Friday, December 17, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I will be away from the blog for a couple of weeks during the Christmas and New Years holidays. From Husky Hockey Time, I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope you are able to spend it will friends and family.

Here are a couple of Christmas related videos for your enjoyment:

I'll be back in 2011 for some more great Husky Hockey and hopefully an awesome turn-around second-half of the season.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Alumni News

Andrew Gordon is back with Ovechkin and the Capitals!
Here are some quick alumni news items:
  • Recently listed 5 potential "Goals of the Year". Of the 5 goals listed, 2 of the goals came from former St. Cloud State players. You can see Andreas Nodl's goal and Matt Hendricks' goal below:

  • Former Husky Hockey player Ryan Malone is listed as one of the five players who less than 50% of people own but should be owned in more leagues in fantasy hockey. You can read more about it here.
  • Andrew Gordon was called up from the AHL Hershey Bears team to play with the Washington Capitals recently against the New York Rangers. He is currently ranked 2nd in the AHL in goals. He was one of only two AHL players to score more than 50 goals last season. Although he was reassigned to the Bears following the Caps v. Rangers game, he has already been called back up to play with Capitals. You can read more about it here. (*Notice that St. Cloud State is mentioned in the article!) You can see a post game video with Andrew Gordon below:

  • Matt Cullen has been out of the line-up with the Wild for the last couple days with a groin pull. Cullen did practice with the team today, but head coach Todd Richards has yet to say whether he will play tomorrow against Ottawa. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Weekend Recap and Staying Positive going into the Second Half

The Huskies need to come together to turn this season around
The Huskies were swept by WCHA opponent Colorado College this last weekend at the National Hockey Center. This was the first time the Huskies had been swept in the NHC since December 7-8, 2007 against the University of Denver. Going three years without an opponent able to walk out of our barn with a sweep is an amazing accomplishment in the WCHA and the Huskies should be proud of that record. However, these two additional loses going into Christmas break, and now being halfway through the year, is both upsetting and heartbreaking for the Husky faithful. Read the links below about the games:
Despite the heartbreaking start to the Husky Hockey season, do not give up hope. I have been realistic and critical of the Huskies season thus far (see the "F" I gave the Huskies in the Mid-Season report card) but I have yet to give up on this team and you should not either. In reviewing the Huskies season, bloggers Mick Hatten and Mike Doyle offer you some reasons why to stay positive:

Trying to find a sunny side of the street when it is snowing, below zero and the wind is howling
~Mick Hatten
  • The Huskies played their " all-around game for the forwards and defensemen for the Huskies this season in the 5-2 loss to Colorado College. For one thing, the team showed a lot more effort for the majority of the game."
  • On Saturday night, "The Huskies were aggressive, banged people around in the corners, made passes to the front of the net, had people at the front of the net and did a better job of keeping the opposing players wide in their own end and getting into more passing lanes."
  • SCSU's "...penalty kill is at 82.9 percent for the season, which is fifth in the WCHA."
  • "...the Huskies are a plus-4 in special teams net and that's also fifth in the conference."
  • In the first eight games of the second half of the season, "seven games in that stretch are against teams below .500 and there are four home games in this stretch."
  • SCSU is, "but is four points out of eighth place and seven points out of home ice for the first round of the playoffs."
  • In the locker room, "there's still confidence that they're going to turn this thing around."
  • The last time the Huskies were this bad ('95-'96) Matt Cullen and Mark Parrish were on the team. Both went on to great NHL careers.
Open letter to the Huskies: There’s still time to salvage the season
~Mike Doyle
  • "There is still time to salvage the season. It won’t be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is."
  • "During the first 10 minutes of Saturday night’s game against Colorado College, you proved, when motivated, that you could be an elite team."
  • "A bounce or two can change the entire outlook of a season."
  • "You cannot let this lack of faith bury your confidence. You can only play for the guys in the locker room wearing the C-St."
  • "Ring in the New Year by playing hard, Husky Hockey. Then, you can forget about the slow start, your confidence will return and the wins will start to pile up."
You see, there are still plenty of reasons to stay positive and remain hopeful for the second-half of the season. Husky Hockey fans please continue to support the team even in their struggles. Remind this team about their loyal and passionate fan base. Your intensity and passion will rub off and the players will feed off of your energy. Take this holiday season off to re-energize and come back ready to cheer on the Huskies to victory.

