Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How to Beat A Bulldog

You don't have to beat them. Just let them beat themselves to death flapping those saliva filled jowls. Tootoo is optional. Seriously, not a choice for a pet that I could ever find myself making. I had a boxer for a couple of years and that was bad enough. Bulldog jowls put Boxer jowls to shame in terms of potential for mucosal ejecta. The Bulldog jowl has the added benefit of hidden pockets where the special saliva/snot concoctions stew and ferment until they are released on the innocent. Seriously, look at the picture ... there's more than one end-over-end flying mass of mucosa about to nail some poor unsuspecting onlooker. Lets put some shorts on and hang around a snot throwing beast, whose head doesn't reach above our knees. I think it's clear that the inventor of tube socks was familiar with this breed of dog. Being a self-appointed contender for the little-known but highly-coveted "Adjective King" crown, I'm disappointed that a word other than disgusting doesn't come to mind. It is an inadequate single descriptor. Promise me that you'll never have a Bulldog for a pet.

My first question yesterday was whether or not the Seawolves could match whatever tempo that UMD wants to play at this weekend. I say there aren't many teams whom the Seawolves wouldn't match up well in terms of team speed. That's a bit surprising perhaps considering the Seawolves are in the top five in both height and weight. But Shyiak and company have been purposeful in their selections of players, only recruiting big guys that have good wheels. I've seen lots of decent Seawolves teams that still had 2 or 3 or 4 weak skaters. This years edition has no weak skaters in my judgement. There is speed and quickness throughout the lineup. With at least 4 players (Selby, Clark, Robinson, Leinweber) which I'd classify AFAAOYT (fast as anyone on your team). Then there is the nine players (Crowder, Grant, Haddad, Lafranchise, Lunden, Portwood, Selby, Tuton, Vidmar) I'd classify as FTYSPF (faster than your six-plus footers). So yeah ... the Seawolves won't have a problem with any speed issue that UMD might present.

I don't have the simple answer for Stalock i.e... he's got a soft five hole or high on his blocker side is his weak spot. I'm sure though there is some sort of player wisdom that makes its way around the league. Let's hope our players have a sense of whatever that weak spot is at least alleged to be. When you go up against a good goaltender you have to be thinking about getting in front of him. Well then Hallelujah! The power play is a perfect time to screen a goaltender. And there's been lots of power plays right? Ba Da Bing.

Can the Bulldogs deal with the Seawolves size advantage? I don't know the answer to that question either. I know that a well-executed game plan of dictating a physical game (i.e ... "Seawolf Hockey") should have a tendency to wear down an opponent. How well the Bulldogs deal with that is up to them. The Seawolves make that size advantage most evident with their cycling-possession game. The forwards are all strong on the puck along the boards. If they apply the amount of physical pressure that I know they're capable of delivering then at some point the Bulldogs could simply succumb.

One potential good in game tactic is to make UMD take penalties. To do so every Seawolf puck carrier needs to take advantage of EVERY opportunity to carry the puck in the Bulldogs half of the ice. If a puck carrier has the puck on his stick and is impeded then a penalty call is likely to follow. So whether it is coming off the boards during a cycle or in transition or when controlling on the perimeter. ... get the puck on your stick and as they say in "soccer" ... go at them. A puck carrier with even a slight momentum advantage isn't an easy thing to deal with given the rules change. Only the most athletic players are going to be successful in such a position without comitting a penalty. Seawolf players who "go at them" this weekend will be rewarded with either a scoring chance or a penalty against the other team.

The Bulldogs are going to get their chances. Defensively, the Seawolves will have to be focused, aware and sharp. There have been too many mistakes made with the puck in UAA's zone these first 6 games. Cool heads need to prevail and experience needs to dominate when it comes to taking control of the puck. No risky plays will be welcome. Goaltending is obviously a big part of the defensive effort. I expect Jonny O and Bryce to rotate again. This TEAM has shown an early season trend of giving up soft early goals. This TEAM needs to make sure they aren't working from a deficit. No hockey team could make a living in the WCHA coming from behind 75% of the time. It happened often enough last year to rate a special effort this season. No more early goals ok?

