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puck swami

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  1. puck swami

    2019 Early Departures

    DU is replacing Larsson with Magnus Chrona, a Tampa Draft pick: https://letsgodu.com/2019/04/15/du-goaltending-filip-larsson-out-magnus-chrona-in/
  2. puck swami

    ITS OVER!!!

    As a Denver fan who once made a living in the college game and has been a Denver fan for 40 years, I watched UND pretty closely this year as I do every year. Your team is a very good skating team that plays fundamentally sound, your compete level is higher than most, and your offensive and defensive systems are NHL standard. Your team is solid and essentially the same as everyone else's team in the NCHC with the big exception being the consistent drop in goal scoring in both 5 on 5 and PP that your fans have well pointed out. But you are not alone, as I think UND is emblematic of some larger trends right now, and I would encourage all of you to see the larger forces that are affecting college hockey. Blue bloods like North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin are all golfing now, and BC and BU must now win conference tourneys just to get to the dance? Why is this? Why is the traditional dominance eroding? I think it boils down to five reasons: 1) Follow The Money. In the past, the Blue Bloods traditionally outspent the other schools to get their dominance and build on on their traditions, and now many other D-I programs have since invested in better facilities just to keep up. All of the NCHC schools, for example, have made multi-million dollar commitments to the sport in better facilities and good coaches. At the same time, the decline of cable TV audiences/coverage around the nation and the growth of streaming games have mitigated some of the media advantages one enjoyed by the blue bloods that was once a major selling point to recruits. The resulting flattening of college hockey investment and access, in turn, makes recruiting more competitive, and forces top programs to keep recruiting younger players, raising the risk that some of top-end young talent may not pan out. When you combine that with the grind of the NCHC schedule, you can see how scoring and winning becomes so much tougher. 2) Player Pool Leakage: The game of hockey has grown tremendously in terms of registered players and junior teams and development programs, while the number of scholarships available/slots to play college hockey has not grown very much. There are now really good players are available all over North America and from Europe who are flowing into the game and that talent is not just flowing to blue bloods, but flowing to other programs, too, creating more parity. Additionally, having recruiting pipeline advantages in "owning" certain recruiting areas is less important now than it once was. Good players can come from anywhere, and when top college coaches could rely on and became overly loyal to certain geographic areas or to specific junior programs, good players can get missed... 3) Offense is dropping, while defensive systems, scouting and specialized goalie coaching grows. Many programs have realized that if they can't find enough offensive production, the best way to stay competitive is to develop the defensive side of the game with the players they can get. Defensive systems emanating from the NHL have had a big effect on college coaches and have made gap control is as good as it has ever been, making offensive time and space pretty scarce, especially in the NCHC. You need quick and accurate releases and better net front presence for second chance shots, but most defenses now can keep even good shooters on the perimeter. Good goalies are everywhere now, and a .920 saves percentage is becoming the norm. Goalies who are positionally sound can now make good saves look very easy and that builds defensive confidence and deflates shooters. Getting 35-40 shots per game is no guarantee of scoring 3-4 goals anymore, and that makes it possible for many more teams to compete. Those teams who excel at shot blocking can often offset high end offenses, but the fact is we just aren't seeing game-breaking offensive players as much, and I think this affects the blue bloods more than anyone else. 4) Chemistry is more elusive: Team chemistry on top programs is more elusive now than it used to be. No one disputes that better players are critical to national success. That said, many teams still over-recruit high-end talent and under-recruit character. The blue bloods have always had greater access to the best players, so its easier to get caught up in stockpiling them, because many of them do leave early for NHL contracts. Other programs build their rosters on character guys who stay longer and help to mitigate the early talent losses. But beyond that, the character in the locker rooms evolves differently for each team, each year. You need the right balance and buy in, and that doesn't happen every year. There are a lot of pressures on student athletes today, and social media can make anyone's mistake global in seconds. As result, I think players are wound tighter and that can really be exacerbated in high-end programs where the pressure to perform individually can take its toll on team chemistry. 5) Entitlement mindset: The high end drafted player now often comes on campus with high expectations from NHL organizations, agents and their families. They are often coming in under this pressure and demanding top-six forward status or top-4 d-man status, power play time and preferential treatment that can really erode team chemistry from the non-drafted guys who have had to earn it. This often makes for difficult locker rooms and strained coaching relationships that we don't see. Having too many stars is not always a good thing, either. Every team needs good grinders, too. Schools who don't land as many of those high end guys try compensate by making team culture a strength, resulting in greater loyalty, more experience and larger senior classes (teams that win NCAA titles tend to have more seniors). As I look at these trends, I see it getting much tougher to maintain traditional dominance for any program, even blue bloods, and we are going to see more down cycles (which for Blue Bloods, means stretches of mediocrity will become normal. We all have to adapt...
  3. puck swami

