After being in a sour mood for about two months (which not so coincidentally is the exact timeframe of the NHL lockout now), I'm actually in a jolly mood this afternoon because I'm a few hours from heading to the Bruce Springsteen concert.
If you can stomach more lockout talk (whining), I'll be filling in for Paul Allen on Wednesday from 9 to noon on KFAN (100.3-FM). I'm lining up an entertaining show, and I promise it won't be all NHL. It'll be Gophers hockey, too, with a little Wolves and Vikings and other goodies sprinkled in.
Speaking of the Gophers, the 6-2-1 squad (3-2-1 in the WCHA, 1-0-1 at Alaska Anchorage this past weekend) dropped from No. 2 to 3 in the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls. The University of Denver (7-1) hopped over them with Boston College being No. 1.
In the USCHO poll, North Dakota is 6, Colorado College is 14, St. Cloud State is 15, and Nebraska-Omaha is 18. In the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll, UND is 5, CC is 14 and St. Cloud State is 15.
Reminder also, if you want to get a pro hockey fix, the Houston Aeros, who boast a number of prospects including Charlie Coyle, Jason Zucker, Zack Phillips and Brett Bulmer, come to town Sunday to play Rockford at Xcel Energy Center at 5 p.m.
Jonas Brodin is out with a broken collarbone, and Mikael Granlund has been ruled out with a sprained ankle.
Aeros players will sign autographs after the game for 30 minutes.
The Wild will conduct the seventh annual Toyota Food Drive to benefit Second Harvest Heartland, the Upper Midwest’s largest hunger-relief organization. Fans are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items and/or monetary donations to Gates 1, 2 and 5 at 4:00 p.m. and continuing through the start of the first period.
Wild season ticketholders can contact their account representative to receive complimentary tickets to the game equal to the number of Wild seats they hold. Tickets for the Aeros game are $20 and are on sale at the Xcel Energy Center Box Office, www.wild.com, www.aeros.com and at all Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com) locations or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.
Wild prospect Tyler Graovac, who leads the Ontario Hockey League with 18 goals, can be seen tonight again on the NHL Network in the Subway Super Series against Russia at 8 p.m.
The Western Hockey League All-Stars face Russia on Wednesday and Thursday nights, so you can see Matt Dumba, the Wild's 2012 first-rounder who is an assistant captain.
Also on the NHL Network tonight is the Hall of Fame induction.
Joe Sakic, Pavel Bure, Mats Sundin and Adam Oates are being enshrined. I was fortunate enough to cover Bure, who scored 58 and 59 goals during consecutive years when I covered the Panthers. By far, the Russian Rocket was the most electrifying and fascinating players I have ever covered. He was a man of intrigue, that's for sure.
One day hopefully we'll get to see the NHL again. I'm not convinced it'll be any time soon though.
There's a schism between the two sides right now and it's pretty poisonous. The NHL wants to go to 50-50 and "Make Whole," and the NHLPA wants guaranteed $1.9 billion-plus next year (more than last year's share when revenue will decrease who knows because of this lockout) and an increase for the four subsequent years of the deal.
The NHL is unwilling to budge on contractual restrictions, Donald Fehr says.
Here is NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr talking today in a Canadian Press report.