Saturday, February 28, 2015

SCSU vs. UND Lines Game Two

Same lineup as last night. Senior night at the Ralph.

Redwing77 Rant - Pet Peeves Edition

by Redwing77

Ok, I need your advice ahead of what I'm about to say so... if you have been to any hockey games USHL level or higher and can chime in with similar or dissenting stories, I'd appreciate it ahead of time.  And, once again, bear in mind that this is MY opinion only and isn't to be confused as being expert advice or official statements by any organization whatsoever.

I LOVE hockey and I understand completely what arenas and league officials are trying to do, but what's with selectively ignoring the rules?  Here's a few examples:

Please be respectful...

At Ralston's Arena (home of the USHL's Omaha Lancers), I sit in a section that has almost a constant flow of people returning to their seats well after the puck has been put in play.  Now, to be absolutely clear, this isn't the people who are just getting to their rows as the puck drops or are waiting for lazy people to get up so they can pass.  I mean, they've had the puck in motion for a good long while when they start down the stairs to begin with!

Why?  PLEASE tell me this isn't the only venue where they make an announcement regarding this practice (saying it is not to be done) the arena staff ignores their own directive!

I have some ideas as to why this occurs, such as the overwhelming desire by said officials to watch the game instead of ensuring that their job is being fulfilled.  Likewise, there is a desire to avoid ALL conflicts regardless of whether or not it will be heated (especially if there is kids involved).

Is etiquette only situational?  Is there some sort of policy in place for such awfulness?

I get that they are trying to be accommodating and friendly to every attendee regardless of their level of passion for what is going on at the event, but COME ON!!!!

Genderized Music Selection

This may be JUST Ralston Arena related but...  It seems to me that, if you were to make a flippant comment about a hockey game in eras past, you'd say "I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out."  In my recent experience I could modify this statement to "I went to a hockey game and a wedding reception broke out."  Since when is it that all you hear at hockey games are a random selection of Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, the Spice Girls (I am serious!  Midget hockey game going on during intermission to "If you wanna be my lover"), Sir Mixalot, Village People, Kids Bop songs, and a variety of silly country music songs (sorry, I know there are some good country songs that mix well with sporting events but these, despite my unfamiliarity with country music, aren't those) THE music to play?

BTW - Is Pitbull and Macklemore now synonymous with sporting events?  (And for the record, Pitbull is the guy I wish I was.  I mean, he does almost nothing and he gets all that fame, money, and notoriety!  I mean, he barely even sings his own songs!  I am jealous.  All I get when I'm that lazy is nothing).

The only rationale I can imagine is, sadly, horrifically chauvinist.  The hockey is for the guys and the music is for the girls and kids.  A concept like that is TERRIBLY out of place with what a hockey game should be... but observe people at a hockey game some time.

In Ralston, the guys are watching the game like hawks and the girls are all texting and snap chatting or talking with their girlfriends.  Then the whistle blows and Shake it off by Taylor Swift comes on and the guys look sick to their stomachs and the girls are all dancing.   Is this what we are pandering to now?  Maybe I'm super cheap, but why would I, as someone (akin to the girls I've observed in the section around me at times) who is completely disinterested in the game, spend $15+ on a ticket when I could spend $5 on a chic coffee at a coffee shop with my girlfriend and get a better experience?  In other words, if hockey is no better than background noise, then go to a sports bar with your friends and enjoy your conversation!  I get it.  Not everyone likes hockey.  I certainly would feel the same way if I were dragged to a basketball game.  But then again, I won't spend $$$ on basketball tickets unless I fully intended to watch the game.  Much cheaper to sit at home in my super comfy recliner watching that garbage than sitting on a bench in an arena having to spend $15 for $3 worth of food and drink.

As the owner of the organization, the whole purpose is to put butts in the seats, so I get that, so why not market better?  Here's a few suggestions:

1.  Seat stratification.  Devote entire sections to season ticket holder ONLY sections.  I think the REA does this, but I'm not sure.  Ralston does not.  Allow casual fans to have their own sections where they can do whatever and no one will care.  Stratification of passionate hockey fans leads to organized chants and a fun sporting experience.

2.  Music variation:  During the hockey game and during intros, trend towards music that revs people up (examples:  For Whom The Bell Tolls by Metallica, Land of Confusion (Genesis cover) by Disturbed, Welcome to the Jungle by Guns N Roses, etc.).  I guess if you were going to gender-ize the whole thing, one stereotyped as male centered songs.  During intermissions, and spotlight segments (like Kids Cam and so on), you can have the Taylor Swifts and Katy Perrys.

