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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!”
Excited for the Wolves game tonight; I really am enjoying this team and the ease with which it scores.
Excited for the Wild game this evening because HC MIKE YEO is becoming one of my favorites, I enjoy his demeanor and genuinely want to see him win and prevail at a high level. Adding him to the weekly guest mix was terrific, and I thank him for that. He's on every Wednesday at 9 a.m.
Despite those Winnersville, USA vibes, though, my heart and mind these days still is being poured into the Minnesota Vikings. Yep, from 2-and-7 I am formulating a big draft opinion for what may be a top-five pick. Yep, I will root for the team to win every game and quite honestly could not care less where they draft. And, yep, if CHRISTIAN PONDER is the QB I hope he plays very well and becomes a quality camp option next August in 'FANkato.
One thing for which I am not planning is JOSH FREEMAN playing QB if Ponder cannot go at Seattle. Nothing personal against Josh and I do know through his five weeks here he has made progress, but from a gut-feeling standpoint I don't really want him to re-emerge against this team at this venue. Nope, don't want to deal with it. Guess I don't think he's ready.
I bring this up because HC LESLIE FRAZIER said at his 11:30 a.m. presser today if Ponder cannot make the dance Josh definitely is an option.
I stick by what I said weeks ago when I felt the right approach to Ponder-Freeman -- assuming MATT CASSEL is not a starting option -- was to let Christian play through the Lambeau game, and no matter how well or poorly he is playing we need to get a three-, four -or five-game patch with Josh, who did throw for more than 4,000 yards last year with Tampa and despite the abomination we saw at MetLife has done some high-end things in the NFL. Still, that game at the Giants was so bad I am not ready to roll in that direction against at this stage of the equation.
Yeah, I do hope Freeman plays at some point this season because I'd like to know if he should be an option for 'FANkato come August. I still predict we draft a QB in the first or second round in April, and if Josh can play pretty well and Ponder can string together some good ones 'FANkato could be a blast with the likes of a JOHNNY FOOTBALL added to the mix.
If Freeman plays this season -- and I am not sure he'll get a start -- I'd like to start it over with a home game. I'd like to see him play off the crowd and the comforts of home. Even though Green Bay's defense is less-than-impressive of late I don't want him to start at Lambeau and, again, want to wait for a home game if they feel they are going to look at him in games.
Too, we have to remember Frazier needs to play the players most equipped to help him win in case his job is in jeopardy. If Ponder and Freeman are the team's starting options for whatever the reason, with all things equal Christian gives the team the best chance to win right now. I didn't mind his game at Dallas and thught he complemented things well against Washington.
I would imagine at the end of what could be a horrific season jobs (players/coaches) will be lost, and I hope Leslie stays. His in-game management needs to improve in my opinion but I truly believe he manages men well and is widely liked and appreciated. Thus, I want to see the team win out and make all involved with this fabulous organization look good during the second half of a season that has been a huge disappointment to this stage.
Go Wolves, go Wild, go Vikes and go Leslie!
Asked the question #92Noon today -- which Western Conference teams in the NBA at this moment can we honestly say are better than our beloved Wolves? That offensive and defensive display last night against the suddenly ratty Lakers is as good as this team has played in half a decade. There have been good moments this season but that was as overall as much domination as I have seen from this team all year.
-- SAN ANTONIO: Been to Handling School. Absolutely would trust under pressure before the Wolves, but the Silver and Black of Immortality is another year older, and RUBIO and LOVE are improving and are markedly younger. Still, Spurs would be favored in a seven-game set right now and deserve more respect due to equity.
-- THE OKC: We drilled them earlier this season -- its only loss -- but RUSSELL WESTBROOK didn't play. They, too, deserve to be ahead of us in the proverbial pecking order at this stage, but we have cut into the margin.
Love is a tough pairing for SERGE IBAKA, an elite rebounder/shot blocker. Kevin pulls him to places on the court with which he's not comfortable, and that match up goes the way of the Wolves. Durant and Westbrook and fact they have played in bigger spots also means they need to be ahead of our beloved Wolves on this list, though.
After that the hope is the Wolves, Clippers, Blazers, the Grizz and maybe the Mavs because of DIRK all are in the same spot, balling for respect and a chance at cool seeds in the playoffs. I picked the Rockets to go to the NBA Finals and truly believe they will be a difficult out in the postseason, but our PG spot is markedly more secure than their BEVERYLY-LINSANITY time share. I don't include the Suns in the mix because I think that hot start is more of a mirage than a trend, and the Nuggets are a one-win team with injuries.
Even though every team in the league would take JAMES HARDEN over KEVIN MARTIN our guy is scoring as well as any off guard in the game. Through the last five he's scoring like 27 PPG, averaging four RPG, draining like four TPG and is hitting from beyind the arc at an insane 64 percent. Will there be a regression to the mean for Kevin Martin? Probably on the shooting percentage, but he's in a better spot here than at The OKC because he's with a PG who doesn't need to shoot and one with whom he meshes extremely well. Too, he's playing like double the minutes he registered there and is as fresh and lethal as he has been in years.
