Showing posts with label Don Lucia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Don Lucia. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Hearld Letter to the Editor: Union, Yale share key trait: Coaches who deliver

 If you haven't read the Grand Forks Herald, this letter to the editor is worth a look. So a Herald Reader wants us to take a look one row back.

If anything, this was probably Dave Hakstol's beat coaching job so far to date. Yeah, I would hate to disappoint this letter writer, but Don Lucia and Dave Hakstol aren't going anywhere. #firehakstol #firelucia
WARREN, Minn. — The past two NCAA hockey champions have been fun to watch. Both Union College, this year, and Yale University the previous year captured the essence of collegiate athletics, in that neither give out athletic scholarships but both still rose to the pinnacle of an NCAA sport.

UND and the University of Minnesota Gophers should also be commended for their fine efforts in reaching the Frozen Four. The expectations for those two schools should be high, in that they are among the elite in resources, both financial and facilities in the collegiate hockey world. Union plays in an arena that seats just over 2,000 fans.

Both Union and Yale had lesser talent, if the number of NHL draftees on their roster is considered. But as ESPN’s lead hockey analyst Barry Melrose pointed out — and I do respect his knowledge of hockey — you could see plays develop and players executing a plan.

The announcers talked in this tournament about the fine traditions of both UND and the Gophers, which is true with many titles in their past. But what brought both Union and Yale to the epitome of the college hockey world was behind the bench. Don Lucia, head coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers, last won a title about 11 years ago; but from what I read, there is some pressure developing on him, as the expectations in Dinkytown are high — plus, he now has an athletic director who demands accountability. In Grand Forks, the current regime has yet to win a national championship.

You can only ride the tradition mantra so long. In my mind, part of tradition can be equated to longevity. In that regard, the Chicago Cubs have a fine and long baseball tradition; but not so in championships.

Given the “tradition” but more importantly the resources available, fans of the Gophers and UND should expect more than mere winning records. I commend the players of both teams; their effort cannot be questioned. I look one row back.
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Blast from the past: UND vs UMN



Who can forget this goal. Rastislav Spirko shorthanded goal against the Gophers.
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Sunday, April 06, 2014

Open Thread: Behind enemy lines, UND vs. UMN


"It's a national semifinal," Minnesota coach Don Lucia. "Who you play is not as important as playing well.

"I'm sure fans will enjoy it. They've been a big rival over the years. For me personally, I don't care if we're playing North Dakota or (whomever). The challenge is to beat a good opponent on Thursday. That's where your focus is. We're not going to get all amped up just because we're playing North Dakota. It's (whomever), the next in line in our path."
Tim Leighton from the Pioneer Press has a really good read from the Minnesota angle on this week's matchup between Minnesota and North Dakota. It's worth taking a look at. Compare and contrast the two quotes. Leighton also quotes former North Dakota alum Craig Perry. I thought that was interesting, since he hasn't played at UND for a very long time.
"The only thing that could make the rivalry even better is if we were playing each other for the national championship," Gophers junior forward Kyle Rau said. "That would be totally cool and awesome."


Monday, March 31, 2014

UMN vs. UND (throwing out a few numbers)

The University of North Dakota (25-13-3) meets the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers (27-6-6) in the 2014 NCAA Frozen Four semifinal game.

Date: April 10 2014, at 7:30 p.m.


Location: Wells Fargo Center Philadelphia, Pa.

Breaking down the historic series: The two teams haven’t met on the ice this season. Minnesota had a 1-0-1 record against North Dakota last season.  Minnesota is 6-3-1 in the last 10 games against North Dakota. In his 10 seasons, UND head coach Dave Hakstol has a 17-14-4 record against Don Lucia’s Golden Gophers. All-time playoff record against Minnesota: UND has a 22-19 record against Minnesota in the NCAA and WCHA playoffs.


