Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday Potpourri: Kendall Wrap ... Plus

Kendall Classic Day 2: Fairbanks 5 - UConn 0
A disinterested UConn squad gave it up big time to the Nookies. UAA fans who'd cheered for UA_ the night before got exactly what they deserved. UA_ wins UAA's tourney.

Seawolves 2 - Northeastern 4
I'm not going to spend a lot of time analyzing this game today for one reason. It doesn't take a lot of analysis. The Seawolves didn't capitalize on the opportunities their opponent gave them and Northeastern did. NU had 9 power play chances. They scored twice. Add two softies, a near post shot through Jonny's feet and a high corner shot where Jonny hadn't squared up or cut down the angle. Game over man. I don't want to be rough on Jonny O. I honestly don't. But he let a couple past that he probably shouldn't have. It's just that simple.

The two teams combined for 27 penalties. Wow. The game was dominated by whistles so special teams play was the theme for the evening. Both teams saw about the same number of 5-on-3 opportunities. All the power plays (and 4-on-4 play) made for a somewhat frenetic pace overall. I wasn't real happy with UAA's power play. I'll characterize it as static. There was very little movement away from the puck. NU boxed up solidly and the only way to breakdown a box like that is to move both the puck and bodies around. The Seawolves passed it around the perimeter fairly decently. But there was little to no weak-side penetration or disruptive movement away from the puck. So there were few quality chances generated. NU was patient, they waited for a bobble and then jumped on the chance to clear.

Dunno what else to say other than Thiessen won the goaltending battle. End of story.

I didn't write up the game last night due to a post-game stop for libation which turned out to be a very positive experience (meeting an extremely engaging, funny, insightful and good looking woman is quite honestly a rare event for me in this town). The Seawolves didn't score enough to win but at least I'm satisfied with my own offensive production. It's a useful reminder that if you don't toss the puck at the net you can't score.

Other Junk:
UND and Wisconsin both lost twice on the east coast to open their seasons. Nothing wrong with those results from my perspective (I'm not one to cheer for other conference members just because they are playing outside the conference). SCSU lit up Mercyhurst twice and in doing so wrapped up the 08-09 NCAA championship. The rest of us NCAA teams can just stop playing now. Mankato beat Bemidji twice ... snooze. CC squeaked by Alabama-Huntsville in two very tight games. DU owned Notre Dame 5-2 last night in their single game. Duluth had a good weekend tying Lake Superior and hammering Northern Mich. MTU took it on the chin from Northern Michigan before pulling one out versus Lake Superior. The Gophers are yet to play a regular season game but did beat UBC 3-1 in exhibition.

Let's talk about the latest tightening of the rules for a second eh? There were lots of good examples this weekend of the type of calls that are going to be called this season. The players need to get used to it and adapt quickly. Committing fewer infractions than your opponent is going to be key this season. We saw "Kneeing" calls, "Embellishment" and shitloads of "Hooking" calls. Those aren't the only new pratfalls that are waiting to trip up an undisciplined team so NCAA players should expect to be hearing a lot about it from their respective coaches. I see 5-on-5 play as being the most advantagous situation for the Seawolves. The periods of 5-on-5 plays this past weekend were pretty much dominated by UAA's offensive gameplan. Every boxscore that I've perused today shows exactly the same thing. The premise for the rule changes was to open up the game and increase scoring. For now the question of how effective this will be is an open one in my mind. We didn't see "open games" this weekend. We saw penalty-fests. Of course it is very early to judge whether the intended consequences are the only consequences of the change.

I continued to like what I saw from the rookies this weekend though Curtis Leinweber was absent from the ice after straining a groin in the 1st period Friday night. Hopefully, that will heal quickly but groin strains can be troublesome and reappear if you don't wait long enough before stressing those muscles again. I think Jade Portwood needs a nickname. I'm going to call him "Wings" Portwood because of his massive reach. Ken Selby, Nick Haddad and Jeremy Smith established themselves this weekend with fiercely competitive play everytime they were on the ice. Selby showed his speed and used it effectively, Haddad showed strength and good physical play and finally ... Jeremy Smith isn't an Alaskan. He's a Tasmanian Devil on a berserking frenzied binge of destruction. Woe be to any opponent unlucky enough to be on the ice at the same time as "Taz".

There's no drop in my expectations for this team. Obviously, one unsuccessful night doesn't make a season. The short road trip to Squarebanks and then the return to home-ice for the first WCHA series of the season versus Duluth is a good situation. 5-1 would be a helluva start but I think we can be satisfied if it is something less than that. There are clear areas that need to be (and can be) improved between now and the end of the month. One step at a time, eh?

