Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Michigan State - A Foe to Test the Nanooks Might

So, we have officially nailed down a playoff spot. That, at least, is in the books. The defining moment is going to be, what can we do when we get there. This weekend is going to be our chance to step it up. There are 6 games left this season, we currently have 31 points, tied for 6th with those guys from Ann Arbor. If we can win 6 straight games, we will be sitting happily with 49 points, which, coincidentally is 2 points less than Miami already has.

Regardless, getting into the specifics of the game, its going to be another interesting matchup. Andy Taranto has had a less than stellar second half of the season so far. He has kind of fell into a scoring slump after the break, and he was having penalty problems there in a couple of the games. If any time is a good time for him to have a breakout performance, its this weekend. Michigan State is ranked 12th nationally, and I expect that no matter how much I may ask them too, Rick Comley and his squad won't take it easy on us.

MSU beatwriter Alex DiFilippo posted an article last night, and he, like every other team, whined about the travel. I've mentioned it before, but the Nanooks travel farther than any other team in college hockey, Anchorage included. I always say, if you can't take the travel, quit recruiting sissies. Oh well. Kudos to coach Comley for saying that the travel doesn't matter. Besides, they get a bye week after this series anyway.

The Spartans have a few scoring threats as well, namely junior forward Corey Tropp. I've watched video of him, this kid has a hell of a shot. But, the Nanooks can contain him. Of course, the Alaska defense can contain any team, I have no doubt about that. It's the coverage breakdown and the lack of positioning that gets us in trouble. But, I suppose that is true of any team. Hopefully that can change this game. I would love to see that.

I have a hard time predicting how this series will turn out for the Nanooks. I always try to remain positive, and I'll remain doing so, but, the reality is, we have just one season sweep to our name this season, and that goes to 2nd ranked Ferris State who left Fairbanks with exactly no points, and hadn't lost a single game until they visited Miami. Michigan State has also been kind of on a downhill decline as of late, compared to earlier in the season anyway.

Friday: Alaska     W 3-2
Saturday: Alaska W 4-3
Optimism at its finest...

I couldn't leave this post without sharing this gem.

This video is of an event known as Cedar Fest. Don't know what Cedar Fest is? It's OK, I didn't at first either. Here's some insight from the Wikipedia article on the subject:
Cedar Fest is a celebration held in East Lansing, Michigan. The event which started in the 70's was originally a semiannual party that occurred during the months of October and May. The event was held in Cedar Village, a densely populated student neighborhood boarding the Michigan State University campus. The event took off in the 80's and was regularly attended by thousands of people. Several riots ensued from the parties and property owners along with the city decided to put an end to the event. By 1987 the event was banned by police, and for many years it was not held.
I'd ban it too. But guess what, that ban lasted exactly all of 20 years before MSU's disregard for authority led to 2008, which is in the video above. Here's some more tantalizing information.
Cedar Fest saw a revival in 2008, 20 years after the city had officially banned the event. The revival, which began as a campaign on Facebook as early as January, promised a "weekend long party" that would take place "throughout all of Cedar Village." It drew up to 4,000 party goers and was officially declared an unlawful assembly as police launched 24 smoke grenades, 20 flash bangs, 20 stingball grenades and 13 rounds of tear gas to disperse the out of control crowd. Some revelers heaved bottles, cans and bricks at police officers, while two city vehicles had their windows broken and at least four fires were set. East Lansing police Chief Tom Wibert remarked that the event "got to the point where I don’t see how we could have dispersed that crowd without tear gas." In fact, Wibert said after the police used flash bangs and smoke bombs, some students began to chant for tear gas.The "riot" cost close to $10,000 in damages and resulted in 52 arrests, 28 of them being MSU students. Police estimated that about 5% of MSU's student population was at the event.
 I'm seriously glad Fairbanks doesn't have this problem. During my very brief time in Anchorage, I've seen these types of parties kind of take off at the beginning of the semester, but even Alaska Community College students can contain themselves. Michigan State needs an ethics class or two tacked on to their degree requirements. That is, unless being a rioting idiot is part of the curriculum.

Just in case that info above didn't tell you enough, here's some stats.
  • Oct. 28, 1983 First “official” Cedar Fest; 1,000 attend, 37 arrests
  • May 19, 1984 5,000 attend, no major incidents
  • Oct. 27, 1984 5,000 attend, more than 30 arrested
  • May 18, 1985 6,000 attend, 14 arrests, 10 injured, approximately $2000 in damage
  • Oct. 26, 1985 4,000 attend, no major incidents
  • May 17, 1986 500 attend, 25 arrests, 22 injured
  • Oct. 25, 1986 5,000 attend, 35 arrests, 24 injured
  • Fall 1987: Permanent injunction makes it illegal to be at a Cedar Fest event in May or October.
  • May 16, 1987 200 attend, 44 arrests, no damage or serious injuries
  • October 1989: While not an official Cedar Fest, 3,000 rioters at Cedar Village Apartments burn furniture, bicycles and a moped and attack bystanders after MSU's football team loses to the University of Michigan.
  • February 1990: A federal appeals court rules that an ordinance allowing police to barricade Cedar Village when officials suspected a party forming was unconstitutional.
  • April 5, 2008: 4,000 attend, 52 arrests
  • April 4, 2009: 2,000 attend, 61 arrests, 3 couch fires set but no major incidents following Final Four victory over University of Connecticut
  • April 6, 2009: 1,700 attend, 21 arrests, no major incidents after NCAA Championship Game loss to UNC.

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