years. He found open guys throughout the second half, didn't throw it to the Bears, ran a few times in gritty fashion and kind of looked the part.
I support Christian the way I do is because I genuinely like him and want him to mature and flourish. That's how I operate whether you like it or not. And I want the fact he was taken as high as he was in the draft to be a good take formulated by a GM who has done a terrific job selecting players over the years.
The latter might not be the case and there might be a time the team needs to go to MATT CASSELL to make some plays. Matt can't run as well as Christian but has seen more during his career and probably has a better feel for what to expect and for where the ball needs to go.
I write this because I have become obsessed with the interception TD Ponder threw to TIM JENNINGS yesterday. Christian ripped himself after the game. HC LESLIE FRAZIER today at his presser claimed JEROME SIMPSON was on a "go route," which means he was streaking down the field and the ball was badly underthrown. Tough for me to buy that when Simpson stopped right before the ball was picked.
After the game and as I wrote yesterday I was told Simpson was supposed to come back to the ball and that "Jennings basically ran Jerome's route for him." I, too, am not sure that is accurate because in looking back at the play five times I just don't feel Simpson was supposed to come back to the ball.
Shoot, I don't know what to believe with this play but in looking back at it critically I did learn a few things, and one of them is bugging me badly. The things I liked most were (a) the OL protection was superb and (b) ADRIAN PETERSON'S blitz pick up was perfect.
The thing that is knawing at me and should prove to Rube Nation I am more than capable of unveiling Christian's problems, flaws and needs to improve is what happened with KYLE RUDOLPH on the play. The team sent four guys on deep plays, and Rudolph was covered by .... JULIUS PEPPERS! Julius Freaking Peppers and in coverage more than five yards from the line. That was the answer on the play and it would have been a TD. That's a 14-point swing in a game decided by a point. The Bears are looking back at that play saying "Whew, we got lucky there. Wow, that should have been a touchdown." The Browns are looking at it feeling our QB eyeballs receivers and can be had at times.
Ponder only looked the way of Simpson despite being protected well enough to glide left a tad and step into a throw to Kyle, WHOWASCOVEREDBYJULIUSPEPPERS! That bleep just can't happen no matter if we are beating a weak team by 10 or in a grinder at Soldier Field. Look back at the play and you'll see exactly what I am talking about.
Of course I know there were missed tackles, MARSHALL beating COOK, HESTERTHECANE killing us on kick returns and a zillion other reasons we lost for a 10th time at Soldier Field from the last 11 games. But when you miss a Pro Bowl TE being covered by Julius Peppers up the seam for a play that should have been a TD even a loving Rube like me is going to be perturbed.
I want Christian Ponder to hit on all those plays, handle the huddle like a man in charge and have the team completely squared away the rest of the season. That's not the case through two games and 18 games as a full-time starter, and I have to believe if it continues Matt Cassell will be our quarterback and the GM will draft one anew next season. Pains me to write that because Christian is a great, honest, loving guy I want to see succeed, but business is business, and that one play played a big part in the Vikings dropping to 0-and-2.