So I'm taking a week off from the paper, still doing radio and TV stuff all week.

More important, our band, tenatively named Bumper Music, practiced Sunday in preparation for our gig May 20 at O'Gara's.

The night will start with a book signing for Bloomington native and former Sports Illustrated star Steve Rushin, who has written a novel entitled ``Pint Man,'' which my son is reading right now.

So we'll let Steve do his book signing, then our band is going to play three sets O'Gara's front room. Last time we played together, at a Tommy Mischke CD release party in O'Gara's garage, the place was jammed, and this is a smaller space, so we recommend getting there early. (Tentative starting time is 7 p.m. for the book signing, with us taking the stage later in the hour.)

Mischke will play piano and sing a few of his favorite songs. I'm handling lead vocals and guitar, and 1500ESPN newsman John Heidt is our star guitarist. He's lined up a very good rhythm section, too, and I'll provide more details as things get firmed up.

-Can't you see Jacques Lemaire winding up in Tampa, working under Doug Risebrough, who will also hire Tommy Thompson?

And while I don't see them bringing the Stanley Cup to Tampa, can't you see it working pretty well, especially with The Riser being forced to operate with some humility this time around?

-If you like the unpredictability of the NHL playoffs, great. But if Ovechkin leaves the scene, a lot of casual hockey fans leave their TVs. You've got to want to see Ovechkin and Crosby going at it again.

-Lirano vs. Verlander tonight. Who saw Liriano getting off to a better start than Verlander this year?

-Days when the Twins don't play just don't feel right to me. (how's that for a Larry King observation?)

-I'm on 1500ESPN weekdays at 2:35 with Pat and Joe. I'll be on with Joe Anderson at 6ish Thursday night this week, instead of my usual Friday appearance.

We'll have Rick Spielman, a Twins guest and one of my favorite writers on Sunday Sports Talk, 10-noon on 1500ESPN, following the Gardenhire show at 9:30 a.m.


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The NFL draft ends

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Monday night at Target Field