Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday Potpourri: No Turkey Sandwiches

Next time you look at the standings, try looking deeper than just where on the table UAA resides.  If you look at them and think, "UAA is in 8th" then your not seeing the bigger picture.  A deeper look at the WCHA standings tells me a few things.  Any one of 6 teams have a realistic chance to finish in 1st place.  Conversely, 10th place seems most likely to be occupied one of the four teams currently in the last four spots.

The three teams tied for 4th place have one more conference win (5) than UAA (4).  Only the Seawolves and Michigan Tech don't have a tied game on their record.  10 of UAA's next 16 conference games are against teams that are currently within 4 points of them in the standings.

The Gophers may currently reside in 9th place but they've got games in hand against the 7th and 8th place teams.  Six of their next 8 games are against the current 7th, 8th and 10th place teams.

Before the season started, I mentioned that between 12 and 16 points was a good goal for the Seawolves at the break.  If UAA can manage a sweep of St. Cloud next week they'll wrap up the 09 part of the schedule with 12 points.

I noticed an interesting non-conference comparison; the first place team in Hockey East has won 5 of the 14 games on their schedule.  UAA has won 6 of 16 games.  They (UNH) are 0-3 against top 5 ranked teams and UAA is 3-3 against teams ranked in the top 5.

I think the larger point here is that 5th place and a home ice WCHA playoff berth are not out of the realm of possibility.  Results so far are a bit less than you'd hope for with such a goal but not unreasonably so.  That door definitely hasn't been closed to our Seawolves for that level of success.


In case you weren't aware (and you likely wouldn't be since the U.S. media has barely covered this) there's been a major economic meltdown which compares favorably with the gluttony-induced failures that the U.S. experienced last year.  Once again it appears, that a group of obscenely rich assholes have gobbled up unbelievably huge sums of money and aren't in a position to pay it back.  This time it happened in probably the most greedy country in the world, Dubai.  The UAE is propping up the debt though in the same stupid way the U.S. did for Wall Street.  Lovely.

It'd be nice someone somewhere would step up and put these grotesquely rich assholes in their place (prison).  But such a thing isn't likely to happen is it?  We all mistakenly believe the myth that with a bit of hard work and luck we could be the next Bill Gates or Richard Branson.  Ain't gonna happen folks.  Quit propagating that ridiculous falsehood to your children; there's nearly 6 BILLION people and very few Gates and Bransons.  Teach them instead that if they gather together with other like-minded people for fairness and equality that maybe one day 99% of the worlds wealth won't be owned by 1% of the population.  Otherwise, that obscene statistic is likely to dominate their lives.

Yes, this is more of my commie philosophy.  I know, I'm a horrid person for wanting to see less poverty and suffering in the world.  Unless and until more of you start becoming aware and making the little decisions necessary to slowly counter the progression of the corrupted culture that our modern society has foisted on us then the outlook for your children and grandchildren is likely to be as bleak as you could imagine.  Perhaps you think capitalism has done all right by you.  Perhaps it has.  Lots of people (in the west) enjoy a fairly high standard of living.  I can't say I go wanting for much in my life.  But even a typical low end millionaire in the U.S. is just a pissant when compared to the money which that 1% has locked up in perpetuity for themselves and their descendants.


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Shall we look at this weekend's results from around the league?  Lets.  There were two tournaments involving WCHA teams this weekend.  North Dakota hosted two teams from the Carribean ... Biminiji, Miami and a team from Ohio in their tournament.  Biminiji pretended they were in the NCAA's again but this time they beat the Florida team that beat them last year in the Frozen Four.  On the same night, North Dakota beat Ohio State handily.  The dance partners changed the next night and the Miami Hurricanes tied the mighty NoDaks.  Biminiji forgot to keep pretending they were in the NCAA's and promptly lost to the Buckeyes.  Why these Carribean teams are playing hockey eludes me.

Minnesota and Wisconsin traveled east for a pair against Big Ten foes Michigan and Michigan State.  Michigan ruled the weekend beating the Gophers 6-0 and then downing Wisconsin 3-2.  Bucky had dropped a Friday bomb on Michigan State 7-3 before the loss.  Minnesota rebounded to beat Michigan State on Saturday 2-1.  Not the greatest weekend for non-conference WCHA action from three teams that normally represent better.

In conference games the presumed 09/10 National Champions University of Denver team split on their home ice with St. Cloud.  Minnesota-Duluth cleaned up on Bye taking all four points.  And Mankato added to Michigan Tech's frustrating season by winning both games against them.  Much wailing and lamentations out of Kato-land after losing a couple of weekends ago on penalty call in OT and of course this weekend Kato fans are labeling MTU fans whiners over a quick whistle that called back a potential MTU goal.  But no ... they weren't whining two weeks ago about the OT penalty were they?

Man ...  I pretty much hate every team in this league and it's usually due to some segment of their fanbase.  I used to despise St. Cloud for those reasons but they've actually got fewer whiney douchebags than most programs these days.  I honestly didn't think I'd see a day when CC and DU douchebag fan proportions would exceed St. Cloud's but that day has arrived.  Are cats sleeping with dogs?

Anyway, what's on tap for this coming weekend?  A full WCHA on WCHA schedule.  NoDaks go to Duluth with big standings implications on the line.  Expect a split.  Denver and CC play with each other and then have a couple of hockey games.  Expect a split.  Mankato takes the big 70 mile bus trip to Minneapolis.  Expect a split.  Michigan Tech fans go to Wisconsin to party on State Street.  Expect hangovers and a Bucky sweep.  And of course, St. Cloud comes up here.  Expect a UAA sweep.


Ok.  Now in the really grinds my gears department.  The Chase Sapphire Rewards commercial below.  No I'm not going to go all commie on it and bitch about how these rewards cards are just a manipulation by big finance to separate more of your hard earned cash from you by subconsciously suggesting that your life would be better with one of their cards.  They do a shitty job of it in this commercial anyway.

My first reaction was ... "That bitch!"  This guy sees his wife in a nice dress and imagines all the great things they could do together by utilizing the rewards points only to find out that she spent all the reward points on one fucking dress?  Then he smiles at her like a putz?  What a doormat of a husband.  Far be it for me to advocate domestic violence ... but doesn't that chick deserve to be punched at that moment instead of the whole "aw honey, you spent enough money for a vacation on a single dress ... I love you so much" bullshit smile he gives her.  Non-selfish women (which I'm sure all UAA female fans are) should be offended too at the propagation of the stereotype.


Lastly and once again, I want to emplore Sarah Palin to move out of this state.  Would it help if I said please?  Please dearest Sarah.  Move to the "real" America.  Please.  The last governor moved to Utah when he lost.  Please.  I'll vote for you for whatever if you move.  Really.  I will.  You leave Alaska permanently and I'll vote for you for President of the United States.  I honestly will.  Please leave here.  You are completely and entirely sullying the formerly good name of this state with your continuing presence and ongoing drama in the media.

Need a suggestion as to where?  How about anywhere in Minnesota from which you co-opted your faux midwest accent?  Mankato would love to have you and Todd and it's not that far from the Mall of America.  You know that place right?  Mankato is like the Wasilla of Minnesota.  You'd feel right at home.  At least there aren't as many hillbilly heroin dealers as in Wasilla.  How about Biminiji?  I know Todd's part Native American but they're surrounded by reservations so nobody would notice.  Todd looks white anyway.

St. Cloud would be happy to getcha!  Maybe you and Michelle Bachmann could hang out?  Duluth might be a little close to Wisconsin for you but they love you there too.  Please Sarah, move to Minnesota.  Anywhere there would be wonderful.  Please.  Edina is calling!  White Bear Lake wants you too!  Even Moorhead would take you.

