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10/22/03 UND Coaches Show


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Disclaimer: This is a summary of the weekly Fighting Sioux Coaches how. It is NOT a verbatim transcript of the show. Comments by the show's hosts and the coaches are paraphrased to the best of the author's ability and are NOT direct quotes. This summary contains selected highlights from the show and is NOT a comprehensive account of all topics covered or discussed.

Live from Lola's Northern Italian Restaurant in beautiful downtown Grand Forks. Tim Hennessy and Scott Swygman are the hosts with UND hockey coach Dean Blais.

The show starts with Blais and Hennessy giving Swyg a very bad time about his hole-in-one today.

Blais said that the Friday night game against Boston College was great. It was two teams going up and down the ice. The second night was like two teams saying "Alright we're not going to let you do that any more."

Blais said that falling behind 3-0 didn't surprise him they way the Sioux were playing. But when it when the score was 3-2, he thought they were taking the game over. In the third period, it looked like the teams had changed jerseys between periods.

Blais he thought BC looked a little tired on Friday, but they didn't look tired on Saturday. He said that if he would have been asked last week if he'd take a split with BC, he'd say absolutely.

TH said he thought it was impressive that Sioux picked it up after BC went up 3-0 early in the second.

Blais said that it's easy to say the crowd as good on Friday. But that's because they weren't as good Saturday. The fans deserve credit for knowing the game better. They talked about it being difficult for people to watch hockey on TV if they haven't seen a game in person.

TH noted that there were a ton of penalties Saturday night. That brought a lot of power plays and caused four top defenseman from each team to play a lot of minutes. Blais noted that BC got two 5-on3 and two 4-on-3 power plays and the Sioux didn't get any.

TH pointed out that a Sioux goalie got steamrolled and it wasn't called. Porter got his head knocked off and it wasn't called.

Regarding the power play, Blais said they have a young team right now and it will get better, not worse.

Blais said he was concerned that they only got four shots on goal in 10 power plays on Saturday. He said he guarantees that it will get better. They are working on it. Right now everything the team does is building on something that they did not quite as well as they should have done the game before.

Blais said Saturday's loss was also a lack of intensity. Swyg said he doesn't remember Blais ever saying that the team wasn't ready to play, the players weren't intense. Blais said it was disappointing. Friday was a character win, but Saturday there was no reason the players shouldn't have been up for the game.

TH said where it showed up the most was on the power play. Blais said faceoffs weren't as good as they should have been. UND's best checkers had only one or two hits when they normally have 7 or 8.

They discussed UND's trouble in moving the puck out of their zone. Blais said the wings have to learn to do something with the puck, even it it's chipping it out of the zone or icing it. They are working on drills to improve that part of their game.

Swyg said Andy Schneider told him that the team wasn't thrilled to have a week off right now. Blais said they have some players banged up and with aggravating injuries. TH said that three players haven't been on the ice this week and probably won't be. Of the upcoming series with Minnesota, Blais said that they are the number-one team in the country, as far as he's concerned.

Swyg says that lawyers are saying HIPPA doesn't apply to athletics. Blais said the players have to sign waivers that allow the coaches to talk about their injuries. Blais doesn't want players broadcasting exactly what their injuries as Zach Parise did with his knee. There's always a chance someone will go after the injury.

Forecheck called in (she can't disguise that laugh) to ask TH if the AD from Yale coming up and if he's preparing for a rematch. TH said wasn't the Yale AD who called him out, but he was the first guy who stood up and said something to him.

Forecheck wonder if TH had been hitting the gym so she can say her radio broadcaster can beat up Yale's AD. Everyone had a good laugh about that. TH said he got an apology from the director of the ECAC.

Another caller asked whether there was a significant difference between Friday and Saturday. He said that BC put three players on the blue line and dared the Sioux to cross it. Blais said BC didn't do that on Friday, but they did it on Saturday and the Sioux had a hard time handling it. He said sometimes the players have to be smart enough to just dump it in. The trick is to dump it in, but not too hard by throwing the puck at the glass or at the goaltender to give time to go after it.

Blais said BC has probably the best D-corps in the country or close to it. He thinks UND's is very good, too.

TH said there's an art to puck dumping. Blais said that sometimes you have no choice to dump it in, even if I don't like to. On Olympic rink, you should never dump it in. Learning how to dump the puck correctly is a lot like learning to take faceoffs.

TH said you need to have someone hitting the line with speed as you dump it in. Duluth and St. Cloud might be the best in the country at holding up players trying to break into the zone with speed. Blais said that last season, Cornell was very good doing this. Blais said the Sioux players still have to work at skating through that type of interference because it often doesn't get called.

On the penalty kill, Blais said the way goalies can handle the puck, they'll get it and shoot it down the ice. J. Parise would like to do that, but Blais said it's his job to stop the puck, not move it out.

For Saturday's BC game, Swyg the one guy who kept him coming out of his seat was Jake Brandt. He made some amazing saves.

Blais thought only JP's first goal might have been a little soft. Swyg said that Blais should feel a little more confident about goaltending than he did last season. Blais said that last season, goaltending didn't cost the Sioux a lot of games, but it didn't win us any. He said that this year, they're going to have goalies win us some games. TH said that last season, it wasn't always bad goaltending, but giving up goals at bad times.

TH said Ryan Hales hit Friday night got the team and everybody back into it. He said it's little plays can make a big difference, such Bochenski going down to block a shot when BC had a 5-on-3 power play.

Swyg said Bochenski is poised to have a great year. Blais said he can score 30-40 goals, but they don't want to put pressure on him. Comparing Bochenski to Vanek, Blais said that Vanek is very good, but Bochenski does a lot of the little things that make him a more well-rounded player. TH compared Bochenski to Dixon Ward because he can score from everywhere and he's got a great shot. Only Brett Hall was better in college hockey. Blais said Brandon's really matured and is a team leader with a lot of character.

Blais said that defensively, the Sioux has had one of the strongest corps around. TH said Bina will be have a hard getting playing time because of the guys in front of him. During the Yale series, win, lose or draw, Blais said everyone will play. Ziegelmann will play. Defensively, Blais is happy with the way the team has played because they haven't given up a lot of shots against two of the top teams in the country.

Regarding this weekend's matchup between Minnesota and Duluth, TH said he thinks Sandelin would rather beat the Gophers than the Sioux. Blais it wasn't like that way when we shook hands after the game.

About Minnesota's loss to Maine, TH said that game didn't mean much. It just helped Lucia get his players' attention. Blais said that it's tough to get a team up after winning a national championship. However, anyone playing for North Dakota or Minnesota or another top team has to be ready.

For example, when Ryan Hale made his hit against BC, it was contagious. But when players see other players going through the motions our jumping out of the way of a check, that's contagious too. It can be demoralizing to the entire team.

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TH noted that there were a ton of penalties Saturday night. That brought a lot of power plays and caused four top defenseman from each team to play a lot of minutes. Blais noted that BC got two 5-on3 and two 4-on-3 power plays and the Sioux didn't get any.

Actually I believe Blais said 5 5x3s, even though I only remember their being 4, 2 each night.

You could tell it was me just from my laugh? That annoying, huh :D;) At least you didn't mistake me for a guy. :( For those of you who didn't hear, I may as well let you in. Tim H. called me sir, and although he quickly corrected himself, the damage was done. My ego is completely shot. I told him I didn't realize my voice was so masculine.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a bottle of vodka and a bottle of asprin calling my name....

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