Excuse my hiatus from the blog the past two weeks. Not only have I been pursuing other projects in my spare time, I also have been overcome with work. This is not unexpected, as any reader of my blog for the past few years knows, because when the Red Sox make the playoffs, the whole “make sure students don’t riot” responsibility gets added to my job (and several others in my office and at the university.)
I have two blog entries upcoming – one on jerseys (no, I’m not turning into UniWatch), and the other on biking. Both should be finished shortly. But here are a few short notes to tide you over.
The Arizona Cardinals hate me – In late September of 1999, Arizona Aeneas Williams slipped by San Francisco 49er center Jeremy Newberry to level a devastating hit to an already concussed Steve Young to knock him unconscious (although Young would never admit to that, the tape proves otherwise) and end Young’s career. I watched it live on Monday Night Football, and I doubt I’ll ever forget that hit.
Fast forward to October 5, 2008. Arizona Cardinal Adrian Wilson slips by a distracted Buffalo Bills offensive line to level a late hit on Bills quarterback Trent Edwards, by some reports knocking him briefly unconscious and taking him out of the game with a concussion. Thank goodness Edwards is young and the Bills have a bye this Sunday.
Dear Arizona Cardinals: What have I ever done to you?
Unfortunately, the Bills lost their first game to the Cardinals after JP Loser-man had to come in and depress the entire Bills team. The Bills don’t want to hustle for him. Heck, Dick Jaron should have put in third stringer Gibran Hamdan instead – I think the team would have played better for him than they did for Losman, and he probably would have played better. (Although Losman’s 87 yard pass to Lee Evans was great, but you could have seen that coming, given that Evans is Losman’s only buddy on the team.)
North Dakota Has Blood – As in, Ben Blood, a freshman defensemen for the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux. What a fitting name for a hockey player, and a defensemen no less! If a kid was ever born to be a hockey player, that kid was. Blood, along with the rest of the UND team, joined Michigan State, UMass Amherst and host Boston University at the Icebreaker tournament this weekend at Agganis Arena. And like the college hockey junkie I am, I was there.
UND and Boston University played Friday evening in the first round, second game of the Icebreaker. Boston University played like I had not seen in two years and beat UND 5-1. This was my second time ever watching UND play (the first was at the first NCAA Regional I ever went to in 2005 – I don’t remember that much, as I was on my first date with my now-fiance) and I am impressed at their speed – they do not seem like a college team on the ice at all, and could hold their own in an NHL game. I know why despite graduations, the Sioux visit the Frozen Four every year. Holy heck, someone get head coach Dave Hakstol an NHL job stat. (Really, Tampa Bay, a college coach like Hakstol is out there and you go get Barry Melrose to replace my beloved Tortorella? Insane.)
But what was most telling about Friday evening’s UND-BU game was that BU was able to match UND’s speed throughout three periods. The past two seasons, it has been evident that BU was too slow, and got sluggish easily, which when combined with awful goaltending and lack of leadership like last year, is a disaster. BU changed their training regimen this off-season (On campus at 6am? You might see players running down Comm Ave) and it seems to have paid off. It also doesn’t hurt that the team finally has two legitimate goaltenders in freshmen Kirian Milian and Grant Rollheiser (can we call him Rollie yet?) It was easily the best played BU men’s hockey game in years. The arena was buzzing with excitement. Let’s see if they can keep it up tonight against Michigan State.
Michigan State played UMass in the first game of Day 1 of the Icebreaker, and my UMass predictions (that they might be a force to be reckoned with in Hockey East this season) quickly were proved incorrect. Wow, was UMass bad. As a UMass fan who was sitting behind me during the UND-BU game said, “It’s going to be a long season. It’s not that they’re bad. It’s that they obviously don’t care.” I don’t know if I entirely agree – the team showed effort in the third and played most of that period at Michigan State goalie Jeff Lerg’s feet – but they weren’t as snappy and scrappy as they were last spring. They may just be a second half of the season team, but they were missing passes and making silly wide shots on goal, and it was just embarrassing for them. Let’s hope they can get it together before conference play begins. However, as Chris, my partner in crime (aka fiance) said, expect UND to wipe the floor with them this afternoon in revenge.
I also have learned to love Lerg. Lerg reminds me of Everyone’s Favorite Goalie (aka John Curry) and is as good as advertised. This was my first time seeing him, and he was awesome. He’s short, but he has a quick response time, a good pivot, and a good eye.
I’ll try to be back Saturday night or Sunday with updates from my day o’sports – Battle of the BU’s soccer and Day 2 of the Icebreaker.