The Counterpoint

October 09, 2004

Gopher Hockey Blogging

Just got back from the Gopher hockey game. Very good contest from a Gopher perspective. Denver started out slowly, and Minnesota pounced on them by getting a quick goal that really set the pace for the evening. The shot totals after the first period were strongly titled in the Gophers' favor, but Denver got stronger as the game went on and played them a lot tighter starting in the second period.

* The Gophers have officially found a replacement for Thomas Vanek. Ryan Potulny played an outstanding game, picking up right where he left off last year. Aside from having a hat trick (scoring goals on the powerplay, shorthanded, and even-strength), he was all over the ice and was probably the most visible player for either team. It's VERY early to tell, but judging by the way this kid played after his injury last year, and then tonight's game, I could easily see a Hobey in his future.

* The defense is going to be dramatically improved with this years class. I am especially impressed with two of the freshman guys: Goligoski and Hagemo. Both of them played very well, and I only noticed minor mistakes out of either guy. Briggs played well in goal. The only reason the second goal was scored was due to a bad bounce, and there were only about three or four times he almost got caught out of position. Past that, he played very solid.

* Speaking of the freshman:

  • Nate Hagemo: Played a very solid game. Lot of ice time. Some nice blocks and some clean hits.
  • Alex Goligoski: Like Hagemo, played really solid. Nearly got caught out of position a couple times, but is a good passer (one assist) and a strong skater.
  • Mike Howe: Decent game. Not terribly involved in the offense. Looked a step slower than a lot of the players, but he made up for it by working hard at all times.
  • Brent Borgen: Really good skater and decent passer. Not incredibly visible, but he did get a goal.
  • Ben Gorden: Reminds me of the way Ballard used to skate. Pretty good speed. Tenacious, made some very nice passes and nearly scored a goal.
  • Kris Chucko: Disappointing. He seemed disjointed a lot of the time, as if he wasn't prepared for the style and speed of the college game. He did make a couple pretty good hits and passes, but it didn't look like he was skating that well. He was playing on a line with Dan Irmen and Ryan Potulny early in the game, which could be absolutely dominant when they get adjusted. That is assuming they stay together.

    * Other notes: The band and PA announcer Jamie seemed to be in mid-season form already. Chants and songs were played at the right times to get things going (my only beef is that they may have busted out the "black hole" cheer a little too early), and Jamie was spot on with his calls and comebacks, despite not ad-libbing as much as usual. I, however, am not in mid-season form. My voice started to go after about the second period, and right now (two hours later) it still hurts to speak. I clearly have not been working out in the offseason.


    I watched a lot of the Twins game at my aunts house today, and then some more at the Xcel before/during the Gopher game. I can't talk about how it ended, because I didn't see it. I heard it was a Lohse wild pitch that allowed the Yankees to score the winning run, which I suppose is a fitting way for him to end his disappointing year. The Twins do have reason to be upset, though. They played great ball all year, and while I don't think they deserved to win, they had a legitimate shot to get to the World Series. The team had better make a move, though, because their window of opportunity is going to close really fast.

    My uncle's final memorial service was this afternoon. It was much more formal, but it was really nice. Some good, hilarious stories and retrospection. A fitting close to that chapter of our lives. I'd also like to send a special note out to Krystle, who had to suffer through the tedium of visiting with everyone at my aunt's and the hassles of my family (who are a group of oddballs to say the least). It was very nice to have you there, and I know my family apprecited it too. I love you.

    No political news from me today, so go read some of the blogs off to the side for your fill of that.

  • October 08, 2004

    Baseball, Politics, and Hockey

    If you are around the Twin Cities tomorrow night and want a ticket to the Gopher Mens hockey game vs. Denver, email me ASAP. It's probably best that I know you, if only for payment reasons. Krystle, myself, and two other people are going down to the game, and a fifth ticket suddenly became available. The game is at 7:00, and the tickets are club-level.


    Here are some thoughts on the debate, courtesy of Instapundit and Allah.

    I thought Bush looked much better than the previous debate, which doesn't say much. He seemed more composed and impassioned during his speeches, which is a big improvment from his disconnected, fatigued look from the last debate. When I started watching (which was maybe a half an hour in) I thought he was being to forceful or condescending to the audience, and Kerry seemed more together and likeable. The more I watched, though, the more I began to see the roles reverse. Bush was the one that seemed more regular and likeable, while Kerry seemed more uncaring and dispassionate.

    On the whole I'd say it was roughly even, with a slight edge to Bush on delivery.

    One final note on the debate:I didn't enjoy the town hall format. It looked cheap to me; like a set you would see at a fair or something.

    Update: What did the folks at Powerline think? Go read and find out. They're good reads; after all, there is a reason those guys are the best.

    Update 2: My girlfriend watched the debate with me, and she posted her unique take on it over at her blog. Granted that I am biased, but I think it's quite hilarious.


