Week two of Big Ten hockey is in the books, and woof, this was ugly. Honestly, after looking at the results, I didn't even know how I was going to rank the teams. I mean, I the top and the bottom are clear so far, but the middle... What can I say? Big Ten Hockey suffers from the same three tier issue that plagues Big Ten football, except with less than half the teams.
Well, let's slog through this.
If I were to draw up my dream season for the Badgers, it would look something like this. I mean it would look like this year. They're BRUTAL bad. They're so bad, they made it into
GoAupher's the Gnomes weekly piece. That's right, your hockey team is so bad right now that they're being mocked in a football piece. Do I need to pile it on? Well sure, I'll pile it on.
Wisconsin got swept last weekend by Northern Michigan. ... ... ... ... ...
Power Play: Miserable. 0 for 18 through four games. It's so bad that your season percentage will likely never recover, even if you turn it into an above average unit by the end of the year. This is actually a larger problem with scoring, because you aren't doing that 5 on 5 either. They've score three goals in four games.
Honestly, it's like the hockey Gods reach inside my brain and pulled the perfect Wisconsin season from the place where I keep only the pipiest of pipe dreams. Wisconsin, as of today, is awful. They have two and half weeks to straighten things out before their next game. I would not want to be a player on that roster during that stretch, because I'm sure they're going to skate A LOT.
Luckily, you've got the University of North Dakota coming to ruin your weekend a month from now or whenever you play again. If the Whioux sweep, and you're 0-6, that inhuman cavern in which you play is going to be very, very empty.
#5 - Ohio State Buckeyes (1-3)
Swept by Miami. This is slightly better than Wisconsin's [second straight] sweep because Miami of Ohio has a hockey team that I've heard of before. The issue with the Buckeyes is the same as with the Badgers; there is no scoring on this team and they only scored two goals in two games last weekend. They lost Ding-Ding to the league and apparently have nobody to fill the void. Still, they have eight goals in four games, which is a workable goals per game average if they can improve a bit. Congratulations, you're better than Wisconsin, but not by much, at this point.
You also managed to make the Gnomes notice you! Well done! You won Saturday against Not-Old Hampshire, which is a better performance than the two Big Ten teams beneath you. However, you got blasted out of your own barn by the Wildcats 5-1 Friday night. You're also the third Big Ten team on this list to struggle putting the puck in the net. Six goals in three games. Unfortunately, your bigger concern might be keeping the puck out of your own net, because right now that's happening more than three times per game. Bad offense and bad defense is no way to go through a hockey season, Wolverines. But hey, when you're feeling down, just remember that you didn't accept that offer to play for Mike Eaves, because your team is better than Wisconsin.
If you were wondering where my bottom tier for the conference ends, this is it.
Well, Alaska teams are quickly becoming the bane of the Big Ten's existence. If this continues for forty or fifty more years, I'll have to start considering my look-down-my-nose approach to Alaskan hockey. On to you, Penn State.
Game 1- You came out flying in the first period and led Alaska Anchorage aaaall the way up to the point where they tied it up with about a minute left in the game.
Game 2- You reverted right back to the same old Penn State we know and love, launching something like 300 Hail Mary shots in this game, and again you took a lead into the third period for the second straight game. Also for the second straight game, you blew it in the third, but this time you made it complete and just lost. Sigh.
You're proving that you'll be able to compete in this conference this year for two reasons: it looks like you can score goals and half of the conference is terrible at doing just that. Just learn how to hold on to a lead.You're definitely better than Wisconsin, and today, you're probably better than Michigan and OSU.
#2 - Michigan State Spartans (1-1)
You played your first action of the year and did about what we expected, split a series at home against Massachusetts. Between you and Mass, you scored fifteen goals in two games, which must have been a refreshing change for fans. You find yourself this high on the list for one reason: I had to put somebody here. You're better than Wisconsin.
Bye weekend. In your two games this year you've scored four goals and three goals, meeting and exceeding Wisconsin's season total through four games. You also averaged 1.5 goals against, by far the best in the conference. Still number one. You're better than Wisconsin and everyone else two. Thus ends my self-congratulatory paragraph.
Dear members of the Big Ten conference, when we found out that Terry Pegula had forced us into a conference against the wills of the majorities of our fanbases, I defended you. I said that you were all major universities with historical ties and should be in a conference with each other. I still think those are true statements, but it's becoming harder and harder to defend you. You haven't exactly played a murderer's row of non-conference competition, and there's a lot of time to get this thing straightened out, but you're blowing it right now.
I'm sort of selfish in wanting you all to be good but still lose to the Gophers. I want a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. But honestly, do it for yourselves. If someone unseats the Gophers this year, that team deserves to have a decent schedule and not end up four seed like some Atlantic Hockey castoff.
Get it together.
In the immortal words of Atmosphere:
Ain't no girl deservin' to be wife, gonna wanna complete your worthless life. Get it to-get-her.