Minnesota Sports Can Leave You “Seeing Red”
“Radio is not a visual medium,” - if you’ve heard “The Northland’s Sports Page” before, you know that is my favorite catchphrase. Granted, radio in 2022 also includes social media, websites, videos, and articles/columns just like this one. But you can't see me while I am calling a game or doing my weekly show. After all, if radio was visual, I may not be able to keep a job. Lately, that’s not just an attempt at humorous self-deprecation.
Let’s call my past week a “rough patch.” Sadly, the main reason is that I can describe my face the exact same way. I’ve been battling a skin condition where essentially it looks as though I got an early start on being Raphael for my Halloween costume. He is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle who wore the red “mask” bandana over his face.
Gels, ointments, and face washes have become more common in my world than breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Yet so far, improvements have been minimal. Every time I look in the mirror, I’m seeing red. For my desire to be seen in public, this is awful. As a sports fan – it’s perfect.
On Thursday, we can all see the red, green, and white of the Minnesota Wild in a meaningful game. I have no doubt (read that in your Jacques Lemaire voice) that the “State of Hockey” will be out in full force at “The X,” as a four-game homestand opens the season.
The Wild serve as a comfort zone for a Minnesota sports fan. Are they amazing? No. They’re as void of championships as every team outside of the Lynx or Twins. Yet they’re rarely bad, and even if they were, it’s hockey. Fair or not, the Wild seem to get unconditional love.
Yet there are reasons to love this team. There is a coach we trust, a big-name GM who has a no-nonsense approach to everything, and a true superstar in the very early stages of his career. Throw in a goaltender with nothing left to prove overall, but a ton to prove to Minnesota, and it could be a fun season.
Will they be better than last year? Dave Cook and I covered this on last week’s show, and we didn’t think so initially. Yet I’m not as certain the more I think about this: What does better mean? If it’s a worse record, but a deeper postseason, that’s better, right?
You don’t lose the offensive capability of Kevin Fiala, then part ways with half of last year’s dynamic goaltending duo and think “we got better,” but what will the chemistry be like? How will the young guns of Matt Boldy and Marco Rossi do in extended action? Remember when the Vikings moved on from Randall Cunningham and Jeff George and went to that inexperienced Culpepper fella? Pretty memorable first year.
Speaking of the Vikes, they have everyone seeing red, but is it red with anger, or bloodshot exhaustion? For some, winning ugly may as well be losing. There is no joy, no matter the end result. These people must be super fun at parties. For others, this is the greatest team ever as the bounces are finally going our way. We are winning games we historically lose. I don’t think I can party with these folks either, because I couldn’t keep up with them.
I’m riding the fence on this. This defense is putrid. Kirk Cousins isn’t consistent enough. Special Teams has been both a friend and foe the last two weeks. Yet, they’re 4-1, and in a good spot in a questionable division. Green Bay is struggling. Chicago is still grooming Justin Fields. For all the Lions hype, I still think Dan Campbell is just Mike Tice with “HBO-cred.” Tice used to tell us to “enjoy the season,” and fans of the purple need to learn to do just that.
To be fair, I asked for an easy victory over Chicago in last week’s column, and that didn’t happen. I also said it’s ok to know you need improvement while winning along the way. If you read last week’s column, you already knew that.
Hopefully, this week’s column is the best thing you’ve read all week. Or should I say “red?”
I’ll chat with you Saturday as we ask Chad Greenway how to fix this defense for the Vikings. You can hear me at 10 am, and be thrilled you don’t have to see me at all.
Brian's show, 'The Northland Sports Page', can be heard Saturdays from 10 am to noon on the FAN 106.5 FM/560 AM. You can catch previous episodes on the Northland FAN On-Demand area of our website or on our mobile app.