Showing posts with label Mike Eaves. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mike Eaves. Show all posts

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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Saturday, February 02, 2013

North Dakota and Wisconsin solve nothing in Grand Forks

Grand Forks, ND – All good things must come to an end. The Wisconsin Badgers and the University of North Dakota are going their separate ways after this season. The Wisconsin Badgers are going to the Big Ten, and UND is going to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

The two teams will not play next season, and will take a one year break before renewing the historic rivalry during the 2014-15 season.

Earlier this week, Badgers head coach Mike Eaves said that it was a priority that the two teams have a nonconference scheduling agreement in the future.

Whenever North Dakota and Wisconsin get together, it’s usually an entertaining, and intense affair.  Tonight was no different. Wisconsin Badgers head coach Mike Eaves thought tonight’s game was entertaining.

“We talk about solving riddles, that was a wild one,” Eaves said. “I don’t know how that riddle was going to be solved tonight. There was great energy in the building, lots of wild and crazy things going on, on the ice, entertaining game for the fans.”

North Dakota head coach Dave Hakstol also thought tonight’s game was a hard fought game. “From start to finish it was a hard played 65 Minutes,” Hakstol said.

While there was more than enough action on the ice tonight to keep the fans interested, there was little in the way of goal scoring.

During the first period neither team would score, and both teams would each put seven shots on their opponent’s net.

The game would get more exciting in the second period. North Dakota would score at the 00:25 mark of the second period on power play with a goal from senior forward Danny Kristo. Wisconsin would score 13 second later at the 0:38 mark of the second period, with a goal from junior forward Michael Mersch.
Unfortunately, that was all of the scoring in the game, and UND would outshoot Wisconsin 11-9 in the second period.

The second period would end with a scrum. Players from both teams’ would end up paired off on the ice with UND’s Andrew MacWilliam and Jake McCabe locked in a heated battle that landed them both in the box with double minors for roughing and each were given a 10 minute misconduct as well.  When it was all sorted out, both teams were assessed 20 minutes in penalties.

In the third period, UND would get into penalty trouble as freshman Drake Caggiula was assessed a five minute major for checking from behind. Fortunately, UND would kill the major penalty, and Wisconsin wasn’t really able to generate any chances because of North Dakota’s tenacious penalty kill.

UND and Wisconsin would go to overtime where nothing was settled, and the game would end in a 2-2 tie.
From the fun fact department; for three overtimes periods in a row, UND has had a scoring chance to win the game, and hit the post. Breaking it down further, senior forward Danny Kristo has hit the pipe in overtime in two consecutive games, during the overtime period.

After the game, this is how Kristo saw it.

“Corban [Knight] made a great pass and the goalie was kind out of position," Kristo said. "I shot it a little too hard, and It might have hit the crossbar. It’s one that wish I had it back. I think I we hit three pipes tonight, that’s just the way it was."

UND did themselves no favors in the overtime period,  sophomore forward Mitch MacMillan took an untimely roughing penalty in front of the Badgers bench at the 01:23 mark of the overtime period. UND would kill that penalty and get a power play themselves at the 03:19 mark, but were unable to get anything past Wisconsin Badgers sophomore goalie Landon Peterson.

Having to kill the five minute major in the third period and the minor penalty in the overtime period put UND in a difficult position and Coach Hakstol agreed.

“That’s putting ourselves in a tough position,” Hakstol said. “The five minute major,  I saw it, it was a fast play. So, I don’t have an evaluation on that. Once you get to overtime you don’t need an extra push in there.  Get to the bench, and let your teammate go out there and get back in the play.”

North Dakota needs two points tomorrow night, if they want to secure an upper division for the WCHA playoffs.  The Green and White are winless in the last five games going 0-2-3.

The same two teams play again Saturday at 7:07 p.m. at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Cross posted at the Hockey Writers - Combine... 

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

KFAN talks about the UND vs. UMN rivalry

Today, KFAN host Paul Allen had former Gophers Nate Miller and Pat Micheletti on the nine to noon show to day and had some interesting things to say about the North Dakota vs. Minnesota rivalry. It was really a good show and if you haven't heard it, it's worth a listen.

At Bucky's Fifth Quarter, Andy Johnson aka Chuck Schwartz has a great post on the UND and UW rivalry and how Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves thought it was a priority to continue the rivalry.
The series also carries historical significance, as it's the last time these two programs will meet in the regular season as members of the WCHA. At the conclusion of the season, Wisconsin will head to the Big Ten Hockey conference, while North Dakota will join the newly formed National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC).

