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They’re Already Dead

28 January 2015

tUMD plastered Mankato this weekend. There’s just no other way of putting it. Kayla Black and Karissa Grapp combined to shut out the Mavericks all weekend, while the skaters put up 16 goals.

Mankato does have a totally sweet video feed that’s free, so I was able to watch the slaughter live! I’m so sadistic. Although it’s hard to take too much joy out of a bloodbath when the poor team has no wins in the WCHA and only two total. An unnamed colleague of mine mentioned s/he felt tUMD needed a “laugher” like this. I suppose I agree, this team has too much firepower to be beating St. Cloud by a stinkin’ goal (controversy aside). At some point during Friday’s game, maybe when it was 8 or 9 to nothing, I stopped enjoying the win and starting feeling badly for the Mavericks.

Friday’s game was so lopsided, tDogs even won in the modified scoring system Dirty devised for high school hockey. When talented teams face horrible teams, we score those games using Goals – SOG. tUMD won 12-9*, meaning tUMD got 12 goals and Mankato had 9 SOG. On Saturday, tUMD lost* 4-25. See how it works? It’s a way to make blowouts a little more interesting.

Brigette Lacquette had a hat trick of power play goals on Friday and earned WCHA Defensive Player of the Week honors for her troubles. Multiple Bulldogs had multi-point nights or weekends, despite a slightly shortened bench.

I am nervous about this weekend. tUMD plays North Dakota, a team we need to bury in the standings. Right now, UND is 7 points behind tUMD in the standings, and if they were to sweep us, that would put them only a point behind. That would not be good. I am confident tUMD will be ready for the challenge and will send the no-names back to North Dakota disappointed and disheartened.

Tickets are cheap! $1 in advance, $3 at the door on Friday night, and you can get home in time to watch the end of the men’s game, since it’s in Mountain time!! Saturday there’s some kind of Girl Scouts things. Everyone show up and cheer our Doggies on to a sweep of They Who Shall Not Be Named Despite Spending $100000 To Try To Come Up With A Name!

Us And Them

27 January 2015

That was a rather thrilling weekend, no?

Friday was not the best day, as I didn’t realize it was icy and tumbled down my front steps, and then my car puked out a bunch of oil in my driveway. It ended well, though, because I wasn’t hurt and the fix ended up only being $67, which is approximately 10% of what I thought it would cost. Also my dad met Nick Kemp in the airport. So that was good.

I didn’t feel very confident about Saturday’s game. At all. tDogs were slumping, but the Goofs were like cornered, wounded, rabid… rodents, you might say. Before the game, all I could think about was, whoever loses this game has effectively ended their season.

Suckas.

tUMD carried the play for 40 minutes, and then gave up some weird flukey goal to Ratboy himself, Rau.

rauratboy

That was all the Goofs could get by McNeely, although most of the time they were killing their own power plays and breaking up their own scoring chances. Meanwhile tUMD’s SUPERIOR captain scored his second goal of the night on tUMD’s first shot of the third period, which came with just over 2 minutes to go in the game. Talk about your daggers.

I choose to believe that this is a turning point for tUMD, and their mini slump is over. I don’t know why it feels like a bad slump when really it wasn’t, but it did cost the team a 1-seed in the PWR and their lead in the conference standing. Still, better to slump now than when it’s single elimination time!

(Women’s recap coming soon)

Winners and Losers

20 January 2015

tUMD 2, Seabiscuits 2 (tUMD loses in SO)/tUMD 2, Seabiscuits 4
tUMD 2, SCSU 0/ tUMD 3, SCSU 2

This may sound insane but I actually may have watched too much hockey this past weekend. Since both the men and the women were home I spent a long time at AMSoil Arena.

Of course the big winner of the weekend was this guy:

Since I am rarely at casinos and never at various animal racing tracks, I have never witnessed anyone win a large sum of money before. It was so cool. So unbelievable. Dan of the Week and I just laughed hysterically while applauding because we were dumbfounded. RWD comrade Paul was in town from Roseau for the Icebreaker tournament and came over to chat with me and he was also in disbelief. It was still a topic of discussion the next night, as I gathered with RWD comrades Jolene and Monte to discuss… well, mostly to discuss Owatonna, but also pee-wee hockey. My co-workers had even heard about it and they don’t even care about hockey because they are from Michigan.

