Thursday, December 6, 2012

You want answers?!?! You got 'em

Sam said ...
First and foremost, I love this year’s squad. Perhaps the most talented collection of players MSU has ever assembled.
1) Can we expect Coach Hastings to stick with Stephon Williams in goal the rest of the way, barring a disaster? He’s clearly the most talented netminder on the team, and one of the most talented in all of the WCHA.
2) Any word on how the imminent decline of the WCHA is affecting the recruiting efforts of MSU? I’ve got to imagine sights are going to be shifted to lesser-known commodities in the junior circuit, sadly.
3) Do you anticipate Teddy Blueger will be a one and done, or will we be lucky enough to see him in a Mavs uniform for at least one more season?
4) Can you tell us anymore about the pro prospects of some of the other talented Mavs? Hayes is obviously going to get something, but what about the under-sized, yet gifted, duo of Leitner and Lafontaine? Are they destined for the overseas ranks like a Jack Connolly?
Keep it going MSU! No surprise to me that you’re starting to click!


1) Whoa, there … I’m not ready to call Stephon Williams one of the most talented goalies in the WCHA just yet, but his numbers are impressive right now, and he’s been on a nice run. I’d sure expect Hastings to ride the guy while he’s hot. I think Troy Jutting recruited the kid to be a No. 1 goalie, so we’ll if he’s got that in him for the long haul.

2) I don’t know if it has or not. I think Hastings is approaching recruiting a little differently than the previous regime, and it looks (on paper, anyway) like he’s already landed some decent recruits who would be good fits no matter what the WCHA looks like in the next few years. Remember, even with the conference shakeup, only one team has been added to college hockey (Penn State), yet the talent pool remains the same.

3) I don’t think so. Blueger just turned 18 in August and still looks like he’s getting his feet wet. He’s had a solid start, but he’s certainly not dominating the game and looking like he’s ready to play for the Penguins next year. MSU is being patient with him, and, based on their reputation, I’m thinking Pittsburgh probably is, too.

4) Gotta love the way Hayes is playing right now, and I’m guessing scouts are taking notice. As for the other guys, I think they look like very good college hockey players, four-year guys (MSU hopes you can compare one or both to Jack Connolly!) who may or may not get a shot after they’re done.

Chris said ...
I am not from them there parts but have a few questions and observations. 
1. I have always been told that Minnesota is the U.S Mecca for hockey, why is the Arena never full?
- What can be done to fill the seats?
- Can you give away more tickets to students?
- Is it possible for someone to critique the arena’s “DJ”? The music could be a little fresher and have more energy. And could he stop playing “All By Myself” when our guys go to the box? 

2. Can someone tell the TV announcers to stop mentioning the words “shut out” while the game is still going? Do they know nothing about jinxes?


Average attendance is up from last year, and I suspect that will continue to rise over the second half of the season, especially with Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota coming to town. I do, however, think more can be done to draw people in, and I think they’re working on that. Winning certainly will help. As for student tickets, they give 1,100 free ones away for each game and those usually get gobbled up. They also sell tickets to students at a discounted rate; they could probably do a better job of promoting that deal.

As for your “shutout” jinx, did the announcers talk about it on Friday night? Did Williams still get the shutout? Thought so. Jinx, schminx.

Nathan Tish said...
1. Regarding Teddy Blueger and the World Junior (U20) Championships: Every year, the ‘best of the best’ represent at this tournament, which takes place during four non-conference games following Christmas this season. What can we expect to happen with Teddy Blueger, who probably ought to be representing Latvia in those championships again this year? Will he be missing four games with the Mavericks?
2. Similar to Sam’s question about Blueger: I am curious what we can expect from him beyond this season... Expanding on that, is it possible he is mired on the 3rd-line because he is not expected to stay around? If that’s not the case, is it possible that being mired on the 3rd-line might provoke him to seek a more prominent role elsewhere (Canadian major juniors)?
3. I suppose there is no question with this one, but since Chris mentioned it in previous comment: I’ve gotta say, it really ticks me off that the DJ has got this wrong over the past couple of home series’! Completely sucks the life out of the players and fans alike when Mavericks are entering the penalty box to “All By Myself”, which is obviously supposed to be played when the opposing team earns a penalty. There are additional, similar incidents to this in recent games as well... Good grief.


1) Read all about Teddy in today’s Free Press. Looks like he’ll miss the UConn tournament and the Providence series.

2) Interesting take, “mired on the third line.” I hardly call what they’re doing with Blueger as “mired.” He’s playing a regular shift with two wingers who can score goals (McInnis and Grant), and he’s playing on the power play. As I said earlier, he just turned 18 in August and he’s behind sophomores Leitner, 22, and LaFontaine, 20 as far as centers on the line chart. Last time I checked, those guys are pretty good. I’d say Blueger’s in a good spot right now.

3) I think/hope they figure out that music stuff. The gameday production is a pretty important part of the entertainment these days.

Ryan Johnson said...
Earlier this year against RPI, the teams switched ends for overtime. In prior years this did not happen at Maverick home games. Is this a coaches decision or league rule?

