Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Summa Dis and Summa Dat

Dave Shyiak signed a new 4 year contract last week. The school announced the transaction in this release. Dr. Cobb said something important in the release that I want to talk about. His mention of getting the contract in place for the sake of "stability and recruiting" caught my eye. These are the two most important reasons for re-upping Dave. Let's face a couple of things here straight on. On the face of it, finishing in 10th for the last three seasons is nothing which would engender any pride.

Since UAA joined the WCHA they've gone through three head coaches with Dave being the fourth. Conventional thought in Anchorage was that Brush didn't have what it took to take the team he founded to the next level. He was forced out and the school hired the best D3 coach. Talafous stayed the best D3 coach in D1 by installing his rigid "system" (neutral zone trap) while telling the players that they didn't have any talent. The guys didn't dig all that and essentially revolted ... bye bye Tally. Then an alumnus with a solid winning resume told us that being UAA Head Coach was his dream job. We got a nightmare 1 win season out of that hiring before Johnny went marching home and tried to take at least one player with him. Both Talafous and Hill were given new contracts during their tenures. Now here is the important part. It takes at least 5 years to build a team from the ground up; with "at least" being the important phrase in that sentence.

Dave is beginning his 4th year. The players in the program now are his players. There are only two players on the squad that Dave didn't recruit. Dave now understands the geographic challenges in recruiting and how to overcome them. I've said over and over this preseason that next year has the potential to be the best year the Seawolves have ever had in the WCHA. There is a chance that this year could turn out that way but that will take some good bounces. The thing is ... maturing young athletes prefer consistency. Keeping the same coach in place is an absolute necessity in order to acheive that consistency for the players. Everything that Dave has done with this team has been purposeful. His philosophy of building a fast-skating, hard-hitting team is beginning to pay off and we should see some of the fruits of that effort this season. We all know last years team was better than it's record so when fans throughout the league express surprise about the successes that the Seawolves have this year make sure you tell them that you knew it was coming. I'm satisfied so far with the job Dave has done. I reserve the right to a more complete judgement of Dave's performance following the 11-12 season. Until then he should have EVERY Seawolf fan's full support.

I don't normally discuss rumors but I'm going to here. I've had a couple of lindications that Campbell Blair would be leaving the program. I'm obviously not the only person that has heard this rumor since I keep getting hits from Google searches like "blair leaving UAA". It's been at least a week since the first time I heard this and in that time I have found no indication that it's true. Today I got the confirmation I needed to call this rumor bogus. Like every rumor there were details included which seemed to give it weight. But a rumor doesn't survive if it doesn't sound plausible. I'm not going to include the details I've heard since I'm trying to dispel the rumor. End of story as far as I'm concerned.

I'd intended to wait until this weekend or next to talk about incoming UAA recruits and how they're all doing early in their junior seasons. But an astute commenter noticed that Mickey Spencer was named BCHL player of the week after a 7 point weekend. Congrats to Mickey, he seemed to have a bit of slow start; so putting up those kinds of numbers over two games is certainly sweet to see. Mickey had 27 goals and 12 assists in his rookie season in the "B" which would lead me to believe that he is a goal scorer first. In some earlier commentary I noted that Mickey's scoring was a bit streaky. As the season goes along let's all hope that he continues to bag goals but develops more consistency in doing so. Gustav Bengtson has 2 assists in Topeka's first 5 games. I think I'm seeing a bit of a preference for the older players from the Topeka coaching staff so I think Gustav is going to have to step up his production to gain some confidence from his coach and move up to the 1st or 2nd line. Topeka looks to be a very competitive team with their 6-0 start. In Tri-City's first three USHL games Matt Bailey has a goal and 2 assists and seems to be on track to a productive season there.

I'll have a reasonably extensive look tomorrow at what we can expect from the University of British Columbia this coming Saturday.

15 comments:

444 said...

It would not suprise me if UAA finished anywhere from fifth to seventh.

If I had to predict the number of wins I would say 15 to 23.

It is possible.

Good luck Seawolves.

Anonymous said...

Goaltending, we need solid goaltending 1st!

Suze said...

Surprised nobody posted the article from The Northern Light. It can be found here:

http://media.www.thenorthernlight.org/media/storage/paper960/news/2008/09/23/Sports/Hockey.Has.Great.Expectations.For.Coming.Season-3444829.shtml

I was jazzed to read that the team finally has a goalie coach! YES. Very much something that has been needed every since Chad stepped down.

Scott Johnson of Palmer is the new goalie coach, here is a good article about him:

http://www.alaskastar.com/stories/011008/spo_20080110058.shtml

Donald Dunlop said...

I need to look more regularly at the northern light ...

Here's the links to the articles Suze listed ...

Northern Light article ...

Scott Johnson article ..

Anonymous said...

I am really not sure what to think of an extension of a Coach for Three Last Place Finishes. If you look at examples like Jeff Jackson (Lake State,Notre Dame) does it really Take 4 or 6 years to see Results?? Thats the Debate. Its an extremely Ballsy move by Cobb. Maybe it will work. ya know what were all Hope full it will work. But i dunno we will see.

Suze said...

Just because he has a four year extension doesn't mean he will actually be retained that long if the team doesn't start winning.

Tally was fired with time on his contract, and Hill left with time on his as well.

Now is not the time to look for another new coach, stability is what the team needs. I think this year will be a much better year for the Wolves.

Donald Dunlop said...

Notre Dame and UAA are two vastly different situations. They don't compare well for many many reasons.

That said, Suze makes a good point.

And lets face it, Dr. Cobb didn't earn his degree without mastering some analysis skills. Rubes can easily write UAA into 10th place but "reasoning" (i.e... analyzing the whole data set) tells a different story.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 840pm If you been reading the blog Donald is right.Scoring Goals is the key thing for this year.I think UAA has the Goalie.

Anonymous said...

Notre Dame pays it's hockey coach how much?
UAA no matter who coaches, short of Scotty Bowman, is in a tough situation. I'm a Dave fan and happy for him and his family.
Mike

Anonymous said...

No question UAA is a tough job,maybee one of the toughest in the Nation. Almost Everbodys pulling for Dave and the program. I just think everybody is sick of last place,predicted to be last place blah,blah,flipin blah..Love to see a hockey stick put up the College Hockey Worlds ASS. Everbody up here is sick of no respect from the College Hockey Nation. Lets shut some people up this year!!!

Anonymous said...

Donald, u never put up a preview of tomorrow night's game, get on the ball man. WE WANT A PREVIEW.

Jimmy

Anonymous said...

Donald wheres our preview??? isn't that what you get paid the big bucks for LOL. No shit though nobody knows JACK about this team except they probably have a bunch of old TIER 1 Western Hockey League players that are going to be wily as hell with the Puck with an average age of 24 and be pissed off if they lost in HellBanks.. they maybe have a couple of studs and normally a very good Goalie.Hows that for somewhat of a marginally bullshit guess ???

Anonymous said...

The bottom line is it will be a good win and its time to start building for the Season for the Wolves so hopefully will see some high energy and some passion out of the Seawolves tommorrow night

Donald Dunlop said...

Yes I've fallen down on the job. Sorry for that. Anyhow, anon@939 pretty much nailed it. When I sat down to write I didn't really have anything better so I procrastinated and then other (life) stuff got in the way.

The only two interesting tidbits I remember (after spending about an hour on hockeydb.com) now was that it looks like there are 3 brothers on the team and one time UAF recruit Brandon Campos.

Anonymous said...

3 brothers on the team? *Insert racial humor here*

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.