It was also the highlight of the night as well as the entire weekend as far as men’s hockey goes. After over a month without a men’s home hockey game, the AMSoil crowd was treated to a pair of losses (yes I know the SO goes down as a tie) stemming from 2 uninspired and undisciplined games. Thanks guys.

Enough about the losers. I’m trying to block those games from my mind. tUMD will have a chance to right those wrongs on the last weekend of the season (and salvage their record against WMU for the PWR).

Let’s talk about the winners. tUMD women’s hockey got a nice sweep against a league opponent, led by Lara Stalder with two goals on the weekend. Stalder could have had a few more but St. Cloud’s goalie managed to make some saves. tUMD also could have had at least one more goal, as Mrazova (I think I can’t remember if it was her or Brykaliuk) had a clean shot at the empty net on Saturday before the play was blown dead for a St. Cloud penalty. (I don’t know. No one knew.) St. Cloud should also have had one fewer goal, as they hauled down a Dogs player on a scoring chance (again with an empty net) and then went down the rink and scored. So there were some issues, but tDogs were able to rise above them (as well as the continuing off-ice issues, which were exacerbated Sunday morning after a story broke about Jen Banford, lame-duck director of hockey operations and apparently now also lame-duck tUMD softball coach) and I was able to end my weekend (I worked on Monday) with on a positive hockey-related note.

Speaking of winners, please read this excellent article about notre capitaine, Zoe Hickel. Her work ethic is unreal, and she will be an outstanding coach someday, although I hope her playing career will continue!

In other loser news, tUMD men are back atop the NCHC PIM standings. A dubious honor, but one they were clearly determined to reclaim. Gooninato was suspended by Don Adam after taking a kneeing major. (I do like Toninato but Biddy made up the Gooninato nickname and it’s funny to us, so it stays.)

tUMD men are in the Gopher TournShament this weekend, playing Buttmidji and I hope playing (and beating) Mankato. tUMD women are definitely playing Mankato, in Mankato, and it had better be another sweep!

Put Up Or Shut Up

8 January 2015

I told you yesterday this post would be bossy, and there it is in the post title.

If you are a real hockey fan, you will show up this weekend to watch tUMD play Bemidji, and show your support for the program. Yeah that’s right, you’re not a real hockey fan if you only support men’s programs. I don’t care if you attend games from mini-mites up through the NHL every second you can; if you’re only attending boys’ and men’s games, you are not a real hockey fan. You’re a real men’s and boys’ hockey fan, sure, congratulations, pat yourself on the back. But don’t tell me you love hockey.

If you are in the hospital or stuck working a weekend shift or something, of course, I’m not going to castigate you for missing the game. Turn the TV in your hospital room to My9 on Saturday and tune in!

This is a big series for tDogs, on and off the ice. tUMD needs to take care of business against all teams below them in the standings. Bemidji has both beaten the Gophers and lost to Lindenwood, so who knows which team we will see this weekend? Bemidji is the sole loss the Doggies have taken in their 12 for 13 run. tDogs need to push hard to stay strong in the PWR and maintain their spot in the NCAA tournament.

This is a big series off the ice because it is their first series after Coach Miller was not-fired-but-really-c’mon-people, to use a technical term. This is a big series because it’s a chance for fans to put their butts in the seats and show they support the team. There were a lot of angry people on the Interwebs (and a few gleeful neanderthals), but if those angry people don’t show up to the games, what is the point? Hashtag activism isn’t really activism.

Fans have been encouraged to show up to show their support for Coach Miller and their disapproval of the administration’s decision. I am here to tell you that while it seems like there are only two sides to this story (unconditional Miller support or unconditional loathing for Miller, women’s hockey, female athletes, and women in general), there’s middle ground. I am going to encourage hockey fans to show up who don’t support Coach Miller and/or approve of the administration’s decision. Show up because you support the team, the women on the ice who are having a fantastic season and who we do not want to lose to other programs. Show our juniors, seniors, and freshmen that you will be there to cheer them on next year, that your support of the program is not tied to Coach Miller. Show up because you support the legacy of the team, because you don’t want a program with five national championships to fall into obscurity. You can even make a sign that makes it clear you are ok with a new coach, lest anyone mistake you for a Miller supporter (quelle horreur!)

Do not show up if you’re just going to make fun of or marginalize the coach, the players, or the program. Self-immolate instead.

Put your money where your mouth is this weekend, hockey lovers. I’ll see you at AMSoil, 3:07 PM, Saturday and Sunday.