Gawd ... why do I always beg for shit that is never going to happen?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Salvation Saturday: Seawolves Win 3-2 in OT

I hate overtime.  It's a thought that my wife always expressed anytime we were at a game in which regular time ended with a tie.  I felt that strongly tonight.  I listened to the always excellent call of the game by our always professional, polite and gracious Kurt Haider instead of watching the B2 stream.  Honestly, that streaming floating tiger head is disturbing to me.

So as I was begging for our guys to keep the puck deep in the CC end but then heard CC goalie Joe Howe had left the ice in favor of the extra attacker, I got nervous.  From the time that UAA took the lead I was begging the clock to go faster.  Why oh why did Einstein have to be so right?  So when the Black Bears tied it up with 33 seconds to go I was nothing but distraught.  I've been nice to the hockey gods this year.  I haven't cursed them or used any Conan-like expressions to mock them.  Why oh why couldn't the Seawolves have held on for another 33 seconds!  I swear I was dying.

But just over a minute into the tachycardic inducing OT when I heard Kurt describing Tommy Grants rush up the ice, I visualized him banging it in.  Then I heard the word I feared, "saved" come from Kurt and for about a millisecond my heart dropped, but then was I really hearing it right when the next word I heard was "scores"?  Wow.  Overwhelmingly awesome is all I can say.  Our guys really deserved it didn't they?  It seemed like it took about a minute to hear that Daniel Naslund had knocked in the game winner.  Time is soooo relative.

In the pregame show, both Coach Shyiak and Simon talked about how Friday night's 5-0 loss wasn't nearly as lopsided as the score suggested.  Shyiak said he thought the Seawolves won the 1st period.  Those interviews buoyed my spirits for tonights game.  I didn't see Friday nights game.  So to have them come out and express it that way gave me hope.  Hope is something I generally find easily with regard to the team's chances.  I'm almost always optimistic but the day after another tough loss can sometimes be more darkly clouded.  Thanks Dave and Regg for giving me the skinny.  It helped me listen to the game with hope.

And thank you for clarifying Luka Vidmar's status.  For those readers that didn't hear, Dave indicated that they'll be able to properly evaluate Luka's knee injury in a couple of weeks and then we'll know his status for later in the season.  I'd based my post yesterday on a quote from Candace Horgan's recap on USCHO in which she quoted Shyiak as saying, “He (Vidmar) has a grade three MCL tear; he’s done.”  Makes me wonder if there was perhaps an "I think" prefacing that quote. which didn't make it into print.  In any case, I'm happy to admit that my report seems to have jumped the gun.

How about Sean Wiles eh?  There's a guy that can really lift his level of play via emotion.  Another great two goal effort from him put the team into a position to win it.  Kurt heaped lots of praise on the line of Wiles, Naslund and Spencer.  And each one of them had some hand in every goal tonight.  Mickey Spencer picked up the first assist on both of Sean's goals.  Trevor Hunt (who'd been a healthy scratch on Friday night) bagged the 2nd assist on each of Sean's tallies.  Wiles picked up the 2nd assist on Daniel Naslund's OT winner too. 

Those three guys should get all the perks tonight.  The rest of the team needs to "go get them a beer".  Jonny Olthuis was solid the whole night allowing just 2 goals on 26 shots.  Both of those goals came while the team had one less player on the ice than CC.  Stellar job Jonny!  Beer getters for you as well are much deserved.  All four of those guys should get their own row on the plane trip home. 

As I noted I didn't see the game, but I do know wins like this don't come without an excellent effort from every player.  Congrats to everyone for busting your asses and never giving up.  Congrats for the outstanding penalty kills in the 3rd period.  A minute and forty-three seconds of 5 on 3 versus the #1 power play team in the country, with less than 10 minutes to go in the 3rd period and then another 2 minutes killed with less than a minute of 5 on 5 play between them?  Wow guys.  That's some stellar PK work.  Seriously, on their rink ... and you're blocking shots like mad; Jonny O is coming up big and when it's over you're still ahead 2-1?  Fucking awesome is the only way to describe it.  Great effort.

I want to give big props to Dave Shyiak who somehow heard my plea that he call a timeout in the 2nd period with the team about to start a 5 on 3 power play.  The guys didn't get the go ahead goal as a result but it sounded like they had a couple of close chances.  And I got lots of chatroom credit for my psychic powers!

3 of UAA's 4 WCHA wins have all come against teams that were ranked nationally in the top five when the games were played.  That's nothing to sneeze at.  The Jekyll and Hyde act can now officially be put to rest.  There's no need for it anymore.  The Seawolves from here on out should have the confidence that they can beat anyone on any given night.  Because they can.  There are haters and naysayers who from here on out can't express their views without clear examples with which to refute them.  Nice.

With somewhere around 2 minutes left in the 2nd period of tonights game KRXP 103.9 FM's Ken Landau the "pride" of Colorado College's radio team was overheard on the B2 network (apparently during a radio break but while still "mic'd" for the B2 feed) saying "UAA just stinks".  About 45 seconds later the Seawolves tied the game at 1 each.  Landau's unprofessional and frankly ignorant comment about UAA was just one of several disparaging remarks overheard by B2 listeners which included a "Rangers suck" reference and a commentary regarding Notre Dame's head coach saying "Charlie Weis is a fat ass".  It was my understanding that the CC press booth had some of the tightest rules for journalist conduct in the WCHA.  Apparently though, being a drunken monkey spewing unedited horseshit across the internet is perfectly ok.

Ken Landau ... you're a wanker.  You're a twat.  You fail at professionalism.  Allow me to edify you; you get paid to do what you do sparky.  There are sponsors that pay your radio station which in turn pays your salary.  Additionally, opposition fans pony up 7 bucks a pop to be subjected to floating tiger heads, insipid looking fans performing semi-obscene freak dance moves and your insulting comments.

Why can I sit here and call you a wanker and a twat ... yet claim superiority?  Because NOBODY pays me to express my opinion.  In fact, people come here specifically to hear my opinion.  You on the other hand, are getting paid to practice some small measure of pretend journalism.  I sense sometimes that journalists are jealous of bloggers; in a way it probably isn't fair that they're held to a standard that folks like me can totally and righteously ignore.  Ken Landau makes me suspect my senses are well-founded.  If you want to say crap like that, then get a blog sparky.  God knows the 1st place Black Bears probably deserve to have someone writing about them on the internet.

I know several UAA fans have already emailed UAA alum and current CC Athletic Director Ken Ralph ( expressing their displeasure with having to pay money to be exposed to your lack of professionalism.  I will be doing so as well.  In addition, your bosses at KRXP should expect to hear from me as well.  Yes, I know you "tried" to apologize a moment later but such half-assed apologies don't undo the unprofessional disrespect you perpetrated.  Don't get me wrong.  This isn't world ending stuff Ken.  But hopefully, it will at least result in your World Arena drinking priviledges being suspended.  And oh yeah ... nothing could be sweeter than for my beloved "just stink"ing Seawolves to shut you up.

Here's the boxscore Ken.  Suck it.  Kurt Haider owns you.  You don't compare to a pimple on his ass.  You worship his toe-jam and would blessed to be clothed by garments made from his belly-button lint.  His Yorkshire Terrier could eat your Pit Bull.  If his wife slapped your wife, your in-laws would have visible bruising.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Luka Vidmar Out For Season

UAA Seawolves junior defenseman Luka Vidmar appears to be out for the season with what coach Dave Shyiak described as a "grade 3" ACL tear.  Colorado College senior forward Brian McMillin was whistled for a kneeing penalty on Vidmar at 13:52 of the 1st period during Friday nights 1st game of the WCHA series at World Arena in Colorado Springs.

