Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.

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Posts about Wolves players

New LPR

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: March 17, 2013 - 3:49 PM

Doug Mientkiewicz wanted to add one thing to our conversation that was the basis of today's column: ``My biggest regret in baseball is that we didn't win a World Series when I was with the Twins. We thought we would.''

On to today's Local Power Ranking of the seven local revenue sports, which have shifted since the last time I did them:

1. Gopher men's hockey

This team is skilled enough to win the national title. Is it tough enough?

2. Minnesota Wild

I'm quite impressed with the way Mike Yeo has melded incoming stars, holdover veterans and promising youngsters. He's gone from hot seat to coach of the year candidate in my book. Ryan Suter has played brilliantly ever since his first two, quite nervous, weeks in a Wild uni.

3. Minnesota Vikings

Didn't like seeing a team in a passing league lose its only dynamic receiver and best cornerback, but Rick Spielman has a chance to make his plan work. If he can complement Greg Jennings with another quality receiver or two (I vote for Cal's Keenan Allen and one more free-agent pickup), the offense could be better, and if he can use the draft to land a couple of defensive starters, the defense could be more talented.

His plan will only be as good as his execution.

4. Gopher basketball

I'm rooting for Minnesota facing VCU in the first round. Tubby vs. Shaka Smart. Tubby vs. the man who should replace him. Bring it on, please.

5. Minnesota Twins

I'm encouraged by a handful of individuals in spring camp, but not by the pitching staff, and the pitching staff will determine this team's fate.

6. Minnesota Timberwolves

I love the way Ricky Rubio has played, knowing the season is lost and his teammates aren't good enough.

7. Gopher football

Jerry Kill is 4-12 in the Big Ten. Facts are so annoying.

 

Rubio,West,Royce, etc

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: March 7, 2013 - 4:17 PM
According to Elias, via Wolves PR, Ricky Rubio's 43 steals over the last 10 games is the most prolific 10-game total by any player since Ron Artest in 2002, and is the fourth-highest total overall in the past 20 NBA seasons.
Here's the chart provided by the Wolves:
 
Most Steals in 10 Consecutive Games, Single Season Since 1992-93

 #  Player, Team         From          To
--  -------------------  ------------  ------------
46  Kendall Gill, N.J.   Mar 30, 1999  Apr 14, 1999
44  Ron Artest, Ind.     Jan 19, 2002  Feb 12, 2002
44  John Stockton, Utah  Feb 24, 1995  Mar 14, 1995
43  Ricky Rubio, Min.    Feb 11, 2013  Mar  6, 2013

Wednesday night against Washington, Rubio had six steals. He has at least three steals in nine of his last 10 games.

Rubio has 79 steals in 33 games this season, an average of 2.39 per game. That would rank him second in the NBA behind Chris Paul if Rubio qualified in terms of games played to be listed among the leaders.
 
I write about Rubio's toughness and hustle in the Friday paper.
------------------------
I caught up with Doug West when in South Texas to write about Royce White.
West, the former Timberwolf, is working as an assistant coach for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the D-League team affiliated with the Houston Rockets.
How'd he wind up just North of the border?
West said he had connections with the Rockets' front office. West was an assistant coach at Villanova. When staff changes loomed, West began looking around.
He took a job with IMG Academy in Florida as an instructor, but then the Rockets called.
I've talked to a lot of former athletes over the years, and many wind up embittered because life after playing a big-league sport is dissatisfying.
West sounded happy to be working on basketball.
``This was a no-brainer,'' he said. ``It’s been very interesting to me. I didn’t know what to expect coming in. I didn’t know the quality of the players, hadn't watched much of it. I came in in the first week and I’ve been nothing but impressed throughout the season.
``They're very good players in this league. The travel and the hotels aren't like the NBA but this is a good steppingstone to the next level for me.
``It’s not easy getting to McAllen or Hidalgo. Most of our trips, it's an eight-hour day, with four of those hours spent in an airport. Besides that, everything here is great.''
I asked him for his fondest memories of Minnesota.
``Wow, it's been awhile,'' he said. ``I thought the best thing was the people. They welcomed me with open arms. People were just friendly. When I first got there, I was taken aback. Coming from Philadelphia, I was used to people yelling at you. It was a great run for me.''
--------------
My piece on Royce White ran in last Sunday's paper. My lasting impression from my long conversation with him, and after watching him play two games:
I think he's a smart, sincere guy, but when I saw him play he was rusty and out of shape. He needs to decide whether he wants to be an excellent NBA player who makes tens of millions and can use his basketball career to publicize and support his good works, or whether he can accomplish his goals without basketball.
If he were my son, I'd tell him to build up his career as well as he can and use the fruits of that career to support his good works. His grandfather, Frank, sounded like he's of the same opinion.
--------------
My new time slot on 1500ESPN is noon weekdays with Judd&Dubay. Still doing the Sunday show 10-noon with Tom Pelissero. I head to spring training this weekend.
My Twitter handle is @Souhanstrib. Thanks for reading.

