Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Too Little, Too Late...

For the last month of my life, hockey has not been my top priority and for that I am truly sorry. This post is going to be pretty big as I try to hit all key points for the last month. And off we go!

It was rivalry weekend on the Front Range as the No. 3 Pioneers faced off against the No. 4 Tigers of Colorado College. In the first match-up of the home and home series, the Tigers walked all over the Pioneers with a 5-1 win at the Colorado Springs World Arena. Junior Chad Rau scored his first career hat trick to lead the Tigers to victory. On a personal note, I cannot say with enough fervor how much I HATE going to World Arena. I have yet to have a good experience in that venue. This time around it was a completely wasted CC “fan” that made my evening even worse by continually yelling obscenities towards my friends and me. Meanwhile, the true CC fans around us did nothing but laugh at the drunken man’s farce.

The tables turned when the Tigers visited the Pioneers at Magness Arena on Saturday night. Tyler Ruegsegger, Rhett Rakhshani, and Tom May each scored in a 3-2 win over the Tigers.

A word on this edition of the Colorado College Tigers, they have incredible speed, are excellent on capitalizing on opponent’s mistakes, and have one of the premiere goal tenders in the WCHA. Richard Bachman, the freshman from Highlands Ranch, CO was truly amazing both nights in net. I can only hope that Bachman, drafted in the 4th round by the Dallas Stars in 2006, will bolt early for the pros!

The following weekend saw our Pioneers host the North Dakota Fighting Sioux. Friday night saw Peter Mannino earning his 12th shutout as a Pioneer in a 1-0 victory for Denver. Mannino’s 27-save effort tied him with Adam Berkhoel for second place on DU’s career shutout list. He now sits one behind Gerry Powers (13) for first place.

Saturday night was a different story as the Pioneers lost by a score of 3-1. However, much like Friday night, Freshman Tyler Bozak scored the lone goal for DU. The Pioneers came out flat and showed little to no effort through the first two periods of the game, only coming to life in the third...too little, too late!

On December 4, standout sophomores Rhett Rakhshani and Tyler Ruegsegger were named to the 2008 U.S. Nationl Junior Team that will compete at the World Junior Championshops in the Czech Republic after Christmas. What an amazing honor and opportunity for these two amazing young men! While we'll miss them for the Denver Cup, we truly wish them all the best of luck in the Tournament!!

With the University of Denver campus emptied of students during our 6 week winter break, the Pioneer hockey team travelled to St. Cloud, Minnesota after their split with North Dakota. In the Friday night match, DU edged St. Cloud State 3-2. This win however did not come easily as the Huskies, who at the time were trying to snap a 4 game losing streak, fought hard throughout. Also, a questionable call really helped the Pioneers in this win. Jesse Martin's goal at 3:54 of the second period, the first of the night for the Pioneers, should not have been counted as a goal. See the YouTube video below. After the game, WCHA commisioner Bruce McLeod issued a formal apology to St. Cloud State.

On Saturday, the Huskies again came out hard. They outplayed DU throughout the first two periods, coming into the third the a 2-0 lead. With 6 minutes left on the game, the Huskies were looking forward to finally ending their long winning drought. Rhett Rakhshani had a different idea however and went on to score a hat trick in the final 5 minutes and 49 seconds of the game to lead Denver to another 3-2 win over St. Cloud. I let the play speak for itself, for surely there are not words to describe this truly amazing comeback...

Rakhshani was named as the INCH Player of the Week for his heroics in the game. I must thank him for reminding me why it is I love this sport so much. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!

After a rather stunning sweep over St. Cloud, the boys headed up to Anchorage, Alaska for their final WCHA series before the Christmas break. The Pioneers beat the Seawolves 4-3 on Friday for their third win in a row, with goals from 4 different Pioneers (Testwuide, May, Martin, and Mullen).

Saturday night, again down by two goals, the Pioneers showed what they're made of, scoring 6 unanswered goals in a 6-2 win over the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves, completing their second WCHA road sweep in a row.

The Pioneers concluded the first half of their season with a 14-4 record and 11-3 mark in the WCHA. They are now tied for 1st place in the WCHA with the Colorado College Tigers, both having 22 league points in 14 games played.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

“Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean.”

Saturday, February 11, 2006 9:25 PM MST. That was the last time the Denver Pioneers swept a WCHA opponent in Magness Arena. That night, DU (oddly enough) earned a 5-1 win over the Minnesota State Mavericks. This weekend saw our Pioneers complete their first home sweep of a WCHA team since that night against the Minnesota State Mavericks. Here are some pertinent links to last weekend’s sweep:
-DU Tops Minnesota State, 2-1
-Pioneers Run Winning Streak to Four Games
-Mannino Named Co-Defensive Player of the Week

And the best of all, Tyler Ruegsegger's Short Handing Goal at the 13:07 mark of the 1st period from Saturday's game. Having been in attendance at the game, it was like all the air left the arena as 6,037 fans gasped at his amazing skill.

Last, please visit a new(ish) blog on the Denver scene. Coming from the Denver Post, Mike Chambers regularly writes about the DU hockey team.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

There's Beauty in the Breakdown...

As we head into the bye-week before facing Minnesota State, here’s a quick breakdown of what’s been going on in my neck of the woods.

- DU Skates Past Minnesota Duluth, 5-1
- DU Drops 3-0 Decision to Minnesota Duluth
- DU Gains 5-1 Road Win at Minnesota
- Pioneers Sweep Golden Gophers
- Mannino and Bozak Honored by WCHA

Enjoy the week off!

Addition to Previous Post

The Bleacher Coach
This guy will spend the entire game coaching the team on what they are doing wrong and how they should improve (now I do tend to point at the puck and yell at the team but I am no Bleacher Coach....just to be clear).The Bleacher Coach will give criticism that makes no sense and would in no way help the team to the win. This moron always manages to sit behind letsgomavs but manages to annoy anyone who knows anything about hockey and always seems to be at the game alone....

thanks for the addition letsgomavs!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Hockey Fans!

Here is a list of the kind of people you will find at a hockey gaem. Most of them I want to hit....if I missed a group feel free to let me know.

Confused Girl
She is usually blond, wears, some kind of Gap sweater, a trendy scarf and heels (but as much as you pray she eats shit, she never does). She asks multiple questions about rules and "why that guy is headed to time out" but is generally not in any way interested in the game. Her favorite part of the night is either when the cheerleaders came out with free shirts, or when the arena played "Sweet Caroline" and she sang along. Rarely seen without 'Mr. Loafers.'

Mr. Loafers
This guy would much rather be somewhere getting a manicure but attends hockey, or any sporting event only to look manly. He brings with him 'Confused Girl' and spends the majority of the game explaining his version of the rules of the game. Easily spotted because this guy is usually waring a visor with his hair spiked around it and loafers with no socks. When 'Confused Girl" asks questions he says things like "Oh he got a pushing penalty, or refers to the periods as quarters" A personal favorite of mine was when the goalie was pounding his stick on the ice to let his team know that someone was coming out of the penalty box, a girl asked her Mr. Loafers "why is he hitting the ice like that, he looks mean" to which he said, and I am not kidding you in the least, "Well Buffy (not really her name but its fits and makes me laugh) he is doing that to get his team the increase their intensity, he is getting them excited and pepped up." So in essence Mannino was a cheerleader in pads, try to get that picture out of your head....

Ms. My Children are "gifted"....aka special
This lady coddles her children stopping only short of having them on a 'kid leash'. They are rotten spoiled brats that will only hear the word no when they enter the real word and cut the cord. This lady pushes her kids to the front of everything and will actually cover her children's ears when the word "suck" is used. To which I say if your child is so special....stop eating the paste, put your helmet back on special...then don't bring them to a hockey game, take them to see ice dancing, surely there is no booing or yelling at something like that. My inspiration for this title actually sits directly in front of me...and rest assured that I fit the word 'suck' in to every sentence, and she covers her children (who look like they are nearing their teens by the way) ears for the majority of the game.

The Losers
Pretty self-explanatory....the other team. Seated on the bench, wearing helmets, easily spotted because they are crying in the corner and looking around dumbfounded while getting pummeled on the ice. This person has recently moved out of mom's house who guessed it...Ms. My Children are "gifted"....aka special.

Desperate Girl
She attends sporting events looking for the future Mr. Desperate Girl, hoping a player will somehow look in to the stands and decide he is deeply in love with her. She spends an eternity on her hair and wardrobe which usually consists of little to no clothing and in most cases involves some kind of unfortunate use of spandex. Generally seems to be a nice person and spends a great deal of the game sipping on some kind of mixed drink. Unfortunately the only person she goes home with is the middle aged hockey addict that is too drunk to notice the spandex.

The Fun Group
This group of people is always fun, they laugh, joke and actually watch the game. In college this is the student section and at the Pepsi Center its the section I am in! This group is always pulling out fun cheers, which usually in some way involve the word suck, and they are always wearing some crazy clothing disaster. These people come to the game in a in a banana outfit or in a barrel (a la barrel man). These are my people!

