Showing posts with label Broadmoor Trophy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Broadmoor Trophy. Show all posts

Sunday, March 31, 2013

UND Hockey: What Happened, day 2

Today, I have been thinking about this past season that ended at the West Region in Grand Rapids, Michigan with a 4-1 loss to Yale.

Like I mentioned in another article, this is most wonderful time of the year. It’s also very stressful. There is a finality, which surrounds the college hockey tourney. Seasons and careers end, with losses in the National tourney.
There are college players that will sit in the locker room with their jersey still on hours after a loss, and not want to take off their jersey, for the last time.
I like many others UND fans are trying to find answers, a day after UND’s season ended for a 13th year in a row without winning an NCAA title.  Many in the UND fan base are getting restless.
Monitoring the twitterverse last night was interesting.
When that first national title finally comes, and I believe it’s a matter of time before that first one comes, that second one might not take as long to replicate.
After watching our favorite team get beat at their own game, by a gritty, hungrier Yale team, I don’t know if there are any short, quick answers.
Hockey is a funny game and things don’t always play out the way that you think that they should. If you would have told me that B.C. would have gotten beaten the past weekend by Union, I would have told you that you were nuts.
Think about this, UMass-Lowell, Saint Cloud State, Yale and Quinnipiac are going to the Frozen Four. Yale and Saint Cloud State barely made the NCAA tourney. I am pretty sure that there aren’t many people that predicted that bracket. If there is, I am that person picking my lottery numbers as well, because I have a new retirement plan.
Some might point their fingers at the season schedule, which was the 12th toughest in the country, and say that the physical grind finally caught up with them and took it’s toll on them. I don’t know, maybe. The new NCHC isn’t going to be much better, if anything it’s going to be worse.
I do, find it interesting that some want to throw a head coach under the bus that has never had a losing season in nine years as head coach and has a record of 235-119-37 (.648).  Sure, this season record of 22-13-7 (.607) is the worst of Hakstol’s nine seasons, but let’s put things into perspective.
While UND night not have won an NCAA title, the season wasn’t a total loss, UND did make the NCAA tourney for the 11th straight season in a row, that’s the longest current NCAA streak. Also, UND again, had home ice for the WCHA playoffs and advanced to the WCHA Final Five, where it has a chance to win a fourth straight Broadmoor Trophy.  This time falling short, in their bid for a fourth straight, after the quarter final game, senior forward Danny Kristo said, “I have never felt like this before,” Kristo continued. “Obviously we won the last three. That was our goal coming in this year. Obviously, we wanted to four peat, or what not. You just go day-by-day. I thought we took about 20 minutes off there, between the second and third period and kind of got lulled to sleep, maybe we deserved to win the game, but we didn’t play to our potential, so at this time of the year you’re not going to win games. You can’t leave the game to a bounce of the puck.”
Looking back on that statement, we didn’t play to our potential, it kind of explains UND 2012-13 season, and they just didn’t, for whatever reason fire on all cylinders. For whatever reason, UND didn’t get any puck luck, and if four of five of Rocco Grimaldis pipes or crossbars goes in, UND might win a couple of more games over the course of a season.
The UND hockey teams also kind of fell asleep for periods of games and never really put together a string of games where they played really good after the Christmas break. For the first time a Dave Hakstol team didn’t go on the patented second half run, they played at a (.583) clip and yet they almost won the league title.
Lastly, UND made the NCAA West regional final before bowing out to Yale, but in the end they just didn’t seem to have it, when they needed to.
Traditionally Hakstol’s teams have been known for being a bear to play against after the first of the year going an impressive 95-30-13 went 9-5-2 (.625). Again, that’s not a bad record.
What I am trying to say here, is the man is a good hockey coach, no matter how you slice it.
This team was not your usual UND hockey team, they were more of a finesse team built for speed and the big ice and wasn’t built to blow a team out of the building like years past. This takes some getting used to from a fans perspective.
Down the stretch, at times it looked like teams were beating UND at its own game. They were beating UND by being tough to play against and limiting their time-and-space and capitalizing off of their turnovers.
Also, the game is changing and the on ice officials aren’t allowing the big hits anymore as we have seen with Andrew MacWilliam being assessed two major penalties, for what appears to be two legal shoulder-to-shoulder hits.
Looking at this year’s roster, there isn’t as many of the physical type players that UND has had in years past, that are going to check you out of the building.
What I am trying to say, is that I think that UND hockey is evolving and might have experienced some growing pains this season. This is just from what I have seen from covering the team this year.
Finally, the 2012-13 UND hockey team was a pleasure to cover and I will miss this year’s senior class. All of them are character people and amazing young men and I think that all of them will be successful in whatever they do in life.
 Cross-posted at the Hockey Writers Combine

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Wisconsin Badgers falling on tough times at the gate

