Wednesday, January 28, 2009

How To Beat The Pioneers

What will UAA fans see on TV this weekend from the DU team? On Friday, there is one thing we won't see; George Gwozdecky behind the bench. George got booted from DU's game versus UND on Saturday in the 2nd period. He took a little stroll across the ice which enraged the normally enraged fans in Susiedom and for which they unsuccessfully called for his head. Late on Tuesday though DU handed George a one-game suspension because he admitted to using a headset to communicate to his team after getting booted.

It was all perhaps one of George's finest strategic moves to motivate his team. The Pios have straight up been playing like shit. Denver hasn't played worth a crap since losing Tyler Bozak to injury. As the head coach, George knows shit hockey when he sees it. And after getting pummelled 8-3 the night before, Saturday wasn't going to pass without George teaching his team a lesson. UAA fans might remember when George once pulled his goalie against the Seawolves at the Sully with like 8 minutes to go in the 3rd period when he was down by 4 goals ... he sent a message to his team. What George did this past weekend was exactly the same thing. I'm not sure exactly how the Pios will play this weekend while their coach sits for "taking one for the team" ... but I'll bet it won't be like shit. Gwoz did what he did to set a tone for his team's stretch run.

Conventional thinking would say that this weekend is a near perfect setup for DU to start that stretch run. They have the 9th place team coming to their rink. The sodbusters will be properly motivated to put out 100 percent effort. DU's stats are telling. They have 9 guys that have scored 5 or more goals. That means every line has been scoring. For comparisons sake, UAA has 5 guys with 5 or more goals.

As I see it, there is one primary advantage that UAA has going into this series. The Seawolves are bigger and DU plays on a rink that is 15ft narrower than the Sully. On the whole the Seawolves are about 7lbs heavier than DU. That may not sound like much but from heaviest to lightest NCAA team the difference is about 12lbs. UAA is 2nd heaviest and DU is 39th. UAA's cycle game is made for this situation. A smaller rink with a smaller opponent? This just screams for UAA's physical game to be dialed up a notch. In Palinese that would be "Hit baby Hit". A good ol' clean hard-hitting western-Canadian butt-whooping style is called for here.

I don't mean to overlook the other important things this weekend. Fewer penalties must be taken. Amping up the physical game and taking fewer penalties aren't mutually exclusive as long as you play that physical game smartly. A more physical tone should mean more oppotunities and of course the Seawolves need to turn those chances into goals. The one thing I do think very strongly for this weekend is that the Seawolves absolutely have to dictate the play.

UAA's top two lines MUST produce this weekend for the Seawolves to come home with points. Grant, Crowder, Bales, Lunden and Clark's names will need to appear in goals and assist columns of the boxscores. MUST ... see how I made that all caps to emphasize it? In order to begin it's own stretch run the Seawolf leaders MUST lead. The one game (so far) success of the "WHiP Line" (Wiles, Haddad, Parkison) MUST be repeated this weekend as well. They MUST be the engine that makes the amped up physical game plan work. They need to gain the DU zone and focus on possession ... which they can accomplish with their size. I'm assuming here that Coach Shyiak is going to go with the same lineup as Saturday night versus MTU.

Yes. Goaltending has to be sharp.

35 comments:

sitkafan said...

"Fewer penalties must be taken."
Amen Brother Donald!!!
How about some power play goals? UAA needs to be more consistent in that category in order to stay in games against ALL teams.

Anonymous said...

Thought you spelled WHiP Wiles, Haddad, Portwood? Kidding. Always enjoy your purple prose, Donald. -30-

Anonymous said...

Whatever is written or said the 2 glaring issues are the PP and PK. I have never seen the specialty teams as bad as this. Last in the league in both categories. ( The PK is 57th in the country ) If they don't improve this team will have a tough time beating the teams the Wolves play down the stretch.

seawolvesfan said...

our PP needs to something, everything different in order to prosper again. we need some creativity with the puck (maybe some backhand passes, less dekes, more dekes, less passing, more shots(were gonna score dirty/grimy goals so why the hell do we pass the puck half a dozen times and maybe get a shot off? PP needs to take more shots(good shots that is)) we rack up our physical game, cycle the puck and take smart shots we get 4 points

Anonymous said...

fewer penalties, we have the worst penalty killing units in the league, we average 20 minutes a game the same as every other wcha team. Forget the power play units, put your top players out to kill penalties and you will win games.'
Scout

Anonymous said...

I agree with the penalty killing needing the most skilled out there; but the pp does become important as this team has had an issue with its inability to score, and when the pp clicks, those will be important goals.

Suze said...

What changed from the beginning of the year? When UAA played CC, they killed off, what, 11 or power plays on the weekend?

Is it just lack of confidence? Different lines on the pp? I don't get the huge difference. Early on the guys were killing off two man advantages, sometimes twice in one game.

Clearly the talent is there, but I don't see the passion and drive to win that I saw earlier in the season.

Anonymous said...

suze, lack of a true leader on the ice and probably in the locker room as well

Anonymous said...

