Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Preseason Polls

You know the season is about to start when the absurdly awesome Preseason Polls come out.

Seawolves 2010-2011 Season Preview

The 2010-2011 season is nigh.  In just days, the team will head down for their exhibition game to Soldotna against the University of Windsor Lancers.  It's the players first real opportunity to show their coach what they can contribute toward the team's success.  There are a number of things that need to happen this season for the team to improve on last season's 8th place league finish.  

I think the relatively correct assumption that this is a rebuilding year for the Seawolves is appropriate.  It can be nothing else with a predominantly young team.  Let's break some things down into categories first ...

Shyiak Vid And Weekly Releases

The always stellar Dallas Baldwin has produced the first Seawolves weekly release of the season for the unendingly efficient Sports Information department headed up by the semi-omnipotent Nate Sagan.  The release contains a short video of Coach Shyiak highlighting some of the areas they're focused on as a staff in preparation for the season and this weekend's game.  Make sure to check it out by clicking here.  I have problems embedding Microsoft Silverlight videos or I would have done so.

Here's some of the highlights ...
The Lancers enter the exhibition game with the Seawolves after facing the Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks on Sept. 30 in Fairbanks ... the Seawolves faced the Lancers back on Nov. 23, 1984 (UAA won, 11-5) in the Michigan-Dearborn tournament when UAA was a NCAA DI Independent – at the time, the game counted ... under bench boss Dave Shyiak, the Seawolves are 5-2-0 in exhibition play ... Shyiak led the Seawolves to a 7-1 exhibition victory over Windsor in his first game at helm for UAA on Oct. 7, 2005 in Wasilla.
The Seawolves return 15 letterwinners, including 73% of their point production from a year ago, while 10 newcomers (six forwards, two defensemen and two goaltenders) were also added to the 2010-11 roster ... the senior class returns six skaters from a year ago and it will be on their shoulders to lead the Seawolves to victory, on and off the ice ... leading the pack will be senior co-captains Tommy Grant and Craig Parkinson ... Grant, from North Vancouver, B.C.,  returns as UAA’s top scorer from last season with 9-17—26 totals, while Parkinson (Victoria, B.C.) contributed  six goals and five assists for 11 points ... joining the British Columbia duo on the offensive attack are senior forwards Sean Wiles (Beloit, Wis.) and Nick Haddad (Fairbanks), with seniors Kane Lafranchise (Edmonton, Alberta) and Luka Vidmar (Ljubljana, Slovenia) patrolling the blueline ... also sporting the assistant-captain emblem are junior Brad Gorham and sophomore Chris Crowell … the Seawolves will strive to win both tournaments (Kendall Hockey Classic and Brice Alaska Goal Rush), take back the title in the Alaska Airlines Governor’s Cup and gain home-ice for the WCHA playoffs.
And here's a link to the WCHA's Weekly Release.  Below is a picture of the latest WCHA logo and their attempt to re-brand the league.  I'll allow the caption to speak for me.

underWhelming ...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Potpourri: Ascendency and Descendency

Just east of Earthquake Park on the Anchorage Coastal Trail
As you can see, fall has arrived in Anchorage.  This week we had our yearly fall windstorm to knock the leaves (and lots of small branches) off the trees.  We also had our 2nd very noticeable earthquake in the past couple of weeks.  The first one was about 5.0 and located only about 10 miles away from Anchorage.  It was what I'd call a wall creaking event.  The second was about a 5.5 and was over 150 miles away.  

Friday, September 24, 2010

Predictions For the 2010-2011 WCHA

Predicting the future is hard.  There's this whole thing about the Universe being essentially random.  Quantum Physics and all that ya know?  Many many things are possible but separating the probable from the possible is the tough part.   That fact though didn't stop Nostradamus or Edgar Cayce or the Maya though ... right? 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

INCH A-Z Profiles Sean Wiles

As part of Inside College Hockey's preseason run-up each year the website profiles a player from each of College Hockey's 59 teams.  This year's UAA selection is senior forward Sean Wiles whom I profiled in my senior class preview.  Here are some highlights from the Jess Myers authored article;
Blessed with abundant size and a long reach, Wiles has become a versatile commodity for the Seawolves especially as his offensive numbers have improved.
Shyiak has more things planned for Wiles as a senior, like using his “widebody” size in front of the net on the power play to tip and screen and bang home rebounds. Wiles has also shown some past effectiveness on the penalty kill, using his reach to keep the puck away from opponents.
And Coach Shyiak is quoted;
“Sean is a senior now and we need him to chip in offensively. If he can duplicate last year’s season and maybe do even a little bit more, and chip in on the [defensive] side of the puck, he’ll be very effective for us.”
Sean's steadily increasing production through his career gives us all hope for a big season from him.  His experience over the summer attending the Washington Capitals Summer Development Camp should benefit him as well.  The goal he scored on the video below is exactly the sort of thing that Coach Shyiak mentioned and will be looking for.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mellor Tapped For 2010 Canada West Jr. A Camp

2011 Seawolves recruit Sam Mellor has been named to attend the 41 player Team Canada West evaluation camp on September 27th and 28th in preparation for the 2010 World Junior A Challenge.  The Junior A Challenge takes place from November 8th through the 14th and is hosted each year by Hockey Canada to showcase junior A talent from around the world.  

