Tag Archives: Kyle Okposo

The Lighthouse Has Been Activated

The Lighthouse was turned off last week as yours truly enjoyed a lovely Staycation right here in the State of Hockey. If you love your home state like I do, then there is no need to go jetting off to some other distant land. I have everything I need right here in “The Sota,” and that includes a first place baseball team, a 40-year-old quarterback who loves his head coach and the Tettegouche Arch.

Whaaaaat!?!?!? The Arch has crumbled into Lake Superior you say? Now do you see what happens with the Lighthouse takes a week off?

I apologize for my malfeasance, but I promise I wasn’t completely slacking off. On Wednesday, I had the privilege of accompanying my 23rd favorite NHL player, Zach Parise (who is beaten out only by 22 Wild players), to Target Field. Zach was invited to take batting practice and shag flies along with his brother, Jordan, and buddies Kyle Okposo (Islanders), Drew Stafford (Sabres), Casey Borer (Hurricanes) and Marty Mjellili (former SCSU Husky).

It was a thrill to be on the field, meet some of the Twins players and shoot the breeze with Gardy. And, we got it all on tape. Look for a video to appear on the Hockey Day website, wild.com/hockeyday within the next 24 hours.

Speaking of baseball, Josh Harding and Clayton Stoner were also at Target Field on Saturday. They took part in the pregame home run derby when they squared off against T.C. Bear. We will also have video of that and you can see how they fared.

Quick story: my favorite line from Wednesday came from Gardenhire in the dugout. Brian Duensing had just finished a bullpen session and Gardy asked him how it went. Duensing said it was the best bullpen session ever, and he didn’t allow a single hit. Gardy replied, “That’s great. But I would have taken you out after seven innings.”

On Thursday, I found myself in Stacy, Minnesota at the studio of goalie mask designer, Todd Miska. He sat down with 15-year-old Peter Best, the winner of the Niklas Backstrom Mask Contest, and the two of them conceptualized the mask. Best was absolutely thrilled to be there, and you could tell it was going to be a long month for him leading up to September 18, when he’ll present the finished product to Backstrom.

Now that I’m back to the grind on this beautiful Monday, it’s all about preparation, because failure to prepare is preparing to fail (Would you believe me if I said I made that line up?). We’ve got a lot on tap before training camp starts, and that includes the State Fair, the television broadcast schedule and plenty of work on preseason publications like the Wild Team Guide.

We’ve got less than a month before Training Camp starts, and you can expect near daily updates of the Lighthouse blog from now until then. Don’t forget, you can subscribe to the RSS feed of the Lighthouse and get an email immediately when a new post appears. You will join the likes of rapper, T.I., who is a huge Lighthouse fan and rocks a Wild hat wherever he goes. He’s also a fan of socks with sandals, which I hope will be the next fashion trend. I hear chicks dig that look.

Fantasy Non-Olympian Team USA Hockey squadron

It seems safe to say that the World Hockey championships aren’t at the top of our collective minds, even though this is the State of Hockey, and we do have six Minnesotans. Some of us are currently preoccupied with NHL playoffs, and to some extent, the Twins’ quest for a 151-11 season.

But I think the reason we lack a little excitement is because we know it’s not the best of the best representing each country. Rest assured, if that was the case, the United States would not be winless in two games against Germany and Denmark.

But with several players battling in the playoffs, we can’t really send our best. And some of those players who aren’t currently playing, have already represented the country at the Olympics this year. A trip to Germany is probably not what they need (although Jack Johnson is on the World Championship team, and was a key cog for the Olympic team).

So because there is a lack of news, I figured I’d put together my ideal Team USA roster with players who did not participate in the Olympics. However, some of these guys are in the playoffs, but that’s okay. I thought it’d be fun.

So, without further adieu, here is my Fantasy Non-Olympian Team USA Hockey squadron that everybody would agree to play for.

Bold = Currently on the World Championship team

Centers: Tim Connolly (Buffalo/Syracuse, NY), Scott Gomez (Montreal/Anchorage, AK), Matt Cullen (Ottawa/Virginia, MN) and T.J. Oshie (St. Louis/Warroad, MN).

Wingers: R.J. Umberger (Columbus/Pittsburgh, PA), Kyle Okposo (New York Islanders/St. Paul, MN), Lee Stempniak (Phoenix/West Seneca, NY), Brian Gionta (Montreal/Rochester, NY), Bill Guerin (Pittsburgh/Worcester, MA), Jason Blake (Anaheim/Moorhead, MN), Blake Wheeler (Boston/Minneapolis, MN) and James van Riemsdyk (Philadelphia/Middletown, NJ).

Defensemen: Tyler Myers, who considers himself Canadian but he was born in Texas, so whether he likes it or not, he’s on our side (Buffalo, Katy, TX), Keith Yandle (Phoenix/Boston, MA), Mike Komisarek, (Toronto/West Islip, NY), Paul Martin (New Jersey/Elk River, MN), Matt Carle (Philadelphia/Anchorage, AK), Alex Goligoski (Pittsburgh/Grand Rapids, MN) and John Carlson (Washington/Natick, MA).

And yes, I know Komisarek and Martin were named to the Olympic team, but they were both hurt, so they’re on my team.

Goaltenders: Jimmy Howard (Detroit/Syracuse, NY), Craig Anderson (Colorado/Park Ridge, IL) and Brian Boucher, who went and got himself hurt last night, meaning I may have to call in Ty Conklin (St. Louis/Anchorage, AK).

I even had trouble whittling down the defensemen. I left off Ron Hainsey, Matt Greene, John-Michael Liles, Keith Ballard, James Wisniewski, Tom Gilbert and even former UMD Bulldog, Matt Niskanen.

On the forward side, I scrapped Brandon Dubinsky and Mike Modano because I like my centers. And I looked for a spot for Robbie Earl, who hit on 20.7% of the shots he took last year, but I just couldn’t find space for him.

And in goal, well, us Americans aren’t very deep in goal. But we do have Ryan Miller, and nobody else does.

That team is not too shabby if I do say so myself. And really, only Gomez, Gionta, Guerin, Wheeler, van Riemsdyk, Carle and Goligoski are still playing right now. The rest should get their tails off to Germany and meet up with Todd Richards. Tell him I sent you.

USA at the Worlds

Team USA added 11 more players to its World Championship roster. The big name added was Shattuck-St. Mary’s product Jack Johnson, who is the only American Olympian to join the team thus far. Former Warroad star T.J. Oshie has also been added to the roster. Other Minnesotans include: Taylor Chorney (Hastings), Jack Hillen (Hopkins), Mike Lundin (Apple Valley), Ryan Carter (White Bear Lake) and Kyle Okposo (Saint Paul). Former Gopher Ryan Potulny (Grand Forks, N.D.) is also on the squad.

To see the entire lineup, click here.