St. Paul Pioneer Press
After Jason Pominville finally sent the first puck past Blues goalie Jake Allen, he skated back toward Zach Parise, the man who sent him the pass. When the two met in front of the net, Pominville leapt into Parise’s arms, screaming.
MINNEAPOLIS — Amanda Zahui B. became the University of Minnesota’s highest-drafted women’s basketball player since 2005 when the Tulsa Shock made her the No. 2 pick in the WNBA draft on Thursday night.
There’s an old saying that you know you are getting older when you start hearing your favorite songs in an elevator. There is some tick, tick, ticking going on in the Wild dressing room. Not that the fellows are ready to turn in their hockey sticks for shuffleboard cues but, still, Father Time is barreling into the offensive zone.
Wild captain Mikko Koivu can see more of his career in the rear-view mirror than the windshield, urgency fueling his latest Stanley Cup playoff venture in Minnesota. The 32-year-old Koivu isn’t nearing retirement, not with three years remaining on his contract. But with 10 years gone and only one postseason series victory notched, the Wild’s all-time points leader is anxious to decorate his sterling international career with NHL hardware.
Like a golfer who never can seem to sync up his woods and his irons, switch-hitting Kennys Vargas must recalibrate one of his swings on a daily basis. “I never feel 100 percent from both sides of the plate,” said Vargas, the Twins’ designated hitter. “When my right side is good, my left is like 50 percent. It’s never the same. I try to maintain both swings, but it’s tough.” Twins shortstop Danny Santana, who broke in last season three months before Vargas arrived, reports the same experience.
As the Wild’s season hit the midway point Jan. 11 with a loss in Chicago, Ryan Suter entered the losing locker room looking defeated. The veteran defensman put a foot on a nearby stall and combed his hand through his hair, contemplating a season spiraling out of control. After losing 4-1 to the Blackhawks at United Center, the Wild had five more losses than wins. During a postgame conversation, Suter revealed that he and Zach Parise, two players brought to Minnesota on 13-year contracts, had discussed what they’d gotten themselves into. “We’ve never been through anything like this,” Suter said following the Wild’s 11th loss in 13 games.
After wrapping up their season here Saturday afternoon, the Wild will return to the Gateway City in a few days to begin their first-round playoff series. As the Western Conference’s top wild-card team, the Wild drew the Central Division champion St. Louis Blues in an opening-round best-of-seven playoff series that begins Thursday.
MINNEAPOLIS — David Cobb couldn’t wait to prove himself after suffering a quad injury at the NFL combine in February.
After the Opening Day ceremonies, the introductions and the hugs, the waves and the smiles, reality set in: This is Twins Territory. And it is the most rundown, unsightly and uncomfortable neighborhood in baseball. Local sports fans had a chance to hit the trifecta on Monday. They could have gone straight from the Twins game to the Timberwolves contest across the street. Then they could have wrapped it all up quite nicely by stepping in front of a city bus.
After Kevin Garnett and Tyus Jones graced the pitcher’s mound, after the F-16s roared over Target Field and the pageantry of a home opener in front of a sellout crowd gradually dissipated, the Twins were left to ponder a harsh reality. Monday’s 12-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals didn’t just leave them six games out of first place a week into the season.