Thursday, December 3, 2009

You want answers: Goalies, Gophers and the 'Theme from Shaft'

Time to dip into the mailbag and answer your questions. It's Gopher Week, but the big concern still seems to be the music played at the Verizon Wireless Center. This is a very controversial topic, and I'll address that after some of the hockey questions. So without further ado ...

From Nation: 1. Will Lee get the start on Friday? ... Do you think there will be any hostility between Boe and Schack with them being reunited for the first time since the leg-breaking incident? Who are the extra players going to St. Paul?

Nation, Lee will get the start. I talked to Jutting yesterday and he said Lee definitely has the edge for the No. 1 job. It's not as secure as, say, Mike Zacharias had it over the last two years when he wouldn't lose his spot after a tough outing but I think it's safe to say that if Lee plays well on Friday he'll play again on Saturday.

On the Boe-Schack situation, I'm sure it's not forgotten. But what's more important for the Mavericks is to just play their game and not get overly emotional about something that happened last season. Last week against Michigan Tech, MSU committed just seven penalties in two games -- both wins. That's should be a much bigger priority for the Mavericks than settling old scores.

As for the extra players, it doesn't really matter because it's a home-and-home series. There will be players in the Mariucci press box but I believe that every healthy player will be available to sub on Saturday if necessary.

From hockey25: Do you see any lineup changes this upcoming weekend? Did the Mavs come out of last weekend healthy?

From what's been expect things to be pretty much the same as they were on Saturday night against Michigan Tech. If there is one exception, it will be Justin Jokinen in for Tyler Pitlick. Pitlick was hit in the foot with a puck on Saturday and didn't practice early in the week. He skated on Thursday, so it could be a gametime decision.

From Sam: Is it true that Friday's game at the U will be on FSN on tape-delay? ... I noticed that one of the old Zamboni drivers was back doing the ice in Mankato this past weekend. I thought he left to "pursue other interests." I recall seeing him resurfacing the ice at the U no more than two weeks later. ... Will Murdock get in the crease this weekend? ... What sort of crowd are they expecting in Mankato on Saturday?

It is my understanding that, yes, both games will be on tape-delay. That's too bad.

I didn't notice who was driving the Zambonis over the weekend. Are you referring to Lon Sorenson? He used to do the ice in Mankato and then was hired as one of the managers at Mariucci a couple of years back. Every once and awhile he comes back to Mankato to visit. I wouldn't be surprised if he did last weekend since it was Thanksgiving weekend and the Gophers were in Michigan.

On the Murdock question, see above.

I would expect a pretty big crowd Saturday, especially in the student section. Probably a sellout with standing-room tickets available. Going by the attendance figures, I believe the Verizon Wireless Center has about 400 SRO tickets, so if someone says the game is sold out, be sure to check the ticket booth because they can squeeze them in.

From Ian: I'm making the trip up from Iowa again this weekend for another game. This is my first "Mavs/Goofs" game ever in the 6+ years I've been going to watch the Mavs. ... Is their a different type of energy in the crowd at these games than, say when the Sioux or the STC Huskies come to town?

For a long time, I've always contended that North Dakota and, maybe, St. Cloud State, are bigger rivals for the MSU than Minnesota. Everybody wants Minnesota as a rival and the feeling isn't always mutual. Up until the three-game, five-overtime, epic playoff series with the Gophers from two years ago, the best atmosphere I'd ever seen at the Mankato arena was in 2003 when North Dakota came to town during the Mavericks' 17-game unbeaten streak. It felt like there were 6,000 people crammed in there, and I still don't know how I escaped without getting my laptop doused with beer. Having said that, I think that playoff series with Minnesota changes a lot of things in Mankato. I think it turned a lot of MSU fans who were also casual or closeted Gopher fans into MSU fans only. It helps that the series has gotten much more competitive in recent years. As I'm writing about for Friday's paper, this year's MSU senior class has had more success against Minnesota than any group the Mavericks have ever had.

From MSUMaverickFan: If Austin Lee starts on Friday, I've got to imagine there will be some nerves present. He grew up playing in the Metro, and I can't imagine playing at Mariucci will be a calming experience. That said, I've seen noticeable improvement in Austin's game throughout the course of the season, and I feel fully confident when he's in goal. ... What do you think of the struggling Gophers? Is Don Lucia on the hot seat?

I'm not saying there won't be some nerves, but I think the Metro-kid-intimidated-by-Mariucci theory is a little bit overblown. Mike Zacharias was a Metro kid, and he played pretty well there. In fact (I will check on this), I wouldn't be surprised if Lee has played big games in that building in the past, say in a section tournament semifinal or final when he was at Bloomington Jefferson.

I would agree that Lee seems to be improving each week and I think he looks like he's playing with confidence. That's a good thing. He still has to work on controlling rebounds better and appears to have some trouble catching the puck. He caught a huge break on Saturday when the puck he dropped went into the net after the whistle was blown -- a play that had some legs in the blogosphere this week.

