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>The Gauntlet: Last Rites Edition

1 February 2008

>This week, RWD offers extreme unction to Badger Backer, blogger over at The Wisconsin Hockey Blog, which is just being kept comfortable with morphine at this point.

RWD: Let’s begin with a thorough dissection of last weekend. Did you think you guys would be able to take three points from the Gophers?

BB: Yes. The Gophers just aren’t as explosive this year as in past seasons. Looking at the records, it seemed like an evenly matched series, and it was. This year was the first time in a while that the Badgers seemed equally dangerous on offense.

RWD: That’s a bold statement right there. I mean, “Badgers” and “offense” are rarely used in a sentence together. Unless to say “Wisconsin Badgers players committed a major offense against a tent.”

BB: Ha. Well, I think the Badgers get sort of a bad rap for their offense. They were tied for third in the league in scoring in 2005-06 and were 4th in the league in 2004-05. [Way to look that one up, Sparky. Unless you knew that off the top of your head, which would be ultra-nerdy. It reminds me of a quotation from the Simpsons I heard the other day: “That’s E-3 if you’re keeping score at home. And if you are, your loneliness saddens me.”]

RWD: Do you think it makes Bucky nervous that Eaves uses a “trap” system? [EXTREMELY LONG PAUSE]

BB: No, I think it makes Bucky successful. You’d be hard pressed to find a team at any level of hockey these days that doesn’t use the trap at least some of the time. It’s become somewhat of a dirty word, but the numbers show that the Badgers have had some success offensively, and certainly play an open enough style that the fans are excited. Most of the criticism comes from outside of the Badger ranks, from opponents that are tired of seeing lock down defense in the neutral zone, good goaltending, and solid shot blocking. [Really, because how dare a team play their own system instead of playing the other team’s game?]

RWD: I meant Buckingham T. Badger personally. Do you think he is nervous about a “trap?” Like he might be skinned and have his pelt sold at a trading post in Mile 40, Saskatchewan? [The future home of me and Mr. Evan Schwabe.]

BB: Bucky is too much of a celebrity for that. He finished 2nd in the national mascot contest. [To what? Mr. Peanut?]

RWD: Don’t you think the people who complain about the trap are just a bunch of whiners who are mad that other teams don’t just bow down to their greatness coughNORTH DAKOTA FANScough?

BB: Yes. Minnesota fans too.

RWD: Because really, if you’re a good team, you’ll find a way to beat any system, am I right?

BB: I agree. Plus I think I noticed some trapping from the guys wearing maroon and gold last weekend anyway. [Who, UMD? What? Oh… the other maroon and gold.]

RWD: Hah, or against Wayne St. [as Donald pointed out]. Who’s a bigger rival for the Gophers: Wisconsin or UND?

BB: Wisconsin, even though our record against them isn’t great. [FHG disagrees, but he’s a tUMD fan.] It’s a Big Ten rivalry that transcends all sports. [I wouldn’t say it’s simply a Big Ten rivalry, but it certainly is transcendent.] Plus given how badly we’ve destroyed them at football and basketball the last few years, hockey’s basically all they’ve got left. 1-11. [That last part must be a communique to some Communist Party leader.]

RWD: Oh man, they’ll be crying from Fargo to Williston.

BB: I am impressed with your knowledge of North Dakota geography.

RWD: It’s not really all that difficult. I already named half the cities. [In 5th grade, I won the geography bee, which was actually just a written test, and it was mistakenly attributed to another person, who had a huge crush on me. He was a huge freak.]

BB: In fairness, though, I don’t think there’s too much love for UND in Fargo.

RWD: Dirty lives in Fargo. Case closed.

BB: Go Bison. [Go banana!]

RWD: So did you watch FSNN or FSNW this past weekend?

BB: FSNN.

RWD: Did you miss Sagissor’s lovely face? [I wonder why they didn’t do their little FSNN/FSNW collaboration again this year? Anyone got any dirt on that?]

BB: I missed hearing his extremely insightful comments about the game of hockey.

RWD: Whom do you prefer: Sagissor or Mazocco?

BB: Well, Sags is a color guy and Maz does play by play. I think both of them are homers, so I’ll go with Sags because he’s a homer for my side.

RWD: Bruckler or Elliott?

BB: Elliott.

RWD: Lenin or Trotsky?

BB: Lenin.

RWD: Aha! Why are Wisconsin fans so offended when I correctly refer to them as Commies?

BB: I don’t know why they’d be offended; I think it’s a pretty unoriginal insult. [I would disagree. “You suck” is unoriginal.]

RWD: I felt like I’ve made some creative uses of it.

