Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday Potpourri: No Alternate Title

Let's hear it for the 4th line eh? Ken Selby, Nick Haddad and Jeremy Smith deserve the bulk of the early season accolades for their on-ice efforts so far. With a broader bench to consider during preseason I'm quite sure Coach Shyiak didn't have these three plugged into this combination. But when Jared Tuton breaks a leg and two other guys go bye bye an opportunity arose. All three of these guys seemed to have embraced that opportunity.

For whatever reason Ken Selby has never found a regular role in Coach Shyiak's lineup during his first two seasons. Whenever he did play it quite frankly made me want to see more of him. Ken was one of the fastest skaters in Canada for his age group. I've always thought he could stickhandle well and figured he had more shot than setup in him. Near the end of last season Ken scored the GWG against the Minnesota Gophers with a ripper of a wrist shot. On Saturday night he revisited that moment with anothe GWG against Mercyhurst. Both plays saw him carry the puck into the zone and fire that shot from the high slot. They wouldn't be perfect matches per se ... but similar enough to say, "Hey Ken, carry the puck to the high slot and shoot!". Sure, it's an oversimplification but you all know what I'm getting at.

Nick Haddad my be blossoming into a punishing center. This is Nick's first time playing the position. He's growing into the role and opponents are paying the physical price. The biggest story on the team right now has got to be the play of Jeremy Smith. Jeremy's 4 year junior career ended with the 04-05 season as a 21 year old with zero collegiate scholarship offers. He returned home and started going to school at UAA. Two years later he finds himself trying out for a spot on last years team and viola. He makes the team. He saw action in 1 game in the 07-08 season. Jeremy Smith was a defenseman; he looked OK in that outing. And this year it seems that Jeremy has found an opportunity and he is making the absolute best of the chance. Seriously, what I said last week ... um ...
... berserking frenzied binge of destruction ...
Jeremy creates the sort of havoc that would make Kenny Linseman proud. He is the kind of 24 year old player that ought to strike fear into the hearts of every opponent. He is going to hit everyone of them he possibly can and inflict as much hurting as possible in doing so. He's got good quickness around the net and shows good agility in tight spaces. He's got the tenacity to campout in front of the net while Ken and Nick work it along the boards. His time for a goal will come. I hope it's in the Sully.

The rest of the team are doing good things as well. Kevin Clark, Josh Lunden, Paul Crowder and Craig Parkinson were tabbed to be the leading scorers this season and that's exactly what they are doing. They've all come up with key goals and/or assists. They're showing maturity, leadership and heart. A commenter reports that Tyler Moir has a groin strain so that explains his absence for most of Saturday night. Not coming back too soon is the most important thing about groin pulls/strains. Tyler had been showing signs of growth already so we'll have to be patient for now and see what he can bring to the lineup when he's healthy again. "Wings" Portwood is Suze's favorite new player. She was all about him at the USNDT preseason game. She was dead on right. "Wings" looks to be a contributor this season.

Tommy Grant and Sean Wiles are both showing me something that either wasn't there last year or I missed. I liked what I saw from Sean in terms of patience with the puck. He showed a strength "on the puck" that I didn't know he had. And Tommy is showing me more speed than I gave him credit for. Tommy will get a breakaway or two in a lot of games this year. Lastly, I want to give credit to Brian Bales for playing what seems to me to be a cerebral style. Brian has good anticipation and reads the play very well. It enables him to be in spots before the puck gets there. Let's hope the injured guys all have solid speedy recoverys. UMD will be the toughest opponent we've seen this year.

Hating on FBX:
You had to know I was going to talk about the TV broadcast didn't ya? There is this postion in the sports TV broadcast industry called "Director". He is the guy responsible for everything. Apparently, with the understanably limited number of cameras this shouldn't be that tough a job. Camera 1 was dedicated to wide shots and camera 2 designated to follow the play and #3 was the handheld rover. If we'd seen nothing but 2 for the entire game then I would have rated it a decent broadcast. Every shot from Camera 1 was entirely useless. Maybe it's an old crappy camera. Who knows? I know the whitebalance was horribly misbalanced causing everything to be washed out. You couldn't see the puck and NEVER saw any action in the corners or along the near side boards. Let's get it together by next February eh Mr. Fairbanks TV Director?

