Thursday, April 29, 2010
I've said before that I'd always rather be outside than indoors and the 10-day forecast right now show's upper 60's heading to next Sunday, so unless rain shows up, I can't think of a better way to spend a day than watching some Brewers prospects with Judy Buzzkill (my mom).
The T-Rats will wear special pink breast cancer awareness jerseys that will be auctioned off during the day and are also offering a pre-game brunch.
Ok, I know this makes me nerdy - but seriously, if we stayed in Milwaukee we'd go out to eat and maybe swing by Grandma's. This way we get to spend the whole day together.
If you're a Brewers fan and you don't already read Brew Crew Ball, you should. And I'm not just saying that because I write there. You will not find smarter fan conversation, more in-depth analysis or better coverage elsewhere. We started something new this season to preview each of the upcoming series and today I posted my first. I asked some questions of some Padres bloggers and in return answered some of theirs.
Go here to read their answers at Brew Crew Ball.
Go here to read my answers at Gaslamp Ball.
In general, soccer announcers and analysts here in the states are sub-par. Former players are trotted through a revolving door and ESPN has had a hard time finding one who's not only articulate, but able to provide insight.
Klinsman won the 1990 WC with Germany and coached the team in 2006's tournament. Having his experience on both sides of the touch line should lend itself well to commentating on the action.
But I got even more excited when I saw this quote on ESPN.com:
"What I can bring to the table in analyzing games and talking is to make people understand what goes on on a soccer field actually reflects a nation," he said. "I'd like to tell people why they're playing a certain way, what's in the back of their mind. It all goes back to roots of where they grew up and how they identify with their own nation.
"I think I can add quite a bit to certain background information. How you read games, how you explain certain things that happen because of the backgrounds people have."
He's light years ahead of many of the announcers in realizing not only that the analysis has been lacking but also what needs to be added.
I was already excited for the tournament to start, especially considering how poorly the Brewers season has started, but this just makes it so much better.
Let the countdown again.
Pavs was the difference for the Sharks in their series-clinching win over Colorado last weekend. He scored the goal that forced overtime as well as scoring the OT game-winner. Over the course of six games, Pavelski has eight points in his first NHL post-season.
But Pavelski isn't the only former Badger doing well in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
In tonight's Western conference semi-finals, it looked more like the San Jose Badgers as Pavelski scored a goal that was followed about a minute later with a goal by teammate and former Badger Dany Heatley. It was Heatley's first playoff goal, though he contributed four assists in the Sharks' opening series and has missed playing time due to an undisclosed injury.
On the opposite side of the puck in this series is former Badger and Olympic silver medalist Brian Rafalski. Rafalski has also had his ice time limited by injury but managed to add five assists during the Red Wings opening series.
Madison native Adam Burish missed most of the Chicago Blackhawks season with a knee injury and has only seen limited time as he's eased back in to skating with the team.
Brian Eliott won the starting job in net for the Ottawa Senators as their other goalie suffered from a number of freak injuries. By the time his competition was ready to return, Brian had already won the starting job. And while he started the playoffs strongly, even being named Washington's top performer in game 2 with a .94 save %, he was pulled from the starter's role for the Sens final two playoff games.
Madison native Ryan Suter's Nashville Predators were knocked out of the first round by the Blackhawks
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Former Badger Michael Davies was signed to an AHL contract with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, an affiliate of the New York Rangers. Davies joines fellow WCHA'er Rhett Rakhshani as a recent signee.
Davies was undrafted, so congrats to him for being picked up so quickly after the season. With his numbers, it was only a matter of time before someone snapped him up.
In Saturday night's game, Davies was on the second line.
This article has this to say about Davies and the signing:
NEW KID -- New Sound Tigers forward Michael Davies scored 52 points this year at Wisconsin, which puts Capuano in mind of a former Sound Tiger.
"He reminds me a little of Colton Fretter," Capuano said. Fretter scored nine goals for Bridgeport at the tail end of 2007-08 and has 50 in the past two seasons for Portland and Springfield.
