DU forward Jesse Martin is in a Minneapolis hospital today having surgery to alleviate swelling around his spinal cord associated with three fractured neck vertebrae resulting from a hit applied on Saturday night by UND's Brad Malone.
Best wishes from UAA fans for a full recovery are in order. Fans across the country have already and will continue to wish for Jesse's good health. Sports at this level are often high impact and it's what attracts us fans. When an unfortunate injury occurs it's difficult for everyone. The communal empathy is widespread and we here certainly feel it today. Get well Jesse.
Every human being is a hypocrite at some point in their life. Recognizing it in oneself is highly difficult and the greater the hypocrisy the less likely it is a person can own up to it. Last night after writing that I hoped the referees stay out of the game and let UAA and Mankato play, I yelled at the refs when they didn't make some calls. I was a hypocrite for doing it.
Sure, I do want the refs to stay out of the games but I want them to penalize the other guys. Hypocrisy in action. I tend to think that it is of the minor variety. Perhaps it's even cute in some sense; we had a little titter last night about it in our seats. There are clearly varying levels of hypocrisy though ... and the more acute level it reaches, the harder it is for everyone else to stomach. Yes, I'm about to talk about some UND fans and the Brad Malone hit on Jesse Martin in yesterday's DU-UND game. Because I'm having a real hard time stomaching some of the atrocious bullshit I'm seeing written.
There are certain UND fans on the Internet that I expect to be hypocrites. A regular contingent of these hypocrites make themselves apparent virtually every weekend. I was not surprised to any great degree to see some of them bitch and moan about the 5 minute major against Brad Malone. It didn't surprise me when some of them denied the obvious parallels of past events involving these same two teams. It doesn't even surprise me that certain Least Common Denominator voices look to decry the referees as being at fault because they didn't call some completely unrelated weak sauce little tap as spearing (which it wasn't anyway). All those things are a regular occurrence amongst that sorry fanbase and some of the low-IQ trash that express themselves on the internet.
It does however surprise me to see other petty attempts to deflect the issue from Jesse Martin's health by focusing on what the referees and/or league should be doing. Shameful stuff Patrick Miller. You in particular should know better. You've lowered yourself to Goon's level with this hypocrisy. Your really concerned about the effect of the initial failure to make the call on the outcome of the game? That's what you wrote? Wow. Not to mention that your analogy to football is ridiculous. You start off with the false premise that football has it's shit together with regard to dangerous hits. An argument built on a false premise is over when it starts. Football in no way shape or form has any sort of effective control over such events.
There is only one place where control can be exerted to eliminate such things. The ability to control something like this lies with ONLY one person. The player going in for the hit. End of story. I think the Jeff Paukovich hit on Robbie Bina some years back is a perfect example. Let me explain, Paukovich was highly prized for his play by the NHL. As a really big player, he delivered more than a few bone jarring hits to the opposition. NHL scouts were loving him. Then he made a stupid decision that he had no idea would have wide-ranging effects.
Bina was seriously injured and eventually recovered well. Paukovich was NEVER the same player again. The timidity his stupid choice to hit Bina resulted in doomed his own hockey career. If Geoff Paukovich had never made that stupid choice, I'd put good money that he'd be plying his trade at the highest level today. Instead, he is still playing in the washout ECHL.
So that's why I say the individual player is the ONLY place where ANY control over dangerous hits can possibly start. Every hockey player involved in the sport at any level can learn a lesson from this incident. Is the potential to deliver a "kill hit" really worth the risk to careers? Brad Malone could have pulled out of his charge and delivered an effective hit. He was in control and nobody else. That and that alone is the lesson here. This is about the player's mindset going in.
Looking to blame the sport, it's leagues or it's referees is ridiculous and only serves to completely and utterly discredit the person laying the blame. Patrick you were dead wrong about your school's nickname (as you know I told you years and years ago with regard to your USCHO debate with Chris Lerch) and you are dead wrong again. Never posting on your pretentiously named blog again would be a good idea. Because just like Brad Malone ... you are the only one who can exert that control.