As for the Gophers, there certainly have been some interesting stats, including the four shutouts -- something that hasn't happened since the 1950s -- their struggling power play, their injuries and yet another year with a mid-season departure. Is Lucia on the hot seat because if all? I wouldn't be surprised. But I would also say this: That's a team with 20 NHL draft picks on its roster. Jordan Schroeder is as talented as any player in the league, and it looks like they're getting Nick Leddy back this weekend. The Gophers may be in ninth place right now, but they won't be a pushover. If the Mavericks go into the weekend thinking this will be easy, they'll get beat.

Can MSU sweep the Gophs? Can the boys stay out of the penalty box? Will the power play work?

Yes, this team can sweep the Gophers. That's not a prediction, but they are capable. The fact that they have so many players left from last year's team that did sweep them helps. And they did it without relying completely on a great goaltending performance. They played harder and faster and they scored goals. But they must stay out of the box, something I alluded to earlier. They did that against Tech last weekend and have to try to make that a trend. I think the Mavericks' power play is getting better, too, and that was certainly a key last season against Minnesota.

Now, onto the important stuff ...

Will they play any Miley Cyrus at the Saturday game? This is a must-know, so I have time to sell the tickets if the answer is "yes." Haha. ...

With the absence of a pep band, the music at the Verizon Center plays a more important role. Don't use up "Welcome to the Jungle" in the second period, and "Tonight's Going to Be a Good Night" has no business in a hockey rink. This is hockey we're talking about. More AC/DC, more Guns 'n' Roses, more Motley Crue. You get the point. Bring back the classics! ...

While I do enjoy some of the tunes (most notably the Rise Against opener), some of the stuff is pitiful. And the lack of volume still irks me. What's the point of having music if the crowd can hardly hear it? ...

The music needs to improve ... A LOT. Crank up "Ole!" and the goal horn. Both get under the opponent's skin. Take advantage of that. When I was at the National Hockey Center the other weekend for the WI/SCSU series, I was reminded of how bad our music has gotten. They pulled a few good ones like playing "Innocent Man" and "Wasn't Me" when their players went to the box. Then when they had good stops they played "Hit Me with Your Best Shot" or "Another Brick in the Wall." MSU needs to find a good song to play when the goalie makes a good stop like we had with "Hollywood" and "Be Like Mike." It doesn't have to be about the goalie ... just a good song. ...

For sure, the music plays an important role, not just with the players but more importantly THE FANS. There are times you can hear apin drop. I'm sure those in charge of this could contact the Wild or even a junior hockey team out there for a CD of what they use

I always have opinions about the music, although I have to ask you guys: What do you think this is, 1987? I may not be a fan of "Party in the USA" or "Tonight's Gonna Be a Good Night," but they are current, popular songs. I can't say I blame the in-house DJ for playing those on occasion.

Personally, I officially became bored with "Welcome to the Jungle" at hockey games sometime in Clinton administration and would like to see a little more creativity. I'd like them to hold off on playing "Love Rollercoaster" and "Little Willie" until the one-minute timeouts, so I can hear more of those fun songs. I think songs like "Seven-Nation Army" by the White Stripes and the "Theme from Shaft" would make great starter introduction music.

Yes, I think about this stuff.

But I also believe the music can stifle a good crowd from time to time. Instead of playing "Be Like Mike" when Zacharias made an unbelievable stop, I would have rather heard the crowd go crazy between the save and the ensuing faceoff, especially late in the game. That -- not the music -- gets under an opponent's skin. Blasting a clever song like "Another Brick in the Wall," I think, just shuts up a crowd, leaving arena silent when the puck drops and the music stops. Music doesn't always jack up the crowd as much as you might think it does. Just as often, I think it drowns out the fans, and that's why you sometimes hear a pin drop -- they're just waiting for the DJ to take care of things.

So, if you actually made it all they way to the bottom of this post, what songs do you want to hear at MSU hockey games? Post them in the comments section of this post. I want you to get creative. Give me not just song ideas but times in the game to play them (before power plays and penalty kills, after big saves or roughing penalties, during opening intros and pregame warmups, etc., etc.).

Come on PucKato readers, hit me with your best shot -- fire away!


Sam said...

Shane, I agree with you to an extent. They do need to get away from the classic rock. It's gotten mundane. I also agree that current music is a must. However, Miley Cyrus and the Black Eyed Peas are not what I'm talking about. They can save that crap for sorority dance parties, teenage birthday parties, etc. Hockey is a rock music sport. It always has been. They go hand in hand.

I think the guy that does the music should go back to Anton's player introduction music choice of AFI's "Prelude 12/21" There was something eerily powerful about it. The gap between the opponents' intros and the Mavs seems to last forever this season. It's almost like the fans get all excited when the lights shut off, and then drift into a trance as they watch the purple/yellow lights flash while the music guy plays whatever it is he plays. By the time the PA guy finally is able to announce the Mavs starters, the crowd is barely paying attention anymore.

Other than that, play anything under the genre of modern rock/alternative in place of Miley Cyrus and the Black Eyed Peas and I'll be content.

