Monday, January 11, 2010

Gopher Hockey....Its Not Very Good

It is Gopher vs. Sioux week. WWWWW has been emailing me on a regular basis to write about hockey and I figured this would be a good week to post. I will be taking in Fridays game live from Mariucci. A gopher vs. Sioux preview will follow later this week. Right now I am going to write/vent about the state of America’s favorite hockey team.

The Gophers head into this weekend with no momentum, no heart and no future for this season. There are plenty of Gopher puck apologist who keep sighting the team has won 6 of 7 heading into this weekend. I guess that means things have turned around and the program is once again heading in the right direction. Wrong! What those apologists don’t point out is the teams the Gophers have beat are the bottom feeders of D1 hockey. If the gophers have really turned the corner they would sweep a very average Sioux team this week or take 3 pts. I am not holding my breath.

Lets recap how bad things are at 4 Oak Street this season. Goldy’s only quality wins this season are against middle of the road Michigan St. and Wisconsin teams. The season has seen the team get swept at home vs. Denver (shutout both games) and Duluth, and drop home games to Bemidji, Mankato and Northern Michigan. The team also had another player leave in the middle of the season. Sophomore Sam Lofquist decided to call it a career after being benched during the Wisconsin series. Lofquist is another soft teat who played with no heart and is a huge snatch for quitting after a little adversity. I will defend his decision based on the fact he was benched in favor of Brian Schack (sorry Todd). How in the hell do you bench a kid for Schack? The Gophers also lost their top goal scoring threat, Jay Barriball, for the season thanks to a knee injury. The only good news from the injury is Barriball accepted a medical red shirt and plans to play next year.

On top of the terrible results this season the on ice product is completely unwatchable. At times this team is like watching an MLS soccer game on ice, but less scoring. Some might chalk the scoring issues up to poor talent, but I still argue talent is not the issue. The front line is loaded with kids who have scored goals their entire careers and came into the program highly rated. Once they arrive at the MN they all turn into 3rd and 4th line players? The blue line is also full of high NHL draft picks that are known for being creative puck movers. The combination should add up to fun hockey, a great power play and lots of goals. The issue isn’t talent, but development and use of said talent. This issue falls squarely on the shoulders of the coaching staff.

The main issues I see with the coaching staff are poor assistant coaches (a.k.a. John Hill), no player development, recruiting the wrong style of player, catering to 17 year old kids who have no heart, a poor locker room, and the system hockey they now play. All of these items fall squarely on the shoulders of the head coach.

Things started going down hill when Bob Motzko left the Gophers for St. Cloud. Since Motzko’s departure the high end individual talent up front stopped coming to MN. The next year Mike Guentzel was removed from the program. When Guentzel left so did all the grit and passion on the bench. We are now left with an unqualified Grant Potulny and John Hill. I do think Potulny will develop into a good coach. I just don’t think he is ready for the gopher’s bench.

John Hill on the other hand is a complete F’ing tit. The best compliment I hear about Hill is he’s a nice guy. In the coaching business there is nothing worse than "being a nice guy" as your best quality as a coach. Hill comes off as easily confused and not very inspirational. Nothing proved this point more than the look of confusion and terror on his face when he filled in as head coach at UND last year. His interviews during intermissions should be grounds enough for firing. I can’t imagine showing up to practice and having to look at and listen to this roly poly son of a bitch. Hill must go.

Two years ago we/I pounded Kyle Okposo, and his ginger hair, for leaving the team in the middle of the season. The more I think about it, the more I feel like I should apologize to Okposo. Okposo was smart enough to realize he wasn’t getting what he needed from Gophers and was actually going backwards in his development. He was bright enough and brave enough to get out before he got stuck in a rut like the rest of the current roster. Bear pointed this out to me during an email exchange late last week and I don’t think Bear has ever spoken a truer word in his life (other than when he called Dawger the worst Yahtzee player of all time). The reason players are leaving and not happy, is the lack of development. The coaching staff is chasing results by playing system hockey and not letting gets skate and develop. I am just surprised they continue to get top end talent while playing this style of puck.

The gophers have also shot themselves in the foot with their recruiting the past couple of years. Not only are the gophers taking more kids right out of high school, but they are now taking players who accelerator their high school studies so they can play college hockey as seniors in high school. The main reason this has failed is these players aren’t concerned about coming to MN and winning a national championship. They are coming to MN to improve as an individual player and move onto the pros. This leaves you with a team full of kids who only play for themselves, which leads to a split locker room, which leads to a garbage team. It also seems like the coaches cater to these players which has pissed off the older players on the team. This was a huge issue with the Phil Kessel/ Holy Cross team.

I am not about to call Lucia a bad coach. Obviously he has had great success as a college coach and turned MN into the premier hockey program in the country from 2000-2005. He also gave me the greatest gift of my life (that includes my two kids) when he led MN to the 2002 national championship. Since that time things have slowly deteriorated to the point we are at today. Which is why I think it is time for a fresh start and Lucia to move on.

