31 January 2007

The Gauntlet: Invalid Edition

Well, I'm getting this Gauntlet in just under the wire. It's been a rough few days, as I've been down and out with some sort of mysterious illness. DU's notorious Puck Swami was in the hospital when I tracked him down for this interview, although I think that might be because he dresses in scrubs and pretends to be a doctor.

RWD: All right, folks. We're here with DU assistant coach Steve Miller. Steve, how's the team looking this year?
Puck Swami: The Swami wishes he was Steve Miller. At least then, perhaps the players would listen to me more than they do. In the Swami's view, the team is coming around. They should be ready to play this weekend!
RWD: Some sources reported you were Coach Miller. How confusing. But, you should be breathing a sigh of relief, as known DU assassin Jason Garrison will not be in the lineup this weekend.
Puck Swami: Yeah, that was huge relief. Garrison has four career goals and all against my Pios. The killer one was that slapper in the WCHA playoffs that basically ended our season last year. Now, we've got to worry about Raymond, Nisky, Meyers, Sharp, Gergen and the rest of the boys. UMD always plays DU tough! [Could we please, please, please play EVERYONE tough?? Just ONE season???]
RWD: We hope the tradition continues. Where did you get the nickname "Puck Swami?"
Puck Swami: Good question. I had to think of a way to hide my true identity [What is it with Colorado bloggers and secrecy???], and I guess I stole the 'Swami' from Chris Berman from ESPN. I wish I could be more original, but that's the truth.
RWD: And you obviously got the "Puck" from the sprite in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Puck Swami: I've never been a fan of that character. If I had to be a Shakespeare character, it's more likely to be Richard III or Sir Toby Belch from Twelfth Night.

RWD: DG did tell me you were a man of distinguished taste.

Puck Swami: I'd like to think I'm more well rounded than most hockey-only people assume. [Oh you would, would you?]
RWD: Speaking of DG, how would you characterize your relationship with that hack?
Puck Swami: I've known him since before you were born! [You guys are old.] He's a man with a personality as big as his toga. [Is that a burn?] Denver has no better fan!
RWD: He did insinuate that you were not a member of the human race, but were instead a weasel. How do you respond to such allegations?
Puck Swami: I not only deny the allegations, I deny the "Alli-gator." [No comprendo.]
RWD: A prominent man of letters such as yourself must be used to such slander, though.
Puck Swami: Yes, I get my share of slander. Comes with the territory.
RWD: It's just jealousy.
Puck Swami: Thanks, I think.
RWD: So, on to the snazziest coach in the WCHA. What do you think of old Gwoz?
Puck Swami: Gwoz is an amazing coach but I often question his wardrobe choices.
RWD: Really? What would you dress him in?
Puck Swami: The suits and jackets are fine, but I'd advise him to steer clear of pink ties and too much mixing of patterns and stripes - perhaps that's his strategy to confuse opponents! [I heard his wife dresses him.]
RWD: I heard you haven't always been so approving of Curious George... A Mankato incident comes to mind...
Puck Swami: If you're thinking of the 8-7 'Meltdown' game, Gwoz wasn't there - he was at Keith Magnuson's funeral. [Well, you can blame DG for that, as he was the one who suggested I bring it up.] I have questioned Gwoz's decisions before and that's part of what writing on message boards should be about. I actually think that coaches often coach better and players often play better when they have someone to "prove wrong". I'm happy to sometimes play that role. Good fans should be more than just cheerleaders.
RWD: So you're saying Gwoz "proved you wrong?" Did he come up to you and go "IN YOUR FACE, SWAMI!!!?"
Puck Swami: Gwoz would never do that - he's too far above something like that. But I know that players, parents, and coaches do read the boards and if I play a little role in helping to inspire them, I've done my job.
RWD: Inspiring parents is always key. Who would you say are your favorite players, on the current squad and all time?
Puck Swami: My favorite player on DU right now is probably Steve Cook. The kid gives it all on every shift with limited talent. [Steve, Swami just called you limited talent. I think he wants you to prove him wrong... next weekend.] I love players like that. And my all-time favorite Pioneer is definitely Kevin Dineen, who went on to a 20+ year NHL career by giving his all on every shift. That's what I value most - hard work.
RWD: But what about attractiveness? Is that a value? Who do you think is the hottest Pio right now?
Puck Swami: Mrs. Swami would say that Tyler Ruegsegger. I can't say I notice that stuff... [He was pretty quick on the draw with that question, so I don't think he actually asked Mrs. Swami.]
RWD: The DU Hottness Quotient when down significantly with the loss of 1st Team All-WCHA Hottie Matt Carle. Do you think the team misses his presence in other areas as well?
Puck Swami: And he wasn't a bad hockey player, either.
RWD: Well, that was what I was getting at with the question...
Puck Swami: It's my job as a Swami to know that. [Let's see if the Crazy Canuck posts a lecture on the meaning of "Swami."]
RWD: Do you think the guys have adjusted? I mean, you lost some other guys, too, right? Probably uggos, since I can't remember their names.
Puck Swami: Judging by number of "puck bunnnies" following the Denver team, I doubt they missed a beat!
RWD: I meant ON THE ICE. Sheesh! This is a SERIOUS INTERVIEW. Get your mind out of the gutter.
Puck Swami: Sorry. Mrs. Swami just slapped me. [Good for Mrs. Swami!]
RWD: Wow, she's fiesty. She must be Canadian or something.
Puck Swami: You bet she is. Fiesty and Canadian. That's why I married her!
RWD: I'm sure she's a big hockey fan, too.
Puck Swami: She is now. When I married her, she was the one Canadian who wasn't into hockey. She likes football.
RWD: Oh, the CFL. A real powerhouse league. Or does football mean soccer in Canada? [Sometimes these things don't translate.]
Puck Swami: She's a Saskatchewan Rough Rider fan. And football there is three downs, and a huge field - lots of passing.
RWD: Hm. I hear Mrs. Swami comes from a distinguished family of doctors, and women who married doctors.
Puck Swami: Close. She's a lawyer and her brothers and father are doctors or lawyers married to other doctors and lawyers. God knows why she married me... [Slumming, probably.]
RWD: So what happened to that little cartoon guy?
Puck Swami: The Denver Boone has been retired since 1999. He lives in the Archives of Denver's Penrose Library. I hope he's enjoying his retirement.
RWD: Was he hostile and abusive?
Puck Swami: Depends who you ask. Western Pioneers have some baggage these days.
RWD: Does CC really suck?
Puck Swami: Of course they do. Now, forever and always!
RWD: Even though their nickname is Constant Chokers, hasn't Denver been doing some choking of their own recently?
Puck Swami: Choking is relative. All teams choke sometimes. Ask Isaac.
RWD: Hey, get in line, or Mrs. Swami will have to slap you!
Puck Swami: When Isaac let in the fourth goal in the third period in 2004 in Boston, Mrs. Swami slapped my hand over the cell phone from Denver to me in the Fleet Center. It was the greatest night of my life, other than the nights I met, propos[ition]ed to and married her.
RWD: Why were you on a cell phone during a game? CORPORATE SELL-OUT!!!!
Puck Swami: I was very surprised Denver won that game, and Mrs. Swami didn't want to come to Boston to see DU lose. She did, however, come to Columbus in 2005, where she witnessed history standing next to me.
RWD: I see. Do you think Denver can go all the way this year? And by go all the way, I mean make it to the Final Five.
Puck Swami: Denver has a shot like a lot of others, especially with the regional in the back yard this year. Will they win it all? Maybe. I don't think the offense is there yet, but all you need in the NCAAs is a hot goalie [Most attractive goalie = Rob Nolan. Tech will win it all!] and four game winning streak. We'll see.
RWD: How does a team ranked #2 in the league miss the NCAA tournament? Were you that terrible in non-conference games?
Puck Swami: Yes. Princeton, Ferris [State, home of the Faux-dogs] and Garrison killed us.

