28 February 2008

Woman Warrior

I know this isn't a post about tDogs, or even about the game this weekend, but it needs to be done.

This weekend, at a lot of arenas in college hockey, seniors will be honored for their four years of dedication to hockey, their teammates, and their education. Many of these guys will be playing their last game on their home ice. (Clearly, some of those players are uncertain if it will be their last game, since the final league standings aren't set.)

The Michigan Tech Huskies' seniors will be among those, and I'm sure there will be some sort of on-ice ceremony honoring their achievements and thanking them for their efforts.

Obviously, those guys have given a lot, and deserve the recognition. But they'll be omitting someone.

This weekend is Bethlyn McCallum's (aka MeanEgirl) last weekend in the JMSIA, and I don't think there's a single person who has given more to Husky hockey than she has in her tenure at Michigan Tech, and that includes the players. Clearly, the players are the ones who are actually putting in the work on the ice, but they are getting a free education and a chance to play the game they love for another four years. However, MEg is rallying the student section, pushing raffle tickets on poor unsuspecting fans and families of players to raise money for the Blue Line Club, driving thousands of miles and staying with somewhat sketchy individuals in order to cheer the guys on when they're on the road, drinking gallons of Kamikazi pitchers to foster intra-school relationships, screaming herself hoarse no matter what the score, freezing her assets off in togas/sports bras/whatever in the name of school spirit, making nice with even the most ornery of USCHO posters, and protecting the student section from the full wrath of the athletic director.

MEg discovered her love for Tech hockey during an improbable comeback for the Huskies over their UP rivals, the Northern Michigan Wildcats, and there isn't a fan in college hockey whose passion for their team matches hers. I can't imagine who will step into her stripey overalls next year and fire up the fans. Next year, Drew Akins will have no one to offer him a pacifier in the penalty box, there won't be any excellent T.J. Oshie-mocking signs on the Ralph's jumbotron, and Casey Borer will be left without a fiancee.

I think the Huskies would be remiss if they didn't do something very, VERY special for MEg this weekend, as I know she'll be crying into her cowbell while she cheers her heart out for the seniors, and she deserves just as much in return, if not more.

MEg, you are my best friend in the hockey community, and you deserve the very best from your team.


25 February 2008

Zero Points

Well, the only time "zero points" is good is when we're talking about mortgages. And I'm not giving you that, biotches. There are NO numbers to update (other than putting people On Notice, and why humiliate them more?)

Instead, I give you the latest Doublemint print ad, shot in St. Cloud on Saturday night.

21 February 2008

You Can't Keep A Good Rat Down

Elliot's back, and better than ever, with The Rat Lives!

19 February 2008

The Gauntlet: Take This Blog And Shove It Edition

This week, having no CC fan to Gauntlet, I found myself in dire straits. How could I disappoint my readers after such great Gauntlets as Boosh, BadgerBacker, and Cardinal? I was without a victim.
And then, like a sacrificial lamb, Elliot Olshansky, formerly of CSTV/The Rink Rat Blog (yes, that's right, I said FORMERLY) wanted me to do a tell-all after-school special/miniseries/epic novel (srsly, this interview is longer than war and peace, but tragically less violent) about his Very Special Story.

RWD: So what is the story over at CSTV? The big scoop you're providing me with?

EO: Well, there's reorganizing and restructuring, and it doesn't include me, that's the obvious part. There are a few news articles out there; I was one of 40 layoffs this past Wednesday. I'm not exactly sure what the plan is, generally speaking, but I'd be surprised to see CSTV.com last much past the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

RWD: Really? Even after they convinced all us bloggers to link to them? Because, you know, that was soooo succesful for me in terms of traffic. I feel like a dirty sell-out for doing that.

EO: Well, we did some good stuff.

RWD: Oh, definitely.

EO: It was worth the link.

RWD: I just don't know if it was worth the banner...

EO: You've got to admit, the logo looked cool.

RWD: One day, RWD will have a logo, too.

EO: Well, you have a good starting point with the UMD logo.

RWD: I'm certainly not above plagiarism.

EO: Well, you can expand on it... put the Bulldog head on a running dog of some sort. [What sort? Maybe a chihuahua or a Dalmatian?]

RWD: I make good spreadsheets and do complex calculations. I don't do "art."

EO: I'm not particularly artistic myself, but I learned my way around Photoshop pretty nicely in the last three and a half years. Of course, that was part of my job

RWD: Most of my Photoshop talents have revolved around doctoring photos of a few chosen St. Cloud fans.

EO: Ha!

RWD: I'm sure you know of whom I speak. [HockeyMom has also been an unfortunate victim.]

EO: Well, I like the St. Cloud fans.

RWD: I'm sorry to hear that.

EO: Well, the only fans I have a problem with are the ones who have a problem with me. And not even all of them.

RWD: Well, I could sit here and insult St. Cloud until the snowmobiles come home. I need a little more information about this "restructuring."

EO: OK...

RWD: Do you really think we're going to see the end of CSTV?

EO: Well, on Tuesday, CBS announced that CSTV is changing its name to CBS College Sports. And I remember trying to figure out what the website name would change to. There's no good abbreviation for that. I mean, CBSCS.com? I worked that night until about 1 in the morning, came in at 12:30 or so the next day, after being on the Hockey East conference call that morning, and was asked to go meet with someone from HR. That was where it ended. I wasn't the only one that day; I was one of four from the site that day and as I said, 40 total cuts.

RWD: Are these cuts coming from all over? Or are more of them coming from the hockey area?

