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Scott Taylor

2017 NHL Expansion Draft – Minnesota Wild

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Protected players Available players

Charlie Coyle (F)
Mikael Granlund (F)
Mikko Koivu (F)
Nino Niederreiter (F)
Zach Parise (F)
Jason Pominville (F)
Jason Zucker (F)
Jonas Brodin (D)
Jared Spurgeon (D)
Ryan Suter (D)
Devan Dubnyk (G)

Brady Brassart (F)
Patrick Cannone (F)
Ryan Carter (F)
Kurtis Gabriel (F)
Martin Hanzal (F)
Erik Haula (F)
Zack Mitchell (F)
Jordan Schroeder (F)
Eric Staal (F)
Chris Stewart (F)
Ryan White (F)
Victor Bartley (D)
Matt Dumba (D)
Christian Folin (D)
Guillaume Gelinas (D)
Alexander Gudbranson (D)
Gustav Olofsson (D)
Nate Prosser (D)
Marco Scandella (D)
Mike Weber (D)
Johan Gustafsson (G)
Darcy Kuemper (G)
Alex Stalock (G)

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Scott Taylor

Rinne the Star of 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs

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Scott Taylor

By Scott Taylor

The number sits out there like a shining beacon on the hill: .951.

That’s Pekka Rinne’s NHL-leading playoff save percentage, the day after he led the Nashville Predators into the Western Conference final.

Of the goalies remaining in the Stanley Cup playoffs, Rinne is clearly the hottest goalie of the bunch. Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers is next at .930 while Marc-Andre Fleury of the Penguins is third at .929. The Oilers’ Cam Talbot is fourth at .924 and then Ottawa’s Craig Anderson is a mediocre .909.

Frankly, the goaltending in the second round of this year’s post-season hasn’t been particularly sparkling. Heck, even Lundqvist gave up five in his last start. However, Rinne has been the exception.

After Jake Allen of the St. Louis Blues took out the Minnesota Wild in the first round – and make no mistake, Allen was the ONLY reason St. Louis upset the Wild – it appeared as if the second round matchup between Nashville and the Blues would be a thriller. Two hot goaltenders and two underdog teams were going to make this series memorable.

Neither occurred. All thanks to Rinne.

After taking out Chicago in four straight and then beating the Blues in six, Rinne is now 8-2 in the post-season with a league best 1.37 goals against average and that eye-popping .951 save percentage. He’s playing his best hockey and the league’s best hockey at exactly the right time

“He gives us the confidence we need,” defenseman Roman Josi told NBCSN. “I think every game he’s been our best player. He’s so confident back there. He’s confident in making saves. He’s confident in passing the puck. And he’s been unbelievable for us.”

He is the reason the Predators will face either the Anaheim Ducks or Edmonton Oilers in the Western final.

And make no mistake, he had to be good to be better than Allen, the goaltender he beat in the second round. After all, despite all the media analysis you might have seen or read about the Blues’ first-round victory over Minnesota, the real reason – and the only reason – St. Louis won that series was the play of Allen.

“I don’t know how we could have been better,” said Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau after Minnesota was removed in five games by the Blues. “Their goaltender stopped 40 shots a game. And it’s not like the shots didn’t come from everywhere. They came from in close, from between the circles and from the perimeter. We took shots from everywhere. Tip your cap. He was just better than we were.”

For those Minnesota fans and followers who still want to blame (a) Boudreau, (b) Parise and Suter, (c) Devan Dubnyk or (d) all the other players Chuck Fletcher ever brought to St. Paul, just check out these numbers: Jake Allen had a 1.47 goals-against average and a .956 save percentage in Round 1 against the Wild. That was monstrous.

After the first round against Minnesota, Allen was No. 2 in the running for the Conn Smythe Trophy. Of course, he was well behind Pekka Rinne.