RWD: We are leaving for Denver in like 7 hours.
[Now more like 5 1/2. Ugh.] What's a "must-do" while in the city?
Puck Swami: Pre-Game Dinner with the DU fans at Spanky's. Seriously, bring your coat. It's cold here.
RWD: By cold what do you mean? [Bracing myself]
Puck Swami: It's a Duluth-like 15 degrees right now. [I think Duluth would be thrilled to have 15-degree weather.]
RWD: Current weather in Minneapolis: 8 degrees. Feels like: -8. [That's Fahrenheit, for you Canucks.]
Puck Swami: You'll fit right in then!

RWD: Ugh. I was hoping it would be warmer!
Puck Swami: Maybe by the weekend, we'll see. Maybe see you Saturday?
RWD: I'll be around. Autograph signing is between 7:01 and 7:04. How about a weekend prediction for the people in the cheap seats?
Puck Swami: Split. [Pansy.]
Well, posting here at RWD is going to be light for the next few days, possibly even non-existent. See you all in February!

26 January 2007

Postcards from RWD, Vol 7: Other Teams Edition

Dear Kyle Okposo,

Do you ever wonder if you made the wrong decision about where you wanted to go to school? Duluth is such a beautiful city. You would be really popular there. We could get married. Please consider transferring.


Dear UAA Head Coach Applicants,

Very funny! This is a great practical joke! Coach Shyiak is going to laugh his badonkadonk off when he finds out he's on Candid Camera, or that show all the kids are watching, Punked. I think playing jokes on your colleagues is a great idea, it fosters a fun and productive working environment. We've seen great examples of jocularity around the league. Who can forget when Mike Eaves and his players were pretending to be pro-wrasslers, and he threw a chair? Hilarious! And when Gwoz did that balancing act last year? Priceless! And John Hill's monkeyshines with the UAA coaching job? We're still laughing about that one!
I know when I turned in my application for the head coach position, I was totally fooling around. I'm sure he'll pull out a whoopee cushion or something when he comes back around this way. You must be fooling around, too. Because otherwise, it would be pretty ridiculous. Sketchy. Devious. Conniving. Un-American. Things that no one wants in a hockey coach. (Okay, maybe "Un-American" is how we got this party started in the first place.) So come on, you've had your fun. Joke's over! Cue Dom DeLuise!

In Jest,

25 January 2007


I know, it was pretty pathetic of me to cop out last night and only post the Numbers. I know you were all dying to hear about my trip to Duluth to see my beloved Bulldogs, and all I gave you was some simple math. You probably thought, Come on, a chimpanzee could have posted that. But come on, people. You know that chimpanzees are too busy posting on this site to bother with a RWD update.

Do you all remember the scene in Wayne's World where they try to go backstage at Alice Cooper and end up outside talking to Chris Farley about Frankie Sharp's talent search? Chris Farley says (with hand gestures to show an imaginary U.S. map) "Next stop is St. Louis, then he's going to come back through Chicago on his way to Detroit." If you don't remember that, you haven't watched one of the GREATEST MOVIES EVER enough times. But anyway, that was sort of how our trip started out. RWD World Headquarters is located in Plymouth (western suburb). Navigational Guru/Duluth Refugee Kleiner lives in a northeastern suburb about 25 miles away. After I swung by to get NG/DR Kleiner (and oohed and aahed over the very cute, very sweet Babykleiner), we were ready to head out. Or so we thought...

As we were leaving the Kleiner Compound, I received an emergency phone call from former Gauntlet Victim/Closet Bulldog Fan Fire Helmet Guy, needing us to rescue him from the ghettos of the northwest suburbs. So Kleiner and I strapped on our bulletproof vests, loaded our AK-47s, and sped across town. After a near-death experience involving a jerk in an Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme on 694, we made it. Kleiner provided cover fire while FHG sprinted to my car from a nearby bombed-out building. Fortunately, he has lots of practice from the DECC to Sports Garden run.

After a stopover in the far northern suburbs to pick up our tickets from an Anonymous Donor, and then another stop to feed my hungry car, we were finally on our way. FINALLY.

But! The important part isn't the journey, it's the destination. We rolled into Duluth in time to booze it at the Curling Club with some members of tPB. We drank Canadian beer in honor of our Crazy Canuck. Yuck. I think I'll stick to my Leinie's Red from now on.

However, if not for Canadians, we would not have won the game. Biggie Mac scored 2 goals (including a sweet power play goal set up by 2 other Canadians) and Mason Raymond had an empty net goal. Jordan Fulton scored just for FHG, as if he was saying "Okposo who?"

Mike Curry was sadly absent from the scoreboard, but he did get in some guy's face and also told Derek Shepherd what he thought of some call or another. It's really entertaining to see all the little things he does to get under an opponent's skin.

The goals per game average has gone up, since tDogs failed to get the required 7 goals last night. Now they have to score 8 1/2 goals each night in Denver. Totally possible!

All right, that's enough. RWD out.


It's been a long night, so I'm really not going to do anything except update the numbers and say


Very exciting indeed. AND a stick salute! Very sexy. Tomorrow I'll write something hilarious.

Points Until We Surpass Last Year's Total: 14 (non-conf)
Wins Until We Surpass Last Year's Total: 6 (non-conf)

My "Guys" Competition:
Matt Niskanen: 24
Michael Gergen: 14!
Mike Curry: 11 (Did not grant my request for him to "PUT IT IN!")
Matt McKnight: 6
Jason Garrison: 2

Freshmen Competition:
Akins: 9
Fulton: 8! (Look out, Okposo!)
Stalock: 4
Gorsalitz: 2
Palm: 1
C. Ryan: 1

On Notice:
Nick Kemp: GD 7
Mike Curry: GD 9 PD 4
Drew Akins: GD 10 PD 7
Andrew Carroll: GD 13 PD 10
Trent Palm: GD 17 PD 17
Ryan Geris: GD 27 PD 17
Travis Gawryletz: GD 28 PD 9
Matt McKnight: GD 5
Matt Greer: GD 5 PD 5
Jeff McFarland: GD 4 PD 4
Josh Meyers: GD 4
Jay Cascalenda: GD 4 PD 4

24 January 2007

Kleiner Is My Co-Pilot

Hello, comrades. Just a quick note before I get going.


Okay, I think we're good. Anyway, speaking of journeys, I'm hitting the road in a few hours with the newly appointed RWD Navigational Guru Kleiner (Sorry man, it's not a paying job). SO STAY OFF THE ROAD, PEOPLE. IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD. And for my benefit as well, because I will be free to drive 100 mph without all those peons in their Geos driving 50 in the left lane. (Parents, remember to read that as 100 kph. That's really, really slow. I imagine that's how slow my Canadian friend drives his Porsche.)

I've got a lot to do today (food, oil change, tonsil scraping), so I will have to let you peruse the enemy sites. There are 2 NMU blogs that are about 90000000000% more professional than my site on its best day: Kyle Whitney's Sports Thoughts - Northern Style and Matt Wellens's Schizophrenic Blog (dude! Just pick a title and stay with it!). They don't have TOO much to say about the game YET, but they are coming off a sweep of Bowling Green, who we have also beaten.

I don't really have too much to say either, so we just need to remember the fundamentals: 7 goals per game, no lazy stick penalties, don't make me come down there and slap you.

22 January 2007

Postcards from RWD, Vol. 6: Team Edition

Dear Bulldogs,

It's me, Runninwiththedogs. You might remember me from such restraining orders as: The One You're Taking Out On Me Right Now, and The One That Keeps Me From Returning To The Milwaukee Ed Debevic's. Anyway, we need to talk. You see, we're approaching a crucial point of the season. The next few games are extremely important, and not just because we need wins like Troy Jutting needs Extreme Makeover. The games are important because I am coming to the next three games.
Yes, that's right. THREE IN A ROW. And you know what I want to see? THREE WINS. You know what I don't want to see? The crap from the last three games. I will be travelling 2188 miles in the next few weeks JUST FOR YOU GUYS. I don't need to see any losses. I can listen to those in the comfort of my own home. It's safer for everyone that way.
I want to see some GOALS, too. From those of you on notice. From those of you not on notice. From everyone! There are 21 non-goalies on the team. That means 21 goals, or 7 a night, and we've scored 7 goals in one night before! We've even done it this season. And hey, just because you're a goalie, doesn't mean you can't get in on the action. We're still waiting for Al to get his first goal.
Also, rumor has it there's a potential recruit in town for the game. That means you should play well, so this guy wants to be on the team. And contrary to what I may have said on tPB, it's not my job to convince him to go here. We all know I would scare the poor guy away.
I really, really, really want to see some wins live and in person. Please, guys. Show me some love.