Finally, the Ole! song needs to be cranked up. It's the home team's trademark. Play it loud! Play it proud!

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this issue. It certainly is a topic that many Mavs fan (at least on here) have taken a strong interest in.

d-rock said...

Crowd Chant by Joe Satriani needs to be played when the Mavericks score. I know the ole' song gets the crowd up and jumping, but nothing compares to the atmosphere at a Minnesota Wild game when they score!

Sam said...

D-Rock, I love that song too, but we're talking about the Mavericks. Everyone knows Mankato as the school with the Ole! song. That can not and should not be changed. Perhaps they could work Crowd Chant in somewhere else, though?

Ian said...

If they kill off Ole someday, it needs to be replaced with Fratellis - Chelsea Dagger like at Blackhawks games. Crowd Chant is becoming the new Gary Glitter since everyone is "copying" the Wild with it now.

Player intros: For Whom The Bell Tolls is getting a bit old. Maybe some newer Scorpions like "Hour 1" when they come out.

Overall, they just need to mix it up. 6 years or so and they still play the same song at the same time of every game it seems.

There's tradition, then there's beating your head against the wall.

Ian said...

The Wild used "Hour 1" at some point... I think it'd be a nice song to mix in every so often for pre-intro/intro/post-intro.

Here's the Youtube link:

LetsGoMavs said...

Shane, while I agree that the music isn't everything I think it can help. Given how quiet the fans and specifically the student section can get on good stop or at times, that's when they need a song. I think that until the student section gets some organized leadership (no, not the 40 year old cowbell kid...ok, not 40 but he did graduate years ago!) that it'll be hard to get that.

What are your thoughts about utilizing the video board more like I suggested? I hate to see something like that go to waste and it seems to really get the crowd going at other arenas.

I think it would be interesting for you to ask the players what songs they would like to see. Over the years they've all played a variety of places and I'm sure they have some good ideas.

OLE needs to stay for sure. Anyone that pays attention to the hockey culture knows how much opponents and opposing players/coaches HATE that song. That makes it a winner. Sticks in their head and under their skin. Taking it away would be like going to the Kohl with no ""

Also, I like the intro song they do. It's tradition. Heck, I can't even think of being at a Maverick game when that wasn't the intro. Now if they just got some lights hooked to the bottom of the new score board with the Bull Head to dance on the ice while playing it, they would be in business.

LetsGoMavs said...

Also, I really hope Pitlick plays this weekend. It was a shame that he came out of last weekend with out a goal or several points. I thought he had an excellent weekend.

hockey25 said...

When I was in college they seemed to play “In Heaven There is No Beer” during TV timeouts. It always got the students involved. It seems like other schools play it all the time. I agree, the intro needs to stay the same.

MSUMaverickFan said...

First, I love the current intro music (Rise Against - Re education) It’s perfect.

I agree that the new extended Maverick Intro (For Whom the Bell Tolls) is too long and needs to be shortened.

Here’s some other suggestions and most of these have been played in the past and have, in my opinion, been wrongfully replaced. Some of these are simply hockey essentials, I know we’ve heard them before, but they just don’t make music like they used to. Say what you will about “Welcome to the Jungle,” but these songs serve as a que. Time and again they actually get the crowd to their feet in the waning minutes, they’re tried and true.

We used to play the “hey” song after goals, which evolved into “hey - you suck” and then naturally progressed into the sieve chant (copyright SCSU). This could be a good song to play during the very next stoppage following a goal to keep energy high and to encourage additional razzing of the goaltender.

Good Hockey Tunes
Motley Crew - Kickstart My Heart
Jimi Hendrix - Voodoo Chile
White Strites - Seven Nation Army
Rolling Stones - Start Me Up
Alice in Chains - Man in the Box
AFI - Prelude 12/21
Metalica - Fuel
Foo Fighters - All My Life
Rage Against The Machine - Guerilla Radio
Godsmack - Voodoo
Kevin Rudolf - Let it Rock

Third Period Essentials
Bush- Machinehead
Metalica- Enter Sandman
Europe- Final Countdown
Guns & Roses - Welcome to the Jungle
AC/DC - Thunderstruck
AC/DC - Hells Bells
Alan Parsons - Sirius

Of course there are many others, and this is off the top of my head. I really had no complaints up until this year, and I realize we lost our old music guy. Possibly he could share his notes with the new guy.

I agree that more organized chants and traditions would be ideal. Other coaches and teams often say that playing in Mankato reminds them of a junior hockey rink, and I would have to agree with that assessment. Maybe we aren't meant to have a rah-rah pep-band "collegiate" type of atmosphere, and really I'm fine with that. It could be time to embrace what we have, an alcohol aided, rock music blaring, obnoxious and sometimes vulgar environment.

Sam said...


I couldn't have said it better myself. I actually talked to Anton (the guy that used to do the music) about how much we miss his style. He said as much as he'd like to get back for a few games, he thinks his days of doing the music are done. I also know he doesn't know the new guy that does it, but I agree it would be great if he could share some of his music notes.

Sam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.