Feeling Minnesota

Posted by goon in CHL & NCAA,Columns,Goon's World,NCAA Round Up on October 24, 2009 — 4 Comments

I was reading the Star Tribune’s write-up this morning about another Gophers loss (0-2-1) and I got to thinking how long before the Gopher faithful want to throw head coach Don Lucia under the bus?  For my amusement, I decided to check out the comments section of that very same article.  Holy cow!  Wow!  It sounds like there is a  full blown lynch mob down in Minnesota already. That’s right, three games into the young season and the not-so-Golden Gophers have been shut out twice, outscored 10-3 and now there very well may be an angry mob pounding at the door of Mariucci Arena.

Lets break this down further; three games into the season and the Gophers’ top forward, and pre-anointed Player of the Year in the WCHA, Jordan Schroeder has no points whatsoever, nix, nada, nay (0g-0a-0pts) and he is a minus -2.

I am wondering how long it will take before the rumors about Vancouver not being happy with Schroeder’s development start surfacing?  Last night I watched the DU and Minnesota game and Schroeder, on numerous occasions, took the puck up the ice in an attempt at an end-to-end rush only to lose the puck to a Denver player in the defensive zone.  The result, of course, was a turnover and a rush up ice in the other direction. This type of play was kind of reminiscent of another former Gopher player that was run out of Boston and now resides in Toronto.

If anything, the Gophers’ start to the season makes makes me scratch my head and wonder how a team stacked with at least 10 NHL draft choices can be 0-2-1. It hasn’t been pretty, in the first three games the Gophers have been outshot by an astounding 111 – 71 margin.  Of the team’s 71 shots, they have scored a measly three goals–meaning they have scored on just under five percent of their shots. On the defensive side of the equation the Gophers have given up ten goals, or just about a goal on ten percent of the opposition’s shots.  Morever, their power play is clicking at an even zero percent (they are 0-12 on the power play). On top of that, they have also given up a shorthanded goal.

Coach on the Hot Seat?

The last two seasons Don Lucia’s Gophers have gone a mediocre 17-13-7 and 19-17-9.  Last season they missed the NCAA playoffs altogether and now three games into this season it looks as if they could be in for another tough season.

So would it be reasonable to say that Lucia is on the hot seat? 

What do Gophers fan think?

I know people have short memories and forget that that Lucia won two NCAA titles in the early 2000’s but what has he done lately?

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  • Jarick

    I’m a very casual Gopher fan, but I’ve always thought they’ve been hurt by having talented but immature (in some ways) kids jumping in and out of the system rather than some solid hockey players putting in four years.

  • Yep, I think you’re right, they also lack role players as well.

  • Charlie

    I am not a fan of putting many non-Minnesotans on the team. Then it is just another college hockey team. Having said that, a few more seasons like the last one (and the start of this one), and I may change my tune.

    I am also not a fan of bringing on so many kids right from Minnesota high schools; not in the age of the 23 year old senior. A year represents a big chunk of an 18 year old’s life and they can and do develop a lot in a given year.

    Along those lines, Ness and Schroeder are (obviously) very good players for their age, but why bring them in so young (They were the age of high school seniors last year)? I read that a 2010-11 Gopher recruit is (a la Ness) finishing h.s. during his 11th grade year to rush to the Gophers. Even in the best of times I think that is a mistake for nearly anybody.

  • Charlie

    Me again…

    Goon, It is truly not xenophobia about players from elsewhere. That’s way off base regarding how I and my hockey-loving friends feel about the Gophers and non-Minnesotans.
    We all recognize that the bulk of the top hockey players in the NCAA and in the NHL are from Canada.
    When the Gophers do field a great lineup of predominantly Minnesota players and have success with that lineup, the community (Minnesotans into hockey) find it to be very special and very satisfying.
    Part of this feeling is because we (and or kids now, for me) go to school with some of the players on the Gophers. As a result, we have a connection with the players that we do not have with other players. We know some of them a bit. We know their schools and the various high schools’ hockey traditions. It makes it feel a tiny bit like a big extended family.
    Our perception is that we have a very special hockey tradition here from the youth associations on up. It has nothing to do with the Wild’s ‘State of Hockey’ over-the-top marketing b.s. and everything to do with a broad base of knowledgeable players and fans that have been involved with the game at many levels.
    We truly have something special here. You may disagree with that (I doubt it), but barring several disastrous seasons in a row, I think the fans closest to the U’s program will continue to think it is very cool and fun to have Gopher teams made up of 90% Minnesotans.