Welcome to the Wednesday Q&A, a new weekly feature at Radio Free Omaha where you, dear reader, can have all your hockey-related questions answered.
If you’d like to take part in next week’s edition, there are many ways you can send me your questions. You can either do it in the comments box below this article, or get a hold of me on Twitter, or you can submit a question via my Facebook page.
As for this first week’s questions…
If the season ended today, do you think Ryan Walters would win the Hobey Baker Award?
It’d be close, but, right now, I’m not so sure he would..
Walters has had a phenomenal season, and the fact that he’s five points clear at the top of the national men’s Division I scoring chart with 15 goals and 21 assists speaks for itself. Boston College sophomore dynamo Johnny Gaudreau (12 G, 14 A) is the national favorite, though, and he’s put up the numbers he has while, so far, playing eight fewer games for BC than Walters has for UNO.
Gaudreau was also one of the United States’ heroes at the recent World Junior Championships, and I can’t help that he’ll be many voters sentimental favorites partly because of that, too. Is that fair? No, but you do have to wonder whether his success in Russia will sway people when they go to vote for who wins the Hobey.
The Mavs offense seems to be clicking well, even against quality teams, but the defense doesn’t do so well against those same good teams. Given the personnel that UNO has what can be done at this point in the season?
I think the talent’s there, but apart from head coach Dean Blais going in and tinkering with his team’s lines like every coach does throughout a season, there isn’t much more to do now apart from learn from past mistakes and try and make sure they don’t happen again.
I think a lot of people are surprised with the Mavericks’ defensive struggles against better teams so far this season, partly because everyone thought early on that this was going to be a team that would be led by its defense.
It still is sometimes – again, there’s plenty of talent on the UNO blue line, and players like Andrej Sustr, Bryce Aneloski and Nick Seeler are dangerous at both ends of the ice when they create the required space – but the fact remains that UNO has the WCHA’s seventh-best scoring defense at 2.79 goals conceded per game.
That’s not good enough for a team that has surprised pretty much everybody and, despite prognosticators’ not so great expectations, has designs on going far in the postseason.
Any word on whether the scoreboard at CenturyLink Center will be upgraded while UNO’s still there?
Great question. I’ve heard rumors that the arena authority has earmarked cash reserves for a new jumbotron with HD screens to replace the current system that has been in place since the arena opened in 2003, but I’ll see what I can find out and report back.
I’m not sure many UNO fans particularly care about what goes in at the CenturyLink so long as the Mavericks do indeed move into their own building on university land, but, for the other events that go on at Omaha’s biggest entertainment venue, of course you want the place to look as nice as possible.
What’s your position on goalies sitting in the penalty box? Too harsh? Not enough?
I’m still coming to terms with this, to be honest, as before Minnesota State goaltender Stephon Williams was sent to the box last Friday against Wisconsin, I didn’t know goalies being sent into the box fell into the category of Things That Could Happen.
I haven’t seen a replay yet of what happened in the lead-up to Williams being sent to the box – although I’m sure Bucky’s Fifth Quarter‘s Andy Johnson will able to shed some light on the situation later this week in our podcast – but seeing a goaltender in there was just out of this world to me.
It wasn’t entirely unlike seeing the one-point safety awarded in the Fiesta Bowl a couple weeks back. Actually, you could probably combine the two into one really good band name. Stephon Williams & The One-Point Safety. Who do we talk to about getting that started?
I just listened to the interview with Chris Peters on your and Andy Johnson’s podcast last week, and it’s great stuff. I loved this last World Junior Championship, and I could watch that gold medal game all day. It leaves me with just one question: America?
Hell yeah, America.