Monday, October 19, 2009

The Weekend Past, The Week Ahead

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.


Jimjamesak said...

I will be the first say that the UAA feed sucks and is unwatchable. The use of the "zoom button" is not the fault of the camera operator, it's the fault of the director (who, AFAIK, is not a student). The camera that is zoomed in is Camera 2, a competent broadcast uses this to focus in on certain players (i.e. a star player getting open), the benches (for a reaction), the coaches, the refs making a penalty call, stuff going on behind the play etc. during a break in play, a replay, or in-action to focus on something specific. It should not be used to just follow play. That is the job of Camera 1 which is high and tight (zoomed out) so you can see what's going on, so you can see the development of play. Switching back and forth between 1 and 2 to follow play is a) real hard on the eyes and b) misses the development of play. Combine these two factors and you get a broadcast that is unwatchable.

I'm sorry but I have zero respect for the JPC guys that run the broadcast because their work shows that they have no clue what they are doing. They need to stop pretending they know what they're doing and let somebody who does run it.

Sorry to be harsh but that needed to be said.

Donald Dunlop said...

Without their efforts nobody would be doing it. If the "rights" were worth anything to a local TV station they'd buy them. But they aren't.

So they make the best of the situation by giving students an opportunity to gain experience. Such internships are an important part of post-secondary education. Institutions across the country use agreements/partnerships like this with businesses because funding in general is way down over the last decade.

Schools have to scramble to make the educational experiences worthwhile. Especially state-sponsored schools which don't charge their students the outrageous tuitions that you see at private schools.

The JPC Department at UAA does this broadcast without the latest equipment. The director sits in the stands and as you say ... they have only two cameras.

Try to remember that Anchorage isn't Minneapolis or Grand Forks in terms of advertisers lining up to pimp their products on a college hockey broadcast.

We're lucky to have what we do have and I've watched enough archived broadcasts (something NOBODY else has) to disagree with you in terms of watchability. Yes. It isn't Versus, NBC, Fox Sports or even FSSN. But it's at least as good as the broadcasts on Charter ... (better if you factor in Kurt's awesome work as compared to the idiots in Mankato or St. Cloud ... Alone he's better than the dolts that FSSN has doing their TV).

I fully support what JPC does. I take my hat off to them for the level of quality they are able to achieve with the limitations they work under.

I guess I'm just saying try not to judge them by too high of a standard.

Ultimately, it's the Aces presence that has created many of the challenges that UAA has in this market. Both in terms of attendance and TV broadcasts.

Tangentially, you can blame the fans of the Aces that completely ignore UAA. You and I know that WCHA hockey > ECHL ... but Aces fans are like UND fans. They don't really know the game. They're at the rink because of the Sioux's success ... that's why the Aces generally outdraw UAA and have more media/local interest. In a sense you can blame the last NHL strike ... Gomer comes here and fills up the arena. They have success and boom ... everyone is an Aces fan. Half of them had never been to a hockey game in their lives until Scotty showed up.

Now I'm going back to bed. I think the Advil has fixed my headache.

Section_213L said...

I'm going to play "devil's advocate" here, literally as I'm an Aces season ticket holder and take exception to being blamed for the problems of the UAA Hockey Program. It would seem to me that UAA is trying to compete in the best Division I hockey conference in the country with a Division II mentality and administration. As a long time Aces fan, I can remember all to well the lean days prior to the current ownership group taking over the team and righting the ship. The problems with the Seawolve hockey program start at the top and not with the "know nothing" hockey community that only wants to support a winner. They have some stability at coach now and he is building a program that is showing some promise. This is a huge year for this program because of the returning players and the experience that they have. In short, THERE ARE NO MORE EXCUSES! The Seawolves need to start getting actual wins on the ice now and stop being content with moral victories. It starts this weekend with UND and hopefully continues throughout a nice post-season run. Then and only then will the Seawolves re-establish their hold on the Anchorage Hockey Community and bring back some of the "know nothings". They will never accomplish this goal by blaming others for their own shortcomings. Just an opinion from one of those Aces fans who doesn't know the game though so take it for what it's worth...

UNDForever said...

UND is likely to blowout UAA this weekend X2. They are riding a number 2 ranking and looking like they are going to take 4 easy points this weekend. UAA on the other hand is struggling, and is off to a slow start. But there is a reason the games are played, surprises do happen and it would be a big one if UAA gets a split. A sweep, when Monkeys fly out of my butt.

A Seawolves Fanatic said...

Hopefully our team has just been coasting until this pivotal seris against this blog's rival's. I mean, hasen't it looked like that? It just seems like we haven't got all our motors running, and we haven't really punched the pedal to the metal yet.

I hope that is the case, but if it isn''s gonna be a pretty morbid experince for the 3,000? in attendance, cause the NoDak fans will actually be right for once....

Now, I know what you're thinking, that's just what the Sully needs, more rude teens......But, the last couple of games I've went to, teenage girls were the ones starting chants, and getting rowdy, mostly in turn getting the Sully crowd pumped.

Ted said...

BTW, the feeds coming from _airbanks are not the UAA folks doing them. When we get televised away games, it is because we use the feed from the local team. You can blame the camera work and directing from the Sully on UAA folks, but not from squarebanks.

UAAalumni09 said...

why don't you go help those JPC students out so I can watch the game?

Anonymous said...

This team has a lot more talent than people realize, if both top lines can score, it could be close.
Clark, lunden, grant and parkison
can score on und.

Anonymous said...

As a UND fan, I just appreciate being able to watch the game at all. And BTW, not a lot of schools have a good broadcast anyway, with the exception of the teams that are aired on networks like FSN. If I remember right, Cornell's feed was one of the worst I've ever seen, and Harvard's was pretty awful as well.

Jimjamesak said...

Donald beyond Kurt's awesome broadcasting skills the broadcast is nowhere near the levels of even Mankato or St. Cloud. Like UAA, they might not have the best broadcasting equipment (I don't expect them to) but they seem to have competent people where it counts: Director and Producer. A good producer does the best he can with the budget and equipment he has and a good director pulls off the best broadcast he can with what he's given. To me, it's obvious the director and producer are not doing the best they can because they have no clue what they're doing.

I'm not judging them by a high standard. I'm just asking for something watchable and competent. That can be done even with a small budget and equipment, but only with competent people running it.

Ted said...

"To me, it's obvious the director and producer are not doing the best they can because they have no clue what they're doing"

If they have no clue, then they would be doing the best they can. It is just that there best is not satisfactory.

Suze said...

If the UAA players come out FIRED UP and can play without all the penalties, I believe they can take a point or two. It was just a couple of years ago when UAA swept UND at the Sully. Of course, nobody gave them a chance back then either.

Will CAN beat skill. Go for it guys! I want to see YOU want it more than the Sioux.

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