U's Leidner more confident after sitting out game with injuries

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 22:30
Sitting out San Jose game gave him better perspective.
Categories: Local

Carter brings hard-nosed style to Wild

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 22:20
As Stu Bickel can attest, the veteran doesn’t back down.
Categories: Local

Smith: Conservationist leads fight to restore prairies, wetlands

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 20:35
Avid Worthington pheasant hunter also advocates for state hunting lands and clean drinking water.
Categories: Local

One-on-one with Gophers DT Cameron Botticelli

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 15:33
Gophers defensive tackle Cameron Botticelli is personable, intelligent and thoughtful. And quick with a one-liner.
Categories: Local

NBA experiment with shorter games is both intriguing and weird

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 15:29
Seemingly out of the blue — at least it wasn’t anywhere near our radar — the NBA announced it will test out a 44-minute game when the Celtics and Nets meet in the preseason Sunday. Both head coaches sound like they’re on board, and the experiment in general comes on the heels of coaches telling the league they want to find ways to tighten up games. On one hand, this is certainly intriguing. Any league willing to look at ways to improve pace of play is smart, and if the likelihood is that the bulk of the minutes in a shorter game would get taken away from the reserves, there wouldn’t seem to be much of a quality sacrifice. On the other hand, we’ve never really thought NBA games were too long. Each team is afforded too many timeouts, so squeezing those would be a way to increase the pace, but most games clock in at 2 hours, 30 minutes or less — certainly reasonable. Playoff games take longer, but playoff games are awesome. Also, it’s strange to think of the impact on statistical comparisons between eras — akin to baseball, when it went from 154 games to 162. Finally, 11 minutes seems downright weird. Either go all the way to 10 minutes — 40 minute games, same as the NCAA and international play — or leave it the way it is. Sunday’s preseason game is merely an experiment and no changes are imminent. If you want to see what 11-minute quarters look like, the game is being shown on NBA TV. We bet it looks like a regular game, only shorter.
Categories: Local

Kiante Hardin commits to Gophers

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 15:24
Hardin, a cornerback from Webb City (Mo.) High School,
Categories: Local

Justin Fontaine likely to debut Friday; Lineup shuffle in the works

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 14:11
With five days off, the Wild plans to get all of its players involved, so some will debut this weekend
Categories: Local

Stadium time lapse shows changeover from Gophers to Vikings

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 12:32
Watch a time lapse video of TCF Bank Stadium as it is transformed from the Gophers' home field to the Vikings'.
Categories: Local

The booing begins: A.J. Pierzynski starting for St. Louis today

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 12:21
Veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski is starting for St. Louis in Game 3 of the NLCS today -- in perhaps the only park where he's greeted with more boos than at Target Field.
Categories: Local

Hearing moved to next week in Adrian Peterson prosecutor's motion to remove judge

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 11:53
Prosecutors say Judge Kelly Case is biased against them.
Categories: Local

Fasching named Big Ten hockey First Star of the Week

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 11:39
Gophers sophomore forward Hudson Fasching scored three points over the weekend and was named the Ice Breaker Tournament MVP.
Categories: Local

FOX takes Mike Goldberg off Vikings broadcast

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 11:37
Lead announcer Mike Goldberg ham-handed his way through Sunday’s Vikings-Lions broadcast on FOX, then sparred with fans on Twitter afterward. Goldberg was scheduled to call the Vikings-Bills game this Sunday in Buffalo, but has been removed from the crew. Tim Brando will replace him. Brendon Ayanbadejo, who also worked with Goldberg for the Vikings-Lions game, remains the analyst. Ayanbadejo was certainly no wordsmith at Sunday’s game, but it’s likely that Goldberg’s crime, in Fox’s eyes, was his unprofessional behavior on Twitter. Goldberg is the former TV play-by-play guy for the Wild, and made his name nationally calling UFC.
Categories: Local

Tuesday (Preparing for more of the same from Twins in 2015) edition: Wha' Happened?

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 10:27
It’s not hard to listen to comments from Terry Ryan and Dave St. Peter in two different venues — a recent conference call with season ticket holders, and again in interviews with the Star Tribune’s Phil Miller — and reach this conclusion: 2015 will be more of the same from the Twins, by design. Or, in perhaps more flattering terms: the Twins are going to hope that 2015 is the kind of year they had hoped 2014 would be, and they are a year behind schedule in their rebuild because of injuries to key minor league players and the underperformance of players on the major league club. How else would one react to quotes from Ryan such as these? “I don’t want to punt on 2015, but it’s still going to be a struggle.” And: “Sometimes you make decisions that ultimately are going to benefit you down the line that don’t look exactly like what you want right now.” The Twins have decided they aren’t going to budge much on payroll from 2014 to 2015, meaning it again will be around $85 million and that almost all of it is already tied up in existing players. We don’t necessarily think this is a bad idea, but let’s be clear: this is a choice, and an artificial spending cap. If the Twins wanted to spend more, they certainly could (remember, 2014 was the start of a major bump in national TV revenue for all MLB clubs). Ryan is right when he says spending foolishly could set the club back even further (at least if they guessed wrong on big-ticket, long-term deals). He is also right when he notes that teams can be competitive with payrolls comparable to what the Twins project to have next season. But what it adds up to is a season of hoping, not realistically expecting, that things will not devolve into a fifth consecutive 90-loss season. There were good signs last season, particularly with young hitters and Phil Hughes, but without the influx of more established players via free agency, Minnesota will be banking on two guys who will make up between 40-45 percent of the payroll combined (Joe Mauer and Ricky Nolasco) to live up to their contracts and for other young players to make meaningful contributions (while the ones who made strides this year avoid a step back, which is easier said than done). Before Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and others essentially lost the 2014 season, we imagine the Twins’ blueprint was something like this: ride improved pitching and young hitting to a .500 record in 2014, get onto the fringe of contention in 2015 and then really make a run in 2016 and beyond. Now we have to imagine .500 is the goal next year, and we can clearly see the Twins don’t intend to try to spend their way to a few more victories. It’s not right or wrong, but it is the choice they have made.
Categories: Local


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