Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Big Hockey Weekend

It may only be Tuesday, but it's never too early to start looking forward to the weekend, and this weekend promises to be one of the most special hockey weekends in a long time.

First, the match-up everyone has been waiting all season for will finally take place in Oxford, Ohio between #1 Miami and #2 Michigan. Michigan has gone 0-1-3 over the last two weekends perhaps taking a bit of shine off the match-up now that Miami is the unanimous number one team in the meaningless polls. They're still the top two teams in the country though, and it should still be great hockey. Also, as many as 5 or 6 players will have a chance to make a serious case for the Hobey Baker this weekend with the entire country watching.

Meanwhile, out west, Saturday is Hockey Day Minnesota where Fox Sports North will have wall-to-wall hockey coverage for well over 12 hours.

The event isn't without some critics. Jon Marthaler opposes Hockey Day Minnesota on a grammatical level, Shane Frederick has this crazy notion that a day promoting hockey in Minnesota should be showing, you know hockey IN Minnesota, and I'm sure that I found some way to complain about it last year. But still, it's hockey! All freakin' day! You can't go too wrong with that.

The schedule for the day looks like this:
10 a.m., Eveleth High School vs. Lake of the Woods High School on Baudette Bay
1 p.m., St. Thomas Academy vs. Hill-Murray at Xcel Energy Center
5 p.m., Minnesota Wild vs. New York Islanders at Xcel Energy Center
8 p.m., University of Minnesota vs. Denver at Magness Arena
11 p.m., Roseau High School vs. Blaine High School on Baudette Bay (tape delay)

The only one that sticks out as a little weird to me is adding that STA/Hill game at the X, since, to put it gently, nobody likes them. I've never really cared about the whole public school/private school debate, but there are a surprising number of people in Minnesota who do. Needless to say, outside of alumni, there isn't much of a fanbase for either school. But who knows, maybe that cadre of public school kids who show up to the XCel Center every year for the state tournament to boo the private school teams will make an appearance and heat things up a little bit.

The Wild/Islanders game lost a little bit of excitement too, since this game was supposed to be Kyle Okposo's first trip back to Minnesota since he left the Gophers at midseason. But as it turns out, the guy the Islanders absolutely had to sign at mid-season wasn't really needed on Long Island, and he's playing down in the AHL with Bridgeport.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Michigan has gone 0-1-3 the past two weekends, not 0-3-1.

Jon Marthaler said...

Hey, I love Hockey Day in Minnesota very very much, and I am planning a day of never leaving the couch. But you have to agree, "Hockey Day Minnesota" as a label does not make grammatical sense.

HMMM said...

IF MIAMI SWEEPS MICH THE SIOUX WILL GAIN THE COMPARISON FLIP ON MICHIGAN IN THE PAIRWISE. HUGE WEEKEND FOR MICHIGAN TO RETAIN A TOP SPOT FOR NOW. MICH IS WAY BETTER THAN MIAMI WHO DOESNT PLAY A SINGLE GOOD WCHA OR HOCKEY EAST TEAM OUT OF LEAGUE. COWARDS. THAT WILL BITE YOU IN THE ASS COME NCAA TOUNREY TIME REDHAWKS.

Anonymous said...

Hmm..I believe you're an uninformed and biased N. Dakota fan. Hmm...it's amazing how wrong you are. Miami swept Michigan State (champs), swept Vermont (Hockey East) and beat St. Cloud (WCHA). I would love to see them play N. Dakota because it would be a great, physical, high scoring affair. Come Tourney time, Miami will be a #1 seed and deservedly so.

WCHAFAN said...

NOT A SIOUX FAN, JUST READ THAT, SORRY....VERMONT AND SCSU ARENT POWERHOUSES SO PLEASE..PLAY UND, CC, DU, BC OR UNH...MAIMI WILL LOSE 1ST OR 2ND RD..BOOK IT

Anonymous said...

Hopefully Frederick isn't quite that stupid and made his remarks in a joking manner. Because few people outside of Mankato really care about the Mavs and a match up between the Mavs and UAA would get horrible ratings. Let's hope Frederick doesn't ever try to become a TV executive. At least, not for any network I have invested in.

Buster Bluth said...

Look for Miami to answer their critics and doubters in a big way this weekend against Michigan. I think they're likely to sweep them. They're on a roll (michigan is not) and they're getting their best player - Nate Davis - back. He's been out with injury for the almost the entire season. Zatkoff will be a brick wall in net and Jones, Mercier and Davis will lead the way on offense. If I were a Wolverine fan, I would be very worried.

Daniel said...

by the way, the reason the Isles signed Okposo, if i am right, was because they didnt think he was developing well in minnesota, and they thought he would develop more and better if he was playing in the minors. Also apparently because of the new CBA in the NHL, if he plays more than 9 games in the season for the parent team (Islanders) that counts as his rookie year, and he only has like 2 more years until free agency... i think thats the deal.