23 August 2007

Lazy and Surly

You know, just like the Teamsters.

While I am fairly certain all is not quiet on the Bulldog front, with school starting very soon and everything, my spy net hasn't caught a whole lot worth sharing. School is starting for ME in a very short period of time, and unfortunately that's going to frequently conflict with my quality time in front of my computer listening to Ciskie and flailing wildly in panic. The good news here is, that significantly decreases the chances I will stroke out during the season. This doesn't indicate a decrease in the quality of my BRILLIANT POSTING on this site, but rather a need for some serious creativity on those days when I'll be missing the broadcasts. (Did you know that with Replay Radio, you can listen to your program any time, day or night? BECAUSE I SURE KNEW THAT AFTER LAST SEASON. It is burned into my brain.)

If there are any other fellow Lazy and Surly Bulldog fans out there, please contact me about contributing to the site. There are many ways people can contribute to this site: photography, web design (ha!), game recaps, interviews, opinion pieces, modern art, historical articles, scouting reports, gourmet recipes, article ideas, epic poems written in iambic pentameter, publicity, hilarious Photoshop creations, gossip, or whatever you can dream up inside that head of yours. Please note that if you make a mistake in your spelling or grammar, I will warn you once by chopping off your hand, but the second time, I will be forced to kill you. This site has high standards.

I'm fairly certain no one's interested in stepping up to the plate, but I just thought I'd throw that out into the ether and see what happened.

And now, for a Major Concern. The UMD Hockey site ran a blurb on Fearless Leader Matt McKnight recently, mostly discussing his election as captain for the second year in a row. That's not the concern. HERE is the concern:

McKnight will enter his farewell collegiate season ranking first among current Bulldogs in career scoring (53 points) and games played (99). Last winter, the Halkirk, Alberta native was hobbled for nearly a quarter of the season with an arm injury, and wound [up] mustering just nine points (four goals and five assists) in 29 outings.

Okay. I knew things were bad, but good lord. Our top returning scorer is a guy who was injured for a good portion of the season last year? Is anyone else a little scared? Of course, I know that there are more than a few guys on the team that are capable of so much more than they achieved last year, points-wise, we're bringing in some great new freshmen, and Mike Curry will continue his ascent toward Scoring Animal, so I have that to look forward to. I also know that in years past we have returned some high-scoring talent and seen the team underperform BIG TIME, so one can hardly project numbers for one season using the numbers from the previous season.

Let's fall back on a platitude here. Time will tell. Coach says we're gonna finish in the top five. College Hockey News says we'll be in the bottom five. Someone's gotta be right.

Just... hurry up, hockey. I'm sick of waiting.

06 August 2007

Tales From The Northland

Okay, yes, I do realize I went to Duluth over a week ago, but I've been tired, people. Give a girl a break.

FIRST OF ALL, we must discuss the incredible 36.3 miles per gallon I got in my lovely and amazing Saturn, which also did not overheat at all. Brilliant. I guess that's all the discussion that is needed, except to say STOP DRIVING FREAKING HUMMERS AND SUVS AND CRAP LIKE THAT. Jeez. I sound like a freaking hippie. And that makes me feel dirty.

Okay, so last Sunday I jumped in the Wheels of Death and zipped up to Duluth (a bit behind schedule, but what's new?) I can only go so long without a.) visiting Duluth and b.) talking Bulldog hockey with a real live Bulldog fan. So I decided to visit the RWD Mobile Reporter, Gramps, as well as Gram (collectively known as The Folks).

After arriving on campus at tUMD, I thought that I saw a few Bulldog hockey players, but I might have just been projecting. Besides, short of a player coming up to me, introducing himself, and reminding me that he plays for tDogs, I wouldn't have a clue. So, no chance for any kind of stalking. One of the great tragedies of our time, no doubt.

