Welcome to the Wednesday Q&A, a new weekly feature at Radio Free Omaha where you, dear reader, can have all your hockey-related questions answered.
If you’d like to take part in next week’s edition, there are many ways you can send me your questions. You can either do it in the comments box below this article, or get a hold of me on Twitter, or you can submit a question via my Facebook page.
UNO was off last weekend, and it appears as though that’s sent some fans minds all over the place in terms of hockey. Let’s have a look at what some of you have been asking:
I’m almost glad UNO was off last week so that I could sit back, relax and watch that Minnesota-North Dakota series without wondering what my own team was doing. Did you enjoy those games?
Very much so, yeah, and it makes me sad to think that those two games were the last ones those two teams are going to have together in the regular season for the forseeable future.
Minnesota and North Dakota are going to separate conferences from the start of next season, and it has been reported that they aren’t scheduled to play each other in non-league games over the next few years. It’s a shame, because the emotion on the ice and in the stands at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis last weekend showed you just how much that rivalry between UMN and UND means to so many people.
The break in that rivalry may end up being good news for UNO fans, though. UND and UNO are both joining the new National Collegiate Hockey Association in 2013-14, and games between those two teams have always been extremely entertaining. Colorado College vs. Denver is probably the most obvious big rivalry in the new league, but I’d like to see UNO-UND become even bigger. Here’s hoping.
UNO is at Bemidji State this weekend, of course, but the Mavs haven’t really done all that well against BSU. Worried?
That’s maybe more for fans to say than it is for me to. I might be a little worried if I was a UNO fan considering BSU is leading its all-time series with the Mavericks 8-6-4, but, then again, the Mavericks picked up three points last season in Bemidji.
The Beavers’ recent form doesn’t really bode well for them, either. BSU is 0-4-2 since Dec. 30, and Tom Serratore’s Beavers only picked up one point from the four on offer last weekend at fellow WCHA struggler Michigan Tech.
On the flip side, UNO has been playing well and has scored no fewer than three goals in each of its last four games. On paper, this looks like the Mavericks’ series to lose.
Do you feel like people have started to move on from Stolarz-gate?
I think so. A whole lot of UNO fans felt jilted when Anthony Stolarz left after his first semester at UNO to go to the Ontario Hockey League, but he’s moved on and I think people here have, too.
I’m kinda wondering when and if we’ll see Dayn Belfour start a game and give senior warhorse John Faulkner a night off, but we’ll see. Most of the Mavericks toughest games of the regular season are behind UNO now, so maybe we’ll see Dean Blais go with Belfour some nights to rest Faulkner ahead of the playoffs.
The race for home ice in the first round of the WCHA postseason is still very tight, though – there’s only a three-point gap right now between first-place Minnesota and Minnesota Duluth and Minnesota State in their tie for seventh – so it may be a while yet before Blais feels comfortable putting in a goaltender that hasn’t seen any playing time this season.
I think I’ve seen you a handful of times at UNO games between the benches. Is that you? What’s it like down there?
The really tall one is me, yeah. There are a handful of us that take photos down there sometimes – when Pierre McGuire isn’t taking up the whole space with his TV monitors and other equipment, but he’s back doing NHL games now, of course – and it’s an interesting place from which to view the action.
The game seems a lot quicker at ice level than it does just about anywhere in the stands, and certainly faster than it looks from the press box. You also get a much better sense of the sights and sounds of the game down there, of course. It’s actually pretty fun; I have to take time out from the photography to write my game reports for USCHO, but I enjoy doing what I do down there.
Anyway, my most common companion down there is Brad Williams, who is a phenomenal photographer and one that I’d be happy to someday become even half as good at. Feel free to check out some of his work here.
It’s the obvious question to me: Have you caught National Figure Skating Championships fever?
Heh, suddenly I’m hoping ‘no’ isn’t too obvious an answer coming from me! I haven’t particularly, no, but my schedule’s full enough this week that I haven’t really thought at all about it.
It’s not my favorite sport, but then neither is gymnastics and I watch both when the Winter and Summer Olympics, respectively, roll around. The athletes that take part in those games have to come from somewhere, though, and it’s not lost on me that the U.S. national championships are always a big stage on which Olympic hopefuls try and make names for themselves. All the best to everyone involved.