1.31.2011

Monday Morning Reverie: The Bye Week Addition

This is what I Imagine it's like when Ryan Braun and Aaron Rodgers spend time together
1. There is a problem with doing a Monday Morning weekend review, sometimes not much happened.  Such was the case in the Wisconsin sports world this weekend.  Oh sure there was the Brewers On Deck event, which carries about as many story lines as you would expect a glorified autograph session to supply.

The event is fantastic for kids and fans, but it doesn't supply much fodder for the pen of the opinion writer.  The biggest story coming out of this year's fanfest was that Rickie Weeks doesn't want to negotiate a contract extension once spring training has started because he wants to be able to focus on the season.  That's all well and good but doesn't seem to be that big of a deal.  Corey Hart signed his extension in the midst of his career season and it didn't seem to effect him much.

The Brewers and Weeks seem at the moment to not be overly close, but I could see that changing very quickly. When a Weeks deal does happen, expect it to come together very quickly.

2. Let's see, what else do we have this wonderful bye week?  How about some negative Packer news?  Aaron Rodgers made some comments about the way that players on injured reserve decided to handle their rehab and Nick Barnett took offense.

The whole team photo controversy has seemed a bit absurd to me from the start.  The reason injured reserve players weren't going to be included was simply because they were scheduled to arrive in Ft. Worth on Friday while the rest of the team would already be there and take the picture on Thursday.  It became an issue when Barnett and fellow twitter teammate Jermichael Finley decided to comment in the public domain.

Both players should have just kept there mouths shut, because if the Packers proved anything in this season's home stretch it was that Green Bay didn't need them to win.  Wisconsin State Journal writer Tom Oates said it best on his own twitter account:
"If Rodgers ripped Barnett, others on IR who left town, he did it on purpose. Guess is guys in locker room feel same way."
Rodgers speaks for the Packers, he won over the locker room when Brett Favre left by his play on the field and the way he handled himself behind the scene.  Oates really summed it up perfectly.

Apparently it's all good now and the two have talked it out.  Barnett has apparently quit twitter now (again) and with his future as a Green Bay Packer looking increasingly dim distractions like this have to lessen those prospects.

This whole picture thing has been weird and awkward and really pointless.

3.  There were actual sports this weekend, but I dodged one result for very obvious reasons.  The Badger Men's Basketball team fell at Happy Valley on Saturday, breaking Wisconsin's 12 game winning streak over Penn State.

Stats that jump out in the lost are the impressively low three free throw attempts the Badgers took and the 6-20 three point shooting.  Both numbers are recipes for a loss for a Bo Ryan team (and just about any team).

What this game also illuminated was the complete lack of consistency from any player not named Leuer, Taylor or Nankivil.  Josh Gasser, coming off Wisconsin's first ever triple double and the first by an NCAA Freshman since Magic Johnson, scored only two point in 28 minutes before fouling out.  Tim Jarmusz had five points but that was it for scoring aside from the Badgers big three.

Don't expect this to become a trend, but flaws like this can be very costly come tournament time.

4.  Bucky's hockey teams provided some bright spots this weekend at least.  The Men took a trip to the Upper Peninsula and came back with a pair of wins.  The four points they took from Michigan Tech over the weekend places Wisconsin in fourth place in the conference, four behind leader North Dakota and just a pair behind third place Minnesota-Duluth.

On Friday night the Badgers trailed 2-1 in the second period before Junior Defender Jake Gardiner and Freshman Forward Mark Zengerle scored within 30 seconds of each other and the Badgers never looked back, winning 4-2.  Saturday's game was all about Patrick Johnson, the Senior Winger had a goal and two assists on the way to a 4-1 victory.

Zengerle has been a star for Wisconsin this season.  He sits at third on the team with 32 points and leads the way with 27 assists, not bad for a Freshman.   Beating Michigan Tech this season hasn't been hard though, the Huskies haven't won a game since October 15, that's a 22-game winless streak.

5. The women's program provided a nice story on Saturday as well.  Facing the No. 4 team in the country in the Minnesota Gophers the No. 1 Badgers held their second "Fill the Bowl" game hoping to set the attendance record for a women's hockey game.  Tickets were sold for just $1 with the cost of tickets being donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank.  Safe to say it was a smashing success, the Badgers sold 10,668 tickets setting the record as well as earning that same amount for the food bank.

Fans in attendance were treated to a 3-1 Wisconsin victory that clinched the WCHA title.  Women's hockey can be a fantastic sport to watch when both teams are on the same level (but often teams are not which is why the sport is still slow growing) and both Minnesota and Wisconsin are world class teams.  Good hockey is good hockey.

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