Last weekend Tyler Moir took an as yet officially explained injury (possible groin), Jade Portwood had his knee unceremoniously taken out by Mercyhurst's captain with less than 4 minutes to go on Saturday night and there is no word as to the extent of his injury. I won't guess about Jared Tuton's status. Curtis Leinweber strained his groin two weeks ago.

18 comments:

Walt Webb said...

Just thought I would drop by and say hello, from one sports fan to another.
Walt

matthew said...

donald, can you post the link for where you see avg team heights and weights? thanks

Anonymous said...

http://www.collegehockeynews.com/schedules/taleoftape.php?gid=164

Anonymous said...

The TEAM and THE Captains need to take responsibility for the Start especially the first 10 minutes of every Game..Im not sure if the Coaches do a pregame pump to the team but if that is not there style than Let Brian Kraft have a rip at the boys to fire them up. Hes a walking fire plug...So far every game with the exception of the NDPTs has been a dead or flat start so Im with Donald lets address that because "aint no way your going to have a top 5 record coming from behind in the WCHA".. No Way!! A Motivating speech is a short term solution to a lack of intensity at the start of games from the TEAM...

Anonymous said...

A good Club over the Head works too!!!LOL

Runninwiththedogs said...

Donald, are you going to meet Bruce this time?

Word verification = intestsx

Donald Dunlop said...

Heights

Weights

Donald Dunlop said...

RWD:
Yes I'm going to meet Bruce twice this time.

Suze said...

Rumor has it that McCabe will be playing for the Fairbanks Icedogs of the NAHL. Wow. If he didn't like Shyiak, he should really love Proffitt!! :sarcasmsmileymoment:

Anonymous said...

hes not the Coach

Suze said...

Proffit or not Proffit, it's still a very dumb move, if true.

A college hockey injury site has some updates on our plaeyers:

Tuton expected mid-November.

Jade Portwood (sprained knee ligament) out until late November.

Curtis Leinweber out for Oct. 24 weekend

Anonymous said...

So how is it a player takes out another's knee, which is usually intent to injure, and gets a lousy five minutes? The Mercyhurst captain whould get a suspension for initiating this, the absolute dirtiest play in hockey. Where's the league on this? Perhaps they should get rid of the full mask and let players deal out their own retribution.

Anonymous said...

No question the knee stuff is absolute Bullshit...Should be very stiff penalties based on the damage done to another player...

Donald Dunlop said...

I thought it was a loser cheap shot when it happened. But as much as such things piss us off they are part of the game. In cases like this I'd think a good coach would recognize and punish the player who committed an infraction like that. Secondarily, the league should step in. In this case, I wouldn't expect Atlantic Hockey to do anything because I doubt they even know what happened.

The only email address listed on the Atlantic Hockey website is

info@atlantichockeyonline.com
Phone Number: 978-373-9640

The commissioner's name is Robert M. DeGregorio Jr.

annabelle said...

Good luck to the boys this week-end.
GO SEAWOLVES!!!! !

Anonymous said...

Donald, appreciate the blog and your excellent turn of phrase. However can't really buy kneeing being "part of the game." This ends careers. The referee should at the very least write it up on the score sheet. A five minute stay in the sin bin just ain't enough, never mind there weren't five minutes left in the game.

Donald Dunlop said...

I sure didn't mean to imply that I condoned crap like that. I just meant to indicate that such things exist and there are methods for addressing it. Referees (even 2 of em) don't see everything. But video usually does see everything.

If I were Jade's coach I would have notified my league immediately after the game and found out what the process (if any) exists for the Atlantic Hockey league folks to be aware of the incident. They watch the video and the perpetrator gets a 5 game suspension.

That's what I think should have happened. I just meant there was nothing additional that could have happened (been done) at the time of the event. And in that sense ... its part of the game.

I hope that clarifys.

Anonymous said...

Gotcha. Well said.

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