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 Mannino...here'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 whiner...it 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 amazing...it 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 Mono...it 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 die...win 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!