Monday, May 02, 2016

Brooks Orpik Suspended 3 Games For Dirty Hit

You've probably seen it by now. In game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik knocked Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta out of the game with a dirty, high, late hit. Of course, none of us were shocked, Orpik has a history of leveling dirty, borderline hits and then turtling when challenged to fight. This time, no one is defending Orpik's actions.

Finally, this time, Orpik wasn't able to escape justice. For the next three games, the Capitals will be without their rugged defenseman. For those wondering at home, Orpik is a repeat-offender and hopefully, this will straighten him out.

Ron Cook from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has this gem in today's article.

Two things … I couldn’t believe Orpik — one of the great teammates in any sport — letting down his Washington Capitals guys. He will miss the next three games of the Penguins-Capitals playoff series after being suspended for his elbow-to-the-head hit on Maatta early in Game 2. His absence will be a severe blow to the Capitals defense. They are a much lesser team without him.

I also thought about how hypocritical so many of us are. We are outraged that Orpik did that to Maatta, who could miss significant time with an apparent head injury, and wanted the NHL to come down on him even harder. Yet we loved Orpik when he delivered those dangerous hits when he played for the Penguins. It was perfectly fine that he delivered borderline-to-dirty hits to Erik Cole, Derek Stepan and Jonathan Toews — among others — and had been suspended twice. It was good, hard hockey, right? Of course, we loved Ulf Samuelsson and Darius Kasparaitis, too. It didn’t matter to us that they were dirty players. They played for the home team.
Hopefully, next time Orpik decides to hit someone with a dirty, bush league hit the NHL will hand out an even stiffer suspension.  I am all for legal, hard hits. Hockey is a rough sport and hitting is a part of the game. There's no room for hits that leaves the opposition with a traumatic brain injury. Finally, Orpik isn't a victim, justice is finally catching up with him.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Time to Throw the Book at Brooks Orpik

Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik should sit for the rest of the series against the Penguins. This is a dirty, late, high,and unnecessary hit.

In my opinion, this hit is a violation of NHL rule 48. Orpik has a history of making questionable hits and escaping suspension. This time, I don't think that Orpik will get off scot-free. I think that he's going to feel the burn. I hope the NHL throws the book at him.

There will be some that will defend Orpik's play and say that Olli Maatta was crouched down. That doesn't give a player the right to blow them up.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Tom Wilson's Knee-on-Knee Hit on Conor Sheary

The big question of the night, will Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson be suspended for this knee-on-knee hit on Penguins forward Conor Sheary. There was no penalty called on the play. Also, keep in mind that Wilson has never been suspended.

Dan Boyle Cusses Out Larry Brooks

This isn't the first time that New York Post writer Larry Brooks has had a tough time with someone from the New York Rangers. Former Rangers head coach John Tortorella, on more than one occasion, told Brooks to go EF himself.

Former NDSU AD Gene Taylor is a Candidate for UMN AD

According to the Startribune, former NDSU AD Gene Taylor is one of the candidates for the University of Minnesota Athletic Director position. Another name that sticks out is Bill Robertson, the Commissioner of the WCHA. It will be interesting to see who gets the job.

Here's the list of the candidates.

Phil Esten, Penn State deputy AD
Sean Frazier, Northern Illinois AD
Beth Goetz, Gophers interim AD
David Gutzke, U.S. Bank senior VP
Pete Najarian, CNBC stock analyst
Bill Robertson, WCHA commissioner
Bob Stein, Minneapolis attorney
Gene Taylor, Iowa deputy AD

Taylor spent 13 years as North Dakota State’s AD, leading the transition from Division II to Division I, where almost every sport there has succeeded, with the exception of women’s basketball. The football team has won five consecutive Football Championship Subdivision titles. Taylor, 58, who hails from Safford, Ariz., also worked for the Naval Academy. He has made no secret that his goal is to become a Power Five conference AD.

