Staff Directory 10644611

Joe Christensen

Sports enterprise reporter | General assignment
phone: 612-673-7844
Joe Christensen is a general assignment/sports enterprise reporter who previously spent 15 years covering Major League Baseball and four covering NCAA football. He is a Faribault, Minn., native and University of Minnesota graduate whose other newspaper stops have included the Baltimore Sun and Riverside (Calif.) Press-Enterprise.
Recent content from Joe Christensen
Gophers have 'mountain to climb' to get to Women's Frozen Four in home rink

Gophers have 'mountain to climb' to get to Women's Frozen Four in home rink

Gophers could help their cause this weekend.
Hall of Fame prep coach denies 'emotional mistreatment' allegations after firing

Hall of Fame prep coach denies 'emotional mistreatment' allegations after firing

Students at Bethlehem Academy in Faribault protested Franz Boelter's firing this week. But the school's president said "we have to do what's right for kids in 2018" despite Boelter's achievements coaching volleyball and boys' basketball.

AFC notes: Patriots bench cornerback Butler, hero in past Super Bowl

"I ain't got nothing to say," Malcolm Butler said in the Patriots locker room.
Patriots' defense reverts to early-season woes, can't stop Eagles

Patriots' defense reverts to early-season woes, can't stop Eagles

Tom Brady and the offense did their part Sunday, but New England's defense simply could not stop Philadelphia's offense — not once in the second half.
Once-jettisoned Lewis is now a gem of a running back for Patriots

Once-jettisoned Lewis is now a gem of a running back for Patriots

Featured running back Dion Lewis is the latest Patriot to go from the NFL's scrapheap to stardom
Patriots defense not loaded, but filled with playmakers when it counts

Patriots defense not loaded, but filled with playmakers when it counts

After Week 4, New England turned things around, leading the NFL in scoring defense (14.0 points per game), with the Vikings second at 14.7, from that point .
Gronkowski gives simple answer to Super Bowl playing status: 'Yes'

Gronkowski gives simple answer to Super Bowl playing status: 'Yes'

Rob Gronkowski lost a video game competition Tuesday night at the Mall of America but gave the news every Patriots fan wanted to hear.
Is NFL's massive popularity headed for a fall?

Is NFL's massive popularity headed for a fall?

From concussions to the officiating, a number of issues are chipping away at the relationship between the league and football fans.
Patriots receiver Amendola is admired — universally

Patriots receiver Amendola is admired — universally

Be it on or off the field, Danny Amendola has become the talk of the Patriots.
Patriots embrace their role: 'They hate us because they ain't us'

Patriots embrace their role: 'They hate us because they ain't us'

New England seems to be embracing the loathing from the rest of the nation over the Patriots' success. As one of their fans puts it: "We break a lot of their teams' hearts."
Seasoned Patriots focus on business before Super Bowl

Seasoned Patriots focus on business before Super Bowl

New England's first task: Address the off-field details.
Hand it to Brady: Quarterback leads Patriots in comeback for AFC title

Hand it to Brady: Quarterback leads Patriots in comeback for AFC title

With a stitched-up throwing hand, Tom Brady led a fourth-quarter rally from 10 points down to send New England to Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium
On the ropes in first half, Patriots find a way out

On the ropes in first half, Patriots find a way out

Sunday marked the 24th anniversary of Robert Kraft's purchase of the Patriots. The team rewarded him with his ninth Super Bowl berth.
Jaguars have a secret weapon as they look to upset New England in AFC Championship Game

Jaguars have a secret weapon as they look to upset New England in AFC Championship Game

Patriots slayer Tom Coughlin is at the heart of the Jaguars' revival
Brady wearing gloves, even during interviews, but will he play?

Brady wearing gloves, even during interviews, but will he play?

