Each week, commenter Jon Marthaler bakes up a delicious batch of links for you. Other times, you can find him here. Jon?
The NHL lockout begins today, and by all accounts, it looks like it's going to be a long one. Bryan Reynolds at SB Nation Minnesota says NHL fans need to find a new hobby, because it'll be awhile, and poor Michael Russo sounds positively despondent at his blog. (We may need to all pitch in and buy Russo a puppy or something, because the guy just sounds depressed.)
With this in mind, I was going to try to go big picture and have a little fun with it, and give you a list of other things that you, as an NHL fan and a Wild fan, can occupy yourself with this winter. I got about three sentences into that column before I realized something: Wild fans aren't exactly at a loss around here, nor are they suddenly going to be looking at yawning stretches of nothing on the sports calendar.
It would be stupid to write that Wild fans won't miss the team; there was genuine excitement about the team this year. But there's probably even more excitement about the Timberwolves' possibilities this winter, or the Gopher basketball team's chances. Not a basketball fan? No problem; Gopher hockey has always been there to fill our hockey needs, and they're looking for a return to the Frozen Four. We can check in with Houston, with Mikael Granlund and the rest of the Wild's prospects in the AHL. And on your doorstep, pretty much wherever you are in Wild territory, there's the best prep hockey league in America, and those kids are playing the next town over tomorrow night, and the junior class is selling hot dogs at the concessions stand.
We're going to be fine, fellow Wild fans. We'll hardly even notice they aren't playing. It's become clear that Craig Leipold and Gary Bettman and the rest of their cronies in the owners' boxes don't care about us, but this winter, I'm pretty sure we'll be able to send them a message that should, but clearly doesn't, concern them: fellas, when you're not around, we don't care about you, either.
*On with the links:
*For the football fan who's X and O inclined, here's a great Grantland breakdown of how the Redskins are helping Robert Griffin III succeed.
*Anyone who's ever read an edition of the Best American Sports Writing series will want to check out Kevin Koczwara visiting editor Glenn Stout for The Classical.
*Also from The Classical: Matthew Callan writes about umpire Ron Luciano, who umpired in the majors and wrote a great sports book and did television, but ended up dying by his own hand, in seclusion and living with relatives in his howmetown.
*And finally: A's pitcher Brandon McCarthy is still recovering from the liner that fractured his skull, but his sense of humor is in mid-season form.