There is no better judge of hockey talent than former North Stars General Manager Lou Nanne, who has watched every game closely.
“Nick Leddy didn’t [play] two games ago — he only had that 2 ½ minutes in the fourth game — but he played more Saturday [6 minutes, 53 seconds in a 3-1 Chicago victory],” Nanne said. “Boston is a very physical team, they like to go after the defensemen a bit, and Leddy’s strengths are his offensive capabilities. … So [Blackhawks coach Joel] Quenneville sat him a bit two games ago. But Leddy is a very good player. They need him to create offense, and so he is getting more ice time, and I think he’ll continue to get ice time in the next game or two.”
Nanne is high on Leddy and said he is one of the three fastest skaters in the NHL.
“He sees the ice really well, and he can really move the puck well,” Nanne said. “Offensively he’s a threat all the time. He’s a young defenseman, so he has to improve defensively and he’s doing that, but it takes time to come into the National Hockey League and be real solid defensively. He’s the type of kid that he’s just going to get better and better as the years go by.”
How is Nanne picking the winner of the Stanley Cup?
“Well, when it started, I said Chicago in seven,” he said. “Then when Marian Hossa got hurt, I said I thought Boston would come back and win the series, but Hossa is back playing, so I’m going to stick with Chicago in seven.”
• Gophers basketball and track and field standout Wally Ellenson finished second in the high jump this weekend at the U.S. Junior National Championships in Des Moines. Ellenson had a jump of 7 feet, 5 inches and qualified for the Pan-American Junior Championships in Medellin, Colombia, from Aug. 23-25.
• Former Twin Francisco Liriano continues to pitch marvelously for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Liriano threw 6 ⅔ innings of one-run ball in a 6-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday and is now 6-3 with a 2.30 ERA and 61-22 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 54 ⅔ innings.
• Former Gophers golfer Erik van Rooyen made his first cut as a professional and finished tied for 19th at the Polokwane Classic on the Sunshine Tour. Rooyen, a South African native, made $7,370.
• Former Twins prospect Joe Benson hasn’t played since June 11 for the Frisco RoughRiders, the Texas Rangers’ Class AA affiliate. Benson, who was hitting .333 with four home runs, two triples and six RBI in nine games, is on the seven-day disabled list because of a groin injury.
• Former Gopher Mike Kvasnicka is back playing with the Class A Fort Myers Miracle after being on the disabled list to start the season. Kvasnicka is hitting .300 with two home runs and 11 RBI in 11 games since he has been back.
Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. email@example.com