Tom Brady kept the intrigue brewing over his injured throwing hand, about 48 hours before Sunday's AFC Championship Game against Jacksonville.
Athletes Village will change nearly everything about Gophers athletics

Athletes Village will change nearly everything about Gophers athletics

When you open the main entrance to the Gophers' new $166 million Athletes Village, it's like stepping inside a maroon-and-gold themed Times Square
Saints rookie safety Williams buried in guilt after blowing tackle

Saints rookie safety Williams buried in guilt after blowing tackle

Marcus Williams faced the cameras and took the blame for not making the play that would have put the Saints in the NFC Championship.
Back in the game: Claeys named Washington St. defensive coordinator

Back in the game: Claeys named Washington St. defensive coordinator

Tracy Claeys' final game as Gophers head football coach was a victory over the Cougars in the 2016 Holiday Bowl when he was leading a team depleted by suspensions.
What we know about Reggie Lynch and his sexual assault investigations

What we know about Reggie Lynch and his sexual assault investigations

Questions and answers surrounding the Reggie Lynch suspension and controversy.
Trump's tax plan will cost the Gophers millions in taxes, donations

Trump's tax plan will cost the Gophers millions in taxes, donations

A tax on big-money contracts and the elimination of deductions for ticket-buyers have university leaders across the country recalibrating bottom lines.
Des Moines, Iowa: Meet Minnesota's minor-league sports hub

Des Moines, Iowa: Meet Minnesota's minor-league sports hub

Home to the Iowa Wild and Iowa Wolves, Des Moines was named the No. 1 minor league market in America by the Sports Business Journal.
Defenseman Nate Prosser welcomes his third stint with Wild

Defenseman Nate Prosser welcomes his third stint with Wild

The defenseman rejoined the team for a third time.
GM Fletcher: Wild won't win until it starts playing 'the right way'

GM Fletcher: Wild won't win until it starts playing 'the right way'

After getting outscored 13-5 in losses to St. Louis and Winnipeg, the Wild faces a stunning expansion success story Thursday when Vegas comes to the X.
Wild's luck – or, ahem, planning – shows signs of improving

Wild's luck – or, ahem, planning – shows signs of improving

If the Wild needed any more proof its luck has changed heading into Saturday's game at Washington, it came late in Thursday's 6-4 comeback victory over Nashville.
Wild's young defensemen beginning to emerge

Wild's young defensemen beginning to emerge

Wild coach Bruce Boudreau has been especially pleased with his second defensive pairing of Matt Dumba and Jonas Brodin.
Wild knows offense must kick into higher gear to help Dubnyk

Wild knows offense must kick into higher gear to help Dubnyk

Eventually, Devan Dubnyk's three-game shutout streak will end, and Jason Zucker might not rescue everyone with his recent scoring touch.
Tax deductions for college sports season-ticket plans could get wiped out

Tax deductions for college sports season-ticket plans could get wiped out

GOP tax reform bill targets deductions; Gophers, other schools could feel impact.
Making adjustments: Eden Prairie's Mittelstadt off to strong start for Gophers

Making adjustments: Eden Prairie's Mittelstadt off to strong start for Gophers

The pressure on freshman forward Casey Mittelstadt has intensified, partly because the team's top returning scorers have gotten off to slow starts.
As dangerous as football? Girls' soccer confronts concussion issue

As dangerous as football? Girls' soccer confronts concussion issue

One study showed girls who play soccer are three times more likely to suffer concussions than boys who play the sport, and almost as often as high school football players.
Wild feasts on 'embarrassing' sloppiness from Islanders in 6-4 win

Wild feasts on 'embarrassing' sloppiness from Islanders in 6-4 win

In Thursday night's victory over the New York Islanders, the Wild jumped out to a 3-0 lead and scored a pair of shorthanded goals.
Gophers men's hockey beaten by North Dakota for first time since '12

Gophers men's hockey beaten by North Dakota for first time since '12

North Dakota scored three times during a five-minute major on the Gophers, paving the way to a 4-0 victory cruise before a sellout crowd of 11,890 at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Wall-to-wall mayhem: Gophers, UND finally return rivalry to Grand Forks

