Saturday, September 22, 2007

Heading Into the Season

There's been nothing new in the past week or so; and there'll be nothing new in this post. Instead, I'm simply going to link to and summarize the preseason items I've talked about over the last couple of months for those who actually did take the summer off.

To begin getting ready for the season I wrote a letter to incoming recruits called (of all things) "Dear Incoming Recruits". Besides having that inventive and dare I say catchy title it contained a couple of important bits of such as this paragraph,
We hate Fairbanks ergo you hate Fairbanks. OK? Seriously, we never want to lose to them again. You don't either. On board with that? The "Governors Cup" is a big deal to UAF fans and denying them it, is why you're here. Following the the general trend now? Seawolf > Nanook. It's just that simple. Ingrain it on your psyche. Burn it in your memory. Never forget. They hate freedom. We love freedom. Fairbanks bad. UAA good. The ticket is free to get on the "Hate-FBX" bus, so jump on it and stay on it. Comprende? Ok then ... the less said about Fairbanks the better.
Those weren't my only words of imagined wisdom in the post. I warned about some of the queer things they might see on the road and let them know we care. Apparently Goon from the UND blog didn't think I was as anti-Sioux as I could have been. I'll keep trying but he needs to remember that nobody is perfect and of course I have to spread the "anti" around the league to ensure nobody feels left out.

Following that exercise I spent August writing fairly extensive profiles on each returning class of players; the Seniors then the Juniors and then the Sophomores. These were all pretty easy posts to write since I'm pretty familiar with the squad. Hopefully, they all contained observations about each player that were somehow insightful; but in the least I hope they were accurate. These 15 guys (one of the 16 I wrote about isn't technically a returning player though he did return from the nether regions of northwestern Ohio to his hometown to continue his hockey career) form a pretty solid core and at one time or another are likely to be called upon for leadership.

In between those posts I took an early look at the WCHA in 07-08. I didn't make any formal predictions but I tend to think that a reading will produce some sort of idea of where I think teams will finish. Here was my summary;
Last season saw the highest degree of parity in the WCHA in memory. The difference in points between first and last place was the smallest in more than a decade. It created a situation where only three teams made it to the NCAA's. I think this season will see much the same results. Perhaps 4 teams will get into the show but don't count on it as it will likely take an upset in the Final Five to get 4 teams in. Every year I hope that UAA can manage to earn a home playoff spot. This year is no different and while the talent on the squad is just about as good as it has ever been, getting home ice this year will be an even bigger challenge. Look for the middle of the league (3rd to 8th) to be extremely tight points-wise.
I suppose none of that is a particularly big stretch for a WCHA follower to make. But go read the thing if you haven't (and read it again if you have) and you'll see that I did stick my neck out in commenting about a couple of the teams (some of which have got to encourage Goon that I'm not falling down on the "anti" UND stuff).

Earlier in the summer I took my shot at ranking the incoming recruiting classes. It'll be interesting when the season is over to go back and take a look at how I did. Hopefully, someone whose recruits perform better than everyone else's comes back and reminds me where I was wrong. Who knows though ... perhaps I'll be exceedingly right for once. It could happen. Already though there are some inaccuracies in the post with guess who? UND. Tch tch ... Hey there's a lot of players to follow and not every "source" is accurate. Here's my summary;
So that is that. Placing 5 thru 8 was difficult and my biggest fear is that I placed CC too low amongst that middle group. I found UMD and Mankato to be uninspiring and hence their 9th and 10th placement. Of course, arguments could be made for putting UofM ahead of UW but to me Turris, McDonagh, Gudmandson > White, Fairchild, Hoeffel, Kangas. I guess I'm hyping Turris as being something more than just "one" player. Of all my placements I'm most confident in DU #4. I wanted to put UAA ahead of UND (after all Chris Rengert and Craig Parkinson both had point-per-game averages in the BCHL identical to Trupp) but placing them 2 spots behind Minnesota was probably enough to generate some hatred from the GF crowd! God only knows what sort of shitstorm would happen if I said UAA had a better incoming class than the Sioux.
At the beginning of the summer I became inspired with my grand idea of the season. That idea was to beg that my readers Send Me to Hell. And while I'm aware that a certain subset of readers here would like nothing than to literally see me get that wish, I was being facetious. Yep ... I'm standing on the corner with cardboard sign and in the first three and a half months I've raised a little over $100. Maybe I'll have to ride my bicycle to the Final Five?

Finally, September rolled in and with it came my 07-08 Rookie Class preview; lots of guessing and speculation coupled with whatever tidbits I was able to glean about these guys over Uncle Ted's big series of tubes.

Thats the end of that. Regular readers got nothing out of all that. But fear not my faithful. There is new stuff coming. I'll be exchanging team previews with the Terrier Hockey Fan Blog so that neither of us will have to guess about the others teams before UAA and BU meet. I plan to go to a couple of practices and I'll share my impressions. Fairbanks comes to town the weekend after the Nye Tournament and I'll most likely have a friendly greeting to welcome them. I have a couple of other "irons in the fire", one of which if I'm lucky enough to secure (or actually if I eloquently sucked up enough) should be a fairly impressive post. If I don't get it then you'll never know my shame.

Now go over to the UAA Fan Forum and participate! I know it's simple to post a comment here. It's easy to be anonymous. You can still be anonymous over there if thats what you want. Don't let anything hold you back. Really, go over and sign up. There's almost a dozen sign-ups so far, but hey I get about 1000 reads a week here; so some of you folks are UAA fans ... please sign up and post.


Suze said...

I was searching for info on Gustav Bengtson tonight, and found a very good analysis of him:

Gustav Bengtson – 1989
5’9, 165. Well rounded forward who is thick and quick – making him tough to knock off his feet. Can dance on his feet (very agile) and is able to do so with the puck at high speed. Drew a lot of attention and was the spark of his team’s offence.

Sounds solid. I can't find any stats on him for this year, is he still in the USHL?

Donald Dunlop said...

I've been following him. He playing with Cedar Rapids and scored a goal the other night in a preseason game. USHL hasn't been updating boxscores for preseason games though so its hard to tell exactly how he's been doing.

There was a comment on the Cedar Rapids Fan Forum that was postive about his play. I haven't had a chance to track down any of their most recent games but did notice they finally updated their roster for the season. I'll have a full post on him sometime in the next month.

Runninwiththedogs said...

Isn't it somehow my fault that you are begging for money?

At least I gave the coolest donation.

Donald Dunlop said...

LOL. I wouldn't exactly call it your "fault". It was some comment I made where I got into one of my typically verbose explanatory ponderings and whatever it was that I said somehow "inspired" (using that term loosely) the idea.

In that sense you are "responsible" but not at "fault".

Suze said...

It was nice to finally see something on the news about the hockey team. First practices were held today. They interviewed Tarks and Clark.

Tyler said...

Suze, thanks for the heads up, Jeff and I watched that, and shiyak said that it was the deepest team he had so far

Anonymous said...

wayne state is ending its hockey program after his year, check out

jjack said...

That's too bad (seriously), hopefully we'll hand them a goodbye loss at the Sully.

jjack said...

Also I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for plugging the fan forum, and if you haven't joined yet you should check it out. The advantage is that it has a complete forum just for UAA fans, and I will gladly ban any Gopher jerks who come in to troll your posts. So you don't have to worry about any ding dongs making things lame.

We've got some good threads going and a couple of them are pretty hot, and if that's not enough for you there are some other forums for you to browse as well. So don't be shy. (End shameless self-promotion).

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