Frozen Four compete in St. Paul, NBA steers clear of Timberwolves dispute and other sports news

Timberwolves Nuggets Basketball
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) shoots goes as Minnesota Timberwolves guard Monte Morris, front right, and forward Kyle Anderson defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Wednesday in Denver.
David Zalubowski | AP

Frozen Four celebrations begin Thursday afternoon in downtown St. Paul. The NCAA men’s hockey semifinalists are facing off at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Xcel Energy Center. The University of Minnesota Gophers are not among them, this time.

MPR News Host Cathy Wurzer talked with sports contributors Wally Langfellow and Eric Nelson about what to expect in the championship and other news from the week in Minnesota sports.

Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

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Audio transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING] CATHY WURZER: Well, in about 10 minutes at 1 o'clock, straight up Central time, Frozen Four celebrations begin in downtown St. Paul. The NCAA men's hockey semifinalists are facing off later this afternoon and evening. The University of Minnesota Gophers not among them this time.

Joining us to talk about what to expect in the championship and much more, Wally Langfellow and Eric Nelson. Wally is the founder of Minnesota Score Sports magazine. Eric is the Vikings reporter for CBS Sports. Together, they host the sports talk show, wildly popular 10,000 Takes on radio and TV. How are you guys doing?

ERIC NELSON: Hey, Cathy. Doing great.

WALLY LANGFELLOW: Good. Yeah, very good.

CATHY WURZER: Good. Excellent. Glad to hear that. Let's begin with the Timberwolves. And I don't know if I really care as much as what's happening on the court than I do what's been happening behind closed doors with Glen Taylor and A-Rod and Marc Lore. I mean, it just doesn't sound like a very positive situation, Wally.

WALLY LANGFELLOW: No, you should be paying attention to what's going on in the court--


WALLY LANGFELLOW: --because this is easily their best season since 2004 when they made a run to the Western Conference Finals. And hopefully, they're going to make a similar run this year. We shall see. That remains to be seen.

All right, we'll go with the off-the-court stuff first. Commissioner Adam Silver has now said that the NBA probably going to stay out of the battle between Glen Taylor and A-Rod and Marc Lore. They're going to go to arbitration, it looks like. Some interesting things popping up.

Glen Taylor apparently found out that A-Rod and Marc Lore had released a potential budget, which would include some serious budget cuts, which may or may not have included keeping Karl Anthony Towns on the roster going forward. So it is rumored that that is one of the reasons that Glen Taylor stepped in and said, no, not so much. I don't want to sell the team. I think that there are other things.

I think there's some seller's remorse because the Timberwolves are doing so well, and Glen has been there since day one when he bought the team-- not day one when the team was in existence, but since he bought the team, and been through a lot of downs and not a tremendous amount of ups and felt like, well, wait a minute. I have a chance to put the kibosh on this deal, and I'm going to do it.

So we'll see how it plays out, but yeah, it's not pretty. They're not getting along like they used to. And for now, it's Glen Taylor's team, and A-Rod and Marc Lore are probably going to run this thing through the courts and through arbitration. We'll see what happens.

On the court, Wolves lost to Denver last night. Key lost to them. Denver wins this critical contest. They take a one-game lead over the Wolves and Oklahoma City for the top seed in the west, which would mean home court advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs. Nikola Jokic, of course, MVP last year, two-time MVP. Of course, Denver the defending champions. He had a huge game, 41 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists. Anthony Edwards, the Ant Man, had 25 for Minnesota.

They will host the Atlanta Hawks tomorrow night. So there's still a chance they can get the number one seed because they have the tiebreaker with Denver. They'll need Denver to lose, and Minnesota will have to win and get into a tie with them. But we shall see how that plays out.

CATHY WURZER: Hmm, OK. So, Eric, the WNBA draft is Monday in New York. That should be really interesting to watch.

