DWebb, I'm not sure if they can overcome the goal-scoring issues. With three series left in the regular season, I'm afraid they are what they are at this point. That doesn't mean they can't break out once in awhile and put a few goals in; they simply don't have the consistent, top-flight player or two who is always a threat to score. That being said, I think they have to keep doing what's worked for them for the last 2 1/2 months or so, with their fast style and hard play. That keeps games close and gives them a a chance They didn't have that on Saturday night against Bemidji. The Mavs had good scoring chances, and Bakala made some nice saves, but the "urgency" -- to use Rylan Galiardi's word -- wasn't there.
From LetsGoMavs: I'm guessing last year's jersey auction made some good money, since MSU is doing another one so soon. That makes me have a few questions: 1. How much money did last year's auction make? 2. Which 3 jerseys were the top sellers last year? 3. If you could design a regular alternate jersey for the Mavs, what would it look like?
LGM, I got some answers for you from Mike Powicki, assistant athletic director in charge of development. Last year's jersey sales generated $11,040. Geoff Irwin and Channing Boe brought in the most money at $600 apiece, and Zach Harrison's came in at $550.
As for what my design would look like, that's a good question. I'm kind of a uniform junkie, and I love this blog. I really liked last year's alternate as well as the 1980-style with Mavericks spelled out in the shape of a bull. If they're interested in doing another throwback, I'd look at the first years when they were the Mankato State Indians. While they probably couldn't do Indians, they could do a similar style and spell out Mavericks in cursive across the chest and perhaps do something similar to what St. Cloud State did a few years ago or what Duluth did this year.
From Jeff: Shane, 1) I know that the civic center is on Gov. Dayton's list for his bonding bill proposal. While it's unlikely that this goes through, what kind of renovations are we looking at? 2) I've mentioned this before, but don't know if you were able to answer. Is there a reason that the Mavs have a more defensive philosophy now than the early 2000s? Is it a result of a change in Jutting's tactics or more of a result based upon the recruits we are able to bring in?
Jeff, 1. I'm not sure how much of that money would go toward the rink. I know that Mankato officials are interested in building a theater to attach to the Verizon Wireless Center, and much of the money would go toward that. However, I know there is a wish list of things to upgrade to the main arena. I believe they'd like to replace the red and blue seats with purple ones. There's been talk of locker-room upgrades, too. If it were up to me, I'd upgrade the top-level suites, add a club room at the Zamboni end of the ice with windows overlooking the rink (initial plans were drawn up for that in 2003) and, of course, video scoreboards. I'd also like to see seamless glass around the ice.
2. I'm not sure if they're that much more defensive, except that they're better at it. They're not as defensive as, say, Bemidji State was this weekend (Mike Dorr told me yesterday that the Beavers were very frustrating to play against because of that style). They still try to be a puck-possession team when they can and have put a lot of shots on net this season. They're a low-scoring team because they just don't have the goal scorers.
From Alex: 1. the second line with grant and galiardi have stayed the same while the other wing on that line keeps getting rotated is the plan to keep rotating lehrke, mcinnis and leivermann in? 2. have they made changes to their power play at all this week in practice? 3. what team do you think we matchup against the best for the playoffs?
Alex, 1. I don't think that is necessarily a lock. Leivermann practiced on that line on Wednesday but Lehrke was also in the lineup. There aren't a lot of spots to rotate those guys through though. I think they like the Dorr-Sackrison-Hayes line as well as the Mueller-Schiller-Louwerse line together. Zuck and Jokinen have played well together, too, and the other winger there (Burkemper, much of the time) has been another spot they have made changes.
2. They did a lot of power play work yesterday and did appear to mix things up a bit at times. If they stick with that, I'll address that more on Friday night during the game.
3. Ah, it's that time of year, isn't it? Who do the Mavs match up best against? I'm curious to see how they do against CC and UMD this weekend and next. I don't think they (or anyone else, for that matter,) want to go to Denver or North Dakota. I think they'd play a lot better against Omaha than they did last November (that's the current matchup, if the season ended today), and they played Wisconsin tough a few weeks ago. Egad, could it be Minnesota? What if Anchorage gets home ice?
From Jeff: My question goes with Alex's #3 regarding playoff matchups. What's the best we can hope for in the next 4 weeks and what's the worst that can happen? I realize a month is a long time and we have the ability to earn (or lose) 12 points.
Jeff, I think the best-case scenario is a run that puts them in the sixth spot, maybe fifth (although every team except Anchorage has two games in hand on MSU). They could also finish as low as 11th (I can't imagine Tech going on any kind of run to move ahead of them). I think staying out of the bottom three spots, so as to avoid Denver and North Dakota and maybe Duluth would be best.
From Nation: What has the message been at practice this week? Has the powerplay been the focus?
Nation, As I mentioned earlier, there was a lot of power-play work being done yesterday, so we'll see what happens there. No question they need to find ways to score there. Going 0 for 10 last weekend -- especially going scoreless on the major and the 5x3 -- absolutely killed them. Other than that, the message (which I'm writing about for Friday's Freep preview) is to get back to playing they way they have since Thanksgiving. Saturday was a clunker, and every team has those over the course of a season. But they can't let the clunker turn into a lousy stretch of hockey. They have to hope it's a blip and move on. Both Jutting and players said it's been a good week of practice.