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 NHL news

Ricky Rubio?

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: June 2, 2011 - 11:07 AM

So Ricky Rubio is coming to town. I’ll have more on this in the Friday paper. Here’s my capsule view:

I don’t think he’ll be great. Even if he’s just pretty good and can run an offense and a fast break, he could upgrade the Wolves’ weakest position and make his teammates better.

But I don’t want to see Kurt Rambis coaching this kid. I want to see a coach who handles young players well and is not married to the Triangle Offense. Which means just about anybody other than Rambis.

-I think Kevin McHale has a chance to be a good NBA coach. He has the charisma and knowledge to do the job.

But he faces obstacles and challenges. Does he really want to work this hard? Good coaches are grinders who study the game. Is that really Kevin at this point in his life?

And can he really coach better than Rick Adelman, one of the best coaches in the league?

I don’t doubt McHale’s ability to coach well. I doubt his ability to coach well for any length of time.

-If hockey players are so tough, why do they react like such whiners when they get hit, and why does Alex Burrows think he can get away with biting an opponent’s finger?

There are things I like about hockey, but when you see the overreaction to legal hits and moments like Burrow’s Overbite, hockey loses credibility.

-The Twins are pathetic. I've watched a lot of bad Twins teams, but I've never seen a team this inept.

Nice effort, Delmon.

-Kevin Love’s Twitter response to the Rubio signing was classic: ``I’ll believe it when I see it.’’ Think he’s been worn down by The Wolves Way?

-I’m probably like a lot of Americans. I don’t need another sport to watch. I’m not particularly interested in soccer. But the ManU-Barca final the other day intrigued me, and I watched, and I enjoyed it, and now Fox is saying that the game drew 4.2 million viewers in the U.S.

For me, soccer is like hockey: I need to see stars and scoring opportunities and a game with something on the line to watch. This game qualified.

-Poor Christian Ponder. Doesn’t he know that the Vikings don’t know what to do with a quarterback who shows up earlier than he has to?

-Upcoming: I’ll be on 1500espn at 2:40 today, and Tom Pelissero and I will run Sunday Morning Sports Talk from the studio at 1500espn. The Gardy Show starts at 9:30 followed by our show from 10-noon.

 

 

Friday postgame from CitiField

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: June 25, 2010 - 10:08 PM

Quick hits late Friday night from CitiField, where the Twins lost their fourth straight:

-Nice ballpark. Very pretty, although, as many New Yorkers told me, the Mets seemed to screw up a lot of the small details. But if you're just taking a look for the first time, it's a great place to watch a game.

-Mets fans always seem so much happier than Yankees fans. Yankees fans are trained to believe that winning is the only thing. Mets fans are just glad when their team doesn't trip over its own shoelaces.

-Jerry Manuel, the Mets' ``manager'', has no idea how to run a game.

Jose Reyes leads off the eighth with a single off Jesse Crain. Now the Mets have the meat of their order facing a struggling reliever, knowing the opposing manager doesn't want to use any of his best relievers in a game he trails by three.

So Manuel gives Crain a free out with a bunt. That bunt also opens first base, so Crain intentionally walks the Mets' best hitter, David Wright, who already had a double and a homer. Then, when Ron Gardenhire brings in struggling lefty Ron Mahay, Manuel orders a double steal and Joe Mauer throws out Wright.

The Mets wind up not scoring in an inning when Manuel handed two free outs to Crain and Mahay and took the bat out of the hands of his best hitter. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

-I noted this on twitter earlier (twitter name: Souhanstrib); we were talking to Johan Santana before the game, and someone asked if he gets together with his old Twins teammates, since he owns a mansion in Fort Myers, where many Twins have homes.

Santana said, no, and then proceeded to say that he's had invitations to play golf with a few of the fellas, but that he's a terrible golfer.

That's right. Johan has had an old sexual assault charge that was dropped show up in the tabloids the last couple of days, and that story revolves around an enounter on a golf course, and Johan brings up his struggles on the golf course in front of 20 reporters without being prompted about the charges.

Have I already used the phrase ``Dumb, dumb, dumb''?

-Santana faces Carl Pavano on Saturday. What a matchup, Santana in his first start against his old team and first start since the charges were made public, and Pavano pitching in the town where he became known as ``American Idle'' for all of his time on the disabled list with the Yankees.

I can feel the New York love already.

-Saturday is the rare day for me without a radio appearance. I'll be back on 1500ESPN for the Ron Gardenhire Show at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, followed by Sunday Sports Talk. Our show will last only from 10-11 Sunday because of the early Twins' game.

-If you're going to visit New York, do it in the spring, winter or fall. Summer is oppressive in New York. You can't have that many sweaty people crammed together unless you're in Hades, or a hip-hop video.

-Saw David Kahn interviewed on NBA-TV late Thursday night. He used a lot of big words and said pretty much nothing that made sense, then Kenny Smith, who is wonderful, pointed out that Kahn had been on that show after the draft two straight years.

I'm paraphrasing here, but Smith then said that if a GM is on talking about his high draft picks two years in a row, he might not be doing such a good job. Gotta love Kenny Smith.

-Joe Mauer is hitting .304 with three homers and 32 RBI, almost halfway through the season. And he's been healthy. Those are nice numbers. Those are not $184-million numbers.

-Kevin Slowey gave about as forthright a postgame summation as he ever has, saying he hasn't been good enough and he and his teammates are frustrated. Give him credit for that, at least.

