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.
Find him on Twitter
The Wolves really are cursed. They finally inspire hope with the hiring of Rick Adelman, and now they might not have a season.
My knee-jerk, Twitter-enabled reaction to the NBA players union shunning the owner's latest offer was that the players are being foolish. They're giving up huge money that they'll never make back while fighting over terms many of them don't even understand. (I'm not insulting their intelligence; I don't understand most of these deep financial negotiations, either.)
But I should be more even-handed. The owners are just as much to blame as the players. They were on the verge of a great deal for them, and by trying to wring the last dime and concession out of the players that they could, they did the worst thing they possibly could have done: They pushed the players into shutting down negotiations and lawyering up.
Whether it's divorce or sports negotiations, it's never a good sign when one or both sides invest heavily in power lawyers. Because power lawyers aren't there to get a fair deal. They're there to prove their worth by crushing the opponent. They're there to rack up billable hours.
I could still see a deal getting done in the next three weeks, could see the owners realizing they pushed too far and working to save the season with a reasonable deal. But now it's a long-shot, and David Stern is just as much to blame as the players.
It's nice that the Gophers basketball team keeps beating overmatched opponents, but the measure of a Tubby Smith Minnesota team is whether they can win a close game against a decent Big Ten team by running a real offense in crunch time. Until I see that, I'm not going to be impressed.
If you enjoyed watching the Lynx, like women's basketball or just like to watch a talented athlete of any gender or age develop, I recommend watching the Gopher women and freshman point guard Rachel Banham.
She's a dynamnic ballhandler who can shoot, finish and set up here teammates. She's the most talented player the Gophers have had since Lindsay Whalen left.
With the NBA locked out and the football teams stinking it up, we're pretty close to becoming a hockey town. (Or hockey cities.)
What's encouraging about the local hockey teams is that the Gophers look like they're much tougher physically and mentally than they've been in years. They don't wimp out around the net or in the corners, and they bounced back from a tough loss at Wisconsin with an impressive victory.
And while it's always risky to jump to conclusions at any point of the long NHL season, it appears Mike Yeo has the presence of a winning coach. It's funny, too, that the way they're playing now reminds you a lot of the way Wild played under Lemaire - responsible defensively, and making the most of the few goals they score.
You are entitled to be underwhelmed by the Twins' signing of shortstop Jamey Carroll, but this is the kind of reasonable, subtle, important move that the Twins need to make.
No matter what their payroll, they're not going to outspend big-market teams for premier talent. They have to use their money wisely, and Carroll, while limited, is a great upgrade over everyone who played shortstop for the Twins last year.
Now the Twins need to sign someone who can either catch 140 games if needed, or can move around the diamond and sub at catcher for Joe Mauer.
If only Trevor Plouffe could catch....
Aaron Rodgers is so good that, for the first time since I started writing about the NFL in 1989, I'm startled when a pass falls incomplete.
He completed 23 of 30 passes on Monday night. The web site Profootballfocus.com reported that of the 27 passes he tried to complete (wasn't spiking or throwing away), he completed 23, and his receivers dropped three of his four incompletions.
I know a lot of Minnesotans love to hate the Pack, but I like watching greatness no matter what color it wears. This is greatness.
Upcoming: I'll be on 1500espn at 2:05 today with Reusse and Mackey. My twitter handle is @Souhanstrib.
When Kevin Slowey took the mound on Sunday, he could have had any number of goals.
He could have wanted to win a game. That's always good. Whether he wants the victory to help his teammates, or to help himself in arbitration, or to enhance his trade value, doesn't matter. You've got to want to win, right?
Or he could have wanted to help his team out, and save the bullpen for Monday, when the Twins have to play a doubleheader with a thin, injury-depleted pitching staff. Saving the bullpen would be a baseball moral victory.
Or he could have wanted to prove that he's a tougher guy than everyone thinks he is, after he bailed to the disabled list earlier this season because he didn't want to pitch in the bullpen.
So Slowey throws 95 pitches through seven innings. He looks sharp. He strikes out four, doesn't walk anybody, and he's down just 2-1.
If he goes out for the eighth inning, he has a chance to get a victory, or at least has a chance to save the Twins' bullpen for Monday.
Instead, he complained of a tight hamstring, forcing the Twins to bring in two relievers to pitch the eighth. The Twins lost 4-1, and Slowey didn't accomplish anything other than fortifying his reputation within the organization as a malingerer.
They need to trade this guy. The problem is, he's got a 5.31 ERA and a bad reputation. The Twins need to wait until teams are looking for pitching help this winter, and trade him for the best offer.
I can't mention any names because of the sources of my information, but I was told that three different Twins were laughing or giggling or smiling in the late innings on Sunday, as the Twins lost 4-1.
It's amazing how a bad farm system has taught a bunch of young players that losing is the norm, and that there's no reason to get down about it.
