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The Mega Post

I've got a lot of catching up to do. I've been pretty bad about updating lately, but there's been a lot of clothes going into suitcases and coming out of suitcases, and a lot of food going into my body, and coming out of my.....well, maybe we don't need to go there.

Anyway, there's a ton of stuff I'd like to talk about, and I figured I'd just cram it all into one gigantic post.

First, we'll close the casket on the 2005/2006 Team US World Juniors performance. Bruce Ciskie had a nice recap on the US's missed opportunity at a medal. Bruce brings up some interesting points. He questioned the way the team was picked, and questioned Jack and Erik Johnson having to play 30 minutes a game. I know I'm supposed to be a college hockey supporter, but would Matt Lashoff or Michael Sauer have been the same defensive liability that couldn't be on the ice the way the bottom half of the US' defense was? I guess I can't really say, but maybe the US should think about giving more of a shot to older, more experienced major junior players instead of an 18 year old kid like Mark Mitera who isn't going to play much.

Bruce is also right that Erik Johnson probably played himself into the number one draft pick and Phil Kessel probably played himself out of it. Gopher fans can whine all they want about Kessel, but I'm guessing there were far more NHL scouts at the US/Canada game than the US/Norway game.

The other controversy was with the way Team USA was treated in Canada. I think TSN's Bob McKenzie had a very rational take on the situation:

And just to set the record straight on the anti-American sentiments, most of it was what I would call acceptable, as in, you pay your money, you get to boo or cheer. The Americans were a contending team who stood in Canada's way and the fans treated them as such. The only time it ever got uncomfortable or over the top, IMO, was late in the U.S.-Russia game when the chant of USA Sucks started up. Also, when the Americans and Russians were both cheap-shotting each other, I didn't like it when the fans wents nuts when Kevin Porter got cranked with a semi-head shot. And I said so on TV.

I think he's absolutely right. They shouldn't cheer when Jack Johnson gets his face split open from a Malkin cheap shot, or Kevin Porter gets blown up by a dirty hit, but the rest is fine. It's amazing how many people I've seen react with indignation to the "US sucks" chants, and then turn around and say "Canada sucks" in the same breath.

Bob McKenzie deserves a lot of credit for his amazingly rational coverage throughout the tournament. I've been really impressed with everything he's had to say. The man is the quintessential journalist, and he did one of the best jobs of staying objective and unbiased that I've ever seen.

Also in international play, Team USA took the silver medal in the World U17 Challenge. They lost 5-2 to Team Quebec in the final. Surprisingly, wonderchild Angelo Esposito only scored 3 goals and an assist in 6 games in the tournament. Phil McRae also struggled in the tournament, only scoring one goal. The second youngest player for the US, Colin Wilson, was one of the real stars for the US, scoring 6 goals and 2 assists, which was good for 8th in the tournament.

Sam Gagner finished second in tournament scoring behind 14 year old teammate John Tavares. 207 Recruiting Board prospect Colton Grant also had a good tournament, finishing 13th in scoring.

This was going to get it's own post, but I didn't feel quite right about it, especially since I have nowhere near the whole story, but I think it deserves being talked about.

Jim O'Brien is arguably the best 1989 birthdate in the United States. So why hasn't he been that highly sought after?

First of all, as I discussed previously on here, O'Brien made the choice to accelerate his schooling to become a 2006 recruit rather than a 2007. So instead of being one of the top recruits in his age group, he just became one of the better players in the 2006 class.

Also, Michigan basically dropped all contact with O'Brien and said they were no longer interested. Wisconsin apparently gave O'Brien a deadline to commit(which I'm purely speculating that Wisco knew O'Brien wouldn't do), and when he didn't commit, they basically dropped all contact with him.

The question is: why? Michigan Rivals hockey guy Michael Spath described O'Brien as both a "weird cat" and "odd duck" which, as far as animalistic colloquialisms go, is better than being a "deranged pig", but still raises some question marks.

O'Brien will end up choosing between Minnesota and Colorado College. Maybe Colorado College is the right place for O'Brien. Anyone to the right of Tim Robbins of the political spectrum will probably tell you that you have to be a little weird to go to CC anyway. Ending up close to home with the Gophers probably wouldn't be a bad situation for him either. In any case, he's a very talented player and I wish him the best.

In lighter news, Bob Motzko and Joe Motzko, who long maintained they were not related, discovered they were related when they showed up at the same funeral. The Western College Hockey Blog staff put their heads together to figure out what exactly you would call the relationship between Bob and Joe, though we're pretty sure they could still get married to each other.

Congratulations are in order for the Warroad Boys High School hockey team for beating The US Women's Olympic team 2-1. The game was even featured briefly on ESPN's Sportscenter in between ESPN's anchors taking their turns in front of Vince Young.

If you thought I wouldn't link to a Nebraska fans site after the Alamo Farce, then you just got served. Actually, we're saving all that bitterness for Sun Belt conference member Denver.

Omaha fans are pushing hard for Scott Parse to win the Hobey Baker, and even better, are already breaking out Penn State-esque crackpot conspiracy theories about being from a small school and a small conference.

Parse is a great player that definitely deserves consideration, I'd put Brian Elliott, Brett Sterling, and Marty Sertich on my ballot before even thinking about Parse.

Finally, I received an email from a reader that warmed my heart. Last month I laid down a challenge to Michigan State fans to get their team's leading scorer on to the next round of Hobey Baker fan voting. One Western College Hockey Blog reader has organized a group of friends that helped push Bryan Lerg over the 25 vote limit. So there you go, Michigan State. You may riot frequently. You may throw things on the ice at the GLI. But at least you've got one devoted fan out there.