Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mid-Season Report Cards


Here I go again.  It's time to give out my mid-season grades for whatever they're worth ... and believe me, I don't think what I think is the last word on this.  That's why there's a comments section.  No doubt there'll be some disagreement with my grades.  This is a completely and entirely subjective exercise.  There is no objectivity in it at all.  This is how "I" would grade everyone at this point.

Past grades don't come into it and neither does the team's record; they are an indication of how happy I am with regard to each individual player's performance; comparing a rookie's grade to a senior's grade is a mistake ... I am not comparing players here ... they are grades without consideration to others and based on my belief of their potential.  Here we go ... in alphabetical order and by position:

Forwards:
Mitch Bruijsten: C
Mitch's grade here is a result of the overselling of him as a prospect before he got here.  I really expected to see more skills and higher performance from him based on what I'd read.  I wouldn't say he's looked out of place but instead he rarely has made an impactful play.  He's been consistently average.  That isn't a bad thing for a rookie.  He's been an average rookie so far.  To raise his grade he needs to find a way to assert himself during 5 on 5 play.  For now, I'll assume that he is still "coming up to speed" with the level of play.  I sense that he is playing hard and deserves credit for those efforts whether or not they've produced results.  His skating isn't bad, his hands don't seem to be bad but more often than not he seems to be a step off of the play.

Kevin Clark: A-
Kevin's production should earn him an A+.  He's leading the team in goal scoring.  He is a dynamic player with the best hands, feet and hockey sense on the team.  He is without a doubt the best hockey player on the roster.  He only gets an A- because I've sensed a couple of times that he was disinterested and because his backchecking hasn't been all it could be.  I'm not concerned at all with any penalties he's taken because in every instance he was trying to help the team.  His emotional play is usually a bonus but it can swing to a low ebb and that isn't good.  With only half a season remaining in his career here at UAA, I think Kevin just needs to find a way to keep his enthusiasm on the high end and make sure he takes care of his man on the defensive end.  I also think he may from time to time grip the stick a little tightly in the offensive end.  My recommendation for him would be to relish the 2nd half of his last season here.  Enjoy every moment of it and the goals will come.

Chris Crowell: B+
It hasn't taken Chris long to come up to speed with the college game.  I figured his maturity would be an asset before the season began and it has been for him.  He not only looks comfortable against WCHA competition, he looks competitive.  He's yet to score but I'm not concerned about that in the least.  He's filling an important role and his line has often been one of the most effective lines on the ice in terms of controlling the play.  He's got good hockey sense and his strength allows him to assert himself in the corners against ANY WCHA player.  He takes backchecking seriously.  If I were to guess, I'd peg him as future Captain material.  He might not score double digits in goals during any single season of his WCHA career but I'd project the same sort of success for him as a Jared Tuton ... or dare I say a Justin Johnson?

Tyler Currier: B
(Provisional Grade) Tyler gets an A+ for his first regular season shift in D1 hockey.  He must have laid the body on at least 5 guys in his first shift.  His energetic, enthusiastic play has continued in each of the 5 games he's played so far.  It's a small enough sample for me to be hesitant to criticize any areas of his game.  I like what I've seen.  I think he's earned extra chances to play.  I hope he scores his first goal on home ice because I want to see how happy that makes him and his hometown cheering section.

Alex Gellert: B-
Alex is progressing in his development and adaptation to the college game.  He's got good wheels and seems to have good hands,  I have a lot of positive sense about his game particularly during more free-wheeling play.  He's got good sense with the puck on his stick and has been more than close on several rushes this season to scoring.  I think with time we'll see him become highly effective on faceoffs which is something (for some reason) that UAA has traditionally not done well.  That will be welcome.  His game isn't in the corners but with UAA's game plan he need's to do so more than he otherwise might.  He's coming along in that area.  Strength is always an asset along the boards so I hope he can add that to his skill set as the year progresses.

Tommy Grant: B+
I'd give Tommy an A but for the fact that he's only got 4 goals and quite frankly ... putting the puck in the back of the net is one of his strengths.  Tommy leads the team in points overall and his speed is a big contributor to the 10 assists in his bag.  Tommy's physical play is excellent as well.  He's never shy about going into any situation with his body.  If I'm not mistaken he leads the team in shots attempted by a fair margin so as long as he doesn't "tighten up" we should see him nab quite a few more goals.  He's had a tendency in the past to be a little streaky with his goal scoring and my memory tells me those streaks have largely come during 2nd halves of seasons.  Going forward I'd tell Tommy to trust his wheels and continue to challenge defenders with it.

