Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Potpourri: Reactionism, Recruiting

No use beating around the edges of an issue that's made itself so apparent over the last few days.  More than a few people have made it known they've reached their limit with regard to Coach Dave Shyiak's tenure.  So today I'm going to have my say.

Let me make one thing very clear, very early.  I support Coach Shyiak and believe that calls for his head aren't rationally based.  They come instead from emotional frustration, inaccurate perceptions about performance and personal biases.  As a fan of this program since 1984, I've been through 3 distinctly different coaching changes.  Brush was pressured out by a prevailing attitude that even though he'd built the program, in order to succeed in the WCHA the program would have to have a coach with a proven track record of success.  Dean Talafous came here after a storied career of success at the DIII level and was essentially ousted by the players.  John Hill wasn't ousted by anyone.  He'd just gotten a new fat contract when he left of his own accord.  Dave Shyiak was hired based on his application when Talafous was shown the door.  His status as an Associate Head Coach at NMU and history as a National Championship player got him the nod.

The state of being a fan, which I call fandom; is naturally one of emotion.  While there are a few of us who eruditely analyze a sport without an emotional attachment the vast majority of us are fans because of our hearts.  We vicariously identify with the players.  We love them and want them to win because it gives us a boost.  At it's barest core, it is somewhat of an parasitical relationship.  We fans feed off of the teams we cheer for.  Therefore, when we aren't getting enough high quality sustenance we tend to want blood.  We set aside rationality in favor of the pursuit of satiation at any cost. 

So with an ongoing success rate here at UAA that doesn't measure up to some other programs; that desire for satiation is greatly enhanced.  We haven't seen the sort of success we want to see in a long long time.  Sure, we're still proud of our guys and enjoy the wins they've given us.  But the frustration of not getting that quality sustenance regularly is straight up palpable.  It leaves a bad taste in our mouths that overwhelms our reasoning faculties.  It's an understandable (yet irrational) emtional response.  Humans should make a habit of self-questioning our reactionary tendencies.  In the case of calling for Dave Shyiak's head this is very true.  We feel that way because we haven't checked our perceptions to see if they measure up to reality.

My favorite philosopher (yes ... I have a casual interest in more than one) is David Hume.  His Treatise on Human Nature clearly teaches us why we see the world in the terms we see it.  In the simplest terms, our experiences shape our perceptions.  What we go through every day throughout our lives teaches us about the reality of our world.  With that ... allow me to ask you a couple of questions.  Don't you tend to recall traumatic experiences much more vividly than mundane ones?  Likewise, don't you tend to embrace the memory of great success more than you do for the average?  I think the answer for all of us ... to both questions ... is resoundingly yes. 

So with that being the case, the memories of our recent on ice futility's is strongest in our psyche.  The team got straight up pounded a few times already this season.  I know those beatdowns are pretty easy to recall.  So let me succinctly correct your perceptions here.  Dave Shyiak's WCHA success/failure ratio is essentially the same or better than any of his predecessors.  John Hill's four year average was 9-23-5; Shyiak's average over his first 4 years is 10-22-5.  Talafous averaged 10 wins a year over his 5 years.  Brush Christiansen averaged better than 11 wins over his 3 WCHA seasons.  That's the facts.  Do the math yourself.

My point here being that Dave has reached the status quo.  I'm not here to argue that such a rate is acceptable.  Dave Shyiak himself wouldn't try to make that argument.  Instead, this display of reality should serve to reset your perceptions that somehow things are worse than you remember.  They aren't.  Your perceptions have played a little trick on you.  It's ok ... it's human nature.

My last assetion regarding bias is somewhat lesser of an issue in terms of it's footprint.  But there are some biases against Dave that exist in this community.  It stems from the fact that the local hockey community here is like any other.  There are lots of people in it that know what they're talking about ... right?  Well, allow me just to say that they have strong opinions.  Of course, opinions are like assholes, we all have one.  There was much love for John Hill in local hockey community.  He was from here.  He played hockey in it before going to UAA and performing well there.  Both he and Donnie Lucia were assistants under Brush at one time.  The local hockey community here also contains some regional influences.  There's lots of expat Minnesotans here ya know?  Dave is a Canadian who spent most of his playing and coaching days in Northern Michigan.  These biases may exist only as an undercurrent but don't think for a second that such things aren't a factor in these calls for Dave's head.  I'm just sayin ...

There are other minor influences outside the three I've described here that contribute to this spate of unfortunate criticism.  But I believe those three were the primary influences.  I think I've shown here that they aren't reasonable. 