-I wrote about the Twins' woes for the Saturday paper. I'm writing about Johan Santana for the Sunday paper, then heading home to watch the Tigers and Twins.

-I've given it a lot of thought, and I still think the Wolves should have taken DeMarcus Cousins over Wes Johnson...and Steph Curry over Jonny Flynn...and...you get the idea.

-The Twins' top pitching prospect, Kyle Gibson, threw six shutout innings at Class AA New Britain tonight after being shut down for nine days.

-I'd throw some hockey in here, but that would be silly - Michael Russo sends a tweet every three seconds about the NHL draft. I have nothing to add.

-Who has the bigger ego? LeBron James or Brett Favre? Which guy is more intent on having America await his next move, or even his next interview?

-This from NYTimes writer Tyler Kepner: Jason Bartlett was the last out of Buehrle's perfect game, Jackson's no-hitter, and was pinch-hit for by Hinske to end the 2008 World Series.

-Interestingly, Ron Gardenhire has acted uptight all week, then after Friday's game he went into ``We're going to be fine and all need to cheer up'' mode. Which could be a really good thing for this team. Nothing worse for a struggling baseball team than seeing its leadership tense up. And Gardy's been very tense lately.

-I don't know if I've ever seen a manager and a player with as much mutual hate as Brendan Harris and Gardenhire. I think Gardenhire is going to keep demoting Harris until the Twins start winning. So Harris could wind up at Elizabethon soon.

I mean, they call up Jason Repko, and Gardy is asked why, and he says he needed a righthanded hitter. Ouch, babe. I think Harris thinks he's a better manager than Gardy, and I think Gardy thinks he can still hit better than Harris.

-If Jason Repko is the answer, what was the question again?

-Gotta love Cuddyer. Finally settles in as a rightfielder...then spends the end of last season subbing for Morneau at first, and now he's playing third base without complaint. Made a great play Friday night, too.

-I'll check in after the Santana game on Saturday.

Twins end homestand in style

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: May 30, 2010 - 11:19 PM

You can't use the word ``bravery'' in sports without separating athletic bravery from real-life bravery. You can't compare what athletes do to what soldiers and firefighters do.

But there is an element of bravery in sports, and Denard Span and Orlando Hudson displayed plenty of it late Sunday night.

Jon Rauch came on for the Twins with a three-run lead in the ninth. With two on and two out, Vlad Guerrero hit a fly to shallow center. Hudson sprinted back. Span sprinted in. They both dove for the ball. Hudson hit Span in a sensitive area. Span's leg caught Hudson's left wrist.

Both lay on the ground in pain. After a few moments, Span rose. Hudson stayed down longer, finally getting up and walking off the field without help.

It was a strange and worrisome way to end a pretty good homestand.

Target Field continues to shine. The place is just beautiful. The Twins are 30-20 and in first place. (My column for the Monday paper points out that the Twins are off to one of their best two-month starts in recent history, and I give much of the credit to Hudson and shortstop J.J. Hardy for solidifying two positions that have been in flux for most of the past eight years.)

But Hudson and manager Ron Gardenhire seemed worried about Hudson's wrist after the game. I asked Span if he was worried about Hudson, and Span quietly said, ``Yeah...Yeah, I am.''

One reason Hudson and Hardy have been so pivotal is that the Twins just don't have much depth at those positions, especially with Brendan Harris struggling. Now either Harris or Alexi Casilla may be called on to play second every day. Because Harris is struggling and isn't known for his ability to turn the doubleplay, I would expect Casilla to get the call if Hudson can't play on Monday.

-The Twins' hitters can complain about the home runs they're losing in Target Field, but a home-field advantage is a home-field advantage. The Twins are 18-9 at home.

-I played club lacrosse for years, and the Duke-Virginia national semifinal on Saturday was one of the best games I've ever seen. Or at least one of the best finishes, with Duke scoring in the final seconds to beat No. 1-ranked Virginia.

Duke plays Notre Dame on Monday for the national title.

-I'm taking vacation time from the newspaper the next couple of weeks, so this space will probably be pretty slow for a while.

-My pick: Lakers in 7. I just feel that Kobe  Bryant will find a way to win enough close games to win the series, and that the Lakers will be better prepared for the Celtics after losing to them two years ago. But what I really hope for is more post-game interviews with Ron Artest, just so I can see that vacant look in his eyes. Priceless.

-I've been told that Kyle Waldrop is the minor-league pitcher the Twins think can be of most immediate help. I could see Jeff Manship being added as a long man. With Brian Duensing and Jose Mijares looking good, Ron Mahay may not have a role as an extra lefty.

-Hockey pick: Chicago in five. I think Chicago has an edge in goaltending and goal-scoring, plus home-ice. For once I think the better team wins a postseason hockey series.

-For what it's worth, after all the discussion of Yankee superiority, the Twins and Yankees have exactly the same record.

-Is it just me, or does a football player leave the Gophers every five minutes? I have a feeling Tim Brewster's last season is going to be a disaster.

-I still don't see this season ending well for Jon Rauch. He is very hittable. I give him credit for throwing strikes, but I'm afraid those strikes are going to start landing in bleachers with more regularity.

-Is there a better setup man in the game than Matt Guerrier? He's durable, dependable, he wants the ball, he pitches with guile and intelligence, and he's even been affordable. The Twins will have to spend some money on him this winter. This is one guy they can't allow to leave.

 

 

Slow week

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: April 27, 2010 - 11:51 AM

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.

 

Slow week

Posted by: Jim Souhan Updated: April 27, 2010 - 11:51 AM

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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