Return of the LPR

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: November 27, 2012 - 2:14 PM
This week’s Local Power Rankings:
1.        Gophers hockey. They have been far from flawless, but they’re talented and entertaining and ranked up where they belong, near the top of the national rankings.
2.        The Wild. Still undefeated.
3.        Gopher basketball. There is no shame in losing to Duke this time of the year. Duke dominates early-season tournaments. Andre Hollins and Trevor Mbakwe both turned in big games last week, two excellent signs for a talented team.
4.        The Vikings. I know, I know, they are sliding down a slippery slope, but pause for a moment and recognize this fact: They are 6-5 and a victory on Sunday at Green Bay would keep them in playoff contention. I know, I know, but let’s not pretend this is a predicable league.
5.        The Timberwolves. Kevin Love’s return, and his inability to shoot to his standards while recovering from his hand injury, have jammed the previously flowing offense. The Wolves will figure it out, but it’s been a rough week.
6.        The Twins. They haven’t done anything to fix their pitching yet. But it’s early. We probably can’t begin to judge their winter until they trade Denard Span and sign at least one veteran starter.
7.        Gopher football. Despite all of the negative things that have happened this season, it’s too early to call for Jerry Kill’s head. It’s not too early to suggest that his continued seizures, and the fact that they seem triggered by stress, are a bigger problem than Woody Teague wants to publicly admit. Yes, the seizures will hurt recruiting. Yes, the seizures are a threat to ticket sales (I wouldn’t want to risk seeing anyone suffering in that way on the sideline.) Yes, the seizures are a threat to Kill’s career. It’s sad. It’s also true.

Souhan blog: On Torii, Wolves and another vicious hit

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: November 14, 2012 - 6:47 PM

Catching up on the day in sports while I wait for the three healthy Timberwolves to play Charlotte tonight at Target Center:

-I'm happy for Torii Hunter, and happy that he'll be visiting Target Field more often next season.

Hunter signed a two-year deal for $26 million with the Tigers. I think the Tigers were right to over-pay Hunter, who isn't the dynamo he once was but remains a valuable corner outfielder who will improve the Tigers' lineup and team personality.

He's still an excellent fielder with a strong arm, and he is driven to win a World Series before he retires. I don't know how to place a dollar figure on personality, but Hunter will be a positive influence in the Tigers' clubhouse.

When you're the Tigers and your goal is to win the World Series, it's reasonable to overpay for an older player who suits your needs.

-When will NFL players learn? The NFL fined Texans linebacker Tim Dobbins $30,000 for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Jay Cutler, one of the most vicious plays of ths season.

Cutler had run toward the line of scrimmage and dumped off a short pass. As he relaxed while looking left, Dobbins smashed his helmet into Cutler's chin, leaving Cutler injured.

I don't think $30,000 is enough. So much money and prestige is at stake in the NFL that the penalty for illegally brutalizing the opposing quarterback should be far greater.

Dobbins excused his hit by saying that Cutler was running with the ball and that Cutler actually ran into him.

