It's damn hard to write about something one hasn't seen. I bagged doing a recap last night in favor of some movie watching and a long restful sleep because I had nothing to add that wouldn't be available anywhere else. What follows is stuff you won't read anywhere else.
The Seawolves lost a game they certainly could have won. And therein "the hump" that Coach Shyiak has mentioned. The boys have pushed that rock up the hill to the very top with their noses 6 times (by my count) this season without getting making it that extra inch or two needed to get over. When I say "certainly could have won" it means "had enough chances". So far this season that they "could have won"; last night, las Saturday vs. St. Cloud, Saturday vs. Mankato, Friday against Duluth and both games in the Fairbanks tourney versus CC and Union. The point?
This squad is more than close to being what we are all hoping it can be. We're all watching a team that is showing every indication that they're ready to crest the hill, get over the hump and then along the road to, dare we hope ... perhaps do something notable.
We are seeing a lineup that has firmed up now it seems with guys all performing the necessary roles extremely well. Everyone seems to be getting chances and just as importantly everyone seems to be playing responsibly. They're one goal away per game. That's all. One.
There's every indication that the team has a lot of confidence and belief. The last four hockey games saw the team turn in very consistent performances in what has been a season of already consistent effort. Everybody on the squad seems engaged, enthusiastic and primed to me. I've gotten a couple of pretty good sniffs of it before now but this morning ... it's wafting in through the window. I can't get the smell out of my nose.
A four game homestand now presents another opportunity to cement that mindset and finish the first half of the season by giving the league something to think about over the break. It's nice to look at the league standings and see four teams with less points than UAA. But glance up and you see 6 teams with more points. The next two opponents are two of those six.
Wisconsin has 8 points to UAA's 7 and both have played 10 league games. The Badgers went 2-4-2 in their last eight games. UAA is 3-4-1 over their last eight. So yeah, this upcoming weekend both teams are going to be all about getting as many points as they can. A sweep for UAA this weekend would mean a minimum of being in a tie for 6th.
The grotesque penalty differential on Friday was my fault. I harassed the referees last week about their even-it-up methodology in calling WCHA games and it's clear Marco Hunt and/or Derek Shepherd read it and perhaps decided to show me just exactly how fucking stupid and wrong it was of me to say it. It was a joke fellas, seriously. I was poking fun at you. There was really no need to go all 7-2 over it. Congrats for evening it up on Saturday night though.
So many guys played well that I'm purposely staying away from naming any of them here. If I give one guy props then I'll be here writing all day. Of course, so and so's goals have been big and we've gotten excellent goaltending from so and so and so and so. But every other so and so out there has contributed in meaningful ways to the good hockey we're seeing (and hearing). So ..... you see why I'm not going to mention them here. Yep; laziness. If I got started, I'd write a paragraph about every player and I'd be here all day doing it.
All the players regardless of class standing, veteran or rookie status and perceived talent have been playing great. Nothing less than such excellent team play is responsible for this smell of impending success stuck in my nose. And nothing less than such excellent continued team play will change that smell to a taste.
For those of you that missed it. The UAA Hockey Fan Blog Chat Room had it's first exclusive direct from the road arena twitter feed this weekend. Blog devotee and CC fan BBEF cranked out the tweets for those of us assembled to chat in the room.
And um .. so yeah. That.happened.
Sam Mellor has been named to Team West for the CJHL Prospects game December 7th and 8th in Dauphin, Manitoba. Sam just returned to action with Trail this past week after his stint with Team Canada West for the WJAC. I'll make a full post Monday.
I continued the now becoming mind-numbingly inane effort to get a WCHA coach to answer a bunch of off-beat questions in the guise of an email based journalistic faux-interview. Scott Owens didn't want to play either. Here's the email I sent him:
Dear Coach Owens,
With Anchorage turned into the world's largest skating rink this morning, I'm reminded that it's time for me to once again query the Head Coach of UAA's next opponent. As with my previous email efforts in this series I feel I must qualify this effort to help encourage your participation.
The UAA Athletic Department graciously granted me a press credential last season (I know .. hard to believe eh?). So perhaps that provides some positive encouragement for your participation. I assure you this effort is done in the entertainment vain. As I explained to Coach Motzko last week, after five years of blogging there are only so many ways I can make fun of opposition cities. Most of my religion-central-USA gambits are pretty well played out at this point.