Talk the Whole Time
This either two women out for a girls night or two men whose innermost desires are to wear Manolo Blahnik heels. Why they are even at the game is beyond me because they watch little to none of the game. Instead they discuss current events, the weather, work problems, or their children....and they do so loud enough that I can hear them over my co-conspirator yelling 'suck' just to piss off the Ms. My Children are "gifted"....aka special. Which in case you were loud. You can give them the evil stare, which means "shut it" all night but they are completely oblivious and continue chatting, only stopping to rest during the pee wee team playing during intermission or "Saturday Night Sumo." Which is funny is that shit...people flailing all over the ice in giant suits who can't get up when they fall....I digress.

The Boys Night Clan
This is a group of, often times recent alumni who just come to watch a game of hockey and drink copious amounts of ridiculously priced beer. During the first period they will yell things that will make their entire section laugh talk about the game and players with their friends and look for the 'desperate girl'. Towards the middle of the second period they are a little too intoxicated to come up with anything funny but still yell something that has 'suck' in it and are still generally pretty entertaining. The third period is when this group really shines! At this point they are too intoxicated to form complete sentences but still yell things and will stand up, link arms and sing and dance along to "Cotton-Eyed Joe." Mostly harmless, but I'm still waiting for the time that one of them falls forward in to the crowd taking two rows with them.

The Die-Hard Fan
No matter the elements this person is always in their seat ready for the game. It seems that this fan is often times more invested in the game than the majority of the players. They know all the stats and can recite them at the drop of a hat.....(I don't actually get this phrase....why are you dropping a hat....anywho) will recite them verbatim. I love these people, but sometimes they pull out info that I didn't know could even exist and is even more useless than Mr. Loafers, but they still know it for some reason.

Family Night
Its always fun to sit near a family that is at a game for the first time. The kids get hockey clothes, foam fingers and a bucket of popcorn while plastered to the glass. Dad explains the actual rules while mom hold the puck the kids caught and freezes.

Mr. I Will Stop at Nothing to Get on the Jumbo-Tron
Forget wearing a banana outfit or painting your face, this guy will stop at nothing to be seen. Whether its some terrible dancing, taking off articles of clothing or finding a cute kid to stand behind he will get on the big screen.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Live in South Bend (Trois)

Notre Dame is a truly amazing place. The campus of the University of Notre Dame is enormous (when comparing it to the size of the University of Denver's campus that is). I had to opportunity to visit the bookstore on campus. It is mind boggling...Two floors full of Notre Dame apparrel, text books, and souvenirs. We spent two and half hours (and countless dollars) in that store. Afterwords we ate on campus at the Legends of Notre Dame restaurant. A marked difference I've noticed at Notre Dame is that there's an amazing sense of tradition and preserving those traditions. Everywhere you go, you're faced with something uniquely Irish. The Legends of Notre Dame restaurant is an example of the preservation of tradition. You are surrounded by the greatest moments in Notre Dame sports history, including a video that shows those great moments. The food was superb and service was good. I would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone visiting Notre Dame.

To cap off my weekend, I had the great pleasure of attending the Notre Dame/USC game. Although Notre Dame lost (38-0), I enjoyed the experience tremendously. I say experience because, when you're in Notre Dame stadium, it's not just about the game, it's about the whole package. We sat directly behind the Notre Dame band, close to the student section, 6 rows from the field. There just aren't words to explain what it was like to sit (or rather I should say stand, as we stood for most of the game, like all the rest of the fans) with 80,000 screaming fans. The student section alone was louder than all of Magness Arena on a good night. The best I can do to share this experience with you is to share my pictures. Please enjoy a slideshow of my trip to South Bend. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience that I will always remember fondly. I want to thank the people of South Bend, who were the most gracious, kind people I’ve ever met, and who made my trip truly remarkable.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Live in South Bend (Deux)

Tonight the #5 Pioneers did what they should have done last night! They beat the #11 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 3-1 for a split of the weekend series. Overall, DU looked much better, especially in the second period. There appeared to be no lapse in focus tonight as the Pioneers put together a great game. Freshman defenseman Chris Nutini scored his first goal as a Pioneer with a wicked shot from the point at 15:55 of the first period. The Irish tied up the game at 10:55 of the second as Jesse Martin sat in the penalty box for instigating. It should be noted Tyler Ruegsegger was also in the box however; Notre Dame received a coincidental minor, as there was a scrum around the Notre Dame goal. Anthony Maiani scored the game winner at 12:24 of the second. Finally Tom May rounded out the scoring with an empty netter at 19:43, scoring his first of the season.

A change in tonight’s game atmosphere was the addition of the Notre Dame (or at least a small part of it) Band. Please enjoy the clips below!

Notre Dame Band and Student Section

Notre Dame Fight Song

Notre Dame Band Marches to the Football Pep Rally

On a completely personal side note, this post is the 100th post on Hockey in Colorado!! Thanks to MeganDU and PiosAvsFan for helping me reach this milestone. I look forward to the many posts come.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Live in South Bend

That’s right folks, I’m in South Bend, Indiana, home of the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Briefly, let’s talk about the Denver Pioneers 4-3 loss to the Fighting Irish. I thought DU came out very strong in the first period, as evidenced by the early goal (1:42 of the first period) from Freshman Kyle Ostrow. As the game wore on however, it seemed the Pioneers lost a little of that intensity. Notre Dame’s Garrett Regan evened up the score on the Power Play at 18:10. Then Tyler Bozak puts the Pios up again at 19:15, though from my vantage point that goal was deflected by an Irish defenseman.

What was a poor ending to the first period became an almost disastrous second period. Once again the Pioneers seemed to lose all focus on drive in the second period (something that I’m sure many of you will remember plagued the Pios last season). Notre Dame led the play almost entirely through the second scoring two goals, taking a 3-2 lead into the final period.

Directly after the end of the second, it was announced that all spectators needed to evacuate the arena as a Tornado warning had been issued for the South Bend area. After a short sojourn into a more protected area of the arena, the fans were allowed back to their seats with no delay in the game.

The final period saw Notre Dame score a final time, in what can best be described as a dirty manner. There was quite clearly goalie interference as Peter Mannino had a stick to his neck, but after replay, the refs sided with Notre Dame. Brock Trotter scored the final goal for DU, just 32 seconds after the questionable Notre Dame goal. Despite several late period Power Plays, the Pioneers were unable to even the score, leaving the ice after a scrum in the corner involving Captain Andrew Thomas.

Overall, I think a key issue is that the Pioneers need to work hard for a full 60 minutes. They possesses great strength and speed, but they have been unsuccessful at keeping up their intensity throughout a game. Also, the penalty kill MUST improve. Notre Dame converted on 3 of their 4 Power Plays. Not to mention this was seen last weekend briefly as the only goal Mannino allowed versus Maine came on a Power Play. I think Mannino has been making great first efforts but the support of his team has been lacking on clearing the rebounds and ensuring he doesn’t have to make second and third saves.

I think if DU can play a full 60 minutes the way they played the first 10 minutes of tonight’s game, Notre Dame is a beatable team. If they continue to struggle in the second period and become lazy, we could see a similar result as tonight.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

It's Avalanche Season!

These days I’m working nights Sunday through Thursday. Needless to say in the two weeks since the Avalanche season has started, I have watched ZERO games lives. I have however, been diligently taping them for my viewing pleasure and so have seen ALL five games the Avalanche have played. Here’s a short review of the beginning of their season.

Game One: vs. Dallas 10/3/2007
-Paul Stastny scored his first career Hat trick leading the Avalanche in a 4-3 win over the Stars.
-The Avs showed their rust, allowing 2 power play goals by the Stars in the third period. I’m still not convinced Peter Budaj should be the man in the net; however Jose Theodore was busy rehabbing his knee.
-Jaroslav Hlinka…welcome to the show. He finished the night with two assists while playing on a line with Stastny and Andrew Brunette.

Game Two: at Nashville 10/4/2007
-One word, Painful. As in, it was painful to watch this game.
-The Avalanche outshot the Predators 35 to 32 in the 0-4 loss.
-Tyler Weiman replaced Budaj at the 4:14 mark of the third period after the 4th Nashville goal. He saved all 10 shots he faced. Congratulations to Tyler for his first NHL game.

Game Three: vs. San Jose 10/7/2007
-The Avalanche scored 4 third period goals to beat the Sharks 6-2.
-Stastny scored 1 goal (the game winner) and tallied 4 assists.
-Joe Sakic, Milan Hejduk, Marek Svatos, and Ryan Smyth all scored their first goals of the season.

Game Four: at St. Louis 10/12/2007
-Jose Theodore made his first start of the season in the 1-4 loss to the Blues. He saved 19 of the 23 shots he faced. Overall I thought he looked solid, though he still seems to be having the problem of letting shots leak through him. While he’s excellent at making the first save, he needs work on his rebound control as he still cannot seem to make the second and third saves.
-Stastny scored the only goal for the Avalanche. Proving there’s no such thing as a Sophomore Slump as far as he’s concerned.
-Manny Legace’s insane record against the Avalanche continues as he is now 12-1 all time against the Avs. I think it’s safe to say (much to my chagrin), he pwns the Avs...

Game Five: vs. Columbus 10/13/2007
-“Super” Joe Sakic led the Avs with a Hat trick in the 5-1 win over the Blue Jackets.
-Scott Hannan garnered his first assist in an Avalanche uniform.
-Overall, the Avs played well, especially considering Pascal Leclaire, Columbus’ goalie was coming in with a two game shutout streak.

