Wednesday, January 23, 2008

UND: Short Man Syndrome

There is an insecurity that pervades the culture and environment that surrounds University of North Dakota hockey. We UAA fans are pretty familiar with opponents that suffer from insecurity since we play UA_ so often. Grand Forks and Fairbanks both have a lot in common. They both have descriptors in their names which are false. There is nothing "Fair" about the "banks" of the Chena River as it winds through that town just as there is nothing "Grand" about the "Forks" of the Red River. Apparently, the forefathers of each of these 'bergs knew that the towns would need something to make themselves feel better about themselves. When you start with that sort of insecurity, it is reasonable for it to continue I guess. It can all best be analogized by someone we've all seen; the guy that drives around in a big 4x4 with the gun rack in the back. When he steps out of his oversized rig we understand the problem. He is overcompensating for the fact that he is only 5'5" tall. It's the classic little guy syndrome. He's got a great big chip on his shoulder and feels like he has something to prove. Driving a big truck and shooting powerful guns makes him feel taller. And often as not he'll be wearing a Cowboy hat to improve his apparent height.

There's example after example of this psychological affliction in the area. When a group of students figured out that "Flickertails" was a wimpy name as compared to their rival at North Dakota State (the Bison), they rectified it by adopting the name of a group of humans who were masters at killing the Bison. Insecurity at work. When the University of Minnesota opened the finest college hockey rink in the nation Uncle Ralph came along and built a rink that an NHL franchise would be proud of just to outdo their rival. But let's face it; the state is completely and entirely nondescript. There's nothing of significance in the whole state. South Dakota has the Black Hills, Mt. Rushmore and Wall Drug. Minnesota has 10,000 lakes, 50 times more people, and the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Montana has Glacier National Park, the Big Sky and men who are fond of sheep. North Dakota has um ... what? The fewest number of trees per square mile on the western hemisphere of the planet? The ever-present unabated wind? A sense of insecurity is a natural reaction to all that overwhelming blandness. Their hockey fans obsession with all things UofM is a good example. Check the two fan forums next time something happens of significance at UofM. Siouxsports will have double the number of posts as GopherPuckLive. Watch how many "you don't know shit ... you live in an igloo ... go hunt some penguins" replies this post engenders. The folks down there just aren't comfortable with the reality of who they actually are. If ever a state collectively needed a double-dose of Viagra it is North Dakota.

When UND began playing hockey way back when they looked up the road to the University of Minnesota and knew they'd have to be something special to succeed against them. And they have been something special. 7 National Championships since 1959 under three different coaches. They've excelled. No other school can claim that much success in the last 50 years. No doubt the Short Man Syndrome has it's benefits when carried to the degree it has been in North Dakota.

This years version of the Fighting Sioux hockey team is no less insecure. They began the season as consensus #1 picks across the pundit landscape (excepting me of course). USCHO, INCH and CHN all proclaimed them the team to beat. Virtually everyone with an opinion (excepting me of course) picked them to dominate. Here's what I said:
I definitely underestimated UND last season. I guess what I really missed badly was the performance of Hobey Baker winner Ryan Duncan. I didn't even mention the guys name in my preview. I certainly wouldn't have pegged them as a Frozen Four participant. But there's definitely something to be said for their continued excellent 2nd half performances. It was a trait of the team under Dean Blais and it has continued under Dave Hakstol. Goaltending in my mind is a big question in Grand Forks. Lamoureux played 37 games last season and would have played more but for an early season injury. Consider me a Lammy skeptic. There'll be a lot of pressure on him to play a lot of games this coming season and while he had good numbers I'm attributing much of that to team defense and limiting quality shots. Lots of folks would disagree with me about Lammy. They have a bit of a tougher schedule this year as well, though that isn't reason enough to downplay their chances. This squad has the potential to finish in the top half of the league (lots of people expect them to win the league) but I believe last year was exceptional and unlikely repeatable. I'm not sure they'll be an NCAA participant. Sue me.
I'd say that the goaltending question has mostly been answered. Lamoureux has performed well enough to erase the doubts so far. He has been the only goalie of record in their 23 games and has real nice numbers with .929 sv% and a 1.87 gaa. I've only seen UND play twice this year so I guess I can't say with surety that they're playing the team defense game as well as last year but there's every reason to expect that is the case. They currently sit in 3rd place and without a serious run from someone below or a complete meltdown on their part they should make the NCAA's. Nothing's guaranteed of course. Ryan Duncan isn't putting up Hobey-like numbers this season; 10 goals so far compared to 31 last season. Their other primary offensive talent T.J. Oshie seems more intent on whipping his "thingy" out on elevators than scoring goals on the ice though he is on pace to have a career best season with 10 goals so far this season. Sophomore Chris VandeVelde has 9 goals this season and Andrew Kozek has scored 8 without a single assist to round out the primary threats. The rest of the goal scoring is spread out with the only noteworthy exception being no-talent thug Rylan Kaip amassing an amazing 6 so far this season. Who'da thunk? The Sioux are the most likely WCHA team to be engaged in goonery this season without a doubt starting with their early season antics in Wisconsin, Hakstol sending nondressed players into the stands to silence an opposition MTU fan who was mocking him and now last weekends goonfest in Mankato with 12 roughing penalties in the series and one actual drop the gloves fight (it was a bit of a purse fight with dingleberry Kaip resorting to the jersey over the head tactic instead of squaring up like a man).

