04 May 2007

Nutz About Juttz!

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.

13 comments:

LetsGoMavs said...

Great article! You should have e-mailed Heather to have her pipe in about SCSU! Next time.

Love the stuff you wrote about Jutts. Too funny. I don't know if I cracked up more at my "non-profit organization" or at you calling Goon NADAR. HA! I bet when he reads that he's going to come after you with his shotgun while wearing a camo hat, a Dale Ernhart t-shirt, a "sportsmen for Bush" button, and smelling of deer pee:) HAHHAHAHAHHAA! I'm going to BURN for that one...maybe not as much as you and the Nadar comment. LOVE IT!

Oh, as for the non-profit...all ofy our readers are welcome to send me donations:)

Donald said...

All in all a fine article ... BUT

You give a list-lover a "list" and she condenses and summarizes it? Sigh ...

Since I sorta got short shrifted (I just always wanted to find a way to use that phrase) I thought I should at least provide part of the core material from my "powerpoint presentation" which is a wholly accurate representation of what I consider a successful season ...

(in order)
1. Winning the Final Five
2. NCAA Appearance
3. WCHA Home Ice
4. Road Upset in the WCHA Playoffs
5. Sweeping FBX
6. Finishing Higher than St. Cloud in 07-08
7. John Hill falling on Sully ice during a team skate

Donald said...

And oh yeah ...

Since I've just had my 46th Bday; I think I'm finally beyond the typical age-range where old fat white guys become serial killers.

Just sayin ...

redwing77 said...

Lots of "ouches" in this great post.

First, "former" hottie Chris Dilks. Guess he's only gotten uglier after that. :P

Second, lovin' the NADAR comment.

Third, vicious...just vicious on MeanEgirl. :D

Fourth- Donald, just because you're older than the typical age-range for serial killers doesn't mean you don't have the capability of defying that statistic. :P By the way, what is FBX?

A fun article, RWtD. But the fatal flaw is that you expected something more than what you get in Minnesota as far as sports teams are concerned regarding Jutts. Though the argument can be made that it isn't the case with Gardenhire and Lucia, most of the sports teams in the state of Minnesota just prefer to do "ok." That's why McHale still has a job with the Twolves and that LeMaire can walk on water even though he barely makes the playoffs when he does make the playoffs. Gardenhire's no better, but at least he's done some notable things even without the World Series appearance.

Jutts has a license to be mediocre because that's what is expected of many Minnesota DI and pro coaches. There really is no expectation of anything otherwise.

Donald said...

Redwing:

FBX = CoaR
CoaR = Craphole on a River
Craphole on a River = Squarebanks

Didn't you forget that legendary "winner" Bud Grant?

LetsGoMavs said...

New post about last night is up. Chatted up the hockey players and found out that perhaps a few of them read my blog. ouch! That was kinda embarassing!

WinTwins57 said...

RWD,
Great post! Freaking hilarious. LGM would start that non-profit if she had any time, I'm sure. I'll weigh in...a successful season is a top three finish and I'm offended that the AD at MSU-M counts St. Cloud in that peer group that is supposedly just okay. No one should strive to only play with half the league. I'm not saying that St. Cloud is better than UMD, MSU, MTU, etc. because obviously we had some good games between those teams this year, my problem is anyone saying that it's okay to be in the bottom half. It's never okay to settle for mediocre, as far as I'm concerned...

Redwing, as I read your comment, I realized how right you are. EXCLUDING my Twins, Minnesota teams do seem to be content to be mediocre. That's just sad.

LGM, I'm pretty sure that you can't actually smell the deer pee when hunters wear it. And, by the way, so proud of you spelling camo right (even if Goon's going to kick both your a$$es)!! :)

Runninwiththedogs said...

H, I think it's interesting that the A.D. at MSU-M doesn't seem to know what's actually going on at St. Cloud.

And how the heck do you spell "camo" wrong? "Cammo?" "Camel?" "Camus?"

Goon said...

I am still confused with the NADER comment, he is like the ANTI-Goon or the exact opposite of myself. I actually think he is kind of a looney toon.

On the Minnesota Twins I think we can put them in the Ok, not horrible but not great either, I don't blame the players but I blame the Polad family, they have done nothing to put themselves over the top and win a MLB championship. Polad is the 9th richest owner in MLB baseball.

Today the Yankees signed Rocket Roger Clemens because they were sucking. If the twins were as bad in the standings they would ride it out. I think the Twins are going to have to make an attempt to win it all once they get their stadium. Polad has basically blamed the dome on his plight.

WinTwins57 said...

Yeah, the AD there obviously has his head up his a$$ and that comment made this season just made him look more stupid.

Miss LGM has no knowledge of anything hunting related and was typing me this great story about a girl who was wearing cammo shoes to her wedding. I couldn't get beyond the spelling to the truly disturbing part of that story!! :) The other options you presented are hilarious though!

I forgot that if we say "see ya Sid", we'll have to say see ya to Sid's Diary!! Oh no!! Will you get a new assignment with BatGirl if that happens??

Goon, I agree. Pohlad needs to loosen the purse strings if he wants to see a WS win in HIS lifetime....

Goon said...

Come on LGM's,
You got to try harder than that, I will give a "B" for effort. I must correct a few thing however, No one that I know in that hunts deer in ND wears deer pee aka doe in heat. In Minnesoda sometimes a person will wear Doe in Head on their shoes to try and trick a horney buck into stumbling in front of their stand. However, that is if you are going to sit in a tree, I don't need a buck sneaking up on me in the field if you get my drift.

Not a Dale Earnhard Jr guy at all, nothing against him, Jimmy Johnson is the man followed by Jeff Gordon. No bush buttons on me.

redwing77 said...

Goon and Twins fans-

I think Terry Ryan is helping Pohlad out through his choices of spending money. He's spent money on such quality players as Sidney Ponson, Carlos Silva (he's doing alright right now, but he'll fade into last year's form), Rondell White, Jeff Cirillo (he's doing ok, but for how long?), Batista, Sierra, and so on. Then when they are either injured, don't preform well, or are released, Terry turns to everyone and says "Well, we spent money and it didn't work out!" Well, now the Twins have an outfield that is arguably one of the least productive in the AL (My father, a DIE HARD Twins fan, says that he's not sure if Tyner or Kubel would even make the majors on most other MLB teams).

I don't want the Twins to turn into another Yankees or worse, Cubs (they spend money on all the wrong players). However, they do need to spend money on the right players at the right positions and forget about how much they cost. And they can't sign some past his prime players and claim that they've "addressed the issue." Sorry, but how is Rondell White addressing an issue?

Goon said...

Redwing77 good points, I actually want the Twins to try to build a winner and go for it. I am tired of them trying to trick the fans into believing they have enough to go after a championship. The twins lack one more ace, a couple of batts and a wing and a prayer. I don't know why they would try to get better and win a title, that would be a great way to dump the old ball park and bring in a new era.