In conclusion, what the heck is going on with road games?!? The Avalanche have scored just one goal in 6 periods of road play. Meanwhile, they have scored 15 goals at home. There’s definitely a disconnect somewhere and I fervently hope they figure out what’s going on soon as they begin a four game road trip on 10/19 after they face Calgary at the Pepsi Center this Tuesday. Paul Stastny is leading the Avalanche with 10 points. He is tied for second in the league for points and goals (5), and tied for 10th in assists (5). According to the Hockey News, he’s on track for an 82 goal, 82 assist, 164 point season!! In comparison, Sidney Crosby is on track for a 41 goal, 41 assist, 82 point season…not that that really means anything, it just makes me feel good…Overall, I think the Avs have been looking pretty good. They seem to be gelling as a team and fitting into their systems well. The key is winning on the road and continuing to win at home, but I think they’re in good position to make a substantial playoff run.

Let the games begin…

So I’ve been busy what with school starting, the fall calling cycle starting, my boss quitting, etc. Hopefully things will slow down a little bit soon, so needless to say, this will be quick.

DU swept Maine this weekend in a big way. Friday night Senior Goaltender Peter Mannino posted his 10th career shutout in a 2-0 win over the Black Bears. Admittedly, I thought the Pioneers should have been better on Friday. Even though the Black Bears’ flight arrived at DIA at midnight of game day and they players didn’t arrive at their hotel until 2am, Maine was able to keep the Pioneers to only 2 goals. Ben Bishop was a huge in goal for Maine both literally, as he stands at 6’7” 210 lbs, and figuratively. He faced 48 shots over the course of the game, which should have been enough to garner him at least 3rd star recognition but wasn’t. Tyler Ruegsegger scored the first goal of the 2007-2008 season 5:46 into the second period, assisted by Chris Butler. At 19:42, Kyle Ostrow scored his first goal as a Pioneer, assisted by Ruegsegger and Butler. Both goals came on the Power Play.

Speaking of penalties, let me take a second to comment on the new two refs/two linesmen system the WCHA is trying out this year. Overall, I think it’s a great move for college hockey as it prepares an increasing number of young men to play in the NHL. It didn’t seem to me that there were more penalties called, but there was definitely better coverage and fewer true penalties fell through the cracks. That being said, I did think Adam swallowed his whistle a bit in favor of Maine towards the end of the game on Saturday night in an effort to “even things out.” Friday night Maine was called for 9 penalties for 18 minutes, while Denver was called for 5 penalties for 10 minutes. Saturday night Maine was called for 5 penalties for 10 minutes, while Denver was called for 7 penalties for 14 minutes. Something is definitely fishy here.

Back to the games, Saturday night saw DU sweep the series in a much better matched 3-1 win over Maine. There was a marked difference in how Maine played Saturday night; they were faster and stronger, however I thought DU matched them in intensity and acquitted themselves very well. Brock Trotter scored just 6 seconds into the game. At 3:49, Maine scored their only goal of the weekend on a 5-on-3 Power Play as Senior Captain Andrew Thomas and Assistant Captain Chris Butler sat in the box. This seemed to be a trend of the evening, as they would visit the box two more times each, which brought up questions of leadership on the USCHO Board. Jesse Martin and Anthony Maiani scored the other two goals for the Pioneers, Martin’s assisted by Ruegsegger and Patrick Mullen, Maiani’s unassisted.

My star of the weekend would be Tyler Ruegsegger. He ended the weekend 1-2—3 and was not assessed any penalties. He worked hard throughout and showed a maturity beyond his years.

That’s all I’ve got for now. With any luck, a discussion of the Colorado Avalanche’s new season will follow…

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Videos from Avalanche Training Camp

Courtesy of PiosAvsFan, please see the videos to follow.

This video shows Paul Stastny (#26 in Gray) neatly tucking away a nice goal against Peter Budaj.

This clip shows a bit of one of the scrimmages. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

I'm so excited and I just can't hide it!

With a little of one month until the first game of the DU Pioneer 2007-2008 season, I thought I’d take some time on this beautiful Labor Day weekend to ponder the fast approaching season.

At the end of last season, there were some huge questions left by the 2006-2007 squad. Can the struggling defense learn some discipline over the summer? Will the ever more prominent ego issues resolve themselves? Can Mannino regain his Freshman year/National Championship winning form? Will Rakhshani spend more time on his feet next season (I kid, I kid….)? It seemed that the 07-08 edition of the Pioneers were poised to become a much stronger, more disciplined team, especially with the announcement of Andrew Thomas as its captain. Then Ryan Dingle left to pursue his pro career. He was given an Amateur Try Out with the Portland Pirates, where he played 4 games with only 1 assist overall and was released.

Then, on July 30, one of the worst things possible occurred. While it had been rumored for about week, it was finally announced that would be Sophomore Keith Seabrook was leaving DU to join the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL. As you might remember in the middle of the 06-07 season, Sophomore defenseman TJ Fast departed for the WHL. The announcement sent shockwaves through the DU fan community. From reserved resignations of the apparent downfall of the defensive corps to the downright icy comments from Coach Gwozdecky, it was certain the Pioneers had taken quite a hit. As it stood, DU had 4 WCHA caliber defensemen, however with the defection of Seabrook, it appeared almost impossible that the DU defense would be able to withstand the offensive onslaught of the coming season.

Shortly after the announcement of Seabrook’s departure, it was announced that Geoff Paukovich had come to terms with the Edmonton Oilers. The reaction by fans was completely different. It was widely acknowledged that this was the best move for Paukovich whose play had sadly been severely hampered since the Bina incident.

Meanwhile, on the USCHO board, rumors abounded of the last minute recruits being brought in by the Pioneer coaching staff until at long last an official announcement came from DU. The 2007-2008 recruiting class will be as follows:

Name, S/C, Pos., Ht., Wt., Yr., DOB, Hometown (Last Team, League)
Tyler Bozak, R, F, 6-0, 165, Fr., 03/19/86, Regina, Saskatchewan (Victoria, BCHL)
Joey Brehm, L, D, 6-2, 180, Fr., 08/05/88, Edina, Minn. (Edina H.S.)
Marc Cheverie, L, G, 6-2, 185, Fr., 02/22/87, Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia (Nanaimo, BCHL)
Jon Cook, R, D, 6-1, 195, Fr., 04/08/86, Denver, Colo. (Camrose, AJHL)
Stephen Cunningham, L, F, 6-1, 195, Fr., 03/28/86, Boulder, Colo. (Burnaby, BCHL)
Eddie Guinn, L, G, 6-1, 185, Fr., 07/11/87, South Burlington, Vt. (Cleveland, CSHL)
Dustin Jackson, R, F, 6-3, 200, Fr., 06/20/86, Omaha, Neb. (Southern Minnesota, NAHL)
Anthony Maiani, L, F, 5-8, 165, Fr., 02/24/89, Shelby Township, Mich. (Sioux City, USHL)
Jesse Martin, R, F, 6-0, 180 Fr., 09/07/88, Edmonton, Alberta (Tri-City, USHL)
Chris Nutini, R, D, 6-0, 185, Fr., 09/12/87, Centennial, Colo. (Wichita Falls, NAHL)
Kyle Ostrow, L, F, 5-10, 175, Fr., 09/05/87, Calgary, Alberta (Nanaimo, BCHL)
John Ryder, L, D, 6-1, 190, Fr., 03/06/89, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Ohio, USHL)

I am of the opinion that the 2007-2008 edition of the University of Denver Pioneers could go one of two ways, with no middle ground. This team will either knock everyone’s socks off or be so terrible we’ll want to wipe this season from our memories. As the ever-optimistic person I am, I firmly believe this team has the potential to be a major contender this year; they are led by a captain who knows what it takes to win, have a goalie who has proven his ability to be the man, and have a coach with the experience and expertise to mold them into a national title contender. There’s also the small fact that the Frozen Four is being held in their back yard. What more motivation do they need??

I’ll leave you now with a few pictures of the new ice in Magness Arena.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


As I was driving around my beautiful city during my lunch break, I happened across W. Ellsworth Ave. There in my car I was reminded of my first season as a DU hockey fan. If you’re any kind of college hockey fan, I’m sure you’ll understand why I was thrown back into the days of drunken frat boys yelling obscenities, dirty chants that turn out to be hockey related, and the smell of freshly spilled beer. That’s right, every time I cross paths with W. Ellsworth Ave., I am reminded of former Michigan Tech goalie Cam Ellsworth.

It was a cold February day. I’d been invited to the game by several friends who were only casual hockey fans. As was usually the case in those years before DU’s back-to-back national championships, we bought tickets 5 minutes before the game started and raced to the student section for the best seats available. Those happened to be three rows up from the ice directly behind the opposing team’s goalie. As we settled in, the SAE’s (that’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon) were commenting on the easy pronunciation of this goalie’s last name (this in the time of goalies such as McElhinney, Dubielewicz, Reichmuth, and Bruckler).

About 7 minutes into the first period Jeff Drummond (later to be known as Mr. Saturday Night) scored the first goal of the game against Ellsworth, assisted by Kevin Ulanski, and Scott Drewicki. After we all cheered and danced (yes, there was dancing) in celebration, the SAE’s began the ritualistic goalie cheer, with all the students joining in. “Ellsworth, Ellsworth, Ellsworth, YOU SUCK!” 7 minutes later Kevin Doell scored. Once again the cheer began “Ellsworth, Ellsworth, Ellsworth, YOU SUCK!”

