Friday morning reading

VIEWING NOTE: There is NO television for this weekend’s games. You can buy a webcast at huskieslive.mtu.edu for $12 per game. There are no free streams.

HOUGHTON, Mich. — No travel problems. It’s not snowing. It’s warmer than Grand Forks. And I just got a 20 oz. Powerade out of the hotel vending machine for $1. What a start to the trip.

Who knows how long it will be until UND comes back here. So, in advance of UND’s final trip to Houghton as a member of the WCHA, the local paper decided to get things revved up by running a fiery column, trashing UND for its move to the NCHC. Read that here.

I will say one thing about the column: UND’s perception of Michigan Tech is not what the columnist thinks it is. I’ve had private conversations with staff members where they will give their unfiltered opinion on subjects, and I can promise you when they say they respect Michigan Tech and how it does things, that is truly how they feel.

And if you know coach Dave Hakstol, you know he loves traditional hockey spots and these trips that others may dread because of travel logistics. I have no doubt you will see UND back in places like Houghton and Anchorage. When? I’m not sure. But I’m sure it will happen.

UND forward Corban Knight will enter tonight’s game on an 11-game point streak. Once again, he’s been under the radar. Nobody around the league really talks about Knight, but he’s one of the top players in the WCHA (and currently is outscoring the league’s preseason player of the year by more than double in league games). Read a feature on Knight here.

The Q&A is with Mark MacMillan, who talks about his linemates, his brother and playing golf with his teammates. Read that here.

This week’s On The Ice column is about the proposed new NCAA tournament format. I wrote a column like this two years ago, but perhaps the proposed format has received some new life thanks to comments by NCAA Ice Hockey Committee chairman Tom Nevala. Read it here.

In Thursday’s paper, I wrote about the extra attention college hockey has received in the absence of the NHL. I was able to interview John Buccigross and Pierre McGuire for the piece, both of whom say they’ve enjoyed the college season thus far. Read that here.

I also have a couple of stories that weren’t in that article. I was told that after McGuire covered the Ice Breaker to open the season, he went to his producers and asked them to put him on as many college hockey games as possible this season. He has truly enjoyed them.

Also, College Hockey Inc.’s Nate Ewell said he sent McGuire some notes before going to the Ice Breaker this year. Then, Ewell found out that McGuire had already talked to three of the four head coaches to prepare. Buccigross also will e-mail College Hockey Inc., if he has a question about something he’s watching in a game.

These guys are preparing for these games like they would for an NHL playoff game, and that’s why we’re seeing so many high quality broadcasts and why Buccigross has become hugely popular among fans.

The USCHO weekly column has a great note that after this series, Tech’s Blake Pietila and UND’s Rocco Grimaldi will board the same flight to go to the World Junior camp together. Both players were at the NTDP together. Read the column here.

If you haven’t seen the Winnipeg Free Press story on UND sophomore Stephane Pattyn, check it out here.

This week’s episode of Through These Doors is located here. You have to go and watch the clip that runs during the credits. Pretty hilarious.

Finally, my pick for the series: UND takes three points. This Tech team may have more skill than any since I’ve started on the beat. It also will try to clog it up on the smaller NHL ice sheet against UND.

Elsewhere around the WCHA….

Huntsville at Wisconsin: The Badgers allowed just nine shots in winning the series opener 5-0 in front of an announced crowd of 7,473. Nic Kerdiles and Michael Mersch both had two-goal games. Pick: Wisconsin sweep.

MSU-Mankato at Nebraska-Omaha: The marquee series in the league is the battle of the Mavs. Mankato has won six in a row. Omaha is 8-2 in the last 10. This should be a great test for Mankato, which is 8-0-2 against teams with a losing record and is 1-5 against teams with a winning record. Pick: Split.

Minnesota-Duluth at Alaska Anchorage: Remember when UND left Fairbanks? Seems like a long time ago. Well, Anchorage has one win since then. It has been a rough go for the Seawolves and Duluth won’t make it any easier. Pick: Duluth sweep.

Colorado College at St. Cloud State: The Tigers only have one win in their last eight games… and seven of those were at home. Going on the road to St. Cloud State is going to be a difficult task (it will be CC’s first trip outside Colorado since Nov. 3. Pick: St. Cloud State sweep.

Denver at Bemidji State: The Pioneers are on their longest winless streak (six games) in 13 years. I say that ends tonight against a Bemidji State team that has just two wins in its last 10 games. Pick: Denver sweep.

That’s it for now. Check back this afternoon for a video preview of the series with myself and Tom Miller. And, as always, we’ll fire up the live chat about 20 minutes before puck drop. Catch you then.

17 thoughts on “Friday morning reading

  1. That column was completely uncalled for. Instead of focusing on the games, he decides to attack UND. Everything today IS about money. Get over it. The continuation of referring to UND in the column as the fighting _____ was silly. How old is this man. Also he needs to do a little more research as The Ralph has marble floors, not granite. He’s completely bashing on North Dakota’s success, and the others who are going to NCHC. And hey, Western Michigan is a very respectable program. They are stitting at 10-3-1 right now.
    A little jealous, I think so.
    I sure hope Brandon Veale doesn’t represent MTU. I wouldn’t mind if UND contiuned to play MTU, MSMU, UAA, and BSU.
    The person to blame for all of this is Barry Alveraz.

  2. So the column says we’re the ones concerned about making money, yet they’re the ones charging $12 per webcast. You can watch an entire month of UND sports for less than they charge for one game.