Changing gears let's look around at where other WCHA teams are in this early season. The aforementioned DU squad is sitting at 3-3-2 so far. They won and tied in their opening series against Vermont. They got smoked by B.C. in their home opening series. Pulled a nice three points versus Wisconsin at home and split the weekend versus UND. DU fans are pretty pleased with the record so far (as they should be) considering the difficulty of their early schedule.
I think the Pios and Seawolves share some commonalities. They both have young unproven goaltenders. They both have a large contingent of youngsters skating. And they both have suffered somewhat from having key players out of the lineup.
St. Cloud looks to be vying for the Jekyll/Hyde early season moniker. Their 3-4-1 after a schedule that's a bit of a mixed bag. They opened with RIT and Clarkson. They took care of business against RIT the first night and then completely imploded against Clarkson. In their second series against Miami they got their butts kicked the first night and came back to tie the next. Against the Gophs they stepped up on Friday night winning handily but Pride On Ice came back the next night to hand the Cloudies a bitter defeat. This weekend they continued with the Jekyll/Hyde theme by losing to Quinnipiac 4-2 on Friday before defeating them 5-2 on Saturday. Someone needs to check Bob Motzko's medicine cabinet for secret formulas.
Michigan Tech's heels have been cooled slightly. The Badgers swept them this weekend in Madison by three goals each night. Prior to that the Techies had put together a nice 5 game unbeaten streak to start the season. They've still got a very respectable 3-2-2 record.
Wisconsin is 5-2-1 over it's first eight games. They lost to BU, beat Holy Cross, stomped UAH, had a bit of a setback versus DU and just swept MTU. Nothing really impressive here though. No Wisconsin players should be writing home to mother and bragging just yet.
UAA's prior opponent to Mankato the Duluthians are unbeaten so far this year with a 6-0-2. They tied to open the season at Lake Superior, then beat NMU, killed Providence, squeaked by UAA in OT before crapping all over us the next night. This past weekend they beat Bemidji in OT on Friday and tied them 1-1 last night. They won't be unbeaten for long.
North Dakota is 4-3-1 to open the season. After tying the Seawolves in their opener they handled UAF, swept Bemidji, got stomped by the Mainuhs before splitting with DU this weekend. Look for them to continue with a similar or slightly better winning percentage over the next couple of months.
The Gophers are a respectable 5-3 after their first 8 games. They fairly easily took a two game season opening set over UMass before getting embarrassed by UNO then splitting with the Cloudies. They did however definitively sweep CC this weekend in Colorado Springs. They've got Wisconsin on the docket this coming weekend. So that should be interesting.
CC appears to be living up to preseason billing (for once). They split with RPI to open the season before beating UAA and losing to UAF. Then last weekend they split with Mankato in the least racially diverse city in America (yes ... even less racially diverse than Colorado Springs ... by a mile actually). Then see above about their series against the Gophers who outscored CC this weekend 13-5. Ouch for BBEF.
UNO is 5-1 in it's first 6 games and had this weekend off. They stomped a Clarkson team that beat St. Cloud in the same tournament. They took care of business against RIT. They embarrassed the Gophs at The John. Then split with the Ugly Helmets in Ann Arbor.
Bemidji thinks they're in the Ivy League and have only played 4 games. They're 0-3-1 with the pride of that record being the tie last night with UMD.
Lastly, Mankato is 2-2-4 after it's first 8 games. They tied St. Larry twice to open the season. Lost to and then tied MTU in Hougton (which has no Wendy's). They hosted CC and got a split with the Black Bears before coming to Anchorage.
So that's where it is. The biggest story now isn't Michigan Tech's surprising start. It's now St. Clouds performance against high expectations. It's early of course and lots of things will shake out over the coming weeks. October is only just now in the rear view mirror and we all know wins in March and April mean a helluva lot more than at this time of year. I think lost of teams are just finding their stride and/or identity. It won't be boring.
Sam Mellor is still a stud. Nuff said ...