Common opponents: UND (6-4-1), UMN (7-3-0)

UND vs. Bemidji State 1-0-1, Minnesota-Duluth 3-1-0, SCSU 1-3-0, Wisconsin 1-0-0

UMN vs. Bemidji State 2-0-0, Minnesota-Duluth 1-1-0, SCSU 2-0-0, Wisconsin 2-2-0

There is some discrepancy in the records

According the Minnesota: Minnesota leads the all-time series 145-130-15

According to North Dakota: Minnesota leads the all-time series 130-138-15

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Monday, January 13, 2014

B1G Hockey: Sam Warning interference call



Another call from the bad call department. Actually, this is a brutal call by the B1G officials. Minnesota forward Sam Warning is rammed into the Penn State goalie Eamon McAdam. I don't know how Warning could have avoided contact with the goalie. I would have penalized the McAdam for punching Warning with his blocker. Pretty obvious to see why Lucia was upset with this call.
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Monday, April 08, 2013

Wow! Things have gotten bad in Minnesota

On occasion, I will visit the Gopher Puck Live webpage for a good laugh, and today I got a good laugh. Apparently, this picture was in one of the posts, of a thread titled Gophers Off-Season 2013. From reading the message board, I gleaned that Hammy of GPL podcast fame, is upset that Former Notre Dame Alumnus and current head coach Don Lucia would dare wear a Fighting Irish Jersey to his son’s hockey game.  
You coach another team...

You recruit against this team whose jersey you are wearing...

What the hell are you doing?


I understand family comes first in life but wearing the colors/jersey of another team while employed by a competing program is disloyal to our fans IMO. That annoys me.
Like I have said in the past, I am not an apologist for the Minnesota Gophers coaching staff, but this is kind of petty, and family does comes first, especially when your teams season is over.
Having been to a few post game pressers, these hockey coaches are under a lot of pressure and put their heart and souls into their seasons. I am not going to fault a guy for taking a minute to enjoy his son’s hockey game.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

One step back, before we move forward (UND vs. UMN)

Goldy Gopher, University of Minnesota-Twin Cit...
Goldy Gopher, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities mascot. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This is the big story that is making it’s way around Twitter this afternoon. From the looks of it, Minnesota Gophers beat writer Roman Augustoviz must have listened to Gophers head coach Don Lucia on WCCO radio last night. So, after a great weekend of hockey and after being asked about the rivalry probably hundreds of times, I guess he’s tired of being asked about the rivalry.
Roman Empire — Gophers coach Don Lucia used his weekly radio show on Monday to defend himself from critics complaining that North Dakota won’t be on the U’s schedule the next three seasons.
“We have a rule at the University of Minnesota — not put in by me — but by the regents that we can not play a team with an Indian nickname,” Lucia said. “And for years, this controversy with North Dakota and the nickname has been going on. And it has been fought in the courts and everything else.
“And it did not get settled until this summer. Well — if you want to put the blame on me for not waiting to find out whether it was going to get settled or not, then so be it. I can accept that fact.
“I wasn’t going to wait. When the conferences all broke up a couple of years ago. And we were heading into all these new conferences, it was kind of a frenzy and free-for-all for scheduling nonconference games. And when we had the opportunity to schedule some good opponents — I could have waited, but I chose not to wait. But I wanted to ensure we had a good schedule for our fans and our team.”
Whether you believe their company line or not, that’s up to you. It is what it is. This is what the Gophers head coach is saying, and he’s sticking to it. Hey whatever, we could discuss this till we are blue in the face if we want, but Lucia isn’t giving in. That being said, I can tell you that many in the UND fan-base are cynical. If you read some of the newspaper articles and hockey sites from this past weekend, you will see that not everyone was buying into this either. [click to view] and [click to view]
But I digress.
I have to admit that I am sad that this past weekend was the last regular season conference match-up between the two teams, maybe for some time. Such is life. Life is full of disappointments. I do think some fans are a bit delusional if they think that they can just replace the historic UND vs. UMN series with another random series against another hockey team and get the same intensity that this historic series has.
While there are currently no future games scheduled between the two teams, at least in the immediate future, there’s a very good chance that the two teams could meet again in the NCAA Playoffs. History tells us that there is a very good chance the two teams will see each other again, probably in the next year or two. Both teams have a history, and have met three times in the last eight years in the NCAA tourney, with UND holding a 2-1 edge.
It’s also a shame that a once great hockey conference is going to be a shell of it’s former self starting next season, but that is really something we can no longer control as well. These types of decisions are made by the folks that are paid big money to make these kinds of decisions, and they don’t always do what the fans want.
Finally, I also think that the players are going to miss this historic series as well. If  you don’t believe me, all you have to do is look at the comments from Gopher forward Nate Condon who was named WCHA Offensive Player of the week after he had a five point (2g-3a—5pts) weekend against UND.
I guess for now, the series will have to wait, and all we can do is hope that cooler heads prevail. I think eventually the rivalry will resume play, sooner rather than later.

Originally posted at the Hockey Writers - Combine.
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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Tom Miller nails it UND vs. UMN

North Dakota highway shield
North Dakota highway shield (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you haven't read the Grand Forks Herald on-line newspaper you should head on over and check out Tom Miller's article about the UND vs. UMN Hockey rivalry. I guess not everyone is gobbling up what Minnesota coach Don Lucia is shoveling.
“(The atmosphere) was good all weekend,” Lucia said. “Our fans get pumped for big games. Boston College and Notre Dame were great atmospheres, too.”

Seriously, Don? Give it up. Clearly, there is no replacing the UND-Minnesota rivalry. No other matchup will hold a candle to North Dakota-Minnesota. The fans know it. The players know it. In fact, everyone seems to know it but Lucia.
All weekend long you have ex-players on both sides of the ice talking about the rivalry and how great it is. Former Gopher and Sioux players going on and on about how great the rivalry, then you have Donny Lucia giving his petty reasons why the rivalry is taking a break. Give it up Donny.
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lucia on the Gophers future schedules

English: Big Ten Conference logo since 2010.
English: Big Ten Conference logo since 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There has been a lot of discussion on the Gophers future hockey schedules with their move to the Big Ten and why they're not playing one team and then playing maybe another team. Here is a quote from Michael Russo's blog today.
Some Don Lucia quotes:

On future schedule? “We have a four-year deal with Northeastern and Boston College [starting next year], so it’s something I want to continue to do – at least every year get out to the east coast. Right now, we’ll have our 20 Big Ten ames, our eight in-state games – that’s 28, we’ll have our tournament, that’s 30, so that’ll leave us four games a year. Right now we’re locked in with Notre Dame, B.C. and Northeastern, and when that drops off, we’ll get North Dakota back on when Notre Dame drops off. When B.C. drops off, that’ll free up another opportunity to go at East to play somebody every other year back and forth. The plan is to try to get out to the east coast every other year.”
Thoughts? Comments? It will be nice to see the rivalry return in four years hopefully.
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Monday, September 24, 2012

UND 4th in USA Today poll.

USA TODAY PRESEASON POLL              Final record 2011-12                                             

1 Boston College, 476 (20)                    1                 33-10-1
1 Minnesota, 476 (12)                             4                  28-14-1
3 Michigan, 408 (2)                                  7                  24-13-4
4 University of North Dakota, 407         6                  26-13-3
5 Union College, 295                              3                  26-8-7
6 Cornell, 233                                         13                  19-9-7
7 UMass-Lowell, 221                               9                 24-13-1 1
8 University of Denver, 220                      8                 25-14-4 1
9 Miami University, 203                          10                 24-15-2 1
10 University of Notre Dame, 186       NR                19-18-3 1
11 Western Michigan University, 182   14                21-14-6 1
12 Minnesota Duluth, 176                        5                25-10-6 1
13 Boston University, 158                       11                23-15-1 1
14 Ferris State, 123                                   2                 26-12-5 1
15 Wisconsin, 99                                    NR                17-18-2 1


I got a chuckle out of Roman Augustoviz blog post today – apparently Chris Dilks struck a nerve with Roman and he took issue with what Chris said on his blog Western College Hockey.

I actually agree with both men – I agree that preseason polls are meaningless – hockey is settled on the ice and not on paper. The reason I say that is, rewind to last season when UND was ranked very high to start the season last year and UND was a very young team that struggled at first to find their identity and didn’t really play up to their rankings until probably about the middle half of the season and then they actually ascended back to the top half of the rankings at the end of the season.