  3. Wow. That is one bitter guy. Why would he want to give the Sioux any more reason to pound six different kinds of dog manure out of the Huskies?

  4. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I DO wish Michigan Tech were a part of the NCHC. Sure, they’ve been a WCHA cellar dweller for a long time, but they have a proud history and tradition, including multiple national championships, which no one can dispute. Not only that, they hold the rights to the MacNaughton Cup, a highly sought-after prize in ameteur hockey. I’m not saying what the article says is correct, but I do think the NCHC leaders should have been a little more considerate to what Michigan Tech has to offer.

    • We’re not the only school in the WCHA that rejected the Tech Huskies.

      Did this fool write a similar column when Wisconsin, Minnesota, Denver, UMD, St Cloud, UNO, and CC came to town?

      He’s got a grudge against UND for some reason.

  5. Brad,

    Your column on the need for a change to the NCAA hockey tournament format is spot-on.
    You brought up all the points that need to be addressed including unfair travel for some teams but not others; half-empty buildings for the biggest games of the year; increased revenue for NCAA; and the fact there is very little advantage right now for a No. 1 seed that does not have the opportunity to play in its own building/town.
    College hockey is not college basketball. There is only a few regional sites in hockey which will draw good crowds for a weekend of NCAA tournament play. The hockey fanbase is just not as large as basketball because basketball is more of a national sport and will get more casual fans to attend regional games.
    Therefore, hockey needs to play to its strengths. Go back to the tournament format of the early 1990s and use the best-of-three regional series to determine who advances to the final eight and the Frozen Four. This will reward the higher seeds by allowing them to play at home and insures more fans in the seats and a playoff/hostile environment. If you ask a hockey player, I bet they would prefer the challenge of defeating a team on their home rink in a packed building rather than in an empty building in the middle of the afternoon in a non-traditional college hockey town. An argument can be made that going to this format would virtually eliminate the chances of a RIT, Holy Cross or a Bemidji State advancing to a Frozen Four because they would need to defeat a BC, Denver, Michigan or a UND twice in three games on the road. Well, that is where regular season scheduling comes into the play. Those teams need to play non-conference games in hostile buildings to prepare for that. Teams like Canisius, Mercyhurst and Niagara already get the opportunity to place at a Michigan or Minnesota and that is not going to change in the new college hockey landscape next year. The Big 10 and NCHC is going to need non-conference games and those teams would be happy to come. They already are.
    I think the best two-out-of-three format may also cause some eastern teams to rethink how they regular schedule games in the future, especially in Hockey East of the ECAC. I always maintain that BC would not have as good a regular season record if they had to play the same team on back-to-back nights all the time which is almost entirely the case in the WCHA.
    A best-of-three format will enable coaches to make adjustments and a potential three-game series will favor the team the team with most talent, depth. Yes, it almost eliminates the chances of a monumental upset — a Holy Cross defeating Minnesota — but I want to see the best teams play the best teams in April. No offense to RIT, Union or Bemidji State.
    The final 16 teams in the NCAA college baseball tournament play best-of-three regionals at the higher seeds ballpark to pare down to the final eight for the College World Series, so this format is still in existence.
    It should return to college hockey.

  6. I would love to implement those playoffs changes. Trying to sell out pre determined regions by having a four or three seed play essentially at home is the craziest thing out there. And everyone knows that anything can happen in one game so while upsets are fun, they’re not fun when they become the norm.

  7. I don’t know if the first round would need to be best of 3 – a good team should be able to win under the pressure of a one-and-done format – and it adds another weekend to an already long season. Then what happens the next weekend? Elite 8 game in a half empty arena in a pre-determined non-hockey city? What I think would be great is for the #1 seeds to host their own regionals. I know that doesn’t give hardly any lead time for events coordinators, but think of this: the Big Sky basketball tournaments are held at the #1 conference seed, and that isn’t determined until the end of the season, either.

  8. If Brandon Veale had a clue what he was talking about, he would be dangerous. UND doesn’t have to remove the logos, and yes indeed, having UND hockey on TV has been shown to have the highest ratings. Obviously he is upset like the rest of WCHA fans that the old rivalries will be gone. I guess he holds UND responsible. If this new league was all UND’s decision, then I would think they would have been able to have enough pull in the league to find someone better than Don Adam to be head of officials. Think a journalist would have a little more professionalism, but then again if he can’t get his facts straight, he isn’t much of a journalist.

  9. Thanks for telling us to watch through the credits on Through These Doors. That was hilarious and worth the watch. Play hard at Tech, boys!!!

  10. If anyone ever questions how lucky we are to have a great hockey writer like Brad, all the have to do is go over to the mining gazette and see what tech fans have to put up with. It seems that Mr. Veale could use one of those inflatable donuts to ease his apparent butt-hurt.

  11. As a huge a Sioux fan, I thoroughly enjoyed Brandon Veale’s article. Way to stick it to the man! Judging by his writing though, I am fairly confident he’s smart enough to understand that this was not Sioux Dat Nation’s fault. He also appears to be an Obama supporter with the “I’m too cool for money and cable tv” type attitude.

    Think he would have wrote the same article about Tech if they themselves would have joined the NCHC?

    “We do not merely destroy our enemies; we change them.”
    ― George Orwell, 1984

  12. Does anyone here know Veale? Just curious as he appears to be a good writer but lacks the investigation that goes with an article like that. I guess we are just spoiled with Brad. Three of my favorite readings are the Friday morning reading and the rewinds after games. Keep up the great work Brad.

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