None of what I said means that any of us should be satisfied with the level of success we're seeing from the team we so love.  We shouldn't be.  Our expectations are high based on everything we know.  Last season's league point total, the way the team played late in the season and the potential we saw in some incoming/returning players had us all excited for the season.  I promoted some of that excitement here.  None of that escitement has to be diminished either.  Sure there are reasons to be furtive about the rest of the season.  But there are reasons to be hopeful as well.  The team isn't in a horrendous position in the standings.  There are winnable games on the schedule and we've seen enough indication from our guys that when they play up to their potential that they can win against anyone.

Last year I made the case somewhere on this blog that the proper time to evaluate Dave Shyiak is after his 6th year at the helm.  I still believe that is the proper timeframe.  A college coach has to be given the time to get the players he recruited into and through his system.  Anything less is essentially unfair to him.  Shyiak is just now reaching that plateau.  The current senior class was recruited by Shyiak with his first set of assistant coaches.  It is reasonable to begin an evaluation of Dave at the end of this season.  But decisions about his future shouldn't be made until after his 6th full year.  This year and next year will tell us what we can expect in the future much better than any of the past four years.  Fairness demands he be given that opportunity.

Postscript Metaphor Ramble:
Questions about a coach's effectiveness are as old as sports.  The coach is at the helm of the ship and as with anything in life the passengers want to know if they're going in the right direction.  I think I'll stick with the ship metaphor here for a few moments because it is apt.  At sea, there is one group of people that are known to be successful getting rid of the captain.  The crew.  Not the passengers.  College Hockey has some good examples. 

A player mutiny in Fairbanks a couple of years ago had a fair bit to do with Doc Delcastillo's departure.  Dean Talafous' last year in Anchorage saw the players organize and approach the Athletic Director.  A few years ago there was a strong mutiny by players at Canisius which ultimately ousted their coach.  Typically though, the paying passengers don't usually have much of a direct say in where and how the ship gets to it's destination; it's more of cumulative thing, it takes years of complaints to the ship owners to see an effect. 

Sports is a boat that you get on without even knowing the destination.  The idea is to get across the ocean but not everybody can get there first; if they get there at all.  We buy tickets and get on the boat for the fun of the ride.  Getting to the best destination before others is just a bonus.  So don't be so wrapped up in the destination eh?  Enjoy the ride for what it is.  You get the pleasure of watching the highest level of amateur hockey in the world when you attend a WCHA game.  I'm not tell you to not rock the boat.  Just try to keep it down to a level where I don't get splashed.


I saw a question on USCHO that I'd like to answer.  The question essentially was; why would a recruit being courted by Northern Michigan, Bemidji St and UAA choose UAA?  Lots of reasons.  Not living in those other two places are the top of my list. 

Just about every Divsion 1 recruit has aspirations to play professional hockey.  A four year (or less) Division 1 career can contribute to that no matter which school you'd choose.  The ability to get noticed comes from that players numbers and contributions on the ice.  It has NOTHING to do with where the school he plays for is located. 

That said, then why not locate yourself in one of the most beautiful places on the face of the planet.  Plenty of people dream of visiting Alaska for a few weeks at some point in their life.  The chance to spend 4 years here and experience The Greatland up close and personal is a great opportunity.  Every outdoor experience here surpasses exponentially those experiences in Northwestern Minnesota or Marquette, Michigan.  Sure ... those places have some nice things.  But let us not fool ourselves for even a second by pretending they compare to Alaska.  They don't. 

Spending 4 years here in your early 20's might just be the best experience of your life.  No doubt when you're spending your 30's and 40's in Missouri or your 50's in Indiana or your 60's in Nevada that you'll fondly remember the four years when you got to experience one of the truly great wildernesses left in the world.  Not choosing to come to UAA versus Northern Michigan or Beminiji just displays a lack of adventure in your character.  Ultimately you may not regret not coming here.  Nevertheless, realize it or not, your character will be the lessor for not doing so.

There is a spirit imbued in the character of people who spend time in this state that you don't get from being anywhere in the lower 48.  It's just that simple.  This place is great.  Other places aren't as great.  What you catch in Lake Beminiji, we use for bait.  When you look out your window in Marquette, you see a hill.  When you look out your window in Anchorage you see mountains.  A major wildlife encounter in Beminiji is when a skunk takes up residence in the neighbors backyard.  Last year in Anchorage, 5 people were attacked by Grizzly Bears within a couple of mile radius of UAA.  A moose in your driveway is a regular occurrence.  One stomped an old guy to death years ago outside the UAA sports center entrance.  If that sort of thing tends to chase you away ... fine.  We don't want pussies here.