    The Twins game was also on tonight. I turned it in about the fourth inning, when the score was 3-1. When I turned it back after the debate, it was in the 8th inning with the Yankees up 8-1. Over at QWERTY, I blogged about how game two was mismanaged. That's turning out to be even more important now, since the Twins will have to win in Yankee stadium to advance. Santana will win at home Saturday afternoon. That's practically a given. But that means the former Ace, Brad Radke, will have to win in NY. Can it be done? Yes. Is it a tough situation? You bet. *Will* they get it done? I don't want to jinx anything.

    Meanwhile, former Twin-disappointment-turned-Boston-superstar, David Ortiz, hit another walk-off homer for the Red Sox. The difference between this one and all the others is the ALCS, which they advanced to because of his most recent blast. Why couldn't the Twins have THAT Ortiz on the team, rather than the one that was injured 95% of the time?

    October 07, 2004

    The End of the Road

    Went to my uncle's funeral this morning. Some of the ashes were buried at both Fort Snelling and then spread over the peace garden of the family's church. Fort Snelling was incredible. I never imagined a place so huge could be so uniform. It was very impressive. There was something comforting in the sameness of it all, too. It's tough to explain. The honor guard they gave him was unimpressive, sadly. They were out of sync in the firing, and they messed up a couple of notes when they played "Taps." The mistakes weren't minor, either. They were OBVIOUS.

    The peace garden was okay. We mostly stood around visiting and telling stories, as the actual process of spreading the ashes lasted maybe five minutes. Overall, I'd say it was a good event, as far as funerals go.

    Emotionally, it wasn't too bad. Not for me, at least. It wasn't nearly as difficult as actually watching him die before my eyes last weekend, or seeing/touching his dead body when the fight was over. That was easily the most surreal experience of my life.


    Tonight is orientation for the community service I am forced to do as a result of my ridiculous ticket. I'll be at the Goodwill on University by Springbrook mall, starting at 6:30. Not sure what they'll have me doing yet. We'll see how it goes.

    Later: Twins blogging.

    October 05, 2004

    VP Debate Thoughts II

    I didn't watch the debate, as I said earlier, because I had prior commitments. But I did tape it, so I will watch it and add some thoughts a little later. For now you can go read some people who were live-blogging the event.

    Depending on the color of your glasses, you can check out a conservative view or a liberal view. (Hat tip: Pennywit)

    Update: My favorite blog, Powerline, has detailed analysis on the debate that deserves reading.

    On law

    I now officially have a probation officer.

    Do you realize we live in a society where people serve champagne to underage individuals at a wedding and then give them minor-consumption citations when they walk out of the building?

    I was a groomsman at my buddy's wedding in August. I turn 21 in December, so I was technically committing a crime when I had a glass of champagne with dinner. You'd think that most cops would be cool about something like that. But when a couple of us went out to a friend's car, we were ambushed by security. One of the guys I was with had a beer in his hand. I did not. The security guard was pretty belligerent when I told him I wasn't drinking, and he eventually called out a couple of cops who gave us both minors (in addition to another guy who was inside at the time, but had the alcohol in his trunk). The girl who drove us home that night was roughly five times as drunk as anyone of us.

    Maybe we weren't the most honest, upstanding youths that day. But wouldn't you think that cops would be cooler about weddings, especially when, out of the three of us, none had more than two beers (and two of us didn't have any)? Maybe I am just dreaming...

    Either way, that one glass of champagne has now cost me $365 in fees, plus 25 hours of community service, three hours in a mandatory "chemical intelligence" class, and one year of probation. Again, I turn 21 in just over two months. That's our law system for you. Sheesh.

    VP Debate thoughts

    As I mentioned last night, this past weekend was a long one. My uncle died on Saturday, after his two month (it seemed like two weeks) battle with cancer. I've got a couple thoughts I want to write about that a little later, but not right now.

    The vice presidential debate is ready to kickoff from Cleveland tonight. I won't be watching it, since I will be gone. But I have serious reservations that we will see any major developments for either campaign.

    There are two possible scenarios I see happening. The first is that John Edwards will push some voters away from Kerry. The second is that Cheney will draw some voters to Bush. People think Edwards is a smart, likeable guy, but not many people know much about him and he hasn't been around for long. Cheney has years of experience (he was once considered president-material, remember) that a lot of people don't really know about, and apparently his style can be convincing (Via Instapundit).

    The reason I suggest that we won't see anything beyond those two scenarios is this: Edwards has nowhere to go but down, and Cheney has nowhere to go but up.

    Of course, in all honesty I doubt there will be too much of a bump either way. The American people don't elect a vice president, they elect the set. It's either Kerry-Edwards or Bush-Cheney, and generally speaking, nobody cheers for a team because of the second-string guys.

    I am, however, going to tape the debate, because I live and breathe this stuff.

    October 04, 2004

    Weekend Recap - 10/4/04

    It was a long, long weekend, and I am probably facing an even longer week. I will try and blog tomorrow.