Monday, May 19, 2008

Reusse and Guentzel

Pat Reusse of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune wrote a column about....brace yourself for Don Lucia sucks.

And that's the problem. When every hockey article you write is about how terrible Don Lucia is, even when you're writing about somebody else, people are going to stop listening. Or at least they should stop listening.

As far as Guentzel, there is evidence that suggests he was forced out. Guentzel withdrew his name from consideration for the St. John's because, as he told the the St. Cloud Times, “With my situation right now, for various family and financial reasons, it just wasn’t the right time.” The whole "financial reasons" is what sticks out to me the most. I can't think of a financial reason for choosing to be unemployed over taking a job except for the rumor that Guentzel is still getting paid by Minnesota as part of being "forced out" and taking another job would cost him that.

So if he was forced out, why was he forced out? I don't agree with the premise that a change had to be made after Minnesota's disappointing season. But I do think that a disappointing season can expose some of the underlying tensions within a program, and I think that that tension got to the point where Don Lucia had to make a decision and somebody had to go. That shouldn't make Don Lucia a bad guy. He's the one that gets all the credit or all the blame. He's the one that faces constant pressure from fans. He's the one that gets ridiculous articles written about him by a columnist with an odd vendetta. So he should also have control over who is on his staff.


RR said...

Assistants come and go. The big surprise is Guentzel lasted as long as he did. It was pretty unusual that he was on Woog's staff and was retained when Lucia came in. 14 years as an assistant is a long time for a lot of programs.

Ruesse has frequently used the line that "he comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable". This cookie cutter approach pretty much defines his negative approach to Coach Lucia and the Gopher hockey program. He's making a mountain out of a molehill in this situation. He thinks it sells and that is his primary motivation.

Ruesse is also in the modern day version of the buggy whip manufacturing business. The Red Star, like most dead tree publications are losing circulation, losing advertisers and losing money hand over fist. Sooner than later newspapers will be out of business as we know them. For his part Ruesse knows that stirring up a little controversy sells a few more papers (maybe). Which is like the little Dutch boy putting his finger in the dike. He is merely providing a small bit of relief before the end of his gig. Just another bitter, unathletic ex drunk that has always specialized in trying to demean others that are successful. He'll be gone soon enough, he isn't the heir apparent to "Grampa Sports" Hartman.

When is it the job of a D-1 coach to be a players best buddy? I was glad to see Coach Lucia had gotten on some of the players. Too bad if they don't like it. I doubt it would be much different if they were playing in Grand Forks, Madison or Minneapolis. Or had played for Herb Brooks.

stickboy1956 said...

The "story" isn't that Guentzel left, it was that what was said in public when Guentzel left didn't match up with what actually happened. If Lucia had been upfront intially, there is no story by Reusse.

If this is how Lucia operates with the public, I wonder if this is how he communicates with his players as well?

The Rink Rat said...

You mean St. John's, not St. Cloud.

And as far as Don goes, given the things he had to deal with this season, it may have been one of his best coaching jobs since the championship to get his team into NCAAs.

Think about it: Stoa getting hurt in the second game of the season, Okposo leaving to turn pro, Carman only playing half the season, etc.

How many coaches would have handled those things better than tDon?

More on this at The Rat Lives

Anonymous said...

maybe it was because the players finally stopped listening to him...

Donald Dunlop said...

So what's he supposed to do? Not write about it? I have no sense of past history regarding this writer and Lucia. However, there clearly has been NOTHING up until this point written anywhere (other than GPL) to indicate the underpinnings of the story. There hasn't been any Internet media about it as the three primary sites just regurgitate what they've been fed.

So in a world that is CLEARLY insular (gopher hockey) it is appropriate for someone to step up to the plate and take a shot.

It's been interesting to watch the effect that Gopher Hockey has had on you in particular over the last couple of years. It's been a slow subtle acceptance of the standard "line" of the gopher majority (which is a repressive force on the internet no doubt). No doubt you want to secure and maintain certain types of relationships in your vicinity but dear god man, quite honestly Reusse beat you to something that you should have written. But since you really are more interested in the "suck up" than you are truth I don't know why I'm surprised.

You might make a fine journalist someday. That isn't a compliment.

Anonymous said...

Lucia does not owe the general public a reason for getting rid of Guentzel, if that is what he did.

It seems to me that if there were difficulties no one spoke about them. Perhaps they all took the high road on this one.

This is controversy in the sports world? There are many things that could be controversial, but this ain't one of them.

zooomx said...