Luka appeared in 10 games this season and posted 1 goal with 4 assists.  It was a promising beginning to the season.  In his two previous seasons, Vidmar had registered 2 goals and 9 assists over 60 games.  Luka had become a regular on the Seawolves power play this season displaying smart heads up play as well as showing an ability to get the puck through traffic to the net.

His absence from the blueline leaves the Seawolves with 6 healthy regular defenseman (2 seniors, 1junior, 1 sophomore and 2 freshman) while they await the mid-season activation of transfer Brad Gorham who is listed as an forward/defenseman. 

I had commented last weekend to some other fans that I thought Luka was coming into his own this season and I'd been impressed with his play.  At this time it appears there is no public video of the infraction.  And there has been no word as to whether coach Shyiak has asked for any sort of review of the infraction which lead to this season ending injury for Vidmar.

I would only add best wishes to Luka for the speediest possible recovery with the best possible outcome for him personally.

Suicide Fridays: Seawolves New Motto?

Once again the UAA Seawolves basically got run out of the rink on a Friday night.  This time the CC Black Bears were the beneficiaries of what sounded like an uninspired UAA effort.  It's tough for me to know having listened on the radio.  But Kurt Haider was never really effusive about any of the play from our boys.  Friday WCHA results so far this year for our beloved Seawolves?

Friday October 23rd versus UND --- UND 5 - UAA 0
Friday October 30th verus Minnesota --- UofM 5 - UAA 1
Friday November 6th versus DU -- DU 3 - UAA2
Friday November 13th versus Wisconsin -- UW 5 - UAA 1
Friday November 20th versus Mankato -- Kato 8 - UAA 2
Friday November 27th versus CC -- CC 5 - UAA 0 

Six goals in 6 Friday night games?  On three of the subsequent Saturday nights UAA rebounded for a win.  Naturally, it remains to be seen if they can muster such a response again.  But then again, all three of those subsequent wins came at home. 

Luke Vidmar and Bryce Christianson were both injured in the game.  I didn't see either situation but Luka's injury was clearly associated with a kneeing penalty against CC's Brian McMillin.  McMillin is a CC senior with 109 games under his belt and only 26 career penalty minutes.  I'm assuming it wasn't intentional or dirty based on that.  But if Kane Lafranchise's DQ for kneeing is any sort of precedent then McMillin may find himself with some additional sanction.

I'm more concerned with whatever happened that caused Bryce to have to leave the ice.  Again, I didn't see it so anyone wanting to weigh in is certainly welcome to comment but it seems David Civitarese's cross checking penalty was a factor.  I suppose I'll trust that the league reviews each of those and decides fairly if any additional action is necessary.  CC was up 5-0 at the time of the incident with Bryce so I'm always concerned greatly with any sort of contact to the goalie in that sort of situation.

Here's the boxscore.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Preview Of A Turkey

I suppose if you're a Colorado College fan you're likely to think this is a turkey of a preview versus the title I've chosen.  Everybody figured that CC wouldn't be anywhere near 1st place in the league this season.  I think the highest I saw anyone of note pick them was around 6th.  So, did everyone including me underrate them?  Maybe ... maybe not.

They haven't exactly played a tough schedule.  They opened their regular season getting a split with Northeastern at the World Arena.  Northeastern is currently 5-5-1 with losses to foundering BU (4 wins), Maine (5 wins).  Next they won and tied at Wisconsin ... not bad results but those games could be looked at as two of Bucky's poorer efforts.  Next they hosted MTU and put up 12 goals in their sweep; CC scored 8 power play goals and 2 shorties in a series that saw 35 penalties called for 81 total minutes (only one major).

In their 3rd of 4 series at home they next hosted UMD.  The Duluthians took the first game and tanked on the 2nd night in a penalty-fest that UMD won 51 minutes to 26 but lost on the more important goals for/against stat.  The next weekend the Black Bears traveled to Mankato.  They won the first night with a power play goal on a semi-controversial penalty call in OT.  The second night CC cashed in on 2 of their 7 power plays for a 3-2 win.  Last weekend they faced an opponent in common with UAA beating Bob Morris 4-3 and 4-1.

My analysis of all that tells me a couple of things.  First, the Seawolves shit the bed versus Robert Morris.  So the fact that CC beat them twice is no surprise.  Second, their freaking power play is dangerous; they're 22 of 70 for a whopping 31.4 percent ... that's almost obscene.  In games where the play has been disrupted with lots of penalties the Black Bears have done very well.  But nothing they've done so far is anything I'd call impressive.

So I say they're definitely not as good as their 9-2-1 record would suggest.  They've had the benefit of an early season with 10 of their first 14 games at home (that includes this coming weekend versus UAA).  They haven't played Denver, North Dakota or Minnesota as yet.  I'm not impressed.

They're not a big or small team.  They've got 11 upperclassmen (8 seniors and 3 juniors).  Four freshman forwards seem to have been shuffled a bit in and out of the lineup.  The best player on the team is still senior Bill Sweatt but freshman Rylan Schwartz is currently 2nd overall in scoring.  The once highly hyped Tyler Johnson seems to be coming into his own this season and is their 3rd leading scorer.  Goal-wise speaking, senior Mike Testwuide is already more than halfway to his highest single season output with 6.  Freshman William Rapuzzi may also prove to be a bit of an offensive threat as he's bagged 4 in the 10 games he's played.  But I'm still not impressed.

The lack of impression they make on me doesn't automatically translate to a couple of Seawolves victories.  The Seawolves haven't exactly impressed me yet either eh?  So all the usual adjectives apply once again.  The team will have to be disciplined.  Staying out of the box versus these guys is paramount.  CC has shown a good ability to cash in with the man advantage.  I have to imagine that a focus on not taking penalties has been a watchword in practice and meetings this week.

No point in taking chances on marginal hits.  Keep the sticks off the opponent at all times.  The more 5 on 5 hockey that the Seawolves can play this weekend the better.  This year's CC team are the latest version of skating halos with the lowest penalty minutes per game at 13.8 per.  Referees know which teams take fewer penalties and so you can assume some tendency on their part to give the Black Bears the benefit of the doubt this weekend.

They're averaging nearly 35 shots a game but are giving up almost 31 per.  The Seawolves are giving up 28 per game but so far have only managed 21.  Which means that this weekend UAA players really need to find a way to get more rubber onto the net than they've done in any game this season.  And they have to combine that with a defensive effort that limits the Black Bear's chances.  That means blocking passing and shooting lanes and then giving up the body to block shots. 

Of course ... this is the most important series of the year to date.  Points are desperately needed.  Yes ... I said desperately.  I didn't want to characterize it that way but it fits.  Our guys haven't won a conference game on the road yet.  The team we just split with is just one point behind us in the standings.  The team in last place just two points behind us has 2 games in hand.  The team one point ahead of us in the standings doesn't play conference games this weekend so they'll have 2 games in hand.  And the team 3 points ahead of us in the standings is at DU this weekend.

Points ... points ... points ... must be had this weekend.  There are no mathematical eliminations of course this early in the season but hoping and/or planning for home ice really starts with some positive movement points-wise this weekend.  Otherwise, I'd classify the Seawolves as being in a hole.  And climbing out of WCHA holes is never easy.  Hopefully, the players understand that; they just have this series and next weekend before they get a nice long break.  They need to play these next two series as if they were the last two series of the season.  Nothing less than 100% effort must occur; yes ... must.