That's one of the subjects of my Monday morning column.
I keep hearing people saying that Rick Adelman and Don Nelson are better candidates than Sam Mitchell.
Well, Adelman is an excellent coach, but he's 65. When is the last time a 65-year-old coach took over an NBA rebuilding project and wound up being the right guy? (I'm sure there are examples. I'm also sure there aren 't many.)
The more I talk to NBA insiders, the more I hear that Nelson would be a ticking time bomb who would quickly fall out of favor with ownership and the front office. He might not last a season.
Mitchell may not be the first name you think of when you decide you want to hire an NBA coach, but he shouldn't be dismissed, either.
He was the NBA coach of the year in 2007. His winning percentage with the Raptors was .452. Not impressive? Well, consider the context. The only Raptors coach who has done better was Lenny Wilkins, at .459. Mitchell's replacement, Jay Triano, won at a .380 clip. I can only wish Dwane Casey, the classy former Wolves coach, luck in turning that franchise around.
Mitchell is 48. He's experienced but not old. He fought his way to the NBA with a gritty style of play that hid his lack of talent. He is an experienced NBA assistant. He'd force the Wolves to play with fire, and to play defense. If he had success, he wouldn't use this job as a golden parachute into retirement or a steppingstone to a better franchise. He'd stay.
He'd reconnect with Wolves fans who remember this franchise when it was competent and competitive. He'd be a credible connection to potential free agents. He has the right personality to make owner Glen Taylor feel included without allowing Taylor or anyone else to impinge on his authority.
Would he succeed? I have no idea. Circumstances are more important than will in some cases. But he seems to me to be the best fit out of all the candidates.
My favorite moment of the day: FSN's Robby Incmikoski asking Twins manager Ron Gardenhire if he took solace in the fact that his rotation is settled.
Gardenhire looked at him like he had cotton candy leaking out of his ears.
Settled? Gardenhire has one member of his original five-man rotation healthy: Carl Pavano. His other starters this week will be reliever Anthony Swarzak, Rule 5 draftee Scott Diamond, TBA (probably callup Liam Hendricks), Pavano, and the out-of-favor Slowey.
The Twins' rotation is about as settled as the San Andreas Fault.
Sometimes I hear the stupid questions people in my business ask and I hate the media, too.
My thanks to Gophers coach Jerry Kill for joining Sunday Morning Sports Talk. For once, I see Gopher fans falling all over themselves about a new coach, and I think they might be on to something.
Interesting week coming up for me: I'll be in Green Bay on Thursday night for the Packers opener, then heading to San Diego for the Vikings opener. I guess I could drop by Target Field, too, but I don't like being lonely.
My Twitter handle is @Souhanstrib. Follow me, Kevin. Please.
Rapid-fire reactions to some of hte biggest stories in local sports:
-I'm not thrilled by the arrival of Donovan McNabb; neither am I disgusted or concerned. Look at McNabb's track record, and talk to NFL people about his legendary off-season workouts, and I have to believe he'll bounce back to being a pretty good quarterback this year, if healthy.
He's talented, experienced and motivated to prove that last year was a fluke. For what the Vikings need, and what they gave up for him, his acquisition makes sense. Christian Ponder shouldn't be thrown into the starting job under these circumstances.
-The departure of Sidney Rice hurts the Vikings' chances of winning this year, but, when it comes to long-term contracts, I always say that the key factor is trust, not talent.
Do you trust Sidney Rice to stay healthy. to play with pain, to be productive year-in and year-out? He's capable of doing so. I just don't trust him to do so. So while his departure has to sting the Vikings, they may benefit, long-term, by not being stuck with him making huge money.
-I would not trade Denard Span to the Nationals for a relief pitcher. Now, I defended the Twins' trade of Wilson Ramos for Matt Capps last year because of unique circumstances. The Twins looked like they were one bullpen arm away from winning the division and perhaps making a playoff run. Ramos was blocked by Mauer, who had yet to be stricken by bi-lateral-post-concussion-schizophrenia-disorder. Some Twins officials were not nearly as high on Ramos as people who don't watch him play every day.
It was the wrong kind of deal - an every day player at a key position for a reliever - but I understood it.
This one, I would not understand, unless the Twins are getting more than a reliever out of the deal.
What makes Span intriguing to the Nationals - that he's a high-on-base leadoff hitter who is also a pretty good centerfielder and a reliable human - is exactly what should make the Twins intent on keeping him. Span is signed to a reasonable contract through 2015.
With the Twins seven games under .500, in fourth place and six games out of first on July 29, I'd like to see them trade their veterans and re-stock for next season. But Span shouldn't be on the way out; he should be one of the few players the Twins are counting on for next season.
-David Kahn has interviewed a fascinating array of coaching candidates. My quick take:
-Rick Adelman would be a slam-dunk winner. If Kahn can land him, he should, regardless of price.
