31 January 2008

The Gauntlet: Last Rites Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BB: Yes. Minnesota fans too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RWD: Dirty lives in Fargo. Case closed.

BB: Go Bison. [Go banana!]

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


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

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

RWD: Whom do you prefer: Sagissor or Mazocco?

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

RWD: Bruckler or Elliott?

BB: Elliott.

RWD: Lenin or Trotsky?

BB: Lenin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

RWD: So he's never physically assaulted you?

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

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

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

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

BB: Yeah it was unfortunate wording.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BB: Of being in the student section?

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

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

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

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

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

BB: Well, they probably deserved it.

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

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

RWD: It's just not the same.

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

RWD: So why aren't you blogging anymore?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RWD: And who is the hottest Badger this year?

BB: That's for you to decide.

RWD: False!

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

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

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

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

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

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

BB: Miller Lite. I do enjoy cheese.

RWD: Wow, that's shocking.

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

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

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

RWD: We are over .500.

BB: In the conference.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BB: 3 points to Wisconsin

RWD: Score?

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

RWD: Excellent. 4 points UMD!

27 January 2008

Pulling A Fast One

tUMD 1, UM-L 0 and tUMD 4, UM-L 1

I know I'm being lazy, but there will be a nice recap coming tomorrow, plus a little All-Star fun, AND there's going to be a Gauntlet this week! All that and much more shenanigans, because a SWEEP really deserves my best effort, and that's just not what I'm prepared to give at this moment, especially when my computer has about 4% battery left. Quick numbers update and then my computer and I are off to sleep.

Wins Until We Surpass Last Year's Total: 2 (NC, but a win over a ranked opponent puts us higher in the PWR!)
Points Until We Surpass Last Year's Total: 3

My Guys:
Matt McKnight: 13!
MacGregor Sharp: 13!
Michael Gergen: 12!
Mike Curry: 2

Justin Fontaine: 9!
Kyle Schmidt: 7!
Cody Danberg: 6
Rob Bordson: 4!
Mike Montgomery: 1
Chad Huttel: 1
Evan Oberg: 1

On Notice:
Alex Stalock
Mike Curry
Travis Gawryletz
Josh Meyers
Jordan Fulton

Goals only
Michael Gergen
Jay Cascalenda
Drew Akins
Evan Oberg
Cody Danberg
MacGregor Sharp
Nick Kemp
Matt Greer

22 January 2008


Okay, I don't normally check the official tUMD hockey site, but I always like to see the player profiles. Not that they ask particularly probing questions, and not that anyone EVER says that RWD is their favorite site, but still, I like to see if I can get any more stalking information.

However, it is important to note that in the most recent player profile, Jason Garrison mentions that his favorite college course is PHYSICS. That should be EVERYONE'S FAVORITE COURSE. He also mentions his favorite pastime is vacuuming; physics probably helped him take vacuuming to a new level.

Also, despite only 1 point on the weekend, tStalock was named tWCHAPOTW. BRING BACK THE SUPERFANS!

20 January 2008

Golden Tickets

tUMD 1, UMTC 2

Sigh. I knew this would happen. See, a little over a week and a half ago, I made a deal about some tickets, and I popped them in the mail, along with a note: "I hope these tickets are lucky for you," along with some other garbage about how if they weren't, I hoped we won Saturday.

The tickets never made it. We barely scraped by with a point. Conclusion? THOSE WERE LUCKY TICKETS. DARN YOU POSTAL SERVICE FOR RUINING OUR WEEKEND!

tBeersong might have jinxed me, too. In the CC before the game, he asked if I was going to bring good luck to the team. Sadness.

I made it up for the game Saturday, ridin' solo. A "friend' helped me find someone to relieve me of my spare ticket, although that "someone" was a Gopher fan. I braced myself, but there was no need. There are actually Gopher fans out there who can cheer for their team AND be respectful AND carry on a good conversation for the entire game AND offer to buy me many, many drinks (I didn't cash in; I drove home after the game). We were even allegedly on TV, plus we got to see some dude in the row in front of us passed out asleep in the first period. Seriously, dude, learn to hold your booze. The student section said so. I won't say who this guy was sitting with, only that I was amused by his seatmates. The one bad part on the night (other than what happened on the ice) was when my foot was completely CRUNCHED by this guy's foot. Oh my, was that painful.

As the second period began, I saw some doorknob walk across about six sections (including ours, 26) while the game was going, and I realized "Hey, I know that guy!" (I'm ashamed to admit I know some guy who would do something like that, and I'm actually surprised this guy would.) I follow where he's walking and I see he's sitting with none other than my Final Five Hooligans, Scotty and The Rookie! Excellent! I went over and sat with them for a bit, before making my way back over to my section. I waited for a whistle with a player's mom, whose son happened to get like 5 chances to stuff a puck in while we were waiting. We were both kind of freaking out, it was funny.

I made it to Grandma's for a bit after the game, so as not to disappoint FHG, Scotty and the Rookie; I also had to meet the illustrious Cardinal, who was apparently in MUCH better shape than he had been the previous night. That is all I will say about that. Oh, and he wasn't wearing a houndstooth hat, but it certainly was a very fancy hat. And I'm not being complimentary here, sorry man.

Bright spots: Power Play Goal! Oberg gets a point! It wasn't a blowout! No empty net goal! And we didn't get swept!

Wins Until We Surpass Last Year's Total: 2
Points Until We Surpass Last Year's Total: 3

My Guys:
Matt McKnight: 12
MacGregor Sharp: 12
Michael Gergen: 11! (Yay!)
Mike Curry: 2

Justin Fontaine: 8
Cody Danberg: 6
Kyle Schmidt: 6
Rob Bordson: 3
Mike Montgomery: 1
Chad Huttel: 1
Evan Oberg: 1! (ON THE BOARD!!! Now every Bulldog has a point!)