Your devoted servant,

20 January 2007

Hockey Day

Well, today was Hockey Day Minnesota. What did I do? I worked. So I missed the game. Or, more accurately, I missed all of the games, including the Bulldogs' game.

All is not lost. I am going to celebrate by snuggling up on the couch with some Kleenex and watching Miracle. I know, I know, you probably thought I didn't have a heart at all, or that it was black and shriveled. I don't know where you'd get that idea... Anyway the following list of movie genres will make me cry like a little girl:

1. Hockey movies (but not Slap Shot)
2. Baseball movies (but not Major League)
3. Movies where animals die (i.e. Old Yeller) or almost die (The Incredible Journey)

So there you go. HOWEVER, games like FRIDAY NIGHT just make me ANGRY. VERY UNCOOL, GUYS. VERY UNCOOL. That's all I have to say about that.

Saturday, we played better. CLEARLY. Since we got FIVE GOALS, which we rarely get even against bad teams. Very awesome. Also, SUPERB power play on Saturday, and NOT BAD on the PK either. I guess we need Gors on there MORE OFTEN. (See, Crazy Canuck, the PR machine is working. Also, don't forget to vote for Gors as Cutest Baby!) Mason Raymond = 5 Assists = AWESOME. Bryan MacGregor = 4 Points = HOTTTT. MacGregor Sharp = 3 points = ALSO HOTTT.

(And, DAN KRONICK = 1 POINT. Good job, guys!)

No Gauntlet this week, since the next game is on Wednesday, and I SHALL BE THERE. HUZZAH!

Points Until We Surpass Last Year's Total: 14 (barf)
Wins Until We Surpass Last Year's Total: 6 (more barf)

My "Guys" Competition:
Matt Niskanen: 24! (Also, nearly ripped Nodl's head off!)
Michael Gergen: 13! (Off notice!)
Mike Curry: 11
Matt McKnight: 6 (Mysteriously missing from the lineup...)
Jason Garrison: 2

Freshmen Competition:
Akins: 9
Fulton: 7
Stalock: 4
Gorsalitz: 2 (Yeah! PK!)
Palm: 1
C. Ryan: 1

On Notice:
Nick Kemp: GD 6 PD 4
Mike Curry: GD 8
Drew Akins: GD 9 PD 6
Andrew Carroll: GD 12 PD 9
Trent Palm: GD 16 PD 16
Jordan Fulton: GD 25 PD 5
Ryan Geris: GD 26 PD 16
Travis Gawryletz: GD 27 PD 8
Matt McKnight: GD 4
Matt Greer: GD 4 PD 4

18 January 2007

The Gauntlet: Dirty Old Man Edition

This week, I decided to be nice. I threw down The Gauntlet to Skeeterman, a St. Cloud Community College fan. He isn't a blogger, but he is a giant amongst losers on USCHO. It is shorter than normal (hey, don't everyone applaud at once), because I was late for our "meeting" and then I had to go to work. Because I do this FOR FREE, comrades.

RWD: You were suggested for this interview by MeanEGirl, since I didn't know any St. Cloud fans worth knowing. She said you are the only St. Cloud fan who "gets it." What does that mean, and why doesn't anyone else "get it?"
Skeeterman: I don't know for sure. I don't think she was making any sexual connotations. I think she just meant that I get what it is to be a hockey fanatic who enjoys getting wacky and being a little outrageous.
RWD: Who said anything about sexual connotations? [Really, who did?] But, on that note, aren't you secretly in love with her?
Skeeterman: She's a hottie, that's for sure. When Michigan Tech came here last year, I had a local pub make up a big welcome banner with a picture of her and a welcome to MEgirl and Mitch's Misfits.
RWD: Oh, you made that sign? I saw it. Aren't you a little old for her?
Skeeterman: I gave McRudy's Pub the picture, and they had Budweiser make it up. They also made the famous Dahlie Llama vs. Don Lou Chia pet banner, and I have a picture of me and Doug Woog holding it up, and a picture of me and Mazocco holding it up. I might be a little old for MEgirl, but I think she prefers mature, experienced men.
RWD: Now, I've never met you, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say, aren't you a little tall for her?
Skeeterman: I think a lot of guys might be a little tall for her. But as we all know, size doesn't matter.
RWD: Oh my.
Skeeterman: My oh my
RWD: I have a reader-submitted question, which is a first on this feature. I don't know if he wants me to reveal his identity to you, so let's just say he's a Gopher fan who wears a distinct helmet at games.
Skeeterman: I don't know who that would be.
RWD: He wants to know what brand of pacemaker you use.

Skeeterman: I don't need a pacemaker yet, but I've dabbled in [a little blue pill whose name I won't print because I don't want that kind of traffic on my site].
RWD: When MEg game to town, I'm sure.
Skeeterman: I'll never tell. [And, I don't want to know. So we're in agreement here.]
RWD: Are you going to endorse any other brands on here? Such as telling me which brand of snowmobile you drive to the rink? Or do you drive your Ford F-150 extended cab?
Skeeterman: I hate snowmobiles and pick-up trucks. I prefer dog sleds and snowshoes.
RWD: Maybe you should move to Alaska. It must be better than St. Cloud.
Skeeterman: Might not be a bad idea, I've heard that they have some interesting customs there.
RWD: I heard there you are susceptible to Stearns County Syndrome. What is that? Is it catching?
Skeeterman: It's not catching. It all happened before I arrived here. I'm originally from Fergus Falls. The syndrome is from inter-family marriage among the early German immigrants. [The tradition continues today!] So if a couple from Stearns County gets a divorce, the question is "Are they still cousins?" Lots of entire families afflicted with what they used to call mental retardation... not that there's anything wrong with that, as retards are people, too.
RWD: Do you think the Stearns County Syndrome is what makes the [St. Cloud] USCHO posters so thin-skinned? Or is it the inferiority complex?
Skeeterman: I think it's the inferiority deal suffered by some. They know who they are. It's not that complex.
RWD: I think everyone knows who they are. [If you don't, ask Donald!] There are a few different nicknames out there for your team. JBSU, St. Bob, St. Clown, etc. What's your favorite?
Skeeterman: That's a trick question. [It is???] I used to prefer the "Swoonskies", but that was during the reign of the Llama [Craig Dahl, for those of you not in the know].
RWD: Is this the year? For an NCAA win? [No.]
Skeeterman: I think it's going to be the best chance we've had for many years. The best chance should have been when we had the team that had about 5 future NHL players on it.
RWD: If you win, are you guys going to riot?
Skeeterman: They're much more mild mannered here. There would be a celebration, but no riot. The infamous homecoming riot was started by the law enforcement people.
RWD: I thought, you know, to compete with UMTC you might.
Skeeterman: The evil empire is way different. The students at the Minnesota Rodent Academy don't know any better.
RWD: I see. So, Dan Kronick: future NHL superstar, or just lucky to have good linemates?
Skeeterman: Kronick's a future star only if he gets to play against UMD guys. He does have some great linemates, though, and he gets lucky sometimes.
RWD: And is ugly and pathetic.
Skeeterman: You've gotta love that chin, though. [No. No I do not.]
RWD: Who would you say is the most attractive guy on your team?
Skeeterman: I'm not into guys, but I think Andrew Gordon warms the cockles of many.
RWD: Wow. You are the first person to actually ANSWER that question, other than MEg!
Skeeterman: Just my observations, plus he has a major red haired groupie.
RWD: I just checked him out. He's not THAT ugly. I probably know the answer to this already, but is there a Mrs. Skeeterman?
Skeeterman: Yes, there is. She puts up with me.
RWD: Wow, I guess I didn't know the answer! [I was completely astonished.]
Skeeterman: As a friend of mine used to say: "I'm married, but I'm not a fanatic about it!"
RWD: Who are your favorite players, current and all-time?
Skeeterman: Favorite players: Tyler Arnason, Matt Cullen, Mark Parrish, Duvie Westcott, Dave Holum, Dave Paradise, Billy Lund, Dave Ianaazzo, Brian Lietsa, and others yet to be determined.
RWD: Wow, you really rattled that list off.
Skeeterman: They come to mind quickly. Holum was great for taunting. If he drew a penalty from the other guys, he's come out and skate by their bench and face them all with a big grin, and sometimes toss some debris into their bench. I forgot Jeff Finger, famous for bone shattering checks.
RWD: Ah, so you like the grinders. [WARNING! The next section is not for those with weak stomachs!]
Skeeterman: Yeah, fun to watch. He made Patrick Eaves give up his breakfast, lunch, and anything else he had in his stomach. He flattened guys on a regular basis.
RWD: That's disgusting.
Skeeterman: Disgusting, but lovely.
RWD: Does vomit really bounce on ice?
Skeeterman: Don't know, cause he filled up their bench.
RWD: Ah. Shame. So, how about a weekend prediction for the folks at home?
Skeeterman: I would say Huskies sweep, Friday, 4-2, Saturday 5-3. [So, Tech's going to sweep Alaska-Anchorage. MEg will be happy. And St. Cloud is going DOWN!]
RWD: There might be some vomiting this weekend, too. The flu has been going around the UMD bench. And what about The Kronick?
Skeeterman: Kronick is ready to go, no flu here. I sit right behind the opponents bench.
RWD: I mean, how many points?
Skeeterman: Kronick gets a hat trick Friday, with 2 assists; Saturday, 2 goals, 2 assist.
RWD: I say ZERO POINTS. Are you going to throw batteries at me now?
Skeeterman: Never, that's only Gopher fans who throw the batteries and then blame it on Husky fans. [Uh huh...]
And there were some who said he'd never agree to an interview...
Now, LET'S GO BULLDOGS!!!!!!!!!!

