Ok. So lets talk about the picture. I found it on google images with a search of potpourri to use with this post. But when I opened the full size version of the picture I was pretty astounded. It's definitely funny. I've got questions about what sort of food item a couple of these costumes represent. M-PP-55 for example: I'm dumbfounded as I look at it. Is it pancakes? I guess ... but I will say that smiling pancake guy certainly has the 70's porn mustache goin on. Ok now ... what the hell is M-PP-63 supposed to be. I see a bun and something half red and half white and smiling mustache porn guy with some sort of village idiot thing on his head. And finally, here's the difference between men and women: they found two different women to put on those ridiculous outfits, they only found one guy. Get it together ladies eh? Sheesh ... Where's the bisquick now?... be right back.
I didn't get a stitch count but I hear that Paul Crowder should be ready to play this coming weekend. I think putting Paul on another line showed some signs of promise since Coach Shiak has made the change. He is an excellent playmaker and UAA needs to have at least 2 lines that can threaten to score on every shift. Luke Beaverson's injury was called a high ankle sprain and the word was he is day-to-day.
Who played strong this weekend? I think the upperclassmen all played strong games. Mat Robinson dished out some high quality punishment throughout the series. Chris Tarkir had a good series as well. He was quick and looked more determined. He didn't let up and his play resulted in quite a few chances. Merit Waldrop was all over the ice and we saw some slick stuff from him again this weekend. I thought Peter Cartwright had two strong games. He broke across the blueline deking a guy then dipped inside another with the puck glued to his blade and no doubt he wishes he'd shot instead of passing. Throughout his career Cartwright has done all that has been asked of him in the role he's played. It's good to see him getting more offensive opportunities. Blair Tassone was a buzzsawing beast all weekend. No doubt he put more body on Mavericks than anyone else. Blair is a consistently energetic guy who can be a bit of a turnover and breakaway threat. Shane Lovdahl had two good games as well and I thought he was very effective on both ends of the rink. All these upperclassmen are going to have to deliver that sort of consistent effort every weekend. It's a good sign that so far they all have done so. Whenever Luke comes back from the ankle problem we'll have another responsible consistent upperclassman on the rink. These guys all win the majority of their battles for the puck and that's something to be thankful for in my book.
On to something else important. How about we never schedule another Halloween weekend game in Anchorage. This is a rant that I really don't want to start but .... essentially I'm puzzled that so many people are willing to give up their hockey game to go to a party dressed up in some ridiculous outfit? Every year that we've had a game on Halloween costume party night the joint is empty. Now would normally be the part of this diatribe where I rip on the Anchorage sports fan for their bandwagon nature but I'll save my non-bandwagon faithful (that turn up to watch hockey no matter what) from all that . Lets go play in somebody else's rink instead next year eh? Halloween? Really?
In the other league series this weekend, MTU split with UND and UMD split with DU. Both good results for every other WCHA team. It means that none of those four is going to take a big leap in the standings. Minnesota handled Ohio State without any real drama. Alex Kangas impressed in his first outing and turned in a performance superior to Jeff Frazee's by all accounts. Is Frazee still the guy? I'd bet a dollar to donuts that tDon liked what he saw but it's still Jeff's job to lose in Lucia's eyes. Tech fans were righteously happy for a nice Friday night win but Saturday's another night and the Sioux (lost lawsuit and all) had a solid answer in return.
CC bit off a chance at improving their RPI by getting one positive result on an away rink against a quality opponent. The bit off a bit more than they could chew. They sure had a good run at home against Minnesota but you know what? Those two wins won't help their RPI come tourney time. I should say though, I think CC has to be the favorite in the WCHA to win the league at this point (two losses against a team as good as UNH on the road aren't neceassarily the biggest negative). I'm still saying they'll be 1 or 2 come the end of the year. SCSU took care of business versus Bemidji St. One small town Minnesota team beats another small town Minnesota team. As Minnesota high school all-star games go, I'm sure it was lovely. I'll express more concerns about St. Cloud hockey in a day or so to once and for all prove that deep down I'm an SCSU supporter.
Finally, the University of North Dakota reached a settlement with the NCAA this week with regard to the lawsuit that UND was pursuing. The settlement essentially gives UND 3 years to prove by some certifiable method that that two tribes of "Sioux" Natives support the nickname and/or logo. If they don't won't or can't satisfy that requirement then it's name change time (as well as facelift time) at the Ralph. The University had very little standing in the mind of the court and both sides were ordered to negotiate a settlement (done because the North Dakota judge knew he wouldn't be able to continue to live in a community had he thrown the lawsuit out as it deserved to be). UND spokesman called it a victory for the community. Yeah ... um ... ok dude. The judge did you a huge favor by not laughing at your suits basis and you get a settlement with the NCAA that you probably could have had more than a year ago and you're calling it a victory? Comedians are everywhere I swear.
Dear North Dakotans,
Bummer dudes. But ya know what ... the marketing possibilities with a name change have got to excite you. You can't begin to express yourselves in a way with the Sioux nickname that you'd be able to with a non-controversial name. The fastest you get over it all the better. A name change isn't going to keep any young player that dreams of playing for UND away from your rink. There'll be some marble grinding and retrofitting at your palace; but it'll still be a palace. If it's just a matter of pride to you, then I suggest that you consider what some our great philosophers have said about expressing ones pride (look it up if you have to but I can't name a truly wise person that wouldn't list "pride" as an overall negative human trait). It really ain't as big a hit as some of the more vocal members of your hockey community are portraying unless you let it be so. So move on, if you're satisfied with how UND engages with it's state's Native population then be all good with that and just change your name.
Here's some good marketing slogans someone can steal in a couple of years ... UND Zephyrs: The Wind is Blowing our Way; North Dakota Zephyrs-Weather Kills!; How about a TV commercial that flashes a big scrolling green graphic saying, "The Zephyrs are screaming down the plains! (with "The Trooper" by Iron Maiden as background for musical irony) and background flyby video over low rolling hills down into Grand Forks. Those would be awesome.