Plus the school here is entirely and completely unpretentious.  It's an underfunded state school that provides you with a degree if you just make nominal efforts.  The campus facilities aren't like UND or Minnesota or Wisconsin ... but they're every bit the equal of Beminiji or NMU.  Within a couple of years the entire existing practice facility for all UAA sports will be focused on hockey.  The other practice facilities are moving across the street and the existing one will become more hockey focused.  A fancy on-campus rink will happen one day.  That doesn't appear to be close but the enhanced campus practice facilities are close and will exceed the room and equipment that most D1 schools have.

If you're xenophobic and want to ensure you only see white people.  Go to Beminiji.  If you want to get to know a diverse set of people with a worldwide racial basis then come here.  UAA and the community of Anchorage is one of the most diverse regions in America.  Experiences with a wide range of peoples is a character enhancing thing.

Anchorage, Alaska is a place that beckons hearty stout souls with a desire for adventure who wish to challenge themselves and increase the breadth of their human existence.  If you're not such a person.  Go to some bland fucking shithole like Marquette or Beminiji.  You'd stink up the Sullivan Arena ice anyway, which by the way ... would have been the highest quality sheet you ever stepped on.

And lastly, if Coach Shyiak recruited you here ... you'll get more than ample opportunities to prove yourself during your freshman year.  It's a clearly established philosophy of his. 

And oh yeah ... here's a Russian chick that lives here:


Anonymous said...

Doc was also asked to leave because of a possibly sexual harassment lawsuit. The accuser who worked in UAF athletics pretty much said either he goes, or UAF gets a lawsuit

-30- said...

To Coach's credit, last night there was a different approach to the game. Witness the classic Montreal Canadien breakout, lots and lots of Clark, no all-rookie line, the number 1 goalie. (Like everyone esle, D, he must read your blog.) And, hey, an early goal never hurts.

Anonymous said...

Looking around, as Donald is want to do when not on a stream of consciousness tear, an item caught my eye. UAA has allowed more goals (55 in 14 games) than any other team in the country. On a goals per game basis the ’Wolves rank 45th nationally with 3.93 gpg being scored on them, trailing Harvard’s 3.86, and with perennial powerhouses Brown, Michigan Tech, Robert Morris, and Sacred Heart all applying hot breath to their ruffs at an even 4 gpg.

In this year’s first 10 WCHA contests, UAA is allowing 29.9 shots per game, compared to 26.7 through 28 regular season games last year. In the ’08-’09 regular season, UAA generated an average of 24.5 shots, but is only managing to put the puck on net at the rate of 20.7 times per game so far this season. Tech is next lowest at 24.4, with St Cloud and Minnesota next at 27.9 each per game.

At the end of the previous campaign, UAA improved a bit on a horrendous penalty kill (at about two thirds or a bit more through last season they had given-up more PP goals than even strength ones). This actually seams to be continuing, with the Seawolves surrendering an even one PP goal per WCHA game compared to 1.57 last year. Not great, but better. The bad news is that the even strength goals are way up (3.10 a game) from a highly respectable 1.79 last year, in the WCHA regular season.

The anemic shot total is reflected in team scoring (2.20 gpg), next to the lowest in the conference. Tech is worse at 2.13 gpg, and Minnie is a spot better at 2.40 gpg.


444 said...

Alaska is great!!! Anchorage imo not so great. Not bad just not great. If I had a choice of outdoor experiences it would be UAA, BSU and then NMU/MTU. Nothing beats Alaska. JFR, Alaska is by far and away the pretties state in the union in fact it is not even close. If it were for the long winter nights more people would live there. It is awesome. From the brewpubs in Anchorage to the Salty Dog in Homer I loved it there.

david said...

Your jealousy of Bemidji is getting the best of you... Call it a shit hole as many times as you want but the team here still gets better recruits and has a better team.. period.

Anonymous said...

There are a few inaccuracies in this blog post, but what is a couple of misstatements and inaccurate facts. Bemidji actually is surrounded by a couple of Indian Reservations Cass Lake and Red Lake. So to say that Bemidji is full of white people is factually incorrect.

Also to say that Bemidji’s wild life exposure is a skunk is also factually incorrect. It’s not uncommon to see whitetail deer, Moose and or black bears. Bemidji’s campus is also a nice place as it’s on the western banks of Lake Bemidji and It’s not uncommon to see a fish out right outside of campus sitting on the frozen lake. Swing and a miss.

Anonymous said...

Make that a fish house.

Anonymous said...

