Dane Mizutani / St. Paul Pioneer Press
WINNIPEG—A little more than a year ago, Erik Haula sat in front of his locker at the Xcel Energy Center and let loose. "What is this, five years in a row now?" Haula said after the Wild were eliminated by the St. Louis Blues in the first round of the playoffs. "I'm sick of it. We are all sick of it. You can say this or that or whatever, I'm just so ticked off."
MINNEAPOLIS — For the first time in her life, Temi Fagbenle found herself riding the bench last season. She played all of 89 minutes during her rookie season with the Lynx — about 4.2 minutes a game — and had mostly 0's by her name in the box score. "That was a completely different take on what I've experienced before," the 6-foot-4 Fagbenle said. "It was humbling, and it made me find other ways in which I can help my team."
ST. PAUL — Wild blue liner Matt Dumba is in line for a hefty raise this offseason. After the most productive campaign of his five-year NHL career — 14 goals and 36 assists — the 23-year-old's new contract could pay him in upwards of $5 million a season. That's heady stuff for Dumba, whose parents, Charles and Treena, had to work multiple jobs so he and his little brother Kyle could play the sport they loved growing up in Calgary, Alta.
EAGAN, Minn.—On Friday, May 4, about 20 miles from Dinkytown, a trio of former Minnesota Gophers were busy trying to make a name for themselves on the first day of Vikings rookie minicamp at the team's new training facility in Eagan. While no Gophers were selected in last week's NFL Draft, running back Kobe McCrary, safety Kunle Ayinde and defensive tackle Merrick Jackson were awarded tryouts with Minnesota with the hope of making the Vikings' roster ahead of OTAs.
MINNEAPOLIS—Carlie Wagner grew up idolizing Lindsay Whalen, and while she has practiced on the same court as her idol a number of times, there's something much different about doing it as a teammate with the Lynx. "It's a dream come true," Wagner said. "Sometimes I still can't believe it." Such is life for the 22-year-old guard from New Richland, Minn., who is in Lynx training camp after being selected in the third round of the 2018 WNBA Draft.
EGAN, Minn. — Without anything to actually study, rookie linebacker Hercules Mata'afa still pulled an all-nighter to prepare for rookie minicamp with the Vikings. "It's a five-hour time difference," said Mata'afa, who is from Lahaina, Hawaii. "I made sure I stayed up all night so I could get adjusted. I was able to sleep (on Thursday) night to get ready for this."
EGAN, Minn. — Vikings rookie defensive tackle Jalyn Holmes waited through the first two nights of the NFL Draft without hearing his name called, an excruciating experience for the 22-year-old and his family, who gathered at home in Norfolk, Va., to take in three-day spectacle. "I thought I was going to go on Friday and ended up not going," Holmes said. "That was a hard night."
MINNEAPOLIS — There's been a conspicuous absence the first week of Lynx training camp. As the team begins defense of its WNBA championship, star guard Maya Moore has been nowhere to be found. Moore has had a busy spring finishing up a playoff run with UMMC Ekaterinburg, a powerhouse Russian team that won the EuroLeague title recently.
ST. PAUL — Before the start of the 2017-18 season, Wild forward Jason Zucker literally put his money where his mouth is. As a part of the #GIVE16 campaign he and his wife, Carly, started, the 26-year-old winger pledged to donate $1,600 for every goal he scored during the upcoming season. Little did Zucker know he was about to embark on a breakout season, setting a career-high with 33 goals, second on the team to Eric Staal's 42.
ST. PAUL — Ever since the Wild selected high-scoring winger Dmitry Sokolov in the seventh round of the 2016 NHL Draft, there has been speculation about when the team would actually sign the Russian sniper to a contract. That finally happened Wednesday, May 2, when the 20-year-old Sokolov signed a three-year, entry-level contract.