So much going on…
Timberwolves: As regular readers know, I've always been disappointed by Ricky Rubio's development as a player, particularly as a shooter. I always wanted him to come back from a summer with a brand-new jump shot. Instead, he has performed a much harder task, reinventing his shot in the middle of what not long ago was a disappointing season.
Rubio not only scored a career-high 33 points last night, he did so while reversing his usual MO. Instead of faking shots to clear passing lanes, he faked passes to clear shooting lanes. This speaks to his newfound confidence.
Per my information, the Wolves have wanted to trade Rubio ever since Tom Thibodeau took over. Now, though, Rubio looks like an ideal fit with his, yes, still-promising young teammates.
Wild: I don't care what the Wild are saying publicly. Alex Stalock's promotion marked the symbolic end of Darcy Kuemper's Wild career. Stalock's strong performance only cemented the deal. The team doesn't trust Kuemper and we're seeing Dubnyk wear down during another demanding season. Kuemper may resurrect his career elsewhere but he has no value to the Wild.
Also, Joel Eriksson Ek provided a reminder of how easy hockey can look when you have top-flight skill. While his teammates have been desperately hoping for the occasional ugly goal, Ek flew through the Senators' defense and picked a corner. Ek is an ideal addition for this team right now.
Twins: One interesting aspect of writing opinion columns is the way people read more into what you have written than you actually intended. I'm not saying the Twins' front office is a failure. I'm saying I disagree with one key move - sending ByungHo Park to the minors. That's it. I'm not calling for them to be fired. I just think they messed this one up, and I admit that I'm focussed on this move because I'm searching for hope, and Park's swing this spring was a rare sign of Twins' hope.
Vikings: It's been an ugly six months, but I think this team makes the playoffs next year.
Hell's Kitchen: Next lives shows at Hell's Kitchen (9th and Nicollet, downtown Minneapolis, cheap parking after 4 in the Metro ramp above the restaurant):
-4:30 today my colleagues Megan Ryan and Amelia Rayno join me to talk Minnesota United, soccer in general, college hoops, food and travel. Stop by for $3 Surlys during happy hour and live questions, if you have any.
-Noon to 1 on Monday two-time world champ Al Newman will join me at Hell's Kitchen for our Twins preview on Sports From Hell. We'll take live questions.
Both shows will be shown on HK's Facebook Live page and published later as podcasts on MNSPN.com.