On Notice:
Matt Greer
Alex Stalock
Mike Curry
Trent Palm
Nick Kemp
Travis Gawryletz

Goals only
Andrew Carroll
Michael Gergen
Justin Fontaine
Jay Cascalenda
Drew Akins
Evan Oberg
Cody Danberg

19 January 2008

Subsuperioran Winsick Blues

tUMD 1, UMTC 1

Frazee's in the basement
Mixing up Long Islands
I'm on the internet
Thinking about the tournament
The man in the striped shirt
Whistle out, glasses off
Says he's got a blind spot
Donny's got him paid off

Look out kid
It's somethin' you did
God knows when
But he's pointing up at you
You better hope to get your way
Arguin' for a replay
The man in the white mustache
In the press box
Wants a harsher penalty
You only got two

Gergy comes fleet foot
Stupid time to shoot
Talkin' all that heat put
Mikey in the box but
The Gophers have a power play
That can't score anyway
0 for 4 on the day
Don't see that much, eh?

Look out kid
Don't matter what you did
Don't shoot down low
Don't leave for the pros
Better stay away from those
That carry around a fire hose
Keep a clean nose
Watch the puck hos
You don't need a weather man
To know a -30 wind blows

Break a stick, catch hell
Gonna make the coach yell
fall down, try to sell
But the ref knows you just fell
Check hard, get jarred
Get back, play D
Get a PP, get free
0-for-5 for UMD

Look out kid
You're gonna get hit
But users, cheaters
Holy Cross losers
Hang around the bleachers
Crack at center ice
A new DECC would be nice!
Stick up for your leaders
Watch for headman feeders

Ah get tied, keep tied
Short pass, Kangas, glove flash
Penalty, 5 on 3
Horrible on the PP
Please score, please win, tough sh*t
Puck steal, stick lift
Twenty years of hockey
And they put you on the fourth shift

Look out kid
They keep it all hid
Better buckle down in OT
Get yourself a 2-on-3
Crash to the net
Winger's not there yet
Don't wanna give the game away
Better get the D to play
The Gophers don't score
'Cause they're coached by a Chia Pet...

Wins Until We Surpass Last Year's Total: 2 (Gotta wait a little longer)
Points Until We Surpass Last Year's Total: 3! (So many ties!)

My Guys:
Matt McKnight: 12! (Love the ugly goal!)
MacGregor Sharp: 12 (Did he even play? I never heard his name! Come on, man!)
Michael Gergen: 10 (Didn't make the smartest choices tonight...)
Mike Curry: 2 (INJ)

Justin Fontaine: 8
Cody Danberg: 6
Kyle Schmidt: 6
Rob Bordson: 3
Mike Montgomery: 1
Chad Huttel: 1
Evan Oberg: 0

On Notice:
Evan Oberg
Matt Greer
Alex Stalock
Mike Curry

Goals only
Trent Palm
Travis Gawryletz
Jason Garrison
Andrew Carroll
Michael Gergen
Justin Fontaine
Jay Cascalenda
Drew Akins

14 January 2008

The Gauntlet: Hold Your Horses Edition

Well, never in my life have I been under such pressure to finish an interview! I mean, people were begging for it even before I'd done the WCH interview LAST week. But good things come to those who wait...

This week, RWD interviews Cardinal, GPL Loser Lifer, Failed WCHA Blogger, and a surprisingly good sport.

RWD: So, I appreciate you taking the time to do this interview with me.

RC: I already washed my hair and re-laced my shoes today, so I figured why not? [What, no Velcro?]

RWD: I didn't even know you were aware this site existed.

RC: Are you kidding ... I mash F5 on RWTD night and day.

RWD: I... don't know what that means. [It sounds vaguely like British slang.]

RC: Refreshes the page.

RWD: I see. One would never know that from looking at the sidebar from tWCHA Blog. One quick look down the links list shows a GLARING OMISSION.

RC: This is true.

RWD: Readers want to know about the snubbing of RWD... What did RWD ever do to you?

RC: I wanted to see how long it took a great blog -- such as RWTD -- to notice said omission from a much lesser blog such as my former endeavor. You were a litmus test, in other words. [Liar! I noticed right away and he did nothing about it, even after he was admonished by FHG and MEg.]

RWD: People were rioting in the streets. Well, maybe just Gopher fans.

RC: In Duluth? [All over the world!] God knows that won't happen in Dinkytown for a while...

RWD: No one ever riots after a loss, eh? Maybe St. Cloud should start.

RC: I think FHG does when tUMD loses, but other than that, no.

RWD: Is a one-man riot possible?

RC: Well, at least if they rioted up there, nothing decent would get destroyed. If they ever close the Sports Garden, you'll see it first-hand. [Will he put out his own fires?]

RWD: I'm excited to see that this is becoming a Rip On FHG interview. [They all should be.]

RC: Well, it IS about his favorite city... plus I heard he may have supplied you with some ammo on me, so I'm taking pre-emptive shots.

RWD: Oh him? Never... I tried. He was loyal. [NONE of my sources came through for me! Shame on you guys!]

RC: That's kind of him. First time for everything... Enough about him, though.

RWD: He does need all the confidence he can get for this weekend. [The confidence to shove crumpled up, soggy dollar bills into the g-string of some butterface at the Toga.] But, back to the WCHA Blog. What made you want to start it?

RC: Well, I graduated with a journalism degree [Useless major! Clap clap clapclapclap!] but didn't get into writing as my full-time job out of college, so I wanted to try and stay decent at it. Plus, I needed something to help kill time at my old job.

RWD: I'm sure it's something to put on the resume you're sending in to Fox 9.

RC: I don't begrudge that station: they showed Kris Chucko dressed in drag and first alerted us to the fact Frazee is a booze-hound.

RWD: Oh please, I'm pro-Fox 9. [Investigating the truth about Golden Trannies and Golden... other things. Oh, wait, that’s Oshie.] Why did you decide to write a WCHA blog rather than a Gopher blog?

RC: Hammy pretty much had the market cornered on that. Plus, though I'm a Gopher fan, I try to pay pretty good attention to the rest of the league, and I also figured that a league-wide blog would have more appeal and give me more things to discuss.

RWD: Who is this Hammy of which you speak? What does he look like?

RC: Like FHG's obsession with Duluth, Hammy is very mysterious, so I've never had the pleasure of meeting/seeing him in person. [Here is a sketch artist's rendering of Hammy.]

RWD: So did you find you'd bitten off more than you could chew with tWCHA Blog? [Hopefully it was Longhorn!]

