From Sam: 1) Is the team concerned with their inability to finish an array of chances this past weekend? 2) What do you feel was the reason for such a poor showing in fan attendance this past weekend? 3) Any chance Pitlick will be shifted to a forward spot on the power play this weekend?
Sam, I'll start with you. ... 1) I don't think they're too concerned. As many of them have been saying, they'd be more concerned if they didn't get any chances. Some of those misses can be chalked up to some pretty good goaltending by Bowling Green. But there were some missed short-handed chances and mini-breakaways that have to be scored if you're going to win WCHA games. 2) I really thought Friday night's fans stayed home and watched the Twins-Yankees game. But it wasn't that much better on Saturday. It is early in the season. I was told by someone in Grand Forks, N.D., that Sioux fans are disappointed that they're playing the Gophers (this weekend) so early in the season when hockey doesn't feel like it's really kicked into gear yet. I'll bet downtown Mankato will be buzzing in a week when Wisconsin's in town. 3) Pitlick is in a forward spot on the power play. In fact, he is in THE scoring spot on the Mavericks No. 1 PP. Think about the left-circle shooters over the years: Mick Berge, Travis Morin, David Backes, Grant Stevenson. ... A lot of goals have been scored from that spot. Not a bad place for a 17-year-old to start his college-hockey career.
From Nation: 1) Are we going to see Eli Zuck this weekend in Duluth? 2) Do you think that Joe Schiller on defense is going to become a staple? 3) Who are the extra players that will be on the bus up to Duluth? 4) Can we expect to see two different goalies between the pipes this weekend? 5) Are there any injuries coming out of last weekend?
Hey Nation, lots of questions from you, too. Let's go in order: 1) No. Zuck was sick most of last week. He skated with the teals (the fifth-liners usually wear teal jerseys in practice) this week. 2) Schiller is a defenseman now, not a forward, if that's what you're asking. As for whether he'll be a regular, I think he's in the mix, just like everybody else. I'd guess that Davis, Boe and Youds are the every-game guys, while the other five are competing for spots. 3) The extra players are Schiller and Thompson. Both freshman D will be in the lineup Friday, and Hayes, another freshman is in up front. 4) I would guess so. See below for more on the goalies (I jumped around on these questions). 5) No injuries. But be sure to read my story on Channing Boe in Friday's Free Press.
From Nation: What can you tell us about the most recent Maverick recruit, Max Gaede?
Another one from Nation? ... I don't know much more right now than I put on the blog. He's got some good size at 6-2, 185 and he scored a lot of points for Woodbury last season. It looks as though he'll play a year in the USHL and will come to Mankato
From Joe: What's up with Dorr?
Joe, as reader Richard responded, Dorr cannot play until after the semester ends because that's when he transferred from Minnesota. He'll be eligible to play in mid-December. I'll certainly be curious to see if they'll have a regular spot for him then or not. Even now, there's a lot of competition for spots.
From Sam: After seeing the Mavs add another forward to one of their recruiting classes ... why do the Mavs seem to focus so much more on recruiting forwards than defensemen? They seem to be solid at forward every season, but the D is always iffy at best.
Sam: For one thing, a typical college hockey roster only has eight defensemen, while carrying 15 or more forwards, so they're going to recruit more forwards just by shear numbers. Another thing is, defense seems to be the most difficult position to recruit. There just aren't a lot of great ones out there. In Minnesota State's case, they're looking for tough, smart, older D-men who can skate, especially on Olympic-sized ice. I think this year's group of blueliners is probably as good as the Mavericks have had in awhile. Bowling Green wasn't a great test for them, though, and we'll find out a lot more in the coming weeks with Duluth, Wisconsin and Denver on the docket. One more thing: the Mavericks will graduate six forwards and just one defenseman after this season.
From Jon Poburka: Does Murdock start on Friday night?
Nope. It will be Lee again, Jon. Jutting wouldn't say who will go on Saturday but Murdock is on the trip. I wouldn't be surprised to see Murdock play on Saturday since Jutting has said that it's going to take a four to six weeks to see a No. 1 goalie emerge. He also told me on Wednesday that he has a lot of faith in Phil Cook, too, and would be comfortable playing him at any time.
Finally, LetsGoMavs had a pretty good question that somewhat got answered when MSU revamped its website. But I do think some of the concerns are legitimate and worth paying attention to as the season goes on.
Thanks for your questions everybody. Be sure to check out the blog all weekend with updates from Duluth.