Born in Bemidji, live in Anchorage now. Anchorage has much more culture and superior scenery to most places in the world and the people are very active. However, Bemidji, being in Minnesota is going to have a better hockey experience. The fans are just more passionate about the game there. It seems to me there is just a variety of activities to do anywhere along the west coast, and in the midwest sports is all they have, which is why the fans there create a much better atmosphere. I love Anchorage for the scenery and the summers with all the light, and ofcourse the culture. And when I go to Minnesota now it's all about vacation so I get to enjoy it more when I go.

Donald Dunlop said...

Oh nice ... an idiot from littlebergshithole, minnesota shows up and uses the "you're jealous" argument with me? I'll give you this one break david-noob ... don't fucking come here with that weak shit again.

If you're going to post something here you better have your duckies in a row. Otherwise I'll entertain my regular readers with a vivisection of you like you've never experienced. OK? Here's an light example below. Some other rube from your craphole town decided he'd like to debate the inaccuracies of my post but I'll be nice ...

Other rube:
Last U.S. Census:
Bemidji, Minnesota
Black/African Americans - 91 people
American Indian - 1,373 people (less than 10%)
Asian - 133 people
Pacific Islanders - 4 people
Hispanic - 136 people
Other races - 245 people

Less diverse than the average American town by more than 10 percent. The place is EXTREMELY white.

Surrounded by Indian Reservations? That's how you keep them out. Here in Alaska Native Americans are FULLY INTEGRATED into the population not shoved into stinking refugee camps. Minnesota has a shameful history with regard to Native Americans that was PREVALENT as recently as a decade ago. You live in a racist community full of xenophobes.

Moose in Northwest Minnesota? Yeah ... there are an estimated 100 of them according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Wow ... fish houses on a frozen lake to catch some 16 inch trout. How exciting.

Beminiji is a dump. It's no more dumpy I suppose than about 1,000 other little crapberg's dotting the midwest U.S. but a dump it is.

Anonymous said...

Both your Sunday articles are nicely done.

Re people wanting Shyiak out. I totally disagree with that.

I enjoy hockey but it has to be good hockey. I don't want to be bored and I don't want to cringe during it-which both happened a lot during the Talafous and Hill years. Even in games we have lost under Shyiak, you have to admit that it has been exciting most of the time and there has been competition. It doesn't always play out the way that it needs to but that is the way it is in any sports.

Every one wants their team to win but you also want to see them play well. Shyiak has made coaching decisions that have dropped my mouth open first in shock and then in awe when I realized what and why he made the decision. He doesn't take the easy way out (as evidenced by his putting Sidor in goal on Friday when the crowd wanted Bryce) and you can see that he has this fierce desire to win.

I don't like my team losing-I want them to beat every team in this league and I want to go see them in St Paul but if they can't win every game, I want to see good, exciting hockey. After watching the other nine coaches in this league and what they do with their NHL draftee laden teams, I think we have the prize in Shyiak.

Anonymous said...

Dave's wife must have written that last post.

Anonymous said...

6 years to turn a program around? Unfortunately it happens right away when you have a guy who is the big time. It happens in mini gains all over the Board untill they are writing "oh shit look at those guys now stuff." Another example is Dallas Ferguson. 2 years and look. Both followed type A debacle Coaches.You could easy compare Doc De Dipshit and Tallymonster. Both were complete trainwrecks. I respect the dedication to Shiak because I have it to but my asshole completely disagrees with your asshole. It shouldnt take 6 years but it is what it is and I think Shiak made the right adjustments on Saturday, Used the newspaper effectively to motivate and should be commended. Now is the time to make a move and a split in CC would be huge. Its gonna be tough there. Real tough. Congrats on the Saturday nights at home though everybody.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Ken Shelby was asked if Shyiak should go what would his answer be ? It is more about Shyiak than the players

Donald Dunlop said...

Ken Selby's situation bothers me deeply. I've always wanted to see him play more. I haven't noticed anything greatly lacking in his play. Ken is a great skater and has good hands. The knock on him is that he lacks hockey sense.

There are often players that don't see a lot of ice time in college hockey. It happens. I'm glad to see that he's remained on the team though. He'll get a stellar "Salute To The Seniors" article from me at the end of the season. He is to be respected for what he has done on this team even if not much of it has been in actual games.

No doubt it's got to be hard on him. I heard through the grapevine that he's happily getting his degree and I suppose that means he's making the best of his opportunities.

Donald Dunlop said...

Dallas Ferguson is big time? LOL. I'll grant you the big part. As to the time. We'll see won't we? Part of what's good in FBX last year and this is a reaction to not having to play for a control freak. I could have coached them to pretty much the same record if I'd followed that idiot delcastillo. I'll give Ferguson credit for not fucking things up. But it's way too early to classify him as a genius coach.

