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Frozen Four: Bemidji Extras

In the past few days, I had the chance to talk to several members of the Bemidji State hockey team, which arrived in D.C. yesterday and practices this morning at Verizon Center. But there were also plenty of things I had to leave out of the hard-copy edition, so here's some more information on the Beavers -- in case Dan Steinberg doesn't give you enough BSU coverage.

Conference Conundrum
As you may know, Bemidji State's men's hockey team spent the past 10 seasons in College Hockey America, which disbanded at the end of the season, leaving the school scrambling to find a new league for the program. The Beavers were the lone program to apply for admission into the WCHA.

The Bemidji State women's team plays in the WCHA but it's uncertain at this point if the 10-team WCHA will expand to an odd number of teams on the men's side. But while the players are concerned, are confident that the situation will resolve itself.

The community as a whole is optimistic considering the Beavers' postseason run and Friday's ground breaking of the $90.7 million Bemidji Regional Event Center, which will house the team in 2010.

"That kind of stuff, you hear it, but I have faith that things are going to work out," sophomore goaltender Matt Dalton said. "With the new arena, this run hopefully we'll be able to convince the WCHA. But this isn't much different than after my freshman year. We weren't sure then what was going to happen with our conference, but we know the team at Bemidji State isn't going anywhere."

That Scofield-Read-Francis Line
For those who didn't get a chance to see the Beavers' regional games, be prepared to see a lot of the top line of Tyler Scofield, Matt Read and Matt Francis. In addition to being the sophomore between seniors, Read is the tallest of the group at 5 foot 10, but they have been able to wreak significant havoc. They represent three of Bemidji State's top four scorers and scored six of the Beavers' nine goals in the regional bracket.

The connection between the three was instant once Francis returned from a separated shoulder.

"Early in the season Coach [Tom Serratore] told us he wanted to split the line up to get a little more depth," Scofield said. "We went through 4 or 5 guys Frannie got back from injury and just instantly worked. I think Frannie just kind of complimented us well. He's got good speed, he's got a heavy shot. He's the gritty one. Then, Matt Read can do everything. He's a dynamic player and he's only a sophomore.... We like the challenge of going up against every other top line in the country."

The Sophomore Workhorse
Somehow amid all the hubbub about Bemidji State Matt Dalton has been overlooked in net. Granted, the Beavers have done a solid job keeping most of their opponent's shots to the perimeter but Dalton was nearly perfect stopping 59 of the 61 shots he faced in the two regional games.

"Everyone as a team really has been playing their best hockey right now," captain Travis Winter said. "Matt's been absolutely amazing lately. He's playing with a lot of confidence which is exactly what we need."

Although the Beavers didn't exactly fare well against other teams that made the NCAA tournament in the regular season -- A combined 0-6 against Air Force, Minnesota-Duluth and North Dakota to be exact -- but Dalton said his three games against those foes was is benefiting him now.

"We played a really tough out of conference schedule," Dalton said. "it's not like they're going to be playing North Dakota and Duluth now but we get a look at top-five teams in the country. It makes all of us, including me, very prepared."

Midseason Turnaround
Serratore has been quoted several times as saying that he's not really surprised his team had this run in them, being on a 12-2-1 roll since late January doesn't hurt that either.

"We've played so well the last two months or so," Serratore said. "When you've been playing so good, and you're in a rhythm it doesn't surprise you any more. The guys really understand now what's expected out of them, it took them a long time to get it but they really know what they can do know."

While no one was really sure what prompted the turnaround, Scofield, one of just six seniors on the 26-man roster, offered a guess.

"We've got a lot of freshman that are playing and at the start of the year they might not have been used to the college ways," Scofield said. "Our freshman have been a huge part of our team, whenever you consider how many young guys are in big roles for us they seem to have all found their roles and spots at the right time."

By Katie Carrera  |  April 8, 2009; 9:16 AM ET
 
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Comments

So are we only getting coverage on Bemedji State? What about the other cinderalla team in the Frozen Four? Miami? they were a 4th seed as well and upset both Denver and Minnesota-Duluth, which was practically a home game for Minnesota in the regional finals...also dont you think there is more of a chance of actual Miami alumni here in DC who would like some coverage on their team???