" St. Cloud. Hockey is everything there and the fans were so passionate."
~Husky Hockey player, NHL player, and US Olympian Ryan Malone

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mid-Season Report Card

The Huskies need to pick themselves back up
As a middle school teacher, I find the "report card" a useful way of identifying and assessing the progress of a student (or in this case a team). So, without further ado, here is the St. Cloud State Husky Hockey Mid-Season Report Card:
Performance: Undeniably, the Huskies have grossly underperformed thus far this year. This team was predicted by most to be one of the top 2 teams in the WCHA and one of the top 10 teams in the nation. Currently, the Huskies find themselves in historically unfamiliar territory in the WCHA now in eleventh place. Furthermore, the Huskies have gone un-ranked in the national rankings for well over a month. With the talent on this Huskies team, there is absolutely no excuse for being in eleventh place. This season the Huskies are off to their worst start in 15 years ('95-'96 season). Top players like Garrett Roe (winner of WCHA "Biggest Disappointment of the Year") and Tony Mosey need to start getting some more goals in and everyone needs to start putting more shots on net. The guys have tried to get a little too fancy at some points and it has yet to pay off. In the preseason, the Huskies forwards were ranked 2nd in the WCHA, the goalies ranked 1st in the WCHA, and the defense ranked 5th in the WCHA. It is safe to say that everyone on the Husky Hockey team has underperformed. Grade= F
Effort: One of the biggest arguments Huskies fans have had against their team this year has been a lack of effort. However, this lack of effort has not been consistent. During some games, the Huskies have shown tremendous effort and looked like a force to be reckoned with. During other games, the Huskies have looked like their skates where frozen to the ice and incapable of moving their feet. Sometimes this inconsistency has shown its ugly face in the middle of games. Up until last week against the University of North Dakota (honestly a pretty darn good team) the Huskies had yet to be swept by an opponent. And while Colorado College was also able to sweep us (and on home ice) last weekend, Coach Motzko had nothing put praise for the teams effort Saturday night against CC. According to Motzko, "It's a rare, rare occasion -- I don't know if, in my career, I've ever wanted to talk about a hockey team after losing 5-2. But with how our season has been going, this team deserved a much better fate." And, "We turned in a good effort." Perhaps the Huskies have turned a corner and will play with much more enthusiasm, intensity, and effort in the second half. Perhaps not. Grade= C
Social Development: Okay, so this category is a little more difficult with a hockey team than it is a student, but I will try anyway. The Husky Hockey teams relationship with its fan base has historically been one of the absolute best in the WCHA. The National Hockey Center is renown for its intense and passionate hockey fans. The NHC has consistently been one of the WCHA rinks that sells every seat for every game. The fan club "The Dog Pound" continues to be one of the most vocal hockey fan clubs in the conference. Opposing teams (especially goaltenders) have commented on the intense (some may say insane) emotion displayed there. However, the recent string of losses and performance WAY below expectations are causing some fans to become upset at their team. Recent blog posts and message boards suggest that the NHC has been awfully quiet as of late and that the energy (in one of the most energetic rinks in the nation) may be dwindling. I feel the Huskies may need to get some wins at home early in the second half to bring SCSU's fans back to their usual glory. Grade= B
Peer Relationships: Again, a little more difficult with a hockey team than a student, but here we go. The Huskies were regarded by both their opponents and their opponents fan bases early this season as one of the top talents and top threats in the league (see preseason coach's, media, and blogger polls). The Huskies were once believed to be one of the best of the best. However, as our current season has been so far, we have gone from top threat to feelings of sympathy and pity. From CC coach Scott Owns, "St. Cloud has got a lot of talent. Their confidence is down right now. I think they're going to be a very good team the second half." And from UND captain Chay Genoway, "We know what kind of team they bring. They haven't won as much as they wanted to." These type of pity statements from opposition teams are not what the Huskies are accustomed to or want. These are the types of statements you save for teams like UAA or MTU or occasionally MSU-M, but not SCSU. Hopefully, statements like these can energize our team to go from "confidence is down" and "haven't won as much as the wanted to" back to becoming a real threat and a team that other teams fear. Unfortunately, right now, I don't think there are many or any teams that are threatened by SCSU. On the positive side of peer relationships, the SCSU vs. UND battle did not turn into a blood bath with teams seeking revenge. Grade= D
So there you have it folks. The St. Cloud State Husky Hockey report card. Yes, it is a little doom-and-gloom. Yes, it is far from what we expected out of our Huskies at this point in the season. But, in the words of Husky freshmen Nic Dowd, "Right now, we're at the bottom. We're at the lowest we can get." We can only go up from here.