ERIC NELSON: Yeah, this will probably be the most watched WNBA draft in the history of that league, and they're right around 25, 26 years old. Obviously, Caitlin Clark, the Iowa icon, she's going to be chosen number one by the Indiana Fever. And this will completely transform the Fever as a franchise. They will have sellout games. They will be able to make a lot of money off Caitlin Clark jerseys and all that stuff that comes with having a superstar.

And then when they travel, they're going to probably fill up other arenas around the WNBA. I know the Minnesota Lynx are going to retire Maya Moore's number when Indiana comes to Minnesota later in the season. And Caitlin Clark, as a young gal, idolized Maya Moore, so that's going to be a special night in Minneapolis.

If you look at the draft beyond Caitlin Clark, probable top choices are Cameron Brink from Stanford, South Carolina's Kamilla Cardoso, who was so good in that championship game against Iowa, Rickea Jackson from Tennessee. Now, Minnesota has the seventh pick in round one. So the Lynx, barring a trade, are going to have to wait and see who is available. Will LSU's Angel Reese, the Bayou Barbie, drop that low? Who knows?

Or will the Lynx wind up with somebody like Isobel Borlase, who played in the WNBL-- that's in Australia. Or they could even get somebody like Jacy Sheldon from Ohio State. And if you're wondering, the Lynx's first game is against the Storm on May 14th in Seattle, so a lot swirling around the WNBA and the Minnesota Lynx.

CATHY WURZER: Say, because I am a hockey fan, I do want to ask about the Frozen Four. It's in downtown St. Paul, right down the block from where I am right now. But golf's not a part of it. What do you want to say about some of the hockey we're going to be seeing here in the next few days?

ERIC NELSON: Well, it's going to be excellent hockey, Cathy. I mean, there isn't much buzz. At least, I can't detect any here in the Twin Cities because Minnesota has six NCAA D1 hockey programs, and none have made that final quartet. But if you like hockey, go to St. Paul. The action starts today, 4:00 PM puck drop between number three, Denver, and number two, Boston University. And then at 7:30 PM, Michigan faces top ranked Boston College.

These are all pedigree programs. The Denver Pioneers and the Michigan Wolverines have won nine D1 titles apiece. That's the most in NCAA history. Meanwhile, BC and BU have five championships each. So there's a lot of talent on display. And the winners today and tonight will play for all the marbles and the title game on Saturday. That will be a 5:00 PM start at the X in St. Paul, and I'm guessing tickets won't be too hard to get.

One thing you're not going to see is the huge fan base is showing up. Perhaps in Michigan, but Denver is not going to bring a lot of people in, and the Boston schools perhaps, but this won't be like if the Gophers were in it.

CATHY WURZER: Right, exactly. Hey, Twins-- what happened in Detroit today? Was there a weather delay?

WALLY LANGFELLOW: Yeah, no, it's a weather out.


WALLY LANGFELLOW: It's raining. Yeah, they're not going to play today. It's been postponed. They'll make it up as part of a double header on Saturday-- a true double header, not a day-night doubleheader. They're going to actually play a true double header on Saturday. By the way, they play tomorrow as well, tomorrow night. But the weather looks spotty for tomorrow night, too. So they may get rained out again tomorrow. But today for sure is off the books.

Of course, the Twins won on Wednesday. They beat the Dodgers. They finished their opening homestand of the season. One win, four losses, losing twice to the Dodgers and twice to Cleveland. A big play in the game yesterday, Alex Kirilloff got the ball in the corner, the right field corner, and threw it to the cutoff man, Carlos Correa, who, by the way, is your shortstop. Your shortstop normally doesn't go over and take the cutoff from the right fielder to throw home. That's normally the second baseman, but Correa told--

CATHY WURZER: Almost done here.

WALLY LANGFELLOW: Edouard Julien, he says, I've got a better arm. He says, I think I can throw him out. So that's how they had it set up. He threw him out at home-- he threw Shohei Ohtani out at the plate, and Twins win.

CATHY WURZER: Talk to you guys later. Thanks, Wally and Eric.

ERIC NELSON: Thanks, Cathy.

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