Anonymous said...

god forbid, if we win the next four games, shyiak will be up for coach of the year.
let's keep our comments open till after the mid term break.

Anonymous said...

clark and grant tied for 12th place overall in wcha scoring.
Clarkie on pace for 20 goal season.
Let's not let up in colorado.
all the best seawolves.

Anonymous said...

Donald, how do you know what Bemidji is like. I doubt thousands of people would vacation in a shit hole/dump. You must not fish or play golf?

Donald Dunlop said...

LOL ... god forbid? No Yahweh ... don't forbid it!!!

Seriously, I'll take 4 wins in a row and I promise not to overreact.

Donald Dunlop said...

How do I know what Bemidji is like? Well ... there's this whole thing called the World Wide Web. It has pictures of Paul Bunyan and Babe The Blue Ox. It notes the several golf courses in your area as well. People from your community post videos both singing it's praises and displaying it's stupidity. There are any number of resources to utilize in researching a place including experiences from actual people who've been there.

I've never been to Mumbai, India. But I know it's a nightmare of poverty and repression. I've never been to Tokyo but I know it's glitzy and it's people are obsessed with rampant consumerism and pursuit of money. I've only been to Waco, Texas once but I remember what a hot hellhole it was.

What part of what you guys catch for fish, we use for bait didn't you read? Seriously, you're going to go on about fishing in Bemidji versus fishing in the Last Frontier? That's a 16 ft skiff full-o-failure there my friend.

As for the "thousands" of people that vacation in Beminiji? Folks who live in Fargo and Grand Forks have to go somewhere don't they? They just drive east until they run into a tree and that's where they vacation.

Anonymous said...

So if people research Anchorage on the internet they know all there is to know about the place? There's NOTHING like going there to see what it is like, whether it's Anchorage, Bemidji, Miami, Paris, or Tokyo.

Donald Dunlop said...

I don't want to go to there. I don't need to go to there.

Anonymous said...

dont worry DD. They already went there.

Suze said...

Donald, you crack me up. When I read "They just drive east until they run into a tree and that's where they vacation", I thought I was gonna spit out my coffee!! LOL

Donald Dunlop said...

It was just out there begging to be picked and used. Anytime you can cut NoDak and Bemidji with just one sentence it shouldn't be passed up.

Suze said...

BTW, that Russian chicks eyes are too far apart. Eeeeewww.

Donald Dunlop said...

OH shoot ... I wonder why I didn't notice her eyes?

Zzzz said...

Donald -

Your "Why Choose UAA" narrative should be on the front of the friggin brochure the coaches send to potential recruits. Classic...

I re-read the posts on the previous thread regarding calls for Shyiak's head. I think only one person was outright advocating a coaching change. Speaking for myself, I would rather NOT see another coaching change right now. As we’ve seen previously, a coaching change opens the program up to instability. Players leave the team, recruits rescind their commitments, and the players who do stick around don’t know what their future will be. I’m glad Shyiak has stayed for more than 3 years. I think we all want that stability for this team. Changing the coach right now would potentially be another 4-5 years of limbo. But a "change of coaching" is another story, meaning style not personnel.

Just my own wishing, I guess, that the coach of the team I love would be a little more flexible, not quite so emotionless and mechanically rigid in terms of personality and coaching style, be a little more open to suggestion, be able to change and adapt on the fly, AND be a great motivator for the players. Is it too much to ask??? OK, maybe...

My previous comments were based on the fact that I believe this team is capable of MUCH better, more consistent play than what we have witnessed so far this season. The guys have proven when team defense - blocking shots, clogging passing lanes, and solid back-checking is combined with a solid physical effort and opportunistic scoring good things happen. Saturday was a great example. In my mind, one of the coach’s most important jobs is to figure out how to harness that potential and bring it out each game. This is where the frustration lies...

Anonymous said...

She has eyes?

Anonymous said...

Wait, and the Yoda look-alike coach had a potential sexual harrassment suit against him? Well, that would make sense.

Donald Dunlop said...

If they'd take me on a recruiting trip or two I'd close the deals on the spot. There'd be no "maybe" answers from prospects.

Anonymous said...

i grew up in anchorage and have gone to Bemidji and it is a shit hole anc is fine but anything in Min is a shit hole.
I disagree with callin for daves head.

david said...

Ha, you crack me up... While I never disputed that Anchorage has more scenery than Bemidji, I am curious to hear your argument about why you think UAA is a better program than BSU... Otherwise, you can hang out in your eskimo hut, looking at the moose in front of the mountain and eat seal all day... what, I googled Alaska and that is what came up.

