Tuesday, March 04, 2008


The Star-Tribune's Rachel Blount wrote a five-part series of articles chronicling NTDP defenseman Nick Mattson on his first year in Ann Arbor. Brad Schlossman collected the links to the first two articles, and I'm sure he'll have the next three when they're released.

I think the article does a great job of highlighting how difficult a transition it can be for kids and their families. It's something that most fans don't normally get to see. It's a fairly common trend for kids in the NTDP to struggle in their first few months in the program, and these articles really show why.

Jim McCabe of the Boston Globe wrote a nice feature piece on 18-year old freshmen in college hockey. It talks about teams bringing in older freshmen after a year or two of junior hockey instead of the more traditional "true" freshman. It's interesting because I think the WCHA is having the opposite problem right now. Teams would love to have players spend a year playing junior hockey, but are forced to bring them in earlier due to early departures to the pros.

The other issue with kids coming in as older freshmen is that it puts a lot of high school seniors in a difficult position. I know of a lot of kids that could play college hockey, but don't want to basically postpone their life for two years playing junior hockey, and want to go straight to college. It makes it harder for them to have a chance at walking on at a hockey-playing school because they're already two years behind their fellow freshmen.

A few people noticed I didn't mention the little scrum at the end of Saturday's St. Cloud/Wisconsin game that ended without the teams shaking hands. The reason for this is simple. You may remember this from my post on the UND/DU fight: "...that wise decision paid off at the end of the period when Radke came out of the box and picked a fight with Brandon Vossberg to turn some post-period pushing and shoving into another embarrassing fight for the WCHA."

I believe I mentioned to someone else that if Radke hadn't come flying off the bench and picked that fight, barely anybody would have talked about the incident. That was the case in St. Cloud. Two guys got double minors for wrestling around with each other, but ultimately, nothing more came of it. It's a shame the teams didn't shake hands, but otherwise, not much of a deal.

Incidentally, we're now at four fight-free games for the Sioux. And after Friday night's game, any future fights will involve missing a playoff game, so I doubt you'll see them "sticking up for their teammates" again this year.

MGoBlog picked up on the WCHA logjam in the Pairwise rankings. I'll definitely admit that there are things could be worked out with the way the tournament system is set up. But these arguments would have carried a lot more weight back in September before the season started, as opposed to now, when it's not giving people the results that they hoped for.

Brian actually boils this whole argument down to a fairly simple thesis: "It's common sense: if you are one of the worst teams in your conference, you are not one of the best teams in the country" ORLY isn't just an airport in France, my friend.

College Hockey Recruit Exchange released a new Hot 15 Prospects last week.


Anonymous said...

I get it!

So if UND isn't starting the fight, isn't involved in the fight, or cannot be overtly blamed for the fight, it's not worth mention.

Got it.

Anonymous said...

What about the fact it wasn't a fight to begin with?
No one got fighting majors, therefore, not a fight

Anonymous said...

Seriously dude, get over your hatred for the sioux already.....I don't like 'em either, but I don't waste my time with them. You're a grown man for christ's sake....

Anonymous said...

This has to be my favorite anti-North Dakota blog. What a joke.

Anonymous said...

"What about the fact it wasn't a fight to begin with? No one got fighting majors, therefore, not a fight"

A very good point. However it is wasted on Siouxage fans since they don't see things with any logic.

Anonymous said...

That is because Chris has program envy, his team sucks so he has to pick apart he Sioux...

Anonymous said...

Mr."wcha" blog guy- Radke didn't come off the freaking bench and START the fight, idiot. he came out of the tunnel after the fight already was STARTED. it's on youtube for cripes sake! of course, Radke wasn't in the right but GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT BEFORE YOU POST SUCH FALSE B.S.

Try to get factual info before you spew your dribble. you're the next Eklund.

Michigan Sucks!

Anonymous said...

Do all of you enjoy swallowing the hook?

Anonymous said...

Be easy folks, his passion is amatuer scouting of 13-15 year old boys. Once they get older and rough and tough his fantasies dissipate, and he lashes out at those that ruin his very personal visions.

Anonymous said...

Chris...As usual, you're an idiot.

zooomx said...

For being a bad blog that is unfair to Sioux Fans, you all sure come visit the site in numbers don't you?

Maybe if you put together somewhat intelligent comments without the personal attacks, Chris would hold you with less disdain.

I'll give your boys credit. They skate hard, they can score, they can shut down some really good scoring lines. They are a very good team, and probably the team to beat in the NCAA's this year.