RC: I think that I was able to update it pretty regularly when I first started, but then when I took a new job, my time was much more limited, and I didn't want to half-[badonkadonk] things on the blog. Think of it as putting a dying pet out of its misery as opposed to trying to keep it alive. [Sorry MEg.]

RWD: I know I make it look easy, churning out brilliant piece after brilliant piece. [Hello, first Pulitzer Prize for Blogging? Yes, I’ll hold.]

RC: Oh yeah, you're a machine.

RWD: What's on your daily blog reading list?

RC: Obviously RWTD is high on the list... [Lies! All lies!] Among the other, much less good [No journalism major would ever write that. May I buy you a copy of The Elements of Style?] blogs that I read include Western College Hockey, USHL Blog, Brad Schlossman's blog, and a few other WCHA-related ones, depending upon what's happening with the various teams that said blogs are related to. So, for example, if another Sioux player gets arrested [Who’s next? I think we should start a pool! Smart money's on either Zach Jones or Bina again.], I may check Goon's blog to see why it's Lucia's fault that Oshie is a lush. [Alternatively, it is the referee’s fault.]

RWD: And why he is incontinent! [I can’t wait to see what tUMD’s student section comes up with for the UND series in March.]

RC: Exactly.

RWD: And how many hours a day do you spend on GPL?

RC: As my post count would indicate, way too much. [My post count on GPL is four, and I think THAT is way too much.] I try to check it often while at work [to make sure no one else has quit the team], but I'm not on there too much during off-hours (nights, weekends).

RWD: Hm, I hope your employer doesn't Google you.

RC: There's probably much worse stuff on the web about me than that [I read some of it on tPB today!], but yes, I agree.

RWD: So, did you have a good time in St. Cloud this weekend?

RC: [Bursting through a brick wall:] Oh yeah! The Red Carpet is always a good follow-up to the game, which obviously wasn't great, but it's far enough into the season at this point that the outcome didn't surprise me, though Frazee's antics made for an interesting first period.

RWD: I didn't see the first period, as I had a more important game to watch. Was he double-fisting the Long Islands or what?

RC: As I've explained to a few people, Frazee should never play on Saturdays, since The Library has $2.50 LI's ... that had to factor into things.

RWD: Maybe Lucia could talk to the owner, get that special moved to another day... [in exchange for some free tickets.] You know tGarden has $4 L.I. pitchers, right? [I’m sure Jeff is well aware.]

RC: I tend to stick with Kamis at tGarden, but I've been known to have a L.I. pitcher or two there.

RWD: I find that hard to believe. [Maybe he meant a thimble or two.] What's the over/under on your bedtime this weekend?

RC: Wow ... well, I guess I can't run from my past, and have to face the facts ... it should be noted that I'm young in my "drinking years" [not if you’re from St. Cloud] so a lot of my lackluster performances in the past could be attributed to inexperience [Um, what exactly are we talking about here? Is this Seventeen magazine’s “True Confessions” or something?]... I'm shooting for Midnight or later on both nights. That would be a nice feat for me.

RWD: I have another reader-submitted question.

RC: Oh boy...

RWD: What type of headgear will you be sporting at the games this weekend?

RC: You know, I have quite the array of lids [Fo reals, homey?]... I've seen that the weather should be plenty cold this weekend in Duluth, so I'm leaning towards a stocking cap of some form.

RWD: Is it hound’s-tooth?

RC: "Hound’s-tooth??” Never heard of it. [We all know this to be untrue.]

RWD: Well, all I know is what my readers tell me. [Ugh, I tried, man. It just wasn’t funny.] Let's talk a little about the Gophers.

RC: Do we have to? [I’ll turn this car right around, young man!]

RWD: John Hill for Bob Motzko was a great trade, wasn't it? [Like A.J. Pierzynski and Dustan Mohr for Boof, Liriano, and Nathan, although the lustre on that deal seems to have tarnished with the passing of time.]

RC: Hill has much better hair, and also has a better array of ties, so from that perspective we won [but does he wear Guess? jeans? I DOUBT IT. Probably Jordache.]. Seriously though, it should be noted that Motzko helped recruit this year's senior class, which isn't exactly setting the world on fire.

RWD: Ah, that was a very Don Lucia-style answer.

RC: How so?

RWD: He pretty much throws you under the bus if you're not on his team.

RC: I wouldn't say I threw Motzko under the bus... Now, if I would have talked about his team pissing away a cream-puff path to the Frozen Four last year, or how he has a .500 team now without Bobby!!!11!!!1 [You can only dream of having a .500 team], that would have been under the bus.

RWD: So, what happens if the Gophers don't make their own invitational in March?

RC: Well, when the Gophers don't make it, I'm sure there will be much rejoicing in places like Grand Forks, Duluth, etc. Personally, it won't be super tough, since it's been clear for a while now that this team just isn't very good. It'd be much worse to miss it like Denver did last year, for example.

RWD: It was much more exciting when Denver didn't make it TWO YEARS ago. Remember when everyone hated Blake Wheeler?

RC: Ah, yes, the good old days.

RWD: I notice it's pretty crowded on the Wheeler bandwagon now.

RC: Not to throw him under the bus too, but he was [badonkadonk] this weekend ... he's been solid this season though, probably their best player (not that that's saying much).

RWD: But I guess who else's bandwagon would people be on?

RC: Bingo.

RWD: I notice the Frazee journal doesn't have any updates lately.

RC: No wireless access at The Library, so that probably explains it. [Jeez, there’s got to be other bars on campus!]

RWD: I'm just dying to read what he has to say! [All play and no work makes Jeff a dull boy. All play and no work makes Jeff a dull boy. All play and no work makes Jeff a dull boy.] Did you chat with him at Get Your Memorabilia Signed By The Gophers So You Can Sell It On EBay Day today? [Meaning Skate With the Gophers, where Comic Book Guy-esque doofuses try to ruin it for the children.]

RC: No, I chose not to partake in that event, though I'm sure many [hygienic]-bag "Gopher fans" were there doing exactly what you said.

RWD: Well, it's not like kids actually get to attend Gopher games, since they aren't highly-paid corporate execs.

RC: Having a kid watch a Gopher game this year would be child abuse, so that could explain things too.

RWD: I heard 1-800-UGOPHER was turned into a suicide hotline.

