"The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command." George Orwell, 1984
"One does not simply walk into Mordor. Its Black Gates are guarded by more than just Orcs. There is evil there that does not sleep, and the Great Eye is ever watchful. It is a barren wasteland, riddled with fire and ash and dust, the very air you breathe is a poisonous fume." Boromir
"Good news! We have a delivery." Professor Farnsworth
Not at all hockey related, but I was humbled once again by the remembrance of the unbelievable courage and determination of the thousands of brave young soldiers who stormed the beaches of Normandy in the largest sea invasion in history seventy-five years ago on June 6, 1944 to combat tyranny and secure the freedom we all enjoy today. There was little chance of survival and many never returned. I had to watch this clip from Saving Private Ryan one more time.
Last edited by SteveO; 06-06-2019 at 02:26 PM.
Notes from the Star Tribune's Randy Johnson on the upcoming Gophers' schedule:
Gophers schedule has a strong WCHA flavor, and that should be welcome news for fans
"If youíre a Gophers hockey fan who longs for the good old days of Minnesota in the WCHA, the news you received in your email box on Tuesday should make you happy. The Gophers announced their schedule for the 2019-20 season, and itís downright WCHA-like.
The 34-game slate includes 24 Big Ten contests, of course, and the league that everybody loves to hate isnít going away. But itís the nonconference portion that should catch your attention. Eight of the 10 nonconference games are against former WCHA opponents.
That starts with the season-opening series at Colorado College on Oct. 11-12, which will mark the Gophersí first visit to Colorado Springs since 2012. Not a bad trip if you can make it.
The Gophers will get a stiff challenge to close October, with a home-and-home series against Minnesota Duluth. Last year, Minnesota fared well against UMD, with a 1-1 tie in the Bulldogsí NCAA banner-raising night and a 7-4 romp in Minneapolis a day later.
You want more games against Minnesota teams? You got it in the Mariucci Classic on Dec. 28-29. The Gophers open with Bemidji State in this Saturday-Sunday tourney and will play either St. Cloud State or Minnesota State in their second game. This brings back memories of the North Star College Cup that was played at Xcel Energy Center from 2014 to í17. Itíll be interesting to see if the Gophers can continue the all-Minnesota format.
With apologies to the two-time defending NCAA champions from Duluth, the highlight of the Gophersí schedule is the Nov. 28-29 visit from North Dakota. The Gophers-UND rivalry took a big hit when Minnesota was dragged into the Big Ten, and itís not the same as it once was. Still, it should be played annually, just for the emotion and truculence it delivers.
The Gophers-UND series opener is on Thanksgiving, and that is certain to raise eyebrows. Sure, some wonít like hockey conflicting with the holiday and student attendance might suffer, but the reasoning makes sense. The Thursday-Friday format gives the series its own stage and it avoids the parking nightmares of playing that Saturday, the day the Gophers football team is host to Wisconsin at TCF Bank Stadium. College football rivalries often are played on Thanksgiving or Black Friday. Maybe that can work with college hockey.
Coach Bob Motzko will have a young team this season, and itíll be tested early. After the home-opening series against Niagara on Oct. 18-19, the Gophers have a daunting six-week stretch against Minnesota Duluth, Notre Dame, Michigan, Penn State, Wisconsin and North Dakota, with all but the Michigan series at home. Those opponents have combined for 26 NCAA championships, including three of the past four.
Old WCHA rivals, in-state matchups and, most important, North Dakota visiting Mariucci. Thereís a lot to like with this schedule."
Minnesota Golden Gopher Hockey
Never really developed a taste for tequila. Kind of hard to understand how you make a drink out of something that sharp, inhospitable. Now, bourbon is easy to understand.
Tastes like a warm summer day. -Raylan Givens
Strong teams in the B1G next season: Penn St., Michigan, Wisconsin, and Notre Dame. The Gophers lost 55% of their scoring and with a lot of youth on D and up front, and uncertainty in net, this will be a very challenging season for the Gophers.
With much of their high octane scoring returning, Penn St. is my early pick for the B1G title. The Liam Folkes' line with Evan Barratt and Alex Limoges is back who combined for 53 goals and 70 assists for 123 points good for 3.84 points per game, the most in the nation by any one line. Limoges tied Hirose (MSU -signed with Detroit) for most points in the nation last season. Their only negative is their D has to improve and Peyton Jones has to stop being a sieve. The Nittany Lions had the dubious honor of landing last in the B1G in GA and 5th in the nation. PSU is hosting the regional in their backyard in Allentown, PA in 2020, so if they get those things fixed they're a FF team.
