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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: It’s a pinnacle moment for Minn U against Sporting KC

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By Eric Nelson
May 10, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the Land of Loons...

•Signature Win: It took Minnesota United just 10 games to produce a pinnacle moment in their inaugural MLS season. Minn U blanked Sporting KC 2-0 at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday, getting goals from Abu Danladi and Christian Ramirez, and a shutout from GK Bobby Shuttleworth. SKC (18 points) is an MLS powerhouse and is tied for first in the Western Conference with FC Dallas. The much-improved Loons (11 points) have two wins, 1 draw and 1 loss in their last four games…

•Oh Canada: On Saturday Minn U battles another top-tier club as the Loons play Toronto FC in Canada. Toronto is on top of the Eastern Conference and has an MLS-high 19 points…

•Shock-Off: It was a stunning finish in Minneapolis Friday night. Joe Mauer hit his first career walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning against Boston giving the Twins a 4-3 win. The game-winning tater produced some rare emotion from Mauer, who pumped his fist into the air as he circled the bases. It was one of the most unlikely endings I have ever seen at Target Field…

•Hick Ups: NY Yankees CF Aaron Hicks is off to a sizzling start. Hicks is batting .338 with six home runs and 16 RBI, and making the Twins look silly for giving up on him…

•Well-Written: USA today MLB columnist Bob Nightengale recently wrote an outstanding article on the 1992 Los Angeles riots and the impact the violent uprising had on the city, the nation and sports in the wake of the Rodney King verdict.

•Job Hopping: The Vikings have hired Tina Holmes as Chief of Staff and Strategic Advisor. Holmes has spent the last four years in a similar role at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota…

•Eight Ball: It’s looking more and more like the NBA Finals will be the sequel to the sequel. Cleveland and Golden State have already logged a pair of four-game playoff sweeps and are both 8-0 this post-season. The Cavs and Warriors are on an apparent collision course to meet in the Finals for a third straight season…

•Tip-Off Time: The Minnesota Lynx open their WNBA season Sunday night at 6 pm against the Chicago Sky. The game is at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, which is the Lynx temporary home this year while Target Center is being renovated…

•Juggernaut: Congrats to the U of M softball team. The 3rd ranked Gophers (51-3) won their first Big Ten title since 1991 and have a 22 game winning streak. Top seed Minnesota plays Northwestern or Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament on Friday in Ann Arbor, MI…

•Giving Back I: Minnesota Vikings LB Eric Kendricks will present a $20,000 check to The Sheridan Story on Friday at Westview Elementary School in Apple Valley. The Sheridan Story runs weekend food programs at more than 140 schools across the Twin Cities. The funds were raised in Kendricks’ “Sacks for Kids” campaign last season, which asked fans to pledge money for each Vikings sack…

•Giving Back II: The annual Taste of the Vikings charity event is Wednesday June 14 from 6:30-10 pm at US Bank Stadium. Second Harvest Heartland and Land O’Lakes are the main sponsors, which raises awareness and funds to combat childhood hunger. Minnesota players, coaches and alumni will be participating…

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: Twin Cities-based Mortenson is the gold standard when it comes to sports construction

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By Eric Nelson

February 22, 2017

GAMEDAY GOLD

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the home of Chex Mix…

 

• Minnesota Makeover: Target Center’s three-phase renovation is now 40 percent complete and is going to be finished in November. The $150 million project will give the arena a totally different look – adding new seats, suites, a glass atrium and other amenities. A fabulous new circular video board is already up, providing crystal clear views of the action on the floor or ice…

•Sports-Centric: Mortenson Construction of Golden Valley, MN is handling the renovation. It’s a full circle project for the company because Mortenson built Target Center in 1990 for $104 million. Mortenson’s fingerprints are on every major sports venue in the Twin Cities. They built Target Center, Target Field, TCF Bank Stadium, US Bank Stadium and the Xcel Energy Center. Mortenson is also going to build Minnesota United’s soccer specific facility in the St. Paul Midway…

•Gold Standard: Mortenson is the top sports construction company in the US. Besides the Target Center renovation, they are also constructing a new stadium for the Atlanta Braves and new arenas for the Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks. Mortenson has built a total of 170 sports and entertainment facilities at a cost of $9 billion…

•Hot Ticket: The crowd for Minnesota United’s home opener against Atlanta United FC on March 12 at TCF Bank Stadium could top 35k. Minn U’s first-ever MLS game is March 3 at Portland…

•1-2 Punch: Denver (22-6-4) is the top-ranked team in this week’s USCO.com college hockey rankings. UM-Duluth (19-5-6) is second. The Pioneers and Bulldogs both play in the NCHC. Minnesota (20-8-2) is ranked fourth, the highest of any Big Ten team…

•Denver Dominance: The Pioneers have now won 20 or more games for 16 straight seasons. G Tanner Jaillet leads the NCHC with 20 wins and has a 1.84 GAA…