16 January 2007

What's Coming To You

Look out, St. Cloud.

After this weekend, you'll feel like you were hit by this bad boy.

15 January 2007

You're On Notice!

All right, guys, we've got to go on a second half run here. I know you can do it, I of course have ultimate confidence in your abilities to go undefeated in the rest of your games. Then we'll be chanting "Seven More Wins!" at Patrick McGovern's on March 15th, just like we did last year.

We can't do anything without some goal scoring. Mason Raymond is, obviously, a scoring machine. Mason Raymond does not sleep. He waits. My Guys have all being doing a pretty good job of getting on the board, predominantly with assists. Assists are great, because you can't have an assist without a goal. But we can't rely on the status quo to keep us going. Someone's gotta step up.

The Numbers is going to have a new feature. It's called the Scoring Drought. Anyone who has a scoring drought of 4 or more games is on the list. Haven't gotten a goal in awhile? You're on the board. Haven't gotten an goal OR an assist in awhile? Better get a goal. Scoring every game? Keep it up. Don't play regularly? You're safe. It ain't your fault. We know you'd score a hatty each game if only given the chance. GD = goal drought. PD = point drought.

Scoring Drought
Nick Kemp: GD 4
Mike Curry (see? RWD does not play favorites here): GD 6
Drew Akins: GD 7 PD 4
Michael Gergen: GD 10
Andrew Carroll: GD 10 PD 7
Trent Palm: GD 14 PD 14
Jordan Fulton: GD 23
Ryan Geris: GD 24 PD 14
Travis Gawryletz: GD 25 PD 6

Okay, it's not that hard. If everyone on the list here scored a goal this weekend, we'd for sure beat St. Cloud. Which we'll be doing anyway.

14 January 2007

A Hard Luck Story

There's no denying that Friday night's win had a certain amount of luck to it. Definitely some skill, hard work, and grit, too, I'm not trying to discount that, but you just don't score an unassisted goal from center ice on skill. Unless you are a robot, and if so, what kind of powers do you have? Do you use them for good, or for awesome? Would you like to join forces? I just happen to be the greatest criminal mind of our time.

Okay, I got off track there. So, Friday night, RWD staffers had a meeting via the internet. Present were: RWD Ace Reporter and Prognosticater, DA; RWD East Coast Correspondent, H; and, of course, the lovely, brilliant, one and only RWD. UMDDogz is in the center of the continent, probably for a meeting of some sort of Unabomber-worshipping fringe group; Gramps was probably asleep. At the end of the game, after a few moments of jubilation, we discussed Saturday. DA asked who was going to be around, and everyone said they would be. In a wise moment, I cautioned everyone not to change their clothes. Because, everyone knows when you're on a winning streak, you don't change anything. You hold your breath, you cautiously avoid any words like "sweep" or "shutout", and you wear those lucky socks until the streak ends.

Fast forward to Saturday. I'm there, in my totally sweet Norm Maciver throwback (same as last night), DA is back, measuring drapes, UMDDogz is still plotting against the government, Gramps is still sleeping... BUT. NO H.

I think we can extrapolate from here what happened. The universe shifted. The 'Dogs, who were winning 2-0 through 2 periods, gave away 4 straight (incl. an empty netter). The PK had been perfect through 2, but CC's PP scored 2 of 3 in the 3rd. Mason Raymond scored 2 goals, each assisted by Biggie Mac and a RWD Guy, then got briefly injured, but returned to the game, only to finish a -1 on the night! CC finished with twice the power play opportunities (but, notice, no coaches tried to kill any referees... the players were taking care of dumping Anderson ON the ice), including on that essentially put the Tigers on the PP for nearly the rest of the game (although they scored a little over a minute into that PP, so they didn't have the full 2 minutes). UMD pulled Stalock, but couldn't get organized, and after only 10 seconds, gave up the empty netter with 59 seconds remaining.

I'm not particularly happy with how the game turned out last night, BUT we can do two things: hang our heads and cry, or go out and slaughter some Huskies.


Points Until We Surpass Last Year's Total: 14 (So, no need for the brooms)
Wins Until We Surpass Last Year's Total: 6 (Totally achievable!)

My "Guys" Competition:
Matt Niskanen: 23!
Michael Gergen: 12
Mike Curry: 11
Matt McKnight: 6!
Jason Garrison: 2

Freshmen Competition:
Akins: 9
Fulton: 7
Stalock: 4
Gorsalitz: 2 (actually in the lineup!)
Palm: 1
C. Ryan: 1 (actually in the lineup!)

12 January 2007

Smooth Criminal

CC are you okay? Are you okay? Are you okay CC?

Mason Raymond is one smooth criminal.

We rule. 4 game winning streak. Down 2-0 early, battling back. Cascalenda scores his first goal as a Bulldog. McFarland gets the game winner (from CURRY!) JOSH MEYERS SCORES FROM CENTER FREAKING ICE. CENTER ICE.

Points Until We Surpass Last Year's Total: 14!
Wins Until We Surpass Last Year's Total: 6!

My "Guys" Competition:
Matt Niskanen: 22
Michael Gergen: 12! (Sets up the awesome first Bulldog goal of Jay Cascalenda!)
Matt McKnight: 5
Jason Garrison: 2 (Get well soon!)

Freshmen Competition:
Akins: 9
Fulton: 7
Stalock: 4
Gorsalitz: 2
Palm: 1
C. Ryan: 1

09 January 2007

Happy Birthday, Eh?

Dear Logan Gorsalitz,

Happy Birthday! I hear it's your 21st, which is probably the last exciting birthday you'll have. Seriously, kid, it's all downhill from here. Just be careful who you're doing body shots off of.


P.S. Did you know your dad promised to give you his car for your birthday?