Nick Haddad: A+
Don't take my next sentence wrongly.  Nick doesn't have the best skillset on the team.  But he seemingly does have the most desire.  His penalty killing efforts alone would be enough for me to give him a solid A grade.  But he's combined that with the same sort of never say die play on a regular shift regardless of which line he's played on.  Every player on the team could learn a lesson from Nick's on-ice leadership and example.  It isn't just that he never quits on a play.  But instead, that every time he doesn't quit on a play he seems to make something impactful happen.  His forechecking is unsurpassed. And to offset my second sentence, let me say that there is nothing substandard about any of Nick's skills.  He skates well and has reasonable hands.

Curtis Leinweber: B+
Curtis is a dynamic player with the ability to create a scoring chance at seeminly any moment.  I'm only giving him a B+ here because I see so much more potential.  Perhaps, some of that potential has been limited by his shuffling between the wing and the blueline?  Curtis has great wheels, great hands and great hockey sense.  All the tools he needs to contribute at a higher level than we're seeing.  I don't blame Curtis for not scoring more.  But if given the opportunity to focus more on adding to his production, I think he will improve his numbers substantially.

Josh Lunden: B+
Josh has missed 6 games this season due to injury.  Yet, he has the 3rd highest goal total on the roster.  Josh has no major weaknesses in his game.  As with some other guys, I'm only giving Josh a B+ because I believe there is more in him than we've seen so far this season.  Part of that is being hampered by the injuries.  If those get enough time to heal over the break then perhaps Josh can make the 2nd half of his last season here one of the best of his career.  If he can, then he'll be a big part of any success the team can make in the 2nd half.  I always see a lot of pride in Josh's game when he's on the ice.  He never backs down to anyone and always drives hard to the net.

Daniel Naslund: C+
Daniel gets a + added to his C grade because of his hands.  If he didn't have a real good set of hands I'd have to put him in the lower end of the C spectrum.  He absolutely needs to work on his skating.  He needs to turn his feet over more quickly.  Perhaps it's a matter of leg strength or he's lagging because of a growth spurt, I can't know.  He does have a good presence on the ice and his size is an asset when the play isn't free-wheeling.  If Daniel can find a way this year to make his positive attributes valuable then he should continue to see power play time.  I think Shyiak is giving him every chance possible to succeed.  With the amount of ice time he is getting, the team needs him to contribute.

Craig Parkinson: B+
Craig once gave himself less than enough credit in an ADN interview when he commented that all his goals had come from within a couple of feet of the goal.  Here's the thing.  A whole lot of goals in college hockey come from that area.  And so sure, most of Craig's goals have come from there.  But more than a couple of Craig's goals have come on really sweet shots during his career.  In fact, 2 of his 4 goals this year looked like sniper shots.  Craig should shoot the puck whenever the chance presents itself.  This season he has been mostly centering the 4th line.  Whoever his linemates have been the line has filled it energy role nicely.  Last weekend, his line was the best line on the ice both nights.  Even after Nick Haddad was moved off it on Saturday night.  Craig has good soft hands and can handle the puck well.  I specifically watched his speed this past weekend (in anticipation of writing these grades) to reassure myself that he had good speed and he does.  And he does whatever he has to do to win a key face-off!

Jade Portwood: B-
Jade is a big good skating power winger that honestly doesn't score as much as he probably can.  He is one of the Seawolves best players along the boards and in the corners using his size to excellent effect.  But not as often as possible he has shown some quality ability to handle the puck in close quarters.  Jade is exactly the sort of player needed to compete well using the Shyaik game plan.  He is strong, can protect the puck with his body and isn't easy to move off the puck.  As the opportunities occur, if he can transition off the boards more effectively toward the net he'll find himself with more scoring opportunities and more goals.  In either case, the work he provides in the Shyiak system is quality.

