Minnesota Sports Briefs: Colorado beats Minnesota in shoot-outMinnesota Sports
-- Colorado's Milan Hejduk and Matt Duchene each posted a goal in the shootout to lift the Avalanche past the Wild, 4-3 last night in St. Paul.
ST. PAUL -- Colorado's Milan Hejduk and Matt Duchene each posted a goal in the shootout to lift the Avalanche past the Wild, 4-3 last night in St. Paul.
Both also scored in regulation for Colorado, which improved to 5-6-1. J.S. Giguere made 26 saves in net for the victors. Mikko Koivu tallied a goal and an assist for Minnesota, which dropped to 6-7-1. Dany Heatley registered a pair of assists in defeat. Niklas Backstrom turned aside 29 attempts in the setback. The Wild host Detroit on Sunday at 5 p.m.
Despite a four-month lockout, NHL season ticket prices are reportedly up nearly six-percent from last season. According to an annual study released by Team Marketing Report, a sports marketing research firm in Chicago, the NHL had the biggest increase among pro sports leagues. The average season-ticket price for non-premium seats is just over $61. The Minnesota Wild average ticket price remained unchanged from last season and is just above the league average at $62. The Toronto Maple Leafs have the highest average ticket price at nearly $125, while the Dallas Stars have the cheapest ticket at just over $36. The "Fan Cost Index," which comprises the prices of four average-priced tickets, various concession items, parking, two programs and two hats, also rose to nearly $355. Wild fans saw an estimated two-percent jump in that measure from a year ago, just below the league average, however, at $353.
The first half of the NBA season is now complete and the Timberwolves enter the All-Star Break with a bitter taste in their mouth. They lost to Utah on Wednesday night 97-93 and have dropped eight of their last ten games to close out the pre-All-Star Game portion of the schedule with a 19-31 mark, good enough for last place in the NBA Western Conference Northwest Division. Among the teams in the West, only Phoenix has a worse record. The Wolves return to action next Wednesday with a home game against Philadelphia. Minnesota guards Ricky Rubio and Alexei Shved will take part in the NBA Rising Stars Challenge Game tonight in Houston. No Wolves made the All-Star team.
Rainy weather yesterday forced the Minnesota Twins to shuffle a few things, but the club was able to get most of Thursday's workout in. Pitchers and catchers continue to train in Fort Myers with most of the pitchers throwing off the mound yesterday and most of the catchers hitting in cages. Positional players must report today with an official full-squad practice set for tomorrow. Minnesota opens the spring training schedule with a game in Sarasota a week from tomorrow against the Orioles.
The Twins added a left-handed option to their spring training roster yesterday when they signed Rafael Perez to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training. The 30-year-old Perez made eight appearances for the Indians last year before a shoulder injury wiped his season out. He has appeared in 338 games for Cleveland in his career with a 3.64 earned run average.
Newly-elected Pro Football Hall of Famer Cris Carter was in Minnesota yesterday talking with reporters about his recent selection for enshrinement. Carter says he always had love for the "Purple" and learning he'd be going into the Hall of Fame was the greatest day of his life. Carter will be inducted in August and says he will have his son introduce him at the ceremony in Canton, Ohio.
Wayzata's Tim Herron fired a three-under-par-68 in yesterday's opening round of the PGA Tour event in California. That places him in a tie for seventh-place after day one, four shots behind leader Matt Kuchar. Burnsville native Cameron Beckman shot a nine-over-par-80 and withdrew from the tourney. Round two is set for today.
St. Cloud State captured the regular season NSIC wrestling championship with a 29-6 dual meet win over No. 8 Minnesota State-Mankato last night in St. Cloud. The top-ranked Huskies are now 21-0 on the season and 8-0 in the league. The win also ties the NCAA Division II record for consecutive dual meet wins at 47. The victory was also the 100th in head coach Steve Costanzo's career.
If this year's snowmelt is not followed by steady spring rains, it's looking like another active wildfire season in Minnesota. The DNR's Olin Phillips says even though we've had better snow than last year, we are still going to have some very dry fuel and soil conditions that will really kick off fire season pretty aggressively. Phillips says this year is also likely to see more fire in non-traditional fire areas, including cropland of western and southwestern Minnesota The DNR fought fire on 60-thousand acres last year, double the annual average.