Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A Badger Vivisectional

Fear not. I'm not going to continue to sing the praises of serial killer Eddy Gein here. But a dissection of the Badgers is necessary. No need to be squeamish, there will be no blood.

The first thing to look at is the hide of a Badger. For the sake of this metaphoric pre-game autopsy I'll say that the goaltender is the hide. The integumentary system of any mammal primarily serves to keep the beast waterproof and warm. Badger goaltending has typically done this job very well. For a couple of decades or so Badger goaltending coach Bill Howard was known for breaking down a young goalie and building him back up. A couple of them over time sure seemed to be unbeatable. But Howard is gone. Badger fans are relatively split about Shane Connelly's abilities. He is 6-5-2 this season. Backup Scott Gudmandson is 1-2 in his only appearances. I'm going to go out on a bit of limb and predict that Gudmandson gets a start this weekend. Both guys aren't big. Connelly is 5ft 9in; Gudmanson is 5ft 10in.

If Eaves looks at one statistic I think he'll realize why the Badgers went winless in their first seven and have only one loss in their last nine. Shots on goal. In the first 7 games they gave up 266 shots for a 38/game average. In the next 9 games they gave up 234 shots for a 26/game average. I'd say that team defense has been a big factor in both their early losing streak and their current winning streak. Team defense is best related to the muscular system of the Badger. It's obviously the first thing we see when we tear back the skin. Eaves coached teams have used team defense for every success they've ever had. The fact that it took this years team 7 games to figure out that everybody has backcheck is a bit surprising to me. But hey ... they figured it out. The Seawolves better not be expecting to put 40 shots on net either night.

The next thing you'll see on the autopsy table is the guts. The heart, liver, lungs, stomach and intestines. All the stuff that really makes the animal go. This season Blake Geoffrion looks like the heart. His goals have helped spur an offense that hitherto had come from the lungs; defenseman Jamie McBain and Brendan Smith. McBain and Smith are still the leading scorers. They can thank the Badger power-play for that. 6 of their combined 7 goals have come on the PP. 5 of Geoffrion's 7 goals have come on the PP. 3 of Tom Gorowsky's 5 tallies have come on the PP. Noticing a trend here? The Badgers have scored 31 non-power play goals out of their total of 50. Their scoring is relatively balanced with 13 guys who have 2 or more goals.

Perhaps the most critical system in any living being is the gastrointestinal system. Without the ability to intake food, process it and excrete the waste a thing can't live. Mike Eaves does that job for the Badgers. He gobbles up as many recruits as he can by promising them the world. He gets them in his gut and keeps some of them there. And then he craps out the rest. Yes. I'm saying that along with being the mouthpiece and digestion ... that Mike Eaves is the anus. One might perhaps argue that he is the brains. But I think that is insulting since a Badger brain typically is smaller in proportion to body mass than most other mammals. They aren't the brightest bulbs in the mammalian kingdom ya know? Eaves and real Badgers have something in common. They both have historically short tempers.

All that makes the Badgers less than mysterious to me. If the Seawolves do a good job of staying out of the box their chances will be better. The Seawolves game plan shouldn't be a mystery to anyone at this point. The Shyiak "system" is all about puck possession and forechecking in the opponent's zone and a committed effort on the backcheck. The Seawolves are giving up an average of 22.7 shots per game. That is a testament to the excellent job of blocking shots by the team. They'll need the same effort this weekend. Keep the Badgers off the power play, keep the shots against total to the season average and the team should come away with a nice share of the points available. They'll need to keep the same effort as we've seen most of the season. They'll need a solid transition game. Olthuis and Christianson will have to continue to be sharp. Guys who haven't been scoring will need to contribute offensively. Guys who have been scoring will need to continue to score. Look for at least one shorthanded Seawolf goal this weekend.

College Hockey News has done the Seawolves a favor this week. They named the Badger as their Team of the Week. St. Cloud was their Team of the Week last week and promptly went out and got pounded 5-1 by UMD. WCHA teams typically don't fare well after receiving this alleged honor. There seems to be a bit of the Sports Illustrated cover jinx at work. I remember after UAA was named Team of the Week. The Seawolves were swept in their next series. It's an intangible that I don't really believe in however, I do also have a completely illogical superstitious side. I guess we'll see if there is anything to it.

17 comments:

seawolvesfan said...

yeah first to comment, going to make this happen more often i hope, but love the shout-out to me on your first lines, and no im not squeamish. if we get 10 shots but 4 goals a game i dont care, i think if we get to the goalie early and often-stay out of the box we got a recipe for 3-4 points. And then he craps out the rest. "Yes. I'm saying that along with being the mouthpiece and digestion ... that Mike Eaves is the anus." thats the humor i want. the superstions in hockey run deep and will continue, the reason why i told everyone that one of my comments word verify was SWEDE:

1: Nils(love that name) Backstrom is a swede

2: he was drafted by the red wings

3: there team colors are red and white-swedens flag colors

Suze said...

Anyone know if there will be a get together on Saturday night to watch the game? Pepper Mill or Peanut Farm?

seawolvesfan said...

and just a tip DD, i think the MADDEN curse is more mainstream. and sadly SUZE i'll leave that to the adults.......

Kris said...

K lots not be ignorant here. I don't think Sweden has ever had a red and white flag. It's all about the blue with the gold horizontal cross! The only red and white I can think of is the Danish and the Swiss; definitely not the Swedish. I am not even sure where you were trying to go with all that anyways.

Anonymous said...

yeah? My comments word verification was cleche. Any clechan's on the team?

Donald Dunlop said...

The clechans graduated.

seawolvesfan said...

ha ha, got me

seawolvesfan said...

The UAA Blueliners hockey booster club will host a watch party for the UAA at Wisconsin WCHA hockey game beginning at 4 p.m. Friday (Dec. 5) at the Pepper Mill Restaurant, 4101 Credit Union Drive. Door prizes will be awarded between periods and after the game.

Friday’s game between the Seawolves and Badgers from Madison can be seen live locally beginning at 4 p.m. on GCI cable channel 1.

GO SEAWOLVES!

Anonymous said...

What about Saturday night? Is there a get together?

seawolvesfan said...

funny that the minor finds the SEAWOLVES get together, thats awesome

seawolvesfan said...

you know on the seawolves site it doesnt say, so idk

jjack said...

If you think Nils Backstrom is a cool name, there was a player in juniors a few years back called Axel Thor. That's a tough name of I ever heard one.

Donald Dunlop said...

seawolvesfan:
I swear ... if anyone wound you up any more than you already are that Alaska could build an alternative energy industry out of you. ;-)

seawolvesfan said...

im just living life(not letting it live me-so im feeling great)

seawolvesfan said...

well there goes our future energy crisis

seawolvesfan said...

DD: admiring me or poking fun at me?

seawolvesfan said...

10 of 17 comments belong to me, yeah, and DD did you knock on wood after you typed up that blog post? cause i know you didnt...

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