Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saturday Hockey Notes and Thoughts: Let's Just Forget That Happened, OK?

We saw a good ol' fashioned tail-kicking at Amsoil Arena Friday.

Only it was ninth-place St. Cloud State doing the kicking.

In a shocking turn of events that left 6,530 paying customers wondering if they'd walked into some sort of time warp, the Huskies scored seven consecutive goals to blast third-ranked UMD 8-2 Friday night.

It was as if nothing we had seen all season had really happened. Either that, or Friday night didn't really happen.

UMD lost puck battles, couldn't control the puck when they had it, wasn't nearly physical enough, and got flat-out punched in the mouth. It started on the opening faceoff, when Garrett Roe tried to break his stick on Jack Connolly.

While the Bulldogs scored on the power play, St. Cloud State set their tone, and it was up to UMD to provide a physical response.

They couldn't answer the challenge.

This wasn't about one guy making some mistakes and setting the home team back. It wasn't about bad goaltending, though that played a part. It wasn't about a bad shift here or there.

It was all bad.

How do you respond? Well, for starters, you take your medicine. There isn't a dadgum thing you can do about it now. No matter what happens Saturday, Friday's game is a loss. And a waste, in a way.

Saturday has to be better, in part, because Friday was so bad. But the Bulldogs also have to refocus in a way. There's no easy answer, but they have to be tougher, smarter, sharper, hungrier, and better in every way.

Given how much of an aberration Friday's game is when you look at UMD's body of work, I doubt any of that will be a serious problem.


The big story Friday wasn't what happened anywhere in college hockey. Instead, it was the embarrassing performance of the New York Islanders against Pittsburgh.

Trevor Gillies wins the jackpot for his cheapshot on Eric Tangradi.

This is beyond ridiculous, and has no place in the NHL. Luckily, it sounds like the NHL agrees, and stiff punishments -- beyond the ten-game suspension Eric Godard of Pittsburgh gets for leaving the bench to stop his goalie from fighting a goon -- are on the way.

Start with Gillies. You want a poster child for what the NHL isn't supposed to be? Look for the guy who takes a shot at a defenseless player's head, then starts punching that player when he goes down, and then taunts him while he's struggling to get up.

That's garbage, which is par for the course with this Islanders franchise.


On a lighter note, Saturday is Hockey Day Twin Cities Minnesota. As part of it, the Wild's website has a very cool video about Duluth youth hockey.

Definitely worth checking out.

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