RC: I think that got transformed when Brewster got hired. [As in, Punky?]

RWD: I heard you dyed your hair blonde when the Gophers did.

RC: Actually, DHG spurred that idea. Basically, I wanted people to shut up with the whole “they are all gay for dying their hair” [Oh, I don’t think that’s the reason...]. I mean, if a man's man like me would die his hair, then it's okay for anyone to do it. [Um, it is never OK for Evan Kaufmann to do that EVER AGAIN. YUCK.]

RWD: Well, if the Gophers jumped off a bridge, would you jump off one, too? Because if so, you'd better get on that... [There is a sign above the home locker room at Mariucci that says “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.”]

RC: If this year's team did? No, I'd be happy and thus wouldn't want to join them. [If that wasn’t throwing the guys under the bus, then I don’t know what is.]

RWD: Ouch. You should just become a Bulldogs fan. [YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO. Everyone does. All Gopher fans are secretly dying to be Bulldogs fans, even the ones who hide it with their raving Bulldogphobia.] We're more comfortable with losing.

RC: Do I look like a Brooklyn Center firefighter? You guys have won plenty in the recent past ... I mean, you were up 3-1 on Denver in the Frozen Four, so surely ... oh, wait, what's that ... really? Hmmm...

RWD: Hmm... no... maybe Brooklyn Park.., and we've certainly won recently... like FRIDAY NIGHT.

RC: And you'll likely pocket a few W's this upcoming weekend as well.

RWD: I'm sure. [I’m counting on it, boys!] If you were a Fighting Sioux fan, you would say "This is our second half surge! #8 in 08!"

RC: Oh, for sure. And don't forget “The refs are against us;” they tend to say things like that from time to time. And probably make a mention of mustard gas too, just to complete the trifecta.

RWD: Um... they don't say that. [That is OUR joke about THEM. They just wander around muttering "It was WWII memorabilia" and "Golden chokers!"] Although, if you were a Fighting Sioux fan, you'd probably still talk about the Gophers just as much.

RC: They have an obsession with us. It's flattering.

RWD: So answer the big question: are the Badgers or the Sioux your biggest rivals?

RC: Sioux, and it's not close in my mind. [Cue Sioux fans whining about how Minnesota should be their scheduling rivals.]

RWD: Let's talk about this weekend. Who's starting in nets? Long Island Frazee? Captain Kangaroo? Brent "I'm Only Starting To Make A Point" Solei?

RC: Well, we're so good in goal that we have THREE guys who play for us. It will likely be the one you didn't mention, Kangas, in there on both nights.

RWD: He was the second guy I mentioned. [Duh.]

RC: That nickname was a big-time stretch.

RWD: I guess I need to use more overt humor. [Some people just can’t appreciate a subtle wit.] How are the Gophers going to win this weekend?

RC: Poison UMD's pregame meal? If that doesn't work, we're in trouble. Honestly, I think they might be okay, since they've been very poor on big ice this year.

RWD: Well, they're not 0-for-24. What did they do right in the games they won?

RC: Playing on a smaller ice sheet will give them less time to try their fancy crap and more time to just react and go. It's been a long while since a win, but if I recall correctly, they basically need to score three goals. In general, if they've scored three of more goals this year, they've been okay. If they aren't up by two goals or more going into the third period, it's over.

RWD: Weren't they up by 2 goals going into the 3rd on Saturday?

RC: True, but even then they still managed a tie. Also, UMD should take as many penalties as they can, since our PP is terrible.

RWD: Oh, I'm sure that won't be a problem. But nobody's PP is doing that well, it seems.

RC: That's also true, but Lucia power plays have ALWAYS been at least okay ... that's the main reason they're doing bad this year; people can blame Frazee or Kangas or whatever. Bottom line is: [Like FHG when tBeard is around] they can't score.

RWD: Well, when you're playing the trap against Wayne State...

RC: Hey, they swept Northern Michigan this past weekend! They were formidable!!!

RWD: Well, they're trying to go out with a bang [instead of a whimper]. So are there any players you LIKE on the team this year? Any favorites?

RC: Justin Bostrom is a Mounds View grad like myself, so he's a fave; Fairchild has been very good; Carman should add a nice spark [I don’t know if he is evolved enough yet to discover fire] and always hustles; RJ Anderson has improved as well... kind of slim pickings in these parts nowadays.

RWD: And your all-time favorites? Dan Woog?

RC: Well, I try to stick with guys I'm old enough to remember watching, so guys like Crowley, Westrum, both Potulnys [I just barfed more than FHG in GF], and of course Garrett Smaagaard [the vowel-hog]. Tony Lucia >>>> Dan Woog. [Oh, Gopher fans. Using the only math signs they know.]

RWD: Yeah. But Matt Stephenson >>>>> Tony Lucia. [I can do it, too!] I DID see that part of the game on Saturday!

RC: Yeah, I think the Italian in Tony had him bite off a bit more than he could chew [again, I hope it was Longhorn!]... At least he plays with some heart, which can't be said about many on that club.

RWD: Well, it would be some silent family dinners if he didn't. [What do you think goes on at Lucia family dinners? I shudder to think.] I just assumed Tony was brought on board as a spy.

RC: That may have been the initial plan. tDon is smart like a fox, so you never know.

RWD: And good-looking like a hedgehog.

RC: That hair is a thing of beauty...

RWD: One that note, now that the Very Sexy Kyle Okposo is gone [I hope everyone knows I was being sarcastic, but just in case you were confused, HE IS UGGO. The only person who thinks he’s hott is Hirsch’s sister, and she can hardly be judged sane], who is the most attractive Gopher?

RC: I think frequent GPL poster Bert may be more "equipped" to answer a question such as this, but I'm comfortable enough with myself to try to answer this question. I've been told that RJ Anderson is good-looking, and I could see that. You're the expert [I am, yes], what do you think?

RWD: I'm a Wheeler girl, myself.

RC: With long hair or short? Or does that not factor into things?

RWD: Longer. Although I haven't seen it short yet.

RC: Are we still talking about his hair?

RWD: We could be. [I sneaked a quick look at his picture here.] Mm, the short hair, it's just not doing it for me. [GROW IT BACK, BLAKE!]