English: Wisconsin Badgers men's ice hockey pr...
English: Wisconsin Badgers men's ice hockey pregame huddle in a game against Boston University on October 8, 2010 at the 2010 Warrior Ice Breaker Tournament. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In years past, the Wisconsin Badgers hockey team have been the pace setter for attendance numbers in division I college hockey and in the WCHA.
They have the biggest building and they’ve packed it to the roof with rabid screaming fans. The Kohl Center used to be one of the most intimidating places to play in all of college hockey.
Now the Kohl center has become friendlier for the opposition teams.
This season, the Kohl season has been known more for the dwindling crowds and unimpressive showings by the home team. Currently, the Badgers have a 7-7-3 record on home ice.
The Badgers didn’t win a game at home until the December 13, 2012, when they beat lowly Huntsville 5-0.
On the road the Badgers have an impressive 6-2-4 record.
That reign as the national attendance leaders will come to an end this season, North Dakota leads the nation in attendance with 187,397 through 16 dates for an average of 11,712 per game.
If you have noticed, the Wisconsin Badgers hockey team is experiencing a decline in attendance numbers for couple of years now.  Andy Johnson from Bucky’s Fifth Quarter wrote an article about this recently.
If you watched the Badgers last two games on television, you would have noticed a lot of fans posing as empty red seats.  The Badgers aren’t packing them in like they used to.
Each year, since the 2009-10 season, the Wisconsin Badgers have been the leaders in attendance for Division I college hockey.  Since the 2010-11 season, those numbers have been in decline. There are some in the Wisconsin fan base that are already starting to point the finger. Some of the blame is landing on the shoulders of head coach Mike Eaves.
There could be some factors that are playing into this? You have to wonder, if the Badgers last series being on Sunday-Monday also figured into the poor showing, at least for this past week.  There was also a series against Huntsville earlier this season that only drew 17,011 for two games when the arena seats 15,209 for a hockey game according to the Kohl Center web site.
According to Andy Baggot of the, there are going to be more of these odd ball non-traditional series on Sunday-Monday, but they’re certainly not going to be the norm.
Who is to blame for not the Badgers not filling the Kohl Center?
I suppose you “could” blame the economy, let’s face facts we are in an economic decline as a nation. People don’t have as much disposable income as they used to.
Barring a heroic late season run through the WCHA playoffs, culminating with a Broadmoor Trophy, the Wisconsin Badgers are probably going to miss the NCAA playoffs for the third season in a row and the fifth time in the last seven seasons. The Badgers put themselves in a tough spot starting the season off going 1-7-3 before going on an amazing run of 13-4-4.
Then there is the elephant sitting it the room. Maybe it’s the fact that no one really wants to watch the product on the ice. Not with that style of play.
But let’s be frank, who really wants to watch the Wisconsin Badgers hockey team play hockey? The casual hockey fan might not.
While I am not a fan of the team per-see, I am hardly a casual hockey fan, I tried to watch the Badgers play the other night and I found the product on the ice to be unwatchable. Honestly, I couldn’t watch them play; it was an absolutely brutal hockey game. I literally turned the game off and rented the movie Skyfall on DirecTV instead of watching college hockey. I have to admit, that doesn’t happen very often at my house. Hockey is on from the first week in October to the last face off of the Stanley Cup Finals.
I know some in Badger nation are going to be mad at me, but I am going to call it like it is.
If you want to watch a hockey team that is sound defensively, that is bookended by two great goaltenders the Wisconsin Badgers are your team.
Don’t count on the Badgers to score a lot of goals. This isn’t the 2005-06 team that won the National Championship that had two forwards with 50 or more points and two players that scored 20 or more goals. This is a team that is starved for offense, that’s going to try to slow things down and clog up the neutral zone.
The Badgers are ranked 50 out of 59 teams for offense nationally. In their 11 loses they have scored 17 goals that’s an average of 1.54 goals per game. In my opinion, the best way to beat the Badgers is to get an early lead because they’re offensively challenged.
Mike Eaves has been the Badgers head coach since the 2000-03 season and he has compiled a respectable record of 223-167-51 (.563) in eleven seasons at Wisconsin. But after eleven seasons, there are some in the Wisconsin fan base that would like to see Eaves shown the door.
During Eave’s tenure, Wisconsin hasn’t won a Broadmoor Trophy (1997- 1998) or a McNaughton Cup (1999-2000).  However, Eaves’ teams have done well in the national tourney, when they have gotten there, as the Badgers won an NCAA title in 2005-06 and were the Runner up in 2009-10.
If the Badgers don’t win some game next year, make the NCAA tourney and start playing a more exciting brand of hockey they’re going to risk alienating their fan base. That being said, I am thankful that I am not their audience, because If I had to watch their on ice product on a regular basis I would be frustrated and bored with it. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the future.
Here are the Badgers Attendance numbers for the last six seasons, incase you wanted to see the numbers.
17 games — 2012-13   171,966—10,116
20 games — 2011-12   235,458—11,773
22 games — 2010-11   290,970—13,226
21 games — 2009-10   316,014—15,048
22 games — 2008-09   303,261—13,785
18 games — 2007-08    242,184—13,455

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Don't forget to vote in the Greatest Sioux Jersey Tournament

The Greatest Sioux Jersey Tournament being held by the Sioux Jersey Blog has now narrowed the field from 16 to 8. Go to the Sioux Jersey Blog and click on the link to go vote for your favorite Fighting Sioux Jersey. [Click to vote]

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