View Full Version : Reflections on a CRHL career, and my final game.
03-09-2003, 09:36 PM
For those who don't know me, I've been playing in the CRHL for Michigan State for six seasons. I was around the year before the CRHL, but please no old jokes... I've also chipped in helping running the CRHL in various ways for the past few years, and probably will continue in that.
Looking back on my first six years of college, most of my treasured memories are of the CRHL. I was fortunate enough to score the game winning goal in the 1999 national championship game against the University of California Santa Barbara, and have countless other amazing moments - far too many to mention individually. Almost all my best friends have been members of our team at MSU, either on teams past or this season's team.
The league itself has certainly gone through some amazing changes. I remember going to my first event where we had PLAYERS reffing games. I recall playing at rinks where the concrete wall in one corner was raised enough off the floor that any puck shot into that corner was gone forever (still no idea what exactly was behind that wall, not sure I want to).
Ever since we switched to the Premier format in the MCRHL, and then for CRHL in general, I've liked the direction of the league. I think Premier is the way to go, and the majority of this year proved that to me. We used to have top players (Jamie Bufalino, the Tour Mudcats goalie, for one) who were in school and not playing for us, because they weren't really having fun in the league. I think Premier addresses some of those issues, and hopefully will keep the top players in the league interested.
All that said, I've had six tremendous years in the CRHL. The only blemish on my entire career, really, is the final that I played in today will stick out in my memory as my last game in the CRHL, and that's truly a shame. I don't want my last memory of the CRHL, a national championship game at that, to include long stretches (8-10 minutes) of just standing there doing nothing. I will have an excellent picture of my linemate of five years (Dante Damiani) and I on a knee at halfcourt during the game waving to a camera in the stands. Lindenwood is an immensely talented team, and I don't think many people would try to argue that point. But today was not roller hockey, it was not competition in my eyes. They're the champions, they'll get their rings. But to me, it just wasn't a hockey game that we played today. And that will be my last memory of the CRHL, which truly pisses me off in words that are difficult to put together.
Michigan State University
03-09-2003, 10:49 PM
Thank you for your eloquent post. I don't know any of the Lindenwood players, but I know that I would not want to win a game the way they did. I agree with you that the CRHL needs to think seriously about creating a rule that requires a team to move the puck forward from behind the net within a reasonable time, or be assessed a delay-of-game penalty. I don't feel that what Lindenwood did constitutes sportsmanship.
I can just imagine a game where both teams needed to get a tie to move forward in a bracket, so all the players simply stand at the center-rink faceoff dot without touching the puck until each period ends! That's stretching the point, but I could see it happening, as the need to win at all costs seems to have surpassed sportsmanship in America's sporting culture.
I think the CRHL is fortunate to have such ambassadors for the sport as yourself and Dante Damiani, and I wish you both great success in your post-college endeavors. I also hope that the frustration you feel over your final game fades, and is replaced with memories of all the fun and friendships you made while playing for MSU in the Collegiate Roller Hockey League.
Inline Hockey Central
03-09-2003, 11:04 PM
Thanks for the kind words. There were actually a number of Lindenwood players that expressed their disappointement with the style of play in the championship while going through the handshake line. A lot of them weren't especially excited with the game, either, and I probably should have included that in my initial post.
Lindenwood had a game plan, and they executed it. To me, it's disappointing that the game wasn't all that exciting - a lively final game would have been better for all involved.
Michigan State University
03-09-2003, 11:48 PM
The one thing that is needed in the game is a 30 second shot clock.
03-10-2003, 03:03 AM
Great satirical post! No one would seriously promote a 30-second shot clock for hockey. Brilliantly funny!
Inline Hockey Central
I also have a excellent picture of your ambassadors of the
sport waving to the camera in the stands instead of playing
the game doing nothing.
03-10-2003, 12:29 PM
nala, could I ask who you play for? Were you there? What have you done to help build CRHL?
Michigan State University
03-10-2003, 01:50 PM
nala, PLEASE answer Mackert's questions...we would all love to know.
03-10-2003, 03:06 PM
Mike, can I ask what your coach said during the game? Just curious. By the way, congrats on an excellent career. I'm sorry that it ended the way it did, but you can only control the things YOU do.
03-10-2003, 03:23 PM
Our coach was extraordinarily frustrated, as we all were. In a lot of ways, I think, he was pretty speechless (which is saying something, he likes to talk). I don't know what he was saying DURING the game, because I was never on the bench - I played the entire 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarters. I do know that during the quarter breaks he was advising us to be patient until we made the decision to chase and take our chances for a few minutes at the end of the game.
Michigan State University
03-10-2003, 04:58 PM
Bad sportsmanship to me is Dante Damiani saying "Nice bucket Phil Housley" to a guy on Florida with a JOFA helmet at the NCT last year, or in the same game when he did the Jagr move in the same game (in which they were up by five goals). Not to mention after the fact that he skated by the crowd, which included two midwest region officials, and said "Did you guys see that?" The officials did not help any by laughing in response.