RC: Hoeffel has long blonde hair, what about him?

RWD: I didn't barf when I looked at his photo. [But he looks like a child, so no.] Let's wrap things up with a weekend prediction.

RC: FHG gets drunk. Bert annoys everyone. And I fall asleep by 11 p.m.

RWD: Did you whip out a crystal ball for those?

RC: Magic 8-Ball to be precise.

RWD: I thought you were shooting for midnight. Outlook Hazy, I guess.

RC: Well, I'm also hoping the Gophers win twice, but that doesn't mean it will happen.

RWD: Well, let's see a score prediction. [I’d like to see the Magic 8 Ball do THAT!]

RC: As for the games, I think Minnesota wins a tight game on Friday night [WRONG WRONG WRONG], and then the Dogs win by two or more on Saturday [DING DING DING!].

RWD: Well, I'll buy you a shot of Yukon Jack at the bar on Friday.

RC: Change my 11 p.m. prediction to 7:45 then.

RWD: I won't be there 'til after the game. [Maybe just the mere thought of some YJ will make him keel over.]

RC: That's unfortunate. [I concur. I know my Dogs will be devastated.]

RWD: I've gotta work late, but my presence was requested in Duluth Friday night anyway.

RC: What a trooper. [Iron Maiden? All right!]

RWD: I can't let my fan down.

RC: I understand completely.

RWD: Well, that's about it, I'm afraid.

RC: I hate goodbyes...

RWD: Well, just think, you'll see me in a few days.

RC: Hooray!

Patience is a virtue, folks.

13 January 2008

The Ties That Bind

I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but we tie a lot. I mean, whatever, it's better than losing a lot, but it's not as good as winning a lot.

I guess I picked the right game to go to. I kind of enjoy watching the game at home (although I wish it was on television and not on B2, which is dark and has annoying announcers, like that moron chick that was interviewing Grawler and Kemper), because I don't have to worry if my flailing is going to injure the old lady next to me, or that I'm going to scream something embarrassing, or that I'm going to weep uncontrollably if we lose. It also means if I want to, I can sit around watching the game in my underwear (not saying that I did, just that I could!). I suppose I could do that at a game if I wanted to, but I'd probably be kicked out, and the team would be distracted (what with all the vomiting and such). I spent most of the game IMing LGM, which was VERY stressful because her television was ahead of my B2 feed, which was ahead of the KDAL audio I had streaming. I made her promise not to say anything until I knew there was or wasn't a goal, but it still made me very, very nervous. We did manage to agree that Steve Rohlik is hott.

I'm a little frustrated with the tie. We had some great chances to win, including a GIFT FROM ABOVE powerplay in overtime. We had some extended periods deep in the Mankato zone, and there were some times I thought FOR SURE the puck HAD to somehow make its way into the net, but it just wasn't meant to be. It was great to get two goals in such quick succession, but I was hoping we would build on that and dominate the game. Even when it was 2-1, I thought we still could hold on, but I guess it wasn't meant to be.

However, I must point out, a lesser goaltender would have given up a lot of those chances that Mike Zacharias managed to stop. I don't like to use the "we ran into a hot goaltender" excuse, but I just don't think that Zacharias gets enough props. Overall, his GAA is 1.94 with a 93 save% and a 58.8 win%. In league play, he has a 2.00 GAA, 93 save% and .455 win%. Considering that he's in the top 4 in the conference in the statistics he has more control over (save percentage and GAA) despite Mankato's 9th place seat in the WCHA (though 1 point out of 6th-8th, as I'm sure LGM would point out if I hadn't) shows that he is a talented goaltender, and I guess it's not as bad as tying, say, Frazee.

Wins Until We Surpass Last Year's Total: 2 (Will be taken care of after next weekend!)
Points Until We Surpass Last Year's Total: 4! (Ditto!)

My Guys:
MacGregor Sharp: 12! (Takes the lead!)
Matt McKnight: 11
Michael Gergen: 10
Mike Curry: 2

Justin Fontaine: 8!
Cody Danberg: 6!
Kyle Schmidt: 6!
Rob Bordson: 3!
Mike Montgomery: 1
Chad Huttel: 1
Evan Oberg: 0

On Notice:
Evan Oberg
Jay Cascalenda
Matt Greer
Alex Stalock
Drew Akins
Mike Curry
Matt McKnight

Goals only
Trent Palm
Travis Gawryletz
Jason Garrison
Andrew Carroll
Michael Gergen
Justin Fontaine

12 January 2008

Wild Mood Swings

Okay. We're all a little frazzled here, so let me start things off with a joke:

Q: What's the difference between RWD and Britney Spears?
A: I'm only bipolar during hockey games.

Whatever. Let me just say that I had an entirely different post written in my head (because I'm always thinking of you guys and how I can make your reading experiences better!) when the score was 3-1, in which I proclaimed the highlight of the night to be the footlong porketta dog I devoured between the 2nd and 3rd periods, after commiserating with DHG about the game. I may have said something like "I can't believe I drove up here for this!" and he may have sarcastically reminded me I was there for the "comeback." But that was then.

THIS IS NOW. I'm ELATED. I'm SO proud of my guys for finding a way to win this game. It was exhilarating to watch, although I'd prefer if the effort had been a little more consistent. No matter. I believe that good teams find ways to win, and that we could very well be a good team. Not a great team, that's for next year (when our freshmen rock harder than they have ever rocked before), but a good team that finishes in the top half of the league and shows up in St. Paul come March. Let's get a sweep at home, boys, and get on a roll. Oh, and maybe a few more power play goals?

Wins Until We Surpass Last Year's Total: 2 (Great job, guys!)
Points Until We Surpass Last Year's Total: 5 (Yay!)

My Guys:
Matt McKnight: 11 (Had a really good chance though!)
MacGregor Sharp: 11
Michael Gergen: 10! (PASS THE PUCK MORE!)
Mike Curry: 2 (Prob. going to stay that way...)

Justin Fontaine: 7!
Cody Danberg: 5! (My hero!)
Kyle Schmidt: 5! (W00t!)
Rob Bordson: 3!
Mike Montgomery: 1
Chad Huttel: 1
Evan Oberg: 0 (WELCOME BACK, BABY!!!!)