I'll be back tomorrow with an some analysis of what the Seawolves will need to do this weekend to come out of "Grand" Forks with some points. And oh yeah, best I can tell is there is no TV this weekend.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

you sir are truely f'd in the head

Donald Dunlop said...

Anon @ 957 from Mayville North Dakota:

I certainly should have included some of the cool things about North Dakota; like the 4th stop light in your fine town or the 1st house in the new Riverwood Housing development starting construction. By the way ... did I count the trees right in the linked view of your fine area below .... I came up with 378.

Here's the link if readers want to count for themselves.

Click the "Satellite" Button to see the 378 trees.

Donald Dunlop said...

There really is a bar in Mayville called "The Back Alley Bar" ... I shit you not. LOL.

Anonymous said...

FYI...If you can fins a way to get the FSSN (Fighting Sioux Sports Network), both games will be carrierd there. Don't know if that's an option in penguin-shooting land....:D

Donald Dunlop said...

anon:
I got the skinny over at Siouxsports ...if I can find someone (bar) with a KuBand dish I've got all the info to tune in the signal.

Thanks though for mentioning it. I'll post the "numbers" tomorrow for UAA fans.

Jeff said...

Just check the B2 network website. i bet the games will be on there this weekend

Donald Dunlop said...

B2 sucks donkey ass. Uncle Ralph has his own webcast dealie. I'll post all that info tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Donny Boy....Absolutely Classic that was funny as shit... we are glad you didnt die on us BUTTTTTT....Some one needs to step up and win the game for the chiefs...Some one show me something ....wolves need a hero..Its Time....put the team on your back..take it personal...the road is ours!!! uh Hopefully...

Donald Dunlop said...

Winston really wanted to keep playing. I watched him skate off and figured he was done for the night but the kid came out his next shift anyway! It was pretty clear then he couldn't continue. It's a shame. I hope he isn't out long, he's been a consistent performer and certainly could have been cashing in more.

Frankie Dunlop said...

I got a question and yes im from ND have you ever been to the badlands and theodore national park? Oh yeah and whats in Alaska thats so great?

frankie dunlop said...

Oh yeah one more thing who in the heck names there kid Donald Dunlop christ

Will said...

Donald any chance the Peanut Farm can get the game? I know we would be there for sure if they can. I would think there would be plenty of diehard fans there to watch the guys win a game. Maybe we can get a section 213 bunch together.

Anonymous said...

Try again Im not from mayville but your close there you wannabe stalker.

and yes im anon @ 9:57 AM

Suze said...

Sounds good to me Will!

Donald Dunlop said...

Frankie:
Your kidding right? To answer your first question. I have been to the Badlands. They are in SOUTH Dakota. No I haven't been to Ted's Natl Mobile Home Park.

Now the second question (which is ridiculously silly by the way). What is so great about Alaska? Um ... it is The Last Frontier. It is The Greatland. People from all over the world save up their whole lives with the dream of one day visiting here. The five largest species of North American predators all make Alaska their home. On the same day you can encounter Black Bears, Brown Bears, Wolves, Moose, Caribou, Eagles, Foxes and on and on and on. There is a glacier up here larger than the state of Connecticut.

There are active Volcano's from one end of the state to another. There are as many mountains over 5,000ft here as there are trees in North Dakota. The fish you catch in your lakes and streams would be considered bait for the fish we catch up here.

Ever watch the Travel Channel? They have an Alaska Week every year. I missed the North Dakota week on that network. The Discovery Çhannel will soon be hosting an Alaska Week. Every single Outdoor show I can think of has at one time or another focused on fishing and hunting in Alaska.

Alaskan's Natives each belong to one of several Corportations, they aren't treated as second class citizen forced to live on Reservations and disrespected by having sports teams using logos of their decapitated ancestors.

Should I go on about the abundance of natural resources in the state? I haven't talked about the awesome beauty and importance of north coast nor have I mentioned the Inside Passage and the Millions of people that take cruises to visit Alaska. The truth is there is so much GREAT up here that I do it a disservice by mentioning so few things so briefly.

Donald Dunlop said...

Mayville Nutbag:
You come on here and tell my I'm fucked in the head and don't expect me to check my hit counter to see where the hit came from? Are you serious?

If you'd made some average comment or in any way acted like a normal person then I wouldn't be interested in stripping your anonymity as best as the limited tools I have available would allow. That's not stalking deary. That's exposing.

I'm not visiting your webpage or accessing anything you have on the internet and calling you "fucked" am I? In this "relationship" the commenter (you) are the one likely to become something akin to a stalker. I've had more than a couple of people from other teams obsessively read my writings and visit this page as much as 10 times a day. Don't become one of them.

Donald Dunlop said...

