Final Thoughts on Final Five

Random stuff from this weekend...

-I was able to work Mike Eaves' tiddlywinks remark into my story on Friday, but wasn't able to work in George Gwozdecky's "Badger flu" comment anywhere. But I just wanted to take this time to remind people that Badger Flu is a real and serious condition.

-Bob Motzko didn't seem overly thrilled with the two-man advantage North Dakota got that led to two goals. In real time, I didn't think Oliver Lauridsen's hit was that bad, but on replay, he clearly drilled the North Dakota player in the face.

-I thought North Dakota was extremely fortuante Ben Blood's "boarding" penalty in the third period wasn't called a hit from behind, especially when comapred against the five-minute check from behind called in the CCHA championship game. But undercalls are generally a good thing when it comes to playoff hockey.

-Garrett Roe wasn't available to play in the championship, but will play next weekend.

-North Dakota finally looked like the team I picked to win the WCHA regular season. Lots of grit and skill on display.

-By my count, St. Cloud had 8 shots in the first 30 minutes of the championship game, and 24 shots in the final thirty minutes, but ended up scoring two goals in the first half to only one in the second half.

-I can second guess now that it didn't work, but why not pull Dan Dunn as soon as you get control of the puck in the zone on the powerplay in the game's final minutes? That does give North Dakota the option of firing the puck on the net as soon as they get it since they don't have to worry about icing, but at that point in the game, I think doing everything you can to score a goal outweighs making sure you don't give up a goal.

-I had been in favor of a three-week playoff format for the WCHA like the CCHA, but I do understand Bruce McLeod's explanation of the six-team Final Five. I do think it's a big deal for teams to make it to the XCel Center, and it's a lot easier for the league's proletariat to be one of the top six teams as opposed to one of the top four. I'm still a little skeptical about the Thursday games. How many fans are going to want to commit the time and planning to go the tournament when it's now much more likely their team will only play one game? One thing is for certain. Regardless of what anyone says, I don't think anyone will miss the third-place game.

-This is a different tournament, but did Shawn Hunwick seriously get Michigan into the NCAA tournament? Regardless of how the NCAA tournament shakes out for them, his emergence has got to be up there as one of the craziest college hockey stories of all-time.

-I know this was on everyone's mind: Friday's dinner menu: salad bar, roasted potatoes, vegetable medley, sliced steak, some kind of creamy chicken pasta, and fudge cheesecake for dessert. Saturday: salad bar, corn salad, steak/chicken fajita bar, and for dessert, those fried dough sticks that are rolled in cinnamon sugar. I forget what they're called. Churros? Burros? They probably weren't burros. All in all, pretty good.

-Wisconsin decided to go with cheesy mustaches for the Final Five and beyond. I'm still giving my Hobey vote to Brendan Smith's Mustache. Blake Geoffrion's was good, but it felt more like an accessory. Smith sold his a little more convincingly. Derek Stepan's is due for completion in the fall of 2012.

-You couldn't get Patrick Reusse to a hockey game if you owned your own forklift and yet he starts a rumor that is all anyone can talk about at the Final Five? Lots of people asking questions, and no one really had any answers about Dean Blais potentially taking over for Don Lucia. My uninformed guess is the things being talked about were hypothetical, rather than something that is about to happen.

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