The Timberwolves have a very confident, cohesive unit right now, and every game is fun to watch. I am so excited for tonite's 9:30 p.m. game at the Clippers I might nap during the day to make sure I can stay up for what should be a to-the-wire game. Love versus GRIFFIN. CP3 versus The Spanish Kid. Martin staying hot. PEKOVIC, who is playing very well right now and actually is blocking shots, trying to slow DEANDRE JORDAN, who is off to the best start of his career.
Longstorylonger, I am the last to harsh mellow and as I have written/tweeted/said I am extremely high on the Wolves and into the bit, but we are way too early in the season for people to have them like third in power rankings and to be be discussing Western Conference Finals and bleep like that. The Heat, Bulls, Pacers, maybe Brooklyn, the Spurs, The OKC and the Rockets should garner more respect at this stage, but we are closing into the margins in a hurry, and the high-octane brand of offensive basketball means the team should make money this year in that it's very fun to watch live or on TV.
Yes, for me and many it was a glorious night at MOA Field last night. Many positive scenarios were accomplished during the win over the 'Skins, and if you are concerned about 2014 QB-CB-DL-ETC. the team still has a winning percentage of .222, which currently gives them the third pick in the April draft. MARIOTA? BRIDGEWATER? CLOWNEY?
All good, right?
Those undisciplined Redskins were 3-and-6 last year and won enough to get to the playoffs. Not happening this year, and I do not even have to look at their remaining schedule and, too, realize they are the most healthy squad in the NFL. Not to turn Allen's Page into BILLY KILMER Fanline but RG3 is not the same and still is gaining confidence off the 2012 postseason ACL. I don't think he is as fast of secure with the sprint, and his passes of 20 yards or more rarely are spirals. He all of a sudden throws a heavy ball. If that stud is not totally squared away, nah, they are not going to the playoffs.
The Vikings are not qualifying for the playoffs either, but the last two games have been fun and we have had a chance to prevail both times, winning only last night. Still, the most amazing this about last night was we had 10 guys who help out and only suited 42 players. Because of that DT KEVIN WILLIAMS played the most he has in years and dramatically impacted the game.
The C he kept beating is WILL MONTGOMERY, an unorthodox and effective man in the middle, and an underrated guy around the league. Kevin beat him to the punch many times, and Griffin III could not become settled.
After those timeouts we took extremely late the 'Skins threw back-left of the end zone to SANTANA MOSS, and Griffin III missed what could have been a TD over the middle to TE JORDAN REED and/or PIERRE GARCON left-to-right on a hard slant. He, too, was a better option than the veteran 'Cane.
Nevertheless, we won and that's my "A" topic. Super happy to see friends and co-workers proud of their toil and genuinely elated the team finally won, snapping a four-game losing streak. We'll be big 'dogs at Seattle but head into the game playing much better than a couple of weeks ago, and the team is gaining confidence into the second half of the year. Hoping it leads to more wins and could not care less where we fall in the draft. I know we are selecting a QB with our first or second pick and hope we amass an asset that helps for years.
Here are some takes and talkers off the game, a spinetingling Vikings win and one that left 10s of thousands wanting more:
THOSE TIMEOUTS. We took two on defense late when Washington was down seven and had none to use. They were in a hurry and we were dead out of gas. This was another game we were smashed in the time of possession (Wash. 36 minutes with the ball), and the defensive guys were lacking energy from banging with a physical, run-first bunch that amassed nearly 200 yards for the fourth time in five games. Defenses leave Redskins games knowing they have been around the block with a tough guy.
I totally was in favor of the T.O. LESLIE took with a minute 20 to go and after Reed, a wonderful rookie TE, gouged us for 17. Seriously, we were circling the drain and against this fatigued defense were I Washington after a score I would have gone for two and probably won the game against a deflated bunch.
In taking the timeout the Vikings (a) could get Kevin Williams back in the game and (b) rest, become composed and develop a plan antithetical to the approach taken during Chicago, Cleveland and/or Dallas, all games we lost at the wire when the defense couldn't get that huge stop.
Now, when we took that second timeout after first-and-goal from the eight I was mildly surprised. If Leslie did it to give his guys another break and to make sure the right play was called I am okay with it, but eventually we are going to have to better execute stuff with the proverbial bullets in the air.
Nevertheless we won the game.
CHRISTIAN PONDER. Elite Football Mind PAUL CHARCHIAN today at BWW Oakdale said it was the best game of his career. I still like the three TDs and zero picks last year during the "win and in" but last night was quality. Ponder played fast, didn't hold the ball too long and sold some hope. Kept his eyes down the field as he ran left and right.
In patented Ponder fashion, though, just when he excites you he somehow gets hurt, like last year in front of the playoff game. I hope he can play at Seattle because he didn't bug me at Dallas, handled the roadie pretty well and last night played like a winning QB. I want to see what he can do at Seattle, a place he played maybe the worst game of his career last year.