Seven times during that evening I heard the glorious cheer. Luckily for Cam Ellsworth, DU was unable to score during the second period, when he was on the opposite side of the rink. However, during the third he was scored on 5 times and in return he heard the gleeful cheer of the student section “Ellsworth, Ellsworth, Ellsworth, YOU SUCK!” Kevin Doell scored 4 times that night, earning the admiration (and hats) of the 5,000+ fans in attendance.

So as I drive across W. Ellsworth Ave. I think of that night and the cheers of the student section. I also wonder whatever happened to Cam Ellsworth. Courtesy of The Internet Hockey Database Cam spent his remaining two years at Michigan Tech, never winning more than 10 games in each of his four seasons. In the 2005-2006 season he signed with the Augusta Lynx of the ECHL only to be traded, after playing one game (a tie in which he allowed 4 goals), to the Greenville Grrrowl of the ECHL. He played 34 games with the Grrrowl winning 22, losing 10 and tying 1. He then moved on to the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL, playing 33 games last season (14-13-3).

I hope you enjoyed my sojourn in the past…but let me leave you with one last thought: “Ellsworth, Ellsworth, Ellsworth, YOU SUCK!”

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Where there’s a Mullet, there’s a Way

I am ecstatic, overjoyed, delighted, thrilled, elated, blissful, rapturous, euphoric, and any other word you can think of for really overly happy. After three long years of mediocrity, the Colorado Avalanche has taken a BIG step in the direction of greatness. On July 1st, Francois Giguere did the first really amazing thing since he’s been GM. The Avalanche has signed defenseman Scott Hannan and Captain Canada himself, the greatest of all mullets, Ryan Smyth.

Avs Sign Defenseman Scott Hannan

Avalanche Signs Ryan Smyth

I'd like to take a second to examine the Hair Choices of our new Avs.

I'll start with Hannan. It's kind of fluffy if you will, almost mullet like. Probably if he didn't tuck his man locks behind his ears it would look less mullet-ish. Also, does he dye it? It seems to be multi colored, a bit lustrous...Overall, I would give it a 8 out of 10 for sweet hair. Plus I dig the way it looks when he plays, it's all wet and hot....

Next, let's tackle the uber mullet of Ryan Smyth...According to Mullets Galore the glorious Mullet of Destiny could be classified as a CamaroMullet. Whatever it is, it's awesomely awesome! As was previously mentioned (in fact too many times for me to link to the posts...oops!) I really heart this mullet. It's just so full and wavy, you really can't go wrong.

Seriously though, the Avs have filled some holes with these signings. Hannan is a physical defensive defenseman, which the Avs sorely need. Sure, he won't put up big numbers (in 508 regular season NHL games he has 25 goals) but that's what we have forwards for. Which brings me to Ryan "The Mullet of Destiny" Smyth. He's the kind of player that likes to get in the crease and use his size to pressure d-men and goalies alike until he scores.

More Fun Stuff:
-Smyth, Hannan Arrive in Denver. The Colorado Avalanche held a press conference yesterday evening to welcome Ryan and Scott to Colorado. There is a transcript as well as video.
-Adam Proteau of The Hockey News has a blog. His Wacky Weekend post deserves a read. In it, he briefly looks at the first two days of Free Agent open season. Here's what he had to say about the Avs:
Colorado Avalanche
Signed Up: Scott Hannan (SJ), Ryan Smyth (Edm)
Signed Out: Brett McLean (Fla), Ken Klee (Atl)
My 10 cents, in 10 words or less: Superior UFA signings, but Avs still have holes to fill.
Free Agent/Trade Grade: A+
-Other signings of note: Drury and Gomez to the Rangers; Briere, Jason Smith, and Joffrey Lupul to the Flyers; Jason Blake to Toronto; Brian Rafalski to Detroit; Paul Kariya to St. Louis; Handzus, Preissing, Nagy, and Calder to Los Angeles; Bertuzzi to Anaheim.
-Cory Schneider of BC has signed with the Vancouver Canucks. I find this a little odd. It's clear that Vancouver has chosen Luongo to be the man in the net for a while. This seems like a waste of time for Schneider. I don't see why he didn't choose to stay at BC for his senior season then see which team would pick him up after that. Sure, it would look like he had a bit of an ego, but seriously, while he may not be NHL ready this minute, his talent is wasted warming the bench...
-Also, Brian Lee has jumped the Fighting Sioux ship and signed with the Ottawa Senators. I hope he enjoys Binghamton, New York and wish him the best. Oh and tell his brother to hurry up and get to DU already!

Last I'd like to tackle the subject of site redesigns. Perhaps you have noticed, but all NHL sites are transitioning to new servers and new templates. The Colorado Avalanche can now be found at Please check it out, I think they've done a great job adapting the former Avalanche site to fit the NHL's new template. There are pros and cons to this new formalized web design scheme. First, I think it makes it easier for casual fans to explore the NHL. Since all the sites are basically the same, once you're familiar with one site, you are familiar with them all. However, I will miss some of the really cool individualized sites like the Ottawa Senators and Anaheim Ducks.

Also, it appears that the University of Denver Pioneer's are redesigning their site. Personally, I'm all for it. I think the partnership with CSTV has not served DU well considering all of the features are NOT Mac compatible. All season long, I was unable to listen to road games or watch the live video from my home computer. Not to mention, I'll certainly not miss the annoying pop-ups that even though you clicked the close icon didn't close....good riddance! Welcome the new (well almost launched)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Catching Up...

So it's been awhile. I've been busy...For the first time in University of Denver history, a non-academic department has been moved off of the University of Denver campus. I am lucky enough to be part of that department, therefore, I had the extreme pleasure of packing up my office and being moved 2.7 miles away from campus. All the while, my team was readying itself for our biggest event of the year: Reunion Weekend. I'm talking 13 events in 3 days big. So I've been busy...

Here's what's going on in my neck of the woods (thanks Al Rocher!):
-Rakhshani and Ruegsegger Invited to 2007 U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp
-DU Hockey Announces 2007-08 Schedule A side note here, there are some VERY interesting scheduling decisions here. First, DU will visit Notre Dame for their first away series. Interestingly, these games will take place on Thursday and Friday, undoubtedly due to the fact that Notre Dame will be hosting USC on the Football field that Saturday. Second, two weekends later, DU will visit Minnesota where they will play on Friday and Sunday. Once again, the hockey game appears to be bumped as the Gopher Football team will be playing Illinois at the Metrodome. Last, DU will play its first series against much hated rival CC the weekend after Thanks giving rather than the first week in December. My best guess for this change is that DU is hoping to fill more seats as most students will still be in town before the six week Winter Break begins.
-Thomas to Lead 07-08 DU Hockey Pioneers Another side note, I think it's safe to say that ALL DU fans saw this one coming a mile away. Andrew Thomas follows a long line of Defensemen to lead the Pioneers, but much more than that, he has proven that he has the ability to lead the team (hopefully to the Frozen Four right here in Denver!) throughout his college career. A hearty congratulations go out to an outstanding Pioneer.
-DU's Fisher Signs with Edmonton

And in the hockey world in general:
-The Anaheim (they'll always be Mighty to me!) Ducks won the Stanley Cup in case you've been under a rock...I would have preferred the Ottawa Senators would have won, but really I wasn't very invested in watching the finals.
-This Thursday June 14th, the NHL will hold it's annual Awards ceremony, recognizing those outstanding players in the League. The Colorado Avalanche's Paul Stastny is up for the Calder. He's been pitted against Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal, both of the Pittsburgh Penguins. I can only hope that Paul's amazing 20 game point streak will make him stand out against the Rookie leading 85 point-scoring Malkin. Also Joe Sakic was nominated for the Lady Byng, as was Pavel Datsyuk and Martin St. Louis. The Awards Show can be seen on Versus at 5:00pm MT
-Avalanche Signs Leopold, Sauer, Finger and Jones
-Stastny Shines At World Championship

Last I want to tell you about a new blog. The College Hockey (& Other Stuff) Blog is fairly new and has GREAT content. They've been kind enough to link to me and I have now added a link to them. I highly recommend this blog to anyone looking for a quick and easy fix on the world of College Hockey.

That'll do it for me today, so until next time...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Boone vs. Ruckus

I received a most interesting e-mail today. It read as follows:

Dear DU Undergraduate,

Recently, we've felt a push to bring back our beloved mascot, Boone. To empower the voice of DU students, we are quantifying this sentiment by surveying the DU undergraduate population. Please take this survey seriously as these results will be tabulated and presented to DU administration. Click here to enter the survey (url of survey was here) Please respond by Friday, June 1.

Thanks for your participation --

(I've removed the names of the students who are leading the charge...)

AUSA Senate
Student Athlete Advisory Council

When you click on the link to the survey, this is what you see:

I think this is a very interesting idea. It's my understanding that the student body was not asked for their opinions when Boone was "retired" and Ruckus usurped his job. I think this is a major reason why school spirit at DU is non-existent. I mean really, who wants to rally behind a Red-Tailed Hawk when we are calling ourselves the Pioneers? It is my fervent hope that Ruckus is retired for good and some sort of Pioneer type mascot takes his place. I understand that Boone was created by Walt Disney, which is probably one of the reasons he was done away with seeing as how it can't be cheap to have a mascot created by a legend. I therefore think the best solution here is to start from scratch. Create a Pioneer Mascot that the DU population can be proud of!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Awards Night at DU

Yesterday evening, the University of Denver Men’s Hockey team celebrated its 51st Annual Hockey Awards Evening tonight at The Cable Center on the DU campus.