BB: Hey, if it works, go with it.

RWD: I guess I wouldn’t say Mike Eaves is a commie. He’s more of a megalomaniac. [KMFDM, anyone?]

BB: I don’t actually know anything about Eaves’ personality. He scored 267 career points at UW and won titles as a player and a coach. Whatever kind of ego he’s got probably isn’t totally delusional.

RWD: So he’s never physically assaulted you?

BB: Nope, only Alex Leavitt. [That we KNOW of!]

RWD: There’s time. I notice his sons weren’t interested in playing for him.

BB: Well, Ben Eaves was already playing for BC when Eaves took over as coach at UW, and Patrick Eaves went to play with his brother. [Uh…]

RWD: Wow, I don’t even have to go too far out of context to make a joke out of that.

BB: Yeah it was unfortunate wording.

RWD: So you spent several years as a member of the WCHA’s most storied student section. What sort of exciting flair did you wear at games? [I hope at least 17 pieces!]

BB: Four years. I graduated on time. [Underwater basketweaving is the way to go!] Not much, [Oooh, sexy!] I wore Crease Creatures t-shirts, which they gave out for free. I also usually wore a Badgers stocking cap and “Solar Shield” sunglasses, which are large sunglasses usually worn by elderly persons. [Not Blu Blockers?]

RWD: Wow, so no pants or anything. Sounds like a Wisconsinite for sure!

BB: The sunglasses broke after I stepped on them celebrating a goal. I continued to wear them with one ear holder broken. [Somebody give this man a medal! He wore broken sunglasses! What a sacrifice!]

RWD: Are those the ones that have the huge side blockers, too?

BB: Oh yeah. Also, they fell off so many times during “Hot Time” that they got kind of scratched and it became hard to see through them, but tradition is tradition. [And they were scratched, too? Well, if you tell me they were also not your prescription, I think that’s the third miracle that would qualify you for sainthood!]

RWD: It seems like “tradition” might be more important than “knowing about hockey” in the student section.

BB: I certainly hope so. [Your prayers have been answered.] Badger fans know about hockey, but we also know how to have a good time. Fans are supposed to be FANS. They’re supposed to cheer for their team, and be pumped up to be there, and have a good time. We have a long tradition from the Coliseum to the Kohl Center of having pumped up, excited, fun loving fans that know the traditions and the dances. I think it’s good to know a lot about hockey, but it isn’t a class where you go to sit silently and observe the game. We get our money’s worth. Additionally, a lot of the cheers are tied to specific events in the game. If you don’t know anything about what’s going on, you can’t participate. [Damn you and your double space bar after each period!]

RWD: Yeah, that cheer about a delayed offsides is a real show-stopper.

BB: We don’t have one for that. Maybe someday.

RWD: Any good stories for the folks out there in TV land?

BB: Of being in the student section?

RWD: Or just your glory days in general. Make like Bruce Springsteen and reminisce. [That was so High Fidelity of me.]

BB: Well, one of my favorite stories is from the playoff series against Alaska at the Coliseum. Don Adam was officiating the series and had been on the bad side of the fans. On the Sunday game, Shepard officiated the game. I’m not sure if that’s WCHA policy or if they just decided they had to pull Adam off the game because a riot might happen.

RWD: It is WCHA policy. [Don’t think you’re so special, buddy.]

BB: That’s what I thought, but it did prevent a riot. Anyway, after the game we’re walking out, and the way the Coliseum is set up, the refs are hanging out right next to the exit. My friend yells at Shepherd, “Hey Shepherd, good job tonight, not like Adam, he’s a bitch.” And Shepherd turns around and says, “That’s funny, because last time I was here, I sucked.”

RWD: I’m sure there was a protest filed by Wisconsin in regards to both refs.

BB: Well, they probably deserved it.

RWD: Do you feel like you missed out since Wisconsin won their NC after you graduated?

BB: Maybe a little. I went to the national title game, and saw it in person, so that dulled some of the pain.

RWD: It’s just not the same.

BB: Obviously given that I sat through the horror which was the 02-03 season, I would have liked the payoff before I graduated.

RWD: So why aren’t you blogging anymore?

BB: It actually takes suprisingly more time than you’d think. [I raised my eyebrow here.] So, it’s a little bit of burnout. When I wasn’t having as much fun writing any more, I decided it was time to stop. It’s nice to be able to watch the games or read about them without having to write down my thoughts, and although I enjoyed blogging for the time that I did it, I don’t regret stopping. Maybe I’ll be back some day. [APPRECIATE ALL I DO FOR YOU, PEOPLE! BUY ME SHOTS!]