EO: It was all over. As I said, I don't know all the specifics, but I'd be very surprised to see CSTV.com last past the basketball tournament.

RWD: Which potentially means no coverage of the Frozen Four.

EO: Coverage by whom, exactly? Well, I suppose there is Starman. Of course, Dave is also USCHO's national columnist.

RWD: I think some drunken fans pulled from the stands and given beer money could help them out. Unless beer money isn't in the budget. [I'm waving in your general direction here.]

EO: Let's put it this way: One of my last weekend trips for CSTV.com saw me bumming a ride off of Bob Gaudet from Providence to Hanover over $31. I should also hasten to point out that I was already looking for a new job at the time I was let go. I wouldn't want anyone to think I didn't see the warning signs.

RWD: Smart man. I notice you didn't even get to post it on your blog.

EO: I've given some thought to that. I still have access to the blog account, unless I'm mistaken. Yep. Wait… strike that, I have a login, but no blogs. That’s a recent change.

RWD: Well, is there anything you want to say? Because RWD is the place to say it, without fear of repercussions or deletion.

EO: Well, obviously, the most important thing is to thank everyone who read the blog in the last two and a half years, whether they agreed or disagreed with the things I had to say. This is a really special community, and it's my privilege to be a part of it. Everyone's a part of that: players, coaches, SIDs, other members of the media, fans... We really do have something special here. I've had so many people to call and thank in the last few days... and I'm still not done. Of course, you make too many calls like that in too short a span of time, it gets kind of tough emotionally.

RWD: I can't imagine anything of the sort would occur if RWD would close its browser after 3 1/2 years. Mostly because my legions of fans do not know my phone number. [Actually, that’s a lie. I’d say that at least 50% of my regular readers could call/text me.] But if they did call, I can see how it would get to be sad. Blogging takes a lot of devotion.

EO: Well, the thing about what I did is that I had two roles...in addition to the blog, I was writing weekly columns, covering games, and reacting to news as it happened. And I've made most of these calls myself.

RWD: I see.

EO: I can count on one hand the people who have sought me out since this happened.

RWD: And I'm assuming you don't have some sort of mutant hand with 100 fingers. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

EO: Not even six like Count Rugen.

RWD: I'm a bit disappointed, because I was hoping for a bitter tirade railing against The Man. But I suppose you might be trying to find another job, which would make that a poor choice...

EO: Well, the most bitterness I've been able to muster in the last three days has amounted to six words.

RWD: "Why don't NoDak fans shut up?"

EO: "What a bunch of [fornicating] [rooster]-suckers."

RWD: Ohh that.

EO: And the truth is I'm not really angry at anyone in particular. The bottom line is that there is a bottom line, and I guess I wasn't contributing to it. That's disappointing, because I wish I could have, but it's not like there's anyone in particular I can get angry at over it.

RWD: And you don't anticipate any "hirings," do you? Like, a "replacement"?

EO: No.

RWD: Because that would make me bitter. More so than being let go for financial reasons.

EO: If for no other reason than there's really no one else who was in a position to do what I did. Actually, there is a group of people I haven't thanked yet that I really should... [All right, Sally Field, let’s get on with it!] My brothers in Sigma Nu fraternity. One of the things that made my travel possible was my willingness to crash at fraternity houses, and the frats' willingness to have me. Of course, some of that has to do with national policy. [A policy which also includes a minimum average blood alcohol level and a requirement that at least a medium-hot salsa will be used in all post-paddling ass-ointments.]

RWD: That is a willingness that very, very few people outside of college would have. Anyone who has seen the inside of a fraternity house would understand.

EO: The ones I stayed at, by and large, were pretty nice. [Clearly he’s never been to the houses at the University of Illinois.] Miami, in particular, has a huge, beautiful Sigma Nu house. Minnesota's has the advantage of being two blocks from Mariucci Arena. The only one I have any issue with at all would be Michigan State's.

RWD: So after living the college hockey fan's dream for a few years, what are you going to do now? Something similar, or something entirely different?

EO: Well, I want to stay involved in college hockey in some way, although more local, but the days of it being my main job are pretty well over. I do plan on staying in the media, although I'd like that to be in news. I was a government major in college, actually.

RWD: Do you think you'll start another blog?

EO: Wouldn't rule it out, but I need to see what the situation is with my main job. The other thing is that I need to figure out what it is that I can contribute in a blog form without going all over the way I did as the Rink Rat. That was the thing that was unique, being a national college hockey columnist who saw just about everyone. [Well, I am LIVING PROOF that one can blog without ANY media access.]

RWD: But don't you feel like you couldn't concentrate as much on your own favorites?

EO: Well, my favorite of favorites is still four hours and change away.

RWD: Bear in mind, I don't live in Duluth, so it is possible, but I suppose when you want to report "facts" and such, it's a little different.

EO: You have a pretty impressive attendance record at games, though, as I recall.

RWD: Personally? Not really. When we were in Denver, I was not included in the group that had made so many road trips.

EO: Ah.

RWD: This year I've been to... um... 4 dogs games, but it'll be 6 [maybe 7 if I can get someone to drive up with me this weekend!] by the end of the regular season, 1 gopher-tech game and 1 msum-yale game, plus the Final Five, of course.

EO: Of course... having been to the Final Five last year, I can understand where it would be hard to miss. As far as a bigtime conference championship atmosphere, the Final Five is very tough to beat, although Hockey East runs a pretty close second, in my experience. I can't comment on the CCHA, having never been. I was supposed to go this year, but, well... you know...

RWD: That whole not having a blogging job anymore thing.

EO: I would have loved that... you know they have a Media Game at the Joe after the press conferences on Thursday?