Ken Selby: A+
Ken has earned this grade by being a guy that whenever called upon to play (very infrequently) has done what is asked of him.  He played defense up in Fairbanks when the blueliners were shorthanded.  He has good hands and speed.  He obviously is a good team player.  I hope he has the highest level of respect from his teammates.  He certainly has earned it in my book.  I honestly believe that he deserves to play in EVERY remaining game of his senior season.  Anything less than that is unfair.  I'm not afraid to say that Ken has better skills than a couple of rookies who have seen extensive ice time and I'd argue that face to face with the coaching staff if such an unlikely event were to ever present itself.  Free Ken Selby.

Mickey Spencer: B
4 weeks into the season I wasn't overly impressed with Mickey's play.  But during the last 6 weeks he has seemed to really find his stride.  If there was a rookie I'd predict to have a stellar 2nd half it would be him.  I wouldn't quite say that he's earned not being called a rookie but he's close.  Some guys take a full year to come up to speed in this league.  But Mickey seems to have found some confidence.  I'd go so far as to say that in a couple of games he deserved "star" recognition.  He's got good wheels and hands and is finding the sense to be in the right place at the right time.  As that continues to develop he should increase his production.  His single goal so far isn't indicative of his potential.  Go out and nab 7 or 8 more Mickey.  You're capable.

Sean Wiles: A+
Sean gets the A+ because he is exceeding his potential.  Saying that may actually be a bit unfair to him.  I don't mean to undermine his potential.  Perhaps it would be better to say that I underestimated his potential.  He is obviously brimming with confidence and that's a great thing.  He believes that he can make things happen and he's been making that come true. Even as happy as I was to see him take beg strides developmentally last year, I wouldn't have predicted the additional strides he's taken this season.  Quite honestly, at times he's been dominant, seeminly able to do exactly what he wanted.  If there is one player on the team that Daniel Naslund can look to for development examples it is Sean Wiles.  Going forward Sean just needs to continue to tap into whatever motivation it is that allows him to step up his game the way we've been seeing.  If he can consistently play at that level then his production potential is nearly unlimited.

Defense:

Nils Backstrom: B+
Since his arrival here Nils has been a solid defensive resource.  He has and continues to be excellent in his own end.  There seem to be fewer opportunities this season for Nils to go forward and utilize the offensive talents he does have.  With that consideration, he has performed his responsibilities well.  I haven't seen any major defensive errors that led to an opposition goal.  He hasn't been perfect.  He could improve his contributions if he can find a way to assert himself as a leader.  He doesn't get an A grade only because I think he can be more dominant on the ice than we've seen.  I like when we see obvious emotional play from Nils and I'd bet there's more of that to come.  He doesn't seem like the kind of guy to miss out of the enjoyment there is to be had in the 2nd half of his last season here; after all his grin from under his mask has always been noticeable ... even from the balcony where I sit.  I hope he does find joy.

Lee Baldwin: B
I had high expectations for Lee and think he's lived up to a great deal of those.  He is physical, skates well and has an excellent shot.  He has had a couple of defensive lapses and made a couple of rookie errors.  A couple of times the opposition has taken advantage of those and scored.  Lee needs to develop more consistency in his play from night to night.  He has excellent tools and when he adds that consistency piece to the puzzle he'll be as good a WCHA defenseman as anyone.  In time, he should become an important piece of the power play puzzle.  I say he isn't a rookie anymore and I came damn close to a B+ for him.

Drew Darwitz: B-
I really like Drew's steady progression so far this season.  Early on he made some classic rookie-style errors but he's seemed to learn his lesson from every mistake he's made.  In most of his action lately he's looked more confident and played mostly error free hockey.  There is some potential in him that I'd compare favorably to Trevor Hunt.  He's strong for his size, he keeps his head up and seems to see the ice well.  His wheels are acceptable and his passing is crisp and accurate.  There don't seem to be any flies landing on him if you get my drift.  With continued patient development Drew should grow into a solid regular defensive asset on the blueline.

Trevor Hunt: A-
Trevor is smart smart smart smart with the puck on his stick.  He doesn't get an A here only because of a couple of lapses in defensive focus that the oppostion took advantage of.  He carries the puck up the ice like a classic center.  He uses his body well in the open ice and has a good sense of when to dish a pass.  I like what I see enough to believe that there is still untapped offensive potential in this senior.  In the last half season of his career here at UAA, I'd bet we see him create more offensive chances.  Go ahead and carry the puck Trevor.  You'll make things happen.