RWD: It doesn’t take more time than I would think. Considering that I’ve been doing it for 4 seasons.

BB: Okay. It takes more time than I thought it would.

RWD: Damn straight. Do you have any favorites on the current squad?

BB: I’ve never really been the kind of person that picks favorite players, but Kyle Turris is an exciting player who can score at any time, and I’m glad to see Ben Street having a nice season and Blake Geoffrion bouncing back from last year. Patrick Johnson is also a favorite given his two goals against Minnesota on Sunday. [Who?]

RWD: So you don’t have any all-time favorites?

BB: Well, all Badger fans love Mark Johnson. Brian Elliott may also be in that pantheon one day with his Hobey nomination and national title win.

RWD: That’s it? You don’t like any other Badgers? No one made your little heart go pitter-pat?

BB: I like the whole team. I don’t really pick favorites. I like whoever is contributing as best they can and playing well. [He’s a fickle guy.]

RWD: You’ll make a good mini-mite coach one day.

BB: I also like Sara Bauer; she was fun to watch on the women’s side. I always wondered how she’s stack up in the men’s game.

RWD: And who is the hottest Badger this year?

BB: That’s for you to decide.

RWD: False!

BB: You left us totally off last year if I remember right. [It’s not the freaking All-Star Game. There doesn’t have to be a pity pick from each team!]

RWD: It’s not my fault there’s a bunch of uggos. Maybe there will be a hott freshman. Eaves always looks sharp on the bench, in a Won’t You Be My Neighbor? sort of way. [I’m sure he zips into a cardigan when he goes home at night and ties on some crisp sneakers.]

BB: Ha. Well, I’ll reserve judgment and hope one of the freshmen can make a run this year.

RWD: It doesn’t look good. Rumour has it that you’re also a hottie. The ladies want to know if there’s a Mrs. BB.

BB: Thanks for the compliment. [Don’t get used to it.] No, there’s not a Mrs. BB.

RWD: !!!!! Exciting news, gals! [What if BB and someone found love because of RWD. It would certainly be a first, usually people find hate here.] I assume any potential woman must enjoy drinking PBR and eating cheese.

BB: Miller Lite. I do enjoy cheese.

RWD: Wow, that’s shocking.

BB: Not to mention cheese of the curded and deep fried variety.

RWD: Yum. [I had some cajun cheese curds at the Taste of Minnesota that changed my life.] So I heard on the street there’s a hockey series this weekend.

BB: Pretty exciting. Battle for 4th place. Maybe get over .500. [Way to get the party started.]

RWD: We are over .500.

BB: In the conference.

RWD: We like to tie. We’re making our case for the shoot-out.

BB: I like ties. Shoot-outs are so NHL.

RWD: Imagine that. A Wisconsin fan saying “I like ties.”

BB: I think a relatively good management strategy is to not do anything the NHL does.

RWD: Got any advice for Bulldogs fans visiting Madison? Where should they eat?

BB: I think they should go to Dotty’s to eat. It’s near the stadium but it fills up fast so you have to get there early. They make good hamburgers.

RWD: And where should we drink to our victories? [Two, to be exact!]

BB: The Church Key. Best bar in Madison, stiff drinks, nice staff, and it’s nice now ever since they remodeled it.

RWD: And then when they absolutely need something greasy as heck to eat at 2 am?

BB: If you want a kind of different place, there’s a dumpling restaurant called Pelmeni on State Street that is good. I’m not 100% sure they’re still open at bar time, but I’d imagine that they are. Ian’s Pizza is the most popular, and there are two locations now.

RWD: Excellent. Who’s going to have 4th place after this weekend?

BB: The Badgers. I like you, RWD, [well thanks, babe!] but when it comes down to Badgers vs. Dogs, I’ve gotta go with the Badgers.

RWD: Really? Even in a fight between two actual animals?

BB: Badgers are pretty vicious. They’ll claw your face off.

RWD: So will I, but I didn’t hear you picking me as a winner.

BB: The Badgers used to have a live mascot. It escaped and attacked people, so now we have a human mascot.

RWD: Hah, way to go. [Now Bucky is the one getting attacked by Cro-Magnon Finley. The winds of change have blown through Madison.] So what’s your weekend prediction?

BB: 3 points to Wisconsin

RWD: Score?

BB: Friday 4-2, Saturday 2-2 I never get those right.

RWD: Excellent. 4 points UMD!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 1 February 2008 5:35 am

    >Your sentences are so crushed together. I’d probably use two spaces between each period.

  2. 4 February 2008 3:50 am

    >On the contrary … RWD is a white space genius.

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