Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Fillers

  • Alex Tanguay spurned the Wild in favor of lowly Tampa Bay last week. The capped-out Wild could only offer the sniper a one-year $2.5M deal, and it was reported Tanguay took a one-year $2M deal from Tampa Bay. However, he gets to play alongside Vincent Lecavalier with the Lightning, and that was too good to pass up. TB is the most dysfunctional situation outside of Phoenix, with its ownership squabbles, but they still have a lot of talent. However, they won't win this year, so it's somewhat of a curious decision.
  • Gopher junior-to-be Patrick White was traded last Friday - his rights, that is! He was part of the deal in which San Jose sent defensemen Brad Lukowich and Christian Ehrhoff to Vancouver for White and fellow prospect Daniel Rahimi. This one was purely a salary cap positioning move, and White's style may fit San Jose's better than Vancouver's long-term.
  • Former Gopher hockey assistant coach and recent Colorado College assistant Mike Guentzel resigned from CC this past week to assume the head coaching position with Des Moines in the USHL. A former Gopher captain, Guentzel spent 14 seasons on the Gopher bench and was interviewed to replace Doug Woog as head coach before the hiring of Don Lucia. He stayed with Lucia for nine seasons before resigning and accepting the position at CC under head coach Scott Owens. His resignation from the U was shrouded in controversy, as it was viewed as Guentzel being the fall guy for a sixth-place finish in 2007-08. However, Guentzel wants to be a head coach and he will get a chance to do so in the USHL, where he's been successful in the past. After missing out on the Nebraska-Omaha job that eventually went to Dean Blais, Guentzel will bide his time with Des Moines before someone finally gets smart and hires this tireless and passionate man as a head coach at the D-I level.
  • As indicated earlier in the week, I decided to do the WCHA team previews two a week starting this week with Alaska-Anchorage and Colorado College kicking things off. I'll do Denver and Michigan Tech next week. In the previews, I also take a stab at predicting where the teams will finish, so feel free to take issue with my prognostications.
  • The Gopher football team fires up the engine this weekend at the Carrier Dome to take on lowly Syracuse. The Gophers will be improved in 2009 and will likely win fewer than the 7 games they won last year. The schedule is tougher - Penn State and Michigan State come on the schedule while Indiana and Illinois (both victories in '08) come off. Coach Tim Brewster has a lot to sell this season, namely TCF Bank Stadium, but the third offensive scheme in less than two seasons poses a lot of questions. New Offensive Coordinator Jedd Fisch's program is highly-complicated, which replaces Tim Davis's run-first smash mouth football, which replaced Mike Dunbar's complicated spread offense - well, you get the picture. Color DP skeptical as "Gopher Nation" heads into 2009, but at least the stadium will be nice!
  • The Twins decided to bring Bert Blyleven back for another season in the TV booth. I like Blyleven as a person. He was a good pitcher for a long time, and may one day be a Hall of Famer. Of course, his incessant campaigning for the induction is annoying to me. However, his analysis in the booth is not good. The Twins could have done themselves a favor and parted with Blyleven and Dick Bremer for the move into Target Field for 2010, citing a new beginning of sorts. I argue with my brother and dad about this all the time - they both like Blyleven and are lukewarm on Bremer, and cite the team's high ratings as proof that the public likes the tandem - but we should expect baseball analysis which is deep and insightful, neither of which is found on Twins broadcasts.
  • Switching topics to good baseball announcers, if this is true, it's awful news about longtime Tigers' mainstay Ernie Harwell. His easy-going Southern drawl style kept things conversational and comfortable. Harwell represents a fading era of longtime great baseball announcers, and there just aren't many left. Of course, Vin Scully is still in LA, so the old guard is still represented. DP wishes Harwell all the best in his recovery.

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