The Latest – January 16, 2012 16 Jan 12

Timberwolves Host Sacramento
(Minneapolis, MN) — A pair of NBA teams coming off of embarrassing losses hook up at the Target Center tonight. Minnesota watched an 18-point second half lead slip away in Atlanta on Saturday night, while Sacramento scored only 60 points in a 39-point loss to Dallas on Saturday. The Timberwolves are 4-and-8 on the season, while the Kings are 4-and-9. This is the first meeting between the two clubs this year. Tipoff tonight is set for 7 p.m.

Wild Headed To Philly
(St. Paul, MN) — The Minnesota Wild had a morning skate at the Xcel Energy Center this morning before continuing their four-game road trip in Philadephia. Minnesota lost at Chicago on Tuesday and at St. Louis on Saturday. The team had the day off yesterday before this morning’s workout. The Wild will play against the Flyers tomorrow night. Star player Mikko Koivu will not play in tomorrow’s game and could miss up to a month of the season after injuring his shoulder in Saturday’s shootout loss at St. Louis.

High School Hockey Rules Stiffened
(Brooklyn Center, MN) — In light of recent serious injuries to high school hockey players, the Minnesota State High School League has implemented immediate changes to stiffen rules against dangerous on-ice behavior. Penalties for three infractions have been increased substantially. Checking from behind will now become a five-minute major penalty plus a ten-minute game misconduct penalty. It had previously been a two-minute minor penalty plus a ten-minute game midconduct. In addition, any contact that results in an opponent being sent violently into the boards will now be a mandatory five-minute major penalty, instead of the option of either two- or five-minute sanction. And, a contact to the head penalty will now become an automatic five-minute major penalty, instead of the option of either a two- or five-minute penalty. In each of the three scenarios, a player can be disqualified from the game if an official warrants it.

Governor To Reveal Bonding Proposal Tuesday
(St. Paul, MN) — Governor Dayton rolls out his bonding proposal tomorrow for state public works projects and it’s expected he’ll go to the limit of 775-million dollars. Senate Minority Leader, Cook Democrat Tom Bakk [[ Bock ]], says it’s critically important to maximize bonding, adding that the construction industry is in a “depression”. But Senate Majority Leader, Rochester Republican Dave Senjem, appears cautious about a bonding bill that large. He acknowleges job creation is a priority, but says there is about “two billion dollars in the queue actually on bonding yet to be done, with jobs there as well.” A bonding bill is the main assigned task of the legislature in even-numbered years, but a Vikings stadium will likely be on the radar screen as well.

Peterson Expects Different-Looking Team
(Eden Prairie, MN) — Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson says he thinks the team will have a new look when it hits the field next season. Peterson anticipates a roster turnover from this past season to next, but would not speculate on which players might be leaving. Peterson says there are obvious areas of need on the team and the upper management will make decisions to fill those voids. Peterson continues his recovery from knee surgery and says his goal is to play in the season opener in 2012.

Coleman Honored
(Chicago, IL) — University of Minnesota freshman basketball player Joe Coleman of Minneapolis has been named the Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Week. Coleman scored a career-high 23 points in yesterday’s 80-66 win at Penn State. He also sank four clutch free throws in the final minute of last Thursday’s upset win at then number-eight Indiana. He finished that game with eight points. This is Coleman’s first weekly award from the Big Ten. Joe Coleman is the younger brother of former Gopher Dan Coleman. Dan Coleman was named the Big Ten Player of the Week back in December of 2007.

Gophers Basketball
(Minneapolis, MN) — Golden Gophers men’s basketball coach Tubby Smith is giving his team the day off today. Minnesota beat Penn State yesterday 80-66 in a second straight Big Ten road win. Classes resume at the University of Minnesota tomorrow, so the players will be back to a regular routine of games, practices, and classes. The Gophers host Northwestern on Sunday at 3 p.m.

Uniform Unveiling
(Minneapolis, MN) — The University of Minnesota football program will unveil its newly-designed uniforms at a private gathering on Friday afternoon at TCF Bank Stadium. Select players will be wearing the uniforms in the stadium’s locker room on Friday. Select boosters, season ticket holders, and media members are invited to the event. The Gophers last month revealed their new helmet design via the Internet.

Spring Training Tickets
(Minneapolis, MN) — Single game tickets for the Minnesota Twins spring training home games in Fort Myers, Florida are on sale. Tickets are available on the team webpage, the Target Field box office, the Hammond Stadium box office, or by calling 1-800-33-TWINS. Twins pitchers and catchers officially report to spring training on Febraury 18th, while position players are due in on February 24th. The opening home game of spring training is slated for March 3rd against the Rays. Spring training season tickets and group tickets are already on sale.

Dirt Racing Dates
(Elko, MN) — Dates have been finalized for the 2012 Spring Dirt Nationals at Elko Speedway. The two-day event takes place April 20th and 21st at the three-eighths-mile track, which is usually reserved for racing on pavement. Dirt is brought in for the Spring Dirt Nationals and sprint cars will take to the temporary surface. Elko Speedway is located about 35 miles south of the Twin Cities.

Freeze Yer Gizzard in Nation’s Icebox
(International Falls, MN) — The 32nd annual Ice Box Festival kicks off this week. The festival is held in the official “Icebox of the Nation:” International Falls. The featured event is the annual Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Race. International Falls Chamber of Commerce president Faye Whitbeck says there were about 300 runners at last year’s event, including participants from all over the U-S, Canada, and even some from Europe. There is still time to register for Saturday’s 5-K and 10-K races. “Ice Box Days” kicks off Wednesday and runs through Sunday. Festival information can be found at Freeze-Yer-Gizzard-Run-dot-Com.

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grimm/rtm

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