Wall-to-wall mayhem: Gophers, UND finally return rivalry to Grand Forks

None of the players, on either side, has been through a Minnesota-UND game in Grand Forks. But Gophers coach Don Lucia has told players what to expect.
Demands of year-round sports are pushing kids to the limit

Demands of year-round sports are pushing kids to the limit

Minnesota athletes are pushing themselves to extremes, developing highly polished skills while families make major investments of money and time. The first of our three-part series examines how all of those hours bring increased risks of injury -- and burnout.
Parise leaves ice at practice; Wild suits up assistant to help out

Parise leaves ice at practice; Wild suits up assistant to help out

To deal with the Wild's injury-created shortage of players. coach Bruce Boudreau had 45-year-old assistant Darby Hendrickson take the ice to have enough bodies for practice.
Sluggish Gophers hockey opens Big Ten with home loss to Penn State

Sluggish Gophers hockey opens Big Ten with home loss to Penn State

Playing without captain Tyler Sheehy, the Gophers fell 3-1 to the Nittany Lions.
Can Gophers fans finally learn to love Big Ten hockey?

Can Gophers fans finally learn to love Big Ten hockey?

Four of the Big Ten's seven hockey schools made the 16-team NCAA field last season, including newcomer Notre Dame, which went to the Frozen Four.
Gophers fall to UMD 4-3 in OT to lose season opener

Gophers fall to UMD 4-3 in OT to lose season opener

The Bulldogs more than doubled the Gophers' shots on goal and beat their in-state rival for the eighth consecutive meeting.
Mittelstadt is big addition, but U wants widespread improvement

Mittelstadt is big addition, but U wants widespread improvement

Optimism surrounds more than the talented hockey freshman from Eden Prairie.

Gophers hockey on TV? For some big upcoming games, not in the Twin Cities

Upcoming Gophers men's hockey rivalry games at Minnesota Duluth and North Dakota will be televised — but not in wide swaths of Minnesota.In college hockey,…
With Zach Parise ailing, Wild sign Daniel Winnik to fill in

With Zach Parise ailing, Wild sign Daniel Winnik to fill in

With a back issue keeping Zach Parise out for at least the Wild's first two games, the team officially added veteran winger Daniel…
Granlund's breakthrough season rewarded with new contract

Granlund's breakthrough season rewarded with new contract

There is no mistaking Mikael Granlund's singular importance to the Wild, as it prepares to open a new season Thursday at Detroit.
Staal eagerly awaits Wild season after frightening playoff concussion

Staal eagerly awaits Wild season after frightening playoff concussion

Eric Staal returns healthy and driven by playoff loss.
Dubnyk continues to stand out in Wild's final exhibition games

Dubnyk continues to stand out in Wild's final exhibition games

Devan Dubnyk made 27 saves in Saturday night's 5-1 victory over Dallas, capping a 5-2 preseason for the Wild.
Wild notes: Roster trimmed to 24

Wild notes: Roster trimmed to 24

With less than a week to go before the season opener, players on the bubble include forwards Daniel Winnik, Joel Eriksson Ek and Luke Kunin, and defensemen Ryan Murphy, Gustav Olofsson and Mike Reilly.
Fletcher on Suter: 'This guy could play to 45, if he wants to'

Fletcher on Suter: 'This guy could play to 45, if he wants to'

Ryan Suter is showing no signs of slowing down as he enters Year 6 of his 13-year, $98 million contract.
Cullen sits out again as Wild beat Blues 3-2

Cullen sits out again as Wild beat Blues 3-2

Matt Cullen has not played in five of six preseason games for the Wild, leaving coach Bruce Boudreau cautious about the 40-year-old's season outlook.
Parise's health could affect Wild's season-opening roster

Parise's health could affect Wild's season-opening roster

The Wild's season starts next Thursday in Detroit, and as General Manager Chuck Fletcher said Wednesday, "The next week will be critical" for players on the bubble - especially if Zach Parise can't play right away.
Stalock wins Wild backup goalie job; roster cut to 26

