Friday, January 2, 2009

It's Friday, I'm in Love

Badger Men v. NMU Wildcats: Fri 7 PM, Sat 8 PM
* Special emphasis for my good friend TAW -- the Sat game is at 8 PM *

I've been told that all you need to know about this series is this: Geoffrion is back, PJ is out, and Northern sucks . . .

(And yeah, it appears that so far this season Northern really has sucked . . . they've won just 5 games all season, and that includes exhibition games against Toledo and the NTDP U-18 team . . . and Baggot points out that they're 56th in scoring 55th in PP conversion . . . )

Nonetheless, I thought I'd better link it all up for you . . .

Andy Bohmbach-Blake Geoffrion-Tom Gorowsky
John Mitchell-Sean Dolan-Ben Grotting
Jordy Murray-Derek Stepan-Michael Davies
Aaron Bendickson-Matt Thurber-Podge Turnbull

Brendan Smith-Jamie McBain
Craig Johnson-Eric Springer
Jake Gardiner-Ryan Little

Shane Connelly
Scott Gudmandson

By the way, Brendan Smith beat out Tom Gorowsky in the final round of this week's shooutout. Smith has now won 3 weekly shootouts; Gorowsky has won 2. Doesn't really matter, but I think Goro's still a bit ahead overall, though -- he was the shootout hero on Sunday (the 2 pipes and the blown call on the other side of things should not detract from Tom's very nice goal), and if you remember, he scored a shootout goal in the Red-White scrimmage at the beginning of the season.

Gameday Coverage
TV: Friday - local Madison TV (live), WPT (tape-delay); Sat - FSN (live), WPT (tape delay)
radio: WIBA 1310, yahoosports ($4.95/mo)
video webcast: none
livestats: uwbadgers hockey gameday

Series previews
uwbadgers: Seven-game unbeaten streak on the line for Badgers, Game Notes
Milewski (Icehouse): Geoffrion set to return to lineup
Baggot (WSJ): UW-Northern Michigan preview
CHN: Tale of the Tape

Andy Baggot makes a point in his preview with which I wholeheartedly agree -- the Badgers need to do better on PP faceoffs, as it seems (to me, at least, and apparently to Andy as well), that the Badgers waste a lot of PP time getting the puck back and setting things up again. Andy points out that having Geoffrion back will help, so that's a good thing. Mr 60 asked me (seriously, he asked me this; this isn't me asking) why Tom Gorowsky doesn't get to take more faceoffs, as it seems to us that he wins a large majority of the ones that he takes. (I shrugged and answered that he's being used on the wing, not at center, what the heck do I know?)

Other articles
Milewski (TCT): Fundamentals, not injuries, interest Eaves
Milewski (TCT): Dolan, Mitchell, Grotting doing what they do best for UW
Baggot (WSJ): Road to recovery easy to pinpoint
Baggot (Badger Blog): Rating the goaltenders
Baggot (Badger Blog): No whistles in their sleep
Lowman (CHN): Badger baby steps

Of particular interest to me is this blurb from Todd's "Fundamentals" article:

What is on Eaves' mind is getting his team back to basics after that break. UW had only about an hour of practice before last weekend's tournament, so this week's lead-up to a nonconference series against Northern Michigan at the Kohl Center will stress heavily the need to win the small battles that make up the larger result.

"Maybe one of the reasons that we did lose those little battles is that we haven't done it in a while," Eaves said.

I'm not gonna lie; it drove me crazy on Sunday that the Badgers kept losing battles for the puck. Don't get me wrong, Lake State had a lot to do with this -- the Lakers battled hard the whole game and earned each puck. But the Badgers have got to to better.

Weekend Notebooks
USCHO: don't see anything up yet . . .
INCH: don't see anything up yet except more tourney previews . . .

Badger Women v. USA Select Team: Fri 2 PM (Kohl Center)
Madison Capitols v. USA Select Team: Sat 2 PM (Cap Ice)

Badgers Jinelle Zaugg, Molly Engstrom, and Kerry Weiland will be playing for Team USA. What fun!

Badgers Head Coach Mark Johnson will be absent from the exhibition game (as well as next weekend's series @ the Foreign Legion of Duluth) as he's coaching the US U18 team at the U18 World Championship in Fussen, Germany. (Future Badger Brianna Decker will be playing for the US U18 team, and I think maybe future Badger Alev Kelter, too, although don't hold me to that. Keep an eye out for Brittany Ammerman, as well, as I gotta believe she'll be a Badger someday soon. A couple of future Badgers will also be playing for Canada's U18 team -- Breann Frykas and Saige Pocholuk)

Brooke Ammerman, Hilary Knight, Jessie Vetter, Erika Lawler, and Meghan Duggan all recently participated in USA Hockey's Holiday Camp (Dec 26-31). I think they'll be here this weekend; please correct me if I'm wrong.

Looks like Mallory Deluce and Brittany Haverstock will not be here, as they'll be in Germany competing for Team Canada in the MLP Cup (Jan 2 - 6). The MLP Cup includes CAN, FIN, RUS, GER, SWE, and SUI.

Andy Baggot had a nice piece in yesterday's WSJ about Mark Johnson, the Badger Women, Friday's game, and the upcoming U18 World Championship: Johnson's influence is spread wide. THANKS, ANDY!

Here are a couple of other links:
New York Times: Program keeps US women's hockey at elite level
uwbadgers: Free chance to catch Team USA and the No. 1 Badgers
uwbadgers: Johnson heads overseas to coach US U18 team