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Why Wild chose Brandon Duhaime over other top prospects for final roster spot



Why Wild chose Brandon Duhaime over other top prospects for final roster spot

After wrapping up practice at TRIA Rink in downtown St. Paul on Sunday afternoon, the Wild boarded a charter bus headed for Duluth. A few days of team building up north is exactly what players need after a lengthy training camp.

“We haven’t really gotten together with the guys off the ice,” winger Marcus Foligno said. “It’ll be a good time. I think the bus trip will be a blast. Just the boys on the bus. It’ll feel like juniors again.”

The Wild are the only NHL group heading up to Duluth. That was by design after the Wild finalized their opening-night roster on Saturday.

Though its seems like the writing has been on the wall for the past week or so, winger Brandon Duhaime officially won the battle for the final roster spot. He beat out training-camp sensation Adam Beckman and top prospect Marco Rossi for that last roster spot. Meanwhile, fellow top prospect Matt Boldy is expected to miss four to six weeks after suffering a broken ankle in the preseason finale on Thursday.

“I was definitely excited having that conversation with (general manager Bill Guerin) and (coach Dean Evason),” said Duhaime, who immediately called his mom to tell her the good news. “That was awesome. It was a step in the right direction. I just want to keep moving forward here.”

Asked why Duhaime made more sense than Beckman or Rossi, Guerin replied, “The role that they play is not necessarily the position we have open.”

In other words, Duhaime is going to play about 10 minutes a game alongside Nico Sturm and opposite Nick Bjugstad. That’s not what the organization has in mind for Beckman and Rossi.

“We don’t want these guys sitting in the stands or playing 10 minutes a game,” Guerin said. “We want them playing a lot of minutes, a lot of games and in a lot of different situations. In our mind, they really handled it great. There’s nothing negative. We have a plan for these guys. They will be here someday.”

As for Duhaime, the Wild were consistently impressed with his grit throughout training camp. He started to separate himself from the pack almost immediately.

“We could see it, like, ‘Wow, he means business. He’s ready,’ ” Guerin said. “Just the impact he can have on our lineup with the youth and the speed and quickness and strength. He plays a physical brand which we really like.”

His journey to this point also has impressed Guerin. After being selected in the fourth round of the 2016 draft, the 24-year-old Duhaime played at Providence College, then for a couple of seasons with the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League. He has improved every step of the way.

“His development process has been exactly what we’re talking about,” Guerin said. “He just keeps getting better and he keeps developing, and that’s it. It doesn’t happen overnight for a lot of guys. Just the fact that he went through the process and just kept working and working and working and now he finds himself here.”

As for Beckman, while he was disappointed he didn’t make the team, especially after looking outstanding throughout training camp, he is excited for the next step in his career.

“It’s all for development purposes,” he said. “That’s kind of the way I’m looking at it. Just to continue to try and get better and kind of use it as — maybe not motivation — just another way to get better and hope that I could one day get there.”


Forwards: Nick Bjugstad, Matt Boldy (injured), Brandon Duhaime, Joel Eriksson Ek, Kevin Fiala, Marcus Foligno, Freddy Gaudreau, Jordan Greenway, Ryan Hartman, Kirill Kaprizov, Rem Pitlick, Victor Rask, Nico Sturm, Mats Zuccarello

Defensemen: Jordie Benn, Jonas Brodin, Matt Dumba, Alex Goligoski, Dimitry Kulikov, Jon Merrill, Jared Spurgeon

Goaltenders: Andrew Hammond, Kaapo Kahkonen, Cam Talbot

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Baylor WR, 3-star OL commit to CU Buffs



CU Buffs football early National Signing Day class of 2022

One of the top receivers for the Big 12 champs is coming to Boulder.

On Sunday, RJ Sneed II announced that he will play his final season of college football at Colorado after spending the previous five years at Baylor.

Also on Sunday, Van Wells, an offensive lineman from C.E. King High School in Houston, announced his verbal commitment to the Buffaloes after spending the weekend in Boulder on an official visit.

Listed at 6-foot-1, 203 pounds, Sneed helped Baylor go 12-2 and win the Big 12 championship game, as well as the Sugar Bowl this season. He was second for the Bears in catches (46) and receiving yards (573) and caught two touchdown passes.

During his career, Sneed has 133 catches for 1,564 yards and eight touchdowns. After playing minimally in 2017 and redshirting in 2018, Sneed finished third on the team in receptions (42) and yards (437) in 2019. In 2020, he led the Bears in receptions (39), receiving yards (497) and touchdowns (three) and earned second-team All-Big 12 honors.

A 2017 graduate of Cypress Ranch (Tex.) High School, Sneed was a three-star prospect who had 20 scholarship offers, including from Colorado. He had offers from 17 Power 5 schools, including Alabama, Mississippi, TCU, Arizona State, California, UCLA and Utah.

Sneed graduated from Baylor with a degree in health, kinesiology and leisure studies in August of 2020 and has been working on a master’s in sports pedagogy. He will have one season to play at CU.