RWD: I would like to see some media folks play hockey. Pat Miller, for starters.

EO: Never actually met Pat... talked with him in December when he did some blogging for us. Never made it out to Grand Forks, which I'm actually somewhat relieved about. Tough to say, because there are some great folks at UND - especially Dan Benson, their SID, and if you've read enough of my stuff, you know I think the world of Ryan Duncan - but I would have had some serious issues setting foot in the Ralph.

RWD: What issues do you have with the Ralph? [It's got more marble than a Saddam Hussein palace!]

EO: I'm Jewish, so it's more my issues with Ralph than with The Ralph.

RWD: I guess I wasn't expecting you to say I'm Sioux or something.

EO: Not so much.

RWD: It would be more plausible if you said "I'm Iroquois" or something, being an eastern man and all.

EO: Well, I don't know if other tribes have issues with the Sioux thing. As the UND folks hasten to point out, a Chippewa artist drew the Sioux logo. Speaking of which, after last night's game against DU, I guess it's safe to say that the nickame and logo aren't all that's "hostile and abusive" in Grand Forks. [In case you missed that joke on The Rink Rat.]

RWD: Oh, that is merely the tip of the iceberg. But I won't get into that.

EO: Well, there's also the insistence by a number of Sioux fans that the CCHA teams are paper tigers.

RWD: Yeah, well, those individuals also think JPL should be the Hobey winner. And those individuals also pretty much left their team for dead in November.

EO: Really? Did the last two seasons teach them nothing?

RWD: I... can't even speak of it. I've never seen fans turn on their team in that way.

EO: The Rangers fans have been pretty brutal this season but then, so have the Rangers, at times.

RWD: Let me find out some of your favorites.

EO: OK, this should be fun. [You would think so, but yet it never is.]

RWD: Clearly the Rangers are your favorite pro team, but you hinted you have more than one favorite in college hockey.

EO: Well, Dartmouth is a clear favorite, for starters, as the alma mater. But Army is also up there with me and BU is another team that I've really enjoyed being around.

RWD: And who are your most hated rivals?

EO: Harvard. Harvard. Harvard. [What about Harvard?] And it's funny, because I've gotten to know some great folks from Harvard in the last couple of years. [Imagine that.]

RWD: Did you know that tUMD is the Harvard of the Midwest?

EO: Matt McConnell tried to convince me that that was Michigan State [well Matt McConnell had better get a clue!] and I responded with a joke at the expense of Justin Tobe [or not Tobe? That is the question.]

RWD: Who are your current favorites at Dartmouth?

EO: J.T. Wyman and Mike Devine. I haven't had that many opportunities to cover Dartmouth games up in Hanover while I've been at CSTV, but one of the ones I did make it to had Wyman playing on the blueline because of injuries. He was on the receiving end of a glass-breaking check that night.

RWD: I'm sure that tickled.

EO: It was kind of funny [I guess you had to be there], because he had just been moved back there that night. This was the Saturday after Thanksgiving last season. That was a fun trip... I spent Friday at RPI's tournament, stayed in the area, went up to Vermont for a Saturday afternoon game against Maine - and saw a camel on the side of the road on the way [Al Qaeda has invaded, people!]- and then headed down I-89 to Hanover for the 7 p.m. Dartmouth-Quinnipiac game. That was one of the things I enjoyed most: finding ways to see a lot of different teams in a short time span.

RWD: I once referred to your job as either my dream job or worst nightmare.

EO: I remember that, it was right after the DU game that we met before.

RWD: I said that aloud? I meant I said it on my blog. [Never. Drinking. Again.]

EO: No, I read it on your blog.

RWD: Ohhh. I was going to say, Goddard had been sending me free beers all night. I was accosting unsuspecting fans on the street. One of whom ended up being Co14ers.

EO: Ha. Sounds like the sort of thing Goddard would do; I mean this is the guy who went to the trouble of getting Ron Jeremy to show up to a DU alum event.

RWD: He is a generous man. A true American hero [I almost said he was The Class of tWCHA but we all KNOW that’s the Sioux fans!] AND the inspiration for the Gauntlet.

EO: What, seeing how many different ways he could find to make fun of CC in one interview?

RWD: First question I asked is if he became a DU fan when he got his rejection letter from CC.

EO: Very nice.

RWD: And now the Gauntlet is a national phenomenon. What team is your favorite in tWCHA?

EO: Denver, probably... [WRONG ANSWER!] Some of my favorite memories from CSTV have involved DU. Gwoz is a great interview.

RWD: Oh, Curious George. So dapper.

EO: And if you look at Seth Appert at RPI, he's clearly learned a thing or two in that department.

RWD: Don Lucia might agree.

EO: Don's grown on me a bit in the last couple of years.

RWD: You could say the same thing about flesh-eating bacteria. [Which you may catch in one of those frat houses down by Mariucci.]

EO: Well, being in the position of defending him during the Okposo/Snow situation changed my outlook a bit, although it also provided me with a pretty good joke about him. [Notice I didn’t bite here. I will not be baited!]

RWD: Well, what about Sandelin, where do you stand on him? If you can hear what he's mumbling, I mean.

EO: Well, he took the time to talk to me when I called him on his cell and he was in the middle of buying a TV.

RWD: A class act all the way. [Actually I hate when people talk on cell phones in stores. But I heart Sandy.]

EO: Absolutely. And both UMD games I covered in person at CSTV games were Bulldog losses, and he was never really tough to deal with after either one.

RWD: Well, thanks for cursing us!