If they were just playing tough, hard-nosed hockey with the occasional one-on-one fight mixed in, they probably wouldn't be on the radar here or elsewhere.

Really... if the same string of incidents happened to CC or U of M, would you really be defending them at all?

Anonymous said...

Sioux fans always take the bait. What a bunch of losers. Don't read the blog if your hypersensitive to sarcasm and criticism. You currently have the #1 team in nation. Quit your bitching and moaning.

Anonymous said...

They don't call the Sue fans, halos, for nothing. What a bunch of wannabe, loudmouth, crybabies.

Brett B said...

In regards to this paragraph:
"Incidentally, we're now at four fight-free games for the Sioux. And after Friday night's game, any future fights will involve missing a playoff game, so I doubt you'll see them "sticking up for their teammates" again this year."

I don't think it was the Sioux players starting the fights, check the youtube video again Vossberg dropped his gloves first... ha ha the past four games I dont think any team wants to or has the depth to try and take on the sioux in a fight or hard nosed hockey game, every team right now when the play the sioux are up against their back and need to beat them. Therefore I see it more as sioux opponents not wanting to get into any scrums, because if they do they know they will get it handed to them on the ice and on the score board. As for the sioux losing a player for a fight, not a big deal they have great players that can step into any role. You'll see that losing Trupp and Genoway wont take away the Sioux's march into the April.

But what do I know I live in St Louis

Packer487 said...

I don't think the problem is that the system isn't giving us the results that we hoped for.

Honestly, once Michigan is in, I don't really have a dog in the fight.

I'd like to see Michigan State and Minnesota out because I hate both of them, but it's not going to really change my life any to have Notre Dame miss the tournament.

My problem is that the system is kicking out results that make no sense. It's pretty clear the system needs some serious tweaking when it's doing things like saying Minnesota should be a 3 seed. When the results defy all common sense, to me, that's a perfect time to recognize the system needs to be fixed. It's not that we're getting a result I'm dissatisfied with. It's that the result doesn't make a bit of sense.

I like the idea that a team has to be above .500 to make the tournament (barring a conf. tournament championship). Teams play enough non-conference games that if they can't reach .500 overall, I'm sorry, they aren't one of the 14 best teams in the country.

I guess it really doesn't matter so much. 3 of the 8 WCHA teams in the tournament have to lose in the first round of their tournament. That should be enough to get a couple of them out of the tournament. And if the bubble teams end up pulling upsets in the first round, then maybe they DO belong in the tournament.

I just don't think there's as big of a gap between the 5-8 teams in the WCHA and the 5-8 teams in the CCHA as people think. And there's absolutely no way any of them should be in the tournament ahead of Notre Dame (who could've made it a moot point by not playing like hell for the last month and a half).

The Bemidji agreement is pretty great for the WCHA. They get the benefit of playing a last-place quality team, with the RPI benefit of playing a 15-20 win team.

Anonymous said...

I seriously can't believe that anyone gets so bent out of shape about minor scrums. People watching NHL hockey would laugh at those who are making a big deal out of fairly minor incidents. I don't hear a lot about Genoway being out from a check from behind, but heaven forbid if someone throws a punch.

Anonymous said...

"Minor scrums and incidents" are very relative. The fact is fighting is nothing more than a 5-minute penalty in the NHL, unless there is instigating. In college it's a DQ. The same incidents that the NHL would call minor are in fact very serious at the college level. Getting tossed and missing the next game is a large penalty at the college level. Until the NCAA changes its rules on fighting (if it ever does) these incidents will continue to be magnified.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:18,
The check against Chay a blatant CFB and one of the dirtier ones of the season. Of course the shills don't mention that one because it wasn't a fight or pushing match.

Anonymous said...

So Nick chose UND over his home state gophers. Gee, Don Lucia loses out on another one. Yet Lucia said he wants to keep coaching another 10 years. Good Luck with that Don. If it does come true....good luck with that Gopher fans.

Anonymous said...

Ness chose to go to Minnesota even though his Dad played for the Sioux. Hakstol loses out on another one. What happened?

Lee going to St. Cloud? Not UND? What's the problem? Can't Hakstol recruit?

Oliver going to St. Cloud? Can't Hakstol recruit in Northern Minnesota?

If I was a Sioux fan I'd be a little worried when Hakstol can't get the best kids in your back yard to play for the Sioux.

What is the problem in Grand Forks? Too many Sioux players getting in trouble with the police?
Lousy leadership? Trouble in Grand Forks for sure. Soon to be de-balled losing your nickname.

Plus Oshie, Genaway and Trupp are all now injured. Excuses soon to follow.