Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Vanek a Ranger?

Last week, former Minnesota Wild forward Thomas Vanek had the final year of his three-year contract bought out by the Wild. It appears that one team's loss is another team's game. According to the Larry Brooks of the New York Post, the Rangers might be interested in adding the slow-footed Vanek to their lineup.
Larry Brooks, New York Post --- The Rangers, we’re told, intend to touch base with Thomas Vanek and gauge his willingness to sign the type of one-year reclamation contract that Benoit Pouliot did when he joined the Blueshirts for $1.3 million in 2013-14. Pouliot used that season as a springboard to the five-year, $20 million deal he then signed the following summer with the Oilers.

It would make perfect sense, too, for the Islanders to check in on Vanek, who melded beautifully with Tavares (and, uh oh, Okposo) during his 47-game lend-lease tryout with the club during 2013-14.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Petition to Change New Fighting Hawks Logo

A person named Sarah Wallace has started a petition to change the new Fighting Hawks logo. This story has been picked up by the Grand Forks Herald, Valley News Live and WDAZ. While this makes an interesting story, it will have little affect on the UND administration. They're not going to dump a new logo they just spent $49,500.00 on. The political bloggers would have a field day with this one.
Here's the link to the petition.

It was an extremely sad day for many proud University of North Dakota alumni, students, fans and friends when the NCAA and the administration put their heads together and decided the way we loved, adored and respected our beloved Sioux nickname/logo could no longer belong to us. Completely disregarding the night of July 18, 1969 when a full night of events took place in which the Sioux elders gave the University the right to use their name. However, this petition IS NOT ABOUT RETURNING TO THE SIOUX NAME.

This petition is about the complete mishandling of creating a new logo the alumni, student body, fans, Sioux and friends can rally behind. The administration did all of us an injustice by hiring an out of state firm who does not understand who and what North Dakota is about. It is time to reclaim OUR UNIVERSITY and say we have had enough!! It is time to demand they listen to us. If they want us to rally around name that we did not want then give us a logo we can be proud of. Allow a local artist to create the logo. An even better idea would be to have the original creator of the beloved Sioux logo Bennett Brien to create the new logo.

This would be the only way the university administration can redeem themselves. We were foolish to think that Ed Schafer would come in and understand what we needed and this from a UND graduate. Please take the time to sign and share this petition. It is not to late to have a new logo designed by someone we can all stand behind and support. If we must have this name then give us a logo we will have pride, honor and support!
Currently, there are 3,575 supporters, if my math is correct that an increase of 575 signatures since yesterday.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Usual Suspects: Mike McFeely Can't Help Himself

On Wednesday, the University of North Dakota introduced the new Fighting Hawks logo. About 15 minutes after introducing the new logo social media blew up. Yeah that happened, but come on, everyone knew that was going to happen.

Never wasting an opportunity to bag on anything UND, Inforum's political columnist Mike McFeely penned this zinger. Now you have to applaud McFeely, this is very smart move, especially, if he's being paid by the page views and sessions. That article is probably good for 10,000 hits or roughly $30.00.
It was as sad as it was predictable. UND men’s hockey fans and former players trashing the new logo for the sake of trashing the new logo, because it’s not the beloved Fighting Sioux nickname and logo and by God will never be the beloved Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.

It would’ve been refreshing to hear a former player, any former player, break the cliche and say something along the lines of, “You know, none of us wanted to get rid of the Fighting Sioux nickname. We all recognize that. Even those men and women who had to guide the university through the process of finding a new nickname and logo did not necessarily want to do it, but they had to. They were forced to. So this is where we are. Reality is, UND is now the Fighting Hawks and we have a new logo. While we wish the Fighting Sioux nickname could’ve continued forever, that is not what happened. So while I’ll always identify my hockey career as being a member of the Fighting Sioux, from here on out we’ll be known as the Fighting Hawks. We already have one championship under our belt with our new nickname and hopefully there will be many more. It’s time to embrace change. #FightingHawks.”
What's even more entertaining, McFeely's blog doesn't accept comments. Not a single one. I would love to see the comments coming for this blog post. Come one Mike, if you're going to troll UND fans, at least have the common decency to accept comments on your blog. Maybe you could learn a thing or two from your co-workers Rob Port and Brad Schlossman. Both writers accept comments on their blogs.

And finally this.

Whether or not you like the new nickname and logo, and whether or not the new logo is graphically pleasing, shouldn’t matter. At some point, the #SiouxForever crowd is going to have to accept that the school has a new nickname and logo. That’s just reality. Like it or hate it, it happened.