3.  Hold "Idiots Guide" segments:  During intermissions, create live or videoed entertaining segments that spotlight the rules of the game.  It can be just straight forward video segments with the coaches filmed during practice or it can be video edited stuff using highlights and all or, you can bring in youth coaches or whatnot and do it on the ice live.  Sort of a mini seminar. 

I guess the music thing is all me just being grumpy but the decline in courtesy and etiquette in hockey is just appalling.

End of Rant

(Video) Charlie Lindgren save on Mark MacMillan

This doesn't require a lot of narration, but what a save by St. Cloud State goalie Charlie Lindgren. This was an absolutely filthy save. Let's call it a two pad slide.

A look at the Pairwise Rankings

The University of North Dakota is now sitting at the top of the Pairwise Rankings. With the win tonight, they moved ahead of Minnesota State. If the NCAA tourney started today there would be six NCHC teams in the NCAA tourney.

UND 3 SCSU 2 (UND goals)

During his four-year career, UND is 20-0-1 when Brendan O’Donnell scores a goal.

“I don’t really think much of it,” O’Donnell said. “I don’t know what to say, I think I am just lucky.”

Friday, February 27, 2015

SCSU vs. UND Lines (Twitter Links)

Same lineup for UND as last week. There are no changes. Todd Anderson is one of the officials tonight, so it could be a long night.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Nino Niederreiter's Game-Winning Goal Against the Predators

Check out this is a sweet goal by Minnesota Wild forward Nino Niederreiter. That's the 20th goal of the season for Niederreiter. Nino would score his 21st of the year to ice the game for the Wild. Finally, 21 goals is a career high for Niederreiter.

Amsley-Benzie Patty Kaz Top 10 Finalist

Goalie Shelby Amsley-Benzie is currently on a shutout streak of
roughly 268 consecutive minutes
As announced earlier today, the top 10 finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, women's hockey version of the Hobey Baker, and UND goaltender Shelby Amsley-Benzie was on the finalist list, making her the third player in UND history to make it. Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux are the other two.

Amsley-Benzie has had a season to remember for North Dakota as she is making history in the UND record books. She now holds the UND goaltending records in wins with 49, career and single season shutouts (14 career and 9 this season), and needs just three more victories to tie her previous single season wins record of 19.

With a 1.15 goals against average, and a .955 save percentage, Amsley-Benzie has been the constant since the turn of the calender to 2015. She is also currently on a school record shutout streak of just under 268 consecutive minutes dating back to the second game of the Minnesota series in early February.

However, much like the Hobey Baker, the voters also look at their off ice activities to take into account on how they vote. With Shelby Amsley-Benzie in her fourth year in the UND Engineering program and started to work for her Masters Degree, her 4.0 GPA is something that the committee will take into great consideration come voting time.

Here is the list of the top 10 finalists and where they go to school:

1. Shelby Amsley-Benzie      University of North Dakota
2. Hannah Brandt                   University of Minnesota
3. Dani Cameranesi                University of Minnesota
4. Rachel Ramsey                   University of Minnesota
5. Alex Carpenter                   Boston College
6. Emily Pfalzer                      Boston College
7. Haley Skarupa                    Boston College
8. Marie-Philip Poulin            Boston University
9. Brianne Jenner                    Cornell
10. Kendall Coyne                  Northeastern

This is a pretty big name list with a few Olympians, and probably future Olympians on the list. However, one thing Amsley-Benzie does have going for her is that she is the only goaltender to make the list, so one could say that she is the best goalie in the NCAA. I'd say her numbers are able to back that statement up as well. The award will be announced Frozen Four weekend, just like the Hobey Baker is.

UND Takes on OSU in WCHA First Round

The regular season is now over in NCAA Women's Hockey as conference playoff first rounds begin to fire up this weekend. For North Dakota, the stars seemingly are starting to get together and making the NCAA tournament a near reality this season.

With UND being the third seed, they get the advantage of home ice yet again this season in the first round with their opponent being Ohio State this weekend. Last time against OSU, goaltender Shelby Amsley-Benzie pitched back to back shutouts and now has eight since the turn to 2015, one of which was a 3-0 shutout against the "mighty" Minnesota Gophers.

One added bonus for UND this season is the WCHA Final Faceoff is at Ralph Engelstad Arena this season. The UND ladies need to take advantage of this bonus home ice if they wish to sneak into the NCAA tournament.