"They're similar size, but they've got great hands. They're good with the puck. He's a crafty kid. That's something that sure can help our team, having another skill guy around."
Davies, 5-foot-8 and 175 pounds, joined the Sound Tigers on an amateur tryout on Tuesday. Capuano said he hoped to get Davies more conditioning and practice time before considering tossing him into a playoff game, especially against Hershey.
"It's going to be a great experience," Davies said.
"I hope I can use my creativity and I can help out the team in any way I can."
The Sound Tigers are playing the Hershey Bears in the first round of the AHL playoffs. Former Badger Andrew Joudrey plays for Hershey.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Two Predators draft picks have made their debut with the Ads recently, first Ryan Thang joined the team from Notre Dame and on Friday, Geoffrion joined the team in Chicago.
Geoffrion was signed to an Amateur Tryout Contract. (for more info on the different levels of NHL contracts, read this breakdown) The way I understand it, the Preds wouldn't have brought Blake up to the NHL for the playoffs because they would have cost themselves a free agency year with him.
Multiple stories on Blake's signing and play mentioned that members of the Predators front office, including general manager David Poile, assistant general manager Paul Fenton and director of hockey operations Mike Santos, were planning on driving up from Chicago (where the Preds had a playoff game) to see Geoffrion play.
The drive was surely worth it, as Blake scored two goals, put in significant ice time, and was named First Star of the Game.
Love the lead sentence in this piece: "Who could have doubted the combination of Blake Geoffrion and Wisconsin ice?"
As I said a few days ago, the best part of this for me was Blake matching up with Chris Chelios just a week after Blake was in Detroit for the Frozen Four and Badger fans were gathering at Chelios' bar.
We were able to get front row seats to the right side of the goal the Ads attacked twice, so we had a great view of an incredible game for Ads fans.
After having been shut down the two previous games and with a half dozen players scratched from the night's roster, it seemed unlikely the Ads were going to walk away with a win.
However, Milwaukee was stellar on the PP, scoring four of their six goals while on the man advantage.
We were surprised to see Blake in the starting lineup after he was -2 the night before in Chicago.
Blake was matched up with Chelios on lines most of the night and as I tweeted last night, it seemed a bit like the Wolves had decided to give Geoffrion a little "welcome to the big leagues" party. Two separate times hits on Blake sent Wolves to the penalty box.
Geoffrion's first goal came on the opposite end of the ice and happened so quickly after period and so far removed from the goal that we didn't immediately realize that it had happened. He got the puck to the right of center and threw a shot on net from behind the face off circles that got through the keeper.
As the game progressed, Blake took a couple of face offs and looked to be the guy they cycled down and planted in front of the keeper.
His second goal came as a result - he got the puck just to the side of the net and threw it on the keeper. The rebound shuffled around and Blake got the puck back and put it home.
Early in the game the whistle was blown on the Ads offensive end and Blake was near the keeper so a Wolves player skated up to him to be chest to chest and "protect the keeper" as is often done. Except it was Chelios who stepped in and after a second they each realized who it was and they definitely talked to each other and Chelios gave Blake a butt slap.
Per the JS recap of last night, here's what Blake had to say on it: "It was unbelievable... On the ice for the first time with him, I was kind of in awe a little bit even though my dad said not to be like that at all."
"It was pretty cool. I said, 'Hello, Mr. Chelios.' He was like, 'What's up, kid.' That was my little moment with Chris Chelios and I'll remember it the rest of my life."Lastly, here's a screen cap from the Preds website tonight as they are playing in the NHL finals. Game 2 is the top story - but Blake is #2. Pretty impressive after just his second game in the system.
(click on pics for enlarged version)
Here are the pics I took last night:
In the opening line up
Opening face off
Fighting off Chelios
Taking it to the net
Taking a hit at the net
Taking a face off
Once again against Chelios
Showing some D
Another face off
Being named First Star
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
Blake Geoffrion signed an ATO with the Admirals and will be suiting up for them tonight in their playoff game at the Chicago Wolves.