Posted by: RedhawkDC | April 8, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Let's keep talking NHL:

Speaking of Philly, did any of you catch the main highlights of their win yesterday? I DVR'd (will be in the dictionary soon) the Flyers/Panthers game. The decisive goal was rediculous and if I were a Panthers player I would have completely lost it. The Flyers dumped it into the Florida zone, Hartnall (surprise surprise) did a two handed crosscheck to the back of Cullimore sending him face first to the ice. Carter grabbed the puck, snapped a shot, and buried it. Bill Clement was doing the game and even said he was shocked there wasn't a call. That probably cost the Panthers their season.

The Pens didn't look too sharp either they had built a 4-0 lead only to see Tampa get it to 5-4 (Pitt lead) with less than a minute left and Pitt scored an EN goal to secure the win.

I don't get the feeling the Caps are gliding in. Secondary scoring has picked up, BB is trying different forward and defensive combinations so there is constant adjustment by the players. It would really be nice to BB settle on lines now so the boys can work two full games with their line mates and D partners and practice the same lines next week before the playoffs kick off.

By the way, Aucoin played solid again as well. His passing ability is pretty much wasted on a line with Brads and Steckel, but he has outstanding puck control.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 8, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

I'm having a very hard time getting excited about the Frozen Four. Even though it is being played here in DC it was close to impossible to find tickets without having to go to an online scalper. At least the NCAA will make more money off of college athletes.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 8, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

The Panthers had plenty time to come back and tie it. Plus, if they wanted to make the playoffs they would've beaten the Thrashers the other night. None of the teams that are in 9th/10th place and still have a slight shot seem to play with any sense of urgency. So tough luck.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 8, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

@rachel216: If it was our Caps you would be ticked. It's just another cheap play that got the Flyers further. I would have been livid if the Caps miraculous run last year would have be short-circuited by a play so dirty that the other team's home announcers are shocked a call wasn't made. The teams in 9th and 10th right now are Florida and Buffalo. You musn't have been at last Friday's game because Buffalo played with extreme urgency.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 8, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Our magic number is now 1 for the second seed. I think when everything is done , we will be playing the Rangers. The Habs play @ Boston , then @ home against the Pens.
The Rangers have a home and home with Philthy.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | April 8, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

From the previous thread:

Totally agree with BB: if Atlanta wants to poke fun, do it at their players' expense. No one has fun at the expense of our team. BB needs to make it clear that the Caps are a team and do not need to be lovey-dovey with opponents, much less call them for commercial advice.

This is similar to the last eight years of our American presidency. If Leno and Letterman wanted to poke fun at Bush - fine. If someone from Canada or the UK (no offense Dave) had something to say, they better keep it respectful.

That being said, the PSA was funny and well done. I am glad that it is our guy that everyone else is talking about, from Don Cherry to Cindy Crosby to the Thrashers. Shows that Ovie, whether playing hot-stick, making bad commercials, or setting on-ice records, is the most charismatic, as well as talented, player in hockey today.

This is the Golden Age for the Caps. I am enjoying it.

Posted by: crooks_c | April 8, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

@crooks, What? The game was in Atlanta, they have every right to make fun of our players. You are kidding, right? Should we do away with the Matt Bradley / Rangers car bit because we aren't from New York and we are impugning New Yorkers?

I won't even address the political thing.

...and one more thing. How irate were all Caps fans and the press when there was endless blathering about the stick on fire? Are we really going to waste time on a video piece played in a near-empty Philips Arena in Atlanta? It was funny, it's over.

Posted by: saintex | April 8, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure Steinberg will give us enough bs coverage.

Posted by: oo7 | April 8, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

If we were a real team with any heart, we would of jumped the bench and had it out right there after that video.

IT CROSSED THE LINE!

Posted by: SA-Town | April 8, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

@SA-Town, you can join crooks in the overly senstive penalty box. Crossed the line?