Michigan lost Josh Norris and Hughes, but the bulk of their scoring returns and they will be contenders. They struggled in net last season. But they're bringing in 6-6, Goteborg, Sweden native, Erik Portillo (Frolunda HC J20) which seems like a nice find for the Wolverines.
Much of the scoring by committee for UW will be returning and they have one of their best recruiting classes in recent years coming in with forwards Alex Turcotte and Cole Caufield expected to be first-round NHL draft picks later this month. They'll also get a head start on the season playing twice against the University of British Columbia in Vancouver over Labor Day weekend (August 30-Sept. 1). The NCAA allows teams to take a foreign trip for exhibition games once every four years. The big advantage for the BADgers is they get 10 days of practice leading up to the trip. Normally coaches can't get on the ice until the start of the fall semester on Sept. 4.
Notre Dame was young on the backline last season and only lost four seniors, so they'll be tough this season as well. With Cale Morris returning in net, whose .093 SV% was 7th in the nation, ND will be much improved from last season.
Last edited by SteveO; 06-09-2019 at 04:13 AM.
There are a lot of holes and improvements that need to occur for this team to play at a high level. Just have to replace majority of scoring, see more improvement in Defensive play, and , oh, hope a new goalie turns into a freshman stud. But on the other hand, we've all gone into seasons with the team on paper looking like a Final Four team and struggle, and teams with low expectations excel beyond expectations. I remember thinking after Duluth lost in the NCAA three years ago that with all the departures, especially on D, they would be rebuilding the next year and struggle, but they seemed to do OK the last two years.
Lafontaine is a Michigan reject that became BCHLís top goaltender, so hopefully he doesn't break stride. Good article: REFLECTIONS: JACK LAFONTAINE
JL's two seasons with the Wolverines: 5-11-1, SV% .900, GAA 3.40. With his return to D1, he's definitely got something to prove. I hope he brings his A game early and often or it'll be a long season.
Last edited by SteveO; 06-10-2019 at 03:20 PM.
He holds the puck too much, tries too much, makes costly turnovers. At first I was thinking ok heís not used to this high level of competition maybe heíll adapt his play to the level of competitionóhe didnít. Continued to be a liability through the tournament Iím surprised they didnít scratch him but Iím not a coach. So I really donít see how heís going to fare any better in the NHL. He doesnít have the skills his brother has to get away with that style of play
Losing Quinn Hughes is a net loss.
When I look at a player like Quinn Hughes, who is obviously in the eyes of scouts and the Vancouver Canucks a defensive talent AND a highly skilled offensive player with an elite blend of vision, creativity, puckhandling, speed and decision-making, it's hard to imagine how he will be anything but successful in NHL. One thing for sure, his agent Pat Brisson, who is perhaps the best in the business today maintaining big-time active contracts for John Tavares, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Sidney Crosby, Anze Kopitar, etc. wouldn't even give Hughes a cup of coffee if he felt like he wasn't going to excel in the NHL. I didn't catch his successful NHL debut, but apparently Hughes and Brock Boeser connected several times in the playoffs (3 pts. in 5 games). Hughes burned his first year in the playoffs and has two seasons left on his ELC for a total of $2.7M. Not bad for 19 years old.
With regard to last season, IIRC he was somewhere around 5th in the nation in assists among defensivemen. However, although I'm not a terribly vivacious fan of the +/- stat given the abundance of confounds embedded in variable, he did register high in the minus category, as did Dante Fabbro (BU) of whom there is some similarity to Hughes in this category and signed with the Predators in March as well. IMO a young, uniquely gifted 19 year-old like Hughes, needs time and space to flex his wings and that's inevitably going to mean turnovers, miscalculations, and being out of position which often led to odd man rushes for the opponent. So I have no argument with you there.
Coaching a highly talented D like Hughes requires that he be paired with a supportive player on D along with an understanding from his teammates that puck support will be needed at times for a "run and gun" guy like him. I think Michigan coach Mel Pearson whom I think is one of the best in the NCAA, tried to do that as a much as possible while accepting the growing pains as well. Perhaps he'll end up alongside someone like Chris Tanev who IMO is the Canucks best D, and the total package of hockey IQ, smooth skating, quick puck movement and would pair seamlessly with Hughes to provide defensive support when needed.
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