Apparently the Predators start their postseason play in Chicago tonight, so it was possible that Blake was just going to meet with the Predators, but a tweet by the Ads has confirmed that Blake will suit up tonight.
No one knows if Blake has also signed with the Predators. That information seems to be rumored, but not corroborated at this time.
One of the best parts of this for me? Blake was just playing in the Frozen Four in Detroit – the officially meeting place was Chris Chelios’ bar and and Chelios spoke to the boys in the locker room – now Blake will be playing against him.
We were already planning on it, but the boyfriend and I can’t wait to be in house for the Admirals game Saturday night at the Bradley Center. Tickets are just $10. Come out and support Wisconsin’s only Hobey Baker Award winner and make him feel welcome!
Saturday, April 10, 2010
The final paragraph of this article:
But Geoffrion is only worried about one title this weekend and he’s dead set on adding his name to the small list of Hobey Baker winners and National Champions.
“The job is not done yet,” Geoffrion said.
Friday, April 09, 2010
Thursday, April 08, 2010
It was a no-doubter as the Badgers scored just 1:27 in the game and never looked back on their way to an 8-1 win over RIT.
Wisconsin will face the winner of the second semi on Saturday night at 6pm on ESPN.
Jim Rosvold picture from USCHO.com
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
USCHO.com's Wisconsin preview
A USCHO article highlighting Blake Geoffrion and his decision to play his senior year at Wisconsin
Inside College Hockey (INCH) named Blake their Player of the Year
INCH also named Brendan Smith their Defenseman of the Year
Here's the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's coverage comparing this year's team to past UW National Champions
This bit from the New York Times blog matches each of the Frozen Four squads to a Final Four basketball team for some interesting parallels.
INCH's interview with goalkeeper Scott Gudmandson
This article from Madison.com talks about ice conditions and there's a funny video on the side bar about the mustaches.
The Detroit Free Press sponsored a live chat, taking on all kinds of topics about each team.
Here's on campus coverage from the Daily Cardinal.
This article from NESN.com breaks down the Badgers in two sentences:
Wisconsin is known to play a hard-nosed, physical, in-your-face style of hockey. As long as the Babdgers [sic] can maintain a disciplined game and keep penalties to a minimum, they pose a brutally tough challenge to any opponent.
USCHO had blog points throughout today's media day at the Frozen Four:
This one points out that the Badgers are undefeated on football fields - which they'll be playing on again in Detroit
This one is my favorite and needs to be posted in its entirety:
Today’s Wisconsin press conference got off to a rollicking start when the Badgers were told that they’d have a tough act to follow since the RIT players had been very entertaining.
Blake Geoffrion showed that his quick releases aren’t restricted to wrist shots.
“We’re better looking,” he fired back.
This one points out that the first game for this team's seniors was the game where the 2006 National Championship banner was raised.
This one talks about how Badger hockey teams have played in two previous Frozen Fours in Detroit in 1977 and 1990 - and they both won National Championship
This one has quotes from Mike Eaves about the long break between the regional championships and the Final Four.
Lastly, here's video of Blake Geoffrion and Ryan McDonagh from their presser:
In his comments on the move, manager Ken Macha seemed to say a lot without saying anything. He denied that salary was an issue and admitted that Chris Narveson had the bet spring, but appeared to use the small sample size argument.
This is all apparently based on how Suppan performs in single-A on Friday, I suppose giving everyone an out if he totally tanks and they can blame it on his “neck injury.”
In response to a question about keeping Parra and Narveson stretched out, Macha said he plans on using them in long relief and that they’re not single inning guys.
Of course, by assuming you’ll need long relief is assuming that multiple of your starters will fail miserably.
I think most people felt this was inevitable though they didn’t want to admit it. But I’m not thrilled that Suppan’s debut will be at Wrigley Field. His last outing was rife with long fly ball outs and homeruns. That’s only going to be amplified with the early spring, windy conditions we’ve been experiencing here along the lake.
That’s a combination just asking for trouble.