Posted by: saintex | April 8, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

i seem to recall last year at the end of the kiss cam segment at vc, they would show two of the opposing players on their bench. caps have done plenty of this themselves. its all in good fun. if they didnt want stuff like this done, dont allow ovie to do commercials. i'm disappointed that BB chose to address this in this way, particularly after all the hubbud over the hot stick routine.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | April 8, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

hubbud = hubbub and/or hub bub...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | April 8, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

@saintex

I was joking...I have no problems with it.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 8, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

@SA....sorry about that. BB's reaction was just plain dumb.

Posted by: saintex | April 8, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

@ Crooks

Initially, I didn't have a problem with it. Ovechkin is usually self-deprecating, and I also had fun with it because Kovalchuk (Ovie's close friend) was in on it, too. It was even funny when they showed the other commercials (including Colby Armstrong). The problem, though, is that, instead of making fun of the Washington Capitals, they made fun of Ovechkin, personally.

I liken it to the scoreboard videos we used to have when you'd have a Flyer fan getting razzed, or a Penguin fan losing his date for being a Pens fan. That's fine. We weren't going after Jaromir Jagr or Mario Lemieux. And neither were we going after Danielle Briere (intentionally misspelled). We were poking fun at the teams, not the specific players on the team.

Ovechkin is used to the attention, though, and says he was fine with it. It'd be a little strange if he weren't, given the overall funny-light-hearted tone, but it was still a personal calling out. They singled him out from his team, and that's why it was unacceptable.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | April 8, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

A calling out of what? His acting skills?

Posted by: saintex | April 8, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I think if you look deep, Bruce is upset that he hasnt been plugged into an Eastern Moters commercial yet.

I would like to see Clinton Portis, Brendan Haywood, Elijah Dukes and Bruce Boudreau in an Escilade SUV with Keith Aucoin in the back all bumpin to the Eastern Motors theme.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 8, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

If you put Bobby Hull, Mario Lemeuix and Wayne Gretzy and OV in the same joke, not bad company. If OV can laugh at it, so can we all. Can't we just get along?

Posted by: RichC3 | April 8, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

DrinkingPartner: AMEN. Making fun of or mocking a particular person is unacceptable. If they made fun of the entire team, then fine, it's okay. Ovie says he didn't have a problem with it, but what else is he gonna say? It was mean and rude. It's really not funny, when someone takes the time to make a video to make fun of someone. The kiss cam at VC doesn't really make a good comparison to this. That's different. It was just the camera showing two guys on the opposing team, it wasn't made out to make fun of or mock anyone. It wasn't premade.

But hey, the Thrashers are losers and they don't have anything to do so they make a video... at least they were thinking of Ovie.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 8, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

how bad will the ice be for the frozen four? I still cant believe they are playing it here.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | April 8, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

@rachel, handmade signs about Crosby at Verizon? Videos making fun of New York Rangers fans, as a whole? Give it a break.

We aren't any better at Verizon and if you think so then you're just ignoring that facts. If making fun of Ovi in a Eastern Motors commercial is all it takes to get folks all in a lather...that's embarrassing.

Posted by: saintex | April 8, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

On the "PSA"

It was funny, tasteful, and entertaining. And it got a rise out of a dead crowd. It's nothing we haven't seen Ovie do himself.

They're in the entertainment business. Coach B, Grapes, and the others who complain about this stuff had better build a bridge and get over it.

Posted by: Greg S. | April 8, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

It was funny and OV did look goofy, we should get a copy of it and play it the next time they come to visit. play it after every time OV scores.

Posted by: Redwolf1 | April 8, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

I'm just defending Boudreau's point of view. That's why he thought it was unacceptable, and to a point, I agree.

But I admit that I laughed with embarrassment for Ovie when I saw it, too.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | April 8, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

saintex

You forgot about the pacifiers... That was real classy, no? Everyone here thought it was great fun.

Posted by: Greg S. | April 8, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

@ Saintex

It's different when the fans make Cry-baby signs, and when the organization itself okays the targeting of a specific player.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | April 8, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

have we gotten so uptight? it was comedy, and anything goes. of they were maliciously doing it I'd say it was too much. They didn't, they addressed bad commercials and ovie had the best example of it. On top of that, they were right: just don't do it. If I were ovies friend/agent I would have said "we're out of here" during that shoot. Ovid allowed himself to be represented as a clown and opened himself up for some laughs. fine, he's ok with it and Atlanta said something funny about it. Of anything, it showed that his opponents like and care for him. In a way theyshowed their respect by asking him to never, ever do it again.
if it was too much, his sensible friend Kovalchuk would have said "no way."
just my opinion.

