UND has just one loss in the last nine games, but the team isn’t completely satisfied with its play as of late.
That was one of the topics this week at the press conferences. You can watch Dave Hakstol, Danny Kristo and Joe Gleason here.
Oh yeah, another topic was this weekend’s matchup.
UND is playing Minnesota this weekend in the final WCHA series between the teams before they split off into new leagues next season. Ticket prices are high. The drama is high (top two winning percentage teams in WCHA).
So, can UND go to Mariucci Arena and get some points — something it failed to do last season? The players say they’ve had a team meeting and they’ve discussed that they need to be better for that to happen. Read what they are saying here.
I sense that there’s a good chance UND leaves Mitch MacMillan up on the top line, but there will be a bunch of other changes. UND has been trying out a ton of different things with MacMillan and Michael Parks becoming available.
If Derek Rodwell is available this weekend, that adds another option for the staff. They’ve been happy with the way the fourth line has been playing. But if you remember before Christmas, Rodwell was playing well on that unit, too.
With Erik Haula practicing all week for Minnesota, you have to guess that he’ll be in the lineup Friday. He’s the only question mark for the Gophers.
Also in today’s Herald, there’s a story about Grand Forks native Grant Potulny, who is fitting in as a coach at Minnesota. Coach Don Lucia said Potulny “reminds me of myself when I was that age.” Lucia also said Potulny has taken on more responsibilities as the years have passed. Read about Potulny here.
In a strange development, Minnesota declined to make any players (or Potulny) available for phone interviews this week. This is the first time they’ve done this since I’ve been covering the college hockey.
I remember in 2005-06 they declined to make Phil Kessel available, and they’ve had their no-freshmen-can-talk-in-the-first-month rule the last couple of years, but never a full out shut down like this. I’m not sure if this is a North Dakota week thing or if this is the new routine, but it’s interesting nonetheless.
So, we’ll have to wait for the Twin Cities papers to see what the Minnesota players are saying about this weekend’s series (nothing has been posted yet, but Wednesday is their usual media availability day).
I’m currently trying to catch up with some former players on both sides of the rivalry to give some memories and give their thoughts about the rivalry going dormant for a few years. I’ll relay those in Friday’s paper.
This week’s Q&A will be with Chris Porter, who scored one of the memorable goals in North Dakota-Minnesota history. Porter is currently playing for the St. Louis Blues with former UND teammates Taylor Chorney and T.J. Oshie.
The Sioux jersey tournament that I’ve been following is down to a Final Four. Go check them out here, submit your vote and we’ll see which jerseys advance to the championship (and which one will be crowned the best Sioux jersey ever).
If you wish to re-read our live chat, check it out below. I apologize if my responses weren’t very good. I was multi-tasking this week.