Jon Marthaler bakes up a batch of delicious links just for you. Other times, you can find him here and here. Jon?

I know it's cliche to start a Minnesotan conversation with talk about the weather, but I just can't help it. It has been raining, in my conservative estimation, for 43 straight days. Of course, we did get a brief break early in the month, when it snowed instead of raining, but that's about the best we've had. We saw the sun for about three hours, total, this entire month -- and now tomorrow we have to set our clocks back, meaning that it'll now be dark by the time we're all done with work.

I don't even have a reason to be angry, except pure whining. If you want real anger, find a farmer. Those poor guys are up against it.

*We start the links this week with news from Canada, where the NHL Players Association is in complete disarray. As near as I can understand, they fired their executive director, which made Chris Chelios angry, so the 87-year-old defenseman told interim executive director Ian Penny to get off his lawn. And now Penny is writing letters that are all, "So Chris did this, and I was like nuh-uh, and he was like uh-HUH, and that was like totally not fair, and I hate him soooo much" and so on and so forth. Ah, the NHL -- it's like your little brother that flunked out of tech school, isn't it?

*The great Nick Nelson has penned a paean to Ron Gardenhire, a rare thing for the Twins blogosphere. It's quite well reasoned and quite well done.

*Stensation, Jerry Zgoda, and a cast of thousands (including schlubs such as me) predicted the Wolves' season at the T-Wolves Blog. As you might guess, there's not a lot of optimism in the bunch; pretty much everyone predicted the same ugly record.

*Deadspin got former NFL center and Oregon State English professor Michael Oriard to write about the suddenly-hot topic of concussions in football, and it's pretty great. The Malcom Gladwell article in the New Yorker that touched it all off is here. I recommend reading both; I can say they've changed my viewpoint, especially as a former lineman that got whacked in the head hard enough to necessitate a couple of CAT scans.

I'll say this: Gopher defenseman Nick Leddy appeared to get his bell rung during last night's hockey game. Once upon a time, I might have made a joke about Leddy not knowing where he was. After reading these articles, I have to say: that stuff ain't funny any more.

On that depressing note: have a great Saturday! (It's going to rain. You know it will.)

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Friday update: Visanthe Shiancoe posts pictures of Brad Childress dressed as female flight attendant

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Monday (Vikings meltdown, calm and the end of 1998 comparisons) edition: Wha' Happened?