Monday, October 20, 2008

Denver Thoughts

My vacation took me to Denver on friday, and I was able to attend the meltdown that was the 6-5 lose. I thought I would bust out a few thoughts, starting first w/ the arena and fans.

Magness holds about 6,400 people, and really its a pretty nice place. I'll take the Kohl Center everyday anyday, but Magness is not a bad rink. Thanks to Todd over at TCT for advice on seating, I sat behind the DU net and saw a lot of action.

As for the fans, they certainly are not in the same category w/ us from Wisconsin. The place was basically full, and it was nice to see a lot of Cardinal and White in the crowd, probably 10%. Talking w/ another Badger fan, the Pioneers students are going in the right direction, but as this same fan pointed out they need to turn the music off and let the band play. Why have a band who really doesn't play, and doesn't get the crowd into it much between periods. I'm honestly not sure what I would do during the 2nd intermission w/ out the UW band. I will criticize DU fans for two things, they need to show more excitement. Sure they were excited at the end, but most didn't even stand when the team was announced. Also, its really weak when Badger fans chant SIEVE SIEVE SIEVE in your arena, and then you copy it because you have no cheer to demoralize the opposing team. Get original!!!

The game has been hashed over by 60 really well, so I won't rehash it for you. Just throw out some observations.

Denver University:
-They are really fast, and like I said in my previews, they have a powerful offense. If their goalie can keep them in games, they will win a lot.
-As for their goalie Marc Chevrie, I was not really impressed. While Connelly was bombarded on friday night, and made a lot of great saves, Chevrie didn't have to do nearly as much work, yet almost didn't win. If he gets good, watch out WCHA.
-I still think Patrick Wiercioch is a defecticon, but really I'm kinda pissed Eaves didn't find a spot for this kid somehow someway. One good thing, I doubt he'll be at DU past next season.

Badger Negatives:
-Defense is the obvious. I really don't like the pairing of Gardiner w/ Springer or Little. The frosh just aren't there, and they scare me on the ice. Of all the departing players, the one I miss most is Josh Engel. We could really use a reliable defensive defensemen right now on the 3rd pairing.
-Josh Turnbull. I didn't notice him do anything positive friday, and the 3 penalties should have earned him a benching in favor of Tom Gorowsky saturday IMO.
-Blowing another lead. You can't lose up 4-1, and I could just see this one coming. We could have buried DU to start the 3rd w/ the 5 minute PP, but instead we take a penalty and give up a 4x4 goal. I knew we were doomed when they showed that on this day in DU history DU beat Wisconsin 6-5 in 1987. At the time it was 5-4 Wisconsin.

Badger Positives:
-Jordan Murray. He is looking like the top frosh so far, I liked what I saw and can't wait to see more of it during the coming weeks. He seems ahead of Stepan at this point, though Stepan is sitting on the 1st line getting more attention from the defense.
-PP, it was improved and they looked good. There were still hanging head moments when they passed passed passed and eventually DU got the puck and sent it down the ice.
-The combo of Sean Dolan and Matt Thurber on the PK. Combing my two favorite forwards is always going to earn high marks w/ me, but I thought they did a good job on the PK. Thurber is good in the face off circle too, he picked one clean and quick drove to the net. W/ Street out Thurber is my pick to step up and fill the scoring part of his absence.
-Ryan McDonagh. He owned several Pioneers on friday night w/ some big hits. A few of those I thought might be elbowing/roughing penalties, but hey they weren't called. His breakaway goal was nice too.

Despite the 0-4 start, I'm pretty hopefully about the season. If Eaves just leaves Gudmandson on the bench for a few weeks, we should be able to at least get to 2-6 before hitting a much easier stretch against MTU, Duluth, St. Cloud and UAA w/ the College Hockey Showcase inbetween there. Don't worry Badger fans, things will turn around and we'll be .500 by Christmas.

Lastly, any Badger fans who are thinking of traveling in the future to see the team, I would recommend a trip to Denver. I know I'll be going back, not only is it a good venue, w/ good fans, there is a ton to do in the Denver region.