Based on who Minnesota brings back – the Gophers “should” be pretty good. There is one major unknown facing the Gophers this season – the Gophers have no experience at the goalie position to start the season – that in my opinion is a major factor and that could play out many ways for the Gophers. That being said, their team is pretty decent and has some depth through the forward lines “if” they stay healthy and don't have any more of their players suffer season ending injuries.
Chris Dilks, who writes for the Western College Hockey Blog, is skeptical about the Gophers' high ratings: "I guess unlike me, pollsters didn't have to search through last year's Frozen Four photos for a good Minnesota pic, only to be reminded of how just badly BC obliterated them."

That was then, this is now, Mr. Dilks. I didn't have a vote in the USA Today poll but, if I had, the Gophers would have gotten my vote for No. 1. Who has more returning talent than the Gophers, sir?

The only question mark with the 'U' is in goal. Otherwise, their defense is ridiculously deep, with two talented freshmen joining the mix, and coach Don Lucia should be able to put together two high-scoring lines.

Boston College will play the Gophers in one of the first-day games of the Mariucci Classic which is held during the holidays.
I also think that there are a few teams in this poll that won’t be there at the end of the season. If history repeats it’s self-there will be a couple of team in the season opening poll that will under achieve or not meet expectations and will end up having a season to forget. There will also be teams that no one expected to do well this season that will end up surprising the college hockey world. That's why they play the games.
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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Controversial non call in St Cloud


While I was at the Sioux game versus the Badgers, and my twitter blew up and this the goal by the Huskies was the play that set the Gopher fans off.

So did the refs blow the call? Is this indicative of WCHA officiating? It looks like Nate Condon was hacked and pulled down causing an opportunity going the other way and Ben Hanowski scores on Patterson.

Here is what the Star Tribune had to say on the matter.

Even so, the Huskies scored the only goal of the first period. One second Nate Condon had a near breakaway for the Gophers before being separated from the puck.

The next, SCSU had an odd-man rush that ended with Ben Hanowski sliding the puck underneath Gophers goalie Kent Patterson.

Gophers coach Don Lucia chewed out the referee who dared skate over to the visitors' bench. Lucia wanted a hooking call on Condon's rush.
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Monday, December 26, 2011

No big shock here - Hudson Fasching commits to the Golden Rodents

English: Logo for the University of MinnesotaImage via WikipediaAccording to the Roman Empire highly touted recruit Hudson Fasching has committed to the Golden Gophers, this should not be a big shock to anyone because Fasching is very close to his family and has two younger sibling are sick with a rare cell disorder.
Roman Empire --- Shortly before noon, Hudson Fasching tweeted the words Gophers coach Don Lucia and his staff wanted to hear or read: "Committed to the Minnesota Golden Gophers."

Fasching, 16, plays for the under-17 U.S. national team in Ann Arbor, Mich. He is 6-3, 190 and was a highly coveted forward.

He has two goals and four assists in 14 USHL games this season. Fasching, who lives in Burnsville, was one of the top players on the Apple Valley High School team until deciding to join the national program last fall..
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Will the Gophers want to duck the Sioux?

A faceoff between the University of North Dako...Image via WikipediaHere is my Thursday afternoon discussion; I have been thinking about this subject and I am throwing out there for discussion purposes. I decided to expound on the subject after seeing the story linked below from yesterday's St. Cloud Times.

I do believe that the Minnesota Golden Gophers hockey team is going to want to play the UND Fighting Sioux on a regular basis for financial reasons, it's advantageous to both programs to continue the storied rivalry, next to the Badgers, the UND Fighting Sioux are one of the top rivals of the Minnesota Golden Gopher's, it's a fact. Before you throw the Fighting Sioux nickname out there, the nick name issue will be resolved before the NCHC conference plays it's first game (just a prediction, UND is not going to give up a chance to pay in the Big Sky Conference). I don't care what the so called self described experts say, (I am sure we know who these people are), UMN needs UND too. Let's not kid ourselves, UND is going to sell more tickets than a match up against OSU, MSU-M and or SCSU.
Mick Hatton; Saint Cloud Times --- The University of Minnesota men’s hockey team is in preliminary discussions with St. Cloud State, Bemidji State and Minnesota State-Mankato about playing nonconference games and a tournament both on an annual basis, according to Gophers coach Don Lucia.