•NFL Olympics: The NFL Scouting combine begins next Tuesday in Indianapolis. This is one of the most overrated events on the sports calendar and gets too much attention. The focus is on 40-yard dash times, cone drills, lateral jumps and bench pressing 225 pounds – instead of football. What happened to judging a player by how they play in games? The Combine is paralysis by analysis…

•Meat Market: The Combine generates good revenue for Indy and gives the NFL Network something to put on the airwaves. Fair or not, players can’t afford to miss this hyped-up event, because coaches and scouts flock to Indiana. Over 300 prospects go to Lucas Oil Stadium to be timed, measured, poked and questioned by probing teams…

•Family Feud: Just a hunch, but I am guessing that Jeannie Buss and Jim Buss won’t be celebrating Thanksgiving together this year. It was Jeannie who removed brother Jim and Mitch Kupchak from the LA Lakers front office on Tuesday, clearing the way for Magic Johnson to take control…

•Juggling Act: Magic is a basketball genius and clearly loves the game. But will he be able to give the Lakers the laser-focus they need? Magic is also part-owner of the LA Dodgers, Sparks and runs many businesses…

•Marathon Man: On April 10 Joe Gagnon will embark on a marathon journey – literally. Gagnon will try to run six consecutive marathons in six cities on six continents in six days. Gagnon is going to run in Sydney, Singapore, Johannesburg, London, Sao Paulo and Los Angeles. If everything goes smoothly, Gagnon will run 157 miles and log over 40,000 miles in the sky…

 

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: It’s a Golden finish for Detroit against Minnesota

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By Eric Nelson
November 7, 2016
GAMEDAY GOLD

 

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the Glass House…

 

•Purple Pain: The Minnesota Vikings are the shakiest first place team in the NFL. Their 5-0 start has vanished, replaced by a three-game losing streak that has exposed their most glaring flaws. The most recent loss was a 22-16 dagger defeat in overtime against the Detroit Lions before 66,807 fans at US Bank Stadium. It was a Golden finish for the Lions as QB Matthew Stafford threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate in OT. Tate caught 11 passes for 79 yards and punctuated his walk-off winner with a somersault across the goal line…

Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate eludes the Vikings tacklers

Golden’s day

•No Norv: One guy who did not see the carnage in person was former Vikings OC Norv Turner – who left the team last week. Daryl Johnston – who was part of the FOX broadcast team that called the Lions-Vikings game – was stunned when he found out Turner had quit. “I was,” Johnston said. “I had an opportunity to talk to Norv. It was a situation here in Minnesota where there was just a disconnect between he and Mike Zimmer and he felt the best thing for the team moving forward was for him to step away so they were allowed to move in the direction that they wanted to move in…”

•Cowboy Connection: Johnston knows Turner well from his days in Dallas when Turner was the Cowboys OC and they won three Super Bowls in the mid-1990’s. “I had a lot of respect for somebody doing that,” Johnston said. “There’s a lot of outside opinions that will say he left the team, and that’s not the case at all. It just gives Minnesota the best chance to win. He said it was the hardest decision he has ever made in his life. It will be interesting to see how Minnesota navigates it…”

•Divisional Logjam: Detroit’s win in Minnesota has created gridlock in the NFC North. The scrum includes the Vikings (5-3), Lions (5-4) and Packers (4-4), as they battle for first place. Like Minnesota, Green Bay is in free fall mode. The Packers lost to Indianapolis 31-26 on Sunday at Lambeau and now embark on a three-game road trip that takes them to Tennessee, Washington and Philadelphia…

•Laquon Sighting: Minnesota WR Laquon Treadwell is no longer missing in action. The Vikings top draft choice from Ole Miss actually caught one pass for 15 yards against Detroit. It will be a bonus for the Vikings if they can get contributions from Treadwell in the second half of the season…

Vikings rookie wide receiver Laquon Treadwell is in the game

Vikings rookie wide receiver Laquon Treadwell is in the game…

•Walsh’s Woes: Vikings K Blair Walsh continues to be inconsistent. Walsh missed an extra point and had a field goal attempt blocked in the loss to the Lions. In a game where every point counted, that adds up. Walsh is 13 of 16 on extra points and 12 of 16 on field goals this season…

•High Stakes: Saturday night’s Gophers-Cornhuskers game in Lincoln is crucial for both teams. Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin are tied for first place in the Big Ten West division with 4-2 records. The Gophers (7-2) have won four straight and have a chance to go to a bowl game with some juice. But their next three games – against Nebraska, Northwestern and Wisconsin – figure to be challenging…

•Sputtering Start: There was plenty of hype, hope and optimism surrounding the Minnesota Timberwolves entering this season. Unfortunately, the Wolves (1-4) have gotten out of the blocks slowly and have blown huge leads in most of their losses. The Wolves fan base will continue to stay away from Target Center until this team proves it can win…

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns rises with the ball

Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns up and over from ten feet…

•Three is not a charm: Minnesota has been horrible in the third quarter this season and needs to fix that problem asap. The Wolves play at Brooklyn on Tuesday and Orlando on Wednesday…