When is Rocco Grimaldi or Cam Johnson or another hockey player going to do the difficult thing and support the institution and the people, instead of a retired nickname?
Here's what McFeely and the MoveOn crowd aren't getting. To a certain degree, I think the University has to walk on eggshells with the #FightingSiouxforever block. There's a part of the hockey fan base that isn't going to accept the new nickname. Some never may accept it. So what? That's also a very big part of the UND hockey fanbase. Do you risk alienating a very big part of your fanbase? I don't think the University can afford to. Also, if a former player never played with the new nickname, they're not going to feel any attachment to the new nickname. I don't think you can expect them to just endorse the new nickname, either. Most of them never played under the new nickname, including Roco Grimaldi. So beating on Grimaldi and others solves nothing.

Finally, there needs to be a balanced approach and a mourning period. Accepting the new Fighting Hawks nickname and logo could take generations. It's especially easy for people that have no connection to a program to say, "It's time move on and let it go." This is what McFeely and others don't get. I am not saying I endorse this line of thinking, but it's a reality that I understand. Feel free to opine.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

UND at the Draft

by Redwing77

What an interesting draft we've had for UND!

Rocco Grimaldi exchanges his sunscreen for his skis going from the Florida Panthers to the Colorado Avalanche via trade.

And then there were the drafted UND players:

The First Round saw incoming freshman Tyson Jost drafted 10th overall by Colorado.  I only know what Brad Schlossman says about Jost but Boeser to Jost is going to be exciting once Jost acclimates to the NCAA game.

Skip a few to the fourth round where UND sophomore Rhett Gardner gets drafted 116th overall by Dallas.  I think this is classified as a diamond in the rough find for Hakstol and Berry.  I didn't expect much from Rhett and he's gradually gotten better and better.

UND recruit Mitchell Mattson got drafted 126th overall (5th Round) by Calgary.  He'll be one to watch as lots of up and down movement regarding opinion on Mattson has occurred as of late.

UND now has a pair of drafted goaltenders Matej Tomak was drafted last year and this year, future UND goaltender and current Omaha Lancer Peter Thome was drafted in the 6th round by Columbus.

Collin Adams, a player currently for Muskegon of the USHL and future UND winger, got drafted in the 6th round by the Islanders.

Overall, a pretty good weekend for UND. 

My Final Thoughts on the New Logo

Last Wednesday, the University of North Dakota unveiled their new Fighting Hawks logo and then social media blew up. My initial thoughts, when I saw the new logo was you've got to be kidding me? This is a joke, right? Like many UND fans, I was in a state of shock. I couldn't believe this is what they'd come up with. I didn't know what to think.

After the nickname announcement, then came the tweets and Facebook posts. What's was more interesting was reading tweets from fans of other programs. Some of them were giddy. Some of them laughed. A lot of these same fans said they liked UND's new logo and couldn't understand what all the fuss was about. Upon seeing the new logo, my own father said, "It's not bad." I said, "Seriously?" This is coming from a guy that spent a year at the University of Iowa. Go Hawkeyes, right? 

Although, I expected the logo to be a bit lame, this wasn't what I expected. Not in the least. It was underwhelming. After almost $50,000.00 this is what the UND administration came up with. As a tax payer and an alumni of UND, I was disappointed.

After some thought and reflection, I'm moving on. Like I said before, it could've been worse. The word mark is actually pretty good and I expect to see it on a UND hockey jersey in the future. The new logo isn’t great, but I accept it. I may not like it all that much, but I can live with it.  The logo will probably grow on me with time.  

