Friday, August 03, 2012

Finally Eh?

It's been a fully delightful break for me since the season ended.  Years of year round focus on Seawolves Hockey does come with a price in personal time.  So I took lots of time off.  With that explained and excused, onto a big announcement.  I'm moving.  To Chicago.  Around September 15th.  What does that mean here?  It should mean very little actually.

I plan to make substantially the same effort during the season as in the past.  As the next 6 weeks progress you can expect all the usual yearly run-up to the season.  I'll provide a comprehensive look at each of the incoming freshman.  We'll look at the returning players on a class-by-class basis.  And I'll analyze what the team's chances for success look like in this last year of what is now the old-WCHA.

The blog's media credentials will remain in place and of course JimJames is free (and encouraged) to expand his coverage as he chooses or is able.  As always, I'm happy to publish relevant submissions from any reader and if there is someone out there who is interested in a regular writing role ... I'll happily entertain that possibility.  I hope the move affords me the chance to catch the team on the road.  I'll talk more about doing that though as the opportunity to do that comes up.  At this point I don't want to say I'll be able to do any particular date.  The UW road series in late January is calling my name though.

Now onto hockey.  I've seen a bit of noise here and there (some hopeful it seems) that the hockey program is something less than it has been in the past or that it's a sinking ship.  Nonsense.  Players leave sometimes.  Yes, the Seawolves had a couple more than usual seek out other hockey opportunities.  The two players that decided not to return who leave holes are Eric Schied and Sam Mellor.  Let's face it ... they showed a lot of potential in their freshman seasons.  These guys would have been key offensive players and/or leading scorers as future Seawolves.  

Their decisions were both probably difficult and I don't know any details other than they both were making developmental choices for their future professional hockey careers.  Perhaps it came down to a question of playing 70 or more games versus 34?  I dunno.  I do expect to see them both at big named schools in the 2013-14 season.  Did college hockey's realignment play a factor in their choices?  I have no idea. 

Is their departure a major loss for the Seawolves?  Meh ... it's a loss; not major.  It's understandable to be concerned about the upcoming season since I think many of us hoped the success curve was something on the upswing.  Instead it seems to me that last season was full-on status quo.  In other words, not too much one could call success. 

That said, this season as fans I think it is wholly appropriate for us to focus on the coaching staff's role in achieving more success.  There isn't a player on the team who they didn't recruit.  In Shyiak's first few years we saw more than a little bit of size come onto the ice.  And the game plan utilized that size differential.  Clearly that has changed ... and to me that signals an upcoming change of game plan.  

I have major doubts that this year's expected lineup will be a good match for the same possession oriented offensive tactics.  I think they have to open it up and be willing to skate.  There's lots of good wheels on the back-end to support that style.  I think everyone would prefer to lose a game 5-4 than 1-0.  Ammirite?  

I think there's good potential for the counter-attack to be a key strategy for the coaching staff to utilize.  Some timely turnovers generated by smart tactical traps resulting in odd man rushes sounds good to me.  Anyway, the coaches need to influence success moreso this year than any other since they've been here.  They need to find the right players for the right roles and make sure the team plays a style that leads to more winning.  It's time for that.  No excuses.

26 comments:

BBEF aka Mexico said...

Glad to see another post Donald. We've missed you. Take care of your personal shit, based on our brief conversations I have a feeling this is much more important than hockey. I love you bro.

I hope you try to continue the CIL events or allow others to do so. That kind of thing really set this place apart and made it a "venue" for other fans.

Donald Dunlop said...

Live chats on the blog while watching a streamed game is easy so not being at the games will increase that activity here.

Suze said...

I hope everything is okay with you and your family Donald. Thanks for your hard work on the blog over the years and I hope you continue to write even though you won't be in Alaska any longer.

Donald Dunlop said...

Everything is completely normal with me and my family. I think all BBEF means is that my life isn't this blog.

A Seawolves Fanatic said...

I've always wanted to see how our team would be if Coach opened things up. They seem very timid, not sure what to do with the puck, and seem like they just don't want to make a mistake holding the puck the past couple seasons. And, from my memory we've seemed to do good playing run-and-gun hockey. Let the boys get some confidence. There has been much more creativity and poise in practice then the actual games. This should change.

puckdangler said...

Donald,

Hope your move is a pain free experience. I've heard Chicago is a great city. The Blackhawks have such a great tradition, and when I think of them, I always remember the great Mike Peluso from UAA.

He may not have won his Cup there, but he made his mark, and represented. Looking forward to your great blog in 2012-13. Hope you can make it up to the new UMD arena for a UAA-UMD tilt. It is a sweet feeling to see UAA beat them there live. I have a problem with their overall arrogance.

Cheers

Suze said...

