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And once again “professional” sports give us something exceptionally lame (my emphasis):

Through a series of tweets on Wednesday, we learned from the Minnesota Wild’s head equipment manager Tony Da Costa that number decals are being added to the front of every NHL skater’s helmet. And because of how the helmets are designed, they’re really going on the top.

King of a sad commentary on the state of “professional” sports in that one thought I had is “whew, at least they’re not company ads”.  Not that the it matters that much, I don’t watch the NHL after all.  Still, it’s possibly yet another crappy NHL idea that may trickle down to the NCAAs and other hockey leagues.

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One of the beautiful things about college hockey is the uniforms.  Seems like “professional” sports (and to a certain extent NCAA gridiron-football) I dislike most of them.  Not so with college hockey.  Sure on occasion there are ones I can’t stand (like this UMTC one) but those are pretty rare.  There certainly are elements of some jerseys I don’t like (like UMD wearing “the dreaded M” on their shoulder and the font on the front of Notre Dame’s).  Yet as a whole there’s very little of college hockey jerseys I don’t like.  Thankfully they haven’t gone the way of the NHL with the horrible small jersey numbers on the front of the jersey (this one, with the even more offensive buffaslug) and kept the number right in the middle of the front (Yale, Bemidji State, and Boston U all do it well).  College hockey generally keeps things very simple (like UMD’s from last season), which makes a huge difference.

In the first USCHO poll, UMD are rated #8.  Seems high for me, maybe around #14 like where UNO is.  Like last year I’m pessimistic about the Dogs, they proved me wrong though.  Seems they lost too much firepower and even though he was the winning goalie in the title game I’m not sold with Reiter.  Brown and (now the one and only) Connolly will help with offense, but as-of right now they need someone else.

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As has been the case in my previous times at the NAHL Showcase I enjoyed myself.  It’s wonderful to watch a period of hockey and then when it becomes intermission, to be able to leave and then choose from 3 other games to go watch (more if you count the U-14, U-16, and U-18 games going on).  As always I got to see the ever encroaching ads into sports (see below for the “offenders” who had ads on their jerseys), I especially was annoyed by the (not-so) SuperRink having ads on the floor of their concourse.  In the end there were three teams that finished 4-0 (Fresno, Fairbanks, and Janesville);  the Janeville jets won the tourney by being +11 goal differential since Fresno was +7 and Fairbanks were +6 for the tourney.

Anyhow, here are notes on games I watched (I watched more than these games, these are just ones I took notes on):

Topeka vs. Port Huron (NAHL)
– I watched them warm up, both teams were wearing white.  I swear when I walked by they both were playing the first period and both wearing white.  When I came back and actually watched, Port Huron had switched to their dark jerseys.
– One of the Port Huron players was injured, Topeka’s Luke Veitch (Lewis Center, OH) received a kneeing major and game misconduct for that.
– On the ensuing power-play it was amazing Port Huron didn’t get a goal; they had two chances that somehow didn’t end up in the net. The first one they had the entire right side of the net open, but missed the net. The second Max Milosek (Lapeer, MI) made an incredible save. Port Huron won in the shootout.

Misc:
– Those were some funky numbers that the New Jersey Jr Titans (U-16) were wearing, but they looked good to me.  Here is a look at them.
– I didn’t think about this until I saw a sign, but the MIAC (13 Minnesota schools) has a hockey showcase tourney.  Looks like it’s over the weekend (10-28 through 10/30) at Fogerty Arena in Blaine.  Too bad, I was hoping it was like the NAHL Showcase where the games were during the day on weekdays, but for a money perspective I can understand why it’s on a weekend.

