Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday Potpourri: The Off-Season Meat

There is no off-season for the double cheeseburger. It's delectable juicy goodness is always in season here at the UAA Hockey Fan Blog headquarters. The above is a fine example. Notice there is no rabbit food fouling it's most appetizing visage. Lettuce? Really people ... come on. What in his noodly appendages name does that watery tasteless leafy vegtable add to a burger's flavor? Nothing. Zip. Do you really have to insert a freaking salad to alleviate the high fat guilt? If you must ... then have it on the side and forego the stupid seasoned fries.

A little mayo and perhaps some ketchup could be cleverly applied to enhance the consummation experience but such additions are not really necessary either. As shown suffices execptionally well for me. The imagery is strong for me; my burger lust is on the rise. Fortunately, I was born into a period of human history when other people kill the bovine, butcher and ship it's tasty meat to our neighborhood grocery store; which for me is a short 3 minutes of driving. You know ... I could be enjoying my favorite meal in short order. Ok then .. I think I will. It's your good fortune to be reading this now or you'd have to wait til I get back.

That filled the hole. Now onto the meat from the Seawolves off-season. The first bit of news to come out was the announcement for this year's captains. Jared Tuton got the nod in a "team vote" which included some sort of input from the coaching staff. Jared has been a coaches dream of a player during his career here. If there was a role that needed filled he stepped up to the task and always performed well. He is a bit of monster on the forecheck when at forward and responsible to a "T" on defense. With Kevin Clark, Josh Lunden and Nils Backstrom in the assistant role the Seawolves have a strong leadership cabal.

The next bit of April news to come out via the comment string grapevine was that Brian Bales would not be returning. The unconfirmed report has that Brian wasn't satisfied with whatever scholarship offer was made. He and the program parted ways. Brian had a bit of a tumultuous college hockey career. He showed good playmaking skills at times for the team but in my view was also inconsistent at other times. It's never a proud moment when a program and player don't see eye to eye, but it is the reality of building a competitive team in the WCHA. There was a fairly extensive comment exchange in this April 12th post.

Next we learned that Derek Donald was hired by the program to find ways to improve the attendance at the Sully. As evidenced by the comment string from my post about his hiring, everyone is excited to see what Derek can do in his new role. This blog of course stands ready and willing to assist in Derek's efforts. I will email him later today and let him know that if I can help in any way to let me know.

The next bit of news to come our way was via the Valley Frontiersman announcing that 17 year old Alaska Avalanche forward Matthew Friese committed to play at UAA for 2010-2011. His coach Dave Boitz called him "one of those kids who's kind of the cream of the crop coming out of Alaska". Nice. We'll get some sort of sense what he'll bring to UAA during this coming junior season. The Frontiersman article mentions that Matthew has the option of playing at Tri City in the USHL or staying with the Avalanche. In either case, this will be a fairly telling year for him development-wise. Nice pickup, props to the staff for getting him.

Another new recruit interrupted the distraction of promoting the inclusion of UAF into the WCHA (which of course was a proposition doomed to fail from the start). The NAHL's Defensive Player of the Year Drew Darwitz committed to UAA for this season. His Fairbanks Ice Dog's coach called him the best player in the NAHL. He's a not so big (5' 9" 170lb) puck moving defenseman. I don't want to be a negative nelly ... but Jeff Carlson (who by the way isn't returning) was the leading scoring defenseman in the NAHL before he came to UAA. He hardly ever cracked the lineup ... ya know? I'll take a closer look at all that later in the preseason.

Along the way we learned that Gustav Bengtson will be spending another year developing in juniors before coming to UAA in 10/11. Matt Bailey is returning to the USHL and will be playing for a quality Sioux Falls organization versus the mess that was Tri City last year. That ruined my crazy guess that Matt would join the team this year. Alex Gellert was originally scheduled to come in 10/11 but was advanced to this season. Mickey Spencer and Alex were linemates in Cowichan last year. Hopefully, some chemistry already exists between them.

Isn't a perfectly chilled Coca-Cola a beautiful thing? I'm such an addict.

The first rumor of forward Daniel Naslund from Sweden landed in the comments section of this post on June 12th. Later in June we discussed in the same comments string the addition of Scott Allen for the 10/11 season. He sounds like another excellent skating big (6'3") power winger and will spend his 19th birthday in the AJHL developing.