At this stage of the equation I am not all in on Christian as the 2014 guy, but he's under contract and will battle a rookie for the starting spot.
JOSH FREEMAN. I didn't write "...Ponder would battle a rookie and Josh Freeman for the starting spot" because I don't know what to think about Josh Freeman and the rest of the 2013 journey. To win the game last night Leslie went with MATT CASSEL, and Josh was in uniform.
I now am wondering if they will use Freeman at all this season, and if anything are getting a quality look at how he prepares and interacts around Winter Park. They, too, can analyze his habits and learn how attentive he is in meetings, and if they don't like what they see he's gone. Kind of an expensive investment to just analyze behind the scenes, but I still am in favor of adding him to take a gander at a longshot guy for the 2014 QB spot.
THE FINAL SEVEN. Off to Seattle next week, then at Lambeau Field and against SENECA WALLACE and home against the Bears. There are winnable games the rest of the way and I will head into each week per usual rooting for the colors to win all of them.
Tampa and Jacksonville are not winning many games, Atlanta will win a few the rest of the way, and the other two- and three-win teams all are trying to prevail. It will work itself out and we'll get a fine player in the draft. The QB we will take with the first- or second-round pick will help us sell hope, and until proven he cannot play #92Noon will love his promise.
Like MIKE TICE once said #92Noon "Enjoy the season" and root for exciting games and outcomes that please many.
Short week, 1-and-7, negative and the Vikings are a battered bunch. We know for sure RT PHIL LOADHOLT and TE KYLE RUDOLPH are out, joining HARRISON SMITH and others who already have missed time.
This Redskins defense can be a bad-tackling bit with guys in the secondary who love to "jump routes" and look for the end zone. While it may be tougher than most times for ADRIAN to catch fire due to what may be multiple OL subs, if we can protect CHRISTIAN PONDER and if he settles down and sees it clarley there are some big plays in the passing game to me made.
Defensively, the Vikings better pack a lunch; these Redskins run. And run. And run again, pounding on you until you become weak. They have run for at least 200 yards three of the last four games, and sans a RG3 rushing TD last week (or all season) powered to four running TDs in a win at home against San Diego.
Here are some game-calling, depth chart-related items I hope to get into the pregame/call tomorrow commencing at 5:30 p.m. on FM 100.3 The 'FAN:
-- The 'Skins have run for an average of 211 YPG three of the last four games and have gone for at least 100 running seven consecutive games.
-- They have eight rushing TDs the last three games.
-- Washington amassed 500 total yards of offense against San Diego.
-- K KAI FORBATH is an awful 5 of 9 this season and had two kicks blocked against San Diego.
-- P SAV ROCCA had a punt blocked for a TD earlier this year at Oakland.
-- TE JORDAN REED, the rookie from Florida, has 38 receptions, which is most for rookies this year. He has averaged seven receptions a game the last three and is a bonafide threat.
-- FB DARREL YOUNG carried it five times for 12 yards against San Diego and scored three TDs.
-- RG3 has nine TDs and nine INTs. He is averaging 5.2 YPC. He ran for 138 and two TDs last season against Minnesota.
-- WR PIERRE GARCON hasn't scored a TD in a month. He averages 6.8 RPG, which is third most in the NFL.
-- Their back-up RB ROY HELU, JR. has four rushing TDs.
-- Their starter ALFRED MORRIS has five TDs and averages 5.2 YPC.
-- The Redskins have scored five defensive TDs this year, which is second most in the game.
-- CB DEANGELO HALL has three touchdowns, and his four FR TDs are fourth most for a CB in NFL history. His three defensive TDs are most in the NFL.
-- Stalwart LB and 16-year veteran LONDON FLETCHER had 15 tackles versus San Diego. He is playing in his 249th consecutive game. Equity. Stud.
-- Stud OLB RYAN KERRIGAN has 6 1/2 sacks, nine TFLs and three FFs. Wow.
-- The Redskins have allowed 423 yards on average the last two games (1-and-1).
-- S REED DOUGHTY is playing in his 100th game.
If we lose tomorrow night the hope is they lose like they did at Dallas. Game was fun to watch/listen to, MVP looked the part, we had sacks and a rare CB INT. and fans could be proud of the effort put forth, unlike the previous three games during which we were smoked. If we are going to fall to 1-and-8 do it with aplomb, stop somebody late to win it if you have a chance and make some explosive plays to give the paying customers something about which to cheer.
I hope we win because I couldn't care less at this stage who we draft in 2014. I want those who work hard and play to win to be rewarded and want the team to beat the Redskins. Then at Buffalo Wild Wings Oakdale Friday for the 'Feast with PAUL CHARCHIAN we'll have something fun about which to gab.
Kevin Love and Corey Brewer of the Timberwolves were warned for flopping against the New York Knicks on Sunday night. These are pretty good. Enjoy.