This is an article from the April 7, 2008 issue
They're in! Five straight home wins had Minnesota bound for the Stanley Cupplayoffs and on the verge of its first Northwest Division title. Other firsts:All-Star winger Marian Gaborik's 40 goals and 80 points are Wild records.Gaborik (above) to the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "Feels good."
They're back, folks. A year after a crushing loss in the Division II final (upseven with 45 seconds left), Winona (Minn.) State took this year's title,beating Augusta State. The Warriors are now, get this, 73--2 the past twoyears. Guard Jonte Flowers (right): "It's a blessing."
The colt's smooth win in the Florida Derby (jockey Kent Desmoreaux to NewYork's Daily News: "Did you ever watch a deer bound through a meadow?")makes him a contender for next month's Run for the Roses. Another Brown,Antron, won big too, taking an NHRA Top Fuel race in Houston.
Sweet March. After winning a tournament (and $300,000) in Singapore on lastmonth's first weekend, she won another (and $225,000) in Arizona on Sunday asher fans waved Mexican flags. Ochoa's feeling it: The world's No. 1 women'sgolfer has won 16 of her last 53 events.
They're out? Losing four of six had New Jersey 2 1/2 back of eighth in the Eastand on the verge of missing the playoffs—no Kidding!—for the first time inseven years. Can the Nets rally? Forward Josh Boone (above) to Newark'sStar-Ledger: "If we play defense like we [have been], I don'tknow."
That's all, folks. The Astros cut pitcher Woody Williams—his 11.32 spring ERAmay have had something to do with it—and, at 41, he'll retire. Some teammatessaid Williams (right) was judged too harshly on his preseason. Hmm ... lastyear he went 8--15.
The injury-plagued 2007 (he appeared in just 84 games); the off-season headache(after an SI.com report had linked him to a shipment of HGH); the miserablespring (he hit just .189). It adds up to this: The Orioles cut him beforeOpening Day. At 31, will the outfielder go the way of Woody?
Cruel March. The golfer blew a four-stroke Sunday lead early last month, then,last Saturday, got DQ'd from the Zurich Classic after failing to penalizehimself for an obscure bunker infraction. Things may be getting to him—Cink(left) has now gone 90 events without a win.
SI PLAYERS NHL POLL
Which NHL coach would you least like to play for?
Mike Keenan, Flames ........ 36%
Marc Crawford, Kings ........ 10%
Ken Hitchcock, Blue Jackets .... 10%
John Tortorella, Lightning ...... 10%
Michel Therrien, Penguins ...... 7%
Players couldn't vote for their own coach.... Keenan's Flames (page 74) andTherrien's Penguins are playoff-bound .... Keenan has led eight NHL teams in 19years of coaching; this will be his 12th appearance in the postseason, but hisfirst since '95--96.... Tortorella was the coach cited most by goaltenders,drawing 35% of their vote.
[Based on a survey of 365 NHL players] • For more onthe poll, and to comment on it, go to SI.com/players.