Welcome to the Wednesday edition of The Cooler, where I will try to keep things separated into short, digestible segments so you can get through this without needing a break. Let’s get to it:
*Kliff Kingsbury is 39, just a few years younger than me, and likewise straddles the line between generations. He was born in 1979 so technically he’s one of the youngest members of Generation X, but those just a year or two younger than him are classified as Millennials. And pretty much every player he oversees as the new head coach of the NFL’s Cardinals is a Millennial.
That generation is much-discussed and sometimes maligned — fairly at times, unfairly others. What we should all agree upon is that those born between 1981 and 1996 grew up in a much different world than those older than them thanks in large part to the explosion of the Internet — and the related things it like social media.
The rest of us have adapted to those things; Millennials came of age with those things and experience them differently as a result.
As such, Kingsbury is trying something with the Cardinals that he did with even younger players at Texas Tech: he’s giving them a “cellphone break” after about 20 or 30 minutes of team meetings in an attempt to make sure they are focused when the meetings are happening. He’s blunt about the reason why:
“You start to see kind of hands twitching and legs shaking, and you know they need to get that social media fix, so we’ll let them hop over there and then get back in the meeting and refocus,” Kingsbury told reporters recently.
Whether you think this is a smart way of understanding the different needs and mind-set of a younger generation … or acquiescing far too much to a group of adults that should be able to sit still and listen probably depends on how you feel about Millennials and management in general.
Maybe 50 years ago players got breaks to smoke cigarettes?
Maybe a break of any sort is not a bad idea since in an NFL game you only have to pay attention for a few minutes at a time, anyway?
*The Wild’s slim playoff hopes took another hit Tuesday when Arizona defeated Chicago 1-0. The Coyotes and Avalanche are both two points clear of the Wild — and those two teams play each other Friday when the Wild takes on Vegas. A Wild loss in that one combined with a three-point game between Colorado and Arizona would be devastating.
*Minnesota teams could make history at this year’s men’s hockey Frozen Four. St. Cloud State, Minnesota-Duluth and Minnesota State are all No. 1 seeds in their regions. Though the Gophers (21), UMD (6), St. Cloud (1) and Bemidji State (1) have made a combined 29 Frozen Four appearances, there has never been more than one team from this state in the Frozen Four in any year.
*“He needs to play up to his ability level. We’re paying him a lot of money. He needs to play up to that contract.” — That was Mike Zimmer on Xavier Rhodes, talking to reporters Tuesday in Arizona. File that quote away.