Along with the stout goaltending of Shelby Amsley-Benzie, the depth of scoring on the roster is quite remarkable. Every player who has suited up for one game this season has recorded at least one point, and this includes goalie Amsley-Benzie who has one assist on the season. There are also five players above the 20 point mark on the season. Both senior forwards, Captain Andrea Dalen, and Josefine Jakobsen are among the top five in scoring. Jakobsen does hold the team lead in goals with 15.

In order for UND to advance to the Final Faceoff next weekend, North Dakota needs to continue to have great goaltending, and they also need their seniors to lead the way and keep the sense of urgency alive, although still showing some composure by staying out of the penalty box.

UND wins this series 2 games to 0, but both wins are one goal games, two if an empty net goal is scored.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

UND Leads Nation in Attendance

Enough said...

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Diver Down: Jannik Hansen embellishes slash by Milan Lucic (Video)

Players that dive disgust me and Vancouver Canucks forward Jannik Hansen is one of those players that embellishes to draw calls.

While some will claim that David Pastrnak's stick hit Hansen in the face. It didn't. I took a screen shot of the video. Neither players' stick hit Hansen in the face. The stick of Pastranak tapped Hansen in the chest, nowhere near Hansen's face.

NCHC Suspends Denver’s Larraza One Game

Another week, another Denver Pioneer that has been suspended.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) has issued a one-game suspension to Denver senior forward Zac Larraza, in accordance with the conference’s supplemental discipline policy, the NCHC announced Tuesday, Feb. 24. The suspension stems from an illegal hit during the Pioneers game against Colorado College on Saturday, Feb. 21.

Larraza was suspended after a review of a play in which a hit was delivered to the head of a Colorado College player, who was not in possession of the puck, at 15:53 of the first period Saturday at Magness Arena.

Larraza will be required to serve the suspension during Denver’s next game on Friday, Feb. 27 against Miami. Larraza is eligible to return for the series finale against the RedHawks on Saturday, Feb. 28.

Jared Cowen Suspended Three Games

Here's the latest from the NHL's Department of Player Safety. Ottawa Senators defenseman Jared Cowen was given a three-game suspension for this this hit on Florida Panthers forward Jussi Jokinen.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Marcy Di Michele Nails It

This article is in response to the Morgan Rielly comments earlier in the week. Rielly told a reporter Friday morning that when it comes to work ethic he and his teammates can't, "be a girl about it."

Needless to say, his comments created a firestorm. I am sure the young player will never make this mistake again. Of course, before Rielly could apologize for his comments, -- he has since apologized. Rielly was ceremoniously raked over the coals.

So, Marcy Di Michele wrote a piece in response to the firestorm.  I couldn't agree more.
Marcy Di Michele, The Hockey Writers -- This very website published an article in which a male writer expressed his thoughts on what Maple Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly said, and the subsequent reaction to it. Now one thing I can admit that bothers me about social media, is that people seem to wait in the weeds for a small morsel to lunge at and create controversy over. If there’s something to get mad at, or be offended at, you can bet there will be keyboard warriors out there ready to pounce. I can understand the perspective of people trying to calm the masses, and trying to pour some water on the fire. Do we overreact to almost everything? Yes. Are we too easily offended? Absolutely. Do we take out our anger on people who may not deserve it? No question. But in this case, regarding Rielly’s comment, is the outrage justified? Division I Men's Poll

February 23, 2015

(First Place Votes)
Last Poll
North Dakota
22- 6-3
Minnesota State
( 3)
23- 6-2
Michigan Tech
( 2)
24- 7-1
Boston University
19- 6-5
Boston College
20- 8-4
Bowling Green
18- 9-5
16- 7-4
14- 9-3
St. Lawrence
Robert Morris
21- 6-5
Others receiving votes: St. Cloud State 76, Colgate 40, Northeastern 15, Penn State 11, Bemidji State 7, Notre Dame 6, Bentley 4, Merrimack 3, Canisius 1.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Michael Downing hit on Christian Lampasso

Michigan Wolverine defenseman Michael Downing was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for this hit on Ohio State forward Christian Lampasso. I think this is a blown call by the on-ice officials. In my opinion, this is a legal shoulder-to-shoulder hit. But do you expect from Tom Sterns, Brian Thul?

NCHC Hockey: A Look at the Pairwise Rankings

If the NCAA playoffs started today, six-of-eight NCHC teams would make the NCAA tournament. That's the best of any of the six leagues. Also, the more NCHC teams that are number one seeds will mean that they will have to go to separate regionals and can't be double up.  Currently, three-of-four are NCHC teams.