I'll have a link to the limited number of pics I took this weekend sometime later this evening. I had some battery issues so I'll remember in the future to take some spares. I think the image quality is improved so let me know what you think after you see them. I'll be honest and say here that I think picture taking has a minor effect on my ability to see the game. There were lots of "attempts" that didn't turn out. So I'm saying that I'm still not fully "up to speed". I'll keep at it though.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

nice wrap up, not happy about the out come but not sure I am cofortable giving Smith "taz" we just graduated a freind of mine with the same nickname. but I do like his fire and think UAA could do some great things year if they say out of the box nice work on the pk though but as we saw last night and even the Uconn game take that many and were going to get burned.
jeff

Anonymous said...

Where was McCabe and Daychief this past weekend? Healthy scratch, injuries, off ice problems.

Anonymous said...

In regards to McCabe and Daychief, I don't think anyone is saying right now but it is not injuries. It is being held tight for the time being but I think that something will eventually come out. It worries me when they are not at the games either, or at least were not seen with the healthy scratches and a player that played in the game isn't surprised by that.

I really think having those two on the ice could have had a huge boost for the team. The PP with McCabe centering Lunen and Clark looked really good in the UBC exhibition and might have helped the team against Northeastern.

Donald Dunlop said...

I wanted to respect Daychief and McCabe's privacy by not discussing their situation. Obviously, we all noticed they didn't play. There is a reason that "student" comes first with the "student/athlete" moniker.

Anonymous said...

You are totally right Donald. It is one of those things where they deserver their privacy but at the same time it seems like we should have an idea why a player is or isn't playing. It becomes much more touchy at the college level rather than the pro. These players are being given scholarships and things and we should have some idea whether it is an injury or just something else. What I meant by something coming out was that we should have an idea of what type of reasons, not anything personal.

Thank you though Donald for keeping respect for the players on the blog and not allowing gossip and rumors to prevail

Anonymous said...

Getting back to Dondalds Observation on the goaltending shots not being accurately recorded this is a huge problem both for the Goalies and the team. The best example was on Friday night the shots were 10 - 10 with under 10 seconds to play in the first Christianson makes the save on what should have been a Goal for U conn on a Goalmouth scramble which would have given them a 3-2 lead going into the second and the momentum and guess what the shot counter recorded the save for U Conn.. Absolutely Unbelievable. The Only reason I was paying attention was because in Bryces first HOME start last year Against ST Cloud he was shorted 5 or 6 saves and couldn't help but notice this time the same thing...I was siting with Bryces family and they were livid which they should have been...But back to Friday night 2 UAA saves in the first were recorded for U Conn 1 save in the second was just not recorded and 2 in the 3rd not recorded...Those 5 shots would have his percentage for the game over 90% which is good BUT WITHOUT THE SAVES BEING RECORDED PROPERLY IT IS UNDER THIS MARK ..Bryces attitude was great after the game all he cared about was the win. What was strange was that the preseason shots recording in Wasilla were ok?? This is the WCHA please record the shots properly as the Goalies job is tough enough as they face alot of heat from both the local and National Press for an incorrect save PCT... Thank you in advance to the shotkeeper.

Anonymous said...

Not all shots a goalie handles are recorded as saves...for example if a goalie catches a puck in his glove outside the plain of either post this is not a save. Why...because if he doesn't glove the puck it flies harmlessly past the net. It may appear to be a save but in reality it is not.

Suze said...

We all know how saves are supposed to be recorded. They obviously have to be "on net" and it is supposed to be a "scoring attempt".

We have been complaining about the inaccuracies for the past few years now! It is ridiculous. First of all, the shot keeper should not be in the penalty box, they can't see from there. They should be up in the balcony, sitting at one of those tables near the railings. I hope the University does something to address this situation.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what happened to August Aiken? He was a recruit from the BCHL.

Anonymous said...

Our Goalies should be getting the benifit of the doubt on the shots not comminist type of shot counting. Most places in the WCHA are pretty damm liberal with the counting of the shots and if its between the pipes its a shot velocity doesnt count. I agree with Suze that its to tough to see shots from the scorkeeper box and since there has been evidently issues for years lets get it fixed.

Suze said...

I forgot all about Aiken! He is listed on Heisenber's site as a recruit for this year. I wonder if he is coming in next year, or was ineligible?

Anonymous said...

i heard they couldnt get him through the clearing house at the last minute and we could use him if McCabe and Dayief don't get there act together.I heard a maybe for the semester??

upperdeck said...

I agree that something must be done on the recording of what is and what is not a save by a goalie. This weekend was just too much - or my last straw. Call after call was missed. I asked someone at UAA about it and it was like it was a political hot pototoe.Perhaps some rich blueliner is doing it??