Rinne is a 6-foot-5, 34-year-old goaltender from Finland with 11 years of NHL experience. He has long been one of the two or three best netminders in the NHL. In 64 games with the Preds this season, he had a 2.42 goals against average and a .918 save percentage to go with a 31-19-9 record. It wasn’t his best season in the NHL, but it certainly wasn’t his worst.

Right now, however, he’s in the midst of his best playoff run ever. Period. He led the Preds when they swept Chicago in the first round and he made Jake Allen look like, well, Jake Allen again, in Round 2 against St. Louis. Now, he has a chance to take the Predators to a place the franchise has never been before – the Stanley Cup final.

Don’t be surprised if he pulls it off…

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: The Minnesota Twins are no longer April fools

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By Eric Nelson
May 2, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the home of Trix...

 

•April Rebound: The Minnesota Twins were April fools in 2016 as they got off to a catastrophic 0-9 start that set the tone for a 59-103 season. This April, the Twins fared much better. They finished MLB’s first month of the season with a respectable 12-11 record and are just 1 1/2 games behind first place Cleveland in the AL Central. Minnesota capped off the month Sunday with a 7-5 win in Kansas City, and was 4-1 on the road trip to Texas and KC…

•Inv-A’s-ion: Minnesota begins a six-game home stand Tuesday night against Oakland (11-14) as former Twins 3B Trevor Plouffe returns to Minneapolis. Plouffe is batting .207 with four home runs and nine RBI for the A’s. Oakland LF Khris Davis has 10 home runs, which is tied for the AL lead…

Trevor Plouffe will return to Minneapolis as a member of the Oakland A’s – May 2, 2017

•Power Players: Minnesota and Milwaukee had two of baseball’s top offensive performers in April. Twins 3B Miguel Sano had an AL-high 25 RBI and Brewers 1B Eric Thames slugged 11 taters, which is tied for the MLB lead. Sano is the AL player of the week…

•Missing Aces: Two of the top pitchers in MLB are sidelined. San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner could be out until July after injuring his left shoulder in a dirt bike accident, and New York Mets star Noah Syndergaard is out indefinitely with a partially torn back muscle…

•Canada Dry: Montreal is the last team from Canada to win a Stanley Cup. That was way back in 1993 when the Canadiens defeated Wayne Gretzky and the Los Angeles Kings. Will Canada’s cup drought finally end this season? Possibly. Both Edmonton and Ottawa lead in second round playoff series. The Oilers are up on Anaheim 2 games to 1 and the Senators lead the New York Rangers 2-0…

•Ratings Game: If the Oilers advance to the Western Conference Finals and the Senators do the same in the Eastern Conference, NBC will start to sweat. No way the peacock wants Edmonton and Ottawa playing in the Cup Finals on their airwaves…

•Yard Tracking: Just a hunch, but I have a feeling Viking fans will keep close track of how many yards Adrian Peterson and Dalvin Cook gain in the season opener on September 11. AP makes his debut for New Orleans that night and the rookie Cook will play his first NFL game for Minnesota…

•Comedy Central: Isn’t it funny how all 32 NFL teams think they had a good draft? This is nothing new and is the familiar spin we hear from coaches and GM’s after they fill out their draft cards. The truth is only a few teams selected well, but we won’t know which ones until three or four years from now…

•Party Central: The Golden State Warriors are not happy about playing Utah in the second round of the NBA playoffs. According to ESPN, Warrior players were disappointed the Jazz knocked the Clippers out of the post-season because the nightlife in Salt lake City is not as good as Los Angeles. That’s an odd reaction since Golden State’s focus should be on playoff wins, not post-game parties…

•Sightseeing: Forget the club scene, the Warriors should soak up the postcard-like views of Salt Lake City and the nearby Wasatch Mountains. SLC is one of the most scenic cities in the USA…

•Missed opportunities: The Clippers have failed to pounce on their chance to become a serious player in LA’s cluttered sports market. The once almighty Lakers are in chaos, which opened the door for the Clippers to cut into their immense popularity. But the Clippers have been unable to go on a serious post-season run, which means LA is still a Laker town…

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Thomas U. Tuttle

Wild ghosts of days gone by…

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by Thomas U. Tuttle

 

When I was a young guy, there was a youth hockey team called the Minor Hawks that played out of Chicago and traveled around playing the best teams that could be found. Unlike the famous NHL Blackhawks, indoor ice time was at a premium and outdoor rink hockey was at the whim of the weather spirits. Still, this early traveling all-star team was about as good a squad as any in the Midwest.

