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Greetings from Vancouver

  • Blog Post by: Jim Souhan
  • February 12, 2010 - 6:30 PM

-It's raining here again today. I feel like an extra in Blade Runner.

I'm not complaining. There is something relaxing and atmospheric about beautiful, rainy cities, and the streets are filled in Vancouver despite the iffy weather.

My colleagues Rachel Blount and Mike Russo will cover the Opening Ceremonies tonight; I'm going to head to Irish House and see just why a country with no chance of Olympic medals was the first to open its ``House,'' and why the neighbors have been complaining. (Tough assignment for an irish guy who likes Guiness.)

-Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili died Friday after a crash so horrific that I couldn't watch televised replays.

His death is sad, and tragic. It is not, however, surprising.

I'm surprised more winter athletes aren't victimized by their sports. I'm surprised more athletes in general don't succumb to the dangers to which they subject themselves.

What is most disturbing about Kumaritashvili's death is that the Canadians, in their intense effort to lead the medal count at these Olympics, restricted practice time allowed to other nations at their venues. The danger of this luge run, combined with the lack of time athletes could spend familiarizing themselves with it, could have cost Kumaritashvili his life.

-Along with three current colleagues, we're joined in Vancouver by former Strib intern Rachel Bachman, the sports enterprise reporter for the Portland Oregonian. Rachel was recently named the Oregon sportswriter of the year, the first woman in the 50-year history of the award to be so honored.

-I love the Wild's latest move, essentially trading Kim Johnsson for Blackhawks defenseman Cam Barker. Johnsson is a useful player, but, I'm sorry, I'm never that high on players who are mostly praised for doing ``little things.'' I'd rather have the players who do big things, like score goals, assist on goals and flatten opponents. Barker is better suited to doing those things than Johnsson, and he's younger and cheaper.

Check out Mr. Russo's story and blog for insights on the deal.

I keep saying it: The Vikings, Twins and Wild are remarkably well-run organizations. They're taking all of the fun out of being a writer who likes satire.

Of course, their competence just makes the Timberwolves' recent history and the state of Gophers athletics look that much more pathetic.

Check out the state of the Gophers: Men's hockey, men's basketball, women's basketball and football are all underachieving, or worse. At some point, doesn't the athletic director, Gentleman Joel Maturi, become culpable, when all of his revenue sports are tanking?

-Upcoming: I'll start covering events on Saturday, and Rachel Blount, photographer Brian Peterson and I will take the long bus trip to Whistler to cover Lindsey Vonn's first even on Sunday (weather allowing).

I'll probably be on the bus for part of Sunday Sports Talk, but the Vikings have confirmed that we should be able to speak to John Randle about his Hall of Fame induction, and we have a few other guests lined up, including Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson. I'll be on as much as I can on Sunday, but can't make any promises.

Next week I'll be on KSTP at 8:05 a.m. to provide Olympic updates.

You can follow me on Twitter at Souhanstrib.

Russo and I have a video up at startribune.com. We'll do more when we find ourselves in the same place at the same time. Except when we're in a bar. We really don't want that in the public domain, not after a few Canadian beers. (They're stronger than the smell of hockey pads.)

 

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