4 , 2003
Postcard: You've got questions...we've got answers
inception about a year ago, the Inside College Hockey World Headquarters
in beautiful mid-Michigan have been flooded with letters, phone
calls and e-mails from college hockey fans across North American
seeking honest answers to tough questions.
As a service to our devoted, knowledgable readers, INCH management
is proud to introduce to you the college game's version of Yoda,
the INCH Wizard.
Hey INCH Wizard: The Edmonton Oilers will host the Montreal
Canadiens Nov. 22 in an outdoor game at Commonwealth Stadium. Will
it top the Michigan-Michigan State game played at Spartan Stadium
a couple years ago? Thanks, Peter in Red Deer.
The Oilers-Canadiens tilt may not surpass the attendance record
(a little more than 74,000) set in East Lansing in 2001. Commonwealth
Stadium – a north-of-the-border version of Arrowhead Stadium
in Kansas City – seats 60,217 for football, but the only way
they'll cram more than 70,000 into the place is if half the crowd
is Doug Flutie-sized.
game may not happen at all, since the NHL Players Association was
hemming and hawing about signing off on the deal. Jeez, it's hard
to believe the NHLPA, an organization about as flexible as Uwe Krupp
after a day of racing sled dogs, would hinder a proposal that would
showcase the game of hockey to the entire world.
That being said,
the game of hockey is a Canadian passion. This game may not be bigger
than the Cold War, but odds are that it will be better. Hey, they've
already surpassed the U.S. in donut and coffee technology (Tim Horton's),
beer production (Labatt and Molson) and crappy, punk rock wannabes
(Avril Lavigne, Sum 41).
By the way,
if this game becomes a reality, is there anyone willing to join
me in begging Montreal general manager Andre Savard, uh, make that
Bob Gainey, to make sure ex-Wolverine Mike Komisarek suits up just
so he can say he played two games in front of a combined 140,000
spectators? Let's put that figure in perspective: That's the same
number of fans who've attended the last 140 Detroit Tiger home games.
Wisconsin hockey coach Mike Eaves will coach the U.S. team at the
next World Junior Championship in Finland and he's taking assistant
John Hynes with him. Who's going to run the show during the holidays
for Bucky? Jim in Sun Prairie, Wis.
The World Junior Championship runs from roughly Christmas Day to
Jan. 4. During that stretch, Wisconsin hosts the Badger Hockey Showdown
and plays a two-game series at Minnesota State, Mankato.
Troy Ward will be in charge while Eaves and Hynes are overseas.
Maybe the Badgers should do like David Letterman did when he was
on sick leave recently and have guest coaches for every game. Bucky
could roll famous alums such as actress Joan Cusack, rocker Steve
Miller (he actually dropped out before getting a degree), television
legal analyst Greta Van Susteren or even Vice President Dick Cheney,
although he, too, pulled the chute before grabbing a sheepskin.
Maybe even baseball commissioner Bud Selig, although every game
would end in a tie.
Of course, you'll
probably miss freshman defenseman Ryan Suter – a lead-pipe
cinch for the U.S. entry for the WJC – more than you'll miss
Wizard: Michigan State is at it again. According to a recent Detroit
News story, the school will play a men's basketball game against
Kentucky at Ford Field in Detroit. What gives? Dave in St. Johns,
Good question, Dave. It's going to happen in December. Does college
basketball come up with any good ideas of its own? No. They have
to steal from hockey. The great minds of the hockey community blaze
the trail and, predictably, the image-conscious pretty boys from
the basketball world tra-la-la their way down the path while trying
to keep their Bruno Maglis free from grime.
Maybe the powers
that be in basketball will go to a four-on-four overtime. Wait a
second…I said they were only taking the good ideas.
