Normally I'd write a little intro here, but Donna from Runnin' With The Dogs beat me to it. So without further delay, here is your UMD Bulldog Q&A:
Runnin' With The Dogs: Hello, rodents. Much to your collective chagrin, I have returned. You may remember me from such diatribes as this one or this one. Here I thought once you left for your cupcake conference, we'd be rid of you, but just like herpes, you keep popping up. (Not speaking from personal experience. I heard that from Nick Bjugstad). However, I am nothing if not benevolent, so when TDG asked me if I'd be up for another "Q&A" (using the term loosely, since I've already gone on a little free-form rant), I agreed, and then waited til the last minute to answer.
(Not that anyone gives a rip, but I now live in Duluth and am pursuing a 3rd bachelor's degree at tUMD, which makes the original Q&A somewhat out of date.)
The Daily Gopher: Quickly scanning the stats, it looks like Duluth's biggest contributors (at least on paper) are freshman. Forward Alex Iafallo is the NCHC's top point scorer among rookies and 9th (rookies) and 53rd (overall) when looking nationally with 1 ppg. Fellow rookie Defenseman Willie Raskob is the 2nd leading point producer at .67 ppg. Rounding out the top 5 is a trio of forwards. Senior Joe Basaraba (.6 ppg) is joined by sophomore Tony Cameranesi (.6 ppg) and frosh Kyle Osterberg (.5 ppg). Did this team come into the season expecting to see it's top contributors (again, on paper) be dominated by newcomers? Is this a good thing (players making plays) or a bad thing (upperclassmen not living up to expectations)?
RWD: Quickly scanning the stats, it looks like your own freshmen are (for the most part) leading the way. So it can't be all bad; if the Big Bad UMTC is doing it, it must be good. Also, do you think it's odd that we have two major statistics in hockey that have the same initials? Power play goals and points per game.
I see no problem with freshmen leading the charge. When a recruiting class is as strong as ours, those players really should be among the point leaders. We knew Iafallo and Toninato would be good, but Osterberg has been a most pleasant surprise. Raskob is a Shattuck boy, he'd better be good. Basaraba has elevated his game and his production this year. Herbert will get there. He'll probably score 5 or 6 goals on whoever your goalie is. The person living in Noora Raty's shadow. Adam Krause had 2 career goals coming in to this year and scored 3 against the Former Racist Mascots.
TDG: How would you describe Duluth's season thus far?
RWD: It's been so long since I've seen a home game I can't remember what tUMD's season is like. This No-Home-Game November nonsense is annoying. They've had their ups and downs, but I think overall things are pretty good.
TDG: Duluth's penalty kill looks formidable (89.5% - 5th nationally) which is good since the Bulldogs are also averaging a good number of penalty minutes (17.7 - 8th). Is that latter number skewed by a bad game or indicative of how the team is playing night to night?
RWD: We are just incredibly bada$. Practice makes perfect, I guess. Also, according to Bruce Ciskie, the refs are against us. And according to the No-Names, we committed eleventy-zillion penalties and should have been forced to forfeit because we are such hacks. These are two completely unbiased and sane sources of information. The funny thing about the PK is it is so good, our PP is like 47th nationally but our special teams net is still like 10th. Weird. The penalty minutes are kinda skewed because we have had 3 major penalties and 2 game misconducts already. This isn't relevant to the question but tUMD goaded the Racist Mascots's goalie, Summerhays, into a game misconduct. I felt I needed to mention that because it was hilarious.
TDG: What are your early thoughts on the NCHC?
RWD: The NCHC is... I don't know. Fine. Since we are playing many of the same opponents and have many of the same officials, it doesn't feel different yet. The NCHC Twitter account is much more, ahem, current than the WCHA's, so there's that. AMSoil Arena really sucks at Zamboniing for the shootout (we haven't had a league shootout yet, just two abysmal faux shootouts against the Overaged Canadians and the Overaged Finns [Tech]). The real tests will be the conference tournament and the PWR.
TDG: First 3 things that come to mind when you think of the University of Minnesota...GO!
3. Twin Cities
I look forward to this weekend (mostly because it is, at the time of writing this, tomorrow, but by the time you're reading this, today) and beating the crap out of your little squad on Friday and Satur-- oh. Sunday. That's right, the #prideonice takes second banana to the #shameonturf. I do find it interesting that much of your fanbase (as observed on the social medias) is sandbagging this series like the Red River is bearing down on their homes. Perhaps they know something I don't? (Ok, that's unlikely.) Thanks for having me, TDG, I know your readers all love me!
Thanks again to Donna for bringing her acerbic takes back to TDG!
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- Minnesota Football: Models and Bottles! - Wisconsin
- Minnesota Football: Wisconsin Fans are Better than Minnesota Fans- Just ask Them