EO: If I had been at the game against Vermont in '04 instead of the one in '05, you could have a case

RWD: What are you, Rain Man? How do you remember all these games?

EO: Well, UVM-tUMD in '04 is pretty hard to forget. I mean, No. 1 team in the country losing to a team that had struggled up to that point.

RWD: That was the beginning of the end. [:::Stabs fork in eye:::] AND IT IS ALL YOUR FAULT


RWD: Oh. I... can't read

EO: I was at the one the next year, at the Gutt up in Burlington. It was homecoming at Dartmouth, and there were two WCHA teams playing within driving distance of Hanover that weekend. The Bulldogs were at Vermont, and North Dakota was at UNH. I went to UVM on Friday and UNH on Saturday. That's something that UMD and NoDak both deserve credit for: traveling east regularly. North Dakota especially.

RWD: No one who reads RWD needs to hear praise of UND.

EO: Well, it is important for teams to travel, I think. Both directions.

RWD: I agree coughGOPHERScough.

EO: Yeah, right? Although the UMD women's team had some issues in that department before this season.

RWD: Well, they have other issues now.

EO: So I've heard. That Frozen Four at the DECC should be fun. [I wouldn’t know.]

RWD: First the Thongs incident, now there's Russiagate. Other than your misguided man-crush on Ryan Duncan, what other WCHA players do you like?

EO: I do not have a man-crush on Ryan Duncan. If I were to have a man-crush on a college hockey player, it would be Ryan Jones... He’s a great player, a great leader, and he's donating that long hair of his to Locks for Love at the end of the season. But the WCHA... I like Peter Mannino. He's struggled lately, but he's certainly performed well enough over his career, and I like what he's done to try to bring back Denver Boone.

RWD: You said you loved [Duncan]! Er… You "think the world of him"

EO: Yes. Great kid. [We glossed smoothly over that one.]

RWD: So you like Manno and Boone... anyone else? I don't like this Rocky Mountain Bias

EO: Funny, the next name that came to mind was Chad Rau! The St. Cloud kids, Ryan Lasch and Garrett Roe in particular, made a real impression when I was up there in November. Mike Carman deserves a ton of credit for sticking it out at Minnesota.

RWD: Well, he needed to GET some credits to stay there...

EO: Obviously, it doesn't speak well that he got himself into that particular pickle, but the kind of accountability he showed by not running off to major junior when he found out he'd lose half a season that many hockey people think is too short in the first place is a rare thing. I'm in a tough spot where Duluth is concerned, because I was supposed to see the Bulldogs at Mariucci before this gig ended so abruptly, and the players who stick out the most from when I last saw the Bulldogs are getting paid to play these days. [No love for MC from this guy!]

RWD: Tragic! I was going to be at one of those games! Who are those players that stuck out for you? As if I can't guess.

EO: Mason Raymond and Matt Niskanen, of course.

RWD: Easy answers

EO: I see a fair bit of Raymond these days on podcasts.

RWD: Clearly tUMD is flying so far below the radar that they are not even ranked on your rankings.

EO: The whole point is that I only ranked teams I'd seen in person.

RWD: I see. So we would have had to wait until March for you to place tUMD atop the rankings.

EO: That was what separated the Rink Rat Rankings from all the other rankings out there... because I get the sense that at least some of the voters in the USCHO and USA Today polls haven't actually watched all the teams they're voting on.

RWD: Really? That would be SHOCKING. Simply SHOCKING.

EO: Ha...but when I ranked a team, whether you agreed or disagreed, you couldn't say I hadn't seen the team and put some thought into it, with one notable exception, that actually did involve UMD.

RWD: Do tell.

EO: Because of the way the rankings worked - with new teams being added every week - it was possible for a team to drop through no fault of its own. The weekend I saw UMD at Denver last season, I added the Bulldogs and CC to the Rankings (I saw Wisconsin at CC the next night).

RWD: Hah, what if your first game was UAH vs. Wayne State. That would be a great #1 and #2.

EO: Well, I only start once I've seen 10 teams, but because I'd added the Bulldogs and CC, Robert Morris dropped a couple of spots despite the fact that they'd swept Niagara that weekend (or maybe they'd taken three, I'm not sure). And Derek Schooley [Whose nickname is, I hope, Schooley D] actually got in touch with me to ask me why. Adam Wodon set it up as a practical joke. Told me to call Schooley because he had some big news, and what I got when I called was questions about why his team had dropped despite such a big sweep. I think there had also been another spot they dropped because someone had moved up, but the big moving factor for them was the addition of two teams who clearly would have beaten them.

RWD: I'm glad that you're not coming to see tDogs @ Mariucci this season though. We need that win!

EO: Gophers don't do particularly well in my presence at Mariucci, to be fair.

RWD: Hmm.

EO: I was at their 5-5 tie with St. Cloud in November '06

RWD: Well, a tie is not a loss. [Truer words were never spoken. And one is better than none, right Bruce?]

EO: and their sweep at the hands of DU this year.

RWD: Hmm.

EO: They played pretty badly in that game.

RWD: So I wonder what would prevail.

EO: That was when I got a lot of flak for questioning the Gophers' defense and goaltending. Oh, perish the thought that I should question Minnesota's goaltending.

RWD: How dare you. Briggs was stone cold solid. Frazee is a steel trap.

EO: Funny thing about Frazee.

RWD: I'm sure there are many funny things about him. [Many of them said by me!]