Follows is a list of the Honorees…

Bill Masterton Memorial Award (MVP)-Glenn Fisher
Leading Scorer Award-Brock Trotter
Star of the Year Award-Brock Trotter
Barry Sharp Memorial Award (Rookie of the year)-Tyler Ruegsegger
Dr. Art Mason Award (Top Scholar-Athlete)-Tyler Ruegsegger and Danny King
Dr. Ken Bredesen Award (Sportsmanship)-J.D. Corbin
Bob Martin Memorial Award (Community Service)-J.D. Corbin and Brandon Vossberg
Murray Armstrong Award (Most Improved Player)-J.P. Testwuide
Dr. Ralph Verploeg Award (Most Inspirational Player)-Adrian Veideman
Keith Magnuson Memorial Award (Top Defensive Player)-Chris Butler

All-WCHA Academic Honorees (GPA of 3.0 or better) :
-Zach Blom
-Chris Butler
-Steven Cook
-J.D. Corbin
-Glenn Fisher
-Ryan Helgason
-Danny King
-Patrick Mullen
-J.P. Testwuide
-Andrew Thomas

WCHA Scholar-Athlete Award Winners (GPA of 3.5 or better) :
-Zach Blom
-Steven Cook
-J.D. Corbin
-Glenn Fisher
-Danny King

Read the official release here: Fisher Named MVP of 2006-07 Pioneers

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Round Two, Games Two

-I’m so happy that the NHL is getting time on a major network in the US. Thanks to NBC for that…
-Brett Hull is an asshole…he constantly makes references to his “prolific” (and yes I know he is 20th in all time points…) career while he belittles Ray Ferraro and his career. I’m sick of it…
-Detroit has got the SCORE! I highly doubt they will be able to win the best of seven second round series versus the San Jose Sharks.
-HASEK! Oh wow…that was quite the give away, he’s gonna be kicking the crap out of himself later for that one…
-Datsyuk, oh where oh where have you gone? Remember how you just singed a seven year, $46.9 million (that’s $6.7 million per year)? You did a great job in the first round of showing you deserved it, but have been invisible in these first two games of the second round.
-GO GO MATTY!! (Carle that is…)
-that’s what I’m talking about Datsyuk! Set up Zetterberg and show your value…GREAT play!
-Patrick Rissmiller out of Holy Cross…still makes me laugh that Minnesota sucks so bad….
-Mike Babcock looks really confused throughout this game…that’s probably not a good thing…
-lots of mention of college teams (Holy Cross, Michigan Tech, University of Denver) I love it!
-Pierre MacGuire is surprisingly not as annoying as usual…also he has a pretty big gash on his forehead…perhaps he took a puck to the head?
-seriously Ron Wilson? That is some saweet facial hair you got goin………
-wow Daniel Briere, that is some outfit…blue spandex shirt, taupe stripped jacket…I’m in awe of the terribleness….
-great interview by Danny, excellent job of highlighting the talent on the Sabres, especially classy that he said the Sabres are led by Chris Drury when Briere is in fact the co-captain.
-there are few things better in hockey than a shorthanded goal, especially when the home team is down in the playoffs…
-throwing octopi on the ice is easily one of the grossest things…I would have to be one of the people who has to clean those things off the ice, yuck!
-I really like the Versus/NBC Inside the Glass features. It’s pretty sweet that the teams allow a reporter to basically sit on their benches and listen in…
-ok, Hasek really frightens me (and obviously the fans in Detroit as well) every time he leaves the net to play the puck. Kinda like Marty Turco, he just shouldn’t leave his net, EVER!
-so for the last several weeks, NBC has been pushing a special on Barbaro. Seriously? It’s probably because I don’t really like horses in general but I’m really tired of hearing about this horse in particular. Yes, I understand he was an amazing horse, however, I wonder if the American public really gives a hoot about this horse…
-DATSYUK SCORES! Holy cow that was amazing…
-I <3 Patrick Marleau
-Jimmy Jimmy Dowd!! I miss him…
-I almost forgot how much I enjoyed watching Zach Parise and Travis Zajac…almost
-“There was a time when a two goal lead for New Jersey was money…” seriously?
-Alfredsson shows what being the leader of a team means…this playoff run he’s stepped up when his team has really needed him.
-lol at Martin Brodeur throwing away his glove after allowing 4 goals on his glove side in the first game of the Sens/Devils series
-HEATLY SCORES with 26.4 seconds left in regulation! That’s the best…
-Now in double overtime…John V talking about how hungry the players are since they haven’t eaten since 1pm. It’s about 11:40 in NJ right now….
-Jamie Langenbrunner on the breakaway scores 1:55 in the 2OT! I was pulling for Ottawa but since Langebrunner scored on an outlet pass from Travis Zajac, I guess it’s all good…

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

It's crappy outside...

so naturally, it made me think of hockey season...and here are some funny hockey videos to brighten even the gloomiest day! ENJOY!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Some more thoughts on the NHL Playoffs

-Does Brian Engblom own a mirror? I somehow doubt it judging my his absolutely TERRIBLE hair….
-I’ve been less than impressed with Malkin’s play in the Senators/Penguins series. It’s hard to say if that comes from his apparent lack of visibility in the series or if Ottawa has just done a great job of eliminating his effectiveness. I’m not inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I’m most definitely biased in my opinion of Malkin as I think Stastny deserves the Calder more than Malkin but that’s another story…
-this game has no fire…it’s really boring….i’m not even really paying attention to it anymore…that’s sad…
-Staal makes an impression. He makes some great decisions with the puck and is strong on defense as well as faceoffs.
-I love the CBC broadcasts…because of this, I’ve decided to move to Canada…
-That was some hit by Cleary on Phaneuf…
-Could Lombardi be any hotter? I don’t think it’s possible…

Friday, April 13, 2007

Random thoughts from the second night of the NHL playoffs

-Seriously Iginla? Now you think you fight? Oh please…stick to “goal scoring” I know you’re trying to get your team (currently down 4-1) motivated for the next game, but don’t break your hands and make yourself useless to your team…
-Kris Draper and Chris Chelios=Two of the ugliest hockey players around….yikes!
-Datsyuk was AMAZING…I guess when a team signs a guy for a 7 year contract, he better make good on that show of confidence…scoring your first goal in 27 playoff games will make an impression!
-I love Eddie Olczyk…he’s probably my favorite color commentary guy on Versus…
-I’ve had Phaneuf of Dion! He’s a goon…and not in a good way……
-I love that Bud Light commercial where the guys do Rock Paper Scissors for the last Bud Light…and the one guy throws a literal rock at the other guy! “Low Five” It’s funny EVERY time! Good thing I like it cuz it was on about a hundred times…
-Henrik Zettterberg=Hot!
-I love when Versus has bonus coverage and they tap into the Canadian broadcasts. Tonight it was the TSN broadcast of the Sabres/Islanders game. My one problem with the broadcast: Pierre MacGuire…he chimes in constantly from the bench, so annoying…plus can we talk about his pink shirt and multi-pastel colored tie? Sorry Pierre, but you’re no Coach Gwozdecky…Pink is NOT your color…….
-Speaking of, I REALLY love his all black pads…very classy, very different.
-Three Words: Mullet of Destiny! I’ve really missed seeing Ryan Smyth…
-The number of former College players in the Sabres/Islanders game is astonishing! Not to mention, Miller and Dubielewicz, two of the great College goaltenders in the last decade facing each other…it doesn’t get much better than that!
-HOLY RYAN MILLER POKE CHECK! He blanked the Mullet of Destiny and the crowd erupts!
-Speaking of the crowd, holy moly are they loud! Probably most noticeable when they are booing every time Satan touches the puck…
-I have to admit, the “Buffa-Slug” logo has really grown on me this season. However I REALLY miss the Sabres Third Jerseys from last, the red ones with the crossed sabers on the front.
-Way to go Drew Stafford with the getting kicked out of the game at the end in defense of your teammates. Great game for Drew in general.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Some Notes

Last Saturday, Michigan State won the 2007 NCAA National Championship in St. Louis, MO. It was quite a weekend of hockey, with Michigan State beating out heavily favored Maine in the Semifinal, and Boston College (unfortunately) eliminated North Dakota, for the second year in a row, to advance to the title game. When it came down to it and I had to pick a team to root for on Saturday, I had to choose Michigan State, and here’s why: Jeff Lerg. He has such an inspiring story that I couldn’t help but hope he could win a national championship. In case you hadn’t heard, there’s really nothing about Jeff Lerg that screams Hockey Player. He’s 5’6”, 150 pounds, and has fairly severe asthma. Doesn’t exactly sound like a recipe for goalie success…However he beat all the odds and found himself in the National Championship game in his sophomore season. Overall, the game was quite boring, I’m not gonna lie. However things got interesting in the second period, when Boston College scored the first goal of the game. Brian Boyle, the overly hyped forward turned defenseman Captain of BC, scored on a power play. It only got better from there…Michigan State went on to score 3 unanswered goals, on an empty netter, to win the national championship, their first in 21 years. Congrats to the Spartans!