In other words, Dobbins, like so many NFL players, hasn't adapted to the concussion era. That's why the NFL should be as vicious with their punishments as Dobbins was with his hit.

-Speaking before the game, Rick Adelman sounded almost bemused by his team's injuries. He said he's never seen anything like this. He's down to nine healthy players and hopes to get J.J. Barea, Nikola Pekovic and Brandon Roy back soon.

He raved about Andrei Kirilenko's defense and hustle, saying he appreciates it even more after he watches game tape.

He also lamented the loss of Chase Budinger for months to a knee injury, saying, ``He was big for us.''

-Charlotte guard and former Wolf Ramon Sessions is scoring 16 points per game off the bench for Charlotte. Rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is averaging 12.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists.

-Some readers of today's column on the Vikings' stadium deal asked why I wasn't hard on the Twins for selling personal seat licenses. Simple. The Pohlads invested lots of their own money in Target Field, more than they were required to, and they limited the PSLs to elite seats. The Wilfs are exploring PSLs for a large number of seats. I continue to be against that.

-I'll be on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. tomorrow.

 

Watching Russian Wolves

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: August 2, 2012 - 11:43 AM

I'll be covering Lochte-Phelps later, but right now I'm at the Olympic Park basketball arena watching the new Russian Wolves, Andrei Kirilenko and Alexey Shved. It's halftime, Russia leads Brazil, 40-32. Kirilenko has 12, Shved 9.

Shved doesn't have a lot of rotation on his outside shot, but he's hit a very long three, and he has a great feel for when to drive and how to run an offense. Kirilenko continues to dominate.

We're somewhere near the midpoint of the Olympics. My highlights so far, in no particular order:

-London

What a great city. Now, I've had better meals at my local McDonald's, but if I had the time, I'm sure I could find some good Greek and Indian cooking, and I still hope to at some point. My sister lived here, and said that if you go into the pubs, keep it simple, and if you want a good meal, go to an ethnic restaurant run by people of that ethnicity. Rachel Blount found a great meal at a Greek place by our hotel, and that's on my wish list.

Otherwise, it's a sprawling, diverse, beautiful, atmospheric city. And unlike New York city, even though there are throngs of people everywhere, it never feels overcrowded to me. I'd vacation here.

-Strawberries and cream

Or, as they say here, ``strawbries n cream.''

I was prepared to be disappointed, but the strawberries and cream at Wimbledon are excellent. But I couldn't bring myself to try the ``bangers.''

-Wimbledon

As I wrote the other day, it's a beautiful place that reminds me of Augusta National and Fenway Park, in terms of historic sporting events bleeding every shade of green.

-London transport

Every Olympics brings its own transportation nightmares, but, going just by my personal experience, we have great choices here. You can take your time with a bus ride that could turn into a free, wonderful, guided tour of London, or you can jump on the Javelin (the high-speed train) or tube, and get where you're going very quickly.

-Basketball

In part because of all of the Minnesota connections, and in part because the United States teams tend to play very late at night, so I can catch them after covering other events, I've spent a lot of time at basketball.

I'ts been great stuff. The Russian Wolves are playing extremely well and are very personable. Kevin Love has emerged as a key player. And the three Lynx, Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus and Maya Moore, have been a treat, both for the way they play and because of the class with which they conduct themselves.

-Lindsey Berg, USA volleyball captain and former Gopher

Selfishly, she's exactly what writers hope for at the Olympics - a key player who is eager to promote her team and her sport.

Now I'm looking forward to track, and watching the US women's soccer team, assuming they make it to the semifinals.

Watching Usain Bolt in Beijing was one of the highlights of my career. As I write about for the Friday paper, he could reenact his dominance, or his recent problems could turn Yohan Blake or Tyson Gay into the new champion.

I'm checking in periodically with 1500espn from London. My next appearance will be at 2 p.m. with Reusse and Mackey, and I'll try to call in for part of Sunday Sports Talk, sometime between 10 and noon this Sunday.

Please follow on Twitter at @Souhanstrib

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