January 31, 2009

Somewhat Satisfied

First off, I was unable to watch the games this weekend. Friday night was not on the webcast and Saturday night I was flying, so I'm kind of piecing this weekend together from what I listened to on the radio and from what I read on Saturday's game.

This weekend's series was somewhat satisfying. To me it was like going to the bar and finding out they don't have your favorite vodka but they do have a vodka that is somewhat on your level. So it's like me ordering a Ketel and tonic, and instead getting a Belvedere. It'll do, but it's not ideal.

Friday night, the team just played flat out uninspired hockey. The shots were not indicative of play, from what I could tell. I was really unimpressed with the game, quite frankly, and it left a bad taste in my mouth. Saturday's game was much better. It sounds like the Sioux were clicking well on all cylinders, passes were crisp and accurate, and from what I heard, St. Cloud didn't play a bad game.

A sweep would have been better. A split will do for now. A weekend off is what this team needs.

January 29, 2009

Some bold predictions

Since my blog is not just a Sioux blog but a WCHA blog as well, I am going to jot down a few thoughts on some upcoming series for this weekend. These are predictions for the rest of the year based on this weekend:

- If there is a sweep in the UMD/WI series this weekend, whoever sweeps will not only make the WCHA Final Five, but will go on to the NCAA tourney
- If UND sweeps Cloudy, they are well on their way to the NCAA tourney. If not, they will probably be watching it this year
- Minnesota has the chance to prove it belongs at the top. If they sweep, they will take 1st or 2nd in the WCHA this year
- if UAA takes a point or more from Denver, they will finish the year in 8th place or greater

There are a ton of ifs in those statements, but I think that they can all ring true.

January 27, 2009

Getting sick of a lot of this

A few things have come to light rececently which is inspiring me to write this post.

As majority of you know, I am not a fan of fighting or chippiness in hockey. I understand that emotions run high; I played the game nearly my entire life. And I'm not going to say that I wasn't a clean player 100% of the time, but I generally stayed out of the box and didn't get in a lot of trouble. This is how I like my hockey. And a few incidents of late are getting me fired up and angry.

I was alerted to something out of Michigan State this morning. The article can be found here, but Conboy and Tropp of Michigan State have been suspended for the rest of the year by their coach. I admire the hell out of Rick Comley for doing this, but am still angry at both Conboy and Tropp for what they did.

Here's a video of the hit. Thanks to Goon for this.

I also think back to the Sioux/DU series over the past weekend. How not only the DU players lost control on Friday night, but their coach lost control Saturday night. As far as I'm concerned, there is no excuse for this type of behavior in hockey, at any level.

Watch the video. You will see a DU player clearly elbow Hextall. Then the jawing starts, both ways.

Finally, watch this brawl of two minor league hockey teams.

This to me, is disgusting. I know a lot of casual hockey fans are all about the fighting and that's it, but to me, fighting has very little, if any, place in hockey.

January 25, 2009

3/4 on the weekend. Not bad

After pounding Denver on Friday night, the Sioux could only muster two goals on Saturady night, but it was enough to earn a tie with the Pioneers, vaulting the Sioux into sole possession of 2nd place in the WCHA.

This night was not without something interesting though. I swear, every time I watch a Sioux game, I see something in hockey that I have never seen before. Maybe it's that way in every hockey game I ever watch, but for some reason the Sioux games bring me something new every time.

Coach George Gwozdecky, furious with a non-call, decided to yell at the refs. Ok, that's nothing new. Then he proceeded to stand on the dasher and continue yelling. Still nothing new. But then he jumps OVER THE BOARDS and onto the ice! I'm hearing a few different things, but the general consensus is that he was agitated over a non-call and got tossed for arguing it. He claims he just wanted to take the long way to the locker room. That is more believiable than anything, I guess. But seriously, Siouxyeahyeah readers, what do you think about this reaction by the coach? My personal opinion is it's a reflection of him and his team. Which can be perceived as rogue and out of control.

Somewhat not surprisingly, the Sioux were called for every penalty after George's tirade. Hakstol publically mentioned this, which I think he should have. But he also said George doesn't deserve to be suspended. I disagree with this. George gets old. I'm bored with him and his whining. Teach him a lesson, WCHA!

Looking at a St. Cloud team next weekend that just took 3/4 points from the Tigers this weekend. Should be a good game.

January 23, 2009

A lot of thoughts

Is it honestly possible to say the Sioux will have a 5th straight 2nd half run under Hakstol?

I am starting to wonder...

In any event, the Sioux dominated the Pioneers of Denver tonight, winning 8-3 in front of a sold out Engelstad arena. 8 different players scored for the Sioux. I'd have to do some research to find out the last time that has happened in any level of hockey. I'll talk more about the game tomorrow night, but I want to touch on a big point.