Also, it doesn't do any good to stew about something that I have no ability to change. Yes, I like the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo, but it's not coming back, ever again. It's not possible in today's politically correct world. What's done is done.
I have a prediction: No matter how much the fans and players complain about the new logo, there isn't going to be any change to the new nickname or logo. Sure, there will be some tweaks to the current logo, but the university isn't going to reopen the nickname selection process. People or groups can sue UND, but it’s not going to change anything.
I've taken some heat from some UND fans for using the new Fighting Hawks nickname. One fan posted this comment, it's North Dakota, UND and or Fighting Sioux. When I am writing for the Hockey Writers or Inside Hockey I can't use the Fighting Sioux nickname anymore. UND requested that media members (television and radio, bloggers and journalists) no longer use the Fighting Sioux nickname. It's also really hard to write UND, UND, UND all of the time. Sorry man.
In my humble opinion, there were hundreds of other nicknames choices that would've been much better than the five bad choices the nickname committee came up with.  I believe we were doomed from the start. Now the nickname debacle is finally over, I'm moving on. Whether you like it or not, Fighting Hawks is UND's official nickname. This past spring, UND actually won a NCAA title under their new nickname.
Again, like I've said in the past, Fighting Hawks was the best choice of five really bad nickname choices. At least the new nickname wasn't Sundogs. I'd like to see the university drop Fighting and just go with Hawks.
Now, some had suggested that UND didn't need to select a new nickname. They're right, but somewhere along the line, there would've been a group or organization that would've filed a complaint against UND. Others complained that being simply North Dakota was a pseudo way of keeping the Fighting Sioux nickname. According to former UND President Robert O. Kelley, UND needed a nickname to move on. I don't know? Picking a nickname didn't stop fans from yelling Sioux and Sioux forever. Right? So, that theory was shot down.
As I mentioned in a tweet, if UND had retained the Fighting Sioux nickname, UND wouldn't be hosting a NCAA West Regional in Fargo, ND again. Hosting in Fargo gives UND a major advantage. It could mean the difference between advancing to the Frozen Four and staying home.
Finally, I am a supporter and a alumnus of the University of North Dakota. I think that UND football head coach Bubba Schweigert said it best. 
“UND football is going to embrace this logo and what it represents,” said Schweigert, adding the logo will be on the helmet for the team’s first game Sept. 1.
In conclusion, I will support the UND sports teams no matter what name they play under. It's up to each individual fan if they want to do the same.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Redwing77's Take on the New Logo...

by Redwing77

As Eric said, it's getting mixed reviews and from what I read, I understand it.  The ONLY thing UND has done correctly in this whole affair is to seek advice from its staff, students, faculty, and alumni.

After that, it simply disregarded what those groups were saying in favor of the overriding political mantra "We can't do what you want because we're acting for the greater good and you're too stuck in the wrong to notice."

I don't recall a time (in more facets that mere athletics) where the "greater good" was so corrupted by agendas than the last 10 years or so.

In any case, here's my take on the new logo.

If this logo had been the winning submission from a community outreach program, such as a contest, I think it would be more palatable than the reality of the situation:  We paid millions of dollars for what was correctly deemed to be an overly simplistic, almost canned generic font for the ND and as for the "hawk..."  Gosh if that doesn't look like a slightly modified version of:

Just remove all of the blue and add black highlights and black dots for eyes and well...

My problem isn't that it is ugly.  It's not a good looking logo, but it's not ugly either.  My problem is that we wasted a LOT of money on a logo that surely will become the crown jewel of wasted taxpayer money (whether or not it was taxpayer money or otherwise).

Nevertheless, I argue that UND couldn't win this logo idea anyways.  The only way UND would have come out of this debacle looking at least ok is if they would have allowed the no nickname option on the ballot.  Sure, the PC crowd wouldn't have been happy but that would have constituted less than 40% of the UND greater community (I would assume).

However, people are already forgetting the silver lining:  a logo isn't static.  Many MANY teams have alternate logos.  It would be very easy for UND to alter or change their logo after a year or so and relegate this new one to an alternative jersey format or, if Coach Schweigert likes it so much, it could be football only.

If I were the new UND President, whomever that is, I'd turn to UND's art department, alumni association, and perhaps even the greater UND community and hold a contest to design the new logo much like what got us the final Sioux logo.  The University can stipulate what would constitute a legal submission and what would not.

For example, the hawk can not have any feathers even remotely resembling an eagle feather simply due to the fact that the Native Americans hold a de facto copyright on ALL such representations.

It's doable and I'm fairly certain that, at this point, they will strongly consider it.

New Fighting Hawks Logo Gets mixed reviews.

Today, the University of North Dakota introduced the new Fighting Hawks logo. Here's some of the responses the new nickname recieved.

I would say that the new logo received mixed reviews. It appears that fans of opposing teams were more receptive to the nickname than actual UND fans.Some of the responses from the current and former players is interesting. A few of the coaches had great responses to the new logo.

Bubba ball Embraces the New Fighting Hawks Logo

I think the response to the new Fighting Hawks logo was predictable. First, no logo would ever be able to replace the Fighting Sioux logo. Some people aren't ever going to like it. Also, you can't expect everyone to like or embrace the new logo. I am still on the fence, but I don't think it would look bad on a football helmet.

That being said, some of the UND sports programs on campus are already supporting the Fighting Hawks logo. When a UND football recruit commits to UND, it's not uncommon for them to make mention of being proud to be a member of the Fighting Hawks Nation. Or something along those lines.  Today, the UND football team took that first step when head coach Bubba Schweigert announced that the new logo will, in fact, be on the football helmets when the Hawks take the field in September.