I know we keep talking about what needs to be done in order to win the hockey game. But no matter how much it's been talked about on this board, in the media etc., the results are the same. These boys know what needs to be fixed. What they could do better or different. But what it comes down to is motivation. And this group has not had much motivation since the beginning of the season when they were winning the non-conference games. Once we started losing the conference games there has been little emotion from some of the players. This is due to lack of motivation from the coaching staff and a lack of leadership from the captains. I've watched their practices and they are nothing but endless repetition of drills. Sure the coach might throw some different drills here and there to change things up but the practices, I'm sure take their toll. And some players will begin to slack off if the coach does not keep on them. And once the player notices that he can get away with less than their best efforts, they will seemingly think that they are giving it their all, when really they are putting in 50 percent in. This team has so much talent they can't see it because of their record. Forget about winning or losing. The coach needs to point out the good first and teach the negatives next. I don't know what he tells his team but after the game I hear him talk about the negatives all the time on the interview after the game. Kurt Haider brings up the positives but Shyiak says one line about itand shrugs it off and goes back to the negatives. That is not how you motivate your team. You're basically calling them losers. The only joy that I see in the boys is when they are together on the ice after the practice is over with the coach gone. It's time to start looking for a good motivator for this team and right now it's not the coach. He might've put this team together but he has no idea how to make them coheasive.

annabelle said...

Good luck to the boys this week-end!

GO SEAWOLVES!!!! !

seawolvesfan said...

agree with anon @ January 30, 2009 2:00 AM. every night he highlights the negatives of the boys and hardly ever postivies even if we win. he needs a new strategy

Anonymous said...

I don't agree. When I watch Coach he is usually positive, at least on my streaming video. The only time I've seen him negative was after the first 3-3 tie against Tech. And that was after blowing a 3-0 lead. I can't comment on the practices because I'm too far away. I do hear, however, that the boys like the staff. -30-

matthew said...

When UAA played CC, they killed off, what, 11 or power plays on the weekend?

I think that has more to do with CC's 14.8% power play (only slightly better than our 13.1%).

Special teams are where games are won and lost. We need both to get better.

seawolvesfan said...

anon @ January 30, 2009 7:33 AM. well if you look closely to his facial expressions i can see your point, but after the game and between periods hes quick to point out the negatives and then the postivies(im pretty sure i spelled that wrong). at least most of the times he is. "Kurt Haider brings up the positives but Shyiak says one line about itand shrugs it off and goes back to the negatives. That is not how you motivate your team. You're basically calling them losers. The only joy that I see in the boys is when they are together on the ice after the practice is over with the coach gone. It's time to start looking for a good motivator for this team and right now it's not the coach. He might've put this team together but he has no idea how to make them coheasive." is true. and you still 0%

seawolvesfan said...

and wait how the hell is my % still 30%? your only an adult shut the fuck up. go and get yourself a wife. in the words of anon @ January 27, 2009 12:07 PM.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter if the boys like the staff. They need a different strategy. And Shyiak needs to find it or else he's the one that needs to go. These boys have what it takes. They just lack direction from the staff on the bench. Let's face it, we have a coaching problem. Shyiak has done wonders at finding the right kind of caliber of players. But that's all he's good at...scouting. How can you tell your team to stay out of the box yet they constantly put themselves down a man at crucial times. Bench them and start playing your freshman. Let them get some experience. They are afterall the future of this team. How do you outshoot a team yet still lose the game? How do these guys miss half of their shots? Most of them end up hitting the glass instead of the back of the net. Why is it that we do better 5-5 rather than 5-4 when we have a man advantage. This is all due to a lack of direction from the bench. Shyiak knows what needs to change and so do the boys, but what is it going to take to make these guys find their stride? Mix up the lines. Change your game plan. Change up your drills in practices. Coach the team and be a good motivator for them, not their friend. Be their coach.

seawolvesfan said...

werent people on this blog once saying shyaik could coach but not recruit? if thats true...nice reversal. and now that i think on it our PP and PK arent getting some good coaching. so id hate to agree with you but i have to

Anonymous said...

The negativity of losing is slowly drifting to this blog......let's pick it up a tone or two. I know this is a place to voice opinions but my word, folks, listen to what we are writing as of late!!

The bottom line is that clearly the talent is there. The team, with or without the help of the coaching staff, has to create some new ju ju among themselves on and off the ice. Let's face it.....there are lots of coaches out there with winning teams who tend to focus on the negative side of things. So what? Let's not start blaming Shyiak for the team's record. He is not the one hitting the glass instead of the back of the net. He is not the one letting the opponent score an easy goal. The boys themselves know what needs to get done. They need to convince themselves that they can do it. Every single player on the team has been in this business as long as they can remember and have had coaches with different coaching styles. Yes, coaching is part of winning/losing, but the players have to step up their game and start believing in themselves again. It sucks having so much talent but not being able to produce anything to show for it.

A win this wknd will turn this team around. They can do it. We know they can. GO SEAWOLVES !!!!

Anonymous said...