So, after arriving at Heaney Hall to rendez-vous with the Mobile Reporter, we climbed into The Mothership Lincoln and headed down to Canal Park. There, we ran into a very rich old codger acquaintance of Gramps's (hint: there's a hockey arena named after him), and ended up in some exceptionally long movie about the Lighthouses of Isle Royale down at the Army Corps of Engineers museum. My god. It was so long. There should have been some sort of warning. We also visited the Duluth Pack store where I got some most excellent accessories (apparently I am either Bill or Ted now). We rounded out the day with a visit to the Lakeview Castle for "the best walleye" that the Folks had had "all summer." (I did not go to the Sports Garden. I'd never go there without FHG.)

Now, for the actual hockey content. We discussed the television situation in Duluth. According to Gramps, when they moved here from New Hampshire, they were told that the whole city essentially revolved around hockey. Obvs. there was nothing else to do in Duluth in those days. tUMD wasn't even in the WCHA back then, though they became a D-1 independent just after the Folks moved up to Duluth (or, as Gram thought of it at first, the end of the world). Already hockey fans from growing up watching high school hockey in Rhode Island and Massachusetts (yes, 65 years ago, they had high school hockey in New England), the Folks had season tickets to tUMD hockey for decades, starting at the old Curling Club (scene of excessive fraternity hijinx from other RWD correspondents, including former RWD Overseas Correspondent L and RWD East Coast correspondent H) and continuing once tDECC was built. Even the Most Excellent former Matriarch of the RWD family (my great-grandmother) had a season ticket for a few years. The RWD family is in its fourth generation of Bulldog hockey support.

Highlights from our conversation:

1. Gramps's friend was the guy who posted on the DNT message board that we need to fire Sandelin because tDogs have not had a winning season since '92. I asked him to remind said friend that tDogs did not have a losing season when they went to the Frozen Four.

2. Speaking of firing Sandelin, Gramps is not in favor. He believes (and I agree) that we need a coach that is either Canadian or has mucho Canadian connections, because we can't effectively recruit an entire competitive team out of the Northland. This is not a new revelation.

3. As a matter of fact, Gramps cancelled his season tickets one year when tUMD hired... um... what's his name... that fella from Grand Rapids whose name escapes me at this moment. Then, during some sort of scrimmage, he witnessed a young walk-on named Brett Hull show off his mad skillz, and promptly retrieved his season tickets, because he didn't want to miss out on the Brett Hull show.

4. During the Brett Hull years, Hull was on one line and current tUMD coach/party animal Bill Watson was on another, but they were always paired together during a 4 on 4 situation. According to Gramps, a 4 on 4 situation was "a goal for UMD" almost without fail. It's kind of a shame that I was too young to know what the heck was going on back then. It's kind of a shame our special teams situation has been a bit of a pain in the butt the past few years, especially 4 on 4.

5. Under the reign of terror of "So Long Ralphie" as they used to sing to coach Romano, tDogs employed a very Lemaire-esque defencive plan: get a 2 goal lead, and sit on the puck. Waste time. Don't even bother to do anything offensive, just hold the lead. It was not a very good strategy, evidently, nor was it very popular with the fans. Of course, the best way to get rid of a coach is to promote him. (Note: Romano was, according to my sources, a most excellent A.D. He just "wasn't a hockey coach.")

Though it was great to discuss hockey for awhile, it also reminded me of how much I miss the game. And, of course, of how excruciating it is to try to come up with content for this site during the long off-season.

I should note that tDogs selected their captains for 2007-08 at some point, though I was totally unaware. There was no press release (LARRY I AM LOOKING IN YOUR DIRECTION), and I just happend to look at the "fast facts" link on tUMD's website. RWD Guy Matt McKnight is our Fearless Leader for the upcoming season, with Andrew Carroll as his Boris and Travis Gawryletz as his Natasha (these roles are interchangeable, I'm not trying to say anything about anyone's masculinity here). tDogs have an opportunity to build on last year's, um, success if they can get strong leadership out of their juniors and seniors. Last year's upperclassmen really stepped it up and elevated their own play as well as that of their teammates, and I'll be expecting that again. I hope that Knighter and Carroll have full, healthy seasons this year, as a shoulder injury and post-concussive issues, respectively, sidelined the poor guys.

Look for a RWD press release in the near future naming My Guys for the upcoming season.

03 August 2007

Hurtling Towards Mecca

Stay off the roads Sunday, because RWD is invading Duluth. Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!