Lucia said he has talked with Huskies coach Bob Motzko, Beavers coach Tom Serratore and Mavericks coach Troy Jutting about the Gophers playing games against their programs beginning in 2013-14, which is the first season that the Gophers and Wisconsin leave the Western Collegiate Hockey Association for the Big Ten Conference.

Lucia also said that he plans to talk with Minnesota-Duluth coach Scott Sandelin about the same arrangement with the Bulldogs, who also leave the WCHA after the 2012-13 season and will join the newly formed National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

“We have 14 nonleague games to work with and our goal is to play those (four) teams every year,” Lucia said. “It would be good for our program, all the other programs and for the state of Minnesota.

“I think it’s a win-win for everyone, for our fans and the proximity of playing each other. We should continue playing each other.”
So when the nickname issue is worked out do you think the Gophers and Sioux will play on a "semi-regular" basis? I do, because it's beneficial to both parties.
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Gophers want to play state teams

Stomper, Minnesota State University - mascotImage via WikipediaIt will be interesting to see what kind of arrangements these various teams will come up with as we get closer to the 2013-2014 season. I would imagine that other teams will have simular tourneys and arrangements. It will also be a good way to schedule nonconference games and spread the wealth around.
Mick Hatten; St Cloud Times --- The University of Minnesota men’s hockey team is in preliminary discussions with St. Cloud State, Bemidji State and Minnesota State-Mankato about playing nonconference games and a tournament both on an annual basis, according to Gophers coach Don Lucia.

Lucia said he has talked with Huskies coach Bob Motzko, Beavers coach Tom Serratore and Mavericks coach Troy Jutting about the Gophers playing games against their programs beginning in 2013-14, which is the first season that the Gophers and Wisconsin leave the Western Collegiate Hockey Association for the Big Ten Conference.

Lucia also said that he plans to talk with Minnesota-Duluth coach Scott Sandelin about the same arrangement with the Bulldogs, who also leave the WCHA after the 2012-13 season and will join the newly formed National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

“We have 14 nonleague games to work with and our goal is to play those (four) teams every year,” Lucia said. “It would be good for our program, all the other programs and for the state of Minnesota.
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Guentzel returns to Minnesota...

Colorado College versus the University of Minn...Image via WikipediaOn the day that the NCHA was making their big announcement the University of Minnesota was usurping the less than impressive National Collegiate Hockey Conference press conference to announce they have re-hired Mike Guentzel as Associate Head coach. 
University of Minnesota Press Release --- University of Minnesota men's hockey coach Don Lucia announced today the hiring of Mike Guentzel as Associate Head Coach.

Guentzel, who played defense for Minnesota from 1981-85 and served as an assistant coach for the Gophers from 1994-08, rejoins the Maroon and Gold staff after one year as an assistant coach at Nebraska Omaha during the 2010-11 season. From 2009-10 he was the head coach and general manager of the USHL's Des Moines Buccaneers and he was an assistant coach at Colorado College from 2008-09.

"I wanted to hire a Minnesota alumnus, someone who could work with the defensemen, and someone familiar with the WCHA," said Lucia. "Mike has all the qualities I was looking for and it was an easy decision. Mike knows the league, Gopher Hockey, and also has a tremendous relationship with Grant Potulny and Justin Johnson. He is also energized and excited to be a part of the transition to the Big Ten."
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Monday, June 27, 2011

It's official John Hill out at UMN

Here is the official announcement. The word on the streets in the Twin Cities newspapers is that former Gophers assistant coach Mike Guentzel will take over for the now departed John Hill. Mike Guentzel was the assistant coach under Dean Blais for the UNO Mavericks last season. From looking at this from the outside this move smacks of desperation of a man trying to save his job, looks like Hill was the fall guy in this scenario.
Official Courtesy: University of Minnesota ----- University of Minnesota men's hockey coach Don Lucia announced today that assistant coach John Hill will not return for the 2011-12 season.
"I appreciate all the hard work John gave to Gopher Hockey," said Lucia. "I wish John nothing but success in the future and thank him for his commitment to Gopher Hockey."