Latest Seawolves Goal Highlights

For the third series in a row, the fine folks at GCI have posted the archive for only the Saturday night game from the weekend.  I'm not sure if they did so because those were the three games that the Seawolves won or if they just made the same upload mistake in each case.  I'll keep checking back and if they ever put the Friday night games up, I'll grab the goal highlights and put them on YouTube.

This weeks file is just under 10 minutes long ... the YouTube limit.  Besides the goal highlights I've included Tyler Currier's first collegiate shift.  He did pretty well, not long after taking the ice he nails some Mankato boob pretty well (happens just at the right edge of the frame) and you can hear his family/friends hooting and hollering.  Then he proceeds to hit and/or bump at least 4 other Mankato boobs.  He looked quick and energetic.  I deem it a worthy inclusion.  Good on ya Tyler.

I also included Dave Shyiak's post game interview with Kurt Haider.  He gives a nice mention of Tyler's efforts about 2/3 of the way through.  I snagged the team's smiling faces coming off the ice after the game as well.

I'll have a Colorado College preview sometime this evening (Wednesday).  It's obviously an important series since the Seawolves are really in need of some additional points.  It's obviously going to be a difficult task as the Black Bears are way the hell up the standings tied for 1st with 13 points.  A sweep this weekend would give UAA 10 points and would naturally be the preferred outcome.  I don't know what if any sort of impact the Thanksgiving factor will be.  Do the guys just go ahead and pig out on Thursday?  Or would it be better to bag the turkey etc ... in favor of a standard meal and save any Thanksgiving festivities for Sunday back here?  If I were the coach I'd just go with the turkey et al.  Mistake?

More later ... hope you enjoyed the highlights.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Potpourri: Reactionism, Recruiting

No use beating around the edges of an issue that's made itself so apparent over the last few days.  More than a few people have made it known they've reached their limit with regard to Coach Dave Shyiak's tenure.  So today I'm going to have my say.

Let me make one thing very clear, very early.  I support Coach Shyiak and believe that calls for his head aren't rationally based.  They come instead from emotional frustration, inaccurate perceptions about performance and personal biases.  As a fan of this program since 1984, I've been through 3 distinctly different coaching changes.  Brush was pressured out by a prevailing attitude that even though he'd built the program, in order to succeed in the WCHA the program would have to have a coach with a proven track record of success.  Dean Talafous came here after a storied career of success at the DIII level and was essentially ousted by the players.  John Hill wasn't ousted by anyone.  He'd just gotten a new fat contract when he left of his own accord.  Dave Shyiak was hired based on his application when Talafous was shown the door.  His status as an Associate Head Coach at NMU and history as a National Championship player got him the nod.

The state of being a fan, which I call fandom; is naturally one of emotion.  While there are a few of us who eruditely analyze a sport without an emotional attachment the vast majority of us are fans because of our hearts.  We vicariously identify with the players.  We love them and want them to win because it gives us a boost.  At it's barest core, it is somewhat of an parasitical relationship.  We fans feed off of the teams we cheer for.  Therefore, when we aren't getting enough high quality sustenance we tend to want blood.  We set aside rationality in favor of the pursuit of satiation at any cost. 

So with an ongoing success rate here at UAA that doesn't measure up to some other programs; that desire for satiation is greatly enhanced.  We haven't seen the sort of success we want to see in a long long time.  Sure, we're still proud of our guys and enjoy the wins they've given us.  But the frustration of not getting that quality sustenance regularly is straight up palpable.  It leaves a bad taste in our mouths that overwhelms our reasoning faculties.  It's an understandable (yet irrational) emtional response.  Humans should make a habit of self-questioning our reactionary tendencies.  In the case of calling for Dave Shyiak's head this is very true.  We feel that way because we haven't checked our perceptions to see if they measure up to reality.

My favorite philosopher (yes ... I have a casual interest in more than one) is David Hume.  His Treatise on Human Nature clearly teaches us why we see the world in the terms we see it.  In the simplest terms, our experiences shape our perceptions.  What we go through every day throughout our lives teaches us about the reality of our world.  With that ... allow me to ask you a couple of questions.  Don't you tend to recall traumatic experiences much more vividly than mundane ones?  Likewise, don't you tend to embrace the memory of great success more than you do for the average?  I think the answer for all of us ... to both questions ... is resoundingly yes. 

So with that being the case, the memories of our recent on ice futility's is strongest in our psyche.  The team got straight up pounded a few times already this season.  I know those beatdowns are pretty easy to recall.  So let me succinctly correct your perceptions here.  Dave Shyiak's WCHA success/failure ratio is essentially the same or better than any of his predecessors.  John Hill's four year average was 9-23-5; Shyiak's average over his first 4 years is 10-22-5.  Talafous averaged 10 wins a year over his 5 years.  Brush Christiansen averaged better than 11 wins over his 3 WCHA seasons.  That's the facts.  Do the math yourself.

My point here being that Dave has reached the status quo.  I'm not here to argue that such a rate is acceptable.  Dave Shyiak himself wouldn't try to make that argument.  Instead, this display of reality should serve to reset your perceptions that somehow things are worse than you remember.  They aren't.  Your perceptions have played a little trick on you.  It's ok ... it's human nature.

My last assetion regarding bias is somewhat lesser of an issue in terms of it's footprint.  But there are some biases against Dave that exist in this community.  It stems from the fact that the local hockey community here is like any other.  There are lots of people in it that know what they're talking about ... right?  Well, allow me just to say that they have strong opinions.  Of course, opinions are like assholes, we all have one.  There was much love for John Hill in local hockey community.  He was from here.  He played hockey in it before going to UAA and performing well there.  Both he and Donnie Lucia were assistants under Brush at one time.  The local hockey community here also contains some regional influences.  There's lots of expat Minnesotans here ya know?  Dave is a Canadian who spent most of his playing and coaching days in Northern Michigan.  These biases may exist only as an undercurrent but don't think for a second that such things aren't a factor in these calls for Dave's head.  I'm just sayin ...

There are other minor influences outside the three I've described here that contribute to this spate of unfortunate criticism.  But I believe those three were the primary influences.  I think I've shown here that they aren't reasonable. 

None of what I said means that any of us should be satisfied with the level of success we're seeing from the team we so love.  We shouldn't be.  Our expectations are high based on everything we know.  Last season's league point total, the way the team played late in the season and the potential we saw in some incoming/returning players had us all excited for the season.  I promoted some of that excitement here.  None of that escitement has to be diminished either.  Sure there are reasons to be furtive about the rest of the season.  But there are reasons to be hopeful as well.  The team isn't in a horrendous position in the standings.  There are winnable games on the schedule and we've seen enough indication from our guys that when they play up to their potential that they can win against anyone.

Last year I made the case somewhere on this blog that the proper time to evaluate Dave Shyiak is after his 6th year at the helm.  I still believe that is the proper timeframe.  A college coach has to be given the time to get the players he recruited into and through his system.  Anything less is essentially unfair to him.  Shyiak is just now reaching that plateau.  The current senior class was recruited by Shyiak with his first set of assistant coaches.  It is reasonable to begin an evaluation of Dave at the end of this season.  But decisions about his future shouldn't be made until after his 6th full year.  This year and next year will tell us what we can expect in the future much better than any of the past four years.  Fairness demands he be given that opportunity.

Postscript Metaphor Ramble:
Questions about a coach's effectiveness are as old as sports.  The coach is at the helm of the ship and as with anything in life the passengers want to know if they're going in the right direction.  I think I'll stick with the ship metaphor here for a few moments because it is apt.  At sea, there is one group of people that are known to be successful getting rid of the captain.  The crew.  Not the passengers.  College Hockey has some good examples. 

