Thursday, January 15, 2009

UAA @ MSU-M: Bad Attitude

Once again there are no big secrets about what the Seawolves will have to do for a successful weekend. Everyone knows that UAA's power play has been anemic. If the team were a patient in the hospital, the Docs would be transfusing red blood cells at the highest drip rate possible. The coaching staff knows it and consequently the team has been focusing (again) on it in practice. Specifically, they've been working on ways for the blueliners to increase the number of shots that get through from the point. That means lots of first timers off the pass. It means anticipating a defender's intentions (is he going down to block the shot or ???). It means forwards in good places to screen the opposition goalie as well as pounce on rebounds for that good old greasy goal. It means passing needs to be sharp. It means that every player on the power play should be focused and determined.

I believe that the Seawolf backline is as talented overall as any set in the WCHA. But that belief hasn't translated into statistics. I saw a spot on KTUU where they pointed out that only Nils Backstrom has more than a single goal so far this year. I think it's a bit misleading to state it that way but nevertheless it does reflect the problem.

I know that UAA's gameplan includes the green light for each and every blueliner to join the offense when there is an opening. And at one time or another every blueliner has done exactly that this season. Why then don't the defensemen have more points? I'm lost for an explanation. Certainly some measure of the failure is due to good penalty killing on the part of the opponents. Last weekend Eaves praised his penalty killers as the difference for Wisconsin. As I reviewed those games the credit should go to their ability to keep UAA from gaining the zone clearly. They interrupted, trapped and disrupted the Seawolves in the neutral zone. What else though? Again, I don't know.

It isn't desire. I doubt there is a team in Division 1 that wants success any more than the Seawolves. But there are probably many teams that want it equally. The Mavericks are historically one of those teams that comes at their opponent from every possible angle and are known to never quit. I imagine they'll look a lot like Bucky to the Seawolf players. All we can do is hope that the team is well-prepared and that they work hard.

There is one word that has been pervasively in my thoughts this weekend: attitude. We've seen sporadic displays from individuals throughout the season that reflected some attitude. I'm not just talking about the so-called "extra-curriculars" (although such things are a positive reflection of attitude). I'm talking about displaying attitude and desire through their play. Yes ... it means getting in your opponents face when challenged, but it also means displaying confidence (and even cockyness) in every situation. It's all about not being denied.

I'll single out one player here as an example. Kevin Clark. Kevin is almost always full of attitude and more than a few times this season I've known that he just wasn't going to be denied; you could just see it ... ya know? So ... I think every Seawolf should play like Kevin Clark this weekend. Run your mouths, be a pain in the opponents side and when you see a opening ... don't be denied. All of this is easy to type. But when you're going to a boring town against an opponent that isn't naturally inspiring then manufacturing this thing I'm calling attitude doesn't necessarily come easy. But if there ever was a time for a team to pull together and display some attitude then it is after 5 losses in a row.

In my book, it's time for the players to feel some pressure to win. Four points are needed badly.


akhockeyfanatic said...

well said, Donald. And go get 'em this weekend, Seawolves!

seawolvesfan said...

Clarky is my favorite player. handpicked him in his freshman year. does he remind you of steve cygan?

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