Or should I say “lower” Midwest. Because of a fair amount of local-area success, the coaches decided to play some more serious competition late in a 1970’s-era season, so up we went to Madison, Wisconsin, where the competition ramped up and the losses, while consecutive, were fairly competitive.

Then it was on to tournaments in the Twin Cities and Duluth, and soon a whole new understanding of the  game of hockey was brought to our attention – along with fast skating, solid checking, tape-to-tape passing, wicked wrist-shots, solid slap-shots and serious goaltending. There was a group realization by the Chicago kids that not only were we overmatched and outscored – we really really didn’t belong in the same building with the guys from Minnesota. They might have been 13 and 14 years old, but the dudes from the State of Hockey schooled us big-time and the numbers on the scoreboard reflected that.

I’m not sure this reminiscence has much to do with the Minnesota Wild’s demise in the first round of the NHL playoffs, although the Wild ended up being schooled in five games by the St. Louis Blues and coach Mike Yeo. Yes, goalie Jake Allen was stellar in the nets – particularly in the first game when he stood on his head in making 51 saves on 52 shots – and the Blues were timely on offense, but it seemed like Mike Yeo knew what needed to be done for victory and executed his plan perfectly.

While Allen certainly deserves all the credit for the victory in game one, Yeo ramped up his defense for the rest of the series, using his knowledge of Minnesota and its players to turn up the heat on the Wild scorers. The Blues played a super-physical brand of hockey and made the Wild work hard to get any scoring opportunities, using guys with names like Bortuzzo and Bouwmeester, Pietrangelo and Parayko to clog up the middle and make sure the W’s offensive threats knew what they were up against.

And actually, this reminded me of our best guys on the Minor Hawks, Ray and Eddie and Big Al, being shut-down in the Twin Cities and Duluth on our trip up north. Every time our top players started to move up the ice, looking for some space to execute, here would come two or three big kids ready to bust things up. In our case, we had never seen pressure like that, and it didn’t let up. Just scoring a goal was a cause for major celebration (I think we scored six during our week in Minnesota).

The Wild have been in tight checking games, and they are not young kids. But take a look at the production of Minnesota’s top offensive threats in the playoffs versus the regular season. Leading scorer Mikael Granlund was almost invisible, with no goals in the playoffs. Nino Niederreiter and Zack Parise were largely neutralized, as was the power play – and the normally strong blue line contribution was minimal. Hey, Minnesota scored just five goals in the first four games of the series – a mere 1.25 goals a game. When they finally busted loose for three goals at home in game five, it fell short again in a 4-3 overtime loss.

Bruce Boudreau’s history of getting knocked off in the playoffs continues (this was his ninth playoff exit, four with the Washington, four with Anaheim, and now the Wild) and the pressure on the coming season will be intense. Part of his problem is the perception that he’s a great coach (leading the Mighty Ducks to first place each year of his tenure; the Wild to their best record ever) who simply can’t win in the playoffs – a leader who is unable to  “win the Big One,” if you will.

You have to know this dilemma will carry over to next year and, unfortunately, lead to the regular season being a kind of tune-up for the “real” season: the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It really is a different deal in post-season hockey, with the top-seeded Blackhawks vanishing in four straight against the Nashville Predators and the number two Wild departing to the Blues – sayonara to Montreal as well.

Us old Minor Hawks kids know the feeling of getting beat, if not by close scores. Ray and Eddie, our leaders and most talented players, never quit (unlike accusations that Parise and Ryan Suter cost Mike Yeo the locker room prior to his exit from Minnesota) and I don’t believe the Wild gave anything less than their best. But it simply wasn’t enough against a tough defensive team that knew how to play the Wild and executed a solid game plan. And it is hard to argue that Yeo wasn’t the better coach in the series.

