Thursday, December 15, 2011

Answering your questions

Thanks to everyone who sent in questions. So without further ado ...

From crossjcek: Do you see Phil Cook getting playing time this season to gain some confidence back or do we see Karambelas get time to prep for next year? I am excited about Williams but I was also about Murdock. Hopefully we will get to see Murdock play in the building when LSSU join the WCHA.

Crossjcek, the line chart last week listed Karambelas as the backup to Lee, and Karambelas also went to Minnesota as the No. 2. I’m really not sure right now what the Mavericks will do if Lee struggles or needs a break. Jutting has said all the right things in regards to Cook, that he’s a good goalie, that he needs to get back on track mentally, etc. Games are too important to simply test a goalie’s confidence, so they’ll have to be convinced from practice and in talking to him that he’s good to go. As for Stephon Williams, I’ve heard good things about him. Currently, he has a league-leading .924 SV% as well as a 2.46 GAA for Sioux Falls of the USHL. Meanwhile, one-time Mav Kevin Murdock is now at Lake Superior. He’s played just two games behind fellow sophomore Kevin Kapalka, but he stopped 51 of 54 shots in those games and is 1-1.

From Dave: I like the way the guys have been playing lately, how much does being healthy have to do with that or is just growing into college hockey? Also, other than CC this weekend and UMD, UND at the end, the remaining schedule looks favorable. How do you see the boys finishing?

Dave, I think health is huge. Getting Tyler Elbrecht helped the team in so many ways. Besides providing depth on defense, he’s the team’s vocal and emotional leader. It’s hard to be that guy while wearing a suit and a cast. You could see what he brought in those Minnesota games. But I also think that you’re seeing a team that is led by young players. They have a lot of talent and have showed it, but the next step is figuring out how to win games. We’ll see if the Huntsville games can carry over into conference play. As to predicting how they’ll finish, I think with a more favorable second-half schedule, especially with a lot of home games, they have a good chance to climb out of the cellar. How many teams they’ll pass, though, I’m not sure yet.

From MSU Grad 97: Who do you see as the next Maverick to play in the NHL, and how many Mavericks are out there professionally not in the NHL right now? It would be good to get updates on who is still out there playing either in the minors or in Europe.

MSU Grad, Of the current players, I think the next MSU player to get a banner up in the VWC for playing in the NHL is probably Eriah Hayes. I think there’s some intrigue about him as a free agent, whether it’s after this season or next. Then there’s Tyler Pitlick, who is one of the Oilers’ top prospects. Who knows? Maybe Ben Youds will get a cup of coffee for the Blackhawks. He’s playing for their top minor-league team right now. As for how many pros are out there, the latest MSU weekly press release shows 24 alums playing in the NHL, the minors and Europe. I’ll try to put an update on the blog about them next week.

From MSU Grad 97: Another question - is there any real plans of action they have to help get people back in the Wireless after this season? The schedule, as you have mentioned, with weekends without students and having to go at the same time as basketball, is killing the atmosphere there. I am hoping there is a plan for making sure that they're leagues do not intertwine this much again and a plan to get people back interested in the team and the Civic Center other than better performance.

MSU Grad, That’s a great question. I haven’t seen any real plans in place. However, a after this weekend, the students should be back, and there are games on the schedule they’d probably like to see — Wisconsin, Omaha, Duluth. If the numbers are accurate from the last couple of home games with attendance at about 2,400, having 1,100 students added to that could make the atmosphere much better. But, including Thanksgiving and this weekend against CC, to have three straight home series with no students around is ridiculous, as is the conflicting schedule with home basketball.

From Dave, I was happy to see the Mavs play real hockey against UAH last Saturday instead of the chippy style they used against the Gophers the previous weekend. I have had several conversations over the last couple of weeks on this subject. Do you think that the Mavs style of play against top tier teams like the Gophers and Sioux is bit on the chippy side to take those teams out of their game? Or am I on an island in this thinking? Why don't the Mavs employ the style that won them both games last weekend?

Dave (this appears to be a different Dave than earlier), Interesting observation. I think with a lot of teams, they’re going to get up for playing a rival and you might get some extra curricular activity along with that. That being said, MSU has had some success against the Gophers in recent years by playing a hard, edgy style. You want to call that “chippy,” fine. But it’s worked. I think it has gotten the Gophers off their game a bit. Those past Minnesota teams seemed a bit soft despite having so much talent on paper. I’m not sure you could describe this year’s Minnesota team that way. I think MSU played two pretty good games against the Gophers, and I don’t think their chippiness was out of control by any means.

From Jeff: Shane, What do you attribute the better play the last couple of weekends to? Is it simply getting healthier? Is it getting key guys like Elbrecht back? Or are they just finally starting to get college hockey since it seems the guys leading the team are so young?

Jeff, See my answer to the first Dave’s question above.

From Hockey Girl: I could ask lots of questions but I will try to keep it short and save the rest for another day.

I live out of state and have been fortunate enough to catch some of the Charter broadcasts of MSU games (as well as SCSU and BSU) out here in South Dakota. Does MSU have plans to continue broadcasting their games in the future on Charter or elsewhere, especially considering the conference changes coming up?

I have been impressed with the freshman class so far this year, especially when they had to step it up so early in their careers for their injured teammates. Given the current freshman and sophmore classes and future known recruits, how do you see the Mavs faring next year in the old WCHA, and the new WCHA beyond that?

Thanks for taking the time to answer everyone’s questions! I always look forward to reading your blog!

Hockey Girl, As far as I know the Charter broadcasts will continue. The games are basically on a glorified cable access channel, so I see no reason why they’d stop, even when the conference shakeup takes place. Also, the broadcasts provide a great opportunity for local college students to produce and broadcast the games. The students at Bethany Lutheran College have done a great job and have some unbelievable equipment and facilities to work with. As for the young players, they have played really well to start the season. I think they have a chance to make a nice run in the final year of the old WCHA and be pretty darn good in the first year or two of the revamped league, especially if next year’s class plays as advertised.

From D Kunze: How much longer is Chase Grant going to be out?

D, Grant is out for the season. He went home to Oklahoma City after last weekend’s series and I believe was scheduled to have surgery on Wednesday for a torn labrum in his hip. For as much that’s been made about the Mavs getting healthier, they’ll never be 100 percent with Grant out. That’s a huge loss for this team. The only real positive about it is that they’ll have him for three years when he returns since he’ll get a medical hardship waiver.


Dave said...

Thanks Shane for your answer, I would agree with that the Mavs weren't over the top chippy but I still say there is a difference between playing tough and chippy. The Mavs are always up to the Gophers while the Gophers might be looking past the Mavs. Goes to show that anyone can beat anyone any given weekend which why it's a shame that this version of the WCHA is going away.

Heward said...

Good job, Mr. Frederick! BTW - In addition to the weekly press release, Minnesota State Athletics has a page dedicated to following former players who play professionally. It's located at