Some stuff to clean up this afternoon:
-I’ll be on Chris Block’s podcast tonight at 8pm. Catch it at The Third Man In.com. No one is more plugged into what goes on in Rockford than Block, so if you want to know what’s going on down there you should check it out. I’ll just be making it up.
-Phillip Danault and Mark McNeill were invited to Canada’s World Junior training camp. Both have at least a decent shout to go to Russia. Danault is considered more of a lock, though Bob McKenzie thinks that McNeill’s versatility could see him land a spot as well. If Bob McKenzie says it, I’ll believe it.
-On to CBA talks, and a couple tweets I’ve seen have Jonathan Toews as part of the players portion of tomorrow’s meetings. So to review, we can get Toews and Sidney Crosby in a room together, we just can’t get them on the same sheet of ice. While we’ve complained about Toews and other players opening their mouths, I will say that having a lot more players informed and engaged in what’s going on is probably better than in the past where pretty much every member of the union was a clueless, drooling dolt. That’s why their PA leaders kept being so cooked. Now if only they were more clued in on how their sport’s fandom is already dying.
Ok, so I spent the weekend watching college hockey. It’s not something I’ve done before this year with any regularity, but with Minnesota always popping up on my screen every weekend along with others and the Bulls being plainly unwatchable (they are Bulls fans, and you know it), I’ve taken in more NCAA pucks the past couple weeks than I have i my entire life. Just some thoughts pinging around my vacated skull to share:
-Let’s start with Kevin Hayes. It’s no stretch to say a 1st round pick is going to be a productive NHL-er one day. They should be. And Hayes will be. But there are some concerns and warts. Hayes dominated the 1st period against BU on Friday and the 2nd again on Saturday back home against the Terriers. He was the best player on the ice. But then he wasn’t. That dominance didn’t stretch for 60 minutes. At his age, it’s understandable I guess, but you’d like to see it the whole way. He shoots from everywhere, which isn’t a bad thing unless you’re Kris Versteeg. He’s got better hands than his brother, and might even be a much better skater. Like his brother, I don’t see a nasty streak but he’s not quite as moved around at his size as Jimmy can be. It’s hard to project where Kevin will be, because at the professional level he’s not going to be so significantly bigger than most of his opponents. Oh, and he’s got just a Olympus-resident shot, which BC runs their entire PP around. Look forward to more viewings if I have to.
-I know Flames fans are all gaga — and it’s never a good thing when Calgarians are gaga – about Johnny Gaudreau. No question the kid is supremely skilled and creative. But he’s a 5-8 center. How long does that last at the NHL? Ask David Perron, which is what I see.
-Panthers fans, on the other hand, should be drooling over the idea of Nick Bjugstad. Had a goal against UNO on Saturday where he picked out the very last inch of twine in the corner from a bad angle. He’s big, he’s got great vision, and Tallon’s got another one in the pipeline.
-Oh my god are the Nebraska-Omaha jerseys awesome. Just so sharp. How do you sell kids on coming to Omaha? Maybe it’s to wear those jerseys.
-I’ve seen Wisconsin play three times. My lord are they boring. Have they always been this boring? Did Mike Eaves always play this 1-3-1 Soma-like system?
While it doesn’t satisfy everything I’m missing now, I’ve enjoyed the college games I’ve watched. There far more frantic than the professional game, which leads to a rougher, more sloppy game but one that’s amped up in emotion than you’d find in a mid-February slog against the Ducks or whatever. The noise and passion kind of counters the lack of flow at times.