Chris, I too am surprised at you take on this. I am not a Reusse fan at all, but the story was about the "false information" put out by Lucia more than anything else.

I have thought for a long time that Mr. Lucia would be bad for Minnesota hockey in the long term. Pretty soon, he won't be able to get the blue chip homegrown players because of his rep. He put up some wins and hung a few banners, which was nice for all Gopher fans to finally see again. However, the program continues to stink a bit behind the scenes. I think there are integrity issues at the very least with this coach.

I know many Minnesota fans are enamored with Bobby Knight, so they are probably happy to have their own little hockey Bobby K behind the bench. Good luck with that.

Anonymous said...

Reusse starts with his hatred of Coach Lucia and Gopher hockey. To this he adds innuendo and supposition. The result is "sound and fury which signifies nothing."
Oh the horror a college hockey coach, who has won not one but two NCAA championships, has an ego. How trenchant. Keep up the "good work" Pat. For your next column may I suggest the following earth-shaking statements, water is wet and the Sun is rumored to be hot.

You'd have to be pretty naive to believe there is not always more going on in an organization; be it a hockey team or a corporation or a family, then we as outsiders will ever know. If you as an observer can give insight into these closed tight-knit communities that is valuable. On the other hand making up stuff for money is pretty despicable. See Michael Moore and Ann Coulter for examples of douchebaggery on a grand scale.

I am as interested in the inner workings of Gopher Hockey as any other fan (ie what happened with Coach Guentzel), but I'm interested in the truth. Not the half-baked and unsourced theories of a bitter writer who has as little inside information and objectivity as he does integrity.

Reusse's column hardly needs a better critique than Donald Dunlop's thumbs up. By the way Donald, if Gopher Hockey is insular than that must make UAA down right incestuous.

When can we expect your next column proclaiming to the world how fantastic a season the Seawolves will be having this year. Or did you just write the one and reuse it to save time. Along with the Hill-hating of your fans, it's certainly more entertaining than your beloved and perpetually last-placed team. And honestly, better a journalist or at least a responsible columnist, than kind of blogger you represent. People like you are an embarrassment to all the responsible people who operate blogs.

Anonymous said...

Referring to Reusse as "bitter" is putting it mildy. That guy doesn't know his ass from a hole in the ground. I can't wait to read his column after Lucia has the Gophers back on top, which will happen before too long. This is the classic case of moronic columnist trying to put his own spin on a story. Hey Pat, let us know when you actually have an intelligent column published.

Anonymous said...

And oh, by the way, that guy Donald from Anchorage....I wouldn't take what he writes very seriously. He has about as much credibility in the college hockey world as Bozo the clown.

Donald Dunlop said...

Good to talk to you again. We certainly come across each other on the internet often.

Yes I wrote ONE sentence about the Gopher program when I called them insular. Gee, do you think they don't try to keep their business to themselves? Wow, how awful of me to credit them with that. Your label of incestuous for UAA makes zero sense though.

There IS a story. Guentzel is clearly still getting his salary from the U. Since that is clearly the case; then he clearly didn't walk away on his own. I clearly predicated my comments with my ignorance of any Reusse/Lucia history and that clearly has little to do with the gist of my comments anyway. Which was that there was/is a story and Chris's slow shuffle onto the Gopher fan bandwagon was interesting. I didn't judge the content of Reusse's story nor attempt to critique it. I said Chris should have ran with the ball.

Naturally, since I didn't criticize the Gopher program or Lucia in ANY manner (except to call them Insular ... which they are ... and which you readily admit in your own comments) then it's appropriate for a 12 year old like you to lash out about what place the at the team I write about finished or will finish. While I'm sure that makes perfect sense in your pre-adolescent world, here in the real world "my daddy can beat up your daddy" isn't a compelling argument for anything.

And when there is a hue and cry amongst my target readers for a change in content or style or authorship with regard to my blog I'll be all about satisfying them. For now knowing that other WCHA fans don't dig me is quite satisfying.

Anonymous said...

Don Lucia has the best job in America. He makes great money, doensn't have to recruit all that hard to get Minnesota's top talent, and no matter what he does, the faithful will defend him until the end....and it's a large faithful. If that guy ever thinks about leaving, somebody needs to slap him.

I'm amazed at the backlash the article has created. A) Guentzel was Wooger's guy, and B) How many assistant coaches have won a national title?

Anonymous said...


