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WHKY blogger
11-07-2009, 04:46 PM
How did we get this far into the season without a dedicated thread??

Anyway, observations thus far:

Badgers have been very Jeckel & Hyde to start the year. Prior to last weekend I was concerned whether or not this team would be able to compete with the leagues top teams. Following the home sweep of the gophers we are left scratching our heads once again as we witness yet another split..

Obviously we have a fairly young team and that shows at times. But what concerns me is the way the upper class has yet to embrace their role as the teams leaders. The Freshmen are transitioning well and Ammerman is clearly the teams leader, however other than the occasional spark by Nash or Deluce, the badgers are a single option team.

Going into this season I think everyone expected this to be a tougher year than the past four being without Knighter and Duggs (in addition to the seniors). I think the early loss of Decker has hampered the teams development even further as they have been unable to establish their attack pairs which has lead to chaos on offense at times and way to many turnovers. The upper classes really need to step up as Ammerman has picked this team up and shouldered the load thus far.

Goaltending wise, having seen Becca play a few times in the past I was confident in her ability to come in and start with Vetter like skill out of the gate. Secondarily, McCready clearly lacks behind Ruegsegger overall but if the defense gives her a halfway decent shot at the stop can get the job done when needed (as seen today). Hopefully games like yesterday will be rare and Becca Ruegsegger will soon be on par with what we are use to seeing from Jessie Vetter.

The Team Defense overall seems to mirror that of team USA, Rock Solid at times and swiss cheese at others. Impressed with McKeough and Pacholok thus far however they are both still wearing the inexperienced freshman hat at times. This is another area for the upper class to step up and play better overall as they are for the most part being out performed by the pair mentioned above. Prough has been a good addition but not nearly the force I expected from her games at Mercycursed.

Badger Booster
11-12-2009, 11:57 PM
I realize that this was going to be a transition year, but this is getting ridiculous. If you can sweep Minnesota, they should be able to take care of the likes of Robert Morris and Wayne State (nothing personal against those schools). It's become an all-out epidemic of losing the first game of the series to teams that they really should be beating.

They squandered both a 1-0 and 2-1 lead (the latter with barely a minute left in regulation) only to get beat 1-0 in a shoot-out. Unacceptable.

It just seems like a shame that due to Olympic defections (players & coach) and key early season injuries, the Badgers aren't able to put their best team on the ice. Not to be overly dramatic (plus it's only early November), but not only are they putting a NCAA bid in series risk, they are probably on pace for their worst year in team history (record-wise).

Certainly getting Decker, Windemeir, Jakiel and the Kelters (from soccer) will greatly improve the team, they can't get these lost points back. Hopefully, they can just survive the rest of '09 and hit the ground running to start the new year.

WHKY blogger
11-13-2009, 03:08 AM
Watched last nights game with a couple of former badgers.

We were all in agreement that this years squad needs to find their identity quick or the whole season may be lost. The both quipped regularly "they dont have Lawler-Knight-Duggan-Vetter to bail them out" and "Mark wouldnt allow that, we would have been benched" among other common phrases. Always good Watching with the "girls", but left wondering if the coaches, etc see the same things. Not to Jinx Soccer but hopefully the Kelters will be ready to skate next weekend. What alarmed me most about the evening was the fact that the majority of our girls left the rink laughing and acting like they could care less about the "tie". I believe our D is worse right now than it was in the Pre-Johnson era.

ARM
11-13-2009, 08:45 AM
Moving comments over from the "Scores ..." thread:

While the Badgers have a lot of solid, decent forwards, Ammerman is seemingly the only top-shelf goal scorer.Even Ammerman hasn't been that consistent -- 3 goals in 2 games against Minnesota, 2 goals in the other 9 games combined. While somebody like Lawler or Duggan could not score and still be effective because they did so many other things, I think the Badgers need Ammerman to score. Deluce, Sanders, Prevost, and Giles are other players who I think need to step up. They aren't going to single-handedly replace those that you lost, but they are getting increased opportunities and have to take advantage of them.


