A long time ago, in a lifetime far, far away...
...these people got together on a Sunday morning, and cleaned a football stadium.
But that was then. Now, some of them are married. Some of them have kids, or more kids than they did back then. Some of them are on the ground in the middle of the desert. Some of them are lurking silently under the ocean. Some of them left school or left the military, some of them got kicked out. Some of them are living on a base somewhere. Some of them are on a ship somewhere in the Persian Gulf. Some of them are still living, and some of them gave their lives for this country.
And that one girl, third from the left in the front row, with the RUN sweatshirt on... she writes a horrible college hockey blog. And a few of those people in that picture mean the whole world to her.
Memorial Day isn't a bank holiday, or a time-and-a-half day at work, or a time to go up to the cabin in your pickup truck and drink a sixer of Busch Lite. Please don't forget what you're really supposed to remember.
27 May 2007
A long time ago, in a lifetime far, far away...
12 May 2007
11 May 2007
06 May 2007
04 May 2007
When the Minnesota State-Mankato athletic department extended the contract of head coach Troy Jutting, you could hear eyebrows raising around the college hockey community. Yes, that's right, so many eyebrows were raised that a normally soundless motion resonated throughout the State of Hockey and beyond. Internet "experts" (fat losers who live on message boards) had assumed that Jutting would be fired at the end of the year, and were already speculating who would take up the torch of dubious glory that would be wrenched out of Jutting's hands at season's end.
We all know what happens when you assume. I don't need to get into that.
What piqued the interest of MSU-M blogger and all-around cow-lover Let'sGoMavs was athletic director Kevin Buisman's assertion that the Mavericks were competitive within their "peer group." Evidently the A.D. reads college hockey message boards and subscribes to the idea that the WCHA is divided into three tiers: Minnesota Twin-Cities, Wisconsin, and North Dakota; Denver and Colorado College; and the rest, here on Gilligan's Isle.
What bothers me is the message that seems implicit in the contract extension: it's okay to be just okay. Jutting was WCHA Coach of the Year in 2002-2003, when the Mavericks tied for second place in the WCHA. Since then, MSU-M has placed 9th, 8th, 7th, and 8th in the WCHA. Sounds like good times, no? Additionally, the Mavs have led the league in penalty minutes for five seasons in a row, which gives the Mavs and their coach a reputation of being thugs and goons.
The point of this article isn't to run down the Mavericks as a team (hello, I know people in glass arenas shouldn't throw stones), but to wonder just what is an acceptable standard for performance.
Let'sGoMavs took time out of her busy schedule running the non-profit organization People Against Troy Jutting to chime in. She believes a great season would be finishing 5th, although that's only with Jutting as the head coach. With another coach, she thinks it would be possible (with the current squad) to finish 2nd or 3rd. I couldn't really get much else out of her, as she dissolved into Juttz-related ranting, but I did contact Mavericks fan and former Blogger Hottie of the Year Chris Dilks, who considers an acceptable season to be any season in which "the team goes out and plays their hardest every night." I consider that an acceptable season... for Squirt Bs. Chris goes on to characterize a great season as "home ice in the WCHA playoffs, and getting into the NCAA tournament." Neither of these options has been true for the Mavs since 2003. Yet, the contract extension.
Reaching out to others in our little "peer group," I interviewed drunken Tech fan MeanEgirl. She considered a successful season to be "anything better than 10th place in the WCHA." A lofty goal, no doubt. She freely admits, "My standards aren't too high, yet," though I'm not sure if we were still discussing hockey at that point. A "great" season for the Good Huskies is evidently the season we just witnessed. Farther north, Seawolves fan and future serial killer Donald gave a PowerPoint presentation on his recipe for a good season, hoping his team would have "a chance to make some noise from the basement," sort of like an old furnace or possible Boogeyman. Donald considers anything from "Winning the Final Five" to "John Hill falling on Sully ice during a team skate" as ingredients in a good season. A great season would be similar to the Seawolves' 1991 season, when they beat Boston College at BC in a best of three NCAA series.
Two North Dakota fans also stooped to discussing their hopes and dreams for the Fighting Sioux with me. Fighting Sioux blogger and vice-president of the National Association for the De-Evolution of Rednecks (NADER) Goon considers a great season nothing less than "Finishing at or near the top of the league, making the Final Five and going to the NCAA playoffs and hopefully to another frozen four," while a bad season is "Not doing the things that stated [above]." HockeyMom acknowledges that Sioux fans "have been spoiled the last few years, so I suppose the next time that the Sioux don't make it to the Frozen Four, it's going to sting a little." In December of 2006, after the Sioux were swept by Wisconsin, Goon also stated "6th Friggen place in the WCHA, unacceptable, UAA is sitting ahead of us in the standings," and "Losing at UND is NOT ACCEPTABLE." Some other dude asked "Why does UND play a goalie who consistently has a poor to horrible performance in net, gives up bad goals every game, does not ever make big saves when the team needs to be bailed out, and consistently is just plain awful in net?" And, of course, people were calling for Dave Hakstol's job. You know, that guy who has taken the team to a Frozen Four every year he has coached them? I'd fire him, too.
Gopher fans are the same way. DA enjoys joking about The Beard, who only claps for "pretty goals" and only gets excited about NCAA championships, not Broadmoor Trophies or McNaughton Cups. (The funny thing about this is The Beard, when he played in men's sub-D league rec hockey, was a garbage-goal guy who camped out in front of the net a la Mark Parrish.) No Gopher fans could be reached for this article, because I didn't try.
Seriously, there's got to be something between the "Free To Be You And Me" approach that the MSU-M athletic department has taken, saying "Hey, we're okay with where we're at, and we're content to stay there, and all y'alls can go suck it!" and the folks at UND, UMTC, et al., who can't get no satisfaction. Maybe, just MAYBE we would have seen some middle ground, if CERTAIN OTHER PEOPLE had decided to chime in.
So, what's a 'Dogs fan to do? It's hard to demand excellence when the planets seem to align against us every year, but it's also unpleasant to be a perpetual cellar dweller. Personally, I'm somewhere in between. I'd like the 'Dogs to make the Final Five nine times out of ten, and I'd like to see us finish in the middle of the pack most years, with some top three finishes, and MAYBE every once in awhile having a rebuilding year, to keep me humble (hah!).
And I can't wait for tDogs to win it all. It's going to be glorious.
01 May 2007
My poor, poor Redwing77 will have to wait until my hellish work week is over before he can read the "hockey-related article" promised last week.
Everyone will just have to tide themselves over until then with the latest RWD contribution at Bat-Girl!
Also, the RWD article would be better if PEOPLE RESPONDED TO EMAILS SENT THEM, GODDARD AND CISKIE!