Mike Yeo was genuinely classy in victory, as many of us in the media knew he would be. Minor Hawks coach Atkinson was classy, too, when we succumbed to defeat by big numbers. We never won the big one (or any big game), but we learned a great deal and still had fun.

Unfortunately for coach Boudreau, he needs to win a big one badly, and that rough road is going through Chicago or St. Louis or somebody tough – that just how NHL hockey goes in the springtime. Fun only accompanies winning.

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GDG rundown for the weekend of Apr. 28th-30th

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One thing’s for sure.  There’s a lot to discuss across the world of sports.  Eric and Larry bring the news from the Downtown Minneapolis studio to you, the listening audience.  The Wild are done earlier than expected.  The Twins have turned things toward the positive again.  GDG’s own Tom Tuttle joins the program to chat about both of those squads.  We get a different perspective with NFL Draft weekend underway.  The NBA Playoffs have some juicy storylines going as they head toward the second round.  Adrian Peterson finds a new backfield.  Will we hear anything on the status of Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater?  Plus, it’s everyone’s favorite sport…Road Construction!

 

A Game Everyone Can Play…But Doesn’t Want To

Segment 1: There’s a new niche sport out there.  You may not know about it, but you’re an active participant.  Welcome to the stadium of…road construction!  Eric and Larry go through the trials and tribulations of roaming around the Twin Cities.  Plus, we hear a unique perspective about what happens to an NFL prospect after they get drafted.

 

Royal Blues & A.P.’s New Home

Segment 2: As the Twins head into Kansas City, we hear about some recent disastrous results coming from the Royals dugout.  After that, Adrian Peterson has found a job.  What does his signing mean for the New Orleans Saints?  Can the team from the Bayou get a boost back into playoff contention?

 

Hoops’ Second Season

Segment 3: The NBA postseason is winding down its first round.  Where does the league stand with Golden State and Cleveland resting up for their next opponents?  Does this intrigue you?  Are they in better position than the Stanley Cup Playoffs?

 

Wild Burial: GDG’s Tom Tuttle Recaps the Short Postseason Run

Segment 4: The Wild are out before they could get started.  The guys welcome in GDG COO Tom Tuttle as they pick up the pieces from the team’s disappointing first round playoff exit against St. Louis.  They also give their takes on current coach Bruce Boudreau and former coach Mike Yeo.

 

Tom Tuttle and the Guys Look Into the Twins’ Road Success

Segment 5: The Twins found some good swings in Texas after struggling at Target Field.  The GDG trio turn to the diamond to chat about the home nine.  What’s happened to Kyle Gibson?  Is Phil Hughes finding his old, successful form?  Can Byron Buxton ever get the bat going?  And how does the rest of the AL Central look?

 

A Curious Case for the Vikes

Segment 6: Almost eight months ago, Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater severely injured his knee.  Since then?  Who really knows?  Our hosts discuss the actual silence surrounding Bridgewater’s condition.  Then, they get back into their thoughts on everything surrounding the NFL Draft.

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: Minn U soccer at TCF is a cool event

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By Eric Nelson
April 25, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the land of 10 million potholes...

•Cool Vibe: I had a chance to see my first Minnesota United game at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday and was very impressed. The flag-waving, towel twirling crowd of 17,491 was involved and vocal the entire match. It was good theater. Midway through the second half there was a sunlight/shadow mix on the pitch, producing some spectacular visuals – which is another advantage to playing outside…

Minnesota United MLS soccer

Minnesota Loons at TCF Stadium
-April 2017

 

•Doubleheader: The Loons got their first-ever MLS shutout as Minn U blanked Colorado 1-0. The game-winning goal came when Johan Venegas used a header to get the ball to Miguel Ibarra who scored on a sprawling head shot. In this case, two heads were better than one..