Go Huskies!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Game Day- SCSU vs. CC

Roe and the Huskies!
Tonight the St. Cloud State Huskies will face the Colorado College Tigers. The Huskies will be playing at home for the first time in 3 weeks, spending the last couple of weeks at Alaska and North Dakota. In both of those series the Huskies underperformed (yet again) so the return to the National Hockey Center should be welcomed. Here are your game day links and news:
  • Joe Paisley of the Colorado Springs Gazette believes the 3 keys to CCs game this weekend is to: 1. Keep up the offensive balance, 2. Keep up the pressure on their defense, and 3. Expect a tough road series. You can read more about it here
  • Former Husky Mike Doyle's 3 Keys to tonight's game are: 1. Focus on Faceoffs, 2. Seniors Step-up, and 3. Fire the Biscuit. You can read more about it here
  • In an article titled, Tigers will need to adjust power play this weekend, Paisley also discusses the talent of the SCSU penalty kill and the absence of CC star Jaden Schwartz on Saturday.
  • The Husky hockey lines for Friday nights game may look a little odd to many Husky fans. Our top line for Friday is Mosey, Hanowski, and Festler may not seem too odd (especially considering Hanowski and Festler's time together in Little Falls). However, our fourth line of Roe, Marvin, and Volpei may seem out of place. Senior leaders Roe and Marvin are not necessarily accustomed to fourth line duties and this will be only Roe's second game this season as a winger. I sure hope Coach Motzko knows what he is doing with these line combination and hopefully something will start to click soon. I am also a little surprised to see MacMillian out of the line-up as he was one of the few Huskies to actually score last weekend. Mike Lee will be in goal Friday night.
  • Speaking of Garrett Roe, he was the sole nominee and selected winner of the WCHA "Biggest disappointment of the first half" award. They had this to say about it:
"Nominee and Winner: Garrett Roe, SCSU. Roe oh Roe, where have you been? Every other year of his career, he’s averaged well over a point per game. This year, he’s well under, at 0.62, about half as much as his worst year (freshman, 1.15). If Roe picks it up, the team might as well. Hopefully. Again, this is another category where I’m interested to hear your thoughts."
A couple more predictions for the weekend:
Theresa: "From all accounts, the Tigers looked really good against Michigan Tech ... even though it was Michigan Tech. However, I can’t completely count the Huskies out just quite yet. Therefore, I’ll go with a split — SCSU Friday, CC Saturday."
Tyler: "The Huskies haven’t swept a team all season and a lot of the blame has to be placed on goaltending. Dan Dunn and Mike Lee are statistically one of the worst 1–2 goalie combinations in the country and CC’s Jaden Schwartz knows how to find the net as as well as anyone in the nation. Still, I have to think SCSU has to come out of this weekend with a split."
Goon's World
"Last year when these two played in Colorado Springs they split SCSU won 5-4 and then CC won 6-4. I hope this year there are many goals scored, why, because they are fun and exciting games to watch. The Huskies are getting in desperate need of points, if they want to keep in the race for home ice come March. The Tigers are right in the thick of things, in the standings, with points and they have two games in hand on the other teams around them. The Huskies need to find some ways of generating more offense, and if they can do that they should win some more games and start climbing the standings. SPLIT"
For those of you counting, putting the predictions from yesterday's blog together with today's blog brings the total to 5 saying Split and 1 saying Husky Sweep. This week I am counting on the magic that is the NHC and our awesome fan support to brings the Huskies a sweep. Final total= 5 Split; 2 Husky Sweep.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Home at Last