Anonymous said...

We sent our boy to play in Alaska because, let's face it, it's a lot like BC (and if our asleep at the wheel Canadian negotiators had got it right, the US wouldn't have got so much of the Coast. A lot of the geographic names don't sound so Russian to me!). While I look in awe at college fans and facilities and hoopla in the Lower 48, I have to say the nature of Alaska is a healthy one.
Your statement that some of the wrath directed at Shyiak might stink of nationalism caught me a bit by surprise. Who'd a thunk? I guess we Canadians are always the last to know. Oh, well, Div 1 teams like to recruit locally when they can, and golly gee whiz, I guess BC and Alberta and Yukon and NWT are all you've got.
We are glad our boy is in Alaska. We couldn't have made a better choice.

Anonymous said...

Kevin Clark choose Alsaka over eastern shools and teams from minnesota. He got to play with beagle, crowder, lawson and beaverson and robinson. Great leaders on and off the ice.
Kevin is having a banner year playing with some talented players, all the best to the team.
Kevin by the way is from winnipeg, manitoba. Just north of und.
That is why he loves when our team beats und and teams in the wcha.
Kevin has promoted uaa when he is back in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It is his last year here, and he will only say postive experiences from his tenure here.
Winnipeg has a abundance of players divsion 1 hockey.
Success from him will lead more recruits for the future.
All the best to the team in Colorado.
Colorado record is only strong because they have played minnesota-state and michigan tech.

Anonymous said...

Colorado beat minnesota- state and michigan tech, this is why there record looks so good.
Let's not give them so much credit.
Last year we played colorado twice, beat the once and lost in ot.
They are beatable, let's play our A game like we did Saturday.

Anonymous said...

The UAA/CC series is on B2 network this week,

Suze said...

Oh great, we get to watch the stupid floating tiger head! ;)

I wish it were on GCI, but I guess B2 is better than nothing. Hook up the laptop to the big screen TV and enjoy!

Play your hearts out this weekend guys, and have a great Thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the nice comments about Kevin. He is a fan favorite for sure. I was just telling a friend of mine (her maiden name is Clark) at last weekends games that I am really going to miss him next year.

hockeybear said...

UAA Hockey Dad @ 7:06: Don't know who your son is, but I'm glad he's here too!


On Wolves said...

Hill had one terrible year with players that he didn't recruit. A coaches success can't accurately be measured until his third year, the year his recruit have had a couple years to mature in his system. In Hill's third year UAA advanced to the second round of the WCHA tourney on the strength of Glencross, his recruit. The next year he brought in Beaverson, Lawson, and Walsky, and got commitments from Beagle and Robinson, all now playing in the A or NHL. Why would we need to wait six years? Three years is enough to know what you have, four at the most. Should ND wait a couple more years to see if Chaz Weis can destroy any respectability they have left too? (I’m not comparing UAA hockey to ND football, just drawing a comparison to a high visibility situation)

Recruiting is the name of the game, and Shyiak doesn't measure up. I'm not sure if Shyiak or Hill got Crowder, assuming he's Shyiak's recruit, he would be the only NHL caliber talent he's managed to pull in four years. Lunden maybe... (please stop with this nonsense about Clark and Grant making to the NHL, I love both these guys but honestly)

Now maybe I'm wrong about all that (I'm not, but some of you will say I am regardless). Even if I were mistaken about that, I’m spot on about this: this team quits. Routinely. They get down by a couple goals and throw in the towel. How else do you explain final tallies like 1-6, 0-5, and 2-8 at home? They quit, and that, Shyiak apologists, is on the coach.

Mike said...

The only thing that I would like to see out of the coach is the ability to adapt and change. His recruits can play but if his system isn't producing results change it. Seems so simple.

Anonymous said...

At the end of this season will give all the pundits time to evaluate the state of the program. There have been lots of discussion on lots of topics. three last place finishes and a ninth going into this year. See how the team finishes in the standings. Also can they win a playoff series. The former coach got four playoff wins in his tenure and the only trip to the frozen four in program history. Can Shyiak win this year with a big senior class and in year five. If that happens then that is moving forward. If not then let the discussion begin.

Donald Dunlop said...

I don't want to take your comparison with Notre Dame out of context. Too many people too often misunderstand the point a comparison is used to make.

But your use of it displays to me that there are two sides of the coaching fence that fans typically fall into. On one side are the folks that are results oriented and demand success. Both of those characteristics are generally fine things; but when coupled with a quick trigger it raises red flags for the people on my side of the fence.