Whimper Bay

7 January 2015

tUMD 3, Underwolves 2 (OT)/tUMD 8, Underwolves 4

Who doesn’t want to read a recap of last weekend’s games four days later? I am sure you all need a refresher after forgetting all about what happened. I know I have.

tUMD traveled to Thunder Bay, ON last weekend to take on Lakehead yet again. I am sure the team bus passed other busloads of Thunder Bay residents headed in the opposite direction in order to invade the Miller Hill Mall for the weekend.
Migration

I hope the team mooned them.

The RWD Army did have boots on the ground in TB as Dan, NCHC Dan of the Week, made the trip. He confirmed that once again, during the team introductions, the Underwolves had a less-than-full contingent of players on the ice. If you recall, during their visit here in October, they sent about three players out for the introductions. Also, according to Matt Wellens, the fans politely applaud during the opponent introductions. How odd. The US really should just invade Canada. They would probably politely applaud then, too.

It was really a good thing that tUMD scheduled these games, as over break many of them forgot to play hockey. Not Karson Kuhlman, of course, who scored the game-tying goal and then assisted on the DAGGER in OT. The rest found that playing hockey is much like riding a bike, and figured it out eventually. A&Dubs scored the game-winning goal with 0.6 seconds left in overtime, just as tDogs had finished killing a penalty. tDogs were back in fine form the next day with an 8-4 win. A lot of people got goals. I am not sure who, since the box score is missing from my usual source. Blake Young and Crandall scored. Maybe Krause? I don’t know. From what I understand, there was some questionable officiating, but Bruce was sick and not able to rise to his usual level of indignation. He did say punches were thrown. Bruce’s illness could not have come at a worse time!

This game was a good tune-up for North Dakota, considering Lakehead is a goon squad and so is UND. Their fans certainly won’t be as polite. A large regiment of the RWD army will be marching on the Bunker this weekend, including Biddco, Dan of the Week, DA (or Double D, as some might know him), and UMDDogz. I expect we’ll take on heavy casualties, both on and off the ice. Probably someone will get vomited on.

The games are on TV (My9 on Friday and CBSSports Saturday, I think). What a way to unwind on Saturday evening after catching some live hockey at AMSoil Arena, a series I’ll discuss in another, more bossy post.

Oh yeah, Brett Boehm left the team and returned to the SJHL. He retains NCAA eligibility, so I suppose he could come back. He left for “family reasons,” so I hope that all is well for him and his family. Farewell, Brett, we hardly knew ye.

Actual Hockey

2 January 2015

Holy crap, people. BULLDOG HOCKEY IS FINALLY BACK.

tUMD is playing Lakehead again, but this time in Thunder Bay. I find it ironic that tUMD will be in Thunder Bay while half the population of the Thunder Bay metro area (is that a thing? I doubt it) is on a tour bus barreling down on the Miller Hill Mall. They’ll be missing out on excellent hockey.

Matt Wellens (aka Kevin Pates Jr.) had a nice article yesterday on tUMD’s trip to Ontario. He talked to second-generation Bulldog Travis Oleksuk, a Thunder Bay native. My favorite part of the article:

“It’s never going to be as close as the OHL. That will always be the No. 1 thing,” said Oleksuk, who is in his third season with the American Hockey League’s Worcester Sharks. “Uneducated people think that is the only way, but hopefully as time goes on, kids become more aware. Maybe if they show more games on TV, show the crowds we get at school, show the student section, I think that would bring more attention and awareness to people in Thunder Bay to take a glance (at college hockey).”

Uneducated people. Hehehehe.

After a New Year’s Eve Double Feature of Hockey Letdowns from USA and the Wild, I am ready for some actual good hockey. I’m also curious what it will be like to play Lakehead in a series, especially on their home ice. I wonder what their fans are like. Probably drunk and sticky from maple syrup. I wonder if tUMD will be run out of town by a pitchforked mob if things get a little testy, as they’ve been known to when these two teams meet. I wonder if tUMD will only send out 3 people for the lineups and national anthem, like the Underwolves did when they were here in October. I wonder if they will have a 50/50 raffle, and if it will have an insanely high pot. So many questions!

If this goes well it would be interesting to travel back to Canada again in four years. I am sure there are other, relatively close, places tUMD could go, or they could just keep going back to Thunder Bay to try to annex it for Bulldog Country.

Indeed.

I’m ready for tDogs to kick some hoser behind, eh!