Anonymous said...

Maybe Donald can help solve the issue with the shots or identify the person who is keeping track so they can explain why everybody including himself must be nuts in bringing up something so trivial and as it must be a fragment of everybody's elses imagination.

Jimjamesak said...

Um the shots on goal is done by the official scorer (a game official) in the scorers box. I find it kind of sad you guys are complaining about stats, remember: Stats are meaningless.

Jimjamesak said...

BTW Donald that's a pretty good photo of the new Seawolf Tunnel. I've been trying to find a good one to see how it looks since I've been helping set it up. Now if we could just get a DJ to play decent music (If I hear another Techno song or stupid sound bit I'm gonna shove him aside and take over!) and a nice pregame video we might be onto something...

GoWolves said...

JJ, you are so right on about the hole shots on goal debate. I mean at the end of the day it is meaningless. Whether a UAA goalie makes 12 saves or 40, I just want him to ultimately get a WIN. Also, having attended all home games for the last few years I agree with the music. It has been dreadful and woefully out of date with the times. There is so much potential for a solid game experience at the Sully, despite its age.

Donald Dunlop said...

JimmyJam:
While the only "stat" that truly matters is goals there is a compelling argument for shots on goal having more meaning than just a "stat". In this case any goaltenders individual performance measurement is the save percentage. It is arguably the one statistical measure in hockey that gives a DIRECT indication of that individuals performance.

So while you are correct in one sense, you aren't in terms of how a trend of undercounting reflects on UAA goaltenders. And there is undercounting. It affects individuals and not the team. It isn't the most important thing to be talking about. But it is an issue that deserves examination. I think it's useful to question it in some manner and I'm trying to decide how best to do that. That's why I made mention of it in the post. Suze's suggestion to move the shot counter to a spot with a clearer view certainly would help. Anon@1042 suggest I identify the person ... I know the persons name. But naming them doesn't accomplish anything.

There are rinks in the WCHA that are notorious for "padding" individual players statistics i.e ... "ghost assists". The "minor officials" in those towns are doing their players a favor. I point that out not to say that UAA's "minor officials" should act likewise but they certainly shouldn't be going in the other direction as it appears is the current case.

My timing on the photo was a little off so next time the tunnel is up I'll be more ready and get an even better shot.

Anonymous said...

This is a team sport and all around, the stats are inaccurate. The plus/minus is often wrong and second assists could be awarded when they aren't, or awarded when they shouldn't be. These stats are equally important to the players. So, all the players lose out at times with regards to stats. A player can be having a solid game, but still be on for a couple of goals against and then be a victim of the plus/minus stat. In the end though it is the win/loss stat that is important here as it is a team sport.

Anonymous said...

Funny that you have never heard Coach Shyiak complain about stats being wrong. I think he would have said something to those who track those type of things if he felt they were wrong. The coaching staff always watches the game tape, so if there were issues I'm sure they would bring it up and get them fixed.

Anonymous said...

Donalds right when the Goalies face National and Local lamblasting about there stats and everybody draws a line at 90% aND THE MISCOUNTING OF THOSE STATS ONLY AT HOME IS THE ISSUE then its a Huge Problem. Especially on a team that allows a low shot total.Every shot counts. If you watch the difference between home and away games there is a clear difference and this affects everyone. This isnt just one person saying something this is a major issue in the stands and dont insult the knowledge or credibility of Anchorage Fans who are still supporting Seawolf Hockey

Anonymous said...

MAybe if there weren't so much crap on the ice (all those darn ads on every square inch of clean ice) you could see the puck better, therefore a more accurate shot count.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
Funny that you have never heard Coach Shyiak complain about stats being wrong. I think he would have said something to those who track those type of things if he felt they were wrong. The coaching staff always watches the game tape, so if there were issues I'm sure they would bring it up and get them fixed."

You over estimate the University with that statement.

Anonymous said...

There probabaly to embarrassed to say anything or have much more important things to worry about but people are not just making this stuff up for shits and giggles

Anonymous said...

How do I over estimate the University with that statement???

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 6:14, there are a LOT of issues that should be dealt with, yet the AD fails to do anything about them.

Anonymous said...

Hey Donald Dunlop,
I heard the real reason you can't come back to Fairbanks is you were cited for soliciting sex..From a straight hitchhiker who ended up beating you up! haha When you reported the assault was not the ass-ault you were hoping for the police laughed and told you to just get lost. hahahah

I think it is probably a good idea if you stay in Anchorage - there is not much of a homosexual community in Fairbanks and definitely no gay bars. Oh you already know that don't you? So no hard feelings but please be honest in describing why you don't like that town.

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