Kane Lafranchise: A
There are few if any weaknesses in Kane's game that I can discern.  He hits like a train.  He's got plenty of wheels.  His shot doesn't lack any power.  He is defensively responsible.  His sense of where to be on the ice doesn't fail him.  He should have lots of confidence because everything he does, he does well.  Maybe he can stretch himself and acheive more by adding to the offensive production.  If he does, great.  If he doesn't, that's too bad but it doesn't detract from his otherwise excellent play.

Jared Tuton: B
Being the Captain of a team can sometimes be a difficult thing.  There are responsibilities that come with the position that can take away from a players focus on his own development.  Jared is the ultimate coach's player.  He has been that way since day one.  Regardless of the role he's been asked to play he's fulfilled it with verve.  I personally think he is a more effective player on the forward line.  He certainly is not a liability in any manner on defense.  But the energy and forechecking prowess he's shown in the past as a forward were more valuable than the steady solid defensive effort he gives.  I wouldn't mind another Nick Haddad-style player up front.  And that's exactly what Jared was in the past as a forward. 

Luka Vidmar: B
Luka has a solid .5 points per game this season.  He has actually only appeared in 10 games but has 1 goal and 4 assists in his bag.  Luka is solid at both ends of the ice.  His skating is excellent and none of his other skills are substandard.  He is capable of solid physical play.  His recent offensive play has impressed me as he seems to be able to find openings to fire the puck through from the blueline.  As the 2nd half of the season progresses if he can turn that into points more often then he could find himself with more power play responsibilities.  Defensively, I'd encourage him to be more focused when the play isn't necessarily intense.  Mistakes during those times generally aren't killers but they aren't helpful either.


Goaltenders:

Bryce Christianson/Jon Olthuis: B-
I'm rating and commenting this two guys together because in my eyes they've both done their jobs.  I consider that they're numbers are nearly all a result of mistakes by the guys in front of them.  The other percentages not accounted for by overall poor team play come from some soft goals that both have given up.  I like Bryce's abilities handling the puck outside the crease.  I like Jonny O's unflappable style.  Bryce is a bit more athletic than Jonny and Jonny stands up a bit better than Bryce.  Either one or both are capable of winning if the team in front of them plays to it's full potential. 

Dusan Sidor: A+
Dusan gets an A+ because he wasn't expected to play at all.  But when he did, he performed admirably in a game that was well out of hand.  Giving him anything less than full marks would be unfair in my book.

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kevin Clark only gets disintersted
only when shyiak has him on the bench.
If Kevin has a strong second half like last year, he will help this team to the wcha finals.
All the players stay healthy and thanks for a entertaining first half.
Seasons are won the second half,
stay postive.
Donald, to you merry xmas and thanks for never quiting on this team.
FAn

Donald Dunlop said...

Fan,
I wouldn't disagree with anything you've said there. It is honestly up to him though to take his future into his own hands at this point.

I don't want to look too far ahead but I already know I'll miss him and all the seniors after the season is finished. I hope they all finish their careers with some nice success but more than that, I hope they cherish the last few months here.

Anonymous said...

Donald, have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Thanks for your tremendous team support. See you in January at the parent's weekend. Merry Christmas to all the fans and the boys as well.

Anonymous said...

I think you're pretty generous with Leinweber's B+. He got walked twice for goals in last Saturday's game and didn't even put up a fight.

And I'd put a "-" on Naslund's "C." He looks/is so slow.

Give me more Sean Wiles amd Cris Crowell. Was it Crowell that blew up a guy behind the net (Denver?)

Suze said...

I agree with almost everything you said, but I would give Parky an A-.

That kid has the same kind of passion that Haddad has, he is relentless on the penalty kill, and is UAA's best face off guy (even if he does fall on the puck a lot, LOL).

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your write-ups, but I think you missed something in your evaluations. Anyone with double-digits +/- in the negative column is not deserving, I would argue, of a high grade.

Anonymous said...

The whole team is a minus -19.
The team will tighten up in the second half. Injuries hurt the team in the first half.
Heal up over the holidays.

Donald Dunlop said...