Bruce Cech isn't a guy beloved by Anchorage listeners. We all love Kurt Haider and so even if Bruce were great we wouldn't acknowledge it. Bruce was fine this weekend in my view. I've seen enough homer broadcasts (the local boobs they used in St. Cloud are the worst) to give Bruce a break for his few small homeristic forays. But of course, I've still got advice to offer. Dump Scott Roselius. Get ahold of Eric Carlson and invite him to do color commentary. There isn't anyone in Fairbanks that knows the game better and can communicate it. Roselius's continuous fumbling and grasping for words ain't doing it Bruce.

An apology is in order for the fine folks of NW Pennsylvania on the edge of Lake Erie. The screengrab on the left is the graphic used by KTUU Channel 2 during their late sports show with Charlie Sokaitis. M E R C E Y H E R S T ?? R E A L L Y? Really? If you want to watch the video you can do so here on their website ... scroll forward to 4:22 to avoid all the other junk. Let's just make something clear ok? Charlie Sokaitis comes from Fairbanks. His pops is a long time well respected and successful basketball coach at various levels including the collegiate level at ... guess where ... UAF. Charlie went to the same broadcasting school that Billy Mays attended. Apparently the number one attended class there is ... "if you yell they can't help but hear you". He begins this short segment by misnaming UAA's opponent ... he says "UAA versus Maine" and ends it with a grotesque misspelling of the opponents actual name? Charlie is just flat out irritating. Channel 2 considers themselves (and they spend the money that puts them) at a higher level of local media as compared to their competitors. Yet they allow this bumpkin from Fairbanks to trounce on professionalism with his continuous romp of ignorance and obvious disdain for all things UAA?

Hating on the WCHA:
Mankato blew the chance that every other team in the WCHA would have cherished and completed successfully. They could have swept the Sioux but instead they folded in the last 5 minutes of the game. That was real "Mavericky" of 'em. The Gophers swept the Bluffskies destroying St. Cloud's hopes of a national championship. From the parts of the games that I saw neither team looked particularly impressive. Denver owned Wisconsin entirely. There isn't a measurement that I could invent which would put Wisconsin on the positive side of this weekends games. They got served. Sucks to be "teh Badgers". CC did what it's supposed to do (win) and MTU did what they are destined to do (lose). There were craploads of penalties all around.

I'll have a robust preview of UMD early this week.


Anonymous said...

its probably safe to say the last 5 recruits Brought in have been very good selections hopefully that will continue with the 2 spots that have opened up as of recent. Lots of buzz at the Aces games about the Wolves. Winning sure helps. ya think

Suze said...

Fun read as usual Donald, thanks! I always look forward to your Sunday Potpourri.

Yep, I like what I see out of Portwood, and I just bet with Brad and Winstons departures that Jade will get some scholarship money after all. Hard to believe he is a walk on. I have been asking myself who is going to be the real aggressive penalty killers this season. McMann and Beagle were great penalty killers, but Portwood and Crowder have both stepped up big time in that area.

Speaking of Charlie, did you notice that he referred to the UA_ tourney as the GOLD Rush? (I put that on the USCHO to dis UA_, maybe that's where he got his info?) LOL

Last, I'm thrilled to see Selby playing and scoring. But his goal last year was not a GWG, it tied the game 2-2. I remember that game in particular because I had given out 30 tickets to a group of friends who were all at that game.

Donald Dunlop said...

My bad on Selby. It felt like a game winner ;-)

I'm all about thinking that winning solves everything.

Will said...

The team can take positives from the weekend and build on those next weekend. Ya, they got down three in the first but they came back unlike they would have last year. Some good play from our forwards but I thought our D played well and deserves mentioning too. What we are not use to seeing is six goals scored. I sure hope we continue to see more of that this year. If the guys believe they can win they will win more than they loose this year.

Good wrapup for the weekend Donald.

Donald Dunlop said...

