Friday, October 16, 2009

WCHA Preview

This just came in via fax from Senior Snake, who is in a meeting but took the time to put this together any way.  As usual, I have no idea who any of these people are, but I'm sure Snake does and he's kind of a hockey savant, so I'd go right ahead and listen to him if you know what's good for you.


The College hockey season started last weekend with a couple non-conference meaningless games.  The true kickoff to college hockey starts this weekend with several big games around the country.  None bigger than the lovable Gophers heading up to the University of We Hate Indians and Jews (UND).

Minnesota enters the 2009-2010 season with plenty of things to prove after a very disappointing 2008-2009 season.  The biggest disappointment from last year was not making the NCAA tournament with the regional being held at their home arena.  There has been plenty of BS printed the last couple of weeks about the Gophers being upset and embarrassed about last season.  To improve on last year the entire team stayed in the cities to work out and hangout together all summer.  I am not sure if it will make any difference, but it sounds good in the paper.

The biggest change to this years Gopher team comes from behind the bench.  Assistant coach Mike Hastings became the associate head coach at the University of Nebraska Omaha were he will work with the greatest coach in college hockey (and future gopher coach), Dean Blais.  Hastings was replaced with former Gopher great Grant Potulny.  Lets just say I am not a big fan of this move.  The first reason is Potulny has as much college coaching experience as I do.  Second, this now gives the Gophers an assistant with no experience and another assistant (John Hill) who is a complete worthless tit.  "Thanks again to Coach Hill for the backbone he showed last year in N. Dakota, Pussy!"  I also believe the only reason Potulny was hired was to silence some Gopher boosters.  Lucia has been taking a lot of heat the past couple of years for his failures in the playoffs.  Last year the boosters where really chirping after missing the NCAA tournament and because no member of the coaching staff was an "M" man. I am not sure what having a former gopher as coach really accomplishes but I guess it is important to the old guys who wear gold sweaters to games.

As far as the team goes, the Gophers should be good this year.  I am not ready to say they will be great yet, but they have a chance.  The biggest on ice question mark for the Gophers is in goal.  Kangas came into last season as the 2nd coming of christ, but better and without the stupid sandals.  He ended the year like every goalie since Travis Weber left and thats not good.  If the Gophers want to make the leap back to the promiss land Kangas needs to return to his old form otherwise it will be an up and down season that will most likely end in the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament.  Whats even worse is Kangas has no backup.  Patterson is just another average MN goalie.

The Gophers have plenty of talent and depth at forward this year.  They are led by all world forward Jordan Shroeder.  If Shroeder stays healthy and Jay Barriball finds a way to score those pesky open net goals, there is a good chance shroeder will break the 60 pt. mark.  If you haven't seen Schroeder play this will be your last chance because he will be in the NHL next October.  Schroeders line mates will be Barriball and Mike Hoeffle to start the year.  This has a chance to be one of the best lines in college hockey.  Hoeffle WILL replace Stoa's production.  After the first line we run into a lot of question marks.  There is plenty of talent and NHL draft picks, but none of the players have proven themselves.  There is a lot of chatter about players like Nico Sacchetti, Jake Hansen and Patrick White stepping up this year.  I have high hopes for Hansen, some hope for White and little hope for Sacchetti.  To be brutally honest I think Sacchetti sucks and I would rather watch Jumpers than Nico play.  I am actually looking for Ryan Flynn to have a big year for the Gophers.  I have always thought he looked good when he got the chance to play with descent players.  If he doesn't get stuck the Lucia and Carman all year I see him scoring 30+ points.  Book it.  Other forwards with a chance to contribute are Taylor Matson (my 2011 man crush), Zach Budish and Josh Birkholz.

One thing I am really excited for this season is the Gophers Defensive unit.  They have a great mix of size, strength and skill this year.  I am also excited because Anderson graduated and Kevin Wehrs will most likely play about 8 games all year!  David Fischer and Cade Fairchild should be the leaders of the D this year.  Fairchild has a great chance to be an All American if he reaches his full potential this season.  Fischer seems like he finally figures things out last year and no longer thinks he needs to prove he's a former first round draft pick. Aaron Ness and Nick Leddy have a chance to be the most fun defenseman to watch since Mike Crowley.  Leddy will be a stud in college and the Wild have already stated they don't want to sign him for at least another year.  Sam Lofquist and Seth Helgeson will add the muscle that the Gophers have been missing for a couple years.  Lofquist can be a bit of a clown at times but I think he is going to be a stud once he gets his head on right.  Lofquist is a big, strong, skilled defender who suppossibly has a much needed mean streak.  Brian Schack.  I have nothing to say about him but wanted to add his name for a very special someone.

Over all I really like this Gopher team.  I haven't been able to say that for several years now. Look for them to challenge for the league title and a top 2 seed in the NCAA tournament.  The regional is back in MN this year (Xcel Center) so things are looking good for MN.

DWG Predictions for WHCA Standings
1) Denver- Denver has everything needed to win the league.  Plus I give them bonus points because they hate North Dakota more than the Gophers. Joe Colborne should be a stud.
2) Wisconsin- This is probably to high but the return a great defensive unit.  Biggest question with Bucky is in goal and the sexual preference of there coach.
3) Minnesota- If they can get through the first 8 games with a good record they could finish higher.  They Play UND, Wiso and Denver all in the first 8 games.  Have I mention how good Jordan Schroeder is?
4) North Dakota- This should be about right for these hacks.  They lost a lot of talent and leadership from last year and have 10 frosh on the roster.
5) St. Cloud- Wild card team in the WCHA.  They have tons of offensive talent and have a highly touted frosh goalie.  Question for Suck Cloud is can they defend.
6) UMD- Lost their goalie and top forward but return some very good talent.  Frosh Dylan Olsen is suppose to be the cats ass.  They could also finish higher, but UMD always finds away to fail.
7) Colorado College- Lost everything worth talking about.  This might be high but the bottom 3 really suck.
8) Alaska Anchorage- They finally have some depth and experience.  Plus no huge issues in the program over the summer.  Push for the top half???
9) Michigan Tech- Probably to high but why not.
10) Mankato State- Stealing a bit from the common man here.  Bad team, bad uniforms, bad mascot, bad arena and retarded coach.  All this adds up to last place.

WCHA Player of the Year- Jordan Shroeder
WCHA Defender of the Year- Cade Fairchild or Ryan McDonagh
Frosh of the Year- Drew Shore, Nick Leddy or Dylan Olson
Coach of the Year- George Gwozdecky- Best team, hates all things UND including SSF and puts on a great show behind the bench.  Until Dean Blais is back in the WCHA George should win it every year.


Thanks Snake.  No doubt Super Sioux Fan will be here shortly to disagree with everything you just said, and probably in a grammatically correct way.  Enjoy your stupid hockey with it's stupid fighting everybody.


catapult said...

Greatest DWG pic ever?

rghrbek said...

My goodness. I am a huge gopher puck fan, but think you are way to optimistic.

Offense, outside of Schroeder, stinks. Who is going to score?

Defense, is slightly better. Fairchild is vastly overrated.

Lucia needs to be gone, and as you say, get Blais in here.

I hope your predictions are right, but they were really, really bad last year.

SSF said...

GO SIOUX!!!!!!