- Former Vikings beat writer and current ESPN Insider Jeremy Fowler floats the idea that Vikings general manager Rick Spielman could be promoted into a “cushy senior role” by owners Zygi and Mark Wilf after the season. That would enable the Wilfs to hire a new GM and not have to fire a guy they obviously like and respect. Spielman has been with the Vikings since 2006 and was promoted to GM after the team went 3-13 in 2011. You have to wonder if part of the reason George Paton stuck around so long as assistant GM was because of the expectation Spielman would move into another role at some point. Paton took the GM job in Denver last offseason.
- If the Vikings fire Mike Zimmer after the season, the Wilfs will be looking for their fifth coach since they bought the team in 2005. The first two, Mike Tice and Brad Childress, had a background in offense, while the last two, Leslie Frazier and Zimmer, were defensive coordinators. Tice was the coach when the Wilfs bought the team and only lasted a season under new ownership.
- Don’t be surprised if Wild goalie Cam Talbot gets consideration to be on Team Canada for the Olympic Games in February in Beijing, China. Hockey Canada released a “long list” of six goalies under consideration for the team in October. It included Carter Hart, Marc-Andre Fleury, Darcy Kuemper, Jordan Binnington, MacKenzie Blackwood and Carey Price. Price has yet to play this season. The Penguins’ Tristan Jarry also was not on the initial list but his play this season (1.92 goals-against average) likely has changed that.
- Talbot stopped 38 shots in the Wild’s 4-1 win over Edmonton on Tuesday, extending his winning streak to five games. The veteran has stopped 175-of-184 shots for a 1.74 goals against and .951 saves percentage since Nov. 24. Talbot, who was signed to a three-year, $11 million free agent deal by the Wild in October 2020, has turned out to be a bargain.
- Other Wild players who will or could be headed to the Olympics include Joel Eriksson Ek and Jonas Brodin (Sweden), Jared Spurgeon (Canada), Kirill Kaprizov (Russia), Kevin Fiala (Switzerland) and Nico Sturm (Germany). This assumes, of course, that NHL players are still going to the Games. The hockey tournament is scheduled to run from Feb. 9 to 20.
- Center Marco Rossi, one of the Wild’s top prospects, returned to the Iowa Wild lineup on Wednesday night against Rockford after a brief absence. Rossi has missed five games this season because of undisclosed injuries. Winger Matthew Boldy, meanwhile, missed the first month of Iowa’s season after suffering a fractured left ankle with Minnesota in the preseason. He returned for seven games, scoring four goals with three assists, but is not on the team’s current trip. Boldy appeared to suffer another lower-body injury in Iowa’s 4-0 loss to Chicago on Sunday. Rossi is tied for the team lead with 15 points, including three goals, in 14 games.
- The Vancouver Canucks are 2-0 under former Wild coach Bruce Boudreau, who took over after Travis Green was fired on Sunday. The Canucks beat the Kings, 4-0, in Boudreau’s first game and then won a shootout, 2-1, over Boston on Wednesday.
- The Twins’ Triple-A affiliate, the St. Paul Saints, will be the only game in town if the MLB lockout extends into April. The Saints are scheduled to open their season on April 5 in Louisville and play their home opener a week later, on April 12, against Indianapolis at CHS Stadium.
- A few of the changes in MLB that need to be in place when the lockout ends: A 20-second pitch clock; a rule that requires the first and second basemen to be on the right field of the second base bag and the shortstop and third baseman to be on the left field side of it; infielders must be positioned on the infield dirt; and the designated hitter needs to be added in the National League. I’m sure I’m missing a few things, so what else? (@jzulgad on Twitter).
- Dave Flemming, Rod Gilmore and Stormy Buonantony will have the ESPN call of Gophers-West Virginia at the Guaranteed Rate Bowl at 9:15 p.m. on Dec. 28 from Chase Field in Phoenix.
- Center Myles Turner has called out the Indiana Pacers for not seeing him as a valued part of their lineup and the 11-16 team reportedly is willing to listen to trade offers for the 25-year-old. While it’s fun to speculate about the Wolves going after Ben Simmons or Damian Lillard, Turner appears to be a realistic target and someone SKOR North scoopmaster Darren “Doogie” Wolfson has long talked about as being a good fit for the Wolves. Doogie isn’t the only Wolves Insider who has made this point. The question is what would it take for Sachin Gupta, the Wolves’ executive vice president of basketball operations, to land Turner?
- Turner is under contract through the 2022-23 season with a base salary of $17.5 million for each year and a salary cap hit of $18 million.
- The Wolves were 11-10 after a 100-98 victory over Indiana on Nov. 29. Since that time, Minnesota has lost to Washington (115-107), Brooklyn (110-105), Atlanta (121-110) and Utah (136-104). The last two games the Wolves have been without D’Angelo Russell because of right ankle soreness. He missed two games earlier this season because of a sprained right ankle. The Wolves have looked like a different team, and not in a good way, with Russell watching from the bench.
- It was extremely interesting to hear Anthony Edwards’ postgame comments after the loss to the Jazz on Wednesday in which he acknowledged he told Karl-Anthony Towns he needed to be more aggressive when teams are going to double-team him. Edwards is all of 20 years old and in his second NBA season. Towns is 26 and in his seventh season.
Anthony Edwards discusses how KAT needs to deal with double teams. “You gotta go quick.” Don’t wait for the double to come. He used Embiid as an example of going quick. Ant said it was disrespectful that Utah defended Towns with Bojan Bogdanović + Karl needs to kill every night. pic.twitter.com/kXhEiTl4qZ
— John Meyer (@meyerNBA) December 9, 2021