The Gauntlet: Stealth Edition

RWD recently (like 2 hours ago) caught up with elusive CC Blogger, "CC Hockey." He seems to be VERY interested in keeping his identity a secret. Even I don't know who he is. All these covert ops would seem to suggest that "CC Hockey" is actually Marty Sertich. Or Peter Sejna. Or Superman. Who knows?

RWD: CC Hockey is a lame nickname. Let's change that now. What should I call you?

CCH: I dunno, don't you abbreviate anyways? How about CCH? Or CCM, it could be like CC Man, or CCM the hockey brand.

RWD: Or CiCi.

CCH: Well, whatever you want. That sounds a little feminine though.

RWD: I know. CCH is fine. So, I'm good fake-internet-friends with DGGoddard from LetsGoDU, and he may have given me some misconceptions about CC.

CCH: Yes, well, I'm here to help.

RWD: First, what do you think of that hack, DG, anyway?

CCH: His blog is always a good read, and I'm not exactly sure on the timeline but I think you could consider him a "pioneer" (pun intended) of college hockey blogs. It's a shame that he has to root for a team full of such thugs and misfits, but everyone makes mistakes. Nevertheless I always get a kick of out reading his site.

RWD: Actually the oldest college hockey blog I know of is mine. [BY A YEAR OVER THAT HACK! CCH is on my list of People To Kill now.]

CCH: Well, you're a pioneer too.

RWD: You're damn right I am! [Kow-tow to the master, baby.]

CCH: What I meant was that it seemed to me he was among the first people to get it going. DU had a blog long before a lot of other schools, especially considering their relatively small fan base in comparison to some of the other WCHA schools. I may be completely wrong about that, I don't really know.

RWD: I think he's done much more than I have though. However, we are not here to build up his over-inflated ego, but rather to cut him down to size. Is it true that DU fans hate CC, but CC fans are indifferent?

CCH: Not at all. I think DU's championship seasons increased the hatred that CC fans have for the Pios. If you've ever attended a DU/CC game at the World Arena, you'll know this is true. I remember when CC clinched the McNaughton two years ago at home, DU coaches were getting pelted with drinks from the CC student section as they walked off. Another good example was the DU/CC game earlier this year. Before the game Bill Sweatt and Rhett Rakhshani were recognized for their Team USA stuff, and once the fans realized that one of the guys getting an award was from Denver, the announcer was drowned out by a chorus of boos. And a very distinct "[fornicate] you" from the student section as Rhett skated out to get the award.

RWD: I don't like Rhett.

CCH: Me neither.

RWD: He is a diver like Robbie Earl.

CCH: I hadn't really noticed, but it sounds like he'll fit in great at DU. Speaking of Robbie Earl, I remember in what I believe was the championship game last year, when he scored a goal right after getting up from a spectacular dive. Unbelievably, the clip ended up on Sportscenter. These guys never show college hockey, and they choose to show a clip of that [you don't even want to know] flopping around? What an embarrassment.

RWD: I know. He sucks. Are CC fans smarter than DU fans?

CCH: Absolutely. Just check out the SAT scores. They're louder, too. Although I should say one thing about that. Every now and then during CC/DU games the CC students will try to break out the "safety school" chant, which I think is just completely classless. It's gotta stop. I've never liked that cheer. [CCH just committed the cardinal sin of showing weakness in front of the enemy.]

RWD: But would you say it's accurate?

CCH: Accurate maybe, I dunno.

RWD: There was another rumor that CC hasn't won a championship since 1957.

CCH: Yes, well, that's unconfirmed but I'm looking into it.

RWD: That's 50 years, if my Illinois math is correct.

CCH: Not until April.

RWD: That's a long time. Do you think the dry spell will end any time soon?

CCH: It's possible. A lot of those 50 years were years when CC was not a contender at all, but the program has definitely been right up at the top for the last 10+ years. No one really expected anything from the Tigers this season and they're doing great, but a championship would really surprise me. Next year could be a very big year for CC, although the goaltending could end up being an issue. We'll definitely have the firepower, though.

RWD: Do you have a goalie recruit coming in?

CCH: Yes: Richard Bachman, who should be a great goalie. He was drafted 120th in the last NHL draft and first overall in the USHL draft. The question will be whether or not to give our current sophomore goalie, Drew O'Connell, some time in net this year and try to groom him to be the starter next season. I was a big advocate of this earlier in the year, but now that CC is contending and Matt Zaba is playing well, it'd be tough to take him out.

RWD: This weekend would be a good time to experiment. Bring on O'Connell!

CCH: Zaba's on a roll right now, so I wouldn't expect it, but Scott Owens does like to throw curveballs every now and then when it comes to the goalies, so you could end up getting your wish.

RWD: Oh yes, Scott Owens. That brings me to another rumor. Aren't he and Ron Jeremy long lost twins?

CCH: Well, the word is he's going mustacheless these days, so that rumor is in doubt. But in all seriousness, I hope so. It'd be great to see Ron at some games.

RWD: If by great, you mean gross.

CCH: He might be able to help out some of the visiting DU fans who I hear are often "inadequate". [I love this man.]

RWD: OHHHHHH! BURN!!!!! I LOVE IT! How do you feel about the season so far?

CCH: So far so good. I think the near-consensus pick on the USCHO board's preseason predictions was that CC would finish 7th in the WCHA, and now we're sitting fairly pretty at 4th. The team has really surprised so far, and the sweep of DU was unexpected. The best part is that we've got a ton of young talent to build on for next season. The freshman class is really loaded, and we're also seeing breakout seasons from some of the juniors this year. The one disappointing thing, that is usually a CC strength, is the out of conference games. Last year out of conference games pretty much got CC into the tournament, this year they could very well keep us out.

RWD: They were mysteriously absent from the Final Five.

CCH: That was definitely a disappointment, especially after Brett Sterling came back from injury in game two of that series to save the season. I guess we just got derailed by The Bobby.

RWD: And what is your preference: Sertich or Sterling? Or do you swing both ways?

CCH: Well obviously Sterling's got the scorer's touch. I think that he may end up having the better professional career. At the same time, I think Sertich was more fun to watch just because of all the dazzling moves. I guess you could say I swing both ways on this question, but if I had to add one of them to CC's roster I'd take Sertich. By the way, I know this was true a few days ago, dunno if it still is, but Brett Sterling is leading the AHL in goals so far this season. [I think he's Marty Sertich. Notice he chooses himself over his mortal enemy.]

RWD: I'm laughing really hard at your bolded response.

CCH: I thought you'd like that.

RWD: It's so much easier when I don't have to work so hard for this to be funny.

CCH: Well I know I'm under pressure to perform.

RWD: Ron Jeremy to the rescue!

CCH: Ronny J, saving the day!

RWD: On your blog, I always notice you seem pretty serious, and then *ZING* out of nowhere there's something hilarious.

CCH: I try to balance the two, or sometimes just sneak a little joke into some serious analysis. There's really no rhyme or reason to it.

RWD: So you are somewhere between Western College Hockey (all facts, no fluff) and Me (completely divergent from reality).

CCH: Something like that. In that respect you could say I'm more like Lets Go DU [I almost exploded. CC fan admitting to having something in common with a DU fan!], although that blog is definitely funnier than mine. We do both enjoy giving North Dakota fans grief. Or North Dakota State, that is.

RWD: Were you at the Final Five?

CCH: Nope, but how could I miss all the whining about that gaffe? What are season ticket prices like to UMD games? [Who said this guy could ask a question?]

RWD: They are like $400.

CCH: Season tickets to CC are like in the thousands, but for students you can get a booklet for 100 bucks

RWD: Holy buckets! In the THOUSANDS?

CCH: Yeah, people spend a fortune on those things. Although it depends where you sit obviously. I'm not 100% sure on the prices but it's high. I talked to a professor once who said his tickets were like $1500 I believe.

RWD: Cripes. I hope with those prices I would get to sit in the lap of a player or something. Who are your favorite CC players? Current and all time?