A player mutiny in Fairbanks a couple of years ago had a fair bit to do with Doc Delcastillo's departure.  Dean Talafous' last year in Anchorage saw the players organize and approach the Athletic Director.  A few years ago there was a strong mutiny by players at Canisius which ultimately ousted their coach.  Typically though, the paying passengers don't usually have much of a direct say in where and how the ship gets to it's destination; it's more of cumulative thing, it takes years of complaints to the ship owners to see an effect. 

Sports is a boat that you get on without even knowing the destination.  The idea is to get across the ocean but not everybody can get there first; if they get there at all.  We buy tickets and get on the boat for the fun of the ride.  Getting to the best destination before others is just a bonus.  So don't be so wrapped up in the destination eh?  Enjoy the ride for what it is.  You get the pleasure of watching the highest level of amateur hockey in the world when you attend a WCHA game.  I'm not tell you to not rock the boat.  Just try to keep it down to a level where I don't get splashed.


I saw a question on USCHO that I'd like to answer.  The question essentially was; why would a recruit being courted by Northern Michigan, Bemidji St and UAA choose UAA?  Lots of reasons.  Not living in those other two places are the top of my list. 

Just about every Divsion 1 recruit has aspirations to play professional hockey.  A four year (or less) Division 1 career can contribute to that no matter which school you'd choose.  The ability to get noticed comes from that players numbers and contributions on the ice.  It has NOTHING to do with where the school he plays for is located. 

That said, then why not locate yourself in one of the most beautiful places on the face of the planet.  Plenty of people dream of visiting Alaska for a few weeks at some point in their life.  The chance to spend 4 years here and experience The Greatland up close and personal is a great opportunity.  Every outdoor experience here surpasses exponentially those experiences in Northwestern Minnesota or Marquette, Michigan.  Sure ... those places have some nice things.  But let us not fool ourselves for even a second by pretending they compare to Alaska.  They don't. 

Spending 4 years here in your early 20's might just be the best experience of your life.  No doubt when you're spending your 30's and 40's in Missouri or your 50's in Indiana or your 60's in Nevada that you'll fondly remember the four years when you got to experience one of the truly great wildernesses left in the world.  Not choosing to come to UAA versus Northern Michigan or Beminiji just displays a lack of adventure in your character.  Ultimately you may not regret not coming here.  Nevertheless, realize it or not, your character will be the lessor for not doing so.

There is a spirit imbued in the character of people who spend time in this state that you don't get from being anywhere in the lower 48.  It's just that simple.  This place is great.  Other places aren't as great.  What you catch in Lake Beminiji, we use for bait.  When you look out your window in Marquette, you see a hill.  When you look out your window in Anchorage you see mountains.  A major wildlife encounter in Beminiji is when a skunk takes up residence in the neighbors backyard.  Last year in Anchorage, 5 people were attacked by Grizzly Bears within a couple of mile radius of UAA.  A moose in your driveway is a regular occurrence.  One stomped an old guy to death years ago outside the UAA sports center entrance.  If that sort of thing tends to chase you away ... fine.  We don't want pussies here.

Plus the school here is entirely and completely unpretentious.  It's an underfunded state school that provides you with a degree if you just make nominal efforts.  The campus facilities aren't like UND or Minnesota or Wisconsin ... but they're every bit the equal of Beminiji or NMU.  Within a couple of years the entire existing practice facility for all UAA sports will be focused on hockey.  The other practice facilities are moving across the street and the existing one will become more hockey focused.  A fancy on-campus rink will happen one day.  That doesn't appear to be close but the enhanced campus practice facilities are close and will exceed the room and equipment that most D1 schools have.

If you're xenophobic and want to ensure you only see white people.  Go to Beminiji.  If you want to get to know a diverse set of people with a worldwide racial basis then come here.  UAA and the community of Anchorage is one of the most diverse regions in America.  Experiences with a wide range of peoples is a character enhancing thing.

Anchorage, Alaska is a place that beckons hearty stout souls with a desire for adventure who wish to challenge themselves and increase the breadth of their human existence.  If you're not such a person.  Go to some bland fucking shithole like Marquette or Beminiji.  You'd stink up the Sullivan Arena ice anyway, which by the way ... would have been the highest quality sheet you ever stepped on.

And lastly, if Coach Shyiak recruited you here ... you'll get more than ample opportunities to prove yourself during your freshman year.  It's a clearly established philosophy of his. 

And oh yeah ... here's a Russian chick that lives here:

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Seawolves 4 - Mavericks 1

The Seawolves used a disciplined workman-like effort to earn a victory and some small measure of redemption after the brutally ugly loss on Friday night.  The two WCHA points were crucial in the standings and keeps Mankato and Michigan Tech looking up.  UAA now sits one point behind the Gophers for 7th place and 3 behind 6th place St. Cloud.

Jade Portwood got UAA on the board early at 1:44 of the 1st period with a bit of a sneaky surprise wrister to the far corner from near the boards at the top of the circle.  It was a solid shot that looked to completely surprise Mankato netminder Kevin Murdock.  It was just what the doctor ordered.

The Seawolves had 3 power plays in the 1st period that they were unable to convert including some 2 man advantage time.  It was somewhat of an evenly played 1st period but the extra penalties in the Seawolves favor gave them the momentum overall.

Just 1:25 into the 2nd period, Tommy Grant broke Kevin Clark with a nice little tip/steal/pass and they broke in clean for a 2 on 1.  Kevin delayed nicely waiting for the pass to open up and as soon as the defenseman committed he laid it onto Tommy's stick for the finish.  I couldn't read Tommy's lips from that far away but I'm betting he said, "Thank you" to Clarkie.

With the Mavericks shorthanded at 4:34 the Seawolves picked up their lone power play goal of the night when Luka Vidmar found Clarkie on the backdoor and Kevin sweetly guided it home to make it 3-0.  With the penalty calls at that point 5 to 1 in UAA's favor you could smell a make-up call coming and at 5:27 Lee Baldwin got tagged with a ridiculous interference call.  The Mavericks power play cashed in at 6:13 when some dufus in a purple uniform passed the puck to some other dufus and eventually some other dufus in purple knocked it in.  But even that goal didn't detract from a strong overall performance by the Seawolves over the period.

With the score 3-1 heading into the third you could guarantee that some even-it-up action was in the works.  In the 3rd period UAA was whistled for 6 penalties.  Fortunately though, the Mavericks got tagged with 5 of their own.  In any case, most of the 3rd period was fairly evenly played.  The Seawolves had to kill off some 5 on 3 time and Mankato definitely threatened a couple of times.  As the period waned Mankato picked up their efforts and had much territorial advantage over the last 6 minutes or so.

Jutting pulled Murdock later than I would have considering how much pressure his team was generating.  It mattered not though because Nick Haddad (who was the best penalty killer all night) launched a perfect shot off the glass which looked destined to go in the empty net but Tommy Grant won a race with some puke in a purple jersey to finish the scoring.

Bryce was reasonably solid in the net.  The Mankato goal that got past him because Jared Tuton was dropping to block the shot and he was screened.  The shot went between Jared's legs and Bryce just didn't have enough time to react once he saw it.

Shots on the night were 25 - 22 in UAA's favor.  Here's the boxscore.  It was a win that wouldn't have happened without everyone playing well.  Everyone on the team should get a pat on the back.  I thought Nils Backstrom had a very strong game defensively.  One of his better showings so far this season though I wouldn't characterize any of his play in earlier games as substandard.  Kevin Clark showed the sort of active play in all three zones that the team needs from him for success.  Craig Parkinson had a solid outing and won some key faceoffs.  His penalty killing was solid as well.  I briefly mentioned Nick Haddad's penalty killing efforts and they shouldn't be overlooked.  His hustle and hard work set a good example for the rest of the team.  Congrats to everyone for their good efforts.