EO: The night of the Bina goal, Jon Quick from UMass gave up one almost as bad, and I was there for that. If Frazee hadn't given up that goal to Bina, Quick's goal would have been seen much more widely. It was against BU and Kevin Schaeffer made a long clear on the PK. Quick came out of the net to play it. He put his stick down on the ice to steady the puck, and wound up deflecting it back into his own net. It was the game-tying goal in a 3-3 game where BU came back from 3-0.

RWD: Hah, rough, a short-handed "own goal." [Nod to Bruce Ciskie.] But no one cares. Because the world revolves around UMTC. Even the Sioux fans' worlds revolve around UMTC.

EO: See, that was what I was thinking when I set up that interview with Phil Kessel before his freshman year. I thought it would be a major coup; instead, it turned into a major embarrassment.

RWD: Refresh the memory of my dear readers. [Which totally means “I don’t remember this interview ever happening and probably never heard about it."]

EO: It was my first foray into transferring files from my digital recorder onto the computer and uploading them for fans to listen to. (The file no longer exists, thankfully.) But there were two real problems, the first being that I hadn't done an interview for broadcast since high school and wasn't exactly polished.

RWD: Hah, well, look at Doug Woog.

EO: The other problem was that Phil wasn't exactly born to be interviewed. I asked him something about the Matrix, because of that whole thing going around with people calling him "The One."

RWD: Wow that sounds like something Bruce Ciskie would say (tUMD's radio play by play guy).

EO: I remember. I was on the air with him in the second intermission of that game at DU.

RWD: I just needed to make sure there was a shot at him here.

EO: And you also wrote something the next day about me dressing better than he does.

RWD: Yes. He was wearing sweatpants the first time I met him. TAPERED sweatpants. BLACK too-short tapered sweatpants with WHITE SOCKS. Anyway, what happened with Kessel

EO: It was just a very dead interview. He hadn't seen the Matrix in years [plus it totally sucked, and the next two movies weren’t any better], and couldn't remember a favorite scene.

RWD: Ha, I've had some Gauntlets like that. [Boosh.]

EO: I tried to salvage the question by asking, "Do you know kung fu?" That just made it worse

RWD: Oh my. Was this an in-person interview, too?

EO: Yes, at the Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, the summer before his freshman year.

RWD: Hah, he probably told the next guy you were crazy or something.

EO: Who knows? I saw him play last weekend for the Bruins… good to see things worked out for him, more or less. [Except for the whole cancer thing.]

RWD: Yeah, it's like he never existed in college hockey. Who knows, if he'd stayed, maybe we'd be saying "Oh my Kessel" instead of "Oh my Parise." [I never say that, btw. I could not possibly care less about either of them.]

EO: Ha, I put a line in an e-mail to Paula Weston that included a Parise-is-God joke. She was one of the ones who reached out to me after finding out what happened. [If you took this sentence out of context, you’d think that he had just survived a major disaster or something.] "However, while those [illegitimate children] can take my job - and really, I'd been looking for about a month already, having anticipated something like this when CBS took over the day-to-day operations - I'll be Zach-da[rn]ed (tee-hee) if they take me out of the game." [The media game at the Joe?]

RWD: I'm pretty much ready to wrap things up here, so I can get started on the voodoo that I do so well to make this a true "Gauntlet." Is there anything else you would like to tell the Internets? Any last parting shots you'd like to take to cause some drama? [I’m just begging here now.]

EO: I think the thing that's bothered me the most lately has been the way people have looked down their nose at CCHA teams, Miami in particular, because of a soft schedule.

RWD: Hah, well, you can be sure at least one regular critic of the CCHA is a reader of RWD.

EO: This may not be the most convenient time to say this, given what happened against Ferris State, but Miami is a legit team.

RWD: I can remember other teams that may have lost to Ferris State at crucial times.

EO: This is the way I look at it, and part of what I was trying to do with the Rink Rat Rankings: you can't just look at a team's record - and that includes the opponents - to get a sense of what kind of team a school has. You need to get a sense of what the team has going for it that's produced that record. From what I've seen out of Rico's guys, they'll be in Denver.

RWD: That's a great parting note. I want to thank you for giving me two and a half hours of your time and a great interview!

EO: Glad someone had use for my perspective on hockey this week!

16 February 2008

Making Like A Banana

tUMD 2, Enginerds 5
tUMD 3, Enginerds 2

Well. The very first thing I thought when I woke up this morning was "We lost." Then I thought "Holy crap, I overslept my class." Whoops. Things happen.

Last night was very stressful. I really don't like to see Tech lose, because I like to see non-UND/UMTC programs succeeding, because I am a fan of Tech fans (esp. MEg), and because of Robby Nolan's general hottness, but! I never like to see tUMD lose. I think even in a charity game against a bunch of kids with incurable diseases, I'd have trouble accepting it. I certainly don't like to see us give up 5 goals, 3 of them to Seth Green Peter Rouleau, and two of THOSE were specific types of goals I hate to give up (SH and EN), but I'd rather give up 5 goals to Tech than to UMTC or St. Cloud. All was not lost though, since MIKE CURRY!!! had an assist, and Chad Huttel got his first goal as a Bulldog.

Tonight was even more stressful. I find sometimes I am more stressed when we are ahead than I am when we are tied or behind, because I feel there is some way that we will lose the lead. I realize it seems like I have no faith in my team, but it's just the way I am, and with hockey, the game can change in just an instant. And it did, because with just over two minutes to go, Tech scored to tie the game, and I practically broke the sound barrier with my rage. AND THEN, Birthday Boy Evan Oberg decided it was about time he got his first goal, and we won!

CC is next. We will give them the same treatment in our home that they gave us in theirs. I expect nothing less.