A win this weekend will only give these guys some confidence. A lot of work still lays ahead. They have some big issues to address. And you cannot expect them to be all fixed in this weekends series. Quit getting ahead of yourselves here. I love the Seawolves just as much as the people here. But you cannot expect them to make a 180 degree turn around and start winning games. Yeah they'll have some good wins and the bounces will go our way eventually, but not this season. Let's build up and prepare this team for next year. Start playing the freshman, start playing the rookie back-up goaltender and let them have some experience. They are our future! Good luck to the team during the playoffs but its doubtful they'll make it past the 1st or 2nd round. Yes they still have a few games to go before they start hanging them up but, they cannot win this series unless they address their problems which they have not been able to fix all year long.

Donald Dunlop said...

I too subscribe to the lets not get ahead of ourselves philosophy .. I definitely don't subscribe to suggestions that include finding another coach. It is incumbent on the program to hire a good coach and then to facilitate success for the team. The fact is that in College Hockey it takes more than 4 years to get established with the players you want. Year 6 is really the first time you can take a look and measure whatever things you define as success. Until then entertaining ideas of getting rid of Shyiak is ridiculous. And after 6 years the evidence that he can't succeed will have to be pretty compelling for me to call for change.

The hard truth is there about zero experienced college hockey coaches with a track record of winning who don't already have a job. The UAA job has been open three times ... and two of the three times it was filled were clear busts. So ... dump Shyiak and get what? Who? And would ANYONE ... seriously ... any coach you can name ... bring a guarantee of success? If you think that Shyiak is the devil, then what I'm saying is the devil you know is better than the unknown devil you could get. "They" say, "once bitten twice shy" ... well the UAA program is twice bitten so I'm in quad shy territory.

As to other observations about Shyiak's style and/or relationship with the players. I have no direct experience so it's difficult to comment. But that said, I've only seen indications of positive relationships when there is something to see.

In any case the dialogue here is always a good thing to see no matter the topic at hand.

Donald Dunlop said...

I noticed the Gymnastics team is at DU this weekend for a match. Hopefully, the hockey team and them can go to each others games.

Suze said...

Anonymous who keeps saying "play the freshmen", who exactly isn't playing? Look at the list of freshmen ... they are all on the ice but the goalie. I'm sure Shyiak chooses his goalies based on what he sees in practice.

Shyiak is not there to be the players friend, he wouldn't get the most out of them if he were. These guys have been playing long enough that there is no excuse for an open shot going three feet wide. Shyiak can't do it for them, these guys need to dig deep - maybe have a players only meeting, and get it together.

They have the talent, they just need the will. WILL can beat skill.

Anonymous said...

Yeah ok its 4-0 in the 2nd and you call it not a coaching problem?!!!! Why can't these guys stay out of the box?!!! Because the coach can't control his players! I'm done. Next year we'll see if we can get our act together. There is no way this team rebounds this year.

Anonymous said...

WILL IS NOT BEATING SKILL

Anonymous said...

I agree, the coach needs to get the penalties under control, that is something HE does have a say about. Can't play diciplined hockey? Sit in the stands.

Anonymous said...

"Will can beat skill"

Sure, but only if skill has their head up their ass.

Donald Dunlop said...

You should learn to read what I've written carefully anon@7:02. I didn't say there wasn't a "coaching problem". I said I didn't subscribe to 'fire the coach" talk.

I had my one post this year where I pretended I was coach. When I see things that I believe should be questioned though, I don't think I hesitate for a second to address it. By it's nature a lot of what I do here is some sort of second-guessing .. yes?

That said, the main part of the blog here is where I give my perspective BUT ... and this is the good but ... the comments section is important particularly when it comes to a view different from mine.

HawaiianHockeyFan said...

Trevor Hunt is a stud! He's really picked up his game! And he continues to amaze me. He's bulked up too! Which is always nice on the eyes! ;) Yes I'm a girl! We need some entertainment on this board, it's becoming a little depressing :( GO SEAWOLVES!!!

Anonymous said...

Shyiak needs to go, he has proved that he can't coach his way out of a paper bag. This team is as undisciplined as I have ever seen. No accountability anywhere on this team. No leadership and pretty soon there will be no one in the stands to watch an effortless team.

Anonymous said...

Last year's team seemed more disciplined. Not sure what happened this year. An okay 1st period(although they played a little nervous) and a horrific 2nd(as usual) and a better 3rd.(not enough time to come back for the win) Penalties, penalties and no goals from our forwards. That's all I've got.

Anonymous said...

Just awful. Again special teams and game awareness.

Anonymous said...

Why dont we start blaming mcCabe and Daychief while we
are at it? Come on, guys. Why continually place blame on someone? Dont you think the players and coaches realize there are problems?

Suze said...

It's obvious there are problems, but to me it seems the biggest hurdles right now are in the players minds.

Gotta keep positive. Look at Tech last weekend. They've won ONE game all year, yet gave UAA all they could handle. They never say quit. The Seawolves need that kind of attitude. Let's see 100% effort tonight UAA!

akhockeyfanatic said...

I agree with Suze totally! The boys need a win so they can forget the past and start focusing on the future. The season is far from over. We know they can do it. The big hurdle is that they can convince themselves of the same!

wolfman said...

I am just tired of our team always losing.

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