I have been saying this for a couple years now, but it is time to bring in Dean Blais. He is a Gopher guy, which will make all the idiot booster who worry about that silly shit, happy. He wins every place he goes, he develops talent, and he will recruit kids with heart and won’t take any shit from prima donnas or their parents. Hiring Dean Blais will also fire up a fan base which is in a rut right now. Dean just led the USA U-20 team to a world championship victory over Canada so his hiring would give an instant jolt to the fans and program. Hopefully Maturi has the seeds to make it happen.

At least North Dakota sucks so I am able to enjoy that portion of this college hockey season.

Snacks here is a picture for you. I know you missed them you sick bastard.


Anonymous said...

Didn't that Bear guy call for Blais to replace Lucia immediately after Okposo left the team? It sounds like you're late to the party. I also think that Bear guy got hammered by everyone for defending Okposo's decision. He seems rather clairvoyant to me, but I'm not an expert when it comes to college hockey.

I'm also not an expert when it comes to Yahtzee, but after reading Dawg's posts for the past couple of years, it doesn't surprise me that he sucks at Yahtzee too.

P.S. More Chicks with Guns and less of DWG's constant infatuation with mediocre plain Janes.

Sioux Fan said...

Well I am not sure that I need to point out the fact that Dawg and Bear are both morons. Common knowledge. Also who the fuck let Snake write a hockey post. He has as much personality as snooki from jersey shore.

Come to a real hockey blog later this week to read a good preview. Snake sucks balls for fun.

Sioux fan out

Anonymous said...

I would have never guessed Sioux fan is a jersey shore fan, shocking! Thanks again for your great contributions to this blog.

Gun Chicks Rule said...

Can you please link to your blog! Thank you in advance.

WWWWWW said...

Snooki has personality, she's just dumb.

Like you.

Anonymous said...

Are there any other coaching options besides Dean Blais? I have the feeling he is getting old and would only be around for 3 to 5years.

More hockey posts please. While you are at it, more cokehead chicks with guns. Look at the eyes on those two cheetahs, holy hell!

Anonymous said...

The hockey team has a little talent, but I don't think as much as the post suggests. The biggest problem in my eyes, is that they are missing on the type of kids they want to recruit.

Any kid playing D-1, in the WCHA, was a goal scorer in HS or the developmental leagues. The Gophs just keep recruiting the wrong guys.

You have to know the identity that you want for your team and recruit accordingly. Donny has been missing the boat the last number of years and it shows.

Defensively, this team is a train wreck. Nobody takes the body anymore, and turnovers abound constantly. Fairchild is way way overrated, as it appears Ness is too. We will have to see if these guys can improve from year to year, which is part of what the original post points out. Where is the development from year to year?

Finally, this team can't score goals. It's embarrassing. I pointed this out in the WCHA preview here a number of months ago.

I guess when you announce your team captains are Flynn and Lucia, you are kind of making a statement about where your program is at.

Apparently we are finally a game over .500, as the media points out, like this is some milestone. Brutal.

Also, has anyone else heard the "Dons" interviews? He is trying to downplay expectations. "With a team like ours, we have to grind it out, really work for our scoring chances".

He knows his product is a giant turd, and is trying to deflect expectations.

I'd take Blais.

rghrbek said...

Ooops, I posted the long post above.

sioux fan said...

No you're dumb.

Anonymous said...

Hey Sioux Fan, I tried reading your blog the other day, I have one simple question for you, have you ever had a coherent thought in your life? I'm hoping you have and it just doesn't translate to your blog, but, I'm being hopeful.

Anonymous said...

I second rghrbek, very accurate, I just cant imagine Blais making that much of a difference. I was just a pup of a fan when Don first started, what spurred Wooger getting tossed. What was the program looked at during his time as coach and what is it now?

You have to also put some of the blame on these kids, Fisher for example, was the #20 overall pick. So not only the Gophers were misled but so was Montreal. I mean these guys have to improve and have some inner drive to do it.

I would say that over the last 7 games they have gotten more physical but that could again be more attributed to the opponent.

Siouxper Fing awesome Sioux fan said...

nope..I am pretty much all over the place. Good shit huh?!

Lefty Snake said...

When wooger got the boot his team was just as bad but more enjoyable to watch. Half the problem right now is the style of hockey this team plays is like watching the 2006 Wild. Wooger was getting run over by his talented players also. Wooger's team never finished in 7th place though.

I agree with the putting blame on the kids, but part of coaching is motivating your players. Fischer was giving a starting job from day 1. He has F'ed up over and over and nothing changes? Blais is known for holding players Responsible for their play. Blais would get more out of this team.

Both Lucia and the program need a fresh start.

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the todd said...

I clearly know nothing about hockey (Schack is the man) but I don't think Woog would be willing to take over again considering he's drunk 24/7. Watching a game he calls is hysterical.