Hill was a member of the Gopher coaching staff since 2005. He was also an assistant coach at Minnesota from 1999-2001 before serving as the head coach at his alma mater Alaska Anchorage from 2001-05.

A search for Hill's replacement will begin immediately.
While I am not really going out on a limb here, you can almost bet there will be more personnel changes in Rodenville if the not so Golden Gophers don’t make the NCAA tourney and Final Five… The unlikable John Hill was probably a scape goat.

Friday, June 24, 2011

John Hill out at UMN - Mike Guentzel back in at UMN.

There is some surprising news surfacing down in Rodentville. It would appear that the powers that be at the University of Minnesota have finally seen enough of John Hill’s antics; I am surprised Hill stayed on as long as he did. Seriously folks when Mike Guentzel left the University of Minnesota after the 2007 – 2008 season, I was shocked that the Gophers parted ways with a great coach like Guentzel and kept John Hill.

Jeff Oftos of Gopher Puck Live is reporting that Minnesota Golden Gopher assistant hockey coach John Hill is out as assistant coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers and former Minnesota Assistant hockey coach Mike Guentzel is back in for the Minnesota Golden Gophers. I have found in the past that Gopher Puck Live is in tune and spot on in most of their predictions and stories so I have no reason to doubt it.

Had anyone out there predicted this scenario unfolding?

While no official announcement has been made, several sources, including @hammyhockey and @quickfacts via Twitter have reported a somewhat surprising change on the Gopher hockey staff. It appears as though Coach John Hill will not return for the 2011 – 2012 season, and a familiar face will be back in.

The first piece of this news is not surprising. For at least a couple of seasons now, there have been a lot of rumblings about what effectiveness Coach Hill was having on the team. Due to the theories that there was nobody on staff with any true defensive coaching experience, the team was losing some players early to the pro ranks and even losing out on some higher profile recruits, Coach Hill took the brunt of the blame not directly fired at Lucia.


Mike Guentzel In?
The surprise is coming in the return of former Gopher defenseman, captain and (long-time) assistant coach Mike Guentzel. Rumored to have been let-go by Coach Lucia after the 2007 – 2008 season, most figured the only way Guentzel would have returned was either as a head coach or with a different head coach/staff altogether.

Long known for his loyalty to the ‘M’, Guentzel, of course, the staunch assistant coach from 1994 – 2008 returns to, assumingly, take the reigns of a defense that has struggled in one aspect or another from time to time since he left. Be it puck movement on the power play, or tying up defenders in front of their own net, this is an area that should improve now that Guentzel is back.
First I want to preface this with; I don’t know John Hill nor do I have any idea what kind of person John Hill is in person, however, in what I have witnessed as a fan in his role as assistant coach of the University of Minnesota, John Hill comes off as a half cocked buffoon, or as a guy that has one caught in the chamber, especially when he is being interviewed during the Sioux and Gopher series. A few seasons a go when the Gophers were playing the Fighting Sioux, Hill made some puzzling statements on how he hated the Fighting Sioux hockey team. Not something you would expect an assistant coach to say.

To on lookers out side of the UMN hockey program; the fact that Mike Guentzel left the Gophers and John Hill got to stay was a puzzling move to many that I have talked to… I can also remember Johnny Pohl telling Paul Allen on KFAN 1130 that losing assistant coach Mike Guentzel was a major loss for the Gopher hockey program.

Looking back at the results of the last three season, it’s apparent that the loss of Mike Guentzel was a major loss for the Golden Gophers hockey program, the Gophers defense has looked like a bunch of orange road cones or pylons since; as the opposition teams have pretty much skated around the Gophers like a hot knife going through butter. Since Guentzel left the Gopher hockey team the have been mediocre at best going an unimpressive 51-46-15 missing the Final Five the last two years and the NCAA tourney the last three seasons in a row.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Gopher fans are really going to be happy now; Minnesota Gophers AD Joel Maturi, hockey coach Don Lucia talking contract extension

According the Pioneer Press the University of Minnesota is going to give Minnesota Golden Gophers head hockey coach Don Luica a contract extension. That Gopher fans that I know have to be beside themselves after this announcement, when I first saw the link to this article posted on Twitter.com earlier today I thought that it had to be an April Fools type joke but I realized that it was only the 15th of March and that I have half month to go before it’s the first of April.
Minnesota athletics director Joel Maturi is working on a contract extension for Don Lucia, and the men's hockey coach said this afternoon there is no doubt he will sign it.