On July 11th we got our first bit of bad news when we learned that Spencer Bennett had signed with Portland in the WHL and would not be coming to UAA. The Flames prefer to exert the most possible control over their draft picks after Kris Chucko proved to be mostly a bust at UofM.

About a week later we learned that Alaska Avalanche forward Tyler Currier would enroll at UAA and redshirt his freshman year. A years worth of practice and work outs should benefit him nicely. Only July 19th I announced in the coments string that Tyler Moir wasn't returning. About the same time I received an email that Mitch Bruijsten was coming. Bruijsten is "the forward to watch" amongst the incoming class according to my research. I think the last addition we learned about was defensman Scott Warner who has transferred from Army and will be eligible to play in 10/11 as a sophomore.

This season the squad will have 5 European born players. That seems like a pretty big number of across the ponders for a D-1 team. I might dig around later and see if any D-1 team has more. It doesn't necessarily mean anything. But the experience and ability to work the NCAA records transfer processes and get these guys into school is a useful advantage for (and a credit to) the program.

The latest addition was within the last couple of days when it was announced the goalie Rob Gunderson from the Brooks Bandits in the AJHL would be joining UAA in 10/11. Last season Rob set a club record for GAA and he lead the league in wins. His save percentage was .912. Bryce will be a senior and Dusan Sidor will be a sophomore. There shouldn't be any pressure on Rob to perform any miracles as a freshman.

There are really going to be 3 timeouts per period that each team can use? That's what the WCHA announced. I don't see a release on the WCHA homepage but the Gazette in Colorado Springs has posted the text.

There is one other bit of news that I've been given a heads up regarding. The Shyiak immigration kerfuffle is due to raise it's ugly head again this season. I understand there is a process through which his position could become exempt from the "prove there isn't an American that can do the job" rule. Hopefully, that works out so his position doesn't have to be listed again. If not, then I've no doubt the UAA fanbase will show any applicant exactly how they feel about the situation. I bet Troy Ward remembers what that felt like.

That's it for today. Check back in a day or two for a letter to the rookies from me.


Anonymous said...

word is that sidor has a longways to go before he will be wcha ready.

Donald Dunlop said...

I probably should have expressed that I think Gunderson is recruited with the intent that he'll be a #1 guy. Maybe he starts as a sophomore and Sidor is up to speed as a backup by then?

Sue said...

I would think the staff is looking for another goalie for when Bryce graduates. No?

Donald Dunlop said...

And oh yeah ... the "WCHA Official Timeout Policy" confused me badly. It isn't an "official timeout policy" it is an "Official's" timeout policy.

Teams won't be calling additional timeouts. It's just a policy clarifying when and how the OFFICIALS should implement TV/Radio breaks.

No wonder my head was spinning. Reading is an important skill, I practiced it badly in this particular case. But allow me to blame the WCHA a little bit too. Nice wording WCHA.

Anonymous said...

Thank God. The thought of all those time-outs had my paranoid Canadian brain thinking the Gary Bettman conspiracy to make hockey look like basketball was alive and well. (Nice pick.) Hit somebody! Go Seawolves. Let's play hockey. -30-

Donald Dunlop said...

I think we can expect another goaltender recruit within another 12 months at maximum.

Now that I'm beyond the reading dysfunction ... I'd guess all it's about is setting some definitive rules for TV broadcasts. I've heard Kurt wonder whether a whistle was or wasn't a "tv timeout" so standardizing it makes sense.

jennifer said...

The lettuce adds the great crunch to the burger!
Go Seawolves!

Donald Dunlop said...

Crunch? Yuck. We're talking about meat here. Meat shouldn't crunch for any reason when it's in your mouth. That can only be a bad thing.

I have texture issues. How anyone can stand to bite into a pepper or an onion in a cheese omelette mystifies me.

I do overcome my mixed-texture aversion for Vanilla Ice Cream with crushed Ruffles. Give it a couple of minutes of spoon mixing and OMG. Nirvana.

jennifer said...

The meat doesn't crunch, the crispy fresh lettuce does!..and texture issues? That's a new one. How on earth do you make it through Thanksgiving? Oh and speaking of Heaven, french fries dipped in milkshakes.yumm

UAA Fan in Florida(no longer) said...

That's what Wendy's is for!

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