Quite frankly, the style of play I saw out of DU tonight was disgusting. I'm a huge fan of the European style of hockey. Finesse. Skills. Teamwork. None of this cheap ass shit that DU was pulling. I can truly say that all the scrums started tonight, sans one, were caused by DU players taking cheap shots after the whistle and whatnot. I think the DU fans should be ashamed of themselves for cheering for a goon team, George Gwozdecky should be ashamed for not disciplining his players more, and the players themselves should be ashamed. Seriously, you're losing. Take it like men. Try again tomorrow night.

Overall, a great effort by my Sioux tonight.

January 21, 2009

Wednesday...and a huge series looming

To my Sioux fans, I don't think I need to point out how much importance this series has. But since I have nothing better to do, I'll say what needs to be said. Denver is at the top of the WCHA with 23 points. UND is tied for 4th with 20 points. In between, Wisconsin has 22 points and Minnesota has 21 points, and both teams are idle. If UND can sweep DU, they would be atop the WCHA. A win and a tie puts them in 2nd place. And a split, well, tie for 2nd place. Basically a split or better this weekend and the Sioux are in good shape.

We all know Denver is on a hot streak, but so is UND. This weekend has so much implication for both teams that I am expecting an even bigger one than the Gopher weekend two weeks ago. The only question is, who comes out on top?

January 18, 2009

Happy with the Results

Last night, watching the first period, I was not impressed with my Sioux. I wasn't exactly impressed with the Huskies either, but at the same time, this is a bad team. Not the Sioux, but the Huskies. And the Sioux weren't exactly showing me that they were ready to destroy this mediocre team that is dragging the sludge along with them at the bottom of the WCHA standings.

In any event, as I continued to watch the game, I noticed something. As a hockey player, I can see things in the game that few others can. When I was a season ticket holder at the Ralph, I would sit there quietly watching the game. I cheered when good plays were made, but I would sit and watch the minute details of each play. Dissect everything. And this is what I did last night. The Sioux were almost toying with the Huskies. The way they were dancing around on the ice, the passes they were making, it was playful. I don't notice this type of play often with the Sioux, but every now and then the players simply decide to do their thing on the ice.

After the 2nd goal, a nice shot by Marto, which came on the powerplay with less than a minute left, I knew the Sioux team was done messing around. They came out in the third period and just dominated play. The Huskies idea of a forecheck was dumping it in and sending one guy. Their idea of neutral zone coverage involved a few different people trying to find a guy to cover. The Sioux just pressed on, peppering Nolan with shots and eventually putting the game out of reach.

3/4 points on the weekend? I'll take it. It's not ideal, but acceptable.

January 17, 2009


Last night, the Sioux, who pummeled the Gophers last weekend, skated to a mediocre 3-3 tie with the Huskies of Michigan Tech.

I'm not saying a tie is worthless, especially if they can take it tonight (which I believe they will). I'm just sad that they could letdown so much after such a huge weekend. At the same time, I'm somehow not surprised.

If they get 3 points this weekend, everything will be fine. If not...

January 11, 2009

The sun is shining brighter today

I already admitted it in my blog yesterday, but I'll say it again. I WAS WRONG!

Sioux fans all over the nation are celebrating what is definitely the biggest sweep of the season, and a lot of people are pointing to yet another 2nd half surge. I'm not ready to go there quite yet, but let's discuss this weekend, shall we?

Was the illness of Coach Lucia weighing on the Gopher squad? It very well could have been, and in all honesty, I would be understanding. Are the young guys getting tired? It's a possibility, one that I mentioned at the beginning of the season as a reason the Gophers would struggle. Did the Gophers come up to Grand Forks thinking it would just be a Sioux team that would roll over? I'm sure they didn't think the Sioux would destroy them, but probably thought it would still be an easy game.

Regardless of the whys, the results of the games are what make me happy as a Sioux fan this weekend. It's well played games like that that make me really appreciate being a solid fan of the University of North Dakota hockey program. They need to keep the momentum going and good things will happen.

January 10, 2009

Ok...I admit it...I was wrong

Yes, I know I said in previous blog that the Gophers would sweep the Sioux. But let's be honest here people. Do you really blame me? I mean, they lost to Tech. TECH! But they pleasantly surpried me last night. And the best part about the game was it's not like the Gophers just played bad (they did) but that the Sioux played some very good hockey last night.

I'm looking for a more fired-up Gopher team tonight, but I think the Sioux can take care of business again.

