Monday is far enough away from the upcoming weekend to make anticipation of it less than intense. The weekend that just passed is close enough for any commentary to still be fresh. So ..what happened in the WCHA this past weekend? Lots ...
The Bulldogs of Duluth hosted the Mankato Landcows. They weren't nice hosts sweeping the Landcows 5-2 on Friday and 3-2 on Saturday. By all accounts neither team played their best hockey. It's early for them too. My educated guess and limited reading regarding the series tells me it was likely a bit sloppy at times but still as gritty and tough as most WCHA games tend to be. Duluth can't be annointed with any crowns based on beating Mankato twice. But things look promising so far across the river from Superior, Wisconsin. The Bulldogs visit the Huskies II in St. Nothingelsetodoville this weekend.
Continuing with the bovine theme ... DU went to Cowlumbus to face Ohio State. They split the unusually scheduled Thursday/Friday series by winning 2-0 on Thursday and losing 4-0 on Friday night. Two questions come out of the weekend. The first is where is all the offense that DU is alleged to have? The second is how long before Joe Colborne returns from what sounds like a serious finger break. He had to have surgery and will probably have more surgery. Ouch. Fingers are important hockey tools. As someone who's had a broken finger and other finger injuries I can attest that getting over one isn't simple. DU still has shitloads of scoring though ... right? Funny how there's little if any talk about DU's defense so far. Don't count on questions about their defense staying in the background for long. If their GAA goes up slightly the questions will come. Denver goes to the John for a couple versus the Gophers next.
Speaking of the Gophers. They got PWND 4-0 this past Friday night against UAA's next opponent. The Sioux were literally flying all over the ice. I saw enough portions of Friday's game to be impressed with the Sioux's play. They always have an intense rivalry with their big brothers from the east. I have to give much of the credit for that performance to emotion. First WCHA series at home versus the evil empire? You know the players were up for it and the rabidity of their fans certainly infected them. tDon responded by "grounding" his team to their hotel. The Gophers responded to that punishment with a solid effort Saturday night and earned a 3-3 tie. I'm unsure how much of a differnce the Mariucci crowd can make in a series but I wouldn't want to be Denver limping into Minneapolis this coming weekend.
St. Cloud hosted an up and coming ECAC Union team for a series. On Friday night, the Bluffskies had the game mostly in hand 3-1 before giving up two late goals for a 3-3 tie. On Saturday they managed to not fuck up the 3-1 lead and sent Union home without an official win. From what I saw though, Union probably considered the tie a victory. The Bulldogs aren't from Schenectedy NY and will likely present a bigger challenge this weekend. 1-2-1 to open the season isn't making anyone in St. Nothingelsetodoville happy.
WCHA basement-projected Colorado College had a real nice weekend in Madtown. They took 3 of 4 valuable points from the upper echelon-projected Badgers. I saw small bits and pieces of the games. The action was WCHA-tight anytime I watched. Scotty Owens should be proud of his team's effort. Badger fans aren't in a tizzy since they've got an NHL backline to depend on and CC only scored four goals on the weekend. Offensive questions may rear their head in Buckyland but Scotty Owens is generally underrated for his defensive coaching. It'd be hard to say anything definitive about either of these teams based on the weekend. The Badgers go west to Mankato this coming weekend.
I'll have the first North Dakota related preview post tomorrow. The Fighting Sioux Sports Network will be carrying the UAA feed for North Dakota fans this weekend. I'm not sure if that means that their announcers will be here in Anchorage or they'll just use Kurt's always excellent call. I hope that the UAA student camera operators resist the allure of the zoom button this weekend for the sake of North Dakota fans watching. Ok really it's just so that I don't have to hear UND fans bitch and moan about the camera work. I know the students are learning and I'm honestly thrilled to have the coverage we have on TV. I have nothing but respect for the effort that UAA's Journalism and Public Communications department makes. But zooming in with the camera for a hockey game results in missing some of the play. The game is too fast and the puck is too small.
Michigan Tech was idle. They go to Colorado Springs this weekend. The infamous floating tiger head on B2 network will be making Houghton heads explode this weekend. Watching a game on B2 from CC absolutely sucks. B2 uses the arena camera which is intended for the folks in the World Arena scoreboard video. For future reference ... if you can deal with just a radio call when UAA goes to the Springs then I recommend not paying B2 to watch the floating tiger head during EVERY single stoppage. It's nightmare inducing.
On a wholly unrelated sidenote ... I just saw a TV commercial with a nurse named Slaughter. If I'm in the hospital and a nurse named Slaughter is assigned to my case ... ?? Yikes. I wouldn't go to a dentist named Payne or a doctor named Hertz or use a surgeon named Butcher. I definitely wouldn't want a nurse called Slaughter ... unless ... Ok .. all this is just a vehicle for the picture below. I guess she could be named Slaughter and I'd be ok with her being my nurse.