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

My Guys:
MacGregor Sharp: 16!
Matt McKnight: 14!
Michael Gergen: 12
Mike Curry: 4!

Justin Fontaine: 11! (First freshman to score on the PP!)
Kyle Schmidt: 7
Cody Danberg: 6
Rob Bordson: 4
Evan Oberg: 3! (First goal as a Bulldog on his birthday!)
Chad Huttel: 2! (First goal as a Bulldog on Friday!)
Mike Montgomery: 1

On Notice:
Josh Meyers
Jay Cascalenda
Kyle Schmidt
Michael Gergen
Matt Greer
Nick Kemp

Goals only
Drew Akins
Cody Danberg
Alex Stalock
Mike Curry
Matt McKnight

14 February 2008

The Gauntlet: Nothing Nice To Say Edition

This week, in a highly anticipated (relatively speaking) edition of The Gauntlet, RWD interviews Negative Nellie "Boosh" of The Boosh Factor, which has the most annoying URL in the history of the world. I hesitate to call Boosh a MTU "fan" because... well, you'll see.

RWD: Please refrain from speaking in the third person during this interview. [Or listening to ska.]

Boosh: I didn't plan on it. Are 't's fair game?

RWD: They are encouraged. Preferrably only at the beginning of words, and not randomly inserted in the middle.

Boosh: Of course. Wayne Gretzky is pissed. [He also hates the small t?]

RWD: That's tragic, but irrelevant.

Boosh: He's been using naughty words on TV.

RWD: Any obscene gestures?

Boosh: No, just a few mouthed "[fornicate] you"s. He's no Dave Hakstol. [Ah, now he’s setting up his own jokes!]

RWD: I guess that's what separates college hockey from the pros. Restraint. [AHEM*JUTTZ*AHEM]

Boosh: Haky and I are good friends.

RWD: I heard about that!

Boosh: Yeah. Interesting story.

RWD: Our readers are dying to know.

Boosh: Hakstol was actually pretty nice; Dane Jackson is a little [female dog] though. Basically, Hakstol was a whiny [female dog] because his Suzies got beat by the big mean Huskies on Friday night. Before warmups on Saturday, I yelled a comment offering Hakstol a tissue in an extremely quiet arena [Mariucci?] while he was conversing with Jackson on the bench. He gave me a death stare, and a few minutes later, he was still staring at me, so I waved and he motioned me over to the Sue bench. I obliged, and was met by Jackson halfway there, and he shoved me and told me to “go sit the f down and be an f-ing gentleman and have some f-ing class.” [That’s some good advice right there.]

RWD: Didn't you know? The Sioux are the class of tWCHA? Their fans can tell you exactly what is and is not classy in every situation.

Boosh: I hate that word.

RWD: You should seek their advice. Goon could be your own personal Maharishi. [R.I.P.]

Boosh: Goon is an interesting character. I'm not sure if he is a Sioux fan or a closet Mavs fan. It gets better. So instead of [sitting the f down], I waited a bit, then went down and talked to Hakstol about me being obnoxious, and didn't really get anywhere [Imagine that!], so I wished him luck and departed. As I was heading back to my seat, Kyle Radke and Jake Marto met me in between, apparently having witnessed all this in the pressbox. Radke shoved me and told me that if I had a problem with his coach I'd have to deal with him. So instead of coming up with something witty to get him to hit me, I just shook my head and walked around him and then we got annihilated in the game and some of our other Misfits apparently shared some words with an evil Hakstol [as opposed to the angelic one that had been present earlier?] at the end of the game. It was a real cluster[fornicate]. Then I brought it up on my blog and all the level-headed Sioux fans wet their pants like they do about anything that isn't them winning NCAA championships. Good times. Kyle Radke has a mancrush on me though, I could tell.

RWD: You forgot part of your story.

Boosh: What part?

RWD: You forgot about Rob Green's "I Have A Dream" speech. [Rob Green had a dream that one day, all the healthy scratch hockey players and all the smart-mouthed fans in this world could walk hand in hand into the sunset.]

Boosh: Heh. I did not endorse that speech

RWD: Nor did you spell-check it.

Boosh: He had good intentions. I think MEg complains enough about his spelling

RWD: No, I disagree. It will be enough when the bad spelling ceases.

Boosh: I'll see what I can do for you. Not my blog though.

RWD: I noticed that. One day you were posting there... the next day, not. What happened?

Boosh: MEg was upset about my [female dog]ing. Apparently my hatred for tOshie was too much for her blog, so I just gave up and went into hiding for a while. Then I got tired of not complaining, so I started up my own.

RWD: After fleeing all the way to Wisconsin.

Boosh: It’s a good place to flee to.

RWD: Isn't there a non-extradition clause there? [Are there any laws in Wisconsin?]

Boosh: I don't remember the specifics so I can't comment directly [Paint thinner kills brain cells! Stay out of Wisconsin!]. I may have still been up here when I canned myself, so I guess that would work out.

RWD: Well, why start another blog if you couldn't hack it there?

Boosh: I could hack it, just not to her standards. I tend to be more critical than she likes to be, especially of tHuskies. [God save the soul of anyone who insults Reel Big Fish to her.]

RWD: And why would you choose the most annoying name ever for a blog?

Boosh: Because I'm terribly uncreative. I could have called it 'RunninWithtHuskies'

RWD: Well, RWtD is a plagiarized name to begin with.

Boosh: Double plagiarism might get me in trouble then. I wouldn't want to risk it. If you haven't been able to tell, I don't put a whole ton of effort into the blogging [I just died from the shock!], so a marginal title is ok.