The NHL playoffs kicked off last night with a bang! I had the opportunity to see Ottawa host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Versus. As I expected, the Senators handled the Penguins with ease, winning 6-3 on goals from Andrey Meszaros, Chris Kelly, Tom Preissing, Dany Heatley, Chris Neil, and Mike Comrie. Penguin’s goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was chased with 8 minutes left in the third, which resulted in Pittsburgh scoring two goals to make the loss a little less embarrassing. Sid the Kid’s playoff debut didn’t go exactly as he planned, having scored only one goal on three shots and ending minus-1. There was however an apparent Crosby goal disallowed; as it was determined he pushed the puck into the net with his hand. The Senators played a solid game with great fore-check. Quite honestly, they manhandled the Penguins resulting in a very chippy end to the game. At 19:22, there was a small scuffle around the Ottawa bench as Jarkko Ruutu took exception to a check. He was assessed two minor penalties for Roughing. “Toilet Paper” Tom Preissing was also assessed a minor for roughing and, probably one of the best penalties I’ve ever seen on a boxscore, the Ottawa bench was assessed two minutes for Abusive language…seriously?

The second game on Versus last night was Vancouver hosting Dallas. It was a battle of two goalies I hate…Luongo with his greasy man mane and Fat Ass Turco with his, well, fat ass…This one was way to boring to watch the whole way through. I turned it off at 9:30 MST, which ended up being a very good thing as it went into 4 overtimes! By all accounts it was a great game for Vancouver fans, who spent nearly 5 and half hours watching their team. The astonishing stat of the game: Luongo faced 76 shots in the 138 minutes he played, while Turco faced a mere 56. Canucks won this one 5-4 on a (surprise surprise!) Sedin from Sedin goal, Henrik being the scorer.

There were two other games: San Jose at Nashville and Minnesota at Anaheim. In Nashville, Matt Carle scored the first goal of the game, which ended in a 5-4 2OT win for San Jose. Jonathan Cheechoo could be lost for a few games after a nasty knee-on-knee check from Scott Hartnell. The Sharks have said that Cheechoo is being evaluated and his return timeline is uncertain.

In Anaheim, easily the most boring playoff tilt, so boring in fact that only one of the games will be shown on national television in the US and that’s only because there aren’t any Eastern Conference match-ups to show before the Canucks/Stars game…But I digress…Anaheim beat Minnesota 2-1 on goals from Teemu Selanne and Dustin Penner.

Tonight’s Versus schedule will feature the Calgary Flames visiting Detroit. Other series playing tonight:
Islanders @ Sabres (Go DUBIE!!!!! GO DUBIE!!!!! But really I hope the Sabres win the series, just not beat Dubie!)
Lightening @ Devils (I have a soft spot for former UND players, so good luck Parise and Zajac!)
Rangers @ Thrashers (I could really care less what happens here…)

In Avalanche news, the Avs have signed TJ Hensick…I’m less than thrilled. Yes, I know Hensick is an amazing player, however I REALLY HATE his attitude…He’s immature and whiney. This was shown in the West Regional when he was given a 10 minute misconduct…He claims the ref was “chirping” at him the whole game, however I noticed he was approaching the ref after every play with some complaint. I’ve also heard that he had no interest in signing with the Avs because, having spent his entire life in Michigan, he really wants to play for the Red Wings…We’ll see how things pan out there…..

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Lets take stock....

So it is mid April and my hockey season is over....OVER. The Pioneers didn't make the playoffs so I put all of my hope in to the Avalanche, and there for a while there was a real shot that we could possibly over take the final spot from Calgary....then the team decided "hey its been a while since we really sucked so lets try that again." Picture this, I'm sitting on my new couch with the lucky hockey pj pants on and we are oh so close to winning the game when Budaj lets in like 800 goals and all of the sudden it hits me, I have like five months of no hockey. Yeah I could convert and root for another team, and by another team I mean San Jose...for obvious reasons, but it would just not be the same. So I am currently trying to find out what normal people do on the weekends. I vaguely remember a time when I regularly saw my family and every conversation with friends didn't begin with "Do you have hockey this weekend." The view from where I am sitting is currently now I am counting down the days until the Burgundy and White game. If you are feeling the bleakness and sadness that it the recent hockey situation in Colorado let me know we can wallow in out sadness together....

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

And away we go...

DU's Dingle Signs with Anaheim.

The article says it all...Dingle's left DU. Let the bleeding begin...This is a minor surprise to me as he was undrafted. I think he could have been a legitimate Hobey contender next year, not to mention a leader of a young DU team. I wish him the very best in his future career!

This news was widely circulated last week when the Steamboat Pilot and Today reported last week that DU had already signed with the Ducks. However the Denver Post had a
different view of the situation. Leaving many fans feeling a bit confused...

Other rumoured departures for the Pioneers are Geoff Paukovich, Chris Butler, and even Senior (and really only) Goalie Peter's hoping that the boys don't put the team into too much of a bind for next season...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

NCAA West Regional

What a weekend! Today was the conclusion of the NCAA Regional Tournament. The Frozen Four competitors are set: Boston College, Maine, Michigan State, and North Dakota. I had the great opportunity to watch the NCAA West Regional held in Denver, CO at the Pepsi Center. The four teams that competed were Air Force, Michigan, Minnesota, and North Dakota.

Competition began yesterday afternoon when the Air Force Academy Falcons took on the #1 overall seed Minnesota Golden Gophers. With Air Force as the only team from Colorado to make the NCAA tournament, crowd support was squarely placed on them. Air Force got off to a great start, having Jeff Hajner scoring the only goal in the first period 9:55 into the contest. Jay Barriball evened up the score 9 minutes into the second, however Air Force answered back with a power play goal at the 19:23 mark of the second. The Falcons seemed to be in good shape headed in the third, especially after Brett Nylander scored about 5 minutes into the third, however the Gophers, perhaps remembering their embarrassing loss to Holy Cross in last years’ regional, finally showed up the play, scoring three unanswered goals in the third period to win the game 4-3, advancing to the final. From a Colorado Avalanche fan perspective, all of the Avs’ prospects that were involved in this game (Mike Carman, Ryan Stoa and Derek Peltier from Minnesota) all got on the boar with either goals or assists.

In the second game on Saturday, the Michigan Wolverines faced the Fighting Sioux of North Dakota. To say that this game was exciting doesn't really come close to what it was. These two pretty stacked with talent teams combined for 13 goals (which I believe ties a record for most goals in an NCAA tournament game). Luckily for us all, North Dakota came out on top beating the Wolverines 8-5. I've read many opinions on this game (lack of appreciable goal tending and/or defense, the refs let everything get out of hand, etc.) however I think it was all a hockey game should be. There was intensity, grit, a bit of chippiness, and lots of goals. Personally, I loved seeing 13 goals scored...a comment on the two Avs prospects that were seen in this match-up. Senior forward TJ Hensick and Sophomore Goalie Billy Sauer both put in pretty good performances. Hensick scored twice and had one assist while Sauer made 19 saves on 27 shots, some of which were pretty amazing. My biggest observation from these two is that Hensick is a seemed after every play he was in the ref's face complaining about some perceived slight. He was penalized for this with a 10 minute misconduct at the 7:34 mark of the third period. I've heard many rumours that he has no intention of signing with the Avs as he would much rather play for the Detroit Red Wings, to which my comment would be, great...they can have him! Sauer has some great potential, it's good to have him in the pipeline.

The final game, showcasing (in my opinion) the two best teams to watch in the nation, Minnesota vs. North Dakota, lived up to its billing. It was a very tight game throughout. I thought North Dakota earned their win splendidly. Minnesota, though Avalanche prospect Mike Carman got them on the board first, seemed to be playing catch-up the entire game. The crowd was simply was pretty evenly split between those rooting for North Dakota and those rooting for Minnesota. Chris Porter had one of the best weekends of his career, scoring the game winner in OT on Sunday, as well as scoring twice and assisting once on Saturday. He earned his tournament MVP title to be sure.

Overall, I think the city of Denver did a great job of hosting this event. I feel confident that next year's Frozen Four will be one of the best the NCAA has ever seen. It really says something about the state of hockey in Colorado that even though DU and CC didn't make the tournament, we were able to break the three game attendance record set by Ralph Englestad Arena last year with the reported 33,000+ attendees.

As usual, I took many (over 100!) pictures...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The More the Merrier

I've posted this elsewhere, but seriously, the more the merrier right?

In regards to the West Regional at the Pepsi Center in Denver: we have three Club Level (Section 252 Row 4) seats for all three games. Prefer face value but price is negotiable. $30 for each Saturday game, $40 for Final on Sunday.

Contact Catie

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Put a fork in me, I'm done!

With DU’s season officially coming to an end today having not been selected for the NCAA Tournament, I’d like to say a few things about each of our wonderful players.

First and foremost, thanks to the Senior Class! It’s been quite an amazing four years and we appreciate your endless hard work.

Zach Blom-I enjoyed the times when he was on the ice. His work ethic is invaluable and I really hoped to see him play more often. Not to mention, he is definitely one of the nicest players.

Cody Brookwell-I was pleasantly surprised by his play this year. I’m looking forward to the next three years as Brookwell blossoms into the next Ryan Caldwell. Also his lack of undergarments is always amusing…

Chris Butler-Once again, a staple of our blue line, he never fails to do his part. I would be very disappointed should he decide not to return next year, however I think he might be a flight risk…

Steven Cook-Probably the hardest worker player on the team. He plays his heart out every game and does many of the little things right.

J.D. Corbin-We greatly missed him this season. It was such a waste of talent for him to have broken his leg. I wish him all the best in the future and look forward to the day when I get to see him in an Avalanche jersey.

Ryan Dingle-My choice for MVP for the 2006-2007 season. He worked hard and got the job done. His 37 points were second only to Trotter’s 40 points, however he led the team with 9 power play goals, 2 short handed goals, and was tied with Paukovich for game winning goals with 4. He was also selected for the All-WCHA Third Team. I look forward to his senior season as he should be an Alternate Captain.

Glenn Fisher-In my opinion, he was the best goalie DU had this season. His four seasons with DU have each been so different and I think he stepped up his game this year. I believe that he is an NHL caliber goalie and look forward to seeing him suit up for the Oilers in the future.

T.J. Fast-Though he didn’t complete the season with DU I’d like to say a little about him. His departure hurt the team more than anyone could have expected. I wish he would have stuck it out until the end of the year. His play over the last two years has been adequate. I have the feeling that should he have stayed, he would have had an expanded role next year. Best of luck to him.

Brian Gifford-One of five players who was seen in all the DU’s 40 games, Gifford’s work ethic is what makes him stand out. His next three years should be great to watch.

Matt Glasser-Hey, look who it is! I was pleased with his performance in the 12 games he saw ice time. I hope to see more of him next year.

Mike Handza-There’s not a whole lot more to say about Handza that hasn’t already been said. The Water Bottle incident of ’06 was classic Handza and I will miss his second period ritual of heckling the opposing team’s goalie.

Ryan Helgason-He had so many great opportunities on the breakaway due to his speed. Another team workhorse, he’ll definitely be missed.

Danny King-What would we do without King? Mannino would have to look for his own towels and water bottle during breaks…not to mention the other players wouldn’t have anything to aim at during warm-ups. But really, King brought a lot of character to the team and I wish him the best.

Peter Mannino-He’s all we have for next year. I hope he’s ready…

Julian Marcuzzi-The mystery continues…Marcuzzi is not a bad defenseman, but he never seems to play at home. I hope things work out for him and that he can see more quality minutes next year.

Tom May-I’m so very glad he cut his hair! His presence was missed in the first half of the year and I was happy with is play the remainder of the year. I hope he can step up his game next year.

Patrick Mullen-Interesting to see him as a defenseman later in the year, but his goals are some of my favorites. They are usually goals that have taken a lot of hard work to come to but have a certain flash to them. May he have to opportunity to shine next year.

Geoff Paukovich-After an early season slump, I was happy to see Paukovich come out of his shell with May back in the line-up. I hope to see the two of them back at next year as they are such a dynamic duo.

Rhett Rakhshani-One of my favorite freshman, he never fails to amuse. Whether he’s taking shots sitting on his butt or taking out opposing players with him, it’s obvious that he works very hard. While he’s been listed elsewhere as a possible flight risk, I hope to see him next year. He’s also one of the nicest players on the team.

Tyler Ruegsegger-My other favorite freshman, if I were giving out awards, he would get my Hardest Working player award. He gives his all every shift of every game. I’ve not seen him give up, ever. It’s great to see another Colorado kid getting it done at DU. Another stand out guy off the ice as well. Special thanks to him for putting up with our multitude of questions at his signing!

Keith Seabrook-He has all the tools to become a great offensive defenseman. I would like to see more effort from him. He will be a vital part of the d-corps next year, especially if Butler decides to leave early.

J.P. Testwuide-His foray into the Forward position has turned out well for him. While he’s not a scorer he does the little things right. Not to mention, his mom might be the coolest lady ever and the fact that his brother plays for CC makes that rivalry even better.

Andrew Thomas-By far the best defensive defenseman on the roster. He’s the kind of defenseman I wish DU had more of. He works hard every shift and I think is in great position to be Captain of the 2007-2008 team.

Brock Trotter-While I’m not a fan of Trotter, I see his value. His 40 points led the team this year. However, I think he needs a BIG attitude adjustment. Having overheard his feelings about the team and his role, I feel he could use a good kick in the ass. I sincerely hope that over the summer he can realize that there is no I in team for a good reason…

Adrian Veideman-His leadership was vital this year. I have greatly enjoyed watching him develop over the last four years and I wish him the very best in the future.

Brandon Vossberg-He performed to expectations this year. I wouldn’t mind seeing him in a few more games next year.

And now I’d like to present Our Season in Pictures (thanks for the inspiration LetsGoMavs!) courtesy of PiosAvsFan, MeganDU, and myself, csmith10du

Monday, March 12, 2007

Megan's Mourning Period Has Begun

It's official, my hockey season is over....
This has been the time of year that I have been dreading for a long time....some of my all time favorite University of Denver hockey players are leaving us and going on to bigger and brighter futures (que inspirational music). With Corbin and Fisher headed to different NHL franchises, Cook off to Law School, Handza going wherever he goes to be awesome (cuz lets face it he is glorious) and Vieds, Helgason, and King off to life after college hockey the Pioneers will be lacking for more than just talent. This senior class brought class, leadership and enormous talent when they walked on to this Pioneers team, and the school has a lot to be grateful to them for. On a more upbeat note I have gotten together a few awards for the Pios that have really made this year special for me as an obsessive college hockey follower and die hard Denver University fan.

Welcome to the Golden Megs, as voted on by me and me alone! (which is fine because I am always right)

Lets start the night off by saying that Glenn Fisher officially deserves all of the awards but I will attempt to be fair and balanced...

The Golden Meg for Best Checking (whether it be someone else or yourself) in to the boards goes to... JD Corbin! This guy can be skating along and suddenly fly in to the boards for no apparent reason, good news is he usually takes at least two opponents down with him. Glorious!

The Golden Meg for Best Professional Badass on the team goes to ....Mike Handza. Not a game goes by that Handza is not in the middle of something starting up some shit. I love it. I literally wait the entire first period and first intermission until the team skates out for the beginning of the second. This is when Mike Handza really shines! He is always the last Pio player to skate out of the locker room and on to the ice. This is to make sure that the opposing goalie is in the crease which he promptly skates through and says something to the goalie that I cannot write on this blog! It is truly the best thing since sliced bread...He has also been seen drinking out of the opposing goalies water bottle and is always smiling. He will be greatly missed.

The Golden Meg for Nicest Player goes to ......Zach Blom, this guy is so nice its almost creepy. It is truly a breath of fresh air to meet a DU hockey player that is so nice outside of the freshmen class. Close Second is Glasser, also very nice. Lets face it he put up with my drunk friends yelling look who it is, on more that one occasion after hockey games...poor guy

The Golden Meg for Best First Goal goes to.....Gifford, in Wisco, I was there it was glorious that's all!

The Golden Meg for What the Hell Were you Thinking Leaving Us Dammit goes to..... Stastny, seriously man...what were you thinking we really could have used that 18 game point streak this season...Carle we also miss you..

The Golden Meg for Guy I Would not want to Get Stuck in the Corner and Be Flattened By goes to ....Pauko, seriously would you want to be on this guys shit list ...I think not!

The Golden Meg for Best Hockey Apparel goes to...Brookwell, From all I can tell this guy goes shirtless under his uni...This is the real reason I never miss a game...Close Second Reugsegger, that yellow mouth guard is awesome!

The Golden Meg for Most Likely to Overreact to this Post goes to Marcuzzi, there is a story behind this... its funny

The Golden Meg for Most Likely to Miss a Breakaway goes to ...its a tie! .... Helgason (you are still awesome) and Trotter....not so awesome. Want proof, watch the lemon video.

The Golden Meg for Best nacho Eating Ability goes to ....Tom May. Ok so when he didn't play the guy sat directly across from us and let me tell you this guy can pack away nachos faster than a starving family of ten.....

The Golden Meg for Best Goal Celebration goes to ....Reugsegger. He is so entertaining when he scores, which he usually does when he is on his knees. Wonderous!

The Golden Meg for Making me Yell the Most (not in excitement) goes to ...Dingle, for some reason even when he is not on the ice I find myself yelling Dammit Dingle when I am angry.

The Golden Meg for Hottest Player on and off the Ice goes to ....Glenn Fisher, I had to....tear. I'm gonna miss him and his skating backwards in to the net every game....

The Golden Meg for Most Likely to Score While Laying Flat on His Stomach goes to ...Rhett Rakhshani, this guy is beyond unbelievable when he is on the ice. I am not exaggerating when I say that he is always in the middle of every awesome play. He is highly entertaining and I am very excited to see him in the coming years. He is also my new Glenn Fisher, all good things will be because of him and he will be mentioned in every single one of my articles....

And last but certainly not least, the Golden Meg for Lifetime Achievement goes to our captain, Adrian Veideman for his all around awesomeness. I can't really narrow his awesomeness down to one particular part of his play but he was a great asset to the team.

This concludes this years Golden Megs, it was a great year, with many ups and downs, then some more downs but it was easy to see that they guys worked hard. They fought til the end and didn't quite come out the way they wanted to. Until next year I will be rooting for Bobby Goepfert, no not St. Cloud State, just Bobby G.