Stalock wins Wild backup goalie job; roster cut to 26

The Wild on Wednesday made it official by placing Alex Stalock's chief competition as Devan Dubnyk's backup — former Boston Bruin Niklas Svedberg — on waivers.
Blue-collar forward Daniel Winnik punches in for the Wild

Blue-collar forward Daniel Winnik punches in for the Wild

When the Wild obtained veteran forward Daniel Winnik this month, it reunited coach Bruce Boudreau with someone who played big minutes for him with Anaheim
Wild owner has championship expectations: 'We have a team that can do it'

Wild owner has championship expectations: 'We have a team that can do it'

"Anything short of winning the Stanley Cup would be a disappointment," Wild owner Craig Leipold said Saturday night.
Lucia optimistic on Gophers hockey with season on horizon

Lucia optimistic on Gophers hockey with season on horizon

The Gophers' men's hockey team is 10 days from its exhibition opener. Here are three things to watch for the upcoming season, which officially begins Oct. 6.
Stalock battling to make Wild's roster as backup goalie

Stalock battling to make Wild's roster as backup goalie

Alex Stalock, a South St. Paul native, is fighting for a roster spot and knows he is fortunate to still be playing after a freak on-ice incident in 2011.
Olofsson, Reilly battling for spots on Wild's blue line

Olofsson, Reilly battling for spots on Wild's blue line

Mike Reilly, 24, and Gustav Olofsson, 22, are primary candidates to join free agent signee Kyle Quincey on the Wild's third defensive pairing.

Wild notes: Zach Parise held out of opening practices

Zach Parise did on-ice skating exercises early Friday morning at Xcel Energy Center but did not take part in either of the two Wild practices…

Wild notes: Zach Parise held out of opening practices

Zach Parise did on-ice skating exercises early Friday morning at Xcel Energy Center but did not take part in either of the two Wild practices…
Animated leaps to cool composure: Inside P.J. Fleck's Gophers debut

Animated leaps to cool composure: Inside P.J. Fleck's Gophers debut

P.J. Fleck's first game in Minnesota had highs, lows and everything in between. "Always appreciate a win, no matter how you get it," he said after the 10-point victory.
Repaired Cashman could be a centerpiece somewhere in U's defense

Repaired Cashman could be a centerpiece somewhere in U's defense

Expectations are high for a healthy Blake Cashman after the former Eden Prairie star led the Gophers in sacks last season. But where will he play?
Listening, learning are in play as U football reacts to assault scandal

Listening, learning are in play as U football reacts to assault scandal

The Gophers had cleaned their image under former coaches Jerry Kill and Tracy Claeys. But that effort took a major hit when several players were involved in an alleged sexual assault. Now, with Fleck in charge, the Gophers are trying to repair their image again.

'Being P.J. Fleck' producer went in wondering, 'Is this guy for real?'

Four-part ESPNU documentary follows new Gophers coach, digging behind the scenes.
At home with Fleck: Family life just as fast and furious as football

At home with Fleck: Family life just as fast and furious as football

Besides laying groundwork for the Gophers and recruiting at a turbocharged pace, 36-year-old P.J. Fleck reanchored himself at home, with training camp set to open Tuesday.
P.J. Fleck's first Gophers team picked to finish low in West by Big Ten media

P.J. Fleck's first Gophers team picked to finish low in West by Big Ten media

Wisconsin picked to win the West; only Purdue and Illinois rank below Gophers in division predictions.
Gophers' women's hockey conference seeking online donations

Gophers' women's hockey conference seeking online donations

The WCHA Women's League has launched a crowdfunding page to solicit donations to offset annual costs for the seven teams that remain after North Dakota dropped its program.
P.J. Fleck will be subject of four-part show on ESPN, BTN

