Brian Murphy / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL — The Wild broke the tension with their Game 3 blowout of the Winnipeg Jets, but simply staying relevant in the first round is no way to advance in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The pressure for Minnesota to win Game 4 at home Tuesday night is palpable. Returning to Manitoba down three games to one is courting disaster. The Wild know it. Their fans know it. And so do the Jets, who would relish the opportunity to snuff their border rivals at raucous MTS Bell Centre.
ST. PAUL—The knives were out for Devan Dubnyk, and they were long, sharp and righteous. The Wild goaltender took a brief nap guarding his left post during a Winnipeg power play early in the first period Sunday night, April 15. Blake Wheeler flipped a one-hopper past him as if leading infield practice with a fungo. The groans were audible as turbocharged fans plunged faces into hands. Throughout the Xcel Energy Center, there was a palpable sense of dread, like watching the latest weather forecast.
MINNEAPOLIS—Tom Thibodeau came to Minnesota in part to solve the Timberwolves' defensive woes, but the second-year coach has so much more to prove heading to Houston for a first-round playoff series as a decided underdog against the turbocharged Rockets. Headline writers already are measuring "How Sweep It Is" for bold type and automated insert to bury the Wolves, who must corral one of the greatest offenses in NBA history if they want to survive their toughest possible matchup.
ST. PAUL—Stanley Cup or bust did not work in 2017, so it is time for the Minnesota Wild to just wag the dog, for they have nothing left to lose in a championship-starved market of high anxiety and low expectations. The underdog role certainly has its privileges, so embrace it, folks. Revel in its simplicity. Demand little in return. You just might be rewarded.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins finally succumbed to Mother Nature's cold hand. Sunday afternoon's game against the Seattle Mariners at Target Field was postponed in anticipation of another round of snow in the Twin Cities. The game will be made up at 6:10 p.m. May 14 — a mutual off day for both teams. Cold weather and snow have dominated the weather since the Twins returned home from their season-opening road trip to Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Field conditions prevented them from having batting practice at Target Field or PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
ORLANDO, Fla. — Vikings coach Mike Zimmer on Tuesday, March 27, mourned Teddy Bridgewater's free-agent departure like it was a death in the family, revealing how the team moved on from its former franchise quarterback because he had not fully recovered from his devastating August 2016 knee injury. Addressing media at the NFL owners meeting, Zimmer said Bridgewater appeared to be progressing when he returned to practice in October, enough for the head coach to have the quarterback back up starter Case Keenum the final eight weeks of the 2017 season.
ORLANDO, Fla. — Vikings coach Mike Zimmer on Tuesday mourned Teddy Bridgewater’s free-agent departure like it was a death in the family, revealing how the team moved on from its former franchise quarterback because he had not fully recovered from his devastating August 2016 knee injury. Addressing media at the NFL owners meeting, Zimmer said Bridgewater appeared to be progressing when he returned to practice in October, enough for the head coach to have the quarterback back up starter Case Keenum the final eight weeks of the 2017 season.
FORT MYERS, Fla.—The Twins bid farewell to the Grapefruit League on Sunday, March 25, with a 6-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox, packing their bags for a week in Washington and Baltimore with another exhibition game to play against the Nationals on Tuesday, March 27, and more personnel decisions to be made. Their 25-man roster does not need to be finalized until Wednesday, March 28, when Minnesota works out at Camden Yards in preparation for Thursday's season opener against the Orioles.
SARASOTA, Fla. — Late-camp injuries to pitcher Phil Hughes and outfielder Zack Granite are complicating the Twins' final roster decisions regarding their pitching staff and their bench. Manager Paul Molitor hoped to have his 25-man roster finalized when Minnesota breaks camp after the Sunday, March 25, Grapefruit League finale against the Red Sox. But uncertainty about two potential reserves might force the Twins to carry a larger traveling party to Washington on Tuesday for their final exhibition game against the Nationals before Thursday's season opener at Baltimore.
FORT MYERS, Fla.—Miguel Sano acknowledged he was frustrated by the three-month investigation into allegations that he assaulted a Twin Cities photographer but is grateful Major League Baseball did not discipline him. The Twins star third baseman briefly addressed reporters Saturday, March 24, in front of his locker at Hammond Stadium after MLB announced Friday it would not suspend Sano in connection with the October 2015 incident at a Minnetonka shopping mall.