"I want to be here, and someday when I leave here, I want to leave when it's going good," Lucia said this afternoon. "I want to win another national title; I don't want to just make the Frozen Four. I want to walk away when we're on top, and I want to get that back. That's my goal."

Lucia led the Gophers to back-to-back NCAA titles in 2001-02 and 2002-03 but has struggled to keep pace in a new era of college hockey, one in which top players are lured early to pro hockey by NHL clubs looking to save money.

Minnesota's season ended last weekend with a first-round loss to Alaska Anchorage in the WCHA playoffs, marking the third straight year the Gophers (16-14-6) failed to make the NCAA tournament, and the second straight year they missed the WHCA Final Five, which starts Thursday at Xcel Energy Center.

Maturi and Lucia met Monday and for the first time discussed an extension. Lucia has one year left on his contract.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Maturi: 'I expect Lucia to be back'

It has been interesting watching the implosion 300+ miles to the south east of us in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Gopher hockey fans are in full melt down mode as another team from the University of Minnesota fails to meet the Gopher fans expectations (Tim Brewster's Football, Tuby Smith's Mens Basketball, Don Lucia's Mens Gopher Hockey). It’s not an understatement to say that the Golden Gopher fans have their pitch forks and rakes and they are marching on the University of Minnesota Athletic director’s office.
ROMAN AUGUSTOVIZ, Star Tribune ---- Disgruntled Gophers men's hockey fans who want a coaching change this offseason are probably going to be disappointed.

"I expect Don Lucia to be back," Joel Maturi, the University of Minnesota's athletic director, said Sunday, a day after the Gophers were swept out of the WCHA first-round playoffs by Alaska Anchorage.

Lucia has one year left on his current contract. Next season would be his 13th as the Gophers coach.

"We will talk soon and discuss the future of Gopher hockey," Maturi said. "The most unhappy guy today is Don Lucia. Nobody likes to lose."

After Saturday night's loss, Lucia would not comment on his future.

Eighth-place Alaska Anchorage defeated the Gophers 4-3 on Friday and 2-0 on Saturday, ending their season.

"This is not the place Gophers hockey belongs," Maturi said. "When you look at our program, we've got to find a way to get to the Xcel for the Final Five and not only get to NCAA tournament but to the NCAA championship game."

Under Lucia, the Gophers won back-to-back NCAA championships in 2002 and 2003 and advanced to another Frozen Four in 2005. But the team has struggled in the national tournament since, going 1-2 in three appearances, including a stunning first-round loss to Holy Cross in 2006.

The Gophers, who finished 16-14-6 and in fifth place in the WCHA this season, will miss the Final Five for the second year in a row, the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive year.
I don’t know if anyone has noticed this but the down fall of the Minnesota Gophers hockey team started when Bob Motzko and Mike Guentzel left the program and moved on to other positions. These two coaches were replaced with uber buffoon John Hill, who seems to lack any usable hockey knowledge of how to run a defensive corp, penalty kill or power play. If Lucia is able to keep his position one more season with the Minnesota Gophers it will be interesting to see if the Hill is still with the Gophers in the fall when the 2011-2012 season begins. Personally I think Don Lucia and John Hill are doing a great job in Minnesota and I hope they both stay on next season.

Joel Maturi in the cross hairs of Gopher fans

I think it would be an understatement to say that Minnesota Golden Gopher fans are upset with Minnesota Athletic Director Joel Maturi as well. During Marturi’s reign of terror the University of Minnesota has had more head coaches than most fans could count, just off the top of my head the Gophers have had four football coaches, 1.) Jim Wacker, 2.) Glen Mason, 3.) Tim Brewster and now new head coach 4.) Jerry Kill. The Basketball program has been no better as the University of Minnesota and has had more than a few head coaches come and go as well, 1.) Clem Haskins 2.) Dan Monson and finally current head coach 3.) Tuby Smith. I don’t know if the University of Minnesota can afford to pay for another head coach’s buyout, there is only so much money to go around and the state of Minnesota has a budget deficit. Unless some big time alumni steps up and writes a check for 250,000.00 I think the Gophers are stuck with Don Lucia for another season.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

So is it fashionable to kick Lucia when he is down?

