Friday Ramblings look at new Yost renovation pictures, more NHL Draft notes, the WCHA meeting, beer at the Winter Classic, and how to embarrass your kid during a hockey game.
HOW’S THE VIEW UP THERE?
The Yost Ice Arena Facebook page added some more photos of the Yost renovations today, including a first look at the new fifth floor.
See the people wearing yellow in the upper left? That’s the fifth floor, which I believe is to become the new press row. The floor below it is the old press box. I guess we’re all suppose to hang over the railing to see the action. Thankfully, that’ll mostly be Geoff Chiles’ problem, not mine! Got a bad feeling the mothership might end up partially blocking the view of some of the ice from up there.
NHL DRAFT NOTES
Kyle Woodlief of Red Line Report released his Top 10 Defensemen for the NHL Draft. He ranks incoming Michigan defenseman Jacob Trouba as the fifth best defensive prospect and expects him to come off the board between picks 10-20.
Trouba is a tremendous skater — likely the best of the whole bunch — who loves to dish out punishment along the walls and easily separates his opponent from the puck. He’s a rugged force in the defensive end who scores off the charts in both his character and compete levels.
Chris Peters of The United States of Hockey blog ranks Trouba as the #2 American prospect for the draft and Boo Nieves #9. On Nieves…
However a 13-game stint in the USHL confirmed some of the concerns that Nieves struggles with the physical aspects of the game. The thing is, he has some filthy puck skills and a really nice 6-2, 185 frame. Nieves could have calmed concerns in a long USHL playoff run, but he had to return to Kent to finish his schooling so he could get into Michigan for next year.
All scouting reports seem to give Nieves the “boom or bust” label. Here’s hoping it’s the former and not the latter. With his size, speed, and skill, and considered a play maker more than a shooter, I’d love to see him slotted between Alex Guptill and Phil Di Giuseppe and see what they could do.
WINTER CLASSIC TO SERVE BEER
If you don’t intoxicate yourself enough tailgating before the NHL Winter Classic, fear not! The State of Michigan passed a bill granting the NHL a temporary 30-day liquor license.
NEW WCHA MEETS
The nine teams to form the new WCHA in 2013 met for three days in Detroit this past week to discuss a variety of topics. Among the highlights and head shakers…
- 28-game league schedule, allowing for 8-10 non-conference games (depending how many times you play in Alaska)
- All nine teams make the playoffs with the league champion getting a bye to the WCHA Final Five. The remaining eight teams will play a best-of-three series to determine who joins them.
- Alaska and Alaska Anchorage will face each other every year in the playoffs regardless of seeding unless one of them wins the regular season title and earns a bye to the Final Five. So Alaska could be the #2 seed and AA the #3 seed, but instead of facing the #9 seed and #8 seed respectively, they will face each other. Reason cited: cost-cutting. And you wonder why the powerhouses of the WCHA decided to split to form the NCHC. No, this doesn’t reek of being cheap at all.
- WCHA Final Five locations are still being finalized, with locations plural. It appears they’re looking to alternate venues like the Big Ten Hockey Conference. Some hint at possibly the Xcel Energy Center and Joe Louis Arena on opposite years of the BTHC.I think that’s nuts unless they get a really, really good deal. Unfortunately for the WCHA, the Resch Center in Green Bay, which is a smaller venue that would suit them perfectly in size and location, isn’t available the weekend they need it due to girl’s high school basketball or something. So while nuts, their options are pretty limited, too.
CCHA playoff games without Michigan or Michigan State involved already draw terribly. With only Ferris State and Bowling Green within a four hour drive of Detroit, it’s hard to picture more than a few hundred fans occupying the stands. And if one or both teams don’t make it, all other teams are north of the bridge or out of state in Minnesota and Alaska. That place is going to be a coffin.
I don’t know of any other neutral sites that would suit their needs, though. Maybe Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids instead of the Joe since it’s closer to Ferris State (who should make the Final Five almost every year).
EDIT: The Mining Journal’s Matt Wellens spoke with the WCHA PR guy, who said he didn’t hear about Alaska and Anchorage facing each other in the playoffs every year. Said it was an idea tossed around a few months ago. So that part might be up in the air still.
HOW TO EMBARRASS YOUR KID
During a youth hockey game in Boston a few days ago a brawl broke out between the two teams, causing one hockey mom to walk out on the ice and start finger wagging the officials…