After laziness forced me to withdraw from the blogger voting bloc last year, I made a triumphant comeback to meaningless polls with this year’s NCHC Blog and Web Media Preseason Poll, run by Chad from A Tradition of Choking in the NCAA Tournament. Sixteen bloggers voted, including some new ones you’ll see on the sidebar: Blog of Brotherhood, a Miami blog that used to have a racist name, and UMD Bulldog Country, already on the blogroll but now at a new address.
I can’t say this was an easy poll for any of us, since we are all voting on some newer teams. I think, if anything, Western Michigan may have been shortchanged, since the majority of the bloggers polled are former WCHA bloggers. Miami is more well-known to most of the bloggers and they are well-represented in the voting categories, so I can’t say they suffered.
Here’s my ballot breakdown:
2. St. Cloud
F Austin Czarnik, MU
F Ryan Walters, UNO
F Alexander Krushendekldfglksdghdlfi, CC
D Joey LaLeggia, DU
D Andrew Prochno, SCSU
G Ryan McKay, MU
Player of the Year
Ryan Walters, UNO
Rookie of the Year
Dom Toninato, tUMD
Defenseman of the Year
Joey LaLeggia, DU
Breakout Player of the Year
Charlie Taft, CC
It made me sad not to be able to plug tUMD players into many spots, but the conference is tougher, and tUMD has a lot to prove. I have no doubt there are players on tUMD capable of winning every single spot on here; it’s just a matter of execution. We’ll see on Monday!
Oh, hey there, guys. Just wanted to remind you, in all this talk of Justin Fontaine, that I’M IN THE NHL TOO! AND I EVEN GOT MY FAVORITE NUMBER. Did Fontaine get his favorite number? Psssh. They just gave him any old dirty number. Probably didn’t even wash the jersey.
Now excuse me, I have to put some WD-40 on the bench door hinges so I can get it open quickly.
Thanks to Gif Master CJ Zero, King of Screencaps!
So, as you all already knew I was unable to make it to the Wild’s AMSoil Arena Extravaganza and Foofaraw. It was a good thing I didn’t skip my class since we had a surprise quiz. Eep.
I put out a call on Twitter for a stringer, complete with a lucrative $0 spec fee and the promise of zero eyeballs seeing the post, and with THAT kind of enticing offer, I had two takers: Gretchen (@eskomokisses) and Dan (@danjacobsen), both elite comrades in the RWD Army.
Enjoy a peek at our dear Arthur Fonzarelli, all grown up and wearing Iron Range Red and… I don’t know, Bitterness Toward Norm Green? And Finnish Skin Tone White?
Photos from Dan:
Some whiteboard action! Also, Dan is unaware of this, but I am pretty sure Gretchen is in this shot.
Dan said that he took some pix of the Wild practice the PP, but since a person is actually shooting it seems like this must be something else.
Here is the power play we all know and love.
Photos from Gretchen:
Fonz and Hoagy together again! Awwww. Gretchen told me that Sandy came out and talked to Fonz, too, and Heatley also had a long chat with Sandelin. Most likely discussing Heatley’s last game at the DECC, which we will not discuss. Bruce already traumatized Judd Medak with the memory.
Here’s Fonz with Parise, who Gretchen said is “always smiling.” He isn’t here. Probably because, after his ill-advised comment regarding the 2003-2004 season, he looked up at the rafters and remembered Fonz led his team to a national championship and Zach led his team to… an epic choke job. Or, as Gretchen pointed out, maybe he saw Junior’s Hobey banner.
And hey, look who showed up! Some Bulldogs! Not sure who these guys are, as my eyeballs aren’t calibrated for back-of-head or side-of-face recognition. Really, I swear. I mean, sure, I’d recognized the earlobes of MacGregor Sharp, but that’s a different story.
Geez, after that in-depth recap, don’t you feel like you were there? Thank you very much, Dan and Gretchen, for capturing the ambiance of the day for me and for all of RWD Nation!
