Many of my readers also take a gander or two at the ACC Fan Blog, and word got to me that a recent posting by my esteemed blogging cohort to the south has taken a stab at some of the Nanook players. If you'd like to read his article before I continue, feel free to do so.
Now, I could go on and retaliate by doing the same thing about the Seawolf players (trust me, the numbers are there), but I digress. Knowing and watching these players over the years, it's pretty obvious to me that they train very hard. I don't think any school is an exception, obviously, they all train, and even more obvious, every athlete develops differently.
When Dustin Molle left UAA (after going 6-27-3) and came to Fairbanks for his sophomore hockey season, he was only mildly intimidating. Now, standing next to him, he scares me. Everything that Donald said in his blog comes directly back to hard work and dedication on and off the ice.
I know I've only been at this whole blogging thing for a little less than a full season, but during this time, I've had a chance to get to know a lot of people affiliated with the program, including a vast majority of the players. All of the players I have spoken with all exhibit the same drive to succeed.
One team member I think deserves a lot of credit isn't actually a player. The Nanooks' strength and conditioning coach, Mike Curtin employs a no-nonsense eat right, train right philosophy (one that I should probably follow myself) and pushes the players as much as he can. I've talked with MC several times, and although he is an extremely friendly guy, I know he means business.
Donald alludes in his post that the coaches have cut corners and lied in their weight reports, which also shocks me. Sure, UAA has the tallest team/5th heaviest team, but how well has that served them? Not very well at all. It has been well over 10 years since the Seawoofs have posted a winning record, and now at 10-18-2, their hopes for breaking that streak have been extinguished. Some will argue that its because they play in the "most elite conference in college hockey". Save it. CCHA teams are 13-11-4 against WCHA competition this season.
But in the end, the only result that matters is your overall record. Dallas and his coaching staff, for lack of better verbiage, have lifted and elevated the level of the Nanook program, and took a 9-21-5 team in 07-08, and improved to 17-16-6, and things are looking better this year, including a potential run into the NCAA tournament, which would be the first ever in school history. Coach Shyiak? At an overall record of 50-104-21 in his 5th season with the program, maybe that is improvement?
I'm usually not one to spew trash talk, but I think in this case I will probably make an exception. Further GovCup postings to come...