Friday night after the game Coach Shyiak said that in order to win that "it starts at the back" and tonight that's exactly what happened.  Bryce's solid play combined with excellent defensive work from all the blueliners and strong backchecking from all the forwards made the difference.

Obviously the weekend wasn't all we hoped it would be.  Friday night's score was embarrassing and all that ... but the win tonight means two points.  It keeps UAA ahead of Mankato in the standings at least.  For me one win though isn't necessarily a silver lining.  This team has self-destructed enough for a full season in these first 14 games.  Beat Mercyhurst, implode vs. Michigan; Beat RPI then choke against Bob Mo;  don't show up against UND the first night then beat them on Saturday; implode against the Gophers then play better but lose by about the same score on the Sunday game; then owned by Bucky twice; now suicide on Friday before a solid game tonight?

Consistency has been the recognized and talked about problem for the last couple of years.  Whatever it is that needs to be found to improve the consistency needs to be found sooner rather than later.  I wish I knew what it was.  I know there are lots of people expressing themselves here in comments and on USCHO that think they know.  Well ... at least I have something solid to write about tomorrow in my usual Sunday Potpourri.  There's a lot I have to say so expect it to be a long one.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Blogger on the DL: Game Night Chat

I'll not be attending tonights game.  I'm not feeling well and know I won't be ready to go by gametime.  Scratch me from the lineup coach.  I'd guess my malady won't be an issue for tomorrow nights game.  So I'll take advantage of being stuck here sick and host the "fancy" chat room during the game.  I'll open up the room around 6:45PM.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Smashmouth vs. Lady Bing: What's It Gonna Be?

I like "smashmouth" hockey.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not about goonery.  It's just that I appreciate a good clean hit just as much as I appreciate a pretty goal.  The ultimate combination is someone that accomplishes both.  And I'm really not about fighting; especially the staged bullshit between two guys that are only on the team because they can fight.  I would never go to a hockey game "hoping" to see a fight.  If I want to see a fight I'll go watch two boxers.  That isn't to say that I'm not going to cheer if someone from a team I support happens to get into a fight and kicks the other guys ass.  I'm all good with that.  But not having such a thing won't detract one iota from my enjoyment of the game.

So I thought today I'd present part of my case against what I see as a possible trend to eliminating part of the game that I love.  I'm not trying to be "Chicken Little" and pretend the sky is falling.  But there is an ever-growing public cry for new rules to reduce the chances of injury.  I certainly wouldn't argue for rationally arrived at measures that help that cause.  But I will argue against some implementations that seem reactionary and could possibly be unreasonable.

So as an exercise to make that point I thought I'd present a what if scenario and a poll.  What if a team of "Smashmouth" players took on a team of "Lady Bing" winners?  Who would win?  Who would you cheer for?  Below are the two teams I've compiled.  You be the judge.  For the "Lady Bing" team I have limited myself to actual trophy winners.  There were great hockey players that didn't win that trophy but that I also wouldn't put on my "smashmouth" team i.e... Mario Lemieux.  I've also limited both teams to guys that played after 1975.  Why?  Just an arbitrary number ... it seems like about the time to me when the "modern era" of hockey began.

Team Lady Bing
Wayne Gretzy, Paul Kariya, Joe Sakic
Ron Francis, Joe Mullen, Jari Kurri
Mike Bossy, Marcel Dionne, Adam Oates
Alexander Mogilny, Pavel Datsyuk, Mats Naslund

Team Smashmouth
Dale Hunter, Mark Messier, Wilf Paiement
Jeremy Roenick, Bobby Clarke, Dino Cicarelli
Kevin Stevens, Claude Lemieux, Owen Nolan
Darcy Tucker, Keith Tkachuk, Pat Verbeek

No defenseman on either team because no D guy ever won the Lady Bing.  Apparently blueliners can't ever be gentlemanly.  So for conversation purposes assume equally talented defenseman and goaltenders.  I'm fairly certain that every "Team Smashmouth" player I listed put up multiple years of 100+ penalty minutes and most if not all had at least one 40 goal season.  The penalty minute association isn't perfect but I remember all these guys playing and they all fit my "Smashmouth" definition.  Some guys get more minutes because they're just undisciplined.  And there are a lot of other hard-nosed players that I didn't include and could easily and logically replace the ones I've somewhat hastily chosen.

I still have to rank Wilf Paiement as my all-time favorite NHL player.  Wilf had 356 goals, 458 assists in 946 games (.86 points per game).  He also had 1757 penalty minutes.  Let's look at The Great One's numbers for comparison.  Gretz had 1487 goals, 894 assists in 1963 games with 577 penalty minutes (1.9 points per game).  Wilf was always in the corners, Gretz rarely went there.  I think they're in a lot of way opposite sorts of players.

So which team do you think would win?  Which one would you cheer for?  The Lady Bingers would sure be fast.  But there isn't anyone on Team Smashmouth that couldn't put any opposition player on their ass.  And was there ever a tougher 5ft 10in sonofabitch than Bobby Clarke?

I know which team's jersey I'd be wearing in the stands (if I ever wore a jersey to a game).  I don't know why I hate "the Sutters"; 'cause I think they're all about the "Smashmouth".  And yeah, I think a couple of guys on my list were on the punkish side.  Nonetheless, there ya have it.  Time for you to have your say:

Disclaimer of Sorts:
I don't want to see anyone hurt or injured.  But I recognize that contact sports and injuries are necessarily and permanently entwined.  You can't have the first without the second.  It's unfortunate, sad and depressing when a guy's career ends because of an injury.  But then again, sports isn't life.

A career ending injury can equally be viewed as the beginning of real life.  Isn't that why we like athletes?  Isn't it a vicarious enjoyment through them because they aren't having to go through life in the same way we are?  Isn't it that we appreciate a guy that is willing to perhaps go through the majority of his life with a limp from a blown knee for the chance to have played a sport for a living?  Nobody wants to see anyone with a life threatening injury.

Those things do occur (thankfully infrequently) in all sports.  We should attempt as best we can to make sure those occurrences are as close to zero as possible.  But let's not make rules that deter "smashmouth" hockey eh?

I Don't Like Minnesota State

The Minnesota State University - Mankato Mavericks are the epitome of the Freudian phrase "Penis Envy".  Generally, we tend to think that moniker belongs to North Dakota for lots of reasons.  Grand Forks has little to offer humans except for the hockey team.  So those folks have their personal identities wrapped up in their hockey team in ways unlike virtually any other community in the country.  But I believe Mankato fits the "penis envy" definition better.  Why?  Because UND has been historically successful and Mankato has been comparatively impotent. 

They're about 80 miles from the University of Minnesota.  They split up Gopher rejected recruits with St. Cloud.  That equates to a sort of big brother envy/syndrome.  The town's biggest claim to fame is the largest single mass execution in U.S. history (they hanged 38 aboriginals but were desperate to hang 303 before Abraham Lincoln disallowed that sort of ethnic cleansing).  It actually took them until 1997 to apologize for it when they built a park and made some statues in the name of reconcilliation.  What a joke.

A pretty substantial and persistent rumor has it that the coaches wife had some sort of affair with a player on the team.  And that coach has clear anger management issues.  I can't imagine what he'd do if someone like UND's Brett Hextall (known for talking shit to opposition coaches during the game) were to skate by him asking for Mrs. Jutting's cell phone number.  An enraged repressed cuckold is potentially dangerous doncha know.

