THURSDAY, JANUARY 17, 2013
9:17 p.m. Central -- Ah, Thursday night. It felt like it would never get here.
All of the talk this week focused on the rivalry -- as well it should -- but it seemed to go overboard at times. To a man, the players and coaches have been asked repeatedly all week their feelings on the rivalry, their thoughts on the rivalry's impending hiatus, the team's approach to playing a rival, the excitement about playing a rival...it got to the point where I finally had a revelation yesterday: the fans and media truly get more lathered up for this series than the team does.
Not that that's a bad thing, not by any means. It's the fans' role to be amped up -- the players absolutely feed off of it -- and we certainly appreciate the media exposure. Of course the players have the juices flowing just a bit harder this week. But when a coach or player says they prepare the same way they do for any other week, the reaction from outside observers is typically, "Aw, that's just 'coach-speak.'" I can assure you, though, it's the truth.
The daily routine, the preparation, the attention to detail -- none of it changes based on the opponent. It's quite fascinating to observe the difference between the perception of how a team prepares compared to how it actually prepares. Dave Hakstol is as even-keel a coach as you will find, and his teams invariably take on that same personality, week in and week out, year in and year out.
Now, on to the road trip itself:
- We departed Ralph Engelstad Arena at about 9 a.m. this morning. The first movie of choice was Quantam of Solace. With about 90 minutes remaining on the drive after it ended, the players went with old standby, Dumb and Dumber. I don't recall a season going by without that movie being thrown in the DVD player at least once.
- After checking into the hotel and a quick lunch, it was off to Mariucci Arena for practice. It was a crisp session that Coach Hakstol described as "business-like." It concluded with freshman forward Drake Caggiula winning the Thursday night shootout.
- From there, we enjoyed one of the best Thursday night dinners in quite some time at Jax Cafe, just a few blocks from Tim Hennessy's childhood home. My fellow Canadians and I certainly appreciated the perogie appetizers.
Now, it's quiet time back at the hotel. For those of you heading to the game tomorrow -- or even if you're just in the area -- we will likely have another post-game tweet-up at a local establishment. Keep on eye on my Twitter feed (@UNDSID) tomorrow night for details on that.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013
11:45 a.m. -- Gameday skate is in the books and we'll drop the puck in a little over seven hours.
I'm just waiting for Tim the Rommie to knock out a phone interview with Jack and Sandy on The Mighty 790 in Fargo so we can grab some lunch. Other than that, I'll be spending my (cable-less) day staring at the NHL transactions wire to monitor the comings and goings of the numerous UND products.
Look for another blog update following lunch. I'll also post the lineup here late-afternoon.
4:19 p.m. -- Whirlwind afternoon, what with lunch with Tim Hennessy and renound college hockey scribe Jess Myers, followed by a series of visits from the cable repairman (men). And yes, we're back up and running.
Out: Chyzyk, Sanderson, O'Donnell, St. Clair, Panzarella, Maris
SATURDAY, JANUARY 19, 2013
2:29 p.m. -- A quick blog update before I check out of the hotel and jump on the bus to head to the rink.
Before getting to the lineup, I want to thank everyone who turned out for our postgame tweet-up last night. Fans, friends, alums and former UND Athletics employees-alike showed up to help ease the sting from the loss with a lot of laughs. The tweet-ups having been growing in attendance lately, and we'll continue to do them following as many games as possible.
Out: Chyzyk, Sanderson, O'Donnell, Gaarder, Panzarella, Maris