03-10-2003, 05:00 PM
Congratulations on a great career in the CRHL. Good luck in the future!
03-10-2003, 05:28 PM
Mike, I'm just a fan and I appreciate your career and the things you've done to help promote the sport. I'm also a St. Louis resident and a fan of the Lindenwood team. I was at the two games you guys played in St. Louis during the regular season and recall one game where Lindenwood won 13-4. I heard all kinds of pissed off people from your side accusing Lindenwood of running up the score on you. Your coach was thrown out of the game - ejected. One gets the feeling that no matter what Lindenwood did, you would dislike the result. Your team and your coach certainly had the option of going after the puck - that's part of the game too. Congratulations on a great career, but I think you guys just got too used to winning all the time.
03-10-2003, 05:29 PM
Thanks for the well wishes.
I'll leave it for Dante to defend himself here, if he feels the urge to make an appearance. It seems likely, he does have a hard time keeping quiet. ;)
Michigan State University
03-10-2003, 06:34 PM
I can't speak for what anyone else may have been saying. It's certainly never fun to lose by nine goals, but sometimes that's the way things go. As for getting too used to winning all the time... There are only two players on the team right now that were around for the 1999 and 2000 championships - Dante and myself. For most guys on the team, they're used to winning more than losing, but they weren't around for the "glory days" when we'd go years without losing. We actually had a LOT of first-year guys this season.
Michigan State University
03-10-2003, 06:34 PM
So the Lindenwood team literally did not move the puck for the majority of the entire game? I'm just wondering "WHY?" What am I missing here? Lindenwood, by your own admission, could have defeated you, but chose to use this strategy. I've love to know the point of the strategy. What did they hope to accomplish by winning this way? I'm wondering if your coach and their coach had any words after the game? This is just such a STRANGE way to play the CHAMPIONSHIP game in the Premier League. Frankly, I don't see why they didn't play hard, let you guys play hard and if they entered the 4th quarter spanking you guys, let turn the heat down a notch and refrain from embarrassing your team (even NHL teams provide their competition that courtesy). I'd be curious what message comes from their coaching staff in the coming days.
03-10-2003, 06:41 PM
Citing what "fans" complain about isn't necessarily valid here because you could enter any arena and find fans who aren't happy (even with a victory sometimes). I certainly don't read Mike's comments as being unhappy no matter what. No, I'm not a "fan" of Lindenwood or MSU. Just another hockey guy out here in Internet space. As a Lindenwood fan you've got to admit it's a bizarre strategy. It seems sort of like guys in a locker room playing keep away with a guy's pants or something back in junior high. Was the motivation to humiliate the competition? Was it to show everybody how superior Lindenwood was? Was it to send a message to the CRHL? That's what I don't get. What WAS the point? It certainly wasn't used to win 'cause they could have done that anyway according to Mike.
03-10-2003, 06:45 PM
Two things on this matter:
1) Lindenwood completely ran away in this game. They should be stripped of their title for the lack of class and lack of sportsmanship. These same people have been on the IHC board trashing other programs for not being good enough and saying CRHL needs to have a marketable game in order to get NCAA status yet they pull stuff like this. Makes you wonder...
2) After the way MSU trash talked Towson at Winternationals in Vegas and thumbed their nozes at the team I cannot say I feel bad for any of them even though they lost like this. If these are the flagship teams in college inline hockey then we have a very serious problem.
No I wasn't kidding about a shot clock. if it worked for box lacrosse it can work for inline hockey.
03-10-2003, 07:25 PM
I was out in Vegas for winternats and heard nothing about this. I have dealt with the MSU team for a few years now playing against them, scheduling games, etc. and in my experiences they have been nothing but professional. What do you speak of?
03-10-2003, 07:27 PM
From all accounts Dante and his line kept on yapping and Dante even came up to the Towson team while lining up to start the game asking I quote, "so which one of you stiffs is going try to shadow me?" MSU showed no class especially against a team that wasn't exactly inferior to them.