P.J. Fleck will be subject of four-part show on ESPN, BTN

ESPNU and Big Ten Network plan to air a four-part series in August called "BEING P.J. Fleck," with a behind-the-scenes look at the new Gophers football coach.
Fears become reality as U softball coach Allister leaves for Stanford

Fears become reality as U softball coach Allister leaves for Stanford

Athletic director Mark Coyle said he "aggressively" pursued an extension with Jessica Allister and was willing to make her one of the highest-paid coaches in the Big Ten.
Ace softball pitcher from Maple Grove transferring to Gophers from LSU

Ace softball pitcher from Maple Grove transferring to Gophers from LSU

Sydney Smith had a 54-1 record at Maple Grove and now gives Gophers a potential replacement for graduating All-America pitcher Sara Groenewegen.
An early look at some pivotal Gophers as the Fleck era nears

An early look at some pivotal Gophers as the Fleck era nears

Tackles and whistles — and, oh yeah, that new head coach's tenure — start in less than three weeks for the Gophers.
After Mariucci renaming, will The Barn get a corporate makeover?

After Mariucci renaming, will The Barn get a corporate makeover?

So far, there has been no announcement of renaming historic Williams Arena, the historic basketball venue. But Gophers officials have hinted that it's a "possibility."
Coyle puts brakes on Fleck's idea for Gophers to switch sidelines

Coyle puts brakes on Fleck's idea for Gophers to switch sidelines

"We just started to have this conversation the past week or so," athletic director Mark Coyle said. "Before any decisions are made, we obviously communicate with our season-ticket holders, and so we'll continue to have those conversations."
Gophers football team storms the beach — at Lake Nokomis

Gophers football team storms the beach — at Lake Nokomis

University of Minnesota football players are grinding through summer conditioning programs, which run five days per week and sometimes feature a break from the routine.
Major revenue source of Gophers athletics faces an uncertain future

Major revenue source of Gophers athletics faces an uncertain future

After inheriting a budget deficit at Minnesota and making an expensive football coaching change Gophers AD Mark Coyle needs added Big Ten revenue to balance the books.
Twins cap newsy day at Target Field with big comeback over Orioles

Twins cap newsy day at Target Field with big comeback over Orioles

The Twins rallied back from a 6-0 hole to score nine unanswered runs and beat the Orioles. Brandon Kintzler, named an All-Star Game replacement earlier in the day, picked up his AL-leading 24th save.
Gophers basketball, hockey leaving ESPN 1500 for 'The Fan' family of stations

Gophers basketball, hockey leaving ESPN 1500 for 'The Fan' family of stations

The University of Minnesota has opted to move all of its sports programming to the iHeartRadio family of stations, which features 100.3 FM radio in the Twin Cities.
Fleck keeps landing Minnesotans in 'down year' for state recruits

Fleck keeps landing Minnesotans in 'down year' for state recruits

Fleck has yet to land a consensus four-star recruit, so the Gophers are expected to drop as traditional powers ranked behind them begin filling up their classes.
Humiliated at home again, Twins thumped 14-3 by Seattle

Humiliated at home again, Twins thumped 14-3 by Seattle

The Twins suffered their sixth consecutive home loss, and they have given up at least seven runs in each of their past five games at Target Field.
Twins' Santiago wonders if WBC injury bug hit him, too

Twins' Santiago wonders if WBC injury bug hit him, too

Twins lefthander Hector Santiago wonders if pitching in the World Baseball Classic is the reason why he has landed on the disabled list for the first time in his seven-year big-league career.
Read our comment standards

StarTribune.com welcomes and encourages readers to comment and engage in substantive, mutually respectful exchanges over news topics. Commenters must follow our Terms of Use.

  1. Keep it civil and stay on topic.
  2. No profanity, vulgarity, racial slurs or personal attacks.
  3. Comments with web links are not permitted.
  4. Comments that violate the above will be removed. Repeat violators may lose their commenting privileges on StarTribune.com.

Comments will be reviewed before being published.

More from Star Tribune