Will/Suze:
My plan is to call the Peanut Farm today and get the Satellite info to them so they can confirm whether or not they can get the signal and are willing to put it on for Seawolf fans. I plan on waiting to post until I get an answer from them and then publish that info today.

Anonymous said...

I do agree that it is assinine to ask "What's so great about Alaska?" I've been there and there is a myriad of things to do and see. My aunt and uncle live in Anchorage so the trip cost is flight only for me. Halibut fishing is the bomb...although I'd like to try the silver salmon fishing sometime. Spent most of my time in Anchorage or on the Kenai peninsula during my stays, so I've still got alot of other groung to cover in subsequent trips.

The best thing to do while travelling in ND is to sleep...that's your best use of time.

MeanEgirl said...

Donald, let it be known here and now that I love you.

LetsGoMavs said...

Donald- feel free to steal the nasty pic of Kozak and Duncan cuddling in the hot tub off of my blog for your blog this week. You have a whole different fanbase and I'm sure you're fans would love to see that nasty pic!! Share the love!

Donald Dunlop said...

Meg:
LOL. Thanks. I'm not too sure it's warranted but thanks nonetheless.

LGM:
I found that pic to be too disturbing. ... first the whole Oshie/Radja elevator thing and then pictures of "oh so close" teammates in a hot tub? What's next? Hakstol and John Hill sharing a hotel room on a Manitoba scouting trip? Dirty stealing Brad Eliot Schlossman's undergarments? Where does it all end?

LetsGoMavs said...

It doesn't end!! Come on Donald, you know UND has no boundries.

While the pic is disturbing, it's too juicy to not share with your fans! I think it should get as much exposure as possible!

Anonymous said...

Coach Reggie Dunlop says...I have been cracked over the head by olgathorpe to many times...Can some one just tell me for sure where i can watch the game..and make sure thers "none of that stinkin rootbeer"..THanks

Donald Dunlop said...

While the University of No Decency doesn't care what activities it's student/athletes engage in, I cannot in good conscience foist that horror onto my unsuspecting innocent readers. However, I'll be happy to link to it here ...

Click on this link to see what Ryan Duncan and Andrew Kozek (in a woman's one-piece bathing suit) were doing in a hot tub

And just a comment about my latest text message from "Real UAA" ... this time "Real UAA" sent me the following message at 11:40AM (yes just a few minutes ago) that said, [b]"Your writing sucks."[/b] The reason I'm commenting is because the author of this one isn't from Fairbanks as the other two random text flames were ... this one is from Fargo, North Dakota on the campus of North Dakota State University. LOL.

Thanks for the critique there skippy. I'll keep working on it so that maybe one day my writing won't suck. It is nice to know that "Real UAA" fans get around so much! First Fairbanks and now Fargo! Way to go!

Donald Dunlop said...

Reggie,
The guy to talk to doesn't get into work at the Peanut Farm until 2pm. I can assure you I'll be on the phone at 2:15 querying their ability to put it on.

Siouxfan_inDenver said...

QUACK QUACK QUACK. Donald you don't know shit... you live in an igloo... go shoot some penguins. also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Badlands
check it out there are badlands in North Dakota. Not to mention millions of tillable acres to feed ignorant people like you.

Go Sioux!

Donald Dunlop said...

Dear Crap-Throwing-Monkey in Brown-Cloud-Town:
You are an hilariously ridiculous representative of the Susie fanbase. Everytime real Sioux fans read anything on the Internet (and really ... I mean ANYTHING) that you've written they first throw up a little in their mouth, then they cringe before finally getting on their knees and praying that god will immediately RAPTURE your vacant ass to be by his side.

Badlands National Park - South Dakota
Desolate Pretender Hills - North Dakota

Ahhh ... the millions of tillable acres. I missed that wonderous facet of North Dakota's environment. Probably because it isn't particularly unique considering the millions of tillable acres in South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virgina, Texas, California, Oregon, Idaho and Washington.

Anonymous said...

wow and i thought minnesota fans were bad.

donald likes animals said...

where is all the population in alaska? talk about being empty

Donald Dunlop said...

Alaska is far away from the primary density of the US population. North Dakota is much closer to the primary density of the US population. Yet Alaska has more people than North Dakota.

Yet another indictment of the blandness and insipid nature of North Dakota. Even though it's close to the real world ... NOBODY wants to live there.

Thanks for pointing that out. I should have included it in the original post as well.

JB said...

I'm from North Dakota and I would rather keep it the way it is. We do not have to deal with the issues that big population have plus I live in Fargo so there is things to do. I would rather not deal with the ignorance of people like you that think you are better than everyone. Good luck this weekend.

Donald Dunlop said...

jb:
Good for you. I respect that you prefer the status quo and that you like your joint just the way it is. Nice comment except for the part where you assume that I think I'm better than everyone else. I don't. I'm pretty sure I express myself in this medium better than many people but I don't actually think I'm "better".

Good luck to UND as well.

Anonymous said...

Maybe National Geographic was right....

P.S. - Lets see how long it takes the Siouxage fans to figure that comment out.

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