Suze,
I upgraded Parky. I meant to go with B+ in the first place. Everything is listed alphabetically, but I did't write it that way. I wrote the names, slapped grades on them, wrote the entries from easiest to hardest (all memory dependent), then did lots of cutting/pasting to organize it.

This post always makes me understand what teachers go through. Not so much the grading part. But to sit down and write that many paragraphs about that many different players really takes a nice chunk of time.

That's about 3 hours worth up there.

Suze said...

I do a lot of online reviewing, and I know it takes a lot of time to write up something like this - and I appreciate it very much!

Thanks for your dedication to UAA hockey Donald.

GoNooks314 said...

Dammit Donald, I was going to do the same thing during the holiday break about our players. Even using the same grade schema for our players............only accurately. :)

Donald Dunlop said...

Aw Suze thanks but,
My little bit of time and enthusiasm doesn't begin to compare to all the folks that buy season tickets, support the booster club with their hard earned money, volunteer their time doing substantive things to improve the game experience and allow cheap people like me to poach good seats next to them.

Not everything I write takes that much time ya know?

Donald Dunlop said...

NoNookies,
Oh no! You mean you would have used my proprietary, copyrighted and trademarked grade scale system without asking my permission?

No inaccuracies transcribing what I think about the players on the team I follow to this website.

Zzzz said...

Dear Santa:

I would like Coach Shyiak to post an explanation on Donald's blog as to why Ken Selby sits in the stands every weekend...

FREE SELBY...
___________________________________

I have to agree that a couple of the grades may have been a bit generous but excellent commentary about the players Donald...

Donald Dunlop said...

Zzzz,
I have been receiving some disturbing emails from someone called "The Free Ken Selby Committee - Anchorage Branch". I'm not sure what these apparent terrorists are on about. I agree with them that senior Ken Selby should be freed.

I think if you're patient that you'll see some interesting developments along those lines just after Xmas.

akhockeyfanatic said...

Donald, thanks for the good read. And, thank you for the committment and time you put into this blog. It's very much appreciated by many of us regulars.

To Donald, the team, coaches, fans and blog contributors/readers, have a great holiday season. See you in January. The tides will turn.

puckdangler said...

First off, I give Donald an A+ for his excellence and positive dedication to UAA Seawolf hockey. For the team, I give a B grade, as they have much improving to do, but have shown so much promise and winning potential. I give Coach Shyiak an incomplete, as he surely will be trying to bring this great WCHA team around to winning ways. I believe in this team, and the coach. If not now, when?
GO SEAWOLVES!

Donald Dunlop said...

I give myself a far lower grade. At best it's a B- ...

There were more than a couple of recaps that I didn't show up for. My pregame coverage was lacking in some areas ... i.e... I didn't get on St. Cloud at all. Sure I gave UND a serious dose of crap but does that make up for falling down on the job versus Minnesota? Plus my optimism failed me ... I've resorted to deleting troll comments instead of haranguing them so fiercely that their mothers lament their births.

I screwed up the chatroom thing ... not once but twice. And I wasn't on top of the correct link for viewing the GCI feed when I stayed home sick from one game and had to rely on my daughter's anonymous chatroom post of a good link to save the day. The whole chatroom missed half of the 1st period due to my ineptitude.

Not to mention my off-blog actions. I didn't even start a U-A-A ... U-A-A ... chant at either game of the last series.

And lastly ... In all my commie ranting I never provided a link to the Communist Party USA Website or point people to their sign up page. How can I expect anyone that I've convinced to join me in the rise of the proletariat to find that without my help?

Ok ... C+ ...

Donald Dunlop said...

And I ended a couple of sentences with a preposition.

akhockeyfanatic said...

You are much too hard on yourself. You definitely get a solid "A+" in Creative Writing, "A+" in Spelling, "A" in Photography and Videography, "A+" in Effort and Dedication, "A" in Use of the English Language, and finally an "A+" in Ability to Piss off Opponents. But......oh yeah, maybe a "B-" in Deportment for some of your rants and raves. But this still leaves you with a respectable report card for the first half of the season. You make us proud!

Whatever you do.....don't flunk out of school and leave the blog. That would be disastrous for many.

Happy Holidays. Enjoy your well-deserved time off.

Anonymous said...

I would give the team a C, they are average compared to years past. Same stories, trouble in goal, trouble scoring goals, trouble keeping guys off the injured list. A "C" grade may be passing, but only barely.

