2.19.2012

Laatste Ronde, 2012

The last European cyclocross race of the 2011-12 season was held today - the Internationale Sluitingsprijs Oostmalle.  The screenshot shows some riders trickling across the finish almost 2 minutes after the race winner, World Champion Niels Albert.

The World Championships were devoid of drama and excitement.   
I have to say that watching Flemish TV streams is one of my favorite things to do with an Internet connection, the races are short, the weather sometimes atrocious, the bike handling skills impressive, the race tactics mostly straightforward, and the number of protagonists few and hence easily identifiable.
Sunday in the park with Zdenek.  
In a gray, relatively snowless and cheerless Vermont winter like this one -- my skis have stayed in the rafters of the garage, in marked contrast to last year -- it's been a pleasant diversion on weekend mornings.

2.14.2012

Goals for-2, Goals against-10: What's next for UVM Hockey

It's been a long season for UVM Hockey.  The team played twice over the past weekend, losing both games and being outscored by a combined 10 - 2 (hence the title of this post).

As of February 14th the team's overall record is 5 wins, 22 losses and 1 tie.  The league record, playing other powerful Hockey East teams, is 2-18-1.

What's wrong with this picture?
Friday night I was in a bar, and NBC Sportschannel was showing UVM playing Boston College, and it was a thoroughly dispiriting event to watch, the final score ended up 6 - 1 in favor of BC.

I have seen four games in person this season, three of which were losses, and the one win was the exception rather the rule.   It's not a good sign when everyone in the arena is surprised when the team plays well and holds its own against a tough opponent.

This lost season is a far cry from the heady days of yore when Eric Perrin and Martin St. Louis flashed across the ice and Tim Thomas confined himself to playing in goal and was not posting right-wing rants online and boycotting White House visits.  

An all to common view:  At the Black Back Pub
Now, I have read that this has been a season lost due to injuries, and I didn't do the research to analyze UVM's Hockey East record since joining the league in 2005.  But I think that the problem is deeper than merely injuries and goes to how the team recruits and is coached.

As the season winds down I hope that some journalist sits down the current coach Kevin Sneddon and asks some hard questions and gets some real perspectives on where the program is going.  And I don't think that UVM's problems are tied to the facility... So please no plans for extravagant modern arenas in Chittenden County costing many tens of millions of dollars.