January 7, 2009

Memories and Predictions

This weekend is Sioux/Gophers. I don't think I need to tell anyone that this is the biggest rivalvary in the WCHA and in this writers opinion, one of the top rivalvaries in college hockey (BU/BC, UofMich/everyone come to mind otherwise). The memories of the games between these two teams are always memorable but a few games stand out in my mind. I'll break them down for you:

- Final Five Championship 2004: Fresh off their first WCHA title since 2001, the Sioux team faced a Minnesota team ripe off two National Championships. Both teams had high hopes to go into the NCAA tourney and represent the WCHA in the Frozen Four. This game was back and forth action non-stop. Bochenski put a move on that Briggs that made Woog and Mazako go crazy in the booth. Unfortunately, the Sioux were on the short end of that one, losing 5-4. I sat near some Gopher fans that were actually classy. Shocking, I know

- Frozen Four Semifinal 2005: The Sioux's first trip to the Frozen Four since 2001, and what would be an all WCHA Frozen Four. The Gophers grabbed the lead quickly, but behind a hattrick by Erik Fabian, the Sioux would win 4-2, sending thousands of Gopher fans packing Columbus quickly.

- Final Five Championship 2007: They meet again. In what was the highest attendance ever for the Xcel Energy Center (19,463) the Gophers managed to beat the Sioux in overtime, thanks to a goal by Wheeler that still gets Sioux fans angry every time they see it. To any Gopher lover that says he knew what he was doing....riiiiiight. The Gophers dominated that game for the most part, unfortunately.

- Western Regional 2007: They meet again! I was watching this game at home with my dad, the Gopher lover and Sioux hater. The Gophers jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead but the Sioux matched it quickly. At one point, Kyle Radke got a 5 minute major. The Gophers managed one shot on that entire 5 minute power-play. I told my dad that the Gophers would not win the game because of that and he agreed. Eventually in a 2-2 overtime, Chris Porter took the puck behind the net, wrapped it around, and stuck it through the legs of Long Island Jeff Frazee, sending the Sioux to their third straight Frozen Four.

- Regular Conference game 2008: In a heated battle at the Mooch, Finley pulled Wheeler out of the handshake line and attempted to fight him. This entire series was a hard fought battle and there was definitely no love lost between these two teams.

As you can see, each game means something and each team plays like it's a championship every time they get together. I am really looking forward to the battles this weekend. That being said, the Sioux need a few things to win:

- Consistency in net. Eidsness hasn't been spectacular as of late, and a game like this will just be added pressure. The Sioux need to help him out defensively as much as possible.
- Sustained offense. Need to capitalize on rebounds and keep the puck in the offensive zone. The Gophers are young on defense and can be worn down.
- Keep the playmakers in check. Stoa and Schroeder are two guys that are amazing talent. The Sioux must contain them. Hit them hard, hit them often, keep them off balance.

My honest prediction hurts. A lot to say. But I'm calling a Gopher sweep in this one.

And on a somber note, Coach Lucia will not be making the trip as he is out with an undisclosed illness. I wish him a speedy recovery and wish him well.

January 5, 2009

Too early to tell...

I'm sitting here scratching my head deciding if I should actually say the Sioux are ready to make a 2nd half run or not. On the one hand, they did sweep Bemidji, which is always a tough home and home series. On the other hand...they barely swept Bemidji. There is something not right about it. Don't ask me why, but I just am not feeling confident right now.

Maybe it's the fact that they had to claw their way back into victory both nights of that game. Now you might be saying that is a good thing and shows the resiliency of this team. I'm of the belief you don't get behind teams that you are supposed to beat. I dunno, maybe I just am being pessimistic. Who knows?

Anyway, big upcoming series this weekend against the Sioux's most hated rival, the Gophers. Me, personally, I'm not a huge Gopher hater, but I don't have a lot of respect for the players or the fans. My dad is a Gopher fan and I think a part of him died when I became a Sioux fan. But I have found 99% of Gopher Fans to be cocky, arrogant, and unknowledgeable in the game of hockey.

More coming this week.

January 1, 2009

Can the ship be righted?

Honestly, I don't know if it can. I've been discussing with a few of my friends and fellow Sioux fans how the Sioux can still possibly make the NCAA's this year. Over the last few years, the team has had a 2nd half surge that generally propels them into the tournament hot. But as I have alluded to ALL YEAR, how can you count on that year after year? I remember in the 2006-2007 season listening to my best friend Jess Myers and how the Sioux were done. This was late February. He said the Sioux had no chance to do anything. Obviously they proved Mr. Fighting Sioux doubter wrong. But this year, the mountain is a lot steeper.

What I have basically determined through logic, knowledge, and a little bit of guessing....for the Sioux to make the NCAA's this year, they have to be nearly perfect. 1-2 more losses is all that will be acceptable. Not only that, but they will either have to finish runner-up or win the WCHA Final Five. Not going to be an easy task considering who will be there this year. If the Sioux do everything right, they will make the NCAA's. But if there are any hiccups, we will be saying "wait till next year."

A good place to start would be sweeping Bemidji this weekend. As I am working all weekend, I can't watch the games but will be getting updates from various people. Get it done this weekend, boys.

Happy 2009 people. :-)