CCH: When it comes to all-time I think I'd have to go with Marty Sertich. Cop out, I know, since he's so recent [You mean, since he's YOU!], but he was really a thrill to watch. And I haven't been following CC long enough to know all the greats. Swanson was great back in the 90's and Sejna a few years back. We tend to have good luck with players whose last name starts with the letter "S". On a related note, Bill Sweatt is definitely one of my favorites currently - he's got unbelievable speed. I couldn't really choose a favorite on the current team just because it's so balanced. Jimmy Kilpatrick, Scott McCulloch, Lee Sweatt, these guys are all a blast to watch. [Yeah. Jimmy "Spearing" Kilpatrick is a thrill a minute.]

RWD: Who is the hottest CC Tiger?

CCH: As a guy, you know I can't answer that. You need some more females to get some more exciting answers to that question. [SOMEONE NEEDS TO STEP UP AND JUST SAY ANOTHER MAN IS ATTRACTIVE.]

RWD: Isn't there a Mrs. CCH you could use as a lifeline?

CCH: Mrs? God no. There's a lady friend but she's unavailable at the moment.

RWD: Wow, you are the first non-UMD fan to have a love interest.

CCH: I guess college hockey fans just have lonely, lonely lives. Especially if they're DU fans.

RWD: There is definitely no Mrs. DG.

CCH: No surprise there. Hey, I'm about to make $100 [on the BCS bowl].

RWD: Sweet. Don't spend it all on [disreputable women] and [illegal drugs in powder form].

CCH: That's what I was planning on. That and beer at CC games.


CCH: Of course. You can't elsewhere?

RWD: NO! WHY THE [something] AM I GOING TO DENVER? [You suck, DU! Serve me booze to win back my love!]

CCH: We can actually get hard liquor too... not to rub it in or anything... I didn't realize other schools are so strict. That must be why Magness Arena sounds like the United States Senate.

RWD: Now it all makes sense?

CCH: Yeah, I'm understanding now. The NCAA should really look at that - it definitely adds to the atmosphere, although I'm sure it also adds to DUI arrests on the way home from games.

RWD: No kidding. What are we going to see from Les Tigres this weekend?

CCH: I'm not sure. I never really know what to expect with the UMD series. CC badly needs these games to keep themselves at the top of the WCHA, so I'm sure they'll be playing hard. At the same time, I don't think we've swept a series since Denver... and that includes a series against Bemidji State. [Let's not bring up Bemidji State.] So I wouldn't be surprised if UMD did well either. If CC plays to their ability though I think they'll take at least one, and hopefully both.

RWD: You say "At the top," I say "In the middle."

CCH: Well by top I mean top half - home ice territory. [Again, he's backpedaling! I've got him on the ropes!]

RWD: We just came off a sweep.

CCH: Well, hopefully the Dogs have a letdown then.

RWD: No, no one is hoping that. Can I have a weekend prediction from you?

CCH: Weekend prediction eh... Let's see I'll go Friday night CC wins 4-3, Saturday night UMD wins 5-2. That's pretty conservative I think. I always like to avoid picking sweeps or ties. I feel like those people predicting ties on USCHO are just trying to say, "Hey, I know hockey much better than you and I've got a feeling about this one...."

RWD: There are also folks who always pick a sweep (DG).

CCH: I think every DU fan pretty much picks a DU sweep on a weekly basis. People pick against CC a lot, no one seems to have faith in our boys.

RWD: I think people say 3 points not because they think there'll be a tie, but because they aren't gutsy enough to say sweep. Same with 1 point... it's like, we hope we get something. Like, the Jeopardy home version.

CCH: Maybe. I think people who pick ties are just trying to be nonconformists.

RWD: You should come to Denver when the Dogs play DU. I will loan you a jersey.

CCH: Well, normally I'd be happy to go to a game, but since it's at DU, I think I might have more fun going to the library or going out to dinner with my grandparents.

Well... there you have it. Marty Sejnaman, everybody.

06 January 2007

They Call It A Streak

A winning streak! Hooray!

RWD Ace reporter and prognosticator DA checks in with the following report on the game (since I had to work):

What, the first stick salute in how long? I think I used to have hair (well not that bad but it's been a while). [RWD finds this very hard to believe, as DA has not had hair since the '70s.]

First time since 2004 for a
[conference] sweep, and it had been since Nov of 2004 that they won a game when trailing after two. [There was some serious grammar editing just now, and it's still a messed-up sentence fragment.] 42 games.

The scoring started early with Sharp from Gergen and Kemp at 1:06, good goal. Tech took over for a while and then finally tied it at 7:38 after the 'Dogs had killed back to back penalties. UMD used a five on three to get back in the lead but scored one second after the first penalty expired. McKnight from Niskanen and Raymond.

Kinrade tied it again on a defensive breakdown when Rouleau worked the puck past two defenders and fed the puck to Kinrade for a goal. End of one.

McGregor missed a breakaway shorthanded attempt
[Aw, man! But I sure am glad THAT GUY is on our PK!] and that was followed by a goal later in the period by Batovanja at 16:45. A fight later led to a PP but they [Tech] failed to convert. End of two with Tech leading 3-2.

After a big post was hit by Geris, Sharp from Gergen and Kemp at 3:00 minutes tied the
game. A few penalties back and forth and then at 12:10 Raymond put away a great goal from a feed by McGregor and McKnight.

The scoring finished with Greer putting it in the open net from a pass from Stalock
[with an assist to Josh Meyers as well, welcome back!] that tipped off Shepherd. (19:38).

What a series win over a team that, no matter how poor they are playing, usually comes into Duluth and sweeps the 'Dogs just when you think they have a chance to move up in the
standings. Maybe this year will be different. Look for a big second half.

And from the Canadian world, hockey savant and honorary RWD correspondent The Crazy Canuck gives us the inside scoop on no-longer-snake-bitten Mason Raymond:

Just to give you some history here bulldog fans, Mason Raymond has been a nemesis of goaltender Robbie Nolan for a couple of seasons. His biggest goal against this Mich Tech product was when Rob Nolan played for the Fort McMurray Oil Barons and Raymond played for the Kodiaks. The year: 2005. The series: bragging rights for the Alberta Junior Hockey League Championship. The Kods were down in this series 3 games to 1. Came back to get the second win at home. Then went into Fort McMurray in hopes of staving off elimination for the second straight game. The score: 2-0 Barons with 6 minutes to go. Kods get one. Kods get the tying goal with 35 seconds left in the game. And then in OT, Magic Man Mason does his best dipsy doodle and out maneouvers Nolan to put the biscuit in the basket. The Kods never looked back and defeated the Barons in game 7 back on home ice.

So, we've got a winning streak, we've got our top scorers with multiple points on the night, a PK that was perfect this weekend, and fans who won't stop believin'! We are ready for a second half run! (Also, there is a house party at tBeersong's, if you're interested.)

Points Until We Surpass Last Year's Total: 16 (SWEEP! GLORIOUS SWEEP!)
Wins Until We Surpass Last Year's Total: 7 (HOORAY!)

My "Guys" Competition:
Matt Niskanen: 22!
Michael Gergen: 11! (Overtakes Mike Curry!)
Mike Curry: 10
Matt McKnight: 5!
Jason Garrison: 2 (We miss you!)

Freshmen Competition:
Akins: 9
Fulton: 7
Stalock: 4! (Assisted on the ENG at the end!)
Gorsalitz: 2
Palm: 1
C. Ryan: 1

This Is How We Do It

To steal from Montell Jordan, it's Friday night and I feel all right.

BECAUSE WE WON! WE FREAKIN' WON! (Ow! My freakin' ears!) Tip up your cup and throw your hands up! I'm kinda buzzed and it's all because (this is how we do it) the Bulldogs do it like nobody does!

I listened to just under half the game, when B-Mac scored the shorthanded goal to put us on top. Then I had to go to work (it's inventory time, so there were all these sketchy ex-cons with scanners running around) and forgot my cell phone at home. So, DA and UMDDogz were furiously texting me with updates, and I was none the wiser, trying to get my stuff done so I could call and find out the score. And here, there was tension, and drama, with a tie game, pipes being hit, saves being made, and OVERTIME! High stress situations that I was blissfully unaware of. It was great to see us play good D and to see Josh Johnson play well in goal. I am going to assume that was the case, considering the 2-1 outcome of the game. Superb, excellent, awesome! I'm thrilled.

