Although not popular with the masses, Matt Capps might be of more help to the Twins next season than anticipated. He was targeted by boo-bird fans last season (4-7, 4.25 ERA), but he had a sore right forearm. Capps has sometimes achieved impressive numbers as a big league closer. He had ERA’s of 2.28 and 3.02 with Pittsburgh and 2.74 for Washington before joining the Twins.
The Twins have acquired right-handed pitcher Daniel Turpen from the Rockies as the player to be named later in the Kevin Slowey trade. Turpen, 25, had a 2-4 record and 4.83 ERA with 11 saves in 48 appearances (one start) at Double-A Tulsa last season. He will be assigned to Triple-A Rochester’s roster.
With a 7-2 record and goals against average of 2.14 and save percentage of .932, Josh Harding is probably the Wild’s MVP so far. Harding has seven of the team’s 18 victories and helped the Wild to the most wins and points in the NHL. He’s been given the most extensive playing time in his career by new coach Mike Yeo.
This team is building confidence by the week, receives scoring from various players and has shown a franchise-rare ability to come from behind in wins. The Wild have won five straight games and play the Kings in Los Angeles Thursday night.
At home the team has sold-out only two games, the opener and the day after Thanksgiving game, according to a Sports Headliners source. Past disappointments, high price tickets, and even HDTV are reasons the franchise that used to automatically post sell-out signs is no longer doing so. The Wild haven’t made the playoffs for three years.
Coach Don Lucia’s Gophers hockey team, 13-4-1, is the only team in the country with 13 wins. Minnesota has 20 WCHA points for the first time in 12 games since the 2006-07 season. The Gophers, 10-2 in the WCHA, host Michigan Tech on Friday and Saturday nights.
Ch. 23 will show Saturday afternoon’s St. Thomas-UW-Whitewater Division III football semifinals playoff game from Whitewater, Wisconsin. The telecast will be produced and shown nationally on the ESPN3.com Website. The game can also be heard on WCCO Radio.
Tommies coach Glenn Caruso is a Division III finalist for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year award. This is the first time in St. Thomas history the football team has advanced to the Division III semifinals.
Concordia, St. Paul senior offensive left tackle Tyler Hendrickson is a finalist for the Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year award. Last year Hendrickson, from St. Paul, finished third in the voting which recognizes the top junior or senior offensive and defensive linemen in the nation. The winner will be announced on January 22.
Defending Class 4A champion Hopkins plays Cretin-Derham Hall starting at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday in one of many games that are part of the Breakdown Tip Off Classic at Minnetonka. That game is on the Main Court while at 7:45 p.m. Tartan and Apple Valley on the West Court.