Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Results Are In: 6th Place in Polls

The annual kick-off to the college hockey season is here; the media and caoches polls for the WCHA are in.   UMD is 6th in both polls and both are almost exactly the same.  The only difference is in the 7 and 8 positions between CC and Mankato.  Everyone must have the same assumptions and feelings about these teams.  Of course it all must be decided for real on the ice, but it seems that a consensus has been reached

Sept. 29 — Denver is the runaway favorite to win the WCHA this season according to both the league’s coaches and media.

The Pioneers took eight of the 10 first-place votes in the Grand Forks Herald coaches poll, while 23 of the 25 voters in the media poll put Denver first.

North Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota and St. Cloud State rounded out the projected top half of the standings in both polls.

Minnesota forward Jordan Schroeder was the choice for player of the year by the media, and he shared that honor with St. Cloud State forward Ryan Lasch in the coaches’ voting.

St. Cloud State goaltender Mike Lee was the consensus pick for rookie of the year.

The all-league first team, picked by the media, included Schroeder, Lasch and a tie between Minnesota-Duluth’s Justin Fontaine and Denver’s Rhett Rakhshani at forward; Denver’s Patrick Wiercioch and North Dakota’s Chay Genoway on defense; and Denver goaltender Marc Cheverie.

Here is the coaches’ poll:

Team (first-place votes) Points

1. Denver (8)                  80
2. North Dakota (2)        70
3. Wisconsin                   61
4. Minnesota                   58
5. St. Cloud State            55
6. Minnesota-Duluth        37
7. Minnesota State          34
8. Colorado College        26
9. Alaska-Anchorage      20
10. Michigan Tech           9

And here is the media poll:

Team (first-place votes) Points

1. Denver (23)               248
2. North Dakota (1)       205
3. Wisconsin                  190
4. Minnesota (1)            186
5. St. Cloud State          152
6. Minnesota-Duluth      118
7. Colorado College      101
8. Minnesota State         88
9. Alaska-Anchorage     57
10. Michigan Tech         30

What is very interesting is the polls are the formats and the number of voters are different, but the results are the same.  Coaches vote, obviously, in the coachs' poll and cannot vote their team as #1.  The media poll does not have rules like the coaches. 

The media panel is made up of: Kevin Allenspach, St. Cloud Times; Roman Augustoviz, Star Tribune; Andy Baggot, Wisconsin State Journal; Mike Chambers, Denver Post; Bruce Ciskie, UMD radio/; Chris Dilks, Western College Hockey Blog; Shane Frederick, Mankato Free Press; John Gilbert,; Kurt Haider, UAA radio; Dirk Hembroff, MTU radio; Tim Hennessey, UND radio; Ken Landau, CC radio; Don Lyons, SCSU radio; Todd D. Milewski,; Dan Myers, ; Jess Myers, Hockey Magazine; Joe Paisley, Colorado Springs Gazette; Kevin Pates, Duluth News Tribune; Brian Posick, UW radio; Brad Elliott Schlossman, Grand Forks Herald; Wally Shaver, Minnesota radio; Theresa Spisak,; Jay Stickney, Denver radio; Mike Sullivan, MSU radio; Doyle Woody, Anchorage Daily News.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Deadline Looms for University of North Dakota

The time has come for UND to receive permission or dop their nickname of Fighting Sioux.  The October 1 deadline is a week away and the prospects for UND keeping the name are not good.

From today's Saint Paul Pioneer Press:

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Members of the Spirit Lake Sioux tribe who oppose the University of North Dakota's Fighting Sioux nickname say they will seek reversal of a Tribal Council resolution supporting the moniker.

Erich Longie says opponents plan to meet with the Council members on Monday and ask them where they get the authority to give UND "perpetual" permission to use the nickname.

The state Board of Higher Education has voted to abolish UND's nickname and Indian head logo unless it gets a 30-year agreement from the state's two Sioux tribes by Oct. 1. The Standing Rock Tribal Council has refused to approve a reservation vote on it, but an April vote on the Spirit Lake reservation found a majority in support. The Council last week then passed a resolution confirming the result.

Longie says Spirit Lake opponents do not believe the Council can give perpetual permission. He says future councils should be able to issue new resolutions opposing the nickname.
It will be interesting to see what UND will do.  No nick name this year?  A blank jersey?  Flickertails again?  One more week and we should know.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Aikins Captain

For the upcoming season Drew Akins, will captain the reigning Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff champion University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs in 2009-10. He will be joined by fellow senior Jordan Fulton and junior defenseman Mike Montgomery as the assistant team captains for the upcoming season.

Last season was Drew's most productive scoring season so far. He had a total of 5 goals and 10 assists for a career 15 points last season. This season the 'Dogs will need him to continue to be a key player and provide leadership for the team.

Fulton is coming off a career high scoring season, after posting 17 points last year. He was fourth on the team is goals with 12. This season, hopefully the goal output continues with the loss of Macgregor Sharp from last season there could be a hole in the scoring.

Mike Montgomery will be a Junior for the 2009-2010 season. He switched to defense last year and he had a really solid season. He posted 10 points and a plus minus of a plus 10. I expect him to continue to improve on defense this season, which will be Helpful as Alex Stalock will no longer be between the pipes.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New Radio Home and Possibilities

The UMTC Gophers have their Fox Sports North TV network on their side and now the Bulldogs have their network in place. Well, network-light and in a different form of media, but a network nonetheless. And it is great news! With success comes the opportunity to branch out to fans and possible recruits to UMD. More coverage is always good.

The announcement of a Northern Minnesota radio network carrying UMD hockey games this season provides the ground work for expanded interest. The televised games are already broadcast on regional (statewide) Charter cable, but it leaves many games out. The new radio home will provide all games to the expanded audience. So now if you are on the move and want your Bulldog coverage, you have a much better chance to get your fix!

The Bulldogs will be broadcast on the Fan 1490 in Duluth/Superior; KQ 105.5 in Grand Rapids/Hibbing; and KQ 106.7 in Ely/Virginia. It is unknown at this point if streaming will be available as hockey information is not currently on the “Bulldogs on the Air” section of their webpage.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sandelin Signs On for More

Scott Sandalin’s contract extension the University gave him this summer was a good move. Sandy, as evidenced by this last season, can do a competent job at taking the players his program recruited and get them to play their best… least when it counts the most. As evidence, UMD became the only Final Five Play-in team to win the tournament. That run at the end ensured an NCAA berth and gave us the “Miracle at Mariucci” as some have dubbed it. Timing is great, consistency is better, and winning consistently is best.

The extension is for two years past this next season, the last on the current contract. Two years doesn’t seem like a very long term commitment from the University. Maybe the consistency piece is still up in the air and needs to be settled and they have given two years to see what happens. Sandy has coached two teams to the NCAA tournament in nine years and one to the Frozen Four. He has also led teams to finish in the bottom half of the league seven of those nine years and 8th or worse four times . Was extension in the works all along, or did last season’s run at the end buy some more time? My perspective and hope is that Sandy has it going now and that every season UMD will be a contender in at least the WCHA.