Points Until We Surpass Last Year's Total: 18 (GLORY HALLELUJAH!)
Wins Until We Surpass Last Year's Total: 8 (CAN I GET ANOTHER HALLELUJAH????!!!!!)

My "Guys" Competition:
Matt Niskanen: 21! (Brilliant! Game winning OT goal and SH assist!)
Mike Curry: 10 (But by all accounts played one heckuva game!)
Michael Gergen: 9
Matt McKnight: 3
Jason Garrison: 2

Freshmen Competition:
Akins: 9
Fulton: 7! (Assist on OT goal!)
Stalock: 3
Gorsalitz: 2
Palm: 1
C. Ryan: 1

04 January 2007

Mitch Altogether

RWD is a sad panda today.

Ugh. The crazy third person posting rules in the USCHO MTU-UMD thread are driving me nuts.

Anyway, I am a sad panda today, because Mitch Ryan, Detroit Wheels has officially left the team. Mitch! We hardly knew ye!

You can read about it in the DNT. On the plus side, the article discusses UMD's new recruit, Rob Bordson, who is most definitely a hottie.

02 January 2007

The Gauntlet: Killing The Radio Star Edition

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This week, The Gauntlet returns with a vengeance...

Okay, maybe not a vengeance, since this is another "Friendly Fire" incident. This week, RWD threw down the glove to Bruce Ciskie, UMD Radio Guy, former USCHO Poster, and Purse Snatcher.

RWD: Hold on, must find notebook with questions.

Ciskie: Uh oh... you wrote them down?

RWD: Weeks ago.

Ciskie: I'm marginally impressed.

RWD: Seriously, what do you take me for? What about my blog would ever make you think I am anything other than a serious journalist with the highest standards of integrity?

Ciskie: I'll be more impressed after I find out what the questions are.

RWD: I think my questions will be better than "What's in your iPod?" I already know it's country. Did you have a nice christmas?

Ciskie: Absolutely. I can never complain about a new PS2 game and seeing my kid happily ripping open his mom's presents because he apparently didn't get enough of his own. [Bruce won't be winning Father Of The Year any time soon.]

RWD: I was going to ask if there was a Mrs. Bruce Ciskie, but you've already answered that.

Ciskie: Yeah, there is, and she's really the one who jump-started my hockey obsession. I was only a casual fan until our second date, which happened to be the 1998 UMD-[UMTC] playoff game that everyone SWEARS they were at. I was, and I now own a DVD of it thanks to some really nice UMD fan in the Twin Cities.

RWD: Do you know that the only people who have answered yes to the "is there a Mr/Mrs [your name here]" question are UMD fans?

Ciskie: Really?

RWD: Really. So you have been following tDogs since 1998? Or before?

Ciskie: Slightly before. I had gone to a few games before that 1998 playoff game, but it wasn't enough to hook me. We went to the Saturday game of the playoff series, and I have a vague memory of a fight or some sort of skirmish happening late in the game (a Gopher shutout win). No matter what it was, it was enough for me to make it clear that we were going to the Sunday night game. After that, I was hooked on college hockey. I also remember listening to the 1984 title game with Bowling Green on the radio, even though I was supposed to be sleeping. I didn't know anything about hockey at the time, but I knew it was a big deal so I listened (BANDWAGON!). I turned it off before the fourth overtime because I couldn't stay awake anymore (I was six at the time).

RWD: I suppose the players make you feel really old.

Ciskie: All of them except Geris.

RWD: "So, Jordan Fulton, how was your senior year of high school... LAST YEAR?"

Ciskie: Well, there's that. I don't really think about the age gap with the guys that much, though there will sometimes be conversations where I come away feeling old.

RWD: Mentally I'm sure there's no age gap.

Ciskie: Actually, they're probably older than I am in that regard.

RWD: Let's talk about the players. Who's the hottest Bulldog?

Ciskie: Can I cheat on this one?


Ciskie: I don't think any of the players are married, so I can apparently choose a girlfriend.

RWD: NO! [extremely long pause] For crying out loud! This is taking too long!

Ciskie: You're asking a guy who the hottest Bulldog is... really, did you expect a quick response?

RWD: [After another extremely long pause, when it becomes evident that Bruce is using a lifeline.] Have you decided who is the hottest?

Ciskie: Mrs. Ciskie says if she had to pick she'd pick Sharp or Gawryletz.

RWD: But Bruce, I know you've seen them shirtless! Who has the best body? Maybe some of them are butterfaces.

Ciskie: I think you're misunderstanding the nature of my job. I don't need to interview them in the shower.

RWD: You don't need to.

Ciskie: Nor do I want to.

RWD: I'm torn between editing this out because I look like a jersey chaser, and leaving it in, because it is so funny.

Ciskie: I do know enough about sports to know that the goalies are typically the best athletes on the team, so if you're looking for the best body, you should probably start there. [Translation: Ciskie wants Stalock.]

RWD: What is Judd like? Is he dreamy?

Ciskie: You mean Medak or Hirsch? I'm sure his wife finds him very attractive and that's all that matters. He's a great guy, very knowledgeable about hockey, and the best part about him is that he's not afraid to be critical when conditions warrant. Some color guys are afraid to say anything that could be construed as critical of the home team.

RWD: I know that you're very restrained in that area, especially about the refs.

Ciskie: I'm always nice to the officials.

RWD: We'll return to that.

Ciskie: I'm sure we will.

RWD: Why doesn't Judd go on the road with you?

Ciskie: It was something we had put in place probably 10 years ago. I've never really asked anyone about it, but it seems to me that it really wasn't financially smart to have a second person go on the road for these longer trips especially.

RWD: Don't you get bored?

Ciskie: I had about five years of experience doing high school hockey games before I got the UMD job, and almost every game I did was by myself. In all honesty, I don't think much about it unless the game is REALLY bad. The weird thing is that I can flip the switch when we go home. I don't make Judd sit there for a half hour not able to say anything because I won't shut up.

RWD: What happened to Fan in the Stands? I wanted to win a pizza from the Lakeview Castle

Ciskie: There really wasn't much demand for it, so we decided to use that time in the pregame to actually talk about hockey. It wasn't easy to drop it, but I didn't want to put a cap on everything else we do in the pregame (I think it's more important to not have to cut Sandelin off).

RWD: I thought it was between periods.

Ciskie: It was, but without doing it in the pregame, it was asking a lot to have someone come down to the rink just for that purpose. If we had a three-man booth, we could just send that third person downstairs for that.

RWD: So you have a new feature instead: Email the Booth. Does anyone other than me use it?

Ciskie: Not as much as I had hoped. It was something that a few Twin Cities fans had asked me to do, and when I was going over feedback and trying to figure out what we could add to the broadcasts for 06-07, I decided it was something we could do. The response hasn't met the prior demand. It also stinks that I don't have a laptop and we can only do it for home games.

RWD: I've been trying to help you out, but it's hard to think of questions.

Ciskie: And I appreciate that. Just make random comments about what Judd and I are saying. It's all about interaction. It doesn't have to be anything perceptive about the game itself.

RWD: I'm surprised more people don't. There are plenty of people listening.

Ciskie: I am, too. I know.

RWD: I should ask a dumb question...

Ciskie: Go ahead.

RWD: ...to make people feel better.

Ciskie: No such thing as a dumb question.

RWD: No, I mean on the air.

Ciskie: Oh.

RWD: Not now. Then people will be like, okay, yeah, I don't have to be brilliant. Speaking of questions: the coach's show. Why can't I get it on the radio?

Ciskie: Because some idiot isn't turning on the internet switch.

RWD: I want to listen tomorrow. Are you going to ask about Mike Dorr?

Ciskie: You know we can't talk about recruits.

RWD: At all?

Ciskie: Not until they sign.

RWD: Lame.