-Don Nelson would fit Kahn's running philosophy and make the Wolves much better and much more entertaining immediately. I don't think he'd last long, but he'd give people reason to buy tickets next year.
-Larry Brown is old, stuck in his ways, hard on young point guards and expensive. He's a great coach but he's the guy you bring in to win a championship, not to rebuild.
-Mike Woodson would dramatically improve the Wolves' defense. I'd rank him as the second-best long-term candidate behind Adelman.
-Bernie Bickerstaff. I'm not knocking the man as a coach. He's very accomplished. I just hate the idea of hiring someone so he can groom his son. Kahn may not even be around long enough to see J.B. Bickerstaff replace him.
This would be a move that Glen Taylor should block.
-Tim Brewster saying this Gophers team has lots of talent is another way of him telling us how fraudulent and painfully shallow he is. He left Jerry Kill with one outstanding athlete, Marqueis Gray. Otherwise, the cupboard is bare.
It's one thing to be a ridiculous shill, it's another to be a ridiculous shill who continues to lie to the Minnesota sports fan after someone was stupid enough to hire him for a media job.
Shut up, Timmy.
-Upcoming: I'll be running Sunday Morning Sports Talk with Tom Pelissero from Boomtown in Mankato on Sunday from 10-noon, following the Ron Gardenhire Show from 9-9:30. My twitter handle is @Souhanstrib.
Also, I got to spend some time with Leslie Frazier in his hometown of Columbus, Ms., and my story on Frazier's life will be in the Sunday Star Tribune.
|Professional baseball (155)||Vikings (210)|
|Gopher coaches (49)||Gopher quarterbacks (14)|
|Gopher recruiting (2)||Gopher road games (3)|
|Gophers disciplinary action (2)||Gophers recruiting (2)|
|Gophers spring football (4)||TCF Bank Stadium (23)|
|The Big 10 (25)||NCAA: football (15)|
|Gophers coaches (61)||Gophers players (40)|
|Tubby Smith (38)||Williams Arena (16)|
|Gophers post season (6)||Gophers roster moves (4)|
|Golf (38)||Soccer (4)|
|Twins news (39)||WNBA (8)|
|Wild news (51)||AFC (9)|
|Bears (24)||Ex-Vikings (16)|
|Football on TV (83)||Lions (18)|
|NFC (70)||NFL draft (30)|
|NFL post-season (32)||Packers (52)|
|Super Bowl (48)||Vikings coaches (108)|
|Vikings defense (51)||Vikings fans (36)|
|Vikings injury report (15)||Vikings management (81)|
|Vikings off the field (29)||Vikings offense (70)|
|Vikings quarterbacks (44)||Vikings road games (14)|
|Vikings rookies (4)||Vikings roster moves (3)|
|Vikings special teams (2)||Vikings training camp (5)|
|Off the field (5)||On the road (23)|
|Quarterbacks (36)||Rookies (3)|
|Roster moves (1)||Vikings draft (41)|
|Ron Gardenhire (120)||Target Field (151)|
|Twins fans (159)||Twins management (208)|
|Twins offense (115)||Twins transactions (96)|
|NBA playoffs (40)||Wolves coaches (72)|
|Wolves draft news (28)||Wolves guards (37)|
|Wolves injury report (7)||Wolves management (77)|
|Wolves players (59)||Wolves trade talk (14)|
|Wolves training camp (11)||All-Stars and honors (89)|
|Fighting (2)||Wild coaching (42)|
|Wild management (53)||Wild off-season news (9)|
|Wild player moves (8)||Adrian Peterson (67)|
|Anthony Herrera (2)||Antoine Winfield (16)|
|Ben Leber (1)||Bernard Berrian (7)|
|Brad Childress (30)||Brett Favre (56)|
|Brian Robison (3)||Bryant McKinnie (3)|
|Cedric Griffin (5)||Chad Greenway (11)|
|Chester Taylor (5)||Chris Kluwe (2)|
|Darrell Bevell (6)||E.J. Henderson (4)|
|Jared Allen (29)||John Sullivan (6)|
|Kevin Williams (5)||Leslie Frazier (55)|
|Madieu Williams (2)||Pat Williams (3)|
|Percy Harvin (26)||Phil Loadholt (3)|
|Ray Edwards (1)||Ryan Longwell (9)|
|Sage Rosenfels (1)||Sidney Rice (10)|
|Steve Hutchinson (7)||Tarvaris Jackson (12)|
|Tyrell Johnson (2)||Visanthe Shiancoe (5)|
|Brad Childress (30)||Darrell Bevell (6)|
|Leslie Frazier (55)||NHL news (9)|
|2010 Winter Games (13)||Olympic curling (1)|
|Olympic hockey (8)||Olympic skiing (4)|
|Olympic village (11)|