Friday, March 09, 2007

You've said it all....

Overall, I thought DU's performance this evening was better than the last three games. I thought they worked a bit harder and kept pace with the Badgers. Several observations from tonight:
-Trotter (aka One Man Team) really needs to start passing...I know he thinks he's the best player ever, but he's not getting it done right now. I've seen so many lost scoring opportunities because Trotter has elected to make a selfish play...
-Where the hell was Mannino tonight? Yes he made 34 saves tonight, but he allowed 3 VERY soft goals...
-Seabrook was probably one of the best players on the ice for DU tonight. He had good defensive zone coverage and had several great hard shots and good checks.
-DU dressed 5 defensemen Thomas, Veideman, Butler, Seabrook, and Brookwell. Oddly enough, Vossberg was listed as a defensemen, but I don't recall seeing him on the ice at all...Meanwhile Marcuzzi and Blom did not dress and Mullen, who recently has been playing defense was out with just doesn't get any easier on defense and I fear next year will be much worse with the departure of at least one, more like two, key defensemen.
-The crowd was AMAZING!
-Brian Elliott turned in another great performance...i'll be glad when he graduates...

Looking forward to game 2...hopefully the players wake up some more and realize it's do and the rest of the series or miss the NCAA tourney.....

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Drop the Puck!

So after two utterly frustrating weekends of college hockey it’s come to this. The first round of the WCHA playoffs is looming in the very near future. The Denver Pioneers with host the University of Wisconsin Badgers for a best of three series March 9-11. It is shaping up to be quite dogfight with the Badgers fighting to defend their National Championship and Denver looking to secure an NCAA tournament berth. Predictions on this series have been all over the place, mostly Wisconsin taking the series in three games based on the fact that Brian Elliott has the ability to steal a game (or two). Personally, I’m not sure how much faith I have in the Pioneers after last weekend.

Last Friday was the single most boring, lackluster, LAZY performance I have seen from DU…EVER! The only thing keeping the score from being 8-0 was CC’s poor team play. Glenn Fisher’s performance, which was mediocre at best, didn’t help matters. The defense suffered with the suspension of Cody Brookwell (for a still unspecified offense) and the offense was non-existent…

Saturday was not much of an improvement for DU, who, behind the completely uninspired play of Peter Mannino, allowed 5 power play goals, three of which came in the 1st period. Of those three, two came on a 5 minute major penalty to Cody Brookwell who was ejected from the game for checking from behind, a very poor play by him to be sure. The one upside to that game was that DU was able to come from behind and tied the game to earn 1 point against CC for this season. I have to admit, I was in attendance at the World Arena on Saturday night but was so disappointed with DU’s play that I left with two minutes remaining in the game, thereby missing DU’s comeback…While CC won the Gold Pan Trophy for the first time in three years, it makes me feel better to know that the original Gold Pan is in safe hands….

I dearly hope that the disappointment of losing on Senior Night and coming away with only 1 point out of a total 8 from play with CC is motivation enough to fire up the Pioneers for this weekend.

Meanwhile the Colorado Avalanche are riding a season high 5 game win streak! The Avs have put in 5 solid efforts against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Chicago Blackhawks, the Detroit Redwings, the Boston Bruins, and the Buffalo Sabres. To top if all off, Paul Stastny broke the franchise record for rookie point streak and has tied the NHL record held by Teemu Selanne with is 17 game point streak. The Avalanche will have a chance to win a 6th straight game when they visit the Minnesota Wild this coming Sunday.

On a side note, this scathing blog regarding Erik Johnson’s interview with John Buccigross is absolutely hilarious and true…ENJOY!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

It’s an epidemic….

That’s right folks; there is an epidemic in Denver. I know what you’re thinking. No, it’s not Bird Flu or Ebola….It is however much worse and possibly lethal. That’s right, I know it’s terrible, but is seems that both the Colorado Avalanche and the Denver Pioneers have contracted Inablitiytowinitis…symptoms include blowing multi-point leads, goalie carousels, flat and/or uninspired play, losses to “weak” teams, and ultimately an inability to win games.

Last Saturday was easily the most frustrating day of my life, here’s the scoop: I began the day by watching the Colorado Avalanche play the Edmonton Oilers. After heading in the second period with a 1-0 lead over the Oilers, the Avalanche come out flat allowing the Oilers to take control of the game by scoring 3 unanswered goals. In the second, Ales Hemsky scored to tie, then in the third Ryan “The Mullet” Smyth and Shawn “I don’t look old enough to have played 400 games in the NHL but this was my 400th” Horcoff scored 30 seconds apart. Joe Sakic scored with 30 seconds remaining after Peter Budaj was pulled but Super Joe can’t do it all and the Avs lost 3-2 on their home ice.

What made this loss so frustrating was that Budaj allowed two very soft goals and the team just didn’t play. They reminded me of the peewee teams that are often showcased during intermissions with the caliber of play. Here’s where I’m gonna pull out my soapbox, Budaj is not ready to be a starting goaltender. He often has poor positioning as well as his inability to properly read the play. The issue that I’ve seen throughout this season is that it seems the team plays better defensively in from of Budaj because he is a back-up caliber goalie, whereas in front of Theodore, the team takes defense for granted. I believe that a goalie is a last line of defense as well as a big play maker. The team must play well defensively to support the goalie, while the goalie must do his best to “come up big” on the shots that are impossible for the defense to stop. It’s clear the defense is not doing their job when Theodore faces 42 shots. Granted, Theodore is not doing his job when he allows 4 goals on those 42 shots but regardless I think Coach Quenneville should take a serious look at his strategy for goalie management. Admittedly last year was far worse, having seen 4 goalies play for the Avs. However, at the current rate, the Avs are on pace for 41 wins, 28 losses, and 7 OT losses.

The rest of the games this week were pretty dismal as well, but it didn’t start that way. The Avs hosted the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, pulling out an amazing come-from-behind 5-4 OT win. Thursday saw the Avs fall to the Atlanta Thrashers in a 6-3 tilt at the Pepsi Center. Today the Avs met the Dallas Stars, losing 5-7 in another frustratiting game. Oddly enough 4 goalies played in this game, Budaj having been relieved by Theodore and (Fat Ass) Turco being relieved by Mike Smith.

On the DU side, the Pioneers seem to be losing control of their season. Last Saturday saw the Pios lose to the basement dwelling Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs 6-4. The Pioneers allowed 3 PP goals and 2 shorthanded goals. Senior goalie Glenn Fisher made 21 saves in the loss, which, in my opinion, was a consequence of terrible defense. With Cody Brookwell out for the weekend with a sprained knee, DU only 4 viable defensemen to use, Adrian Veideman, Andrew Thomas, Chris Butler, and Keith Seabrook. While Julian Marcuzzi and Zach Blom both dressed, they can’t really be called viable d-men as they are some of DU’s greatest liabilities. While I hate to admit it, I think the loss of TJ Fast has hurt the D-corp in that DU no longer has 3 full lines to work with.

Besides the poor play of some of our defensemen, the forwards really need to step up and think better defensively. This can be seen in looking at who was on the ice during the two shorthanded goals. Trotter, Dingle, Ruegsegger, Rakhshani, and Butler are currently serving as DU’s first Power Play unit as the team has struggled with scoring on the man advantage. However, these 5 players were on the ice for both of UMD’s shorthanded goals. While it’s true that these 5 also happen to be the team’s leading scorers, it’s a matter for concern that only Rakhshani ended the evening not on the minus side.

This weekend things got a little worse. DU traveled to Houghton, MI to face the Michigan Tech Huskies. Friday night saw the Pioneers lose 2-1. Peter Mannino made 14 saves in the loss. The bright spot of the night was that Patrick Mullen, who has not scored a goal since December 9 against Minnesota State, scored the only goal for DU. Saturday was only slightly better as the game ended in a 4-4 tie. Peter Mannino once again got the nod as starting goalie. DU blew a 2 goal lead in the first, allowing a PP and even strength goal. They regained the lead in the second on the Power Play, only to lose it once again on a soft goal 20 seconds after Brock Trotter scored. Shortly thereafter, Peter Mannino was pulled in favor of Glenn Fisher. However, it looked like Tech was going to pull out the win when Malcolm Gwilliam’s (I really love his last name…) wrist shot “trickled past” Fisher 10 minutes in to the third period. Then Chris Butler blasted a puck from the neutral zone, surprising the Tech goalie to tie the game. The Pioneers were unable to capitalize on an OT power play, leading to the tie.

My theory for why both the Colorado Avalanche and the Denver Pioneers have contracted terrible cases of Inabilitytowinitis: they watch each other play too much! Having been to several Avalanche games this season, it never fails that there are at least 5 DU players at the Pepsi Center during any given home game. Concordantly, on several occasions Avalanche players (Wojtek Wolski, Brett McLean, Brad Richardson, John-Michael Liles, and former Pioneers Paul Stastny and Mark Rycroft) have been spotted in Magness Arena. Several months ago, the Denver Sports Guide featured a great article centered on the relationship between the Colorado Avalanche and the Denver Pioneers. It’s quick an interesting read that I highly recommend. My question is, are they too close? Do they share each others’ pitfalls and strengths because of their relationship? Maybe I’m making things up, but these teams seem almost identical to me…