Monday, October 11, 2010

Back from St. Louis, I'm in Love

(Before I start this post, I thought I'd better link up our tailgate announcement, as I just bumped it down.)

I worked late Thursday night and left early Friday morning for St. Louis, so I had no time to post before the opening weekend, my apologies. For a number of reasons, I've had a hard time getting back into the swing of things, but after this weekend, I gotta tell ya, I'm fired-up about Badger Hockey! And so after returning this evening from St. Louis, I thought I'd better get a post written for the loyal Badger Fans who weren't able to make the trip.

With such a young team (holy cats, the freshman class is big) and turnover at assistant coach (although Bill Butters has gotta know what he's doing, and Gary Shuchuk is Gary-frickin-Shuchuk), ya gotta figure that this year might be a tough one for the boys. They're certainly not the team that they were last year. (Dang, we were so close to the title. HatchetJoe and I maintain that we didn't really lose 5-0, we lost 1-0 and then the other team score 4 more goals, and I'm standing by that assessment.) But moving on, I'll go ahead and say that it's going to be a fun year this year.

I thought we looked pretty good v. BU, had a number of good chances, and I liked some things I saw. Sure, there was a bit of disorganization at times, but that's to be expected this early in the season. I'm a bit disappointed that we let BU tie things up and then get ahead, but the Badgers had a number of good chances that could've changed the outcome of the game (not to mention the questionable no-goal), and I was reasonably pleased with the game and excited about the games to come.

Sunday's game v. Holy Cross wasn't much of a contest. The Badgers did face a different HC goaltender Sunday than Notre Dame lit up on Friday; as HatchetJoe remarked, "This can't be the same guy who played on Friday, this guy has played before." With the lower level of competition you can't read too much into the 6 goal win, but nonetheless it was great to see the Badgers put up 6 goals and to see Brett Bennett get the shutout.

Some general thoughts on the weekend:
  • RYAN LITTLE, I'm in Love. Even though I saw Ryan at F for the scrimmage, I wasn't necessarily expecting him to be in the game line-up at F, as I hadn't really been following things and thought it was just a numbers thing for the scrimmage. (Ryan at F gives 15 F and 8 D, which divides into lines nicely.) But it sounds like the coaching staff thought Ryan had a better shot at competing for a spot in the line-up at F, especially with so many young guys up front. Ryan fit right in at forward this weekend, scoring his FIRST GOAL AS A BADGER on Friday night and following up with a pretty nice goal on Sunday afternoon -- I was chatting with a scout and mentioned to him that Ryan had just move to F this season, and the scout indicated his approval, saying "that was some goal this afternoon". I'm not gonna lie; I liked Ryan Little a lot this weekend. CONGRATS, RYAN!!
  • I like the 1st line of Murray-Smith-Zengerle a lot. You know me, of course I like Jordy Murray. But I really like him on a line with Craig Smith and 1st Star Zengerle, as Smith showed his talent this weekend (when he wasn't getting booted from the game) with a couple of nice goals and some other nice plays, and Zengerle looked pretty good as well.
  • Out of the freshman forwards, 1st Star Zengerle, Tyler Barnes, and Michael Mersch played both nights, while Gavin Hartzog and Keegan Meuer (did he redshirt last year? regardless he didn't play last year, so he's a freshman to me) played just Friday and Jason Clark and Jefferson Dahl played just Sunday. (Sean Little did not play). I thought they all did a nice job; no one looked terribly out of place. But beyond Zengerle, Tyler Barnes especially caught my eye, and I think we're all going to like #7 quite a bit. HatchetJoe, of course, has decided that #25 is his new favorite player, and as such made the first premature Hobey Baker announcement of the season after Mersch's goal on Sunday, loudly touting Mersch's candidacy for the 2014 Hobey Baker award with a resounding "Hobey Baker" chant. When you watch hockey with HatchetJoe, you never know what's gonna happen . . .
  • Out of the freshman defensemen, Frankie Simonelli played Friday and Joe Faust played Saturday (with Chase Drake sitting both nights). I like that Eaves isn't playing any of the freshman D both nights, and it lets more freshman D get experience without being overexposed. Simonelli and Faust looked fine to me, and it's possible that I might be partial to Simonelli (no disrespect to Faust), but it's too early for me to say.
  • I was surprised to see Podge Turnbull on the PK, as the knock against him always seemed to be his defensive play. But if I had thought about it, I would have realized that with the large freshman class, Podge is one of the more experienced players on the team. I thought he looked just fine on the PK, and I was quite happy to see him get the extra ice time. I thought he looked pretty good all weekend and was quite happy to see him score a goal for me. (Being who I am, I'm POSITIVE that he scored it just for us here at the blog, especially me, lol, and I'm becoming even more convinced that he might have been Gorowsky'd in previous years.)
  • I have limited brain capacity and can't remember much about the PP, so don't both asking. Sorry kids. *shrug*
  • I don't know anything about goaltending, so I'm not going to comment much about that, except to say that Bennett had a shutout on Sunday and therefore looked pretty good to me. I wish Gandalf/nubeetle/ih8redwings had been there, as I'm sure they could've given you pretty good analyses.
I'm excited about this season for the Badgers, and I think we're all going to have a lot of fun watching this team. Especially if they all take our motto here at the blog to heart and go ahead and give their full effort every night for 60 minutes, with no alibis and no regrets.