After a couple of disappointing (and disheartening) weekends on the road against Alaska and North Dakota, the Huskies return home to the National Hockey Center to play Colorado College. I have a certain amount of respect for any WCHA teams that I feel I have a connection to and CC is one of them. One of my good friends growing up moved to Colorado Springs, CO when I was in middle school. He is an avid hockey fan and was once a Zamboni driver at World Arena. In college I would always give him a hard time when the Huskies beat the Tigers. I am hoping I can send him a message via Facebook later this weekend telling him how great the Huskies are and how they dominated the Tigers. Unfortunately, things have not looked that great for the Huskies recently, while the Tiger have fared much better (especially with the help of a great player like freshmen left winger Jaden Schwartz).  With this being said, here are a couple of predictions for this weekends match-up:

WCHA Blog:
"This is kind of a must split series for the Huskies (if not sweep!). If they want a shot at a top half finish, they'd better get their act together. They're 4 points out of 5th place with two games in hand on that team (and all but three other teams). They need to find a way to win some games. Unfortunately, I don't think they're going to win two games this weekend. CC is coming off of a huge offensive weekend at Tech, so their confidence should be through the roof. The Huskies just got blasted on the road, so they could be a little timid. I'm going with a split, but could easily see Tech sweep the lowly Huskies.
CC wins Friday 5-4, SCSU wins Saturday 4-3
Goal Gophers:
Roman: "CC is hot lately with five wins in last seven games. Especially on fire is freshmen left wing Jaden Schwartz but he is leaving this weekend for Canada’s selection camp for World Juniors. Camp starts Sunday in Toronto, so Schwartz will probably leave after Friday’s game. He should be a lock for Team Canada. He has 11 goals and 14 assists for 25 points. Huskies were swept by North Dakota last weekend. Senior Garrett Roe has six goals and eight assists vs. CC. ... Split"
Kevin: "Just what the heck is going on with St. Cloud State, picked to finish second in the WCHA by the coaches? Just one win the last seven games. I say the Huskies will be glad to be back home after two weeks on the road and will sweep Colorado College even thought the Tigers have won three straight. ... St. Cloud State sweep"
In other Husky Hockey News:
  • A good article titled, Defenseman is sleepless in St. Cloud, talks about Chris Hepp and the growing agitation over St. Cloud State's under performance. Hepp talks about how the team needs to "stop and turnaround" and begin to win some games. He goes onto say that the defense is "definitely part of the problem" and will need to start playing better. 
  • You can check out the Bob Motzko Coaches Show over at the Center Ice Club. I will say that I usually really like listening to the show to hear the coaches perspective on how the team is doing, how the team played last week, and what the team will need to improve for the following weekends game. However, I am admittedly getting frustrated hearing a lot of the same stuff (I really like the guys in the locker room, we need to play the full 60, we know Roe will eventually get going, etc...). The Coach is starting to sound redundant and I just wish that next week the show will have something REAL positive to share.
  • Former St. Cloud State (and Sioux Falls Stampede) player Andreas Nodl continues to do well with the Philadelphia Flyers. You can read more about his continuing success in an article titled, "Flyers' Nodl finds his offense". The article does give Nodl some recognition for his great scoring touch while he was at SCSU.
  • Here are the lines from Wednesdays practice courtesy of KVSC Twitter. Forwards: Reid-LeBlanc-Dowd, Mosey-Hanowski-Festler, Roe-Marvin-Volpei, MacMillan-Christian-Novak. Defense: Lauridsen-Johnson, Barta-Gravel, Hepp-Jensen, Zabkowicz-Rioux, Burrell
  • There is another good article from former Husky Mike Doyle about shoot-outs in the WCHA titled, "The WCHA should continue to shutout shootouts during league play". You should check it out.
  • Check out the official press release on the game here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Disappointed, but Optomistic