RWD: It is not a marginal title. No one ever said that. I said it was the most annoying name EVER, which is like 100000000 times worse than marginal.

Boosh: You sound a lot like Dirty.

RWD: Well the gloves are coming off now. [:::puts on the foil:::]

Boosh: It’s a good thing I don't have those tender feelings, just make sure you don't scratch me like Steve Downie. So are you saying that you fight like Dirty?

RWD: No. I'm saying you insulted me for saying I sounded like Dirty.

Boosh: I figured it would be. I have to stand my ground though.

RWD: So, back to blogging. Does it make you feel like a big man to be critical of the team?

Boosh: According to the Sioux fans. It’s more venting for me. [So, does it make you feel like a big man to vent?]

RWD: Even if they cry themselves to sleep over the awful things you say?

Boosh: If they cry themselves to sleep over the things I say, their play may have changed a little over the past few months. [I disagree. They might be crying too much to make changes. Or they might be too bitter.]

RWD: Ohh, stone cold

Boosh: I'm a terrible, heartless person

RWD: Along those lines, I have a reader submitted question.

Boosh: Shoot.

RWD: Why are you so whiny?

Boosh: Is that a Dirty-submitted question? Or Ciskie? [I’ll never reveal my sources!] Whininess is easier than doing something about what I'm whining about. And I'm lazy. [Not lazy enough to avoid redundancy!] I'm also terribly negative, or so I've been told.

RWD: I hope you responded with "I'm not negative!"

Boosh: I've come to accept that fact, I don't try to argue anymore. [I made an embarrassing scientific mistake here, which I will not reproduce.]

RWD: Exactly what aspects of the Huskies are you so upset about?

Boosh: The fact that they don't shoot quickly through open lanes on the powerplay. There must be a 5-pass limit before they shoot, or else a 5 second wait before taking shots. [Okay, I like to see shots on the power play, but I don’t like it when people indiscriminately yell SHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT!] And the fact that (a lot of them) seemingly don't skate with any sort of fire or motivation. And the fact that we can't beat 'crappy' teams.

RWD: Wow, tell them how you really feel. Did you know that, unlike your blog, Tech players might actually read mine and see this?

Boosh: I guess I'm in trouble then. I'm willing to take that risk though. My feelings don't apply to all the guys, but it’s the older ones that seem to do it more because their job is pretty much guaranteed. [Wow, it’s like talking to a Sioux fan during the first half of the season with all the negativity.]

RWD: So do you like any players? [Srsly!]

Boosh: Yes. Derek Kitti is awesome. He's technically the only one I've met too. He's a great guy and works his ass off since he hasn't really gotten a lot of playing time. 3 consecutive starts in the last 3 games. 1st line starts. And no one could hate tTeslak.

RWD: What's your record in those 3 starts?

Boosh: Not good. He did tie the UAA game though (the Saturday one) so I guess we're 0-1-2.

RWD: Hey, for you guys, that's a great record!

Boosh: A pretty good record for tDogs last year too. Or was it two years ago? Though we have sucked for longer. You sound like an upper-middle-aged BADger or Gopher fan [i.e. a cougar!!] trying to get me to shut up because they have more NCAA titles.

RWD: tDogs do not suck AND we have no national titles. Other than Derek Kitti and MLT, do you like any other Huskies?

Boosh: I like all of them; I'd just like them more if they showed up every weekend. [I know my ‘Dogs are happy to know that I have nearly unconditional love for them. Note I did say NEARLY.] I do like Malcolm Gwilliam too. Not sure why, he isn't that good [which is a great reason to like a player], but he does hit hard and has his moments.

RWD: What about players around tWCHA? Any favorites on other teams?

Boosh: Ryan Flynn.

RWD: I know you're a big TJ Oshie supporter.

Boosh: I'm a big Ryan Flynn supporter because he beat up tOshie and he gave me a puck and forgave me for stalking him in person because he's that cool. [To stalk is human; to forgive, divine.]

RWD: Weird. Maybe you should just become a Gopher fan, since evidently tHuskies aren't stalkworthy.

Boosh: I've considered it. Once Doug Woog goes away, maybe [What? Woog is hilarious!]. Flynn just got stalked because he gave me a puck and accepted my Facebook friendship, so I wanted the puck signed.

RWD: So how do you feel about your own coach?

Boosh: He's a bit too defensive at times, but I'd rather have him than a guy like Bob Motzko. I hate [female dog]y coaches. I wish he'd be more vocal about the motivation I complain about, and play some of the young guys. [Well, call up Suzanne Sanregret and get Jamie fired! Clearly without Boosh behind the bench, the Huskies will never get out of the middle/bottom of tWCHA!]

RWD: So who's the hottest Husky?

Boosh: Hot by your standards? [Um, no, that’s well-established. Plus, why would I ask someone else for my own opinion?]

RWD: I mean attractive. I'm sure you may have different standards than my own.

Boosh: I don't often think about which Husky I am most attracted to.

RWD: It's an easy choice, I'm sure.

Boosh: So you essentially just want me to say Robby. He does have a really hot family. His mom and sister are pretty hot, and his dad fits the family image.

RWD: I want you to say the truth. You can say whatever is in your heart.

Boosh: Nothing is in my heart. I told you, I'm heartless.

RWD: Listen, that is my shtick, and I was here first.

Boosh: Yes ma'am.

RWD: How are you going to survive after tDogs sweep you guys out of your own rink this weekend?

Boosh: Well, we gave up 3 points to UAA and 3 points to tDogs already, so I guess I expect it. If we lose bad enough, I might become a tDog fan [that’s actually a misuse of the small t]. I'd rather see them win anything over tSioux and tGophers [I would concur wholeheartedly. If I only had a heart.]. I am a closet BADger fan though.