On Notice:
Evan Oberg
Jay Cascalenda
Matt Greer
Alex Stalock
Drew Akins
Mike Curry
Matt McKnight

Goals only
Josh Meyers
Trent Palm
Travis Gawryletz
Jason Garrison
Andrew Carroll

08 January 2008

The Gauntlet: The Bitch Is Back Edition

Oh yeah, baby, are you ready for it? The readers are clamoring for it, and who am I to deny my loyal public? Chris from Western College Hockey, after many months of counseling, was able to conquer his fear of me.

RWD: What made you want to write Western College Hockey?

WCH: When I first moved away from Michigan, I regularly checked about five or six different websites for information on Michigan sports. Then, Brian Cook created the site MGoBlog [yeah, like I'm going to link to him! He gets enough publicity!], and I was able to find all of that information in a single site. I thought it was a pretty cool idea, and decided to try and do it for college hockey. Technically, Western College Hockey Blog just started out as College Hockey Blog, but a) College Hockey Blog is an awful name [as opposed to the brilliant title of Western College Hockey?] and b) as I started brainstorming ideas for posts, I realized I had no clue what I was talking about when it came to conferences outside the CCHA and WCHA. [Interesting how he assumes he has a clue about the WCHA and CCHA. Hmm...]

RWD: But MGoBlog is a Michigan blog; what made you want to cover two conferences? [I used a semicolon! Yay punctuation!]

WCH: I grew up in CCHA country, and I now live in WCHA country, so I feel like I've got a pretty good handle on both conferences.

RWD: Do you ever feel like the scope is too broad?

WCH: It depends. Sometimes I feel like it's too broad. When I look at statistics, it's a lot easier to just run them for 10 teams as opposed to 22. [Another reason to keep Bemidji out! That would make 23 teams!] And sometimes I feel like it's not broad enough. Sometimes there is info that I feel is useful that I don't use because it relates more to eastern teams.

RWD: Well, personally, I was unaware there were teams outside of the WCHA.

WCH: There are... they just don't matter as much.

RWD: I just thought they conjured up non-conference opponents from, like, bums off the street. You know, how North Dakota picks their teams!

WCH: Actually, at North Dakota, the police pick the bums off the street, and then the bums get recruited after they're booked down at the station. [On a different note, did you see how HOTT TJ was in his mug shot?] It's much more efficient that way.

RWD: It's a time-honored tradition. So why would you move to Mankato?

WCH: Because I moved in with my beautiful girlfriend.

RWD: Ew, too sappy, I'm editing that out. [Ok, I didn't, but only because my response was funny.] This is HOCKEY. "Because I killed someone in Michigan" would be a good answer. [For reals, homey. I thought USCHO nerds were supposed to be single losers in their parents' basements. I guess using Dirty as the poster child might be misleading.]

WCH: Yeah, but I had to go with the sappy answer. Also, I was living in Poughkeepsie, New York at the time, which is like the [sphincter] of the world, so small-town Minnesota looked great in comparison. [I hope this doesn't turn into a Sienna Miller/Pittsburg incident!]

RWD: Have you found Mankato to be a thrilling and wonderful town?

WCH: I actually love it there. It's just big enough to have anything one would need, but small enough to avoid any big city problems. We moved away from there this summer, but I miss it, and always look forward to going back.

RWD: So if Minnesota State University-Mankato and Michigan were playing head to head for the National Championship...?
[Explosion of laughter that impaired my typing ability] Okay, that would never happen, but hypothetically, who would you cheer for?

WCH: Definitely MSU.

RWD: Michigan State? [I've generally made it a point to cheer for a team that's PLAYING, but okay. Go North Stars! Plus, I've never heard of a UM fan cheering for Michigan State. I think that's a capital crime in Michigan.]

WCH: Clearly you don't read Minnesota State's weekly press releases, which always include this stern warning: According to official University guidelines, there are only three acceptable usages of the school name. The first is “Minnesota State University, Mankato”and this is only to be used in the first reference of the school. Following that, the only other acceptable usages of the school name are “Minnesota State” or “MSU” and no others. Minnesota State Athletic Communications appreciates all cooperation in this matter.

RWD: Oh, I like that last sentence. It's so snotty. [It's like they are trying to distance themselves from the city of Mankato. Which, I understand, but in their case it's really not an option.]

WCH: I don't think the hockey people have ever had a problem with it, but I seem to recall someone giving Ciskie a hard time about it at a football game. Does Ciskie do UMD football or am I thinking of someone else?

RWD: Um... UMD has football? [Never heard of it. Is it a new sport?]

WCH: Probably. Back to the question: honestly, I've seen Michigan win enough in my lifetime. [Sure, rub it in.] I was there when they won the national title in 1996, and it was incredible. I'd love to see the same thing happen for MSU. Plus, my brother goes to Michigan and I'd love to rub it in his face if Mankato beat Michigan. [Um, yeah, if UMDDogz did that to me, I'd probably kill him. But he'd never cheer for anyone but tDogs.]

RWD: You wouldn't be, like, disinherited?

WCH: I don't know, maybe. But it'd be worth it.

RWD: Well, as long as you're not from a family of oil barons or something, I suppose that's no big deal. I mean, who needs to inherit some old clock and an ugly statue, anyway? [I'm holding out for Gramps's golf cart and the speedboat motor in DA's garage!]

WCH: Indeed.

RWD: So what is the point of Maverick Hockey Nation? Cyber-squatting?

WCH: Nowadays, mainly to show off how lazy I am, since nothing ever gets posted there. But it's nice if I ever want to write something Mav-related that doesn't really fit in on WCH.

RWD: Fortunately, there's Let's Go Mavs to pick up the slack and cover the Mavs more regularly. [Hi, Amy!]

WCH: Shane Frederick's blog for the Free Press has been pretty great this year too.

RWD: Oh, I don't read that. I hope that doesn't make him cry or anything.

WCH: Shane is a really nice guy [So he probably is crying], and I think he does a great job covering the Mavs.

RWD: What other blogs do you read?

WCH: Runninwiththedogs, of course.

RWD: Suck-up. I don't need your pity!

WCH: I've got a whole bunch of blogs on my Bloglines reader, so I'll basically read anything by anyone. [You just made Charles Manson's day!]

