“We’re not sitting on the porch playing banjos down here.”

When we played Colorado College to start our season, Scott Owens, CC’s radio voice and a former member of the Michigan State organization, called our coach, Danton Cole, to talk about the Alabama-Huntsville team. Cole is an MSU alum, and so the conversation was free and easy.

And then Owens asked about recruiting. And then … then I got to remixing.


That was a fun ninety minutes last night … and now I have to mix it down to 30 and 60-second loops before tonight’s game.

Practice | Day #4

Practice | Day #4

Originally uploaded by Geof F. Morris

So the greatest amusement of my day was UAH head coach Danton Cole coming up to me and Will while we were watching UAH’s first practice and saying, “Hey, do you guys think you can help me get information out over Facebook?”

This amused the two of us greatly, as Will started the UAH Hockey Facebook group, and I, well, do this kind of stuff all the time.

I mean, really … twist my fuckin’ arm, Coach.

[For the record, I’m buying season tickets this year, including a four-pack in good seats on the penalty-box side of the ice. Obviously, I am only one man and can only sit in one seat at a time, so if you would like to use my tickets for free, you just give me a call or drop me an email, eh? First come, first served.]

NCAA Ice Hockey Moving to Two-Ref System … and Removing Ties?

USCHO reports that NCAA Ice Hockey will move to a two-ref system in 2008-09, which is something that I actually support. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen no-calls that an assistant ref saw but wasn’t empowered to call by the rulebook. Having two sets of eyes really helps cut down on the no-calls, so I’m all for this. [Besides, it’s two refs I can ride like broken down mules during the game.] To contain costs, the NCAA decided to simply swap a ref for an AR, and … that’s fine. NCAA ice hockey isn’t a big money-maker, so keeping the number of on-ice officials at three is fine. We’ll get a second AR in another decade or so, I figure.

In a bad case of burying the lead, though, USCHO glossed over what I thought was the bigger part of the new story: the desire to eliminate ties! Call me old-fashioned, but I think that ties are one of the things that makes hockey, well, hockey. I hate what the NHL has done with ties—both the overtime loss and shootouts suck!—and I hate to see college hockey go the same direction. Since USCHO buried the lead, I’ll quote the full section:

The issue of tie games was discussed at length at the meeting. The committee considered numerous ideas, including efforts to reduce ties and ways to completely eliminate ties from the game. After these discussions, it is the committee’s current intent to eliminate ties starting with the 2008-09 season.

The group developed the three most feasible options to eliminate ties:

1) Five minutes of 4-on-4 overtime, then decide the game by using a shootout. This option had the most support among committee members.
2) Five minutes of 4-on-4 overtime, then 3-on-3 for five minutes of overtime, then a shootout.
3) Each team would receive a 5-on-4 power play opportunity for two minutes. If Team A scores and then holds Team B from scoring, Team A wins. If Team B scores a shorthanded goal during Team A’s opportunity, the game is over and Team B wins. If a penalty is called on the shorthanded team during the overtime opportunity, the power play opportunity is extended for the additional time. The procedure is used until one team scores. This model is more in line philosophically with the tiebreaking procedures used successfully in NCAA football.

The group also developed the three most feasible options to reduce ties:

1) Five minute overtimes playing 4-on-4.
2) 10 minute overtimes playing 4-on-4.
3) Five minute overtimes playing 4-on-4 and then 3-on-3.

The committee discussed the effect on the Ratings Percentage Index in Division I and the selection criteria for Division III institutions, and will continue discussions with the appropriate championship committees throughout this process. These selection criteria are the purview of the selection committees, not the rules committees.

“At this point, the committee did not take any formal action on tie games, but is presenting several options for consideration throughout the year,” said [Col. Jim] Knowlton, [chair of the committee and an administrator at the United States Military Academy]. “We plan to have some resolution on this issue at our meeting next summer.”

It makes zero sense to me that you want to change the rules of the game when it’s tied after 60 minutes. I don’t get the antipathy towards ties. You get a point. If you tie both games of a weekend, you split … you get two points. No problem there.

Grand Rapids or Bust!

Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the end of Doug Ross’s coaching career at UAH … our boys went from the lowest seed at our conference tournament to the tourney champions. Unfrickingbelievable. All the teams I’ve followed, all the times we’d been to the CHA tourney final—this was our fifth appearance—and we win it with a team that went 10-19-3 in the regular season. Criminy.

Yes, folks … we’re 13-19-3 and in the NCAA’s. It gets better when you learn that UAH is 5-0-1 in their last six games. Yeah, we were 8-19-2 not that long ago. Just a horribly long start to the season, I guess. 😉

Of course, I’m on my way to the regionals to broadcast the games. We start off with a game against Notre Dame tomorrow at 4:05 p.m. Central; that game will be streamed on the Internet at 730UMP.com, thanks to the fine folks at WUMP. They’ve really stepped up for us—all the postseason games we play will be broadcast by them or their sister station, WVNN. Thanks a ton, guys. Zack Bennett and Thom Abraham are our heroes of the week!

Oh, did I forget to mention that my boy Mike Anderson is broadcasting with me? I think I did. This is gonna be awesome.

I type this entry from a Panera in Nashville [on 21st, in case you’re curious]. I was going to dine at the lovely Fido’s a bit further south on 21st, but damn if their parking lot wasn’t completely and utterly full. [Bry, I’m right next to Satco, man. I have a hankering for some terribly greasy Mexican food that I’ll regret at 2:00 a.m. Wish you were here!]

Why am I stopped? Don’t I drive all night? Well, see … I have a fantasy baseball draft tonight, and unlike, oh, Ronzilla, I’m not so lame that I’ll skip the draft despite needing to be on the road. I’ll do our draft [which usually goes under two hours], finish that up, and then get back on the road. Tonight I’m staying in Elizabethtown, KY, and I’ll get up early in the morning and finish the drive. I might yet beat the Pep Band bus to Grand Rapids.

More later. Should be a fun time.

[And yes, I’m posting because, as Mom noted in a phone call yesterday, I’ve been posting nothing but links lately. Yes, I’m terribly busy at work. No, I can’t talk about any of it. I don’t really want to talk about it, anyway. ;)]

Fixing My Van With a Left Arm Tan

Gettin’ kinda excited to see Wilco tomorrow night. 🙂 I’ve already talked myself out of bootlegging the show—ironic, given how much I trade in Wilco boots—but I know that my equipment just isn’t up to the task. That, and I want to fully enjoy one Wilco show before I start taping all the ones I hit.

I only want to go where my wheels roll … and Tuesday they carry me to Nashville and then Wednesday on to Hotlanta to see the Bruins play the Thrashers—it’s the only time they come down there this year, and well … I’d go another time if they came, given that this week is busy. [Hey Dougal?! Are you going with me or am I calling in the relief goalie? ;)]

Now I know I made a mistake, lining up all this travel at once. Ah well. I’m still under 30. 😉

At Least the NHL Won’t Screw This Up

When I first awoke this morning—after under three hours’ sleep—my lizard brain had one thing on its mind: Game Seven. Would it be on NBC? Indeed, it will be.

The NHL TV deal—taking the guaranteed money from OLN over the partnership with ESPN—has been a debacle from my end of things. I love hockey, and I watched less than five regular season games before dumping my digital cable [and my only access to OLN with my cable provider]; I’ve only seen one postseason game, and that was only because I was in Carolina for Game One, where the venue that hosted the concert I was attending happened to have the game on in their bar. I could just see the screen from where I sat, so my head was definitely on a swivel. Compare this to past years, when I have pretty much spent any idle TV time in the summer with whatever playoff game has been on ESPN—after all, it might be a Steve Levy game, which means it’ll go to eleven [overtimes].

My fear was that Game Seven—the very win-or-die, mano y mano kind of contest that drew me into hockey in the first place—would be stuck on a crappy cable channel that almost no one watches. [The aforementioned Game One was outdrawn by women’s college softball playoffs on ESPN, after all.] Instead, the game will be broadcast in all its glory for almost all the country to see. Sure, maybe they don’t give a damn about hockey, or maybe they don’t understand the sport … but the opportunity to see this brutally beautiful game is all I can ask for as a fan of hockey.