FREE SELBY!!!!

NUCK THE FANOOKS!

-30- said...

I'm sure you've heard the Don Cherry one about how when captain video Roger Neilson was coaching the Canucks, Cherry approached him and asked where the washroom was at? Roger said something to the effect, Never end a sentence with a preposition. Cherry replied, Where's the washromm at, asshole? That's why we love Don Cherry and miss Roger.

Anonymous said...

I'm kinda amazed at all you Selby fans...family members? Don't you think that if the kid was half as good as you think he is, somewhere along the line from freshman to senior he would have merited consistent playing time? Nice kid, but maybe, maybe, he isn't as good as you wish he was.

Donald Dunlop said...

Anon@811:
I'll make even you cry when I write my Senior Tribute post to Ken Selby at the end of the season. At this point, he has become the embodiment of what college athletics is all about.

I tend to think most of the Ken Selby sentiment here comes from my advocacy for the guy. He was one of the fastest skaters in his age group in all of Canadian Jr. A hockey. His numbers in Jr. A were relatively similar to Kevin Clark's. They both played at the CJAHL's first "prospects game".

I started advocating for him because I don't think he ever got a chance to prove himself here. He'd get in 5 or 6 games and then sit for 8 or 9 throughout his career.

I'd bet dollars to donuts he's still faster than anyone on the team. It happens in team sports that a coach just doesn't mesh with a player or for whatever arbitrary reason doesn't see what a player has to offer. And I believe that is the case here.

All I've ever heard negative regarding him is that he "lacks hockey sense". I'd argue he wasn't allowed to develop hockey sense by his inconsistent chances to play. And I can imagine that he never been one of those guys in the coaches office saying "put me in". Maybe he should have been? I don't know.

But I do know from seeing him play over the last three years that I'd rather have him in the lineup than two of this years freshman. And I would be justified using the "lacks hockey sense" argument with one of them in particular. But I won't call out that kid. Hopefully, since he's getting plenty of chance to develop that sense he'll come along and not become another Ken Selby.

Anonymous said...

Bruijsten and Nasland came in over hyped. Nasland definitely doesn't merit the PP time he gets. Shyiak must be looking through rose colored glasses when Nasland hits the ice. I think Donald tells it like it is but held back on the grades a bit. I will say this - UAA hockey needs Donald's support. I hope the coaches read the blog they might learn a thing or two

Donald Dunlop said...

The coaches can't learn much from reading my blog other than some representative views of a minority of fans that share my views.

These guys know the game. They played it their whole lives and have coached since they stopped playing. They have all forgotten more about hockey than I know. I might have been around the game for 40 years but I never played. But I was an athlete and I understand how things work on a team.

None of that doesn't mean they can't sometimes make mistakes. It also doesn't mean that I'm not going to say things I think need to be said ... (love double negatives eh?)

I'm advocating for Ken and will do more in the near future not because of what he has done on the ice. But instead, because he is a senior and he came here as part of one of the better recruiting classes that this school ever put together.

He has done what he does well enough to maintain his roster spot. Shyiak hasn't told a lot of guys to hit the road by any means but neither has he hesitated to show a player or two that they weren't as important as they thought. So in all that, I have to respect Ken Selby greatly for having the personal character to stick it out when he most likely knows his ice time is going to be limited.

Shyiak always has given rookies the 1st half of the season to show him what they've got. I think even we fans recognize there is some development needed before some of our freshman grow into D1 competitors.

Combine that with Ken Selby's 3 1/2 year status on the roster and to me it screams FREE Ken Selby. Allow the kid to try to make some hockey memories while some rookies work their ass off in practice to get ice time. Ken has paid his dues.

Look back to what the unskilled Martin Stuchlik did in his last year here. That guy barely played his first three years and John Hill (credit to him for doing so) kept tossing him out and telling him to enjoy himself as a senior. He did and the the team was better off for it.

Zzzz said...