Craig Thompson, Mountain West commissioner

No One Should be Shocked

April Baumgarten, news editor of the Grand Forks Herald has this interesting blog post. I find it interesting that some are just starting to realize that UND hockey fans aren't getting behind the new nickname. No one should be shocked by this. I am not so sure that it's ever going to happen. Seriously, it also doesn't matter if the John Lipp's of the world are offended by the fact that UND fans still use the Fighting Sioux nickname.

No one should be shocked by this. You can't force people to accept something that they don't want to get behind. Obviously, the old nickname isn't coming back. It won't ever.

But it wouldn’t surprise me if in the back of their minds UND officials were thinking an NCAA win under the Fighting Hawks name would cement the idea that it’s time to move on and embrace the change. After all, the Hawks are 1-0 for winning the Frozen Four, and what better way to start out the nickname legacy with a championship?

If that’s what they thought, they were probably disappointed.

The chants of “Sioux Forever” and “Let’s Go Sioux” probably have never been so loud. Fans wore their Sioux gear proudly as they cheered on the hockey team. Even UND’s former head coach Dave Hakstol, who had his own playoffs to focus on as he led the Philadelphia Flyers against the Washington Capitals, rooted for his old hockey team with a “Go Sioux.” (Baums Away)
I've been saying this for a long time. You can't expect 80 years of history to change overnight. Also,  the more people tell the Sioux Forever people to move on, the more they will resist.
No matter what side you are on — whether you want the retired nickname back or if you think it’s time to move on — there is one thing no one can’t deny. The Fighting Sioux name isn’t going anywhere for a long time.
Finally, to the people that are making a big deal about the hockey fans not embracing  the new nickname. You're wasting your time.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Is the WCHA's Style of Play Scaring off Potential Recruits?

If you're a recruit in the WCHA, you might want to think twice after reading this newspaper article by Matt Wellens, Duluth News Tribune. Former Alaska-Fairbanks sophomore forward Peter Krieger has transferred to UMD and will be eligible for the 2017-18 season. His reason for the transfer, he's tired of the whatever-it-takes style of play. Translation, he's tired of the clutching and grabbing.
“I wish I would have asked the hard questions and really looked at their style of play, because that’s what ultimately caused me to leave,” said Krieger, who mustered only nine goals and 24 assists in two seasons with the Nanooks as a wing. He played center in juniors and high school. “I got along great with the coaching staff, the guys on the team. I have nothing but great things to say about it.”

Krieger described the style of play in the WCHA as hard-working, but not as skilled, with the exception of Michigan Tech, Minnesota State and Bowling Green. He said most teams in the WCHA are staying away from a skilled game to a “whatever-it-takes-to-win” style.
This is a relatively easy problem to fix. It's time for a change, the WCHA needs to hire a new head of officials and move on. Until they do, the status quo will remain the same in the WCHA. Second, they will need to change the focus of the officiating crews in the WCHA.  Thoughts?

Denver Pioneers Update Off-Ice Spaces

Interesting read in the Denver Post by Mike Chambers about the Denver Pioneers updating their hockey facilities. It's a smart move. Besides the cost of attendance stipends, programs need bells and whistles to lure the top recruits. This includes having updated, modern facilities. UND recently redid their locker room.  Omaha has a brand new shiny arena. Programs need to get the upper hand on the competition.  
Mike Chambers, Denver Post -- "I love where the program is headed, and this is the last step to put the icing on the cake," said DU coach Jim Montgomery, a Montreal native and former Canadiens forward. "We still get a lot of great recruits, but we've lost on some recruits because we don't have that wow factor when they walk into our locker room like they do at North Dakota, Miami or UNO (University of Nebraska at Omaha)."

North Dakota, Miami (Ohio) and St. Cloud State have pumped millions into arena/locker room renovations, UNO moved into a lavish new facility this past season and Minnesota-Duluth opened a new arena in 2010. Those are five of DU's National Collegiate Hockey Conference rivals.