Mankato is every bit the match for Grand Forks in terms of level of futility for human entertainment and/or distraction.  There is literally nothing to do in the place.  Unless you consider picking up a venereal disease at one of the local bars something to do which is the commonly accepted state of things according to the knowledgeable travelling hockey fan contingent at USCHO.

There is a large and active theater community in Mankato.  Several groups of thespians ply their acting modalities at the Kato Entertainment Center.  There's an underground winery.  Yes.  They grow grapes underground and turn them into wine.  It is the ONLY underground winery in Minnesota.  Duh ... who else in Minnesota would be dumb enough to do something so futile.  They have a brewery that turns out Grain Belt.  Grain Belt?  OMG ... ever drink Oly?  Pretty much the same low rent shit beer.  Worse than Old Milwaukee and Pabst Blue Ribbon.  So yeah ... all that adds up to me saying they wish they had a penis ... but they're stuck being the taint.

So yeah ... none of that has anything to do with hockey.  It's just that it's more interesting (to me) than anything I can find about their hockey team.  The one ongoing description you'll hear coaches around the WCHA use when talking about the Mavericks is that they're hard working.  Obviously, I haven't seen this years version. 

Of their returning players, I'd rate only Kurt Davis as having top end skills.  They're apparently excited about freshman Tyler Pitlick which makes sense since the verb form of his last name is the #2 hobby in Mankato.  After those two, sophomore Mike Louwerse is the only other known quantity as far as being dangerous.  He really came out of the box fast in his freshman year and ended the season with 13g-13a.  Their defense is experienced with 3 juniors and 1 senior.  As a team they're only marginally smaller overall than the Seawolves.

They've had a frustrating beginning to their season.  Four of their six losses have been by 1 goal.  Both of their losses last weekend to Colorado College had that margin (1-0, 3-2).  Their only WCHA win of the young season came against Wisconsin.  The Badgers dinged them 6-0 on a Friday night before self-destructing (two CFB majors) in the 3rd period the next night giving Mankato a 3-2 win.

Seawolves fans should expect a very hungry and determined opponent this weekend.  Outsiders often remark that a road trip to Anchorage is difficult.  But if you're Mankato this week you're focused on nothing but an opportunity to move up in the standings.  There's obviously not much difference between UAA's two wins and their single win.  Troy Jutting won't be preaching split to his team.  He'll be demanding that they leave town with maximum points.  If he is any kind of motivator then he should be able to overcome whatever difficulties a five and a half hour plane ride on a Thursday  morning might present for his team on a Friday and Saturday night.

If UAA players and staff are in any way telling themselves, "Well at least they're not DU, UND, Minnesota or Wisconsin" then they're making a huge mistake.  The Seawolves recent home-ice history against this supposed "rival" isn't stellar.  And while past season's performance is a very poor indicator of what is likely to happen this weekend, it can't be ignored in this case.  Hosting Mankato isn't some sort of off-week because they aren't one of the big 4.  They'll be in the Seawolves faces all weekend.

Once again though, the Seawolves will have to match their performances from the UND and DU victories up here to come away with wins this weekend.  Anything less and they'll be looking up at Mankato in the standings instead of gaining some separation.  So yeah ... once again we're looking at to date, the most important series of the season.  All the usual necessary high level aspects and execution will be necessary this weekend.  Solid defense, shot blocking, efficient transition, speed, physical play and goaltending will be the keys.  And oh yeah ... the Seawolves will have to bury their chances.  We've seen all too many shots go just wide this season.  Put it on the net and find the rebound chances.  Gritty and greasy is the key this weekend.

The one redeeming characteristic of Mankato?  It's isn't Biminiji St.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Green&Gold Fridays, Jersey Saturdays: Free Tickets

Don't forget that this weekend (and every home weekend) that UAA is running two ticket promotions that make simple and easy to get your kids into the games for free.  On Friday nights, you just have to wear Green & Gold and you can receive up to two free general admission tickets for kids 12 and under.  On Saturday nights, you wear a hockey jersey and again you can receive up to two free general admission tickets for kids 12 and under.

It's simple.  You go to the northwest ticket office and head to the student desk up to one hour before gametime.  Show them your "Green & Gold" on Friday night or your "Jersey" on Saturday night, buy one adult ticket and they'll give you tickets for the two kids you brought with you.

I've pinned the flyers for each of these promotions in the right hand column.  Tell your friends.  Take the neighbors kids if you don't have any of your own.  Babysitting on Friday or Saturday night?  What better way to let the little ones burn off some energy.  I promise you that when you get them home after the game that they'll crash out big time. 

I can't think of any entertainment option in town that would be anywhere near as inexpensive as this.  Take advantage of it.  UAA Athletics and all it's great volunteers make the hockey games a very family friendly and fun event.  Don't miss out!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Potpourri: Bourno's Road Rinks, Other Stuff

WCHA fans might be interested to read former UAA player Justin Bourne's take on his "favourite" road rinks from his 4 year career as a Seawolves player.  Bourno goes with "The John" @ #1, the Kohl Center in Madison @ #2 and the NHL Jr. Rink in Grand Forks to round out his top 3.  Of note, he says the surface at the Sullivan Arena is...
"the best ice surface I’ve ever stepped foot on.  It’s like playing in fast forward it’s so hard and fast."
I figured Justin would love to hear from the UND faithful on this post.  They generally chime in like a herd of furtive baboons on methamphetamine anytime a "list" pops up on the Internet that has anything to do with their program.

For the Mariucci he makes tradition and Yankees references; the Kohl gets the usual props for it's band and student section, and the Ralph for being "purty".  For any of you Bourne "Noobs", the guy has gone from playing hockey to writing about it and looks to be the future Grantland Rice of the hockey world.  If you didn't see the link above click here to go read Justin's observations.


Looking back on the weekend I find a couple of positives.  The first one is that in neither UAA game did another week long controversy raise it's ugly head.  After two weeks in a row of that BS, I can say that I was definitely ready for a break.  Let someone else have all that.  Thank you Aaron Marvin for taking the latest spotlight with this ill-advised concussion-inducing run at Chay Genoway.  The other positive is that since somebody screwed the pooch on Saturday's TV situation that I got to listen to Kurt Haider.

The Gophers looked good on Saturday beating some shitty overrated team from from the hinterlands of their own state (4-1) and then completely pissed down their maroon legs the next night (6-2).  They weren't the only Minnesota team with a big yellow stain down their maroon breezers this weekend though.  Duluth let Michigan Tech win on Friday night (3-2) before emphatically getting a split on Saturday (8-1).  Colorado College went up to Mankato and dispatched our next opponent twice (1-0, 3-2).


Winter took it's time getting to Anchorage.  And today when I got up there were NO DEGREES.  Wasn't it like 50 just a couple of weeks ago?  All you Hummer drivers across the world need to burn more gasoline dammit.  Start throwing loads and loads more CO2 into the atmosphere please.  If Anchorage is to become more Seattle-like in my lifetime then I'd like it to happen sooner rather than later.  Quit slacking rich people.  Consume mass quantities of everything exponentially more than you are already.

Buy more bottled water that gets shipped in to Anchorage from Houston, Texas.  You're not eating enough bananas either.  If I see more hybrid vehicles up here I swear I'll scream.  There's this really big field of coal just across the water from Anchorage.  Someone get over there, dig it up and start burning it.  Now please.  Don't listen to all those tree huggers that want us to limit carbon emissions.  I could give a shit if North Dakota turns into a desert or if New York City gets 200 inches of rain a year; I want Anchorage to get Seattles weather.