“UND football is going to embrace this logo and what it represents,” said Schweigert, adding the logo will be on the helmet for the team’s first game Sept. 1.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Your UND SID Lineup

First, I want to throw some kudos to the University of Sports Information Directors. I think they do a great job and conduct themselves with the utmost professionalism. They also serve as pseudo-therapists for the fans when the sport they work for isn't doing well.   Second, I think they’re underpaid and at times, they're underappreciated. I also think some of them take some unnecessary abuse.
Over the past few seasons, I have seen comments from fans talking how SID so and so needs to step it up. Or, SID so and so isn't doing his job. Many times, after further investigation, they're not even complaining about the right SID.
So, if you new to UND Sports, here are some of the important names you need to know. I also bolded the major sports that each SID covers.  
Media Relations
Assistant AD, Media Rel. (MHKY, XC, T/F)
Associate Director (FB, MBB, M/WGOF)
Assistant Director (SOC, WHKY, SB, TN)
Assistant Director (WBB, VB, BB, S/D)

Wild Were Banged Up

According to Chad Graff, the Minnesota Wild were banged up pretty bad by the end of the season. We also know that Thomas Vanek had broken and displaced ribs and was unable to play during the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

In addition to Dubnyk (broken finger) and Zach Parise (back), Fletcher revealed that forward Erik Haula and defensemen Marco Scandella, Jonas Brodin and Jared Spurgeon played through injuries this season. Haula has a hip injury that Fletcher said limited his speed. Scandella might require sports hernia surgery. Brodin had a foot injury that limited his mobility. Spurgeon was slowed by an undisclosed upper-body injury.

Fletcher said Spurgeon played most of the season at “80 percent.” “That kid is the toughest
That being said, all NHL hockey teams suffer injuries and it's part of the game.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Toronto Star: Hockey Has Gotten Boring

When I read this article, I can relate.
Vinay Menon, Toronto Star --- That’s right. Hockey has gotten downright boring.

This season that just ended in triumph for the Pittsburgh Penguins will be remembered by many Canadians as the season they forgot about hockey and didn’t miss it one bit. Yes, our national mediocrity — this was the first season no Canadian team earned a spot in the playoffs since 1970 — did much to torch our enthusiasm.

But the slow melting started years ago.

Forget who hosts on TV. The underlying apathy and malaise of who watches is what stakeholders should be scrutinizing through their corporate visors. Is the problem league overexpansion? Is it NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s remarkable capacity to be the most grating executive in any professional league? Is it on-ice changes?
Reading this article, I can relate. This year during the 2016 Stanely Cup Playoffs I found myself watching Netflix instead of some of the series. I told a buddy of mine that the matchup between the Lightning and the Penguins was the best series of the 2106 Stanley Cup Playoffs. In my humble opinion, the second best series was between the Capitals and the Penguins.

Also, during this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs, there were no villains, no players to despise. There were no real controversies. I found the playoffs to be very vanilla and at times very boring. There were no Kings, no Blackhawks after the first round. No players that you could vilify. For the first time in a very long time, there were no Canadian teams. Not one. There were no players like Alex Burrows or Brad Marchand to hate on. I thought the playoffs were very B-O-R-I-N-G.

To be honest with you, I am glad that the 2015-16 NHL season is over. After watching the hometown seal the deal for the first time in 16 years, I was emotionally drained. Nothing could compare to the UND's title drive. When the Wild took a dive in the first round, I basically lost interest. When the last UND alum was eliminated from the playoffs, I checked out. there was nothing there to keep my attention. So, again, I can relate with the Canadians.

Startribune: Minneapolis/St. Paul has the longest title drought (Major Sports)

So, when the boys at KFAN refer to the Twin Cities as Loserville, they're not kidding.
Michael Rand, Startribune --- Also, this Minneapolis/St. Paul title drought designation is being measured against only those U.S. markets that have at least three pro teams spread among the NBA, NHL, MLB and NFL. Hence markets like Portland or Salt Lake City are not included. There are 18 U.S. markets that have at least three of those teams (Toronto also qualifies if we expand to North American markets and has won a World Series more recently than the Twins).

With those asides considered, these facts remain:

*The Twins were the last of the “big four” teams in Minnesota to win a championship, in 1991. Washington D.C. is close behind, with a Super Bowl in early 1992 (won in Minnesota, no less) being that city’s most recent “big four” title. The Boston area has won approximately 11 billion championships in that span, using rosters comprised of roughly 87 percent Minnesota connections.
Having read this, the Vikings are the Twin Cities best hope to break this streak.