On the Basis of Sex

29 December 2014

Let’s dive right back in to the bizarro situation with tUMD women’s hockey. (Other stuff of mine on this subject.)

I don’t know if tUMD and the athletic department anticipated the level of backlash they’d receive for firing not renewing the contract of Coach Miller. I’m sure they anticipated she’d be furious and raise hell, and that boosters and donors to the program would be upset, but I doubt the anticipated a New York Times story and a heck of a lot of other media coverage that makes tUMD look absolutely terrible (other than a whiny rant from Schlossman about how Miller is a big cheating cheater who is mean, and how 6th place UND has left tUMD in the dust). tUMD has lost control of the narrative at this point, and I’m not sure what they can do to try to repair the PR damage they’ve suffered. Folks are quick to tell me “If you only knew X” or “When people find out Z, they’ll feel foolish,” but it’s too late for tUMD to go on the offensive. Folks are also assuming Miller’s supporters don’t know X or Z, and while many of them don’t, some of them do.

I’m not going to spend much time on the recent op-ed post from Butch Williams about how tUMD should focus solely on recruiting local players, even at the expense of winning. It’s a ridiculous argument, but it’s one that’s been made about both the men’s and the women’s teams. tUMD hockey is not here as a charity for Arrowhead hockey players.

I do want to talk about salaries. I find it interesting that so many people rush to say Coach Miller was overpaid. It’s somehow a tragedy that she at one time made more money than Sandy, and currently makes more than Brad Frost.

Why doesn’t anyone ask if most women’s hockey coaches are underpaid?

I’m sure that’s a preposterous statement to most people. Non-revenue sport! No one cares! They all suck anyway! Yes, yes, I’ve heard all of that. I also understand that coaches aren’t there to market their team. They are there to create the most marketable product possible, of course, by recruiting excellent players and by winning games.

Folks are also scratching their heads over whether or not this is a Title IX issue. Of course, many of those people are the same people who argue that Title IX is unnecessary and *gasp* harms the much more important men’s sports, and women have equality anyway and should just shut up. (These same people probably think that #BlackLivesMatter is racist against whites, too.) Others, of course, argue that Title IX applies to student-athletes, not to coaches.

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Is paying women’s coaches less than men’s coaches a Title IX violation? It might be. I do know that if tUMD goes from a woman who has spent 16 years with the program and has 5 national titles, but makes $200k, to a coach with a lesser resume who makes $90k (since they’ll be looking at “recent WCHA hires” to determine salary), tUMD women’s hockey student athletes won’t be getting the best coaching out there. Prioritizing savings over success for the women’s team while prioritizing success for the men’s team is denying women’s players the benefits of playing college hockey.

I don’t like to drag Sandy into this conversation because I like him and have no problem with how much he is paid. In fact, I wrote a letter to the Chancellor encouraging him to pay Sandy and his assistants more money because I was led to believe that Sandy wasn’t going to stay at tUMD because the university wouldn’t pay the assistant coaches enough. I’m not advocating cutting his pay as some kind of tit-for-tat measure. I don’t like that Sandy is set up as some kind of foil or nemesis of Miller’s (sometimes by her).

However, I do agree with Coach Miller when she says Sandelin is her peer. He is. They are the two D-1 coaches at tUMD. Sandy is Miller’s peer, just like Johnson is Eaves’s, Frost is Lucia’s, and Idalski is Hakstol’s. Is it discriminatory that Hakstol makes more than Idalski? Yes and no. Idalski is newer to the program and hasn’t had the level of success Hakstol has (but the same number of national titles!!!), so he should make less. However, if Idalski had Hak’s credentials and Hak had Idalski’s, Hak would still be making more.  When If Eaves gets fired, Mark Johnson will be the longer-tenured coach at UW with four national titles (maybe 5 by then, who knows?) Ol’ Barry will hire an excellent coach, certainly, but he won’t be hiring someone with 4 national titles and an 0.814 winning percentage. (Unless he hires Mark Johnson, but I believe that ship has sailed.) Of the potential vultures candidates circling considering that job, only Gwoz (!!! Gwoz!!!!) is even close to that level of success. But the new men’s coach will probably make double what Johnson makes, despite Johnson’s impressive level of success and length of tenure with the university. The Title IX issue here, you see, isn’t about paying female coaches less than male coaches (it’s an issue, yes, but beyond the scope of this post.) It’s about paying coaches of women’s teams less than coaches of men’s teams, to do the exact same job.

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