There are 5 Division I men’s college hockey programs and 5 Division I women’s college hockey programs in the state of Minnesota. There are 7 Division I men’s college hockey programs and 0 Division I women’s college hockey programs in the state of Michigan.
There are 10 Division III men’s college hockey programs and 11 Division III women’s college hockey programs in the state of Minnesota. There are 2 Division III men’s college hockey programs and 2 Division III women’s college hockey programs in the state of Michigan.
So that’s a problem. For Michigan, I mean. And it gets worse.
What does USA Hockey say about Michigan? (Stats are from 2011-12, please alert me if you can send me more recent documentation)
USA Hockey shows 54, 951 registered players in Minnesota, and 12,697 of them were female. It also shows 52,944 registered players in Michigan, and 4,260 of them were female. Minnesota has three times the number of female hockey players, and blows Michigan away in gender parity among players.
Little girls in Michigan won’t even have a hometown women’s hockey player to root for in Sochi a few months from now, unless Ryan Miller tucks his junk and disguises his Adam’s apple with a Dany Heatley turtleneck.
I’m not sure how many self-respecting Red Wings fans can really call Detroit “Hockeytown” when what they really mean is “Men’s Hockeytown.” And they really can’t even call it that, because I said so. And I’m not sure there are any self-respecting Red Wings fans, and if there are, there shouldn’t be.
What’s the problem, Michigan?
Ok, yes, your whole state needs a bailout. I don’t deny that. But surely there are as many poor boys/men as there are poor girls/women, no?
And the University of Michigan, allegedly the flagship college hockey program in the state, surely has money. I mean, Michigan alumni are basically brainwashed into opening their wallets and pouring their contents into the coffers of the athletic department after hearing a few notes of “Hail to the Victors” or a shout of “Go Blue!” Surely a school that packs 100,000 people into their football field on Saturdays in the fall isn’t hurting for money. And if they are… well, that’s typical Michigan financial wisdom for you, isn’t it?
Nine national championships sounds pretty nice, but I would contend that in a post-Title IX world (ostensibly), a college hockey program can’t be considered elite unless they have a women’s hockey program as well. Would it really be that hard to start a women’s program at Michigan or Michigan State? I mean, even Pedo State started one when they started their little College Hockey Armageddon-inducing program. They could easily have started up a rugby team and called it even. The arena’s already there. Yeah, you’ve got to get equipment, but these days it seems most universities have exclusive gear agreements which I assume, ahem, “help” with the cost of equipment. And every sport needs equipment. And coaches. And travel accommodations. And things. Besides, I hear the Big 10 network is spitting out more money than a broken slot machine. Although my source on that was a USCHO thread, so I’ll have to check on that to verify it.
But hey, some people are trying! Look here! If you wear the pink jersey you got at hockey camp, you get in free to all Adrian College women’s games!
Pink jersey. PINK JERSEY. Pink jersey : RWD :: red matador cape : bull.
This isn’t my problem to fix. I live in Minnesota, I’ll support women’s hockey here, in the real state of hockey, and I’ll point and laugh and criticize. The state of Michigan, Michigan amateur hockey organizations, and Michigan colleges can decide if they want to join the millennium and start making real improvements to women’s hockey, or if they want to become (more of) a joke in the hockey community.
Justin Fontaine has come back to Duluth, and he’s brought his new teammates with him: The Minnesota Wild. The Wild made their final roster moves today and Justin has made the final roster! Never mind the naysayers (ahem, Nathan Eide) who claim it won’t last. Justin has been working hard in Houston to develop the gritty side of his game, and he’s a much more complete player than he was at tUMD, when all he had to do was score, score, score.
The Wild will have an open practice at AMSoil from 10-11:30. In a cruel, ironic twist, I probably can’t go to the practice because of my class schedule. I might be able to make it down for about half an hour, but I’m not really interested in paying to park for 30 minutes of hockey practice. I will most likely also miss Norm and the Stanley Cup on Friday before tUMD’s game against UConn. Marvelous. I finally live in Duluth and can’t take advantage of two awesome hockey-related events in Duluth. I blame Wisconsin.
