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Nanne: Zach Parise Timing to Come Fast

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January 4, 2018

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A Thursday notes column:

Zach Parise made his season debut with the Wild Tuesday night after being sidelined following back surgery. How long will it take for the star forward to have his timing return to normal?

“Within 10 days he should be perfect,” Minnesota hockey authority Lou Nanne told Sports Headliners.

What contributions does Nanne see ahead for the Wild’s 33-year-old wing? “Well, I think that you’re going to see a guy that never stops working. He’s a leader on the team. He’s a guy that can score some goals and he should be a good addition to the lineup.”

Parise had back surgery on October 24 and played solidly on Tuesday night in his debut game. He is expected to play again tonight when Minnesota hosts the Sabres.

Parise scored 42 points in 69 games last season including six power goals and four game winners.

The Wild has been disappointing this season, lacking consistency and goal scoring. Minnesota might struggle to make the playoffs even though owner Craig Leipold said before the season that anything short of winning the Stanley Cup will be disappointing.

What kind of pressure does that put on individuals and the organization? “I don’t know what it does,” Nanne said. “It says he’s got high expectations.”

The Wild defeated the Sabres 5-4 November 22 in Buffalo—the only previous game this season between the two teams. Wild assistant coach Bob Woods was an assistant with the Sabres last season.

In January of 2015 the Wild shutout the Sabres 7-0, the largest margin of victory in franchise history.

The Gophers were able to defeat Illinois 77-67 last night because All-Big Ten point guard Nate Mason played after being sidelined for awhile with a sprained ankle. ESPN basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla told Sports Headliners the Gophers being without Mason is like the powerhouse Ohio State football team not having quarterback J.T. Barrett. Both are that kind of catalyst for their teams, Fraschilla said. Mason and forward Jordan Murphy scored team highs of 17 points last night.

Tre Jones

Fraschilla believes it’s likely Duke freshman point guard Trevon Duvall will declare for the NBA Draft after this season, opening the way for Apple Valley senior Tre Jones to become a starter for the Blue Devils next fall.

Minnesota native Brian Dutcher is in his first season as San Diego State head basketball coach. Injuries have been a problem, although the Aztecs beat top 25 ranked Gonzaga in San Diego and defeated Georgia on a neutral court.

The Aztecs are 2-1 in Mountain West Conference games and 10-4 overall, while former Timberwolves assistant coach Eric Musselman has Nevada off to an even better start. Nevada is 2-0 in Mountain West games and 14-3 overall.

Gopher Deputy Athletics Director John Cunningham told Sports Headliners the $166 million University of Minnesota Athletes Village will be ready for use by mid-January. Approximately $105 million of the project is secured with fundraising ongoing. The construction cost is also being financed through bonds.

Bill Robertson, the men’s WCHA commissioner based in Bloomington, is excited about his league as the New Year begins including the Minnesota State team ranked No. 7 in the country in the latest USCHO poll. “I think they have a legitimate shot to end up in St. Paul (playing for the national title).”

Robertson is also enthusiastic about Bemidji State senior goalie Michael Bitzer, who has already played over 1,000 minutes and looks like a candidate for college awards recognizing both the player and goalie of the year. “He continues to do marvelous things,” Robertson said. “In my mind he will be a Hobey Baker contender as well as a Mike Richter contender this year, both awards.”

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve recently signed a multiyear contract extension and also assumed the general manager’s title and role with the local WNBA franchise. Reeve speaks to the CORES lunch group January 11 at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Bloomington, 1114 American Blvd. Lunch reservations must be made by January 8. More information is available by contacting Jim Dotseth, dotsethj@comcast.net. CORES is an acronym for coaches, officials, reporters, educators and sports fans.

Players and others associated with the 1968, 1969 and 1970 Big Ten champion Gopher baseball teams will be recognized May 12 at Siebert Field when Minnesota plays Michigan State.

Jerry Kindall was an assistant coach to Dick Siebert on those teams.  Kindall, a former Minnesota Twin before going into coaching, passed away late last month.  The St. Paul native was also an assistant basketball coach for the Gophers and went on to become head baseball coach at Arizona where he won national titles.

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David Shama

David Shama is a former sports editor and columnist with local publications. His writing and reporting experiences include covering the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Gophers. Shama’s career experiences also include sports marketing. He is the former Marketing Director of the Minnesota North Stars of the NHL. He is also the former Marketing Director of the United States Tennis Association’s Northern Section. A native of Minneapolis, Shama has been part of the community his entire life. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he majored in journalism. He also has a Master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas. He was a member of the Governor’s NBA’s Task Force to help create interest in bringing pro basketball to town in the 1980s.

(1) Reader Comment

  1. avatar
    Tom Bienemann
    January 10, 2018 at 9:14 pm

    RIP Jerry Kindall. Saw him play in Wrigley a number of times. I played for him when he coached Gopher frosh hoops. Solid guy. Real straight arrow. He played on a Gopher NCAA baseball champion if I'm not mistaken.

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