Well channel 2 news has slammed UAA again. Kevin Wells did a story on the Aces, staying they signed Kane for another season. He said the Aces coaching staff was very pleased with his rookie performance, then Kevin added "especially since he came from UAA".

I will no longer be watching their newscast. This is uncalled for, mean spirited and unprofessional.

Anonymous said...

Lol ! UAA has developed so few players, very few actually improve while they are here! Kane speaks the truth.

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with the "open it up" philosophy for this team. I think 5-4 games would be far more exciting, but I think realistically they would be looking at 6-2, 7-4 games if they opened it up. The other teams in this league generally have so much more talent than UAA (at the top of the league anyways) that there will be a lot of blowouts. It couldn't be a lot worse than last year though so I say go for it.

Anonymous said...

Kevin Wells said that really? I gotta watch channel 2 more often! LOL!!!

Alaskana said...

First off, welcome back Donald! I don't think there has ever been a time on this blog where a post has been more eagerly awaited. With that said I think it's important that people (including me) understand that you have a life outside of hockey. I wish you the best in your move to the windy city and that it will give you more chances to see UAA play in other barns.

Regarding Kevin Well's comment, yeah I too think it's sad whenever the local sportscaster disses the local team, but having said that sadly this is a town where a sportscaster can get away with saying such a thing with little repercussion. All in all it's just more Aces centric BS that KTUU throws out like so much red meat to the Aces crowd. They may as well call themselves the official promoter of ACES games/events and stop covering all Seawolves hockey games. Sadly it wouldn't be much more different that what it is now.

Anyways, to end this post on a positive note I (once again) have great hopes for this year. Maybe it's just because this is the final old WCHA season, but I think there will be a passion to beat may of those teams whom they will likely ever (or rarely ever) play again.

Donald Dunlop said...

I didn't see that broadcast. However, I know Kevin reads here so I'll invite him to explain that he meant something else entirely. I do see him regularly so I'll also invite him to go get me a beer.

arcticfox said...

Your move to Chi-town sounds exciting Donald! BTW.. Will you be shutting down the other forum? I still like it because it's so nice for participants to be able to add photos and start new threads, but then again.. since everyone comes here and not there, it's kinda lonely over there.

Geez.. we need to have some sort of send off for you! Any suggestions for a 'Donald send off' guyz? :0)

Mike said...

Best thing about moving to Chicago? You can drive to the Dells.

Anonymous said...

Mike - and if you are a democrat (living or dead) you can vote 10 times for your favorite socialist!

Mike said...

Anon lol

Donald Dunlop said...

Anon@12:28 ...

394 actual incidents of voter fraud in 50 states over the last 10 years.

Anonymous said...

Man thats incredible...oh well it gave Fox News / Drudge Report something to latch on to even to this day. That and the birth certificate.

AKfan said...

The UAA women's BB team coach resigned before he even held his first practice, for allegations of "professional misconduct". What the he double hockey sticks is going on over there? Another black eye for Cobb.

Donald Dunlop said...

Black eye? Sounds quite the opposite. In any profession one can never be 100 percent sure about the quality of a person when hiring them. So this sounds like ... BB coach hired using a longstanding and well-defined hiring process which didn't uncover that someone would act unprofessionally in the future.

Then the unpredictable unprofessional thingy happens and they find out about it and are investigating it and the dude resigns. Yeah that sounds like Cobb's fault.

Seriously, I don't have any clue and it's none of our business what unprofessional thing occurred with the BB coach; but I can clearly see from the release that Cobb is probably to be applauded for his quick action.

Anonymous said...

This year's team could do well IF the coaches actually coach, and the players are allowed to make mistakes without the fear of being benched for the next period/game. The tools are in the tool box, can they be used properly? Time will tell.

Love2Sk8 said...

A couple talented, high profile women have left the UAA basketball team. Moser quits, the new coach resigns after 3 months and players leaving.

Coincidence? Or related to the lethargy in the athletic dept?

Anonymous said...

Apparently those players left before the newest coach resigned, so I don't think their departure had anything to do with the latest coach.

Donald Dunlop said...

Love2Sk8,
Please read my response to your questions two posts before it.

Anonymous said...

I actually talked to the newly resigned head coach when he was up here to "interview" with Cobb back in May. He told me it was the quickest interview he'd ever done. He was surprised that Cobb asked so few questions and basically hired him with very little conversation. This makes me think that Cobb is lazy and doesn't do his homework. Had he done so, he probably wouldn't have hired that guy. To me it confirms Cobbs lack of attention to details to the Athletic department as a whole. Seriously, who can defend this guy?

Sara said...

There have been so many issues with the athletic dept. over the years, all under his watch. The boondoggle that just went to basketball is another prime example. If his beloved bb teams fall apart watch out.

His leadership is pathetic. Just read all of the comments left on the adn website about him, seriously everyone thinks he is doing a horrible job and needs to be fired.

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