We too want results and demand success. We're just on a different timeline. We are willing to patiently wait for those results while using more discrete metrics (other than the standings) to gauge success. We see stability as a contributer to long term success.

Discrete metrics follow ... last season's league point total was the 3rd highest point total since 99-00. It could be 3rd highest ever but going back to 99 was simple for me. Our current point total puts us on a pace for about a 20 point season. It is definitely below where we need to be but nearly 2/3's of the league schedule remains. 3 of our 5 series have been against THE top three teams in the league. There is much work to be done to gain the sort of success that we ALL want to see (home ice eh?). But the race isn't over until everyone crosses the line.

Jack Parker's and Red Berenson's aren't created in an atmosphere of immediate results. Coaching is more art than science. It is a "craft" and as such it is necessary for a coach to be able to develop his/her craft.

I understand the counter argument to my coaching/evolution/development point. After all, we're talking about the premier conference in college hockey. This isn't junior hockey. But I'd suggest you look at the list of candidates that have applied in the past for openings at UAA. No Scotty Bowman's or Red Berenson's or Dean Blais's there. So I'd argue that we have to be willing to allow the guy we hired to develop. His evolution as a coach will only occur with time.

Ted said...

For us hiring coaches is much like recruiting players. We do not get first choice of anyone one we want. We look for people with potential to develop into the players we need. Curtice Glenncross did not arrive in Anchorage as an NHL prospect, he blossomed into one while he was here.

The same can be said with coaches. We are terribly unlikely to ever bring in a proven D1 hockey coach. We just don't pay enough and there are recruiting obstacles. In Basketball and Volleyball we have hit the mother load with community college coaches, but that is not an option in Hockey.

What we have developed is that we now have future commitments. Some of the guys coming next year look tremendous. We are beginning to really have some recruiting success.

I believe that we can improve. I also think that if Bryce is made the number 1 goalie, then he will step up and play more consistently when he plays more regularly.

I completely agree that he has to find a way to consistently get the guys ready to play. But, Friday we looked good for the first 10 minutes and then two terribly soft goals go in and you could almost feel the air go out of the Sully.

Anonymous said...

Taking shots at clark and grant, no class, never saw crowder that high in the wcha standings.
Crowder started at uaa when he was 21. Clark will be done at uaa when he is 22 only, clark will hit 100 pts. Half the guys on hartford, clark played with in junior, dupont and wiese, crowder is a late edtion to hartford. 3 years in the ahl for clark and grant and we will see who comes up on top. This team will surprise a lot of people, healthy defense now, strong goaltending from bryce and a healthy lunden and we will surprise a lot more teams. We don't have a lot of draft choices, and we don't need them. Clark will play in the ahl and he will do it with a degree in his back pocket.
We beat colorado once last year and lost one game in ot.
Let's get on with the season.

Donald Dunlop said...

Seawolves fans should pat themselves on the back for the level of quality discussion here on this blog. As I look around the college hockey internet I see NOTHING that comes close to the usual level of conversation that we have here.

No fan forum comes close. Few blogs have anything beyond jersey popping crowers in their comments. But here the thoughtful and insightful commentary is the rule of the day.

Well done all. You make it more enjoyable for me to spew my rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

4 more games in the first half, than we can evaluate the performance of the team and the coach.
Until than let the players enjoy there trip to colorado.
Go seawolves.

Suze said...

Kevin has always been fun to watch, but this year he is really blossoming. You can see his determination on the ice, and it's contagious! I am so going to miss him next season.

I am very grateful that each of these players chose UAA and stuck with the program! That says a lot about their committment, not only to UAA but to each other.

One last word about Selby. Coach, Ken has stuck it out for four years, even though most players would leave due to not getting enough ice time (Molly, Hopson, etc). He has earned some playing time, lets see him on the ice soon.

Anonymous said...

Kevin clark's buddie Jay Beagle just scored his first nhl goal against ottawa tonite.
Congrats to Jay and his family.
Hopefully crowder will get a callup to the Rangers this year.
Clarkie got to play on the same line with both of these players.
Let's hope clark can set up grant for a few this weekend.
All the best to the seawoles this weekend.
Congrats again to Jay, well deserved, he deserves all the recognition for his hard work.

UAAalumni09 said...

Here are the stats from in conference play so far:

Christianson 3-3-0 in 6 games, 19 goals allowed, GAA of 3.17, and a .891 save percentage

Olthuis, 0-4-0, in 4 games, 17 goals allowed, GAA of 5.19, and a .827 save percentage

Anonymous said...