    UND to Summit/MVFC

    Not exactly. While that's essentially true for NCAA tourney selection, higher league RPIs do help in both recruiting and non-leage scheduling, as coaches have told me directly that some recruits and non league teams have thresholds where they will not consider joining or scheduling teams below a certain floor. Additionally, they may also play a role in TV negotiations and sponsorships revenue negotiations.
  4. puck swami

    UND to Summit/MVFC

    As a Denver fan, it will be great to see UND coming to the Summit League. Right now, the closest thing DU has to a Summit rivalry is Omaha, but with UND joining, our hockey rivalry can expand to other sports. I think this is a great move for UND to renew rivalries with other Dakota schools and Omaha as well. Plus the Summit has a higher RPI than the Big Sky in men's hoops, and you should save a few travel bucks as well. Good move...
  5. A Denver fan checking in with good wishes. I hope Danny gets the care he needs and that his hockey career can continue. Danny is a high-profile, highly drafted player with a very bright future in the game, and if his career is harmed by this, it would really be an awful thing for everyone.
  6. puck swami

    Jesse Martin's Injury Very Serious

    I know Old Pio and he's a very knowledegable guy who has seen many years of hockey. He also tends to wear his emotions on his sleeve - he's quick to anger at times. Every fan base has die-hards with different temperaments and we die hards often see the world through our fan lens first - it's that emotional bond we have between us and our team. I 'm not sure where he saw the quote, but if it was here, he shouldn't be surprised by it - this is UND fan site, for UND fans. Every time I come on here, I do so with the utmost respect for the tradition of Sioux hockey - it's a program that means as much to you as our program means to us in Denver. Though we might not always agree on everything, I have been very impressed with the general reactions and large outpouring of sympathy from the Sioux fans during this rough week for Malone, the Martins and for the DU program.
  7. puck swami

    Jesse Martin's Injury Very Serious

    Gwozdecky's perspective in todays news conference (on video). He has some strong opinions about what he saw...how the refs called it and whether it was a legal hit.... http://board.uscho.com/showthread.php?90682-All-Things-Denver-XXVIII&p=4914379&viewfull=1#post4914379
  8. How about this? http://www.denverpost.com/ci_16492395
  9. puck swami

    Penn State 'close" to adding hockey

    The potential breakaway schools have invested millions and millions into hockey and will get little benefit from playing in a crippled WCHA. DU and CC fly almost every week and still make money now. UND, Notre Dame and Miami would have to pony up about $150,000- 200,000 more in travel costs, but that's well worth it with the quality of conference that could be created to really rival the Big 10 as a recruiting destination and in increased TV interest.
  10. puck swami

    Penn State 'close" to adding hockey

    I believe DU and North Dakota need to be leaders in this new world order if the BTHC happens as seperate conference. UND is now a D-I school and needs to think like, and be with, schools that play hockey as a serious revenue sport. I think DU, UND, CC, Notre Dame, and Miami would be a great start for a core conference to rival the Big 10. We just can't sit around and let the big 10 relegate us into mid major irrelevance.
  11. puck swami

    SIOUX @ DENVER

    Goon, as usual - your insights are good. Gwoz has been known to get into serious coach-speak about injuries. That said, even if the Cheverie and Wiercioch are ready by Friday, Chevy will have been out 3 weeks, and Wiercioch out two weeks without practice at game speed. I would wonder how effective they will be. I would be very surprised to see both play, slightly surprised to see one play, and not at all surprised if both are out. DU has had bad injury luck this year so far, and lot's of guys have missed key games...
  12. puck swami

    DU Saturday Television

    Just to clarify a few things.... DU is anything but poor, folks. The DU endowment is over $300 million, almost twice UND's endowment of $178 million. The school has plenty of money. The problem is DU sits in a very oversaturated sports media market with multiple pro and college teams, and still has one of the top TV schedules in the country. The reason DU's FSN games are not on Saturday' in the fall is becuase of college football contractual obligations for FSN-RM. FSN-RM does broadcast all DU Saturday home games after Christmas, once the college football season is over, as well as the Friday games (all season). In other words, had DU played UND after X-Mas in Denver, the Saturday game would be televised. You can still watch the Saturday game on your computer either through DU or UND, which will be picking up the FSN generated feed. The coverage level is the same with FSN camera crews, replays, etc, just online.
  13. puck swami

    Sioux vs. Pioneers

    I think this statement is perhaps a prelude. Denver is waiting to see what the WCHA does. If the league doesn't suspend him, perhaps DU will.
  14. puck swami

    Sioux vs. Pioneers

    DU's stand on Gwozdecky: http://www.denverpioneers.com/ViewArticle....;ATCLID=3654733
  15. puck swami

    Sioux vs. Pioneers

    It's plenty embarrassing just as it is.
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