RWD: It's a nice way to cheat. I use it as well. [Bloglines is a great way to get updates on your favorite blogs without checking them 300 times a day to see if they have been updated.]

WCH: All of the blogs by media-folk are top-notch. [ALL of them? LaP's blog sucks! And I heard Fat Dan Myers wasn't so fabulous, either.] Though it bugs me that some of the newspaper use crappy software that you can't get a feed from.

RWD: This is the most [badonkadonk]-kissing I've ever had in a Gauntlet! Meanwhile, those of us who are uncredential are being subtly oppressed.

WCH: Oppressed by whom?

RWD: The Man. And You.

WCH: Hey, I listed you first.

RWD: Because I am a genius, and none of those media [donkeys] ever wanted to interview you.

WCH: I've actually been surprised at how nice all of the media people have been to me. That's generally not the reaction bloggers get elsewhere in the sports world.

RWD: Well, they're just lucky to have jobs. I mean, hockey isn't exactly popular in the U.S.
WCH: Very true. Anyway, among the other blogs I enjoy, I think everybody loves LetsGoDU [except those Fighting Sioux fans who got mad when Goddard made fun of that guy's funeral, and probably some CC fans, and Gwoz...]. I love Hockey in Wisconsin because they cover everything in Wisco so well [Is that the jerk who insulted me because I accurately referred to Wisconsin players, fans, and associates as communists, erased my comment on his site which merely said "Thanks for the link!" to show that I was a good sport, and then wouldn't own up to erasing it?], UAA Fan blog is always interesting to read [Go Donald, it's your birthday!], The Junior Hockey Blog always has really good info... there are a lot of great sites out there. [Chris, there are THREE PERIODS IN AN ELLIPSIS. Not FIVE, not SEVEN, not EIGHT HUNDRED MILLION.]

RWD: Do you have aspirations of being paid to write about hockey? [I think this wins the award for Most Obvious Question Ever, beating out the time I asked Donald why he was so angry and he denied, denied, denied.]

WCH: I'd love to get paid for writing about hockey. I've picked up a few freelance gigs here and there, but being able to do it full-time would be awesome. [Not before you correctly learn how to use ellipses!]

RWD: To switch gears a little bit, we should discuss some of your alternative viewpoints. You've taken some controversial stances on your site.

WCH: Really?

RWD: For example, your Pro-Jutting stance.

WCH: I suppose. Though that's looking a little less controversial lately.

RWD: In what way?

WCH: You just don't hear as much from the detractors now that the team is winning and playing good hockey.

RWD: But is winning the ONLY thing that matters?

WCH: To some people, it is. [I know I often wonder if winning matters at all to Juttz, or if it's all about when he can get his next Lucky Strike.]

RWD: What about some of the other Juttz-related issues? Isn't a coach who is respected by his players and who has respect for his players important as well? [Ooh, baby, this is some hard-hitting journalism. Fox 9, here I come!]

WCH: I think it depends on the situation. I can think of some great coaches that were hated by their players, and I can think of some lousy coaches that were hated by their players. I think the most important question is: Does a coach get the most out of the players that he has?

RWD: And you believe that's the case at Minnesota State?

WCH: I've seen a lot of games where MSU had less talent than their opponents, but very few where they were outworked by their opponents. That's a big reason why I love watching them so much. I've gone to some great lengths to see them play, and to me, it's always worth it, because I've never felt cheated by the effort they gave.

RWD: I guess being friends with the Emperor of the Anti-Jutting Alliance gives me quite a bit of negative information about him. Hearing inside information about how people close to the program perceive Juttz makes me wonder if the effort that is given by the players is a result of the players rather than the coach; if they are willing to work hard in spite of rather than because of coaching.

WCH: I guess I can't say for sure, but in any case, it works. [It does?]

RWD: When Juttz's contract was renewed last year, and the AD basically stated he was pleased with the performance within MSU's "peer group," didn't that bother you? Shouldn't the AD want the team to compete at a higher level?

WCH: I'm sure everyone involved would like to see MSU win every game. It's foolish to think otherwise. But honestly, how realistic is that? In the short term, if you're just measuring MSU against a Minnesota or North Dakota based on raw wins and losses, you're going to be disappointed more times than not, regardless of who is coaching the team.

RWD: But I think there's a level between where MSU is now and where UND or UMTC have been (as they are CLEARLY not there now!) And, in fact, this season demonstrates the perennial powers are and will continue to be more vulnerable.

WCH: On a year-to-year basis, I agree that anything can happen. Over the long-run though, those things tend to even out. I really think that all 10 teams in the WCHA are pretty well-coached, and with some historically great programs in the league, there's not a lot of room for upward mobility.

RWD: I see. [And that's the end of that chapter!] Probably the most talked-about issue with the Mavs is their tendency to take a lot of penalties, which is a fact, not an opinion, as they are usually at the top of the league in penalty minutes. Isn't that a coachable issue?

WCH: To some extent, yes. I know Jutting's philosophy is that he wants his team to play hard and aggressive, and he understands a certain amount of penalties will come from that. And that's understandable. He'd rather see a player make an error of comission than an error of omission. A certain number of penalties result just having a speed defecit against some of the other teams in the league. But, the penalty numbers have been better this year. For better or worse, the standard for what is or isn't a penalty in the WCHA is whether or not the attack[ed player] falls down. [Which left the door wide open for Rhett Rakhshani and Robbie Earl] So it doesn't make sense to have big defenseman that can really push people around, as it's more likely that when they push someone, the player will fall down. So MSU went out and got some smaller, faster defenseman, which is why I think you're seeing them take fewer penalties. Brian Kilburg still gets called for some ridiculous penalties because he's so big, but you don't see some of the other D going to the box as often.

RWD: Who's exciting for the Mavs right now?

WCH: Mike Zacharias is pretty exciting. [Rrrarrr!] After that..? To be honest, if I didn't have a rooting interest, some of their games would look pretty boring.

RWD: Wow, ouch.

WCH: It's just the style of hockey that they have to play to succeed. They're not going to beat many people in a high-scoring game, but they're pretty good at getting a one-goal lead and clinging to it.

RWD: That's every fan's dream description right there.

WCH: And they do have a lot of young kids that have really improved a lot in there time in Mankato, and that's always really fun to watch.