Mike Lee Save
The Huskies suffered their first weekend of getting swept in the 2010-2011 season at the hands of arch-rival the Fighting Sioux. The game was fairly tight Friday night. The Sioux won 3-1 with the lone SCSU goal coming from junior forward Drew LeBlanc. Saturday night was a whole different story. The Sioux won 6-2 with SCSU goals coming from freshman forward Mitch MacMillan and junior forward Travis Novak. Despite the abysmal score, the Huskies really only lost the first period. It was just a REAL bad first period. The Fighting Sioux scored three goals in a three minute span and ended the first period with 5 goals to SCSU's 0. You can read more about the games here:
You can see some video here:

Despite a disappointing weekend (probably the most disappointing thus far this season) I remain optimistic. We are playing no where near good enough right now and well below our capabilities, but I chose to have a positive outlook and know that once our guys can start playing a full 60 minutes, start moving their feet a little more, and gain some confidence this Husky team could still be a real threat.

Go Huskies!

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Pretty Fun Rivlary

From UND Captain Chay Genoway:
"We know what kind of team they bring. They haven't won as much as they wanted to. I'm looking for a huge challenge this weekend. This has become a pretty fun rivalry. I'm excited about it."
A fun rivalry indeed. The UND vs. SCSU rivalry is probably the fastest currently growing rivalry in the WCHA. While a student at St. Cloud there was no team I looked forward to playing most than the University of Minnesota; however, over the last two years I have found myself more looking forward to the UND series. It is probably because the last two years the talent between UND and St. Cloud has been greater so there has been a better show then anything coming from the UofM. Unfortunately, the hit from Aaron Marvin on Genoway last season has spoiled for some fans what could be a fun and friendly rivalry and turned it into something ugly. Here is just a couple of the (quite frankly) moronic comments coming right now over this issue:
"Aaron Marvin, the goon of the NCAA"
"...they got one bad-apple on the team (Marvin)"
"...he (Marvin) is a man on a mission, and that mission was to knock Chay out of the game and possibly end his career."
Is Aaron Marvin "the goon of the NCAA"? Nope. Not a chance.

Is he a "bad-apple"? Nope again. I have yet to read anything from anyone that has actually met him say anything but kind words about him.

And probably the worst of all... Was Marvin trying to "end his (Genoway's) career? Not a chance. It was a bad hit. It was an illegal hit. However, it was not done in an intention to end anyones career.

Personally, I like the quote coming from WCHA columnist, Theresa Spisak:
"And it may be my age talking, but seriously? It was over a year ago. I know that there’s bitterness, but honestly. If I may be so cliched, build a bridge and get over it."
And honestly, even the UND players are looking beyond this issue and just want to play a great hockey game:
“That’s just in the past now. It’s just a big four points for us.” ~Chay Genoway

"Our concern is strictly with the four points. That’s all we’re concerned with. We’re not worried about getting revenge. That’s not on our minds" ~Mario Lamoureux
Regardless of what team you cheer for, this weekend should be some good games and I am looking forward to them. I just hope that fans on both sides can remain cool-headed and just enjoy some good hockey.

Here are some links about this weekend:
  • Goon's World- Sioux Sweep
  • Goal Gophers- Shane- Sioux Sweep, Roman- Split
  • Sioux Sports- Sioux Win Friday, Tie Saturday
  • Theresa- Split, Tyler UND Sweep
  • WCHA Blog- UND Sweep
  • Sioux Yeah Yeah- Split
  • Husky Hockey Time- Unfortunately I will have to go Split. Two very talented teams playing each other and splitting kind of seems to be St. Cloud's "thing" thus far this season.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A look at the Lineup

I don't have much today. However, coming from the KVSC twitter page, here is a look at the possible lineup for Friday night's game against the UND Fighting Sioux:


Jensen- T. Johnson

Lee (to start on Friday)

Additionally, the guys practiced out at the MAC today to get some time on an NHL size rink instead of the Olympic sized rink at the NHC.

A little something to get you excited for this weekend:

Excited yet for the games this weekend? too!