 

•Money-Makers: According to the LA Times, the top 10 selling jerseys in MLB are:

  1. Kris Bryant (Chicago Cubs),
  2. Anthony Rizzo (Cubs),
  3. Clayton Kershaw (LA Dodgers),
  4. Javier Baez (Cubs),
  5. Kyle Schwarber (Cubs),
  6. Noah Syndergaard (NY Mets),
  7. Corey Seager (LA Dodgers),
  8. Buster Posey (SF),
  9. Gary Sanchez (NY Yankees)
  10. Mike Trout (LA Angels)

 

•Barefootball: According to the LA Times, the Chargers have been conducting some of their off-season workouts barefoot. What’s next, practicing on the beach..?

•PJ’s pitch: New U of M football coach PJ Fleck has been making his pitch to Gopher fans and potential recruits since being hired in early January. On Saturday he made another kind of pitch as he threw out the first pitch before the Detroit-Minnesota game at Target Field…

•Homecoming Hype: Now that Adrian Peterson has signed with the Saints, let the buildup begin. New Orleans and Minnesota open the season on September 11 in Minneapolis, meaning AP’s first game as a Saint is against his old team. ESPN is carrying the Monday night broadcast, which means the network will probably start hyping the telecast in July…

Adrian Peterson changes direction

•Standing O: Btw, AP deserves a loud ovation from the Purple Nation when he jogs onto the USB field turf. In 10 seasons with the Vikings AP ran for 11,747 yards, scored 102 touchdowns, played in seven Pro Bowls and was the 2012 NFL MVP when he gained 2,097 yards. That kind of production should garner him plenty of cheers…

•Cone Zone: Driving on I-94 through Brooklyn Center and Minneapolis these days means dodging orange barrels and cones, and driving over craters and potholes. “Minnesota’s Main Street” has been reduced to a couple of lanes in some parts because MNDOT has begun the monstrous $46.3 million project. Phase one of the I-94 construction will be finished by late October or early November and have no impact on Super Bowl LII. Construction will resume in late March or Early April of 2018…

•Capable and Qualified: Golden State HC Steve Kerr is one of the best in the business. But, with Kerr out because of a back injury, assistant Mike Brown took over the Warriors coaching duties for game 3 of their NBA playoff series against Portland. Golden State did not skip a beat, winning 119-113 and has a commanding 3-0 series lead. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Brown’s resume includes two stints as HC in Cleveland (2005-10, 2013-14) and with the LA Lakers (2011-12). Brown has coached in 83 playoff games, including the 2007 NBA Finals when San Antonio swept Cleveland in four games…

•Marathon Man: Joe Gagnon has accomplished his daunting goal of running six marathons on six continents in six days. Gagnon began his incredible journey in Australia on April 10 and finished up in Southern California on April 15. He ran in Sydney, Singapore, Johannesburg, London, Sao Paolo and Los Angeles…

•Mile Count: Gagnon did this to raise money for Project Bright Light which is part of LA-based Chimein.org, an organization that aids impoverished youth. He ran 156 miles, logged over 40,00 air miles in coach and did not stay in a hotel the entire trip…

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GDG rundown for the weekend of Apr. 21st-23rd

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It’s a week of adulation and anticipation when it comes to sports.  Eric and Larry select the biggest headlines to share from the Downtown Minneapolis studio.  The Wild find themselves in some trouble as they play their 1st Round playoff series.  Can they wiggle out of it?  The Twins are starting to find some old issues after owning a bit of success.  The NBA Playoffs have some unexpected spark to them.  The Vikings know the “when” of their 2017 schedule.  And we’re joined by former NFL wideout Greg Jennings as he discusses the power of giving and the prominence of the league.

Wild Looking to Fight Back

Segment 1: The Wild entered the postseason with the second-best point total in the Western Conference.  All that matters now is that they win three straight to move on to the Conference Semifinals.  But can they complete an historic comeback against the Blues?  Eric and Larry provide some examples that could give local fans some hope.

