The Latest – January 19, 2012 19 Jan 12

Wild-Leafs
(Toronto, Ontario) — The Minnesota Wild will look to stop a 10-game road winless streak with a game tonight north of the border. The Toronto Maple Leafs host Minnesota in the first meeting of the season between the two NHL clubs. Both are in similar positions, trying to fight back into playoff position, each sitting in ninth-place in their respective conferences. Minnesota has 51 points and sits one-point behind Colorado in the Western Conference. Toronto has 49 points and is three-points in arrears to Florida in the Eastern Conference. Toronto has lost three straight games, while Minnesota has tanked, losing 14 of its past 16 games. Tonight’s contest is set to begin at 6 p.m.

Wild Possibly Wheeling and Dealing
(St. Paul, MN) — No longer clinging to the eighth spot in the NHL Western Conference, Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher is working the phones to try to possibly work on trades that could upgrade his team. Minnesota is missing Mikko Koivu [[ MEE-koh KOY-voo ]], Pierre-Marc Bouchard [[ boo-SHARD ]], and Guillaume Latendresse [[ gee-OHM LAH-tahn-dress ]] and could use some added scoring punch. Fletcher says there is a market out there and other teams are also trying to get into the mix and upgrade, so the dealing is tough. This is the first time Minnesota has been out of playoff position since October 31st, seven games into the season.

Defensive Coordinator Spot
(Eden Prairie, MN) — The Minnesota Vikings may have their new defensive coordinator. Long-time Indianapolis Colts defensive backs coach Alan Williams has reportedly been offered the job and it is likely a deal will soon be worked out. Williams has been with the Colts since 2002, after a one-year stint with the Buccaneers. He served on the Colts staff with current Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier. Former coordinator Fred Pagac [[ PUH-gutch ]] will stay with the Vikings, following a demotion to linebackers coach. Mike Singletary remains on staff, as well.

Gopher Women
(Minneapolis, MN) — The University of Minnesota women’s basketball team will try to snap a two-game losing skid when it hosts Michigan State tonight in a Big Ten home game. The Golden Gophers are 2-and-3 in the Big Ten and 10-and-9 overall. Reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Week Rachel Banham of Lakeville is on roll, setting career highs in points in three of her last four games. Michigan State is 12-and-6 overall and 4-and-1 in the Big Ten. Tipoff tonight is 7 p.m.

Gopher Men
(Minneapolis, MN) — Golden Gophers men’s basketball coach Tubby Smith will put his team through a practice today, as they get ready for Sunday’s game against Northwestern. Northwestern lost at Wisconsin last night 77-57. Smith says with the start of second semester classes this week, his team is adjusting to a new routine. Sunday’s game begins at 3 p.m.

Wolves Practice Before Trip
(Minneapolis, MN) — The Minnesota Timberwolves have won two games in-a-row and are having a late morning practice at the Target Center today before leaving for a two-game road trip out west. Minnesota visits the Clippers in Los Angeles tomorrow night at 9:30 p.m. and plays at Utah on Saturday night at 8 p.m. The Wolves are 6-and-8 on the season.

Rubio Follow
(Minneapolis, MN) — While Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio struggled shooting the ball during last night’s 93-85 win over Detroit, he did make a mark in the game. His six steals were the most in a game by a Minnesota player in nearly five years. Kevin Garnett had seven steals in a game back on January 27th, 2007. The team record for steals in a game is eight by Tyrone Corbin in 1990 and Terrell Brandon in 2000. Rubio was 1-for-8 shooting from the field last night, but did connect on 7-of-8 free throws to score nine points.

Ainge Would Consider Trading Big Three
(Boston, MA) — With his team struggling and getting older, Boston Celtics executive Danny Ainge wants to be proactive. Ainge told the “Boston Globe” he would consider making trades involving the Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce if it made the team younger and more competitive for the long term. All three players are in their mid-30′s and the team is just 5-and-8 after snapping a five-game losing streak last night. As a player, Ainge watched the Celtics struggle after holding on to aging veterans Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish in the 90′s. Garnett was traded to Boston from the Timberwolves in 2007.

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grimm/rtm

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