Recently Adam Wodon from the College Hockey News wrote an interesting article about the Minnesota Gophers and their head coach Don Lucia. Lucia has been under a lot of heat lately for his team's play the last two seasons; Gopher fans are unhappy and find their results from the last two seasons, subpar and unacceptable. It’s not much of a stretch to say that many in the Gopher State are ready to grab the pitch forks. While it has become fashionable to pile on Lucia, an Islander blogger was none too impressed with Lucia and or his Gophers hockey program.
The whole thing was stupid, except that it suddenly became trendy to bash Lucia. And when Minnesota failed to make the NCAAs the two following years, after having been powerhouses for so long, people could go back to those comments by Snow and use them as fuel for their own misguided criticisms.

Snow, of course, belied his comments when he drafted Aaron Ness, a player committed to Minnesota, the following summer. Meanwhile, Ness hasn't blossomed yet after two seasons, so this is now Lucia's fault too, apparently. Yet the Islanders aren't rushing out to grab Ness away from Lucia. Why is that? Is it because the Islanders know that if Ness is to develop at all, it will have to be at Minnesota? That would actually be smart on the Islanders' part — but it contradicts the idea that Lucia can't develop him.

Meanwhile, this folly reached a new level when Chris Botta — former Islanders media relations director and now a well-read, well-regarded blogger about the Islanders — wrote a post in March that suggested Ness was looking to get out of Minnesota. In it, Botta wrote that Lucia routinely "bashes" the American Hockey League, and suggested, again, that Ness was looking to get out because Lucia was ruining his career. He wrote that Snow was "publicly ahead of the curve" when it came to Lucia.
[College Hockey News]
In case you hadn't seen it, here is the blog post in question that Adam Wodon is talking about from the New York Islander Blog Point Blank.
Multiple sources tell Point Blank that Ness, who just concluded his sophomore season with the Gophers, is ready to turn pro - if the Islanders want him. A league source said the Islanders have not given up on Ness and hope to strike a low-risk Entry Level contract agreement so the 5-10 defenseman can play in the minor leagues.

A former powerhouse, the Minnesota hockey program has been a shambles the last few years under the direction of coach Don Lucia (yes, Garth Snow was very much publicly ahead of the curve on this one). The Gophers finished this season at 18-19-2.

Ness has regressed under the tutelage of assistant coach John Hill. At one time thought to be a lock for Team USA at the World Junior Championships, the strong-skating Ness did not even make it to the final round of cuts. Islanders prospect Matt Donovan, a fourth round draft pick now with the University of Denver, made the team. In 29 games this season, the offense-minded Ness had just two goals and ten assists.

According to a source close to the Minnesota team, Lucia is known for telling young players of the “horrors” of the minor leagues in an attempt to keep them with the Gophers. Ness’s development has fallen off to the point where the pro ranks are his only option if he wants to give himself the chance of achieving his dream of playing in the NHL. His closest friend, Jordan Schroeder, has just left the school after signing a contract with the Vancouver Canucks.
If I was Donny Lucia the first thing I would do would be to find out who the hell the source close to the Minnesota team is, then I would ask him what the hell he/she is trying do? While I am not in the Gophers locker room it would appear that Donny also might want to get better control of his locker room and who he allows access to.

Next thing I might do if I was Lucia is that I would try to sit down with the Islanders leadership and have a discussion, maybe try to mend a few fences and do some damage control. It’s also not good to have media people from NHL teams and NHL front office brass dusting the Gophers program. This could hurt the Gophers recruiting and have an affect on player retention in the future.

Lastly, it would appear that John Hill is a reoccurring theme that keeps popping up over and over again and might be the real problem hindering the Gophers. The Gophers also lost two very good assistant coaches (Mike Guentzel and Mike Hastings) and retained the one that they should have let go in John Hill.
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