 

Dissecting the NBA’s Second Season

Segment 2: The NBA Playoffs are underway, with some surprising results from the early returns.  The guys look at Milwaukee’s talented, and lanky, roster.  Could the Bucks make a run?  After that, which player has a head start on the league’s MVP vote?

 

Here We Go Again, Twins?

Segment 3: After a blistering start, the Twins have let some ol’ bad habits creep back into the ballpark.  Where has it gone wrong so quickly?  Our hosts also take a broader peek around the early MLB season.

 

GDG Catches Up with Former Viking Greg Jennings

Segment 4: The show is in good hands when former NFL wide receiver Greg Jennings joins the program.  He tells us about the charitable work that his foundation is doing for kids and offers his thoughts on making a trip to the White House as a Super Bowl champion.

 

Greg Jennings Talks More Topics On & Off the Field

Segment 5: We hear a few more minutes from former Vikings WR Greg Jennings.  The Western Michigan star explains whether he thinks that former Broncos coach P.J. Fleck is the right man to lead the Gophers.  Plus, how is he handling life after football?  And how did he handle the annual release of an NFL schedule?

 

Vikings’ Path Now Set

Segment 6: The NFL released its 2017 regular season schedule on Thursday.  Whom do the Purple get in their opener?  When do they head to London?  What days can we see them in Primetime?  The fellas point out all of those facts.

 

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: Ervin Santana’s mound magic is good news for the Minnesota Twins

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By Eric Nelson
April 18, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the land of April showers...

•Fast Start: MLB does not hand out Cy Young trophies in April, but if Ervin Santana keeps pitching like he has been, he might win the award. Santana (3-0, 0.41 ERA) has been outstanding with 15 strikeouts and just five walks in 22 innings. Santana’s most recent outing was a gem. He threw a complete game one-hitter in the Twins 6-0 win over the Chicago White Sox on Saturday…

•Mound Showdown: Santana’s next start is Thursday against Cleveland in Minneapolis. RHP Corey Kluber (1-1, 6.38 ERA) will start for the Indians. Kluber won the 2014 AL Cy Young award with an 18-9 record…

•Sputtering Starts: Twins’ CF Byron Buxton and 1B Joe Mauer are struggling this season. Buxton is batting .093 (no home runs, no RBI and 23 strikeouts), while Mauer’s average is .213 (no home runs, 6 RBI). All of Mauer’s 10 hits have been singles…

•Crowd Counts: Despite a respectable 7-6 start and mild April weather, people are not exactly flocking to trendy Target Field. Monday’s Indians-Twins game drew just 16,961 fans. In seven home dates Minnesota is averaging 21,677, which is 28th out of 30 MLB teams. Only Tampa Bay (17,977 average) and Oakland (17,131) attract fewer to the ballpark. St. Louis leads the majors in attendance (44,992)…

•Sparse Gathering: The Gopher football team knows all about small turnouts. The estimated crowd for Minnesota’s spring game was a meager 5,000, proving once again that on the college football map Minneapolis is light years away from hotbeds such as Ann Arbor, Baton Rouge, Columbus, Gainesville, Lincoln, Madison, State College, South Bend and Tuscaloosa…

•Free Fall: It’s a worst-case scenario come true for the Minnesota Wild. The Wild trail 3-0 in their first round playoff series and are on the brink of elimination. Compounding the misery is that the Wild are losing to St. Louis. Yes, the same Blues who are coached by Mike Yeo, a guy Minnesota kicked to the curb last season. It’s mind boggling that the Wild are in this spot, after they had their best regular season in franchise history with 106 points…

•Perception is Reality: If the Wild get bounced in round one it will add fuel to the fire for Bruce Boudrerau critics. Boudreau is the NHL’s version of Marty Schottenheimer – a great regular season coach who stumbles in the post-season…

•Hawk Shock: It’s also hard to believe, but the Blackhawks are in the same precarious predicament as the Wild. Nashville defeated Chicago 3-2 in overtime Monday in Tennessee. The Predators have a commanding 3-0 lead in that playoff series and have outscored the Blackhawks 9-2…