RWD: Well, you're not in the closet anymore! [That should make Radke happy!]

Boosh: Nope. You could include a picture of a rainbow-colored badger or something along with that.

RWD: I... don't put that much work into this site.

Boosh: [MEg] is upset that we are going off on tangents. I'm not supposed to fight you.


Boosh: She did call you the Gauntlet dominatrix. I submit to thee.

RWD: That's hot. I'm leaving that in.

Boosh: Good.

RWD: So, how about a weekend prediction?

Boosh: I'd say another 3 points for tDogs. We'll blow it Friday, then eke out a tie Saturday.

Let that be a lesson, folks. You must obey tGauntlet Dominatrix.

10 February 2008

The Highest Form Of Flattery

Even though I've had the link in my sidebar for a few weeks now, I thought I would make a little post to introduce tUMD's latest blog, Kevin Pates's Rink and Run. Pates is tUMD's hockey beat writer, and has more factual information in one post than you will find on RWD in its entirety. Granted, you won't find ingenious humor and vast creativity over on his site, but we both have our niches to fill. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before Kevin adds RWD to his list of "Blogs I Read," since why wouldn't he? I mean, obviously he got the idea to start a blog from the vast success of this site.

This also weakens Bruce Ciskie's arguments for why I should not be his in-studio guest during tUMD vs. UND on 2 March.

07 February 2008

The Grim

It's disturbing how much I actually look like Professor Trelawny, but let's hope that my predictions for this week's games actually come true. Or, at the very least, they horribly offend someone.

02 February 2008


tUMD 2, Even Dirtier Commie Hacks 1

I'm so happy! I'm exhilarated! An OT WIN!!!

I missed a lot of the game because DA decided to have his annual sailing get-together on a GAME SATURDAY even though there is a perfectly good OFF SATURDAY coming up just one week from today. We had it on the TV in the basement, but there were shenanigans to participate in (in which TEAM CURRY came in dead last, but what can ya do?), so I had to keep running downstairs. UMDDogz, The Aaaahj and I were there for both goals, and there was much rejoicing when we won in OT.

3 on 3 hockey is pretty awesome.

I don't think I give enough props to Alex Stalock, but the simple fact is, there are not enough props in this world to give him all he deserves.

Wins Until We Surpass Last Year's Total: 1! (8th in the PWR!)
Points Until We Surpass Last Year's Total: 1! (We're comin'! We're comin'!)

My Guys:
MacGregor Sharp: 14! (Pulling into the lead!)
Matt McKnight: 13 (Sadly out sick!)
Michael Gergen: 12 (Hit a pipe! And I don't mean a crackpipe like Frazee!)
Mike Curry: 3! (OTGWG ASSIST! GENIUS!!!)

Justin Fontaine: 9
Kyle Schmidt: 7
Cody Danberg: 6
Rob Bordson: 4
Evan Oberg: 2! (SHG!)
Mike Montgomery: 1
Chad Huttel: 1

On Notice:
Josh Meyers
Jay Cascalenda
Justin Fontaine

Goals only
Michael Gergen
Drew Akins
Evan Oberg
Cody Danberg
MacGregor Sharp
Nick Kemp
Matt Greer
Alex Stalock
Mike Curry


I wrote this entry in class this morning, while I was waiting for the rest of the class to finish taking their midterms. I'm a very fast test-taker.

tUMD 1, Dirty Hacks 3

Obviously, I'm dissatisfied with the outcome of last night's game. I mean, duh, we lost, that's never a fantastic thing. I hate giving up empty net goals; they're so demoralizing, especially when they come with so much time left in the game.

The real loss of the game, however, is the Very Handsome Jason Garrison. He allegedly has a broken leg and will allegedly be out for the rest of the season (Pates says so, but Sandy won't confirm), and I'm very sad. He's obviously an integral part of the team and one of our top 3 defencemen. The circumstances of the injury seemed a little strange, as it appeared Patrick Johnson smashed him from behind into the boards (at least, that was the audible reaction of Justin May, Renaissance Man) right after he lost an edge. Bruce goes on about it over on his site, so whatever, I don't need to repeat him. At any rate, we will miss his presence. DA pointed out perhaps a different defenceman would have been more expendable, because we'd have about three less penalties a game, but I think the whole D-corps responded nicely to their hardship and didn't take any interference penalties or anything. This is certainly a golden opportunity for Chase "Put Me In Coach!" Ryan or Chad "I Overstated My Height On The Roster" Huttel to step into a more regular role. What this means for Garrison, Gawryletz, and Montgomery's band is unknown. It all depends on if he is the drummer or not. If he's a guitarist, it's cool, because he can sit down and sing soulful ballads. I hope they write a song about me, and it's not derogatory.

I have to applaud Sandelin for taking such a huge risk by pulling Stalock with so much time left in the game, during a stoppage in play. It showed a lot of confidence in our guys, and especially in My Guy MacGregor Sharp, who won the face-off and gave us control of the puck. We had possession for quite awhile and some great chances before Wisconsin got control and scored their empty net goal.

The lone goal in the game came from Travis Gawryletz on the power play, which must have meant the moon was in the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars. It was an awesome goal that I'm sure many other guys were jealous of: he was all alone on the backdoor and lifted the puck over Connelly's leg. I saw this because the game was randomly televised here in the Cities. I am so pleased to take TG Off Notice for the first time this season!

Other exciting news: Mike Curry returned to the lineup after a long absence due to injury!