Minnesota Sports Roundup: Wild could be back in more geographically-friendly division next yearMinnesota Sports
-- The NHL Players' Association is signing off on the league's realignment plan.
TORONTO - The NHL Players' Association is signing off on the league's realignment plan.
The NHL plans to go from six to four divisions next season. The Minnesota Wild would be in a seven-team division that includes Chicago, St. Louis, Winnipeg, Colorado, Nashville, and Dallas. Detroit and Columbus would move to the NHL Eastern Conference. The top three teams in each division will qualify for the postseason, with four other wild cards making up the 16-team playoff field. The realignment plan is still subject to approval by the NHL Board of Governors. If approved, realignment will make travel more efficient as well as restore multiple matchups with some traditional rivals.
The Wild wrap up their brief two-game road trip tomorrow night in Nashville against the Predators. Minnesota has lost two-of-three following Tuesday's 5-3 setback in Chicago. The Wild sit at 11-9-2 on the season. The Preds are 9-9-5. They host the Oilers tonight before facing the Wild tomorrow.
Here is Friday's schedule of semifinal games in the 2013 Minnesota Boys' State Hockey Tournament in St. Paul:
CLASS A: Breck vs. Hermantown, 11am
CLASS A: St. Thomas Academy vs. East Grand Forks, 1pm
CLASS AA: Edina vs. Duluth East, 6pm
CLASS AA: Hill-Murray vs. Wayzata, 8pm
The WCHA has named University of Minnesota star women's hockey player Amanda Kessel as the league Player of the Year. The junior forward from Madison, Wisconsin became the first Gopher since 2005 to earn the WCHA top honor. She led the conference in scoring with 75 points in 25 conference games. Her teammate Megan Bozek of Buffalo Grove, Illinois was named the WCHA Defensive Player of the Year. And, Gopher newcomer Hannah Brandt of Vadnais Heights was the league's Rookie of the Year. Minnesota goaltender Noora Raty of Finland is the top goaltender in the WCHA, while Gopher coach Brad Frost was named the WCHA Coach of the Year. The Gophers are undefeated this season and play tonight in the semifinals of the WCHA Final Face-off on the U of M campus.
The University of Minnesota women's basketball team swept Ohio State in two games during the regular season, but Minneapolis native Tayler Hill paced the Buckeyes to a 58-47 win over Minnesota in the opening round of the Big Ten Women's Postseason Tournament. Hill scored 25 points against her homestate team. Gopher star sophomore Rachel Banham scored 20 points for Minnesota The Gophers' exit from the tourney leaves them with an 18-13 overall record and out of the NCAA Tourney mix. The team will wait to find out if they get an invitation to the Women's National Invitational Tournament or a different postseason event.
The Minnesota Golden Gopher men's basketball team closes out the regular season tomorrow at Purdue. The Gophers had their two-game winning streak snapped with Wednesday's 53-51 setback at Nebraska. Minnesota sits at 20-10 and 8-9 in the Big Ten. Purdue is 14-16 and 7-10. Tipoff tomorrow is set for 11 a.m.
The Minnesota Timberwolves take on the Nuggets tomorrow in Denver. Minnesota will then return back home to host Dallas on Sunday. The T'wolves snapped their six-game losing streak with an 87-82 victory over Washington on Wednesday. They sit at 21-and-37 on the season.
The Twins split their team yesterday for a pair of spring training games. Center fielder Aaron Hicks homered three times against the Phillies to help Minnesota rally for a 10-6 in Clearwater. The Twins got into an early hole when top prospect Kyle Gibson allowed six runs on eight hits in less than three innings of work on the mound. Meanwhile, Boston raced by the Twins in the other game of the day. The final in Fort Myers was 12-5. Boston scored five runs in the fifth inning. The Twins take on Boston in a night game this evening in Fort Myers.