Posts Tagged ‘Union’
You’ve probably heard the story by now. An old man with a history of controversy is recorded in the middle of a racist rant. The tape is distributed to media outlets. As it turns out, this old man owns the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers and the league is in a tough position. A couple of days after the tape is released, the NBA bans the old man for life and begins the process of taking over his franchise.
The first thought when I heard the tape of Donald Sterling’s rant was “I’m not surprised.” My second was to ask how would people react if an NHL owner was the person being taped?
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There’s been quite a bit going on over the past two weeks since the NCAA Regionals, most of the big stories being players leaving school early for the NHL.
Two stories stand out above the rest.
The first is that longtime Colorado College head coach Scott Owens resigned. Owens has been at the helm since taking over for Don Lucia in 1999. During that span, the Tigers made the Frozen Four in 2005 on top of six other NCAA appearances. No reason was given for his resignation, but my theory is that maybe the powers that be wanted to move in a different direction, like Denver was last year with George Gwozdecky. The Tigers haven’t made the NCAA tournament in three years and just went through their worst season in 20 years. Whatever the reason, it’s a sad day because Owens is a talented coach who kept a small school competitive on a national stage. I’m sure he’ll be missed by the Tiger faithful.
The other is that NCAA seems willing to reconsider its idea to stage the Regionals at neutral sites. On paper it seemed like a sound plan; it isn’t fair for one team to have a distinct home-ice advantage over the other teams in the region. The plan backfired because attendance at the Regionals has been terrible. Attendance turned around a little this year, but it’s still bad. A total of 8,893 fans for a regional championship between Minnesota and St. Cloud State sounds fine — except that the game was in St. Paul at the Xcel Energy Center, which holds more than twice that number (18,568).
If the NCAA is smart, they will return the games to campus sites. Yes, it gives one team an advantage, but a good team overcomes that. I’ve seen it happen. Miami beat Minnesota-Duluth in 2009 in front of a loud, very partisan crowd at Mariucci Arena. (How partisan was the crowd? I was cheering for both teams and when the Redhawks scored first, I cheered and pumped my fist. I was the only one in the arena to do so outside of the Miami pep band. It was weird).
Both of those stories pale in comparison to the Frozen Four, which starts Thursday. This year features three powerhouse progams and one on the rise. I got three out of the four teams correct with my predictions two weeks ago, which was my best performance in the Regionals so far. Let’s see if I can keep my luck going.
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Frozen Four Schedule:
Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa, Fla.
Thursday: Ferris State (25-11-5) vs. Union (26-7-7), 3:30 p.m.; Minnesota (28-13-1) vs. Boston College (31-10-1), 7 p.m.
Saturday: National Championship Game, 6 p.m.
Previewing the Field:
The nation’s number one team Boston College heads to Florida as the clear national title favorite, having not lost in its prior 17 games. The strength of coach Jerry York’s Eagles lies in its defense and transition game. Goaltender Parker Milner (27-5-0, 1.70 goals against average, .935 save percentage) played a big part of that defensive success, as the junior rides a personal 18-game winning streak. Milner owns five shutouts in that span (including two in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament) and has allowed more than two goals just once (Jan. 21 vs. New Hampshire) since December 2. Read the rest of this entry »