Saturday, October 25, 2008

Six Games In

Where are we (we being the team I follow) now? Two wins, two losses and a tie - kind of. It's early, we're young and I'm happy (outside of the goofy off-ice football, hockey, track (?) team fight BS that I don't know crap about and wish would go away).

The first game of the year (and the first of two UMASS teams we'd play) and we got off to a ho-hum start. MSU had two nears, they nearly went 100% on the powerplay and nearly shut UMASS (Amherst) out. Unfortunately, the first goal came seconds after the first PP ended and the shutout hopes were dashed minutes before the game ended. The first game of the season was a good example of a talented but young team. They had a tough time finding passes and getting it out of the defensive zone was a real chore.

That chore only got more difficult in the second game of the year. This game, as well as the last, cost me $8.oo to watch online and the video was choppy, to say the least. Despite that it wasn't tough to see that Boston had more than a home ice advantage. State struggled to connect on anything that might be considered a shot, pass or check. No ifs ands or buts about it. The glorious kids from East Lansing were dominated. But it was a domination that nearly became overturned with a few minutes of quality play. Just another example of the individual talent waiting to gel. Something that will most likely be repeated throughout the season. Hang on folks, it's gonna be wild ride.

The third game of the season was our third straight against Hockey (L?)East and the second against a UMASS team. The game was fugly with a capital F. Fourteen minutes of scoreless powerplays and twenty minutes on the PK. Sick. State couldn't get a break or a completed pass. That's what happens when you have a bunch of young, talented kids. At least I hope that's the case. That's the feeling I had while leaving. A biggest feeling I had leaving that warm September evening was, how in the hell did anyone believe it was a good idea to have four officials on the ice? The CCHA tried that in an experimental way and figured out that 4 guys on the ice means an extra person to get in the way and the fact that there aren't enough quality officials to cover all the games. Unfortunately, the later point is going to become a season long bitch. Sorry, but it's just the way it's going to be. UMASS Lowell found (by found I mean State walked up to them and put it right in their hand) a way to win and we were off to a depressing home start.

Fourth game equals WOW! Coach Comley found a way to put it all together (kudos coach). The Spartans carried the play most of the game. Despite getting down early, they pulled it out. During the first game of the season I never really feared a loss despite the fact that UMASS (Amherst) seemed to be carrying the play. I had the same feeling during this game. The mistakes made seemed mostly harmless. It's a feeling I hope most Spartan fans held and most will continue to feel. Lerg was on, Conboy was relentless and the boys were buzzing.

About this time I took off. Headed out of state to take a little break. The thoughts of the violent attack on Michigan's Steve Kampfer fresh in my head and rumors of a fight by State's football players against other student athletes. I couldn't believe it possible that we'd have somehow picked-up bad habits from our big sister down the road. I settled into the laid back groove of Kansas City and later the hillbilly vibes of Lake Wapapello thinking the biggest story was the MSU/UM game. I setup a vacation hangin on my buddy's boat in the Exumas and a late summer break in Crested Butte still thinking everything was getting better in MSU's hockeyville. We made the 650 mile trip home Friday, arriving just minutes after the game started and minutes after learning our big sister down the road did have some type of negative affect on "us." I only hope that A.J. heals fully, the punishment is appropriate and the team doesn't suffer as a part of it. I still can't figure out what happened and only know that somehow Shegos had to, somehow, be involved.

Onto Northern. I love Northern, let's just get that out of the way now. I've had great times in Marquette with the Puckheads and their friends. I've partied at the NMU hockey house and was treated very well, even while wearing an MSU jersey. I like Coach Kyle despite his propensity to whine and attempt to delay the game. (hey coach, I understand, anything to win, you go). Many people that could possibly be smarter than me picked NMU to finisher higher than State (not me but I'm a total homer) so there was a lot of build up, in my mind. The first game was the best game (a banner game) State played all year. They had jump, speed and a bunch of adjectives only English majors could define (stuff like moxy, no kidding ask Kaunisto, Conboy moxied his ass) but NMU managed a tie(ish). Lerg stood "tall" in MSU's first shootout and Schepke and Kivisto buried the winners.

Game Six, We Won! It wasn't as pretty as Friday but it was more effective. Lerg was on his game, thanks el cap'i'tan. Conboy was out, as was Sucharski and Warda. I don't know which if either were the disciplinary sitters. I hope neither, they're both good guys. I noticed today, before the game, members of USCHO talking about NMU's PP cycle and how Comley had a 'stationary positional pass PP.' It was exactly the opposite of that tonight. MSU had a nice cycle on the PP and NMU tried to stick to their position and feed the 'slot guy.' Anyway, we won, they lost and there were NO Puckheads.

A this point I'd like to give my good, better and best assessments but it's late, I'm biased and you don't care. With that I'll leave you with a "WE WANT SHEGOS!"

See Ya

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