03-10-2003, 07:47 PM
well considering your from st louis, im sure youre familiar with the antics of what lindenwood has done this year. Not only have they admitted that they have sent players out to fight other players, but they have also tried such moves as the jagr, the lemieux and many others. furthermore, bad sportsmanship of the year goes to the lindenwood coach who in fact threw a waterbottle over the score keepers booth at our coach who was in fact in a verbal argument with their coach. i mean come on, what class is that for them to sit behind the net for 36 minutes while the stands sang row row row your boat and did the wave. i think the fans and the players of the Michigan State Spartans had more fun making fun of lindenwood than actually watching the game. it even seems funny to me how the players from lindenwood definitely did not condone that style of play, yet as time went on, the three coaches on LU's bench still made them sit behind the net. whats next paddy cake at center line.....furthermore, there were fans running on the floor trying to shake hands with players, and people throwing pucks onto the rink because of the lack of class they should. lets not even think about saying something as such relating to "nice bucket" or any comment of that matter, because at any level in any sport, theyre will always be trash talking, but theres a definitely a level that crosses the line. for someone that has in fact won the scoring title numerous times in the past few years, i think he has the right to run his mouth to a certain extent, but overall the class act and the sportsmanship portrayed by the Premier team of Lindenwood University will always be a memory in my mind, and in closing, i am sure that anyone who witnessed this game at all can definitely agree with me on my thoughts and opinions; for those of you who dont believe me, you can buy a copy of the game tape online i think in the near future and can witness the class that i have so argued in the last few statements. additionally, i would like to say thank you to mike mackert for a memorable season. i have learned a lot from you, and i wish you the best of luck in the years to come; however, thanks again for all your hard work and effort, not only from being a team mate, but from being a friend as well....thanks mike.
03-10-2003, 07:55 PM
i think what is needed is the basketball 10 second rule, where you have to cross the center line in 10 seconds, or else you turn the puck over.....but yet you could still take the puck back there if needed....actually im just kidding, but im sure that some rule will be made next year to limit the 36 minutes of time waisting behind the net to like 5 minutes? lol, what do you think......
As I mentioned in a previous post responding to Danny G I beleive there was some noise about "running up the score" after a previous contest between these two clubs. It would not surprise me if their coaching staff did this as a response to those previous complaints.
None of this, nor the playing ability of LU excuses MSU from not developing a strategy to deal with this. Succeed or fail - the onus was upon MSU to force the action and overcome the strategy. If the result was then a 10 goal differential - so be it.
What other alternative would someone suggest? Would it have been less humiliating to successfully play keep away with the puck in the center of the rink or the offensive zone? Sounds like the skill level of this team might be good enough to do just that. Or should they have just gone balls out and racked up the score?
I dont think the strategy used was good for the game of inline hockey - but if the talent differential between these teams was that great - the game was going to be a laugher no matter how it ended up being played.
In fairness to LU and as much as I may dislike what they did I challenge you all as hockey players to suggest how you would have coached or played this game if you were Lindenwood and when you know you can defeat a team anyway you want.
Maybe there was a more subtle way to make the point - and maybe it would have accomplished two things - won the game - and elevated the play of Lindewood as to an "exemplary" level - while leaving no doubt about their class as players or as individuals. It all comes down to priorities.
03-10-2003, 11:08 PM
I think if a guy holds the puck behind the net for more than 1 minute, an opposing player should be allowed to beat the living hell out of him.
I have a feeling if everytime LU held the puck behind the net an MSU player beat him within an inch of his life, MSU would have few skaters left, but they wouldn't be waiting for LU to move the puck from behind the net. That would have been my coaching strategy, but then, I'm a jackass...
03-11-2003, 01:30 AM
the fact of the matter still remains the same, how are we supposed to beat him up from behind the net? if ya cant catch em, how you gonna beat em? you go from behind the one side of the net, he skates around the opposite guy...it was one big game of cat and mouse...koz did a few circles around the net and made whoever was chasing him just look silly..i cant remember who it was, cuz i think i was on the bench doing the wave or something like that...but i got my turn to sit in the corner and talk to the fans, and talk to a few LU players.....but either way, its a no win situation...instead of letting them rack up 20 goals in the first three periods wed figure wed let them sit there for a few periods and then tackle them at the end....it worked once as we got a goal out of it to close the gap at 3-2, but pucks bounce certain peoples way occassionally...i mean come on...what woulda happend if any of the 7 posts we hit actually went in? would it have been 10 to 9, not a chance...they still woulda pummeled us no matter what way you look at it, they are by far the best team in the country and respectifully so.....and for that...they deserved to win cuppy, hence the congratulations that every msu player rightfully gave to the members of their team....good luck guys and well see ya next year....
03-11-2003, 09:08 PM
Bonesy, that was truly a classy post. Although it will fall on many deaf ears (the hopelessly jealous or the solidly moronic), it was a sincere and well-presented message. Good luck to you in the future. Hope life smiles on you for many years to come.
03-11-2003, 11:18 PM
hmm... I had never considered that the talent level on LU's team would make it difficult to beat the living hell out of them. If I were in MSU's position, I would probably start play fighting with guys from LU. I mean, if you're gonna get beat by their style of hockey, you might as well pull a Happy Gilmore and be the first person to ever stab a guy to death with a rollerblade.
03-11-2003, 11:33 PM
geez, guys...you attack the goalie with your stick, then after the ref blows the whistle to stop the action, you can go after the guy who was playing with the puck behind the net.
Has "Slap Shot" taught us nothing? :)
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