Ciskie: If I asked a question about Mike Dorr right now, I'd get a mystified stare and some sort of physical signal that it's time to move on to a different topic.

RWD: At least you can get on USCHO and tPB and read about it. Speaking of USCHO, what do you say to rumors that you stole an old lady's purse and ran into a gay bar?

Ciskie: There could be some exaggerations there.

RWD: The lady may have been younger than originally thought. The best post on that thread was "Judd? Is that you?"

Ciskie: The alarm went off in my head when that thread went up. I knew it was time to disappear.

RWD: Is it hard to go from being a fan to being more professional?

Ciskie: I don't care if people talk about me, but the only other D1 announcer who has gotten his own thread is Doug Woog, and I'm so far away from his league that it's not even funny. It's tough. I still enjoy hanging around in the Cafe because there are actually people there that I have met and gotten to know a little bit. But it turned into a no-brainer to get away from the D1 board and stop getting sucked into dumb conversations that I don't need to get sucked into anymore. [Which is essentially the entire experience at USCHO.] About the toughest thing with this job is shedding the emotions of being a fan, because those never truly go away. I want UMD to win every game, and I want nothing but the best for this group of kids because they are such good kids, but I have to set at least a chunk of those feelings aside on game nights. I was proud of myself on Saturday for staying away from the officials until they called that major on Sharp.

RWD: How many Christmas cards did you receive from officials this year?

Ciskie: Brett Klosowski still talks to me. In fact, he's the saintly one who explained the attainable pass rule to me. Of course, I had to think about it for a month before I understood it.

RWD: I'll take that as "zero."

Ciskie: Same number as what I sent out to them. But in all seriousness, I like brett and I'm glad he's in our league now. It's a tough job, and frankly i'm not sure there are a ton of great officials in college hockey right now. I think the problem, if there is one, really only has one fully effective solution: full time officials, and it's just not feasible for these leagues or the NCAA in general to do something like that. Until someone finds the money to make a full time officials system more economical, we have to live with what we have, which is an imperfect system run by humans. [Bruce clearly wants this world to be run by DAMN DIRTY APES!]

RWD: I see you spend a lot of time thinking about this.

Ciskie: When you're driving by yourself to and from some of the stops in the WCHA, you think about a lot of stuff.

RWD: That makes you sound like you're headed for the padded cell.

Ciskie: Wouldn't surprise me. I think there's a special wing there for radio people, and I've spent more than 10 years in radio.

RWD: What is the best road trip you've been on?

Ciskie: Best road trip? Colorado Springs last year or Florida. I can't pick. The TV guys and I took a drive up Pike's Peak on the Saturday of the Colorado trip, and then we won that weird game where CC outshot us like 274-9 but Isaac stood on his head. Florida was cool because I got to hang out with my old buddy Chris Long and I walked into the Gulf of Mexico and called my wife in her office. Alaska is a trip that every fan should try to make at least once.

RWD: Alaska would be fun. I could meet Donald. Armageddon would probably come.

Ciskie: I've not met Donald. Donald knows where I sit at the Sullivan, and I'm deeply offended that he's never popped over to say hello. Sully isn't like some places where they have an actual press box. Fans walk behind me and around me to get to their seats, so I can be talked to by any random fan who wants to strike up a conversation.

RWD: I could hear you on the UAA video webcast.

Ciskie: I heard about that. Last year, Justin May swore he could hear me on the other side of the arena (the video guy sits across the rink from where the radio guys are).

RWD: Isn't Justin May the strength and conditioning coach?

Ciskie: Yeah, but he handled the video stuff last year.

RWD: Wow, a renaissance man. What's the best game you've called so far?

Ciskie: You mean quality of the game or quality of the broadcast?

RWD: Your favorite moment in Bulldog broadcasting history.

Ciskie: Probably McKnight's game winner in Mankato last year. It was a sweet goal because 1) it took about an hour to trickle across the goal line, and 2) I had no idea who was camped out in front of the net, so I just said "IT'S IN THE NET, AND THE DOGS WIN IT!"

RWD: I thought "AND HERE COME THE TEDDY BEARS" was possibly the greatest thing you've ever said. It sounded like we were being invaded.

Ciskie: That one's up there, too. McFarland's first goal was fun, too.

RWD: Well, not his first.

Ciskie: Well, the first one I got to call.

RWD: The first one that wasn't NOT COUNTED or RECREDITED.

Ciskie: Right. Though, it's worth noting that from a "quality of the goal call" standpoint, the one they stole from him in St. Cloud last year was much better.

RWD: When are you interviewing Mike Curry?

Ciskie: Already did.


Ciskie: I think it was during the Tech series.

RWD: Because he scores a lot in Michigan, right. AND I MISSED IT!

Ciskie: Yeah and he had been playing really well the last couple weekends before that trip, so it seemed like an easy decision.

RWD: He is still playing really well.

Ciskie: Yeah, he's really stepped it up. That whole line has. You know the McFarland story and Greer has a career high for goals already.

RWD: People mocked me last year, they were like "How can you like him? All he does is take penalties." But now he is doing well, and staying mostly out of the box.

Ciskie: Curry is a force when he uses his reach. He's not the quickest cat on the ice, but he is physical and he has longer arms than Yao Ming.

RWD: He needs to meet Mark Parrish and learn from the master. They could be the same type of player.

Ciskie: Yeah, I can see that. Mark Parrish is cool.

RWD: Camp out in front of the net in his "office" as those TV dorks say.

Ciskie: I HATE that. It started with Gretzky behind the net.

RWD: Well, we are incapable of going to the net hard, it seems, so someone has to be there when we take an annoying shot from far away. Who are your favorite Bulldogs? Current and All-Time?

Ciskie: Current: all of them. All time: [Brett] Hull, [Bill] Watson, [Lucien] Lessard, [Derek] Plante, [Judd] Medak [obvs sucking up to Judd here], [Beau] Geisler, [The Alaskan Assassin] Todd Smith, and Steve Rodberg makes honorable mention for that fight with Erik Jensen of Wisconsin. Frankly, I do like pretty much all of [the current players], it's about as good a group of kids as anyone could ask to hang around.

RWD: I like them all too, but I have my guys, of course. I'm visiting Duluth for the Northern series, and bringing some random people with me. What would you suggest visiting fans do in Duluth?

Ciskie: The aquarium is cool if it's too cold to walk around the zoo.

RWD: The zoo? We are all adults.

Ciskie: It's winter in Duluth, so unless you want to walk them around the mall there isn't much.

RWD: It's winter in Duluth??? GASP!

Ciskie: Take them skiing or something.

RWD: What about eating?

Ciskie: Old Chicago, Timberlodge, Ground Round, Grandma's, Big Daddy's. (Aren't you going to ask me what's in my IPod? )

RWD: COUNTRY! How about a weekend prediction for us?

Ciskie: 4-2, 4-3.

RWD: Mike Curry hat trick?

Ciskie: no, but he'll have another four-point weekend, and UMD will get their first two-game sweep since, um, i don't know when. I yearn for not having to watch visiting team fans celebrating a sweep in the DECC, so this weekend will be fun.

RWD: Especially with your nemesis in attendance. She already saw them sweep at UND. She is overconfident.

Ciskie: I have no nemesis... she is also like four feet tall, so I hope she brings her high chair so she can watch the games.

RWD: Any New Year's resolutions?

Ciskie: I don't want to be fat anymore. I want to continue trying to be less mean to the officials. I want to keep getting better at my job.

RWD: It's radio, no one has to know...

Ciskie: Yeah, but airplane seats aren't comfortable when you are 6'4 and [come on, Bruce, no one really wants to know how much you weigh].

RWD: Ask Justin May for tips, if he isn't too busy de-worming orphans and solving a Rubik's Cube with his feet.

Ciskie: Justin could probably kill me if I ever worked out with him.

RWD: Or by just looking at you wrong. Is he hot?

Ciskie: Mrs. Ciskie is unavailable for comment. She's on a conference call for work.

Well, there you have it. The first The Gauntlet of 2007, albeit a lite version.