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Justin Bieber plays hockey? Who knew? Does this mean the State of Hockey has to start liking him more?
He recently crashed a club hockey practice in Atlanta, Puck Daddy notes. Here is that writeup, and here is 22 seconds of Bieber kinda sorta skating and playing hockey?
For the Wild, Ryan Suter logged nearly 35 minutes of ice time after Marco Scandella left the 2-1 victory over Tampa Bay with an injury. It was nothing new for Suter ,who dominates the NHL leader board in ice time, but he even went above and beyond his typical game of around 30 minutes. Zach Parise didn't score in the game, but he's coming off a week in which he was the NHL's First Star. It's safe to say he's back to being the player he was before he attempted to play on a broken foot.
For the Wolves, Kevin Love was knocked every which way in a 109-99 victory over the Lakers. It continued a recent trend for Love, who has fought through numerous bumps and twists in recent games to help carry Minnesota through a stretch without Nikola Pekovic.
This is what we primarily expect from our superstars, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be acknowledged.
Forbes does valuations for teams in all four major U.S. pro sports leagues, and the figures for the NBA were released today. As we know by now, we whisked quickly through the slide show, almost all the way to the end, in order to find the Timberwolves.
That's status quo with the chief tenants at Target Center. And it's status quo with all Minnesota teams.
The Wolves rank 26th in the NBA with a value of $430 million. Maybe that will improve a little once renovations to Target Center are complete, but they will still be playing in one of the NBA's oldest buildings.
In other words, all four squads are below average ... and none of them eclipse our TV market size rank (15th).
There are people more qualified to discuss what this means when it comes to overall economics as well as how it correlates to winning and losing. Certainly low-value teams have won titles while large-value teams have struggled.
But we're willing to bet there is at least some connection between those low numbers and this one: 1991. That's the last year a Minnesota team even played for a championship, let alone won one.
Today we reveal our rankings of the four-sport cities, and a summary of the best and worst markets in the other categories (one, two, & three-sports cities). Before the actual rankings, a couple of clarifying comments are in order. The key to our rankings is that we are looking at fan support after controlling for short term variations in team quality and market characteristics. Basically we create statistical models of revenues as a function of quality measures like winning percentage and market potential factors like population. This allows our results to speak how much support fans provide as if market size and winning rates were equal.
Using that way of measuring, Boston was No. 1 among the 12 markets in the U.S. that have franchises in the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL. Philadelphia was No. 2.
The city in third place is likely going to generate Twitter complaints about how clueless we are, and how academics should stay away from sports. We rank the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul as having the third most supportive fans among the four-sport cities. Minneapolis/Saint Paul show great support of the Twins and solid support for the Vikings. The Wild also do surprisingly well in the NHL.
How could Minnesota finish in front of New York and Chicago? It’s because these cities don’t do a great job in terms of supporting all their teams. For example, The Brooklyn Nets perform poorly when market size is considered and the White Sox have very poor support on all metrics. We can hardly wait for the semi-literate Twitter attacks to commence.
We're No. 3! Discuss.
Josh Harding has played so startlingly well this season that it's easy to forget he was the No. 2 goalie coming into the year for the Wild.
Without his league-leading 1.51 goals against average, the Wild very likely would be buried in the standings. Instead, they are right in the playoff race.
And now we are going to get a glimpse of life without Harding, who is undergoing a minor adjustment in his treatment for multiple sclerosis. The great news across the board -- piled onto the fact that Harding is able to play at such a high level in the first place -- is that this sounds like a minor, planned thing. If all goes according to what the Wild say, Harding is expected back Dec. 27 against Winnipeg.
The Wild faces the Penguins, Rangers and Flyers -- three road games in five days -- leading up to their holiday break, which is followed by that Jets game and Harding's expected return. The Wild can ill-afford a major slip-up on this trip, and adding to its point total in the absence of Harding is essential in the crowded Western Conference.
That basically means this: It's time for Niklas Backstrom, the No. 1 goalie heading into the season and for the past several before it, to step up. The veteran, who will turn 36 in February, signed a 3-year deal this past offseason worth more than $10 million total.
He had offseason sports hernia surgery and has battled numerous other ailments while posting numbers that, over the span of a full season, would be career lows. He has a 2-5-2 record, a goals against average of 2.93 and a save percentage of .900.
That goals against average ranks 36th in the NHL; Harding's, of course, ranks No. 1. Plain and simple, a team that seems to win a lot of games 2-1 and 3-2 needs the stingy old Backstrom to emerge in these next three games -- and quite possibly more down the stretch to give Harding more breaks.
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