With the Buffs, Sneed will provide production and veteran leadership to a group that has lost four players to the transfer portal this offseason: Chris Carpenter, Keith Miller, Brenden Rice and La’Vontae Shenault. Rice has not announced his destination, but Carpenter (UTSA), Miller (Texas A&M-Commerce) and Shenault (Alabama State) have committed to other schools.

Statistically, Rice was the Buffs’ top wide receiver this past season, but the Buffs are slated to return seniors Daniel Arias, Maurice Bell and Jaylon Jackson, junior Dimitri Stanley and sophomores Montana Lemonious-Craig, Chase Penry and Ty Robinson.

Also in the mix will be three incoming freshmen: Grant Page, Chase Sowell and Jordan Tyson.

A three-star prospect, Wells is rated by as a top-75 interior lineman nationally in the 2022 class. He has 19 total scholarship offers, including from Air Force, Houston and Maryland.

Wells is the third lineman in CU’s class, joining tackles Carter Edwards and Travis Gray.

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WATCH: Tyrei Randall hits three-quarter-court OT buzzer beater to lift Metro State men’s basketball over Colorado Mesa



WATCH: Tyrei Randall hits three-quarter-court OT buzzer beater to lift Metro State men’s basketball over Colorado Mesa

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Lucas: Healey should give Biden a hand, he could use it



Lucas: By bowing out, Charlie Baker leaves door wide open for Maura Healey

Democrat gubernatorial candidate-in-waiting Maura Healey ought to invite President Biden to her announcement ceremony.

After getting stiffed in Georgia by Stacey Abrams, who is also running for governor, Biden could use a hug.

The Stacey diss came when the Georgia Democrat, once on Biden’s short list of vice-presidential candidates, declined to attend Biden’s speech in Atlanta last week.

It would do Healey a lot of good among Democrats, liberals and progressives to host Biden. It would show that while Biden is down and out in the polls, he still has his base of support in Massachusetts

A warm Boston reception would stand in stark contrast to the cold shoulder many Democrats, including Abrams — once a strong supporter — gave Biden in Atlanta.

Once there Biden delivered a weird speech on voting rights, comparing opponents of the Democrat-sponsored voting rights bill to racists.

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the speech was not only “profoundly unpresidential, but it also “was incoherent, incorrect and beneath his office.”

Abrams claimed her absence was due to a scheduling conflict. Biden went along with the excuse. And nobody believed either one of them. You drop your schedule when the president of the United States says he is coming.

More realistically Abrams did not want to appear on the same platform as Biden, who has fallen so deep into a hole that it would take a cave rescue team to find him.

So, forget the Bulldogs, go Minutemen.

Although Attorney General Healey has not officially announced her candidacy for the Democrat nomination for governor, she will automatically become the favorite once she does.

She is a progressive who is far better known than her two opponents, has a two-term record as attorney general, has raised a ton of money and could become the first woman and openly gay governor elected in Massachusetts.

Currently the other two Democrats running are state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz of Boston and Harvard professor Danielle Allen.

With Healey in the race, it is likely that they would eventually drop out of the race the way former state Sen. Ben Dowling of Pittsfield did. Dowling, the first to get in the race, was the first to drop out.

So, Healey has nothing to lose and a lot to gain by inviting Biden to come to Massachusetts. She is a well-established Trump antagonist, having filed some 50 lawsuits against Trump when he was president. Most went nowhere but they helped weaken Trump, which was the point.

And despite his train wreck of an administration, Biden still has three years left on his term, so it makes good sense for a governor to be on good terms with him.

As all but crowned as the Democrat nominee, Healey would face conservative Republican Geoff Diehl, a Trump supporter, in the November election, which could make for an interesting race.

Healey, a good progressive Democrat, is a solid Biden supporter who is already campaigning against Trump.

No sooner did Biden give his speech in Atlanta, than Healey was out with a statement praising Biden and echoing what he said, even the parts that were untrue.

“Did you hear President Biden’s speech in Atlanta today?” Healey asked in a fundraising email to potential campaign donors. “He traveled to the cradle of the civil rights movement to outline the urgent need to protect our constitutional right to vote and the integrity of our elections.

“There’s no question that our democracy is under threat. One year ago, armed insurrectionists launched a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol,” she said.

“The former president and his cronies are still spreading lies about the integrity of our elections and initiating sham audits.

“Republican legislatures across the country are passing dangerous restrictions on the right to vote that disproportionately target black, Latino and Indigenous people,” she said.

“One of my top priorities this year is advocating for voting reform. We need legislative action to prevent election sabotage and protect the freedom to vote” as “a first step toward healing our democracy.”

Joe Biden could not have said it any better.

Healey, as the new leader of the Democrat Party in the state, may not be able to heal our democracy, but she sure could help heal old Joe.

And unlike Abrams and Georgia, Healey could welcome Biden and give the sad and confused old guy a much-needed hug.

Peter Lucas is a veteran Massachusetts political reporter and columnist.

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