•Bad Timing: If the Wild and Blackhawks both get knocked out in round one, Minnesota fans will be saying, “woulda, coulda, shoulda” all off-season. Chicago historically has been playoff kryptonite for Minnesota and this would have been the Wild’s chance to advance without having to get past the Blackhawks…

•Home Cooking: After a 2-2 draw last week in Houston, Minnesota United returns to the Twin Cities for three straight games. Minn U plays Colorado on Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium, then hosts San Jose on April 29 and Sporting KC on May 29…

•Knick Knacks: I am tired of the constant media hype surrounding Phil Jackson, Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks. Who cares? This soap opera is only relevant in the 212 area code. The Knicks are not a well run franchise and don’t have a great history. They get attention simply because they play in NYC. If the Knicks were in Denver, Indianapolis, Minneapolis or Salt Lake City they would be off the grid…

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GDG rundown for Easter and Passover weekend (Apr. 14-16)

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It’s another loaded week of sports across the country.  Let Eric and Larry condense it all down for you.  They pour through all the bits and pieces to bring you the big news from the Downtown Minneapolis studios.  The Wild begin their postseason run, while the Wolves get set to watch another playoff season at home (Wolves point guard Ricky Rubio offers his thoughts).  The Twins continue to impress early on.  Out west, Oakland just can’t seem to hold on to its sports teams.  And former NFL player (and Super Bowl champion) Ryan Harris discusses the importance of Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney.

The Disappearing Oakland Sports Scene

Segment 1: The reaction is still pouring in from last week’s announcement that the Oakland Raiders will be heading to Sin City.  Our hosts revisit the impact that this move will have on the east side of the Bay Area.  And what’s up with Oakland’s struggle to keep sports franchises?

 

Steel to the Core: Remembering Pittsburgh Owner Dan Rooney

Segment 2: The NFL world is mourning after the death of Pittsburgh Steelers CEO Dan Rooney on Thursday.  Larry reveals a familial connection to the owner, while Eric explains how he embodied the franchise that he ran.  Plus, will St. Louis be successful in their pending lawsuit against the NFL?

 

K.C. Connections & Triumphant Twins

Segment 3: Falling back on memories of days past, the guys revisit their respect for Kauffman Stadium.  The Royals, however, haven’t had a glowing start to the season.  A lot of that had to do with the Twins.  Speaking of…what are the reasons this edition of the team has seen some early success?

Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

Kauffman Stadium – Kansas City, Missouri

 

Eric, Larry, & Ricky Rubio Lament Lost Chances for the Wolves

Segment 4: The Timberwolves’ season has come to an end.  Larry briefly discussed this lost campaign with point guard Ricky Rubio.  Then, our hosts recap another season where the organization missed out on the playoffs.

Minnesota Timberwolves new Logo displayed on giant scoreboard above court at Target Center - Minneapolis, MN

Timberwolves unveil new logo at Target Center

 

GDG Chats with Ryan Harris About a Legendary Owner and a Puzzling Free Agent

Segment 5: One man that got to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dan Rooney is Twin Cities native Ryan Harris.  The former offensive lineman discusses the owner’s legacy.  Plus, what does he think of Colin Kaepernick’s inability to find a new team?

 

A Wild Tussle to Open the Playoffs

Segment 6: The fellas take a minute to look into the hot button topic of the man that was dragged off of a United Airlines flight.  After that, the Wild were bogged down in Game 1 of their First Round postseason series against St. Louis.  What should we expect from the rest of the series?  Eric and Larry break down the angles.

 

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Scott Taylor

Wild Set to Open Stanley Cup Playoffs

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Scott Taylor

By Scott Taylor

Photos by James Carey Lauder and Jeff Miller

New York Rangers professional scout Tom Thompson has been around the game of hockey for more than 40 years. By his own admission, he’s probably seen it all.