I actually think that Ruegsegger and McCready have held up their end of the bargain.In the past, you enjoyed a clear advantage in goal in so many games. This year in most cases, there isn't as much difference between the play in your net and the one at the other end.

IceIsNice
11-13-2009, 08:50 AM
Is it time to steal former Celtic coach Rick Pitino's famous line?

"Larry Bird is not coming through that door!"

ARM
11-13-2009, 08:53 AM
Is it time to steal former Celtic coach Rick Pitino's famous line?Given his recent notoriety, I don't plan to use any of Rick Pitino's "lines".:eek:

diddlypoo
11-13-2009, 11:12 AM
Over the years, there has been criticism leveled at Mark Johnson for not playing the #3 and #4 lines more (by family and friends?) Well, maybe, just maybe, MJ knew what he was doing.

But that aside, there is one place to look when a team can sweep one of the country's best teams (w/o Decker et. al.), and not sweep any of the others -- the top.

ARM
11-13-2009, 11:56 AM
Over the years, there has been criticism leveled at Mark Johnson for not playing the #3 and #4 lines more (by family and friends?) I've always thought that Wisconsin DOES play their 3rd and 4th lines quite a bit. On some of the deeper versions of the Badgers, it looked like he'd use them almost interchangeably, and go with whichever unit was playing better. But you can't get too carried away with playing your role players and leave your horses, of which Wisconsin has had many, sitting on the bench.


But that aside, there is one place to look when a team can sweep one of the country's best teams (w/o Decker et. al.), and not sweep any of the others -- the top.Seriously? Did anyone expect that Mark Johnson would not be missed this year? It isn't practical to expect that a 1st-year head coach with a new staff would not miss a beat from what stood behind the Madison bench last year. The Badgers play better on the second game of the weekend, which suggests that the staff is successfully making adjustments. Wisconsin is just a lot more vulnerable than they have been in years, and that goes beyond coaching. Wait until the end of the season and then judge the job that this staff did in molding the team.

diddlypoo
11-13-2009, 12:26 PM
Seriously? Did anyone expect that Mark Johnson would not be missed this year? It isn't practical to expect that a 1st-year head coach with a new staff would not miss a beat from what stood behind the Madison bench last year. The Badgers play better on the second game of the weekend, which suggests that the staff is successfully making adjustments. Wisconsin is just a lot more vulnerable than they have been in years, and that goes beyond coaching. Wait until the end of the season and then judge the job that this staff did in molding the team.

I fully expected a lower level of play this year, but a consistently lower level of play: beating the dregs of the NCAA by two instead of five, splitting with middle of the pack WCHA teams, and losing to the top teams. Obviously, you would have to be naive to expect that script to be followed without variation. Still, the inconsistency of this year's team is more troubling to me than the overall record.

Maybe the Minnesota series was the aberration, and the upcoming series with UMD and Minnesota will prove that. But I think there are few teams that wouldn't trade their top seven forwards for Ammerman, Giles, Deluce, Prevost, Prough, Sanders and Nash, and when people don't play up to their potential, I think the responsibility ultimately rests on the coach's shoulders.

Yes, we are talking about a first year coach who's been put in a less than ideal situation, but it's not like she's been dealt a 2-7 offsuit. She's a coach that I thought was included "in the conversation" when HC positions open up, so in that sense my expectations were higher for her than for a typical assistant coach. The jury is still out, but I'm not expecting a "not guilty" verdict come March.

diddlypoo
11-13-2009, 02:14 PM
Per gametracker, Decker is in the game!

BlackBart
11-13-2009, 05:45 PM
Ms. Decker is back and judging by her shot (and a goal), her arm 100% healed. She really added a lot of offense spark to the team today!

Radar3535
11-13-2009, 08:24 PM
I fully expected a lower level of play this year, but a consistently lower level of play: beating the dregs of the NCAA by two instead of five, splitting with middle of the pack WCHA teams, and losing to the top teams. Obviously, you would have to be naive to expect that script to be followed without variation. Still, the inconsistency of this year's team is more troubling to me than the overall record.