Ryan, that’s an NCAA rule that has been in place for two years now, and I hate it, at least in the regular season when there’s just a 5-minute OT. I swear, when the rule was put into place, someone in the know told me that that would only be for the playoffs when they resurface the ice and play until there’s a winner. I guess I was wrong. I really dislike the rule because too many rinks are set up with the home team’s offensive zone in the horseshoe (opposite the Zamboni doors) or where the student section sits (in the case of MSU, both are true). That’s home-ice advantage and it should stay that way for those 5 minutes.

Ryan Johnson said...
With this being the last year of the current WCHA setup, which of the departing teams is most likely to make the trip to Mankato in future years. They will probably play them all on the road in nonconference, but will a team like Wisconsin ever come to Mankato after this year?

Ryan (again), I need to look into this more. I do know that Minnesota will come to Mankato from time to time, and I’m guessing St. Cloud State and Minnesota Duluth would do the same. I’m skeptical of Wisconsin going on the road to many of the home rinks of its old WCHA rivals, but I suppose they could invite MSU to play there (I’d like that!)

Michael Cramer said...
Mosey - Done for the year, or just slowly working his way out of the doghouse?


He’s not done for the year, but it looks like he’s the seventh defenseman right now (Corey Leivermann might be the eighth!). I thought Evan played pretty well at Wisconsin when Josh Nelson sat out the second game of the series with an upper-body injury, so I’m not sure he’s even “in the doghouse” per se as much as he’s just the odd guy out at the moment. Hastings is adamant that his defensemen defend, and that might be why the offensive-minded Mosey is out right now. Palmquist is clearly the No. 1 power play defenseman, and Nelson has grabbed that second-unit spot.

Nation said...
1) What league is MNSU recruiting in the most heavily right now? USHL, NAHL, BCHL, MSHSL or others?
2) What type of player is Mike Hastings looking for at Minnesota State? What type of player best fits his system?


1) Based on the recruits they have so far, it looks like the USHL and the BCHL are big. High schools are important to follow and if you can get a gem there and get him in a good junior spot, that’s a good thing. I’m sure they’ll dabble in the NAHL, too, but Hastings is a longtime USHL guy (as is assistant Todd Knott) and still has a lot of contacts there. I’m sure they’ll continue to hit that league hard.

2) Just from the conversations with him, I think he’s still looking for some of the same kinds of players that MSU has always gone after — hard, fast players that are difficult to play against. The Mavericks simply have to keep playing that way. That being said, I think you’ll see a greater emphasis on the back end and the hope to get higher quality defensemen. No easy task.

rlpeterson91784 said...
1. I’ve noticed that the Mavs have significantly fewer penalties recently (thank goodness!), do you think this was due to Hastings stressing the importance of keeping out of the box or because the teams we have played have been less of a rivalry? 
2. Will the students ever get the Buffalo Wild Wings chant right? It is supposed to be “we want wings” not “we want bdubs.” (Just ask the SCSU fans) ;)
3. Do you foresee anyone leaving the team to go pro or due to the league split? What are the rules on players moving between D1 teams?
4. I’ve asked it before, and I’ll ask it again, when will cowbell guy retire? Maybe its because I sit across the rink from him, but it always seems like he is a half-beat off of the music/cheer and it drives me bonkers.

1) The penalties have certainly dropped from early in the year, haven’t they? One on Friday night. One on Saturday, at least until the two majors in the third period! It’s definitely Hastings’ influence. He’s not tolerant of the penalties like the previous coach too often was. Look, penalties are going to happen, right? And if they stem from an aggressive play, fine. If they’re dumb, selfish, lazy, out of control … well, that’s another story. And here’s the stat of the year so far. In the Mavericks’ first eight games, Eriah Hayes had 2 goals and 2 assists and 19 PIM; in his last six he’s had 6 goals and 2 assists and 2 PIM.

2) I don’t understand the question. … Although I’d say that B-Dubs has the proper number of syllables, while wings doesn’t (unless you say wi-ings, and that’s just silly).

3) The league split isn’t going to cause anyone to move. They’ve all known this for a year and a half now. If they wanted out, I’m guessing they would have done it already (and where would they have gone?). As for transferring, you have to sit out one year if you change teams.

4) Cowbell Guy’s kinda starting to become Mankato’s version of the New York Jets’ Fireman Ed, isn’t he?


Nathan Tish said...

I see your angle with Teddy Blueger deservedly centering the third line because Leitner and LaFontaine are centering our top two lines, but my primary concern still remains...

I'm not certain Blueger will be inclined to stay here in Mankato if he is to remain a 3rd line center behind Leitner and LaFontaine (rather than playing alongside them) through the 2014-15 season.

Eventually (certainly before 2015), Teddy Blueger will have to receive more opportunities during even-strength play... Unless, of course, we're not expecting him to be around by then.

Shane Frederick said...


First of all, Blueger is a center, so he won't be playing alongside those other guys. LaFontaine was made a center this year, and MSU, after a long time, finally has some depth down the middle.

Secondly, the line chart is the line chart. You want Blueger on the "top" line, you can cut and past his line to the top of the sheet. It really doesn't matter. I've seen line charts where the third group on the page is clearly the No. 1 group. That's not the case here, but you get the idea.

Thirdly, third line doesn't mean third string. This isn't football. I'm guessing Blueger's shifts/minutes aren't that much less than the others' right now (although I don't have the stats to back that up).

Finally, what they're doing seems to be working. Four wins in a row. Seven, maybe eight solid performances in a row. Not a lot of reason to shake up the lineup.