"We just need to do it," Montgomery said. "Never mind nationally. Just look at our conference."

Magness Arena opened in 1999, a month before the Pepsi Center.

"It's going on 17 years since this building has been here and nothing has been done to the locker room. We need to give it the pop it needs of an elite-level program," Montgomery said. "I think if there's any part of our program that can prevent us from sustaining being a top-five program — which I think we are — would be the dressing room and lounge area."

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Sun Devils to the WCHA or NCHC

Personally, after reading this CBS article, I would rather have Arizona State University go to the WCHA. The NCHC is at the right number. Since the inception of the NCHC, the league has faired well in the NCHC tourney and some of this is due to having 10 non-conference games.

First, let's assume that the NCHC isn't going to want to have an odd number of teams. So, you have to add two more teams giving the NCHC 10 teams. Now, there's a problem to this. You would then lose the number of non-conference games that you can play in, because you would to add conference games.
David McCoy, CBS Minneapolis --- Two of Minnesota’s men’s college hockey teams will soon be playing conference games in the desert.

But it won’t be the Gophers.

Arizona State, which played its inaugural season of Division I men’s hockey this past season and is in the process of choosing a conference, is getting closer to that decision. Two sources told WCCO that the Big Ten is no longer in the running to add the Sun Devils, and that the choice is now between the Western Collegiate Hockey Association or the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

A decision from Arizona State is expected within the next two months, a source said, with the Sun Devils officially joining a conference in either 2017-18 or 2018-19 – most likely the latter.
Another concern, right now all of the teams in the NCAA are on equal footing. ASU is a big-time school, there's a very good possibility they'd want to dictate terms. If I was the commissioner of the NCHC, I would take a pass on the Sun Devils.

Monday, April 25, 2016

U18 Worlds: Why Didn't More People Attend?

The big joke for the last 10 days has been the attendance numbers for the IIHF Under-18 World Championships. Let's say, the event wasn't well attended. In other words, the U18's looked more like a Big Ten Hockey Championship tourney. Very few hockey fans showed up to watch some of the best 17-year-old hockey players in the World.

Today, people are asking why didn't more fans attend IIHF U18 World Championships at the Ralph Englestad Arena? There are a number of reasons for this.

First, in my opinion, the ticket prices were too high. Especially in today's economy. Also, there was a long playoff run by the home team. I can imagine that the fans spent a lot of money on the Midwest Regionals and the Frozen Four. I wonder if the fans are saving their money and looking forward to summer and other things. Don't forget, UND hockey season ticket renewals come out very soon, those aren't cheap either.

Second, the food prices were way too high. In the Lamp Lighter Lounge, I saw extreme nachos for $10.00. That's three dollars too much. I took a look at their buffet and there's no way it was worth $10.00.

Think about it, there was a single UND recruit in the tourney, Tyson Jost, who set team Canada's record for points, was amazing during the tourney.  UND is lucky to be getting him. From talking to other fans, I don't think they were interested in watching other team's recruits.

As for the Canadians not attending the U18's, there are probably a couple of reasons. I have a theory. The World Juniors is their measuring stick games. A lot of Team Canada's best players are playing in the CHL playoffs, so this might not be the best Canadian U18 team. I've heard this argument before, and I think there's some merit to it.  Maybe, Canadians just aren't into the U18 World Championship. Something to consider.

To add on that point, why should they come to Grand Forks, all of the games are on TSN. They don't need to travel to watch the games. The exchange rate is a bit low, too. The same could apply to the low attendance numbers by USA fans. All of the games were on the NHL Network. Most of us get that channel.

It's my opinion, that if they had lowered the ticket prices from the start, maybe more people would have come to the games. It's just a thought.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Duluth Recruit Joey Anderson Scores for Team USA

The University of Minnesota Bulldogs are getting a very good player in Joey Anderson. He's not afraid to go to the blue paint.

Coyle hit on Demers; Did Demers Embellish?

