Monday, April 07, 2008


The new building is coming! Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty Monday signed the controversial bonding bill into law. He used his line-item veto power to cut the bill by around $200 million, but he left in funding for the expansion of the DECC. The new complex will house UMD hockey and open in time for the 2010 season.

Obviously, I'm thrilled and grateful that the Governor used his line-item veto, rather than playing more political games with the idiotic DFL. They can't listen and follow requests and instructions, but this wasn't the time for lessons or immature messages. This and many other projects can now move forward, and the Legislature can continue to argue, bicker, and do nothing try to get their work done before the end of the session.

(This wasn't just a good day for UMD hockey. The bill included money for the new events center in Bemidji, a facility that will likely save the Bemidji State program from a possible demise. It also had in it money for work at the National Hockey Center in St. Cloud, though the building is still expected to look like a large concrete block from the inside.)

NHL Playoffs. I hate to send you elsewhere, but my comrades and I will have complete playoff coverage here. Work there is going to keep me very busy, especially as long as Minnesota is alive, but I'll try to keep this updated more often than I have been (wouldn't take much).

As for the pairings, I have a few quick-hit thoughts. First off, the most interesting first-round matchup is Philadelphia vs Washington. The Capitals are white-hot, having picked up 22 points out of a possible 24 (!) in their last 12 games. Amazing run. However, Philadelphia is also playing well, going 7-2-1 in their last ten games. The physical Flyers will give Washington's skill players fits, and the goaltending matchup (Biron vs Huet) features guys who were tossed aside by other teams (Biron was in Buffalo, while Huet played for Montreal).

The worst matchup isn't Boston vs Montreal. Yes, the Bruins went oh-fer in eight games against Montreal, but they're bound to win one here. They're playing well, and the Canadiens are dealing with injuries. The worst matchup is probably Detroit vs Nashville. Dan Ellis might keep the Predators in most of the games, but they don't have a chance to win with the offense they field. Games can't end in 0-0 ties in the playoffs, and teams can't kill the clock to take their chances in a shootout.

I mean no disrespect...
But I've probably watched less of this year's NCAA Tournament than ever before. It's not the NCAA's fault, as they've done nothing new to suck the life out of the event. It's not CBS' fault. Outside of a few fumbles when it comes to switching to more compelling games, I think they do a great job. Gus Johnson gets a lot of love from these folks, and most of it is warranted. Jim Nantz isn't terrible, though it drives me nuts that he thinks about how to call a major moment before it happens. Billy Packer gets way too much grief. He's sharp, insightful, and usually only crabby when he should be.

Anyway, it's not their fault the basketball has been dreadful. One out of four regional finals was interesting, and that one didn't go the right way (Kansas-Davidson). Sorry, but four number-one seeds in the Final Four isn't interesting. It might show that the best teams are there, but people don't watch the NCAA Tournament to see the best teams. They watch the NCAA Tournament to see that special Cinderella story. Cinderella isn't in San Antonio. Instead, the favorites are left, and it's not as much fun.

As for the championship game, Memphis and Kansas should provide an up-tempo affair. Both teams want to run, they have great athletes, and they can shoot the lights out. The game should be high scoring, and it should be the best game of the tournament. I like Memphis, because in my opinion, they'll have at least the two best players on the floor (Chris Douglas-Roberts and Derrick Rose ... Joey Dorsey has to fit in here somewhere, too).

(Since I said all of this, Kansas probably wins 63-44.)

No comments: