Last weekend was a pretty busy one. We celebrated Hockey Day in Minnesota(and other places, but Minnesota’s is the only one I can comment on), the NHL once again proved that having a bunch of clowns running around on the ice can cause nothing but embarrassment for the sport(I’m talking about “enforcers” in general, or the New York Islanders. Take your pick.), and finally, hipsters can finally stop pretending to like and start hating Arcade Fire; long overdue, in my opinion. There was also some intense conference battles this weekend as we keep getting closer to the end of the season.
We’ll start with Hockey Day Minnesota. This was the fourth annual event Fox Sports North has put on, and by now we pretty much know what to expect. Minnesota, being the state’s only college hockey program, faced off against Denver. The local NHL team faced off against an NHL team that actually respects Minnesotan-born hockey players Fawning praise was heaped on some of the most, and least deserving members of the Lucia family.
And, in what has become the day’s bread-and-butter, FSN filled the card in “Soft Journalism Bingo” with heart-warming, tear-jerking stories about cancer, someone going to war, debilitating diseases, Little Lebowski Urban Achievers, being raised by wolves, being wrongly punished for crimes committed by an evil twin, etc. That’s not to mock any of those stories individually. Duke Pieper’s story is particularly moving, if only because I still remember watching him as a promising young hockey player, and though I’m sure progress has been slow and gradual, it was definitely noticeable when taken over the span of an entire year.
The outdoor games, this year played in Moorhead, were a bit of a disaster. It was a shame because the weather had been bitterly cold most of the week, before warming up on Friday. In fact, I skated outdoors Friday night and it was probably the most perfect hockey weather of the year; great ice but still warm enough to be comfortable. But Saturday, being the second straight warm day, and to make matters worse, having a bright, shining sun, turned the ice into a pit of mush by the second game between Moorhead and Hill-Murray. I had two thoughts while watching those kids slog through the muck on Saturday, that maybe contradict each other:
1. The outdoor games are usually a chance for people to wax poetic about how nobody plays games outside any more, but this was a reminder of why they don’t. How are you going to keep them down on the pond once they’ve seen Karl Hungus?
2. Maybe people are right to wax poetic about skating outside. There’s some people that believe adults control the game a little too much and don’t let the kids figure things out on their own. For the most part, I saw a lot of adults complaining about conditions and wanting to pull the kids off the ice, while the kids just played the game, and I didn’t see much in the way of complaining from them. They just moved one of the nets to a better area of ice and played on. Maybe that captures the true spirit of outdoor hockey better than the perfectly curated sheets of ice we’ve seen in past years.
As for games on the college side of things, there were plenty of those, and I’ll discuss them after the jump.