However, if there is one thing that still stokes his fire every season, it’s the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby (87) ,in NHL action at the MTS Centre,April 3 , 2014. JEFF MILLER PHOTO

“There is absolutely no doubt that the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs is always the best,” said Thompson. “You have teams that finished high in the standings expecting to win against teams that were lucky to make the playoffs and now they have nothing to lose. The first round is always the toughest, the fastest, the closest and the most exciting. The first round is where the upsets happen. This is always hockey at its very best.”

And when we get started on Wednesday night, the 2017 Stanley Cup tournament should not disappoint. Especially here in Minnesota.

Devan Dubnyk (G) will be a key to the Wild’s playoff fortunes

The Wild have one of the best teams in the post-season tournament – despite that March swoon – and if they get the goaltending they need from Devan Dubnyk, should find themselves through to the second round and a date with their long-time nemesis, the Chicago Blackhawks.

This should be a terrific two weeks. The defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins are back. The three-time Stanley Cup-winning Jonathan Toews version of the Chicago Blackhawks are favored in the West. The Alexander Ovechkin-led Washington Capitals just might be ready to snare their first Cup. While the aging San Jose Sharks will take a solid veteran lineup into the biggest tournament of the year against the upstart – and exciting – Edmonton Oilers.

The 2017 Stanley Cup Tournament begins on Wednesday, April 15 with 16 teams. In two months, only one will be standing.

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty fired up….

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Gameday Gold Radio – July 14, 2017 – s.4

GDG’s Scott Taylor Offers Some Maple Leaf Love

Segment 4: Football may not be going on in the States, but it has started north of the border.  GDG’s Scott Taylor checks in from this week’s matchup between the Toronto Argonauts and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.  He talks with the guys about the popularity of the CFL and its comparison to the NHL.  Plus, can Canadian son Andrew Wiggins be on the verge of leading a great team?  And what might the impacts be of Mikael Granlund’s arbitration case?

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Gameday Gold Radio – April 20, 2017 – s.1

It’s a week of adulation and anticipation when it comes to sports.  Eric and Larry select the biggest headlines to share from the Downtown Minneapolis studio.  The Wild find themselves in some trouble as they play their 1st Round playoff series.  Can they wiggle out of it?  The Twins are starting to find some old issues after owning a bit of success.  The NBA Playoffs have some unexpected spark to them.  The Vikings know the “when” of their 2017 schedule.  And we’re joined by former NFL wideout Greg Jennings as he discusses the power of giving and the prominence of the league.

Wild Looking to Fight Back

Segment 1: The Wild entered the postseason with the second-best point total in the Western Conference.  All that matters now is that they win three straight to move on to the Conference Semifinals.  But can they complete an historic comeback against the Blues?  Eric and Larry provide some examples that could give local fans some hope.

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Gameday Gold Radio – April 13, 2017 – s.6

A Wild Tussle to Open the Playoffs

Segment 6: The fellas take a minute to look into the hot button topic of the man that was dragged off of a United Airlines flight.  After that, the Wild were bogged down in Game 1 of their First Round postseason series against St. Louis.  What should we expect from the rest of the series?  Eric and Larry break down the angles.

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Gameday Gold Radio – March 31, 2017 – s.6

Change is in the Air

Segment 6: The Wild have will turn the page on a fairly miserable March.  Can a flip of the calendar flip their fortunes heading into the postseason?  The Wolves are all but eliminated from playoff contention.  However, could a new outlook be on the horizon thanks to a new…logo?  And which former Viking is getting a good word to be included in the NFL Hall of Fame?

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Gameday Gold Radio – March 3, 2017 – s.6

Two Local Teams Peaking Towards the End

Segment 6: The Gopher men’s basketball team has now reached the level of “red hot” as they reach the close of the regular season.  The fellas take a closer look at this squad that appears to be a lock for an NCAA Tournament bid.  And, despite a Thursday night setback against Columbus, the Wild continue to lead the NHL’s Central Division…but for how long?