RWD: Do you think they will be successful against tUMD this weekend?

WCH: I got in trouble last time I tried to make a prediction in a MSU-UMD series, so I'm staying away from that this time. But last time, I gave MSU a slight edge because they were at home, and playing on Olympic-ice, which I thought favored them. This time around, neither of those are the case. It should be two very close hockey games where anything could happen, so I don't think I'd be surprised by any result. [That was a very nice statement, Senator. Now ANSWER THE QUESTION.]

RWD: You know what's weird about the Alltel is that the rink didn't seem that big.

WCH: It is a matter of perception. I didn't think the Alltel ice seemed that huge, until I went up to Bemidji and was like, 'So where is the rest of the ice?" And then two weeks ago when I was at Joe Louis, that seemed huge, when really, it's the same size as Bemidji. [Ugh, Bermidji.] The other weird thing about the rink is, the one endzone with the students feels so cramped, and the students are right on top of the ice, while the sidelines seem so spread out and far away from the action.

RWD: You can't judge rink size based on Bemidji. They have Timberlodge Steakhouse booths as their penalty boxes. [Mmmm... steak!] I wouldn't have been surprised if a basket of complimentary rolls had been brought out.

WCH: But it was funny to see guys sitting in the penalty box and chatting with teammates on the bench. The other nice thing Bemidji was that you could hear Jutting yelling from across the rink.

RWD: Could you smell the cigarette smoke, too?

WCH: Thankfully, no.

RWD: Is Tormey ever going to play again?

WCH: He probably will. It's been tough with Zacharias playing so well, and the Mavericks potentially having a shot at an at-large tournament bid. There just hasn't been enough margin for error to risk sitting Zacharias. It's nothing against Tormey, but Zach has played so well. Things can always change. Tormey played a bunch of games in a row at the end of the his freshman year and it looked like Zacharias wouldn't see much playing time. But Zach waited his turn and has ended up making the most out of his playing time.

RWD: Who's going to score goals this weekend?

WCH: I had been saying for a while that Jason Wiley was due to score some goals and he scored four two weekends ago [I saw two of them!], so hopefully he stays hot. I think Ben Youds is due for his first career goal too.

RWD: We give up a lot of first career goals.

WCH: I'm sure they'll take whatever UMD is willing to give.

RWD: Which could be zero, or could be many.

WCH: My fingers are crossed for many. [I hope a Stalock shutout doesn't break your heart, then, because great hockey minds like UMDBHIK are predicting one!]

RWD: Who are your favorite Mavs?

WCH: That is really tough to choose. I could make a case for just about anybody on the team. All-time though, I'd have to pick Travis Morin. I really enjoyed watching him play because he wasn't incredibly physically-gifted, but he did every single little thing so well that he turned himself into a great player.

RWD: So there isn't anyone that you find yourself especially drawn to?

WCH: Kalinski is definitely the most entertaining to watch because the kid is absolutely fearless. I'll always cheer for James Gaulrapp because honestly, there's probably no way he should have been playing D-I hockey based on his junior hockey career, but he's taken the opportunity and run with it, and has been an excellent player. And I'm finally getting to the point where I've been doing this long enough that I've seen a lot of the Minnesota kids come up through the high school ranks, so it's a little more special to see them play in college.

RWD: Who is the hottest Maverick?

WCH: Oh dear. I'd be like the worst gay man ever [Well, you said "Oh dear," so you're not doing as poorly as you think], because I honestly have no clue when it comes to this stuff.

RWD: Don't act like you're surprised. You knew this question was coming.

WCH: I look through these hot or not posts and I'm just mystified, like, "Wait, he's hot, but he's not? How does that work?" I honestly have no clue how hotness is judged. I'll play it safe though and pick Tormey, since I'm constantly reminded of how good-looking he is.

RWD: Well, he's no Hot RJ, but he'll do.

WCH: See, my girlfriend went to high school with RJ, so she's a little biased against him.

RWD: AGAINST??!?!!? [Excuse me, Hot RJ is just HOTT. AND, he totally answers to that when you call him.]

WCH: Oh, and I should add, with, as George Costanza would say, a staunch record of heterosexuality, Jon Kalinski is adorable. [The Aaaahj just died a little inside, as he hates Seinfeld.]

RWD: I guess, if you like video games. I have to apologize, as you're being Gauntletted at a very poor time.

WCH: Why?

RWD: Next week is a very highly anticipated Gauntlet.

WCH: Ooh, who is it?

RWD: Your vanquished nemesis from the WCHA Blog.

WCH: Ah, he'd be good. Though I was hoping it would be the Wooger.

RWD: I'm biding my time. I'm sure one day it will be. [And it will be the greatest day in the history of this blog. Sorry, Bruce.]

WCH: I don't really see him being the computer-type though.
RWD: I can dream. So do you have a weekend prediction?

WCH: A fun time will be had by all. Can I get away with that?

RWD: Um, no. Plus, that never happens.

WCH: I guess people in Duluth can't hate me any more [Oh, I don't know about that! Is that a challenge?]. I'll go optimistic and pick the same result as last time. A tie on Friday night and a Maverick win on Saturday.

RWD: What do the Mavs have to do to win this weekend?

WCH: Keep the game low-scoring, and find a way to get a lead. I think keeping the crowd out of the game will be a big factor. I'm always concerned about goal-scoring, so hopefully they'll catch a bounce or be efficient on the powerplay. [LGM is laughing her badonkadonk off about that.]

RWD: And how are they going to give it away?

WCH: Letting UMD score an early goal, and not getting out and blocking lanes on the penalty kill, which was their downfall in the disaster against Omaha.

RWD: A single goal? Wow.

WCH: Well, I think that if UMD scores early, it might be the first of many.

RWD: That's an interesting thought. [Which Bulldogs is he watching?]

WCH: And really, most games in the WCHA this year have been 'First team to 2 wins.'

RWD: And man, is it ever exciting! [All those icings and offsides are exhilarating!]

WCH: Like I said, if you have a rooting interest, it's absolutely gut-wrenching. If you don't, yeah, it's pretty boring.

Well, there you have it folks. Chris Dilks thinks WCHA hockey is boring. And kills kittens.