The out of conference play in Hockey East has been very encouraging this year as compared to last year. For a while during the beginning of last season, the only Hockey East team with a winning record against non-conference foes was Merrimack (!!!). This year, there have been a few highlights:
- BU and UMASS taking care of North Dakota
-BC and UNH beating the Badgers on consecutive nights
-UNH throttling RPI
-UVM beating and tying Miami
-UML taking a game at East Lansing against MSU
-PC actually winning both non-conference games against teams they'd lost to in the last two years
Sure, there have been let downs: Merrimack managing only a tie against Canisius and Niagara, UNH's misadventure up at SLU, UML getting shut out by Colgate and NU's tie against the Nanooks. It's a bit early to say that the league is back, but the early results are encouraging. Last year, only BC and UNH made it to the NCAA tournament and the culprit was a weak record out of conference. Turning that around is the key to getting 3-5 teams in the Big Dance.
-(It's actually working!) Hi Mark!
- I wish people would stop labeling the Phillie's five game victory over the Rays as the "worst World Series ever". It's just stupid: There were three close games, one titanic marathon in game three and the final game decided by one run. That doesn't sound like "the worst World Series ever". Really, what people are complaining about is the weather. The rain delay in game three and the suspension of game five were frustrating, but that's not MLB's fault. That would be the fault of Mother Nature. It's also preposterous to say that the World Series should now be played entirely in domes or at a "neutral spot". The format isn't the problem: the length of the season is the issue. When baseball decided it would be okay to have the season stretch to late October, did they actually think it would be nothing but Southern teams competing?
- As encouraging as the first two games of the Bruin's merry jaunt through northwest Canda were, the last game against the Flames left a nasty taste in my mouth. Simply put, the NHL's early season scheduling leaves a lot to be desired. The Bruins seem to start every season on an extended road trip (thanks to the bloody circus) following a span of weeks where they seem to play all of two or three games. And then we have the sadistic schedule that saw them play 3 games in 4 days. It's a wonder they didn't lose by more last night.
-In a similar vein, just as I was hoping to see the Celtics play at least once or twice before tonight, they have one game on Tuesday. Then, another game tonight. Why the three day gap? Did the circus come back?
-The Patriots are - for the second time in a month - entering into a game against a talented but desperate team. The Colts game is frighteningly similar to the San Diego game in a lot of respects. The good news is that - even if the Colts win - the Pats have acquitted themselves admirably enough that a 5-3 record is in no way disappointing.