Along with Canada West are teams from Canada East, Switzerland, Russia, Sweden and the United States.  Current UAA defenseman Wes McLeod took part in last years tournament and was named to the 6 member All-Tournament team.

This year's tournament will be held in Penticton B.C. which is also the venue for the evaluation camp.  Good luck to Sam in making the final roster.  17 year-old Mellor is in his 2nd year of Junior A with the Trail Smoke Eaters of the BCHL and is currently tied for 2nd league-wide with 6 goals in 5 games.  The Smoke Eaters are on the road today facing Surrey and play Langley on Thursday.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Potpourri: Recruits, Blog Upgrades, Money and Marcel

Let's start of today with a short but timely review of where all the current future Seawolves are playing junior hockey this season.  There's a couple of changes from last season.  I've updated the links on each of the recuits in the "Future Seawolves" column on the right hand side.  So I won't be linking them in this post.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Tickets! Get Your Tickets!

Persuaded by all my excellent writing and analysis that you cannot survive without attending some UAA Hockey games this season?  I thought you would be; so it's convenient that today the UAA Athletic Department announced exactly what you need to do in order to get tickets.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The 2010-2011 UAA Seawolves Freshman Class

This group of freshman players is one of the larger classes of rookies that we'll typically see coming into our beloved program.  At this hopeful time of year, there are a couple of positives that could or should come out of having this many freshman players.  The 1st is simply that every one of these players will be competing for playing time.  The 2nd is that the bigger stable you have the more likely you'll find a horse that can really run.

Which of these guys could be one of those horses is hard to predict.  Maybe they can all really run.  Odds are though that not all of them will shine right away, if at all.  There is a lot depending on finding some gems here.  On any given night, the Seawolves goaltender is going to be a freshman.  And let's face it, the seniors, juniors and sophomores are going to need some assistance in the scoring department.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Captain's Practice Adventure

There's the guys.  On the ice.  In hockey gear.  Having a practice.  Without the coaches.  It's captain's practice.  The NCAA allows teams to practice their sports before the season begins and before official practices are scheduled to start.  I went on Tuesday afternoon for a look see.  I had a little adventure of sorts.

Monday, September 13, 2010

99 Problems...

…and the BTHC ain’t one.

DU & UND To Bolt WCHA And Form BHHC

As a response today to learning that Penn State will joins the ranks of Division 1 hockey at some point in the very near future; Denver University and the University of North Dakato are being pressured by alumni to form a new conference to compete with the inevitable BTHC (Big Ten Hockey Conference) the new conference's name will be the BHHC (Butt Hurt Hockey Conference).

Friday, September 10, 2010

The 2010-2011 UAA Seawolves Sophomore Class

Mitch Bruijsten, Chris Crowell, Tyler Currier, Drew Darwitz, Alex Gellert, Daniel Naslund, Dusan Sidor, Mickey Spencer and Scott Warner are the nine sophomores donning UAA sweaters this season.  In many ways this group could prove to be the most important class of the four.  Yes, nothing has changed since my senior and junior class previews; the WCHA is still an upperclassmen's league.  But this group could very well have the most guys dressed each game night.  And in that lies their importance to the Seawolves chances for more success this season.

Monday, September 06, 2010

The 2010-2011 UAA Seawolves Junior Class

Jade Portwood, Curtis Leinweber and Brad Gorham are the three junior class members on the  2010-2011 Seawolves roster.  As upperclassmen, these three now have leadership responsibilities which weren't a concern for them last season.  They must each demonstrate to their underclassmen teammates commitment and responsible play as an example.  It's important that each of these three juniors also provide scoring.  How much?  How about saying each of them ought to have their best career numbers in terms of scoring.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Team Photo Displays New Uniforms

The Seawolves are sporting new duds in this years edition of the team photo.  Let's hear some feedback eh?  I like them.  I think I've come to a fairly solid hypothesis as to one reason I think the new look will benefit the team.  How tangible it is ... is up to you to decide. 

Our visual perceptions about reality are influenced greatly by the pattern matching software written into our brains.  We can easily identify many things around us simply by shape alone.  Put a black outline of a tree on a white background and we know what it is without having to see the leaves and branches. 

I'd think that in any instances this season where an opponent hits any Seawolf player  ... that the referee is going to recognize an illegal hit easier than if the Seawolf were wearing a solid colored jersey.  If a ref doesn't see all of that white above the shoulders then you can damn sure bet some guy from one of eleven different teams committed an infraction of the rules.

So that's my little theory.  I think they look good and hopefully in some way they'll get us a couple of extra power plays here and there.