After spending most of the past two weekends and all of last week in Texas, I found myself with this thought as I regained a deeper knowledge of the local sports scene: Even when you're casually paying attention to sports back home from afar, a lot can change in a little over a week.
Let's consider this, then, an exercise in, "What did I miss?"
•The night before departure, the Wild was drilled 7-4 at New Jersey. Many fans either were voicing eulogies for the season or declaring that they didn't care if the Wild made the postseason or not because Minnesota didn't deserve it.
The day of arrival back home, the Wild won its fifth consecutive game. The first two were in shootouts (including one over Chicago to improve to 4-0 against the Blackhawks).
The third was a 2-1 win over the Pacific-leading Kings — and more importantly, it was a game in which the Wild was outshot 39-18 but Devan Dubnyk flat-out stole a game for the first time in recent memory.
The last two came by a combined score of 10-2, with Zach Parise scoring a combined five goals. In the second of the wins, 4-0 over Colorado, the Wild moved the probability that it will make the playoffs up to 95 percent, per Sports Club Stats' simulations.
And suddenly fans are fired up not just about making the playoffs but doing damage if the Wild is indeed peaking at the right time.
•The narrative from spring training before leaving was that the Twins' rotation was pretty well set with Phil Hughes, Ervin Santana, Kyle Gibson, Tyler Duffey and Tommy Milone as the go-to five.
A little over a week later, there seems to be some genuine competition brewing between Duffey and the oft-forgotten Ricky Nolasco for the final rotation spot. Have to admit, it was hard to see that one coming.
•In the past 10 days, Ricky Rubio has continued his climb from one of the worst shooters in NBA history to someone who looks confident and competent from all parts of the court.
In the month of March, Rubio is attempting 3.7 three-pointers per game and making 39.6 percent of them. He's shooting 45.6 percent overall from the field. He even shot better from three-point range and scored more points than Steph Curry in a showdown at Target Center.
•If you wanted to root for a Minnesota college hockey team this March, hopefully you hopped on the Gophers women's bandwagon. They were the only Minnesota program to make the NCAA women's tournament, and they won their fourth championship in five years.
On the men's side, it was a rough month for the State of Hockey. The Gophers failed to make the tournament, St. Cloud State was bounced in the first round after earning the tourney's No. 2 overall seed, and Minnesota Duluth fell short in the quarterfinals against Boston College.