How about hockey
fights then? I don’t necessarily consider fighting to be an
integral part of the game, but I’m not adverse to watching
Domi and Brashear go mano-a-mano every so often. But have you ever
seen a basketball fight? Other than Kermit Washington going Fight
Club on Rudy Tomjanovich’s piehole 30 years ago, hoops brawls
are about as physical as the National Spelling Bee finals, although
the feature the same amount of high-pitched screaming.
As an aside,
this game at Ford Field has been labeled “BasketBowl”,
which I thought referred to an all-star game consisting of guys
who failed the NBA’s mandatory drug test. But I guess the
Trailblazers and Clippers play enough during the regular season.
Feel free to insert your own Kevin Stevens joke here.
In an article that ran in the Grand Forks Herald a few weeks ago,
North Dakota coach Dean Blais said his future being the Fighting
Sioux bench in hazy. He’s kidding, right? Take it easy, Kirk
in Pembina, N.D.
While Dean Blais can present the persona of an “aw shucks”
hick from the sticks, he a pretty smart dude. What better way to
put a little pressure on the university than publicly contemplate
his future in Grand Forks?
the deal: The guy is more popular in the area than grinders from
the Red Pepper. His teams play in an arena that’s far superior
in amenities and creature comforts than any college barns –
and most NHL rinks. Recruiting? Not an issue. Money? Hell, he got
truck, trailer and fishing boat a couple years back and he received
a country club membership as part of his current deal, which makes
him the Mark Cuban of the Red River Valley.
Hauser: INCH whipping boy and owner of a generous five-hole.
where would he go for another job? The NHL? Not likely. I doubt
he’d be interested in another college gig except for maybe
Minnesota, his alma mater, but by the time that position is vacant,
Blais will be playing bingo at the East Grand Forks Elks lodge on
Salisbury steak night.
On a totally
unrelated note, could you imagine Blais, who treats goaltenders
like Jennifer Lopez treats husbands, coaching a team with Adam Hauser
as his top netminder? For devoted readers of ESPN.com’s The
Sports Guy, the Unintentional
Comedy Rating of a Blais-Hauser union would be 100.
Wiz-dog: What’s up with Bowling Green alum and
current Mighty Duck Dan Bylsma riling up New Jersey’s Scott
Stevens prior to the start of the Stanley Cup Finals? Doesn’t
he remember a few years back, when Stevens made Eric Lindros go
fetal for more than a year? Later, Doug in Holland, Mich.
Well, it wasn’t exactly Joe Namath guaranteeing victory in
Super Bowl III or Mark Messier doing the same for the Rangers as
they faced elimination in the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals. It's
not even Jake Taylor calling his shot and then squaring to bunt
in "Major League."
New Jersey would be great too because I'd really like to shake Scott
Stevens' hand when he's congratulating me on winning the Stanley
Cup," Bylsma said prior to the start of the series with the
winger said he meant it in deference to a player he’s admired
for a number of years.
from Grand Haven, Mich., never thinks like that," Bylsma said
before Game 1. "If it's on their (bulletin) board, I guess
it means that I'm here."
All right then,
Dan. I really do get the sense that you didn’t mean what you
said in a negative manner. But do you really want to goad Scott
Stevens? Why not Brian Gionta? He’s about 5-foot-2 and you
should be able to rag-doll him in a skirmish. Or one of those soft
Euros Don Cherry is always complaining about? Anyone but Stevens,
who’s delivered more jarring hits during the course of his
career than anyone this side of a Arturo Gatti-Mickey Ward lightweight
the Stanley Cup Finals, I can’t believe we’re sitting
through a Ducks-Devils series. No disrespect to either organization
(that’s pronounced oar-gan-EYE-zay-shun), but don’t
you get the same feeling you had while watching Super Bowl XXXIV
when St. Louis played Tennessee? I must remind myself constantly
that these two teams are playing for hockey’s biggest prize,
and not slogging through a meaningless mid-January snore-fest.
That's it for now. Thanks for your questions. Keep your head up.
Got a question
for the INCH Wizard? Send it to email@example.com.