•Free Agent Plums: According to MLB.com, the top 5 free agents this off-season are – Justin Turner (LA Dodgers IF), Yoenis Cespedes (NY Mets OF), Edwin Encarnacion (Toronto DH/1B), Dexter Fowler (Chicago Cubs CF) and Josh Reddick (LA Dodgers OF)…

•Goal Oriented: Minnesota United forward Christian Ramirez has won this season’s Golden Boot award that goes to the player who scores the most goals during the season. Ramirez had 18 goals for Minn U and a career total of 50. Ramirez has won the Golden Boot in two of his three years in the NASL…

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: Magic Johnson sees playoffs in the Minnesota Timberwolves future

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By Eric Nelson
October 25, 2016
GAMEDAY GOLD

 

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the North Star State…

 

•Magic Endorsement: NBA legend Magic Johnson thinks the Minnesota Timberwolves are trending up. The Former LA Lakers great – who now owns the WNBA Sparks and is part-owner of the MLB Dodgers – is high on the Wolves. “They have the pieces now,” Magic said. “Everybody’s a year older. You can never underestimate experience. Now everybody will know what to do and how to do it…”

•Playoff-bound: Minnesota has not been in the post-season since 2004 – the longest current playoff drought in the NBA. Magic is high on Andrew Wiggins and Karl -Anthony Towns, and believes the Wolves are ready to end their post-season dry-spell. “It’s a complete roster and a complete team,” Magic said. “You have to be complete to make the playoffs. I see a complete team and they are ready to challenge now…”

•Tom Terrific: Magic gave a glowing review of new Wolves HC Tom Thibodeau. “This dude can coach,” Magic said. “I love him and I’ve always promoted him because he’s so super smart. He’s one of the best in the game at making in-game adjustments. A lot of coaches can coach but they can’t see something ahead. He can see ahead and he can make great in-game adjustments…”

•No “D”… No Play: Defense is Thibodeau’s hallmark and Magic says anyone playing for him better be good in that phase of the game or they won’t get much playing time. “You don’t play d,” Magic said, “you’re going to be sitting down…

•Vin’s Void: Magic wants to see a statue of iconic broadcaster Vin Scully put up outside Dodger Stadium and hopes that Scully comes back someday to do a guest inning of play by play – no matter what the cost. “He is Dodger baseball,” Magic said. “The sweetest voice we’ve ever heard. He’s going to be so missed because the fan base associated Vince and the Dodgers. Now you just have the Dodgers and that’s going to be a rude awakening for our fan base. Even if our team was struggling, people would tune in just to hear Vince call the game…”

•Minnesota Makeover: The renovation of Target Center is underway. The $130 million project has been going on for 5 1/2 months and is expected to be finished in one year. The new video board is already installed along with some major upgrades to club/suite areas. Twin Cities-based Mortenson Construction is handling the renovation. Mortenson has built many sports venues, including Target Field, TCF Bank Stadium, US Bank Stadium and the Xcel Energy Center. Target Center is the first sports facility Mortenson ever built, so the company has come full circle…

•In Demand: Mortenson is currently working on 170 sports and entertainment projects totaling $9 billion, including the Milwaukee Bucks new arena…

•Eclipsed by success: The Chicago Cubs-Cleveland World Series match up takes some heat off the NFL teams who play in those two lakefront cities. The Cubs and Indians are generating plenty of attention, meaning that the woeful Bears (1-6) and winless Browns (0-7) won’t be getting ripped as much as normal. The Bears are anemic and the Brownies are baked…

•Windy City trip: The Bears might be just what the Minnesota Vikings need to get back on track. Minnesota and Chicago play next Monday night at Soldier Field. The Vikings (5-1) lost their first game of the season last week in Philadelphia, 21-10…

•200 Club: Miami RB Jay Ajayi gashed another defense on Sunday. Ajayi ran for 214 yards in the Dolphins 28-25 win over Buffalo, becoming just the fourth player in NFL history to log back-to-back 200 yard rushing games. Ajayi – who is in his second season – is a well-traveled guy. He was born in London, UK, played HS football in the Dallas suburb of Frisco, TX and went to Boise State…

•Crunch Time: Minnesota United lost at Carolina 1-0 on Saturday 1-0, dropping to 5th place in the NASL. Minn U (41 points) hosts the New York Cosmos Saturday night in the last game of the regular season. A Minnesota win combined with a Rayo OKC loss, would put the Loons in the playoffs for the third straight season…

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Gameday Gold Radio – February 24, 2017 – s.5

Building From Within: Derek Hansen Explains the Target Center Renovations

Segment 5: No matter the season, there’s always construction going on in the Twin Cities.  Right now, the Target Center is up front as far as renovation projects.  One of the people overseeing the project is Derek Hansen, project director at M. A. Mortenson Company.  He joins our show to explain the current state of the project.

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Gameday Gold Radio – October 28, 2016 – s.4

Ongoing Remodel: Ted Johnson Talks Target Center Renovations with GDG

Segment 4: The Timberwolves get to play their first regular season game under Target Center’s new scoreboard next week.  And the renovations continue in Downtown Minneapolis.  Ted Johnson, the organization’s Chief Strategy Officer, updates us on how the project is going to this point.