My relationship with the Wild is kind of on-again, off-again. Since I grew up during the period between the North Stars’ departure and the Wild’s inception, and I lived out of state during the 2003 playoff run (although I did celebrate the wins over the Avs in a dorm room on the U of I campus by devouring an entire pizza and drinking a plastic cup of wine with a cousin of Darby Hendrickson’s), I haven’t had much of an emotional stake in the Wild. I love Mikko, of course, and I enjoy when the Wild succeed, but a Wild loss won’t rip my heart out. I don’t feel the same way about the Wild as I do about the Bulldogs, or the Vikings, or the Twins. I’m not sure if I ever can, simply because I don’t have those childhood memories twined into my fandom.
I do want to become invested in the Wild, of course. I do need another sports team to raise my blood pressure, take my money, and contribute to my procrastination. If Fontaine can stick with the Wild and become a permanent part of the team, it might be the push I need. Or the Wild need. Somehow, if I become a true Wild fanatic, someone will ostensibly benefit. I am really excited to cheer for Fontaine again. In college hockey, our time with a player is limited to four years if we’re lucky (and we were with Fontaine. Very lucky.) To have a guy come back as a pro is a huge bonus. It’s obvious why teams try to get a couple local guys on the team: the fanbase has already invested in them. It’s why the Wild are throwing that aging, washed-up Goofer defencemen a bone.
We’ll see what the season brings, and what Fonzy can do to prove he belongs. And if I have to take out a kneecap here and there to keep him on the roster, well… we’ll just pretend I didn’t write that.
Welcome home, Justin! I’m sure you’re glad to be back!
Thanks to a reader tip in the comment section of the last post, I now know that tUMD’s new beat writer, Rick Weegman, has his blog In The Crease up and running. Right now it’s mostly links and blurbs about stuff around the Bulldogs and the NCHC, but you should click over anyway in case you’ve missed something. Thanks CMBulldog for the tip!
The student section has an official webpage, UMD Penalty Box, to go along with its new Twitter. Student season tickets went on sale this morning. I haven’t had any news on how the sale went, but I had better not be disappointed by my fellow students!
Sidebar links are updated with the new blogs added and some obsolete blogs removed. Don’t forget to hover your cursor over the links for surprises!
Could the season please start already so we could have something to talk about? Alternatively, we could be the Gophers, who have folks quitting/sucking at school/drunk driving scooters. So I guess there’s that.
I have to say, one of the nicest things about being in Duluth is people don’t look at me like I’m a complete freak for loving hockey.
You might find this surprising, since it’s not like I lived in, say, Nairobi before I moved here. I still lived in The State of Hockey, so you’d think it would be normal. But while it’s normal to like hockey in the Twin Cities, it’s not always normal to love hockey.
For example, I have a similar job in Duluth to the job I had when I lived in the Cities. It isn’t exactly a job that attracts jocks or sports fans, and I work with like 99% women, so you wouldn’t expect a lot of sympathetic characters. And, indeed, there wasn’t a single person who could discuss hockey with me, or who even did more than a cursory humoring of me when I yammered on about various Bulldog related topics. However, since I started my new job in Duluth, I have already discovered two people in my near vicinity who are long-time Bulldog season ticket holders. And wanting days off for Bulldogs games? Totally normal and acceptable and accommodated as best as can be. I sat and talked Bulldog and Duluth East hockey with one of my co-workers for a good hour tonight. We were extremely productive.
I’m sure once the season begins I’ll really see the differences between living in a community with hockey allegiances all over the place (or none at all!) and living in a community where there’s one game in town. I hope to get a chance to get to some high school games (which I really should have done before to support my alma mater, the Shjon Podein-coached SLP Orioles) and really become a part of the hockey community I’ve been on the fringes of since I started the blog. I’m excited for the season and we haven’t even gotten around to discussing the team on here! Which I will, once I figure out something to say.