I'd love to see a skate-off between Selby and Nasland. I guarantee Selby would be on lap two before Nasland hit the blue line... Anyway, I'm certainly not saying Selby is the next coming of Gretzky but I think he has superior skills to more than a few of the players we see on the ice every weekend. I agree with Donald that over the course of the last 4 years the guy hasn't been given a CONSISTENT opprotunity to prove himself in game situations. He's never had the opprotunity to play on a regular line with the same linemates for more than two games! For all the opprotunities we seen the coaching staff give the incoming freshmen I think Ken Selby deserves an equal chance. Put the guy on the 1st or 2nd line with a few other skilled players and I honestly believe he can make a valueable offensive contribution. But in order to do so he needs the chance to play and practice with the same line for more than a week... In that instance it would be totally up to Ken to step up his game and prove that he belongs.

Donald, I don't have any idea what "The Free Ken Selby Committee - Anchorage Branch" is but sounds like a pretty powerful lobying organization...

jjack said...

Totally off the subject, but has anyone here been to an Aces game recently?

I saw a pic a buddy posted from an Aces game and the place was dead. I'm pretty sure that UAA is finally beating the Aces in attendance again...but not in a good way.

Donald Dunlop said...

jjack:
Aces had 5700+ last night. So no ... I don't think UAA is anywhere near them in terms of attendance.

There were 2800+ at the Carlson Center for UAF last night.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure why we keep comparing aces attendance to uaa games.
Nhl games vs ahl games
Ahl games vs echl games.
echl vs college game.
When there are two teams in town, one professional and one college, I would hope the professional team would outdraw the other team.
fan

Donald Dunlop said...

You make a good point. I'll quit with the whole WCHA > ECHL in terms of hockey. ECHL players work their way up to the NHL too ... maybe not as high of a percentage as WCHA players but I understand that the average sports fan doesn't have an appreciation for the difference and so I can understand why they go.

The whole idea that there is something greatly wrong with UAA's attendance is a bit overstated anyway. I looked at attendance figures for D1 the other day and UAA was like 25 or something in all of D1.

And we're ahead of UAF ... they were like 28th. Not saying we shouldn't want to see 4000+ in there every night and 5000+ a couple of times a season. That would be nice. Let's just hope the team can have a good enough second half to get some people off their butts and into the rink.

Anonymous said...

"Dejected Student Fan"

Donald,

For attendance, are you taking in the raw number of fans that actually ARE at the games, are you looking at the number in comparison to actually capacity, as a percentage, etc.?

Donald Dunlop said...

I"m talking about the number that appears in the boxscore. The official attendance.

Suze said...

As to the attendance issue. I could care less how many fans other DI schools get. The attendance at UAA is unacceptable, and hopefully the ideas they are working on for the next half will pan out.

The "freeze out Fairbanks" night sounds like fun! :)

akhockeyfanatic said...

Suze, hopefully they are working on ideas? I know it is a new position and all but I had pretty high hopes that the new marketing guy would have implemented innovative ideas to try and attract more fans by now. I realize that's it's not all up to him to get people to attend games, but I just haven't seen too many changes from previous years. You are definitely right though.....we have a whole second half of season to go. Plenty of time for the players and fans to do some fantastic stuff. Looking forward to January already.

Where did you hear about the Freeze Out Fairbanks idea? Very cool idea!!

Anonymous said...

As a seawolves player this year I read the fan blog quite a bit along with a few of the guys. Im remaining anonymous just to stay out of the drama it would bring having a player comment on these things but as to the "free ken selby" group would be proud to hear... I dont respect a guy more on the team than Selbs. Whether he plays or not he is the hardest worker and most positive guy we have!! Be a sad day when 19 is out of here - p.s. start getting loud at the games

Donald Dunlop said...

I sure don't want to create drama or any dissension or anything like that with the "Free Ken Selby" stuff. Having a player comment here (thank god anonymously) is the last thing I expected.

I just want to say that I've considered my position here long and hard with regard to this subject. I respect that Dave Shyiak makes the decisions as to who plays and when. It is his team after all.

So whatever develops along these lines here on this blog should be taken with a grain of salt. This is just a blog written by one fan expressing himself about the team.

Dude said...

I would have to give these guys the same grade as you gave them but only on terms of "likeability". I like our guys. In terms of actual grading for their play, most would have to be graded a bit lower. I would like to see all of these guys actually earn the grade you gave them here at the break. If they did? We would have a stellar second half of the year. Do I think they are capable? Yes, I do.

As down as I have been on this team, it's more about wanting them to win so badly that it becomes overwhelmingly frustrating. I want to see them succeed as much as anyone. I hope the pull it together after the break and make some serious noise in 2010.

Anonymous said...

UAA fans, show your support for this team, and show up to the games. Not only show up, but bring a friend or two. Talk up UAA hockey to friends, it becomes contagious.

Is one person bringing a friend going to make a difference? Not much. But if the 300o faithful did it, the arena would be nearly full.

No more watching the games from your living room TV, get out and support these guys!!

Anonymous said...

The aces are in a slump now, you have a echl team and a wcha team,
anchorage should be proud to support two teams.
Let's see what happens in the second half.

fan

Donald Dunlop said...

Commenter @ 9:23am:
I'm choosing at this time to leave your comment unpublished. I don't believe it serves any useful purpose to do so. Feel free to email me if you choose and I'll provide further information.

woofiewoof said...

I agree with "Fan" that we're fortunate that two team survive so well in this city. Remember when the Alaska Gold Kings moved down to Colorado Springs? That city just wasn't hockey-crazed enough to support two teams. The Colorado Gold Kings folded after only 4 seasons.

But -wow- where on earth did jjack get his numbers on the Aces? :-O Evidently he hasn't attended one of their games in years.

I really hope that Derek Donald is making an effort during our off time to ponder some ways to boost UAA's attendance.

Did anyone happen to attend this year's Guns & Hoses game? I've been to that event every year for as long as they've held them, and this was the FIRST time I've seen them pack the joint so much!

It's amazing what $5.00 tickets and free parking will do.

Merry almost Christmas everybody! C'mon Donald, howzabout a Christmasy UAA Hockey picture? I'll draw you one and e-mail it to you if that's what it will take to get one on here. Okay? ;o)

Donald Dunlop said...

Submissions are always welcomed here especially anything creative and or homemade. I rely exclusively on simple image searching and only very rarely do I venture into any sort of "photoshop" effort.

Suze said...

woofiewoof, my husband and I attended the Guns & Hoses game. Did you notice how they had the balcony closed off until the lower section was nearly full? Although the balcony was almost empty, it made a huge visual difference at having the lower section full.

That was a fun game. Too bad NY won. It was fun to see Tuott, Lawson, Edwards and Tobin back on the Sully ice.

Jeff said...

You know what would get more people to go to the games? A DJ that doesn't suck ass. Our guy plays the same damn lame music and when he does play a decent song, he plays it too much and you get tired of hearing it. If i'm a hockey player and my team is taking a time out, I dont want to hear jeopardy music playing. FUCk THAT. Play some "Drowning Pool" to get me jacked up for my next shift. Fuck our DJ. We need somebody who knows what he's doing and pronounces the player's names right. How embarrassing is it when our own dj mis prounounces Nils Backstrom's first name. It's Nils. Not Niles. And No country music at the hockey games. I love country music, but it shouldn't be played durring the game. only intermissio

akhockeyfanatic said...

I know people have made several comments on closing the upper section of the Sully for UAA games. It might make it appear that there is a bigger crowd there than actually is and would certainly hype the noise level up a notich having the fans contained in the lower area.

Derek Donald, anything you can do about putting that in the suggesion box?

It's worth a try for a few games

Anonymous said...

Nice article on incoming freshman (next year) Wes Mcleod on the BCHL website. He sound like a stud.

Anonymous said...

I went to a small high school that had a small arena. But man the place would be packed and loud. My coach often said that small but packed arena was a whole lot more exciting than a not so full larger arena. I agree close off at least one of the upper sections to concentrate the fans. And Donald you deserve kudos for your mid term performance!!! Thanks and best wishes for the holidays and happy New years to all the wolves and UAA fans.
Dan

Donald Dunlop said...

Here's a link to the Wes McLeod profile mentioned above.

Suze said...

I doubt anything will be done to close off the balcony this season, people already have paid for certain seats, and like them just where they are. I am one of them.

We have been sitting with the same group of fans for 20 years. We moved as a group from the right side of the balcony to center ice. Half the fun of the games is the friends we have made over the years. (And about half of those no longer come).

It certainly could be explored for next season if the attendance woes continue.

I totally agree about the music and the announcer. Both are pretty bad. Announcer is always saying "Seawoofs"! PLEASE.

Music sucks plain and simple.

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