After 161 meetings -- UW leads the series, 86-64-11 -- it would be a shame for the rivalry to end with the upcoming conference realignment. That's why, according to Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves, it was a priority to ensure the two teams had a non-conference scheduling agreement in the future.

"A great rivalry, great history," Eaves said. "Both programs wanted to do that and keep it going. It actually was a conversation that wasn't very long with (Dave) Hakstol, their head coach, and we both reached out and both said, 'Let's get this done,' and we were able to do so."
I have to say that I am very happy about UW and UND continuing the historic rivalry.
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The gloves are off part II - UND and UW week

I have to admit that this is one of my favorite match ups, if not my favorite rivalry games and according to Andy Baggot of it looks like there will be a continuance of the Sioux vs. Badgers rivalry after next season when both teams join their new leagues.
UW coach Mike Eaves said non-conference scheduling parameters are still being drawn up for the new Big Ten, so any non-conference discussions are on hold.

But there have already been discussions between the schools about committing to a series every year when the new leagues debut. That's how much the rivalry means to those involved. []
I know the Fighting Sioux nickname is gone, but for now, at least for this weekend, I will call it the Sioux Badgers on this blog. I mean what the heck.  I think we could get away with it, because the Fighting Sioux name is still on the front of the jerseys, for at least a little bit longer. I am already compliant the articles have submitted for Inside Hockey. 

I am excited that UND and UW are looking into continue this historic rivalry after the B1G and NCHC come to fruition. There have been some great battles over the years between the two teams. Also, Wisconsin fans are some of the greatest college hockey fans and they get it, they're awesome. When both teams go their separate ways, I am definitely going to miss seeing the Badgers at the Final Five and discussing hockey with the fans from Wisconsin.

Of course the hockey on the ice hasn't been like the UND vs. UW match ups of the 1980's for obvious reasons, the progressive DQ rule for fighting has probably played a role in that.

None the less,  there have been some heated and highly contested battles over the years between the two teams. Who can forget the Steve Reinprecht, David Hukalo and Dany Heatly line, that was "one of" the most prolific lines that I had ever witnessed in college hockey.

Of course there was the Jeff Panzer, Bryon Lundbohm  and Ryan Bayda line which was also pretty darn good themselves. You can check out the Wisconsin Badger's side of the discussion with Chuck Schwartz at Bucky' Fifth Quarter.

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Michael Mersch penalty.

At the .50 second mark on [this video] above you will see the check that the Wisconsin Badgers forward Michael Mersch put on Minnesota Gophers forward Kyle Rau.

This check in question would end the night for the Badgers Mersch as he was given a five minute major for contact to the head and a game misconduct. In watching the video, I honestly don't understand how that hit could be a five and a game. To me it looked like a legal check. Here is what Jess Meyers had to say on the hit.
The score was tied 1-1 in the second when the Badgers missed a golden opportunity to take the lead, misfiring with two white jerseys alone in front of Patterson. Just seconds later, Wisconsin's Michael Mersch leveled Kyle Rau along the boards and drew an iffy call for contact to the head. Mersch was tossed from the game, and the Gophers got a five-minute power play. While they did not score on the extended man-advantage, the Gophers captured momentum that they would not relinquish.
The Gophers were unable to score on the five minute power play. The Badgers head coach Mike Eaves looked highly agitated with the Todd Anderson call and gave Anderson an earful at the Wisconsin Badgers players bench. 
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Badgers in overtime Since 2002-03

University of Wisconsin Waving W logoImage via WikipediaOne thing that has become very apparent is that the Badgers under head coach Mike Eaves has had a dismal record in overtime, the Badgers have lost three games this season already in overtime. This is the Badgers record in overime since the 2002-03 season. s/t If my math is right the Badgers own a record of 12-21-45

2011-12 -- 0-3-0 overall, 0-2-0 WCHA
2010-11 -- 1-3-4 overall, 0-3-3 WCHA
2009-10 -- 0-0-4 overall, 0-0-3 WCHA
2008-09 -- 0-3-4 overall, 0-2-3 WCHA
2007-08 -- 0-3-7 overall, 0-2-5 WCHA
2006-07 -- 2-3-4 overall, 2-3-3 WCHA
2005-06 -- 2-1-3 overall, 0-0-3 WCHA
2004-05 -- 0-1-4 overall, 0-1-3 WCHA
2003-04 -- 5-1-8 overall, 1-0-7 WCHA
2002-03 -- 2-3-4 overall, 2-2-4 WCHA

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