There's only three more WCHA series before the mid-season break.  Mankato this weekend here, then down to Colorado Springs before finishing up the 1st half here with SCSU.  Remember back in September I told everyone that the first four series were going to be very very challenging?  I figured the team would get a couple of more points out of those games than just the 4 they've earned.  The next three series aren't exactly going to be easy.  Allow me to be the first to say it ... if the Seawolves don't come away from the next six games with more than an additional 6 points then they're in a big hole to start the 2nd half.  The closer to 12 points they can earn out of those games the better.  And yes, that's an incredibly obvious thing to type.

The fall signing period for hockey is winding up and it shouldn't be too long before we start to hear some new recruits for UAA as well as which existing recruits have actually inked their name as a promise to come here.  Shortly after the SCSU series, I'll have a comprehensive recruit update.  I'll be focusing primarily on players coming in 2010-2011 but will supply something about everyone currently listed.  I'll also write up some sort of mid-season report cards for the team.

That's all I've got for today.  I don't know if I'll have more than one Mankato-related preview this week.  That team and that place really bore me so finding some inspiration isn't an easy thing.  So with lack of inspiration as an excuse I present for your viewing pleasure ...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Seawolves 2 - Badgers 6: Cop Out Recap

The big news for the night was that a game we all thought would be on TV didn't pan out.  I could speculate on the exact nature of the problem but I won't.  Dr. Cobb stopped by the chat room and apologized and indicated GCI told them it wasn't a problem on their end.  So since I didn't see the game and it didn't come on at 7PM as I'd hoped I'm not going to bother with any analysis.  What the hell could I really know about a game I didn't see.

Instead, I'm going to give you a cut/paste job of the most excellent recap that UAA's Assistant SID Dallas Baldwin supplies for the website.  If you don't go over there for all the particulars that I seemingly never provide then you're not getting the full picture.  Educated sports journalists know exactly how to present the relevant information and quite honestly Dallas does a great job.  It's not "fun" to write up a recap and give all the details.  What she does makes me look like the dilettante that I really am.
MADISON, Wis. - A pair of goals by senior forward Josh Lunden wasn’t enough to lift Alaska Anchorage over Wisconsin, dropping the Western Collegiate Hockey Association series with a 6-2 loss on Saturday at the Kohl Center.

The Badgers (6-3-1, 4-3-1 WCHA) swept the Seawolves (4-8-0, 2-6-0 WCHA) for the third time in two seasons with three Wisconsin goals following both of Lunden’s tallies.

The Seawolves were on the board first with Lunden’s strike at 15:32 on the second shot of the game. Junior defenseman Luka Vidmar and junior forward Tommy Grant were credited with the assists on Lunden’s fourth goal of the season.

Celebration was cut short as the Badgers retaliated with a goal just 11 seconds later by senior forward Ben Street, tying the game 1-1. Wisconsin took the lead at 12:37 of the second period with a goal by senior forward Blake Geoffrion, followed by the game-winner at 2:32 (Patrick Johnson).

With UW on the power play, Lunden added his second tally of the evening and 5th of the season at 6:36 of the third - the first shorthanded goal of his career - bringing the Seawolves within one at 3-2. Senior forward Kevin Clark - current UAA point leader with nine - registered the helper.

A minute later, UM added their fourth goal at 7:42 off the stick of freshman Craig Smith - his second in the series. The final two goals for the Badgers were on the empty net.

The Badgers placed a season-high 42 shots on net after hitting UAA with a season-high 37 shots on Friday night. The Seawolves were held to a season-low 13 shots on net. Junior goaltender Bryce Christianson (2-4-0) posted a season-high 36 saves in the loss - just two shy of his career best. Junior Scott Gudmandson (2-1-1) picked up the win with 11 saves.

Both teams were scoreless on the man advantage - UAA (0-3) UW (0-7). The Seawolves were sent to the penalty box 10 times, serving 20 minutes, while the Badgers were 6-12.

The Seawolves failed to receive any points this weekend, maintaining their 8th place ranking in the league with Michigan Tech with four points apiece.

Lunden's tallies mark the first two-goal game for him since March 6, 2009 against Minnesota-Duluth. Lunden leads all current UAA scorers with 44 goals - breaking him into the top 20 on the all-time career list.

The Seawolves will return to the Sullivan Arena on Nov. 20-21 for a conference series with Minnesota State. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7:07 p.m. AST both nights
Normally, it would be inappropriate to copy an entire article that someone else published even when it's been properly attributed; copying just a part of the article and linking readers to the remaining text is the accepted best practice.  Since I see this as an attempt to promote the excellent work from Dallas, I hope UAA won't sue me (even if I also admitted I'm doing this as a sort of "cop out").

So take a moment sometime and send Dallas an email and tell her how much you appreciate all the hard work she does for the program.  All the UAA contact email addresses are here.

Here's the boxscore.

Saturday Game Day: Seawolves vs. Badgers

Saturday November 14th, 2009
Game Time: 407PM (Alaska Standard Time) - 7:07PM (Central Standard Time)
Kohl Center - Madison, Wisconsin

For those of you unable to see a conventional broadcast of this game you may be able to access a stream by clicking on this link at game time.  No promises.

I've got some personal obligations that necessitate me being away from home during tonights game.  I therefore won't be hosting the "fancy" chat program and instead will just leave the "low rent" one below up through the day and during the game.  I should be here for the start of the game but will have to leave at some point.  At least I'll get to listen to Kurt Haider's awesome call in the car though.  More than likely I'll be back here before the end of the game to participate in the chat.  GO SEAWOLVES.

Dear Seawolf Player,
Use whatever guts and determination that you managed to find within yourselves for the nice wins against UND and DU.  Look across the locker room into your friends and teammates eyes before the game tonight.  Then tell him that you're going to give it everything you've got for him.  Ask him to give it everything he's got for you.  Pat him on the back.  Stand up together and give it the ole Army "Hoo Rah" if that's what it takes.

Depend on him and make him know he can depend on you.  Then look across the locker room and find another friend and teammate and do the exact same thing.  It's time for some goddamn hardcore teammate old style bonding.  Maybe you don't see eye to eye with a guy, so fucking what?  Forget that shit, get with him and let him know you want to win tonight.  Tell him you'll bust your ass for him.  And then go out and bust your ass for him.  If he takes a penalty or blows a play during the game, forget about it.  Give him another "Hoo Rah" and tell him you know he'll make up for it.  Then help him make up for it.

There's no doubt you guys lost as a team on Friday night.  It was EVERYBODY'S fault.  EVERYBODY.  It was just as much your fault as anybody elses.  If you don't believe that then don't fucking dress for tonights game.  Let someone else play.  Tonight there is no option other than giving ONE HUNDRED PERCENT.  Draining every single bit of energy from your body is the ONLY OPTION.  If you don't do that then you sure better not be able to look yourself in the mirror tomorrow.  If you don't give it your all and you can still look in the mirror the next day then you might as well pack it in.  I know I sure as hell don't want to put the effort I put into this blog if there are players that aren't giving it their all on the ice.  Show everyone you're giving it your all.  If everyone does that then you'll win.  I promise you that.  Own your effort and support your teammates effort.  Be there for each other.

Here's the goal highlights from the 7-3 win over DU.  The dorks at GCI have once again archived the Saturday night game twice so I don't have the goal highlights from the Friday game.  I'll check back in a couple of days and see if they've corrected it.

And if you haven't seen the Lafranchise/Wiercioch hit.  Here it is.  No audio and I manually stepped it forward and backward several times to show it clearly.  Someone might say there is knee to knee contact as it appears in ONE frame but all the succeeding frames clearly show the hip to hip contact.  It's too far away to say there was ANY knee to knee contact if you ask me.