Wednesday, March 11, 2009

38 Words

As a college hockey fan, I feel fortunate that I have three very extensive, go-to sites for college hockey:

They are, in no particular order:

College Hockey News

So when one of them says something just plain silly, I feel bad in calling them out, but these 38 words deserved it:

From today's INCH 4x4 (which previews what they think the NCAA Tournament will look like when it is revealed.)

MINNEAPOLIS: West Regional
Michigan could end up in GR, but I'd like to see them face North Dakota in Minneapolis to make up for those times when the Wolverines were a No. 3 seed at Yost and advanced to the Frozen.

Now, let's break this down piece by piece:

1). They don't like Minnesota's chances of making the tournament. As I understand it, this stems from the potential hit that Minnesota will take if Alaska-Anchorage gets smacked out of TUC world this weekend by Denver, never mind their tough series with the Huskies of St. Cloud State. So, while reasonable, it completely ignores how much it will change the dynamics if Minnesota makes the field.

2). "but I'd like to see them face North Dakota in Minneapolis to make up for those times when the Wolverines were a No. 3 seed at Yost and advanced to the Frozen."

Now, let us be clear here: In 1998, Michigan was a #3 seed in the old six team regional system, played at Yost. It beat #6 seed Princeton 2-1 and then played #2 seeded (and defending national champion) North Dakota and won a rather epic come from behind 4-3 to advance to the Frozen Four in Boston. NO ONE DENIES THIS!

In 2006, Michigan was a #3 seed in the current four team regional system. It lost to #2 seed North Dakota 5-1 at the Ralph. North Dakota then went on to beat Holy Cross to advance to the Frozen Four in Milwaukee.

Some (like me) might say that this would even up the score of Michigan/North Dakota hosting. (Especially after the 8-5 smackdown in Denver in 2007.)

Now, if Denver had a problem, they have a case, after the 2002 (old style) West Regionals at Yost where #4 seeded Michigan beat St. Cloud before upsetting #1 seeded Denver to advance to the Frozen Four.

If Colorado College has a problem, they would have a case after the 2003 (current style) Midwest Regionals at Yost where #3 seed Michigan upset #2 seeded Maine, then top national seed Colorado College to advance to the Frozen Four.

But what I don't understand is the logic here. Because Michigan teams in 1998, 2002, and 2003 were the beneficiary of the NCAA's rule that if a host team qualifies for the tournament, they must be placed at their host regional, the 2009 edition should be made to suffer for it? That some how, playing in Minneapolis would benefit North Dakota more than it would Michigan should both win their opening round game. In pondering this today, my presumption has become that the bigger ice at Mariucci Arena would benefit WCHA team North Dakota over CCHA team Michigan, which has only played on Olympic sized ice four times this season (five if you count the weird 200 x 90 configuration at Boston U.) Are they presuming that the fans in Minneapolis would be less hostile towards fellow WCHA team North Dakota than then would a CCHA team (but fellow Big Ten team) Michigan? Is there perhaps something of which I am not thinking?

So, really, I don't know what it is, I don't know what INCH's argument is, but to be rooting for some sort of karmic vengeance to be wrought upon Michigan just seems kind of beneath the writer's objectivity.

(Addendum: 11:00 AM Thursday, March 12, 2009)

An argument can be made that the writer is saying Michigan should be sent to Minneapolis, not to play North Dakota, but rather because they feel that Minnesota will make the field, and it would only be fair to have a highly seeded Michigan face a lower seeded host team in their own arena after the benefits of 1997, 2002, and 2003.

This is not a better argument, but at least somewhat more cogent. Still, under this thesis, my earlier points stand, as well as for a new one since the author has created confusion by presuming Minnesota will make the field in the comment, but then not putting them in the field in the 4 x 4.)


Byko said...

The writer's objectivity? As a freelance sports columnist myself, I can look at what this INCH person wrote and tell you that I'm less than impressed. Some of this person's other comments are decent, but many of them are just plain nonsensical (and it doesn't even help that the person just calls it the "Frozen"--isn't there a number missing there?). Look at what was written about Notre Dame, for example. How am I supposed to get any analysis from that whatsoever? Likewise, look at the writeup for Denver. And Air Force.

I guess I'm just so used to the true professionalism of USCHO and other sources I have for other sports that nonsense like this just sticks out.

Geoff said...

Let me get this straight. Michigan hosted at Yost 3 times and advanced. As karmic retribution, they want us to go to a city where the host team is not playing to lose on a neutral ice surface to...some dudes we beat 10 years ago? Who we already lost to in their home arena in 2006? And then lost to again in Denver in 2007?

Having the Gophers left out of the tournament field blows the parallel structure they're trying to set up right out of the water.