Sunday, April 16, 2006

Western College Hockey Blog: Roundtable

The Western College Hockey Blog has emailed his first "roundtable" of the offseason. It's a good process so I'm happy to participate. Basically he's sent out the same set of questions to available D-1 blogs. Here's my submission; visit his page at the link above to read the answers from the other bloggers:

Give a brief summary of your team's season:
In order to honor the request for brevity I'd just say, "It sucked". But that wouldn't be a good summary. Let's see ... scoring was absent; missing in action; bedeviled; invisible; inconsistent; unseen; cursed; ugly; inept; vacuous; kidnapped; black-holed and otherwise NOT THERE. Goaltending inconsistency and defensive mistakes played a smaller yet still significant part of the near nightmare.

What were your thoughts on how your team's season ended?
There was pride in the effort. The team didn't mail it in. They can all hold their heads high about that. Their efforts should be rewarded in terms of the character it will build.

What offseason improvements can your team make to be better next year?
I don't know that you could instill confidence during the offseason but hopefully the time off will at least lead to a positive upbeat start to the new season. A lack of confidence cost this team last season. Hopefully Shyiak is a bit of a cheerleader and can make them believe they can get the job done. Along with cheerleading I'm hoping more than anything else that some chemistry is to be found amongst the forwards. There is talent, grit and leadership amongst the returners and whatever can be done to find synergy between the various styles needs to be done.

Are there any players on your team that might leave for the pros during the offseason?
There is a rumor circulating that Nathan Lawson might be interested. I've heard it more than once and from more than one source. I know that Nate has NHL ambitions but signing for a tryout with an AHL team or going into the ECHL isn't going to be in the best interest of the goal of getting to the NHL. Nathan is a very talented goaltender but has been limited in his effectiveness by injury and poor play in front of him. No doubt scouts like what they see when they watch him play (talent and quickness) but unless you really stand out from the pack in the WCHA performance then a professional offer is unlikely to come. Look where the last goalie to leave early from UAA is now. Gregg Naumenko is currently toiling in the AHL but has spent about an equal amount of time in the ECHL since leaving UAA after his freshman year. It's damn tough to get to the show when you play in the crease but if you want to; then you oughta OWN the level you're at before you try to jump into a small pond with a lot of big fish.

It's also rumored that Shea Hamilton is unhappy and considering not returning. I hope whatever problems Shea sees with the program can be addressed to his liking. I know Shyiak likes players with heart and Shea definitely plays with a lot of heart. It sucks to have to sit as punishment for taking bad penalties but putting the puck in the back of the net is the best answer. Losing Shea would be a loss but not an unrecoverable situation.

Which player(s) will be expected to carry the load for your team next season?
Upperclassmen should always lead by example in my book. 05-06 MVP Senior Mark Smith will lead from the blueline. Additionally 6'4" 220lb Senior Chad Anderson returns defensively along with 6'5" 230lb Junior Luke Beaverson. Up front the Seawolves should be lead by Senior's Charlie Kronschnabel and Justin Bourne along with Junior's Eric Walsky, Chris Tarkir and Merit Waldrop. All of those forwards had disappointing point production in 05-06. After them, Sophmores Jay Beagle and Billy Smith are likely to contribute offensively. My dark horse forward is Junior Peter Cartwright.

Which player will be most vital to your team's success next season?
The one who finally steps up and starts burying the puck consistently.

What is your expectation for your team next season?
Would anyone really be happy if I said anything other than 5th place?


Bruce Ciskie said...

Nice work.

I think Maize would have gotten a better range of responses if he had asked about next year in a different way than he did. I dunno.

It's hard to imagine that anyone expects their team to suck next year...though we all know that someone in the league won't be very good. We all just hope it isn't our team.

Donald said...

But everyone else is just hoping. I'm sure. ;-)

I really don't see how UAA doesn't have a better team next year. The graduating class contributed only 13 goals during 05-06 for about 18% of the total goals UAA scored. If you assume that a team that is well balanced could expect 25% of its goals from its graduating class then UAA wasn't well-balanced in those terms. The freshman and sophmores accounted for 37 goals or 54%. Next years seniors scored 18 goals for 26%.

Taking those things into consideration (young team) + the outstanding freshman class coming in leads me to believe (not hope) that UAA will improve their record and conference finish.

Anonymous said...

DTP your statement is dead on. There is no way we cannot improve. I also read where you have heard that Shea Hamilton is thinking of leaving. The kid has all kinds of potential, and I for one hope he sees that staying and improving his let's call it lack of cranium decisions would be best for him and UAA.

Anonymous said...

Shea is in fact going to transfer. He deserved every benching he got last season, and his stupid, selfish and ill timed penalties cost his team a couple of games.

It would be one thing if he DID put the puck in the net, but he wasn't able to do that either. If he doesn't "fit", let him go.

Anonymous said...

That is correct he (Hamilton) did get what he deserved. Apparently with his transfer (if in fact) he confirms that he has no discpline in any aspect of his life.

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