Reusse rarely writes about gopher hockey. But when he does, he rips them. Why does he do this? Because gopher fans are hyper sensitive and he knows that he's going to receive 9000 sniveling emails after he writes his column which he thoroughly enjoys. But he's also the only sports writer in town that will criticize them so without Fat Pat it would be an absolute Love Fest.

I agree with Donald that this IS a story and that there was a time you would have been all over it.

BadgerBlogger said...

No comment on the issue, but at least Donald Dunlap doesn't hide behind the "anonymous" tag.

FIveHoleFrenzy said...

"I have no sense of past history regarding this writer and Lucia."

"So in a world that is CLEARLY insular (gopher hockey) it is appropriate for someone to step up to the plate and take a shot."

That someone isn't Reusse and the UAA poster admits he doesn't know the "history" that exists between Reusse and Lucia. Should have been clear enough without this information to pass on commenting.

Nope...why pass up a shot at another blooger who he thinks is going soft by siding with the evil empire.

WCH simply points out how absurd it for Reusse to write on this topic as he is incapable of anything other than "Lucia sucks" coming through his column. To put it in context, it's how Sioux fans feel about another Star Tribune columnist (Nick Coleman) who has written about Ralph Engelstad with the same "he sucks" mentality.

Anonymous said...


If anyone coach is swerving into Bobby Knight territory in the WCHA it's undoubtedly the coach who hit his own player or the coach whose team goons it up and then sees their coach give the referee the middle finger. Eaves in the former and Hakstol in the latter case for anyone interested. And Eaves must really be particularly awful because Reusse says he worse than Lucia.

For better or worse, college sports are a business. The hiring and firing of coaches is done in a way which seeks to preserve some sense of the positive for both sides going forward. This businesslike approach means both sides agree on a statement of what happened and then live with it.

Certainly if one side is unhappy they are free to speak out with caveat that there will be consequences. Simply put in can be difficult to get another job if you burn your bridges at your last one or on the other side to hire new quality people if you badmouth former employees.

I don't necessarily endorse this reality but I am not naive enough to believe it's going to change. And in this case the truth of what happened is known to so few people namely Lucia, Hill and Guentzel that without sitting down with all three we'll never really know what happened and more importantly what caused it.

I think this is the fourth time I have been chastised for anonymity on WCH. Each time by someone who is using an alias. How's that for irony? As far as I can tell only Donald is using his real name and that is not exactly an endorsement for real names. Unless you paint thinner gulping parents actually named you badger blogger that is.

News flash, badger blogger, this is the Internet, anonymity is the rule. It would be nice if we could use real names but the spam and harassment isn't worth the benefit for me. I would settle for knowing which team people root for when they post.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes the shot at UND how silly. I thought this was about MG not that UND is a bunch of goons.

Funny thing is I was talking to a former player of the Gophers on the matter yesterday and the first thing he said was MG was pushed out.

Why is it that Gopher fans cant take the truth. No sports program is perfect. MG getting told to resign isn't such a bad deal. Are people afraid of the truth? Pat R isn't that far off the truth in this matter it would appear.

UAA; I heard they are going to finish 9th next season. I am waiting for another prediction of them finishing in the top 5 of the WCHA.

Anonymous said...

So Reusse's unsubstantiated innuendo is okay because it's about Lucia. But the truth is a "shot" because it's about Hakstol and UND. Nice double standard.

I accept that it was not Coach Guentzel idea to leave. My objection is, that Reusse has any credibility when talking about Gopher Hockey in general and Coach Lucia specifically. So while I'm sure there is a story here, we haven't heard it and never will from Reusse who is incapable of being fair on this subject.

zooomx said...

I definitely agree that Ruesse is pretty much a hack. I was just surprised that he was attacked for digging out the truth for once.

Regarding the anonymous comments versus alias, I think at least signing an alias leads to an online persona that people can respond to, especially if you are a frequent commenter. It would probably lead to more respectful debate and less viscous attacks.

Anonymous said...

Guentzel didn't take the SJU job, because he didn't have to. He will be taken care of for the next year.

Anonymous said...

So apparently Lucia is wrong for not publicly stating the real circumstances for Guentzel's departure. Instead he tried to put a positive spin on the situation by focusing on Guentzel's years of service to the school. What if Lucia would have taken a more negative approach and said, "I fired him because he wasn't doing the job I wanted him to do". There would be just as many people who would have complained about that approach. It's typical Lucia bashing. No matter what he does, a certain segment of people will find fault with it.