I was just coming here to post the same goalie stats. This clearly shows that we do have a number one goalie. If Shyiak doesn't recognize that by now, then UAA does indeed have some big problems.

Mike said...

JMO but i think by now coach knows who his goal keeper is.

On Wolves said...

I don't know about the other coaches available for the job, I really have no idea. I agree though Dunlop, there probably isn't a Scotty Bowman out there... but at this point I'd settle for a Brush Christiansen. Either way, its moot. Shyiak will be around for the rest of this year, and next year unless he goes winless in the second half, unlikely. So we'll have plenty of time over the next year and a half to complain about his decision making, motivating, recruiting, and facial hair.

Hey Anon, if you want to call people classless how bout having the class to put your name to it, coward. And nobody was taking shots at Clark and/or Grant. I love watching both these guys, and I'm thrilled that they're Seawolves. They just won't make it to the NHL, I'm pretty sure they'd tell you the same thing. Maybe not. Doesn't really matter. Saying that guys won't make it to the NHL isn't taking shots at them, it's pointing out the obvious.

Myopian's attack, now!!!

Donald Dunlop said...

I posted the Jay Beagle goal above.

On Wolves said...

Oh, and congrats to Beagle! Atta boy!

Anonymous said...

wolves you are brainless, you are the same jerk who would have said beagle would not make it, no one said clark would make it to the nhl, you said he would not, I said he would make it to the ahl, what makes you a authority on hockey players, tell me where you played and how you know clark and grant are not good enough.

Anonymous said...

fan and wolves have a difference of opinion, let the year play out and see how well clark and grant do. Lawson, beaverson, crowder, beagle and others have done quite well. Wolves your opinion means nothing to the scouts and agents.

On Wolves said...

I don't respond to capitalization-free run-on sentences. Anyone who would pen such prose clearly hasn't the intellect to allow meaningful discourse.

Forgot, Glencross had a beauty tonight too. Former wolves tearin' it up in the NHL.

Donald Dunlop said...

While "OnWolves" is certainly a moniker it isn't exactly a "name" either ... n'est pas?

Personally, I see nothing in Kevin Clark's game that would keep him from getting to the show. He's got the stick skills and the skating. He's got the toughness.

No doubt most people would point to his size as his biggest challenge but 5'10" guys can succeed in that league. Kevin won't jump into the show right after this year. But I doubt he'll ever skate in the ECHL and if he make a mark in the A he'll get a shot at some point before he's 25. Don't underestimate his grittiness and determination ... both of those will likely serve him well in the effort to get there.

I know I wouldn't bet against it.

Donald Dunlop said...

And oh yeah ... dude ... save the fucking vinegar for non-UAA fans eh? A little respect? Please. Thank you.

Talk to me however you want. Seriously, I can deal with it. But I've got a wide variety of readers here who's attachment to this program might surprise you. Their anonymity here is all good with me. K?

Anonymous said...

Glencross spent his first four years in the ahl.

On Wolves said...

True, I should have said "handle" rather than "name."

On Clarkie, size is the thing. Guys that small generally have to have Martin St. Louis, Paul Kariya, or Zach Parise game. There are obvious exceptions, Chad LaRose comes to mind, but the deck is stacked against him.

I hope he does make it, I'll just leave it at that.

Donald Dunlop said...

I also put GlenX's goal up above.

Suze said...

Thanks for the video of the goals Donald! You rock.

Anonymous said...

They pay players to score goals, there are more small players in the nhl than ever before.
Clark will decide what he wants to do, not one fan.
Ahl, europe,or work hard towards a nhl opportunity.
Big or small to get there requires more than size today.

On Wolves said...

Respect is earned, sir. People who post things like "wolves you are brainless, you are the same jerk..." get the respect they deserve, none.

Anonymous said...

We already have a coach who can not motivate our players to be winners, we do not need wolves telling us our players are not good enough to get to the next level in hockey. Thank god clarkies parents and friends never gave him your negative attitude.

Anonymous said...

Any predictions on the game friday.
Uaa 5 colorado 3.
All the best seawolves.

Anonymous said...

Woodys blog says that Josh and Kane practiced with the team this week. Good news. Hey, lets play Gwozdecky and sandbag these injuries!

puckdangler said...

I think that Shyiak deserves another year. Winning teams take time, and this program has a lot of recruiting challenges. You also got to consider the competition, hello. UAA has faced #2, and #3 nationally ranked teams, and will be facing a #5 ranked team this upcoming weekend. Like Donald said, enjoy the ride.

Clark will earn a NHL jersey someday. He's got skills and the heart.

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