Wild: When did this team become the Paul Westhead Lakers? The Wild is scoring in a frenzy, but the goalie situation and defensive lapses worry me. Dubnyk doesn't look like Dubnyk did last year, Kuemper falls apart under duress and the bosses with Backstrom would go hang out with Steve Spurrier. Even with Pominville going without a goal, this team and its power play have been effective. Can Dubnyk play like a championship goalie? Once again, the Wild is searching for an answer in net.
Wolves: If one game is proof that Ricky Rubio can actually start, he'll become an All-Star. I want to see more aggressivness from Andrew Wiggins.
Twins: Should Paul Molitor be the American League manager of the year? I don't know. I've heard tremendous things about the work that A.J. Hinch does. Ned Yost has helped build the best team in baseball over the last two years. It's easy to pick the hometown guy. I recommended the hiring of Molitor when so many Twins fans wanted to see someone from outside the organization. I admire the job he did. But let's be honest - I have no idea how to compare his work to Hinch's. They're both deserving.
Vikings: Good Vikings teams and had have fallen on their faces into the loose sod of Soldier Field. Is this Vikings team different? I think so. The calm and expertise of Zimmer, Turner and Bridgewater gives them a chance to win under adverse circumstances. John Fox has done what he does best - brought order and organization to a messy franchise - but I think the Vikings will learn from having let Jay Cutler's improvisation beat them last year. Vikings 22, Bears 16.
Gophers: I've spoken with a bunch of people connected with the University of Minnesota this week. Some are telling me the university decision-making process is a mess and holds back athletic success. A few are suggesting that the University should never have hired a head football coach with known medical problems. Basically, almost every conversation ends up heading back to the University president and ever-changing, usually-challenged position of athletic director.
Simple, Kaler needs to hire a dynamic athletic director. As with the case of recent football and basketball hires, the University probably isn't capable of landing anybody on its A-list. Minnesota is always in the position of having to get lucky.
Lynx: If I had to do it over again on deadline the night the Lynx won the title, I would have written more about Cheryl Reeve. She's provided personnel expertise, coaching expertise, fire and public relations to a franchise that not that long ago was pretty woeful.
My latest interview at MalePatternPodcasts.com is with Alan Page. I was able to sit with him at his Minneapolis home for a great conversation.
Also at the site: Roy Smalley on baseball, Jon Krawczynski on basketball, Michael Russo on hockey and Viking Update's Tim Yotter on the purple.