Detroit Falcons vs. Western Michigan Hounds (U-16)
– Very nice logo for the Detroit Falcons (here it is), solid jersey all around.
– The Hounds were wearing that “logo inside a circle” which it seems everyone wants to do now (thanks a heep Minnesota Wild), but they made it into a half-circle which makes it look very nice, which is better in my opinion than the full circle look.  Their jersey has kind of a Team USA look to it.
– Kind of ironic, the teams made the trip from Michigan and end up playing another team from Michigan
– This was a very enjoyable game. These were two U-16 teams and there were less than a dozen people watching it, yet I probably enjoyed it more than if I was going to a Minnesota Wild game. I really must try to keep up with the NAPHL more, although none of them are Minnesota teams.
– The game was 2-2 when I joined it. It looked like W-Mich had scored on a 5-on-3, but the goal was waived off, since the Hounds committed a penalty.
– Detroit’s #19 Luke Moma (Grosse Isle, MI) made a nice interception and scored on a breakaway to take the lead.
– Western Michigan’s #44 Dakota Wilson (Battle Creek, MI) had a nice backhander to tie it up.
– Western Michigan won in a shootout

Wichita Falls versus Kenai River (NAHL)
– I’ve never understood it, but people say that jerseys shouldn’t be brown (purple is mentioned as what jerseys shouldn’t be as well). Kenai wore brown jerseys and they really looked nice (I couldn’t find a picture though)

Ad-creep:
Corpus Christi:  7 ads (4 front of jersey, 1 on back of jersey, 2 on helmets)
Janesville:  1 ad (back of jersey)
Kalamazoo:  2 ads (both on helmet)
Michigan: 1 ad (on helmet)
Wanatchee: 3 (all on back)

Scouts in attendance:
Merrimack
St. Scholastica
Ferris St
UCONN
Finlandia
St. Thomas
UWS
North Dakota
Augsburg
Niagara
RIT
Clarkson
Alaska-Anchorage
Bentley
St. Mary’s
Sacred Heart

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People like to complain about how tough the sections are and it’s unfair that all the “great” teams are in the same sections, but I think the Minnesota State High-School League has it right.  Sections are exciting and I think that even if you somehow found a way to get “the best teams” spread apart (which I don’t think would work for financial and other reasons) than you’d take quite a bit away from the sections.  Right now, Sections are for the most part are rivalry games, which makes for wonderful atmosphere.
 
Jerseys:
Warroad- One of the best in the state.  “Warroad” and the logo on the front are well done.  Simple, but nice, striping.  Nice use of the logo on the shoulder.  The one knock I can see is that the numbers on the back don’t look right to me, maybe remove the yellow outline and they’d be great.  Then again, I could be biased, since I like Warroad.
Thief River Falls- Solid jersey.  The blue&gold&black&white you would think would be too many colors, but they work well.  I love the “Thief River” font on the front. 
Lourdes – Okay jerseys.  The “LHS” with Eagle on the front is nice and nothing wrong with the striping but to me it comes across at nothing special.
New Prague – No photos
Eagan – I dislike these.  The front logo completely ruins the jersey.  The logo is the overused circle with logo inside it logo.  Even worse, the logo inside the logo is a Florida Panther logo that looks like it’s a fax, of a fax, of a fax, of a fax;  it’s way too washed out and/or the coloring is bad.  The striping makes up for the bad front logo a little bit.  Eagan would have been better off not having a front logo than using that one.
Apple Valley – Decent jersey.  The logo on the front is sort-of Boston College-ish, I really like it.  I’m not so sure about the striping behind it working with the logo though.  Striping on the arms and bottom of the jersey is just fine.
Grand Rapids-  One of the best in the state.  This is exactly what the Rapids jerseys should be.  Orange&Black&White look great.  The great “GR” logo on the front.  Great striping.  This is a huge improvement over the ones they wore at State a few years ago, sometimes past jerseys need to stay barried in the past, I’m in favor of those ones staying barried.
Duluth East:  One of the best in the state.  If this was a new jersey, I’d probably say it’s nothing special, but East gets major points for keeping the jersey the same, for probably a decade.  The great “Hounds” diagonnally down the front, Black&White&Red work well, the tripple stripe on the shoulder is nice, and nice player numbers.
Breck:  Same jerseys as last time, which I disliked.
Orono:  Also wore the same jerseys as last time, which I thought were okay.
Alexandria:  No photos
Willmar:  Not the best photo, but I’ll say I dislike the jersey.  The striping doesn’t work with the logo on the front.  Red&White work well though.
 
Results from yesterday:
1A Final:  #1 Lourdes 2-0 win over #3 New Prague
2A Final:  #2 Breck 4-3 in overtime over #4 Orono
6A Final:  #5 Alexandria wins 2-1 over #3 Willmar
8A Final:  #2 Thief River Falls 4-1 upset over #1 Warroad
3AA Final: #1 Eagan 1-0 win over #2 Apple Valley
7AA Final: #1 Duluth East 2-1 in overtime over #2 Grand Rapids
 
Games today:
3A Final:  #1 New Ulm vs. #3 Litchfield
4A Final:  #1 St. Thomas Academy vs. #2 Totino-Grace
5A Final:  #1 Hermantown vs. #2 Rogers
1AA Final: #1 Lakeville South vs. #2 Lakeville North at Roch Rec Center
4AA Final: #1 Hill-Murray vs. #2 White Bear Lake at State Fairgrounds
5AA Final: #1 Maple Grove vs. #2 Blaine at State Fairgrounds
 
Predictions:
Yesterday-
3 for 6
Overall- 11 for 18 (61.11%)
Today – New Ulm, St. Thomas Acad, Rogers, Lakeville North, Hill-Murray, Blaine
 
Class AA Trips to State Booked:
Duluth East
Eagan
Eden Prairie
Edina
Moorhead
 
Class A Trips to State Booked:
Alexandria
Breck
Hibbing
Lourdes
Thief River Falls

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Not to toot my own horn, but I predicted all six game right yesterday.
 
Edina wins 3-2 over Burnville.  That’s not the story.  The story is the Hornets won with 71 seconds left.
 
Jerseys:
Edina- Excellent jersey.  Edina have always had one of the best jerseys in the state, if not THE best.  Green and gold is nice (the green I call “Edina Green” because I swear you can’t find that green anywhere else).  The hornet logo is nice, not to generic without being too detailed, which is hard to do.  Nice, simple, striping.  There’s only a small handful of other schools jerseys that can compete with Edina’s.
Burnsville- The Blaze are wearing the opposite of Edinas, there’s not much I like about their jersey.  Black&Gold should work well but not in this case.  There’s too many stripes, they’re distracting.  Once again we see the Boston Bruin’s spoked B logo, which is used too much, and Burnsville’s isn’t anything special.  Just as bad as the striping is the awful small number in the corner of the front of the jersey, which under no circumstances should be done.  Even the striping on the helmet doesn’t look good.
Hill-Murray- Solid jersey.  The current HM jersey strikes me as being Fighing Sioux-ish.  The coloring, numbering, and striping all work well.  “Pioneers” on the front and the front logo look good too.  I like the Pioneer logo, but for some reason it doesn’t strike me as H-M.  Still a solid jersey, but I’ve seen better H-M jerseys.
Roseville- Okay jersey.  There’s nothing wrong with the jersey, but there’s nothing I like that much about it.  The diagonal “Roseville” down the front is nice.  The striping looks okay.  I can’t see the shoulder logo well enough to comment.  I’m not sure what would make it better, maybe less grey.
Moorhead-  Solid jersey.  The Spuds have always had great jerseys, that’s one of the reasons why they’re my favorite team that’s not a Northeastern
MN team.  Black&White&Organge works very well.  I can’t stand “the dreaded M”.  The Spuds recently had a non-M jersey and while it was nice it just didn’t look right.  The Spuds numbering looks sharp.
Bemidji-  First time I’ve ever seen a Bemjdji High-school jersey and I must say I like it.  The school name above the player number on the front is nicely done.  I really love the font of the school name, it’s simple but not poorly done.  The player number on the front I dont’ think I’m a fan of the font.  The striping doesn’t distract from the jersey.
Hibbing-  Couldn’t find decent game photos. 
Virginia- Couldn’t find decent game photos.
 Stillwater- Solid jersey.  Stillwater has a busy jersey, without it looking too busy.  The logo on the front it complicated, but it works;  The “Ponies” looks nice, I can’t see the Pony with the hockey stick well, but the red circle on the red background looks a little off.  The red horseshoe looks nice on the shoulder.  The striping looks nice too.  The horseshoe in the helmet doesn’t look right.
White Bear Lake- Okay jersey.  There’s much to like about this jersey, but goodness those shoulder stripes.  The shoulder stripes are really distracting and don’t look good, they make the arm player numbers almost unreadable close up, they’re probably unreadable for fans/media.  I love the “Bears” with the B-paw print logo on the front.  I’ve seen better jerseys from White Bear Lake.
Eden Prairie- Decent jersey.  The “Eagles” name and player number on the front look fine, although the player number looks a tad small compared to the “Eagles” name.  The black stripes down the sides of the jersey ruin the jersey though.
Wayzata- Great jersey.  I really love this jersey.  Black&White&Gold work well.  “Wayzata” diagonally down the front looks good.  The striping is the modern look, but it’s well done.  The helmet logo on the shoulder is nice.
 
Results from yesterday:
7A Final:  #2 Hibbing 5-0 upset over #1 Virginia
2AA Final: #1 Edina wins 3-2 over #2 Burnsville
4AA Semis: #1 Hill-Murray 5-1 over #5 Roseville
4AA Semis: #2 White Bear Lake wins 3-2 over #3 Stillwater
6AA Final: #1 Eden Prairie wins 4-3 in overtime over #2 Wayzata
8AA Final: #2 Moorhead 2-0 upset over #1 Bemidji
Games today:
1A Final:  #1 Lourdes vs. #3 New Prague at Roch Rec Center
2A Final:  #2 Breck vs. #4 Orono at Parade Ice Garden
6A Final:  #3 Willmar vs. #5 Alexandria
8A Final:  #1 Warroad vs. #2 Thief River Falls
3AA Final: #1 Eagan vs. #2 Apple Valley at State Fairgrounds
7AA Final: #1 Duluth East vs. #2 Grand Rapids in Duluth

Predictions:
Yesterday-
6 for 6
Overall- 8 for 12 (66.66%)
Today – New Prague, Breck, Willmar, Thief River Falls, Apple Valley, Duluth East

 
Classs AA Trips to State Booked:
Edina
Moorhead
 
Classs A Trips to State Booked:
Hibbing

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I may have set a personal record for most links in a post;  jerseys section has links to pictures of the jersey being talked about, results have links to the game writeups, and games today section has links to the brackets.
 
I didn’t know this, but there was an all-female officiating crew that worked the Class AA girls title game last weekend.  Great to see more women officials!
 
At least Blaine won last night.  I wanted South St. Paul, but them losing and all the other results are okay since Blaine won.
 
The first boys teams to book their trip to St. Paul happen tonight.  Bemidji is the only one of them who hasn’t been at State recently.  No game tonight were I’m really wanting someone to win or really wanting someone to lose.  It would nice to see Roseville back at State, so I’d like them to win, but having Hill-Murray at State is nice too (good band, good fans, etc).  A Stillwater/Roseville Sectional Final would be something, wouldn’t it?
 
Jerseys-
Breck: I dislike those jerseys;  their colors are nice and so is the shoulder logo.  They need something other than using the Bruins spoked-B logo and any jersey that uses little numbers on the front that are in the corner of the jersey is a failure.  Not sure what I think of the striping, it’s different, I can’t decide if I like it or hate it.
Delano: All in all, a good jersey.  Pretty simple jersey;  simple striping, “Tigers” diagonally down the front looks good, and black&orange always works well.
Maple Grove: Pretty solid jersey.  The “MG” on the shoulder is really great, great colors, nice uniform in general (socks, etc) but the recolored Toronto Maple Leaf doesn’t look good, the coloring doesn’t look right. 
Centennial:  They’re using a modified Calgary Flames Flaming-C logo, which doesn’t look good in this case.  Red&Black usually work well, but the C logo looks scrunched, because of the white stripes.
Blaine:  Still one of the best jerseys in the state.  Yes, they’re Maine Blackbears ripoffs, but they look good so I won’t knock them for that.  Great “Blaine” across the front, baby blue and dark blue work well, great paw logo on the shoulder.
Osseo:  Decent jersey.  Orange&Black always looks nice, the classic looks of the team name above the player number in front is always nice, good striping
Blake:  All in all a solid jersey.  The green&blue works well, the “BB” logo is large but I think it works well, and the striping is great.
Orono:  Okay jersey.  Blue and red can look good, but the blue&red&white doesn’t work.  The striping on the arm is just too busy.  The white shoulder distracts from the rest of the jersey.  The shoulder logo is a nice logo, but when it’s on the front, not on the shoulder.  I’ve seen much better jerseys from Orono.
 
Results from yesterday:
2A semis:  #4 Orono 3-2 upset over #1 Blake
2A semis:  #2 Breck wins 5-4 over #3 Delano
4A semis:  #1 St. Thomas Academy wins 4-0 over #4 Mahtomedi
4A semis:  #2 Totino-Grace wins 4-2 over #3 South St. Paul
5AA semis: #1 Maple Grove wins 5-3 over #4 Centennial
5AA semis: #2 Blaine wins 4-2 over #3 Osseo
Games today:
7A Final:  #1 Virginia vs. #2 Hibbing in Duluth
2AA Final: #1 Edina vs. #2 Burnsville at Mariucci Arena
4AA Semis: #1 Hill-Murray vs. #5 Roseville at State Fairgrounds
4AA Semis: #3 Stillwater vs. #2 White Bear Lake at State Fairgrounds
6AA Final: #1 Eden Prairie vs. #2 Wayzata
8AA Final: #1 Bemidji vs. #2 Moorhead
Predictions:
Yesterday-
2 for 6  (33.33%)
Today – Edina, Hill-Murray, Moorhead, Hibbing, Eden Prairie, White Bear Lake
Trips to State Booked:
None

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Pretty much across the board yesterday the teams seeded to win did just that.  The upsets that did happen were ones where you wouldn’t be all that shocked by it, such as a #5 seed beating a #4 seed.  In boys sectionals, one decent size upset was #6 Rochester Century wing 4-2 over #3 Mayo, but then again you just kind of throw out the record books when rival schools play each other.
 
I didn’t mention it, but on Monday night there was a huge upset with #9 St. Cloud Apollo beating #1 Little Falls 3-1.
In the girls State, unseeded Hill-Murray won 4-3 over Lakeville South.  When Lakeville South’s boys hockey team was at state before, I remarked about how bad the jerseys were.  Seeing a picture of their girls hockey jerseys make me think it wasn’t just bad jerseys, it’s much worse, it’s likely bad school colors.  Red and gold work fine.  Heck, red and mustard yellow could even possibly work, but the Lakeville South yellow color just looks really bad to me.  I’ve said before that any color can work for a jersey, depending on how it’s used, but I may have make an exception to that rule that says “just as long as the color is not Lakeville South yellow/gold”.
 
Games played yesterday:
Girls State AA:  #2 Edina 6-0
over Rosemount
Girls State AA:  Hill-Murray 4-3 upset over #3 Lakeville South
Girls State AA:  #1 Minntonka 3-0 over Elk River
Girls State AA:  #4 Coon Rapids 6-1 over North Wright County
Boys Sectionals – Too numerous to list them all
 
Games today:
Girls State A:  #2 Breck vs. #3 South St. Paul
Girls State A:  #1 Warroad vs. #4 Evelth-Gilbert
Girls State AA:  #2 Edina vs. Hill-Murray
Girls State AA:  #1 Minnetonka vs. #4 Coon Rapids
2A quarters: #1 Blake vs. #8 Chaska
2A quarters: #2 Breck vs. #7 Mound-Westonka
4A quarters: #6 St. Paul Johnson vs. #3 So St. Paul
4A quarters: #7 Spring Lake Park vs. #2 Totino-Grace
8A quarters: #3 Lake of the Woods vs. #6 Red Lake Falls
8A quarters: #7 Park Rapids vs. #2 Thief River Falls
5AA quarters: #4 Centennial vs. #5 Champlin Park
5AA quarters: #3 Osseo vs. #4 Anoka
5AA quarters: #2 Blaine vs. #7 Coon Rapids

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