Maybe the Minnesota series was the aberration, and the upcoming series with UMD and Minnesota will prove that. But I think there are few teams that wouldn't trade their top seven forwards for Ammerman, Giles, Deluce, Prevost, Prough, Sanders and Nash, and when people don't play up to their potential
Is it possible that when teams do not have to put their best defensive players on Lawler, Duggan & Knight that the above are not seeing 2nd and 3rd line players consistently, that their not going to produce as expected?

D2D
11-13-2009, 08:24 PM
Ms. Decker is back and judging by her shot (and a goal), her arm 100% healed. She really added a lot of offense spark to the team today!

Got to see her play quite a bit while she was at SSM. A real sniper who should make a big difference the rest of the way for you guys.

(not that I'm wishing you any extra luck). :p

Badger Booster
11-13-2009, 09:00 PM
Today was the kind of performance that Badger fans have been hoping/waiting for, especially against a team with lesser talent. Getting Decker back on the top line with Ammerman and Delluce did wonders for the offense. Assuming they can keep that line healthy, they are going to score a ton of goals.

It's still frustrating that they are having a tough time getting it going for the first game of the weekend (except Minnesota). However, it's still nice to know that they can turn in on and bury a team.

Now I'm off to get my free Culver's thanks in no small part to Brooke Ammerman.

WHKY blogger
11-15-2009, 03:36 PM
Good to see the wounded back in action again. Hopefully this is a sign of good things to come.

On another note it looks like it will be at least another week for the Kelter additions as UW defeated UCF in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Instead of being available for the Hockey Series next weekend with SCSU, it looks like they will be heading to Stanford to face Boston College.

:o

diddlypoo
11-16-2009, 09:35 AM
WHKY, with Kessel and Coyne off the table, have you heard any other names connected to UW?

diddlypoo
11-16-2009, 09:44 AM
Is it possible that when teams do not have to put their best defensive players on Lawler, Duggan & Knight that the above are not seeing 2nd and 3rd line players consistently, that their not going to produce as expected?

If we want to talk about expectations, here were mine: I would have defined a successful season as (barely) making the NCAA tournament. I expected UW to be in the #7-#10 range. Maybe my expectations were too high.
What were yours, radar?

Badger Booster
11-16-2009, 09:51 PM
I'm curious if the contentious recruitment (from a fanbase perspective) of Phil Kessel 4-5 years ago guaranteed that no future Kessel would ever play at UW.

Hard to believe it's a coincidence that three top players (from the same family) from the Madison area would choose to play out-of-state, two of which going to the Badger's biggest rivals.

I guess that confirms that the Kessel family falling out with the Wisconsin athletic department was 100%.

Radar3535
11-17-2009, 10:37 AM
If we want to talk about expectations, here were mine: I would have defined a successful season as (barely) making the NCAA tournament. I expected UW to be in the #7-#10 range. Maybe my expectations were too high.
What were yours, radar? I would have expected the loss of the above mentioned would not have been as significant in an Olympic year. I would have expected Ammermann to run away with the scoring title(I guess 4 goals in one game can get you in the neighborhood, but their not going to be playing WSU every weekend). I would have expected Ruegsegger to have been a more than capable replacement for Vetter. I thought the depth was there. I expected a top 4 or 5 team. It appeared during the U of Minn series that they were getting it on track. Thursday against WSU changed that thinking real quick. I guess mainly I did not expect the inconsistent play to linger to this point of the season.

Badger Booster
11-21-2009, 10:54 PM
Yet another unsatisfying weekend against a team without as much talent. Looks like we got a boat-load of shots on goal tonight and had to (unsuccessfully) kill off a 5-on-3 penalty late in the game.

However, the bottom-line is another split in a series that we really ought to have swept. How many more "wake-up" calls are needed for this team?

Did the Badgers dominate only to have the Husky goalie stand on her head? Were there shots going off the pipe? Were the late penalties against the Badgers questionable? Something...anything?