I purposely skipped the D side in favor of some focus for them later in the week. But you're right, I should have pumped their tires somewhere in all that.

Anonymous said...

Right after the clip you have up showing the misspelling of Mercyhurst, is when Charlie calls the UA_ tourney the Gold Rush, and that is how it's spelled on the TV screen as well. LOL

Kris said...

In regards to the Squarebanks broadcasting, I don't know much about broadcasting to be honest with you but I do know that in public speaking you need to watch the saying of "umm". Those bozos were saying "umm" every other sentence. Thanks Kurt and the great but no longer Lyle Woods. The professionalism and great voices that they have given this program is amazing! Listening and watching as poor of broadcasting as Fairbanks had just makes you appreciate those two and all the guys behind the scenes and cameras even more.

Homer S. said...

Agreed about Sokaitis...he is a total TOOL! Every time I see his smug smile at the beginning of his sportscast I just want to throw something at my TV. Really, that's the best KTUU could get??? By the way Kevin Wells from what I hear is also from _airbanks.

Anonymous said...

Wells worked in Fairbanks, but he is from syracuse, i've met the guy and he has no love for Fairbanks.

Anonymous said...

Any word on Jade Portwood's status after taking a dirty knee-on-knee with minutes left in the game?

Suze said...

UAA Seawolves Fan said he was limping after the game and had his leg/knee (not sure which) iced. I hope he's okay!

Anonymous said...

rankings mean nothing, especially at this point of the year, but:

UMD-109 points
UW-25 points
UAA-18 points

Anonymous said...

portwood is probably going to be out this weekend. rumor has it that they are concerned with his MCL. He could miss a month if it's bad enough. Also heard that lienweber is hurt too.

Anonymous said...

Having being in video production for a number of years, I consider the quality of video coming from the Sully via GCI to be poor. The quality from the Carlson...well there is not really a word for it.

A new student broadcast engineer would know how to fix this. BTW it is not white balance that is the problem. It is the gain. This can be from simple over exposure from the camera or settings on the equipment. (notice that the graphics looked good) If they have a waveform monitor, they need to use it.

I have a message in to someone I know in the industry in FBKS. He does not work with the hockey B'casts but maybe we can get to the bottom of this.

As for as the broadcasters, I don't like the UAA guys. Maybe too many years listening to Bruce but you are right, Roselius does need to go. He is just the fill-in when Eric Drygas is not around. At least Eric really knows hockey.

The Minn. announcers are the worst. I get tired of the old stories from the "Wooger" and they often don't know the names of the players on other teams. At least Bruce and Kurt do a pretty good job in that respect. Back when the Nooks played Minn. they kept call them Anchorage.

Charlie was bad in an entry level market (Fairbanks DMA 202) I don't know how he got a job that would be considered a step up. Unless they fire him we are most likely stuck with him. I don't think he will move up in the biz. (Anchorage is still a small market station DMA 150) Lucky for me, I don't watch TV news.

Cheering for the Nooks and the Seawolves when not playing the Nooks.

Perfect season, Nooks and Sewolves in the NCAA final and a split in the Gov's cup.

I know it will never happen but, a guy can dream.

Anonymous said...

More rankings..., this time, the INCH power rankings:

UND & UW drop out
UAA-one of three "bubble-licious"

Donald Dunlop said...

The only "ranking" that means anything is the one the NCAA uses to determine tournament participants. So expect zero coverage at this locale of rankings/polls during the season and UAA placement therein if any with one exception: Should all major sources place UAA at #1 then I'll post about it.

Anonymous said...

The only "ranking" that means anything is the one the NCAA uses to determine tournament participants.

Speaking of that, UAA is 3rd in the PWR :)


Donald Dunlop said...

LOL ... all right.

First, there's no where near enough comparisons to make that valid. Second, making it even more invalid is the fact that 2 of UAA's wins have been excluded (Mercyhurst and UConn) because those wins would have decreased UAA's score.

UAA being third in PWR today is more meaningless than some writer in Buffalo voting as to where UAA belongs in a top 20 poll.

MATT said...

donald, i am only needling you. i know all these rankings are meaningless, but they are fun to look at as the year goes on

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