Maybe we are embarking on Hockey How Ya Like Me Now moments for DON LUCIA and MIKE YEO, two coaches who have faced the slings and arrows of the negatives for years.
Lucia's bunch plays in the NCAA Title game tomorrow night in Philly and has a big chance to win a championship for the first time since 2003. I hope they do it but that Union squad I watched against Boston College is (a) better than UND, (b) very physical and (c) plays a complete brand of hockey. And the Gophers are off a very emotional win, and mustering that again will be a challenge.
Don is a wonderful man I have known since my first year at KFAN (1998). P.A. and DUBAY made many memories with the kids winning those back-to-back titles, developed lifelong relationships and generated many a bit. Calls to players on bus rides to Houghton, kids in studio, etc.
Shoot, just yesterday at the X for the penalty box show Blues D JORDAN LEOPOLD skated by the sounds-of-hockey mike and yelled, "How 'bout those kids!" which is in reference to something he blurted to the show back in 2002 after winning the title.
Memories. Sweet. Lucia has been chastised a bit the last several years for not winning a title while leading this prominent program. I am sure some of the frustration shared from the teams Rube fan base is accurate and, too, am sure Lucia has some legit excuses were he to open a vein. The Holy Cross bit was the bottom. Tomorrow night in Philly is the top.
House that thing, Don, because leaving the game as a three-time-champion coach is something about which to be proud.
Then there's coach Yeo, who earlier this season may have been a home Buffalo loss from being fired. The negatories were on his ass months ago, and even after the playoff loss to the Blackhawks last year many wanted him gone.
Not me. I like him, think he does a good job and is improving as a young coach and felt joy with the relief and confidence he exuded Thursday when we were executing Vox in the Box.
I think Mike has earned a contract extension already, but who knows. They are beating good teams and looked particularly good last night, save the stupid hit RUPP put on SHOOTOUT IMMORTALITY.
Now it's time to look much better in the playoffs than we did last year and for Mike to earn a three-year deal. Kind of feels like we can play with any team in the West, and the BRYZ trick unveiled by THE GM saved the season. MOULSON move was shrewd, too. Good vibes with this team right now.
Lucia, Yeo ... "How Ya Like Them Now?!"