If you aren't familiar with my blog efforts, I hope you'll take a moment to speak with Ken Ralph whom I know is aware of what and how I do the things I do here. In any case, I think it may be valuable for you and give perspective if I explain how this series of email q&a's came to be. The week before your team made the trek to Fairbanks, I attended the UAA tourney luncheon and the other head coach in Colorado Springs literally blew the room away with his humorous address. With the Bemidji series on the docket a few weeks ago, I was simply dying to know if Tom Serratore was as funny as Frank. He admitted he wasn't in his response but the interaction was gobbled up by my voracious readers and that response has prompted me to make this effort regular.
Tom did mention that Frank's goaltending history was perhaps a factor in why Frank is so damn funny. So I'm hopeful of course that your history playing that position has imbued with the some of the same humor. Consider me your straight man here.
Unfortunately, Coach Motzko was unable to participate for unknown reasons. It is my my fervent hope that you'll allow the time for this irreverent series and increase my success rate to 66% with your considered (or ill-considered) response for my loyal readers (by the way which include no small number of dedicated CC fans). We're not in a big hurry here so please know "at your leisure" is my default expectation ... any response is better than none.
Now to the questions ...
1. There can be no attempt at some humor here without asking if you're aware of the ongoing internet look-alike comparisons between you and pornography icon Ron Jeremy. From your perspective I can imagine the comparison is as tiresome as questions about Sarah Palin are to Alaskans. So I must therefore ask; Have you watched Sarah Palin's Reality show about Alaska? How would you rate it, if you have? You don't think average Alaskan families get picked up by floatplanes at their back door do you? Were you aware that apparently all of the wildlife footage was shot without the Palin's actually being co-located with it and that they're pointing at nothing? TV shows huh?I know this seems really long. I apologize for my natural verbosity and seeming obtuse questions but I think if you do look at it with your goaltender eyes that you'll at least (as Tom Serratore did ... http://uaafan.blogspot.com/2010/11/unique-interview-with-tom-serratore.html find the effort unique. Make us laugh coach ... please.
2. How dumb do you think the whole activity of the WCHA Coaches making a preseason poll is? I ask because your fraternity of coaches sure never seem to get CC anywhere near correct. Do you think they just don't really do their homework on CC? Personally, I quit doing any sort of predictive things to keep me from looking stupid. Shouldn't the WCHA Coaches just bag that effort in the future?
3. Was following tDon as head coach at CC a bit like Dane Cook having to follow Bill Hicks onstage at a comedy show? Not that I'm implying you're in anyway as mundane and pedestrian as Dane Cook. Neither do I consider Don Lucia necessarily any sort of analogue to Bill Hicks. But I hope you're getting the general idea. Is his long shadow finally gone from the campus?
4. We're all looking forward to this weekend's release of the documentary chronicling CC's history. Personally, I love listening to Mike Emrick so I know I'll enjoy watching it. Can you speak briefly about your participation with the effort and what it means to your storied program to have the film debut on the NHL Network this weekend?
5. Do you think Frank Serratore would mind if I renamed this email q&a effort the "Official Frank Serratore 5"? Please allow me here to suggest that if you and your wife Sally haven't invited Frank over for Thanksgiving dinner that you do so immediately. Tom tells me that the "talking with the hands" stuff is worth it.
With Utmost Sincerity and Respect,
Donald M. Dunlop
I'm pretty sure that begs a response does it? And I get nothing back at all? Were the questions so bad? Here's the thing. I'm not going to send these guys questions that will elicit nothing other than some canned cliche'd response. That's for journalists to do. I see the ridiculous nature of the questions as quite possibly great avenues for one of these coaches to step forward and make us fall out of our chairs laughing. Wouldn't a little self-depricating humor be great to see? I'm pretty sure Tom Serratore "got" the idea, I've got no idea if the other's have or not given their lack of any reply.
Here is a great presentation about the challenges of remaking our educational systems. The speaker makes tons of great points and address so many issues in this only 11 minute speech. The added animation though synced with the speaking is powerful stuff. You can't watch this twice without fully understanding the issues the speaker describes. Good stuff. Good information. Here's the RSA (the people who made this) youtube page with all their other great content.
Watch it. It's 11 minutes. Then watch some others on the youtube page. Good stuff.