Minnesota Wild forward Charlie Coyle appears to hit Dallas Stars defenseman Jason Demers up high. While it looks like Coyle might have caught him a bit, it also appears that Demers embellished this call greatly. I would give Demers an Academy Award, too.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

T.J. Oshie Scores Against Flyers and Former Coach

Former Fighting Sioux All-American T.J. Oshie scored his first goal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against his former coach's team. Love the expression of Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

What's the Hurry?

Last week, some unknown writer for the Spectrum took to the blogosphere to chastise UND fans for chanting “Sioux Forever” and “Let’s Go Sioux.” In his defense, Vastlane (yeah, I never heard of it either) decided to enjoy Mr. Lipp’s 15 minutes of fame. Now as these two individuals take a victory lap  I thought I would chime in. Nice to see this person hit all of the talking points.
It is my opinion that the disjointed nickname and logo process is a huge culprit to blame for the continued rallying behind Fighting Sioux moniker. The public voting process disenfranchised huge sections of the populous participating because they felt like their views and wishes were ignored. The responses of the members of the public after the votes were held?

“I think the nickname they chose is stupid because it isn’t the one I chose; I’m still a Sioux.”

UND students, alumni, and supporters rallied behind the only thing they knew up until that point, the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo. If a new nickname and logo had been introduced within the first calendar year of the announced transition I doubt we would even be having this conversation today. The ironic part about all of this is the fact UND students, alumni, and supporters feel as if they have been stripped of their identities; when in reality they were hiding behind a banner of institutional racism that has taken the identities of centuries of First Nations people. (Life in the Vastlane)
No matter how you feel about the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo, this discussion would still be taking place today, even if the University of North Dakota had transitioned to a new nickname and logo in 2012. Next!

I have said this since day one. UND sports fans, especially hockey fans aren’t going to immediately transition to the new nickname Fighting Hawks. On the flip side of that. If NDSU’s moniker the Bison was found to be offensive, would hardcore Bison fans immediately accept a new nickname, no, they wouldn’t.

Here are some of the reasons for this. First, there’s isn’t an actual logo for anyone to get behind. Second, you don’t just change 80+ years of history overnight. Transitions like this could take a generation or two, maybe longer. Third, not everyone likes or embraces UND's new, official nickname the Fighting Hawks. In their minds, the Fighting Sioux won the 8th NCAA title. Not the Fighting Hawks. The UND administration doesn't want to alienate a powerful group of people. (If you're wondering, that's like 85 percent of the Ralph on game day.) Telling people to get over it, isn't going to work either.

My question is, what's the hurry? Like I mentioned above, there's no logo associated with the new nickname. If the administration blows the design of the new logo, this could fester for a long time.

Some of UND's programs have embraced the new Fighting Hawks nickname. While other's haven't. I think that was expected as well. Recently, I was scanning some of the tweets from incoming football players. Some of the tweets have said, glad to announce my commitment to the Fighting Hawks. The UND hockey team, not so much..

When Gage Ausmus announce that he was coming back, he said this, "Already looking forward to my senior season @UNDmhockey #Hang9 #RollTribe,"

UND recruit Tyson Jost recently said this in an interview this past week, “I think in the back of my mind I always wanted to be a Fighting Sioux one day. I am here now, so, I am part of the group, can’t wait to get started. I am humbled and proud to be a part of it.”

UND's most noticeable programs still embraces the Fighting Sioux nickname. The national media, including ESPN, still refers to them as the Fighting Sioux. What can you do?

NHL Rule Book Humor

I sent this via text to my buddy the other night, but I think that it's appropriate. It's no mystery that the NHL refs call the games differently during the playoffs than they do during the regular season. The whistles get put away during the overtime periods.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Game-Ending Dust Up: Red Wings Justin Abdelkader Turtles

Detriot Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader was real brave at the end of game two when he was punching Mike Blunden as he laid on his back. At the end of game three, Abdelkader was again out on the ice during a game-ending dustup. Abdelkader should have been suspended during game three escaped the NHL wheel of justice.

This time, Tampa Bay Lightning forward and resident tough guy Brian Boyle came looking to collect. This time, Abdelkader turtled. Luckily for Abdelkader, the ref was able to rescue him before he had his ass handed to him. Fans are already taking to Twitter to show their thoughts on Abdelkader.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Did Justin Abdelkader Cross the Line?

I saw this on the NHL Network last night and wanted to comment. Hockey Fights said this, "Abdelkader received a game misconduct for being the aggressor in an altercation; Blunden a minor for roughing. Michael Blunden did not receive a fighting major."

Punching someone as they lay on the ice isn't a fair fight. I think the NHL should take a serious look at Abdelkader's actions. I am all for settling things on the ice, this goes beyond that. Sean Gentille from the Sporting News has an interesting take on this matter.
Justin Abdelkader could probably be suspended. You shouldn't drop MMA-style fists and elbows on a guy when he's on his back, like Mike Blunden was on Friday night
In my opinion, this breaks the hockey code. I know, according to some, there's no longer a hockey code. If you want to fight a guy challenge him to a fight and get after it. However, hitting him while he lays in a defenseless position. Did Abdelkader cross the line? Should he be suspended? According to the Detroit's MLive , he's expected to play.

Friday, April 15, 2016

NDSU Student Embarrassed by UND Hockey Team

Someone posted this story on Sioux Sports and if you want a good laugh,  you should read this article. However, seriously, you can't re-write history. I have no idea who John Lipp is? Other than he's a student from Moo U that writes for their student newspaper. He had this wonderful piece in yesterday's NDSU's The Spectrum online version.
That being said, I am thoroughly disappointed in the way North Dakota was represented on the national stage.

Issue one: the persistence of cheering for the Fighting Sioux. It is embarrassing to see a mascot, perceived by many to be racially insensitive at best, so emphatically championed during one of our state’s brief moments in the spotlight.

It was 16 years ago that a collection of faculty representing UND’s Indian Related Programs wrote the nickname was perceived as “promoting the oppression of Native people, and placing UND at great risk for practicing and promoting state-supported, institutionalized racism.”

Furthermore, you do us no favors with hashtags like #RollTribe, as any diversity scholar worth his or her salt can describe the racially and stereotypically-charged history of that word. And no matter how desperately you claim to be honoring the native peoples of this land, the reality is that you care more about a college mascot than the people it purportedly represents.
Where to begin? When the NDSU Football team won their fifth FCS NCAA football championship, the first thing their fans did was yell Sioux Sux. The chant was heard on national television. Seriously, that's more embarrassing than UND fans chanting "Let's Go Sioux" or "Sioux Forever". Guess what? No one thought about the Bison after #raising8. No one started the "F#*k the Bison" chant.

So, UND fans yelling Sioux at a sporting event embarrasses the state more than NDSU Bison athletes' voter registration fraud scandal? Or how about the NDSU athletes stealing from Best Buy? Even better, how about football players getting into a fight downtown Fargo, in the middle of the night? I know, I know, that guy started the fight, right? The story still made the national news.

He who lives in a glass house, shouldn't cast stones.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

My NHL Bracket

During the NCAA hockey tourney, I didn’t pick a bracket, and UND went on to win the Frozen Four and an eighth NCAA title. This season, I thought I would stay out of the prediction business.

During the NCAA playoffs, Grand Forks Herald hockey beat writer Brad Elliott Schlossman, had the famous coin. I should have borrowed it from him to make my SCP picks. That being said, for my NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, I used no coin. I have decided that this will be the year of the Washington Capitals.

Now, I know I shouldn’t pick against the Flyers and wouldn’t it be fitting if Dave Hakstol’s team won the Stanley Cup the first year he coached them. Unfortunately, the Capitals are loaded and they will be this season’s Stanley Cup champion.