Bleach: Path not easy for interim coach

first_imgWhen it comes to the 23 different varsity sports at Wisconsin, you don’t have to be a Vegas odds maker to predict their future.Hell, you don’t even have to be professor Trelawney.Whether Badger fans like to accept it or not, the various UW head coaches carve their own little groove — good or bad — and they will continue to chug along at that pace like the little engines that could with little difference between seasons.Here are just a few examples:* The football team will continue to be good (See: 5-0 start), but not great (See: losing to Ohio State despite doubling their yardage).* The softball team will continue to set records for futility — currently sitting on two 15-40 seasons in a row — and fans will moan for the days before Title IX when we still had baseball.* The men’s basketball team will be underrated for the 109,584,983th straight time and Bo Ryan will prove all doubters wrong for the 109,584,983th time. Or something like that.While I am not advocating Athletic Director Barry Alvarez go trigger happy with pink slips (except in the case of a certain softball liability), it doesn’t take more than a few years to see what you are going to get from a coach.Take women’s hockey for example. Ever since Mark Johnson took over in 2003, the Badgers have a 210-39-22 record, own the longest NCAA undefeated streak and have brought three national championships back to the Kohl Center. Johnson has produced perhaps the greatest women’s hockey forward of all time in Sara Bauer (though Hilary Knight might eventually usurp her) and certainly the best goaltender of all time with last season’s Patty Kazmaier Award winner Jessie Vetter.When the cardinal and white take the ice, they are more of a certainty than the Harlem Globetrotters vs. the Washington Generals.So four games into the season, UW’s record is naturally…2-2…?WHAT?And this isