... and for your viewing and listening pleasure to go along with
the title and mood here's "Nell" ...
a Korean Emo-Band with "Separation Anxiety" ...
Four-million one-hundred forty-one thousand eight-hundred seconds (4,140,800) is more or less the amount of time that has passed since UAA Seawolves hockey fans last witnessed their team on the ice and will witness it again this Friday at Sullivan Arena. Big numbers mess with your head ... I know. Ok then ... is sixty-nine thousand and 30 minutes (69,030) better? Do you prefer one-thousand one-hundred fifty and a half (1,150.5) hours? For me, forty-seven days twenty-two and a half hours (47d, 22.5h) just doesn't quite encompass the feeling of it. Yes, this Friday when the puck drops not only will almost 48 days have passed; the year has changed.
Man oh man ... does it seem like forever or what? The last time we saw the team at home they were leaving the ice and probably looking forward to their holiday break. The two results versus St. Cloud would lead one to believe they weren't focused on the task at hand prior to their break.
I think I can say though without a doubt ... that they were focused on the task at hand during both of the last two weekend road series. Sure, they only came out of Denver with 1 point but we all know they played better than that. Even Jowls knows that. 4 points was exactly what the team needed before getting to Houghton and escaping from middle-of-nowhere upper-U.P. with 4 points was quite satisfactory; even if MTU might have deserved more than 0 points.
Now I find myself wondering exactly what local fans are going to be treated to this weekend. Are we perhaps going to see a team that is so glad to be home that they aren't as focused as they need to be? Will the fact that it's parent's weekend help ensure that the guys are focused? Everyone wants to impress Mom and Pop don't they?
I also wonder what sort of attendance will greet the team. Typically, mid December games seem to be poorly attended. I glanced at the past few years and that seems to hold true. The first games back after a break though aren't mind bendingly successful in terms of butts in seats. So, at least on Friday, I certainly don't expect to see more than 4000 in the rink. In 05, 3800+ showed up for a Mankato game after about a 40 day break. Every other year in the past 5 have been substantially less. So perhaps there'll be around 3500. That disappoints me. I hope it doesn't disappoint the team or parents too much.
So my point here is that the team can't count on fan support to motivate them this weekend. I wish it were not the case, but it is. Our usual 3500 can make a decent amount of noise, and they're without a doubt a solidly knowledgeable core group. But it's got to be slightly less than truly inspiring to the players. So I ask myself again ... is this group of Seawolves going to be focused enough on the task at hand to be successful?
What is success this weekend? Does the team "have to" get 4 points? I think so, while a win and a tie would have value, it won't do what is needed for the Seawolves to continue to climb up the league table. The Gophers are ahead of UAA by 3 points and have two games in hand. They have a home-and-home series with St. Cloud this weekend. After taking 3 points from UND last weekend, I'd have to expect them to come away from the St. Cloud series with some points. And who is the next opponent at the Sully after the "Black Bears" this weekend? The pesky Gophers. Without a 4 point weekend versus Colorado College this weekend, the Seawolves won't necessarily have the opportunity to move past the Gophers in the standings. That would be a shame. So yes, success this weekend equals sweeping CC.
I'll look at the hows, whys, therefores etc ... in more detail in the next post. But here's a little taste ... CC wasn't supposed to be great this year. They jumped out of the gate and surprised everyone but have had little success since their last win versus UAA. The Seawolves nabbed a 3-2 come from behind OT win in the Springs after getting throttled 5-0 the night before in the two games between the teams back at the end of November. The Black Bears are 3-6-2 since then ... but started the season 10-2-1.