From Nation: Who will be on the trip to Anchorage?" Who is the starting goalie on Friday? Is it too early to call out Justin Jokinen. He has not produced. It reminds me of Andy Sackrison's sophomore slump?
Nation, the lineup will be similar to last weekend, except Eli Zuck, an Anchorage native will play (see Friday's Free Press for more on Zuck). Tyler Thompson is out with an injury, and Mike Louwerse is on the trip but will be a scratch tonight because he's taking too many penalties. Louwerse was in the box for all three of CC's goals last Saturday and leads the team in penalties and PIMs. He can't be that guy. ... As for the starting goalie, I don't know. Jutting often announces that on Wednesday or Thursday but he was on a recruiting trip and was going to be meeting up with the team today. Austin Lee and Kevin Murdock are on the trip, and I think a case can be made for either one. Check the blog on Friday for more. ... As for Jokinen, he has played well in spurts but hasn't been really consistent. I thought he showed something last Friday but was a scratch on Saturday. Jutting said there was no specific reason for that except to get Thompson in. Even so, that puts Jokinen as a fringe player who is always fighting for a spot. He'll be back in the lineup tonight.
From Nation: What can you tell us about Brett Stern, the Mavs' latest recruit?
More questions, Nation? The little I've heard has been good. He's a 6-foot-2, 175-pound defenseman from Centennial. He played with Tyler Pitlick last year. He'll be coming in 2011 after playing a season of junior hockey. Here's a story on him by the Minnesota Hockey Hub website.
From Sam: What is up with the Mavs' lack of scoring? Scoring has always been something this team has been relatively good at. What time will the radio broadcasts/live blog begin for this weekend's games in Alaska? Will Murdock get one or perhaps both starts in Anchorage?
Sam, the lack of scoring is troubling right now. They're averaging 2.00 goals per game in conference play and have been shut out twice at home. They're getting chances but it's like the entire team is in a scoring slump. Kael Mouillierat had 17 goals last season and has one through 10 games this year -- and he's got 28 shots on goal. They have played three pretty good defensive teams so far, so let's see what happens over the next four games against Anchorage and Tech before panicking. ... The games begin at 10:07 p.m. CST. I will not be making the trip, so there is no live blog this weekend. Sorry. ... I would not be surprised if Murdock goes one night. If he plays on Friday and plays great -- like Lee did last Friday -- I could see him playing again Saturday.
From Joe: What did you think about the call on Canzanello on Friday night? If you were the ref in that situation would you make the same call?
Joe, I think it's a judgement call. Personally, I want to see penalties called when scoring chances are taken away and don't think that was what happened here. I also want to see consistency. If the point of emphasis is to limit the amount of time a player checks or rides a player after that players has given up the puck (and it is), then it should be called throughout the game. I'm not saying that was not a penalty, but I did think it was a curious call at the time. How's that for a cop out? It was too bad for Canzanello, too, because I thought he was playing an extraordinary game.
From Joe: After that call, Jutting had a heated discussion with the ref about not being able to switch the personnel on the ice at the beginning of the penalty kill and consequently the Tigers scored. Why wouldn't the referee allow the substitution at that point? If Jutting didn't feel like he had the right personnel, why didn't he call timeout so he could get the right personnel out there?
Joe, forgive me, but I have not sought an explanation for this and I should. First of all, I'm not certain that that was what he was arguing. I think he was arguing about the call, but I could be wrong. Perhaps a timeout would have been in order there. The Mavericks on the ice for the goal were forward Rylan Galiardi and defensemen Channing Boe, Ben Youds and Kurt Davis. Galiardi was tossed out of the faceoff, and Youds took and lost the faceoff. Other than not having a backup forward to take the draw, is that a bad group to have on the ice in that situation?
From Joe: The Mavericks stand in 10th place right now and have three important series coming up against UAA, Tech and Minnesota. Out of those six games, how many points do you feel they need to get before the winter break? Which forward do you think will step up and score goals. Also, what do you think about Kurt Davis' year so far. Do you think they'll have a goalie decided by winter break?
If they can get eight points in this stretch, I think that would be good enough to keep themselves afloat going into the second half. They've played a tough schedule so far, so playing Anchorage and Tech, they have to make hay over the next two weeks. ... Who will step up and score goals? Geez, that's tough. I think they'll start coming for Mouillierat. I like what I've seen from Pitlick and think he's going to start scoring, too. ... Davis definitely hasn't had a start like he did last year. He's been benched once and the Mavericks won that game -- their last win, too. ... Not sure about the goalie situation. If both are playing well, I think they can go into January with a rotation. I don't see any reason to rush and pick a No. 1 if one hasn't emerged yet.
From Purgolder: What's the word on the PP? Any potential changes in personnel to generate more scoring? When he is able to play, do you think Dorr will add a needed offensive punch?
Purgolder, The PP will be about the same, although with Louwerse out tonight, it looks like Hayes will take his spot. Jutting told me this week that he's been pleased with the improvement of the PP. They're moving the puck pretty good but like every other phase of their game, they're not scoring. ... Yes, I think Dorr will add offense. It sounds like they're excited about him and expect him to be in the lineup as soon as he's eligible, which will be the Bemidji State series.
From Richard: Midseason report card for the team.
Richard, I'll try to do that at the midway point.
From Ian: Who do you think is the next Mav to put on an NHL jersey?
Ian, of the guys on the current team, I think it will probably be Tyler Pitlick. He'll get drafted next summer and then who knows what will happen. Hopefully, he'll be around for three more years before making the jump to the NHL. Justin Jokinen and Andy Sackrison are NHL draft picks, and I think Eriah Hayes could be an attractive free agent.
From Teamworker: We've been reading "the team is playing, just not scoring." Would this not be a good time to try a couple of the guys that have been sitting? Looking at the stats, they have a freshman D who has two assists and is +2 in four games. Is he injured?
Teamworker, I think having a healthy Geoff Irwin and Jason Wiley in the lineup will help. Eli Zuck will play tonight and has a chance to grab a spot in the lineup. The only player who hasn't played as much as I thought he might is James Gaulrapp, who always seems to give the Mavs a bit of a spark when he's in there. The defenseman you're referring to is Evan Mosey, and he had a nice start to the year. I think they like him -- Jutting tells me week after week that he likes all eight defensemen -- a lot, but he's been on the outside looking in of late. I don't think he's hurt; he has been practicing.
From Hockey25: Can you explain what is being done to improve the penalty kill? It seems the last few years we have been toward the bottom of the league in this category. Otherwise it seems like they are a very solid team.
Hockey 25, the PK was pretty good last Friday until the OT goal. For the weekend, they held the best power play in the WCHA to three goals on 13 chances. That's still 23 percent, but it was 10 percent below what the Tigers had been doing. The kill is one area that definitely needs to get better, though. Nearly half of their opponents' goals -- 15 of 31 -- have come with an MSU player in the penalty box.
From LetsGoMavs: Can you do a little blurb on Chad Brownlee, noting that his new song, "The Best That I Can," and his song for Anthony Ford, "The Hero I See," are now on iTunes? Let's encourage people to purchase them and help his career out!
LetsGoMavs, you just did the blurb. Thanks! I'll see if I can do a story on Brownlee in the near future.
Thanks to all of you for your questions. Lots of stuff this week. I hope I gave you something to chew on. If I didn't get to your question, it probably means I don't have a good answer right now.