Posted by: oo7 | April 8, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

and I agree, after every goal the vc center should put up dancing ovies. That would make me laugh my arse off! I loved it. he's funny and it was a great joke.

Posted by: oo7 | April 8, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

saintex

You forgot about the pacifiers... That was real classy, no? Everyone here thought it was great fun.

Posted by: Greg S.
--------------------------------------

How about the pictures in the urinals?

Posted by: Redwolf1 | April 8, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

oo7

I'm with you. He knew exactly what he was doing and setting himself up for when he agreed to do the commercial. He himself said he can't sing to save his life, yet he stands in front of a camera and does a singing commercial? You can't possibly say with any honesty that he didn't set himself up for this PSA.

So what's he accomplished with the ad? What's happened with the PSA?

Everyone's talking about...

OVIE

Can you market him any better? Fun guy, incredible athlete, MVP, a regular guy. He's attainable and accessible. So not stuck up on himself.

That's exactly what we want.

Posted by: Greg S. | April 8, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Redwolf1

lol! Forgot about them!

Posted by: Greg S. | April 8, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

right on Greg

Posted by: oo7 | April 8, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I'm having a very hard time getting excited about the Frozen Four. Even though it is being played here in DC it was close to impossible to find tickets without having to go to an online scalper. At least the NCAA will make more money off of college athletes.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 8, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

That's because the NCAA distributed all the ticket LAST June. You had to put your name and $175 into the lottery in April 2008 for the April 2009 Frozen Four. The only way to get them now is to buy them from someone who won via lottery. Or be an alumni of a school who made it, and get lucky in their lottery distrbution.

I got mine off Craigslist because I didn't have a spare $175 (refunded if your name isn't drawn) laying around this time last year--stupid grad school made me poor!

Posted by: RedBirdie | April 8, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

the urinals are funny no matter who's face is on the cakes. That's just fan-spun gold! Pacifiers? great!
BUT, I see Ovie yippin with the zebras a lot these days. Isn't that what we razz Crosby for? Is it just the facial expressions that we mind? Those who giveth will receive.

Posted by: oo7 | April 8, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I have the impression that the boys are doing just enough. They tried zero, and look where that got them. Smacked, hard. So they're doing enough to win without going all out.

Posted by: kittypawz | April 8, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

You know what? If we took the Atlanta video and simply swapped Fedorov for Ilya, it would be very funny to play at home - that's the point. Funny is funny.

Posted by: saintex | April 8, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

from the previous thread

@mikebrady and @ skinfan
At a minimum Ron Weber should be in the Caps Hall of Fame (if it exists). I spent may an evening listening to WTOP if the game wasn't televised or I couldn't make it to the Cap Center. And while I am nominating people for the Caps Hall of Fame I think Bengt Gustavson (sp) should be there. If it wasn't for that bum Potvin taking out Gus with a questionable hip check we might have gone won that series against the Islanders. Next to AO8 I think Gus was the best player we ever had. Opinions?

Posted by: fatboy08 | April 8, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

kittypawz

I get the same feeling. I'm not sure it's a necessarily bad thing to coast and save yourself for the playoffs. At the same time, I can see where it's better to go in hard to the playoffs and carry the momentum on through.

I'm kinda anxious about their play right now.

Posted by: Greg S. | April 8, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

As the ATL announcers said last night, the first two periods were pond hockey - fun for fans, horrible for coaches. The Caps are fine.

Posted by: saintex | April 8, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I just read this quote from the NHL.COM site that is appropos to the Caps.

"The Bruins are the living embodiment of this hockey truism: hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard. When the Bruins don't work hard, they lose. But they rarely lose the grit battle and they skate hard all 60 minutes. Not every team can say that."

Emphasis added.

Posted by: Greg S. | April 8, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

If Leno and Letterman wanted to poke fun at Bush - fine. If someone from Canada or the UK (no offense Dave) had something to say, they better keep it respectful.

Posted by: crooks_c | April 8, 2009 9:24 AM

Yeah, all our comedians were really respectful to Bush. I don't think anyone ever said a single disparaging word.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | April 8, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

The Caps work plenty hard when the need to - back-to-back 2-1 wins at Philly and Nash last month. When your last eight games are against also-rans and your playoff position is pretty much set, you don't play too hard. Perfectly natural. These Caps have on/off switches, I think we all know that, and when they need them on, they are on. There will be no issue with "hard work" come the playoffs. I'll also say this, you can work hard enough to be Ovi, Semin, or Nicky. So, if both teams work equally hard, I'll take the talent.

Posted by: saintex | April 8, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

@fatboy08 agreed on weber, i can still hear his voice in my head! (should i see someone about that) http://caps-memories.blogspot.com/2007_09_01_archive.html

And Gus was awesome, but please dont remind me of that Isles series.

Posted by: mikebrady1 | April 8, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

@RedhawkDC I'm with you. The Post's coverage of the Frozen Four has been pathetic. This is a big, big event and you would hardly know it's happening in our town. Bemidji is a nice story but there are plenty of other story lines (ie Rick Vaive's son) out there.

Posted by: ouvan59 | April 8, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Oh good grief.

WHO CARES about the stupid video? We WON, didn't we?!

Now the crosscheck that wasn't called? THAT is a problem, and one I am heartily getting annoyed with seeing and hearing about. There have been a LOT of missed calls as far as cross-checking is concerned, and frankly, players are injured by that sort of behavior. I mean, look at Semin.

I'm just glad our guys don't have to resort to playing dirty hockey to get the job done.

@fanohock1 - Was Cullimore injured, or was he OK?

The officials on the ice were Marc Joanette and Dan Marouelli... there were only five penalties called in the whole game. I think next season, I will be DVRing just about every game I can, because I am starting to track referees and the types of penalties they call; I'd like to track what they *don't* call, as well...

Posted by: irockthered | April 8, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

@Redhawk, you want to talk about UM-Duuuuh or Miami (not in Florida)?

I can't believe BB got offended by that video. Its funny. They even make fun of one of their own (although he blames the Penguins for it). Maybe BB is worried that someone will put his bad acting "I need a BIG cup holder" ad for Arlington Motors on a big screen.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | April 8, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

@ irockthered,

You ought to freelance your DVR work and analysis to GMGM. However, I bet they already have a few people keeping close track of the tendencies of different referees.

@ DaveUKCapsFan,
I am sure plenty of British comics have had plenty of fun at the expense of our presidents. It's probably been plenty funny, but I would still prefer to keep mockery of my team's players or country's leaders as an inside job. (Sorry that I cannot speak with certainty on matters of political humor; I prefer my humor of the gutter/toilet variety.)

No more from me on whether the Thrashers should make fun of our individual players, on whether we should pretend equipment is too hot (or cold) to pick up, or on how much anyone celebrates.

Go Caps! and boo to Cindy always.

Posted by: crooks_c | April 8, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

@irockthered: Cullimore wasn't injured, but the play decided the game. The Panthers controlled the remainder of the game but couldn't poke one in. The Flyers even took a pot shot at and empty net with about 45 seconds left, went wide, but no icing call, again Bill Clement, Philly homer, pointed out it that it was icing. Gotta face it, Bruins/Canadiens, or Bruins/Rangers, is more what the NHL is shooting for than Bruins/Panthers.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 8, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

KATIE: Nice work! Written well. I enjoyed the hard copy. Should have said that earlier.

Posted by: oo7 | April 8, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Wait- there was a Washington Capitals ice hockey game last night?

Posted by: Fro_ | April 8, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone see the goalie interference no-call late in the 3rd period of the Tampa-Pittsburgh game last night? I was absolutely shocked there wasn't a call. I was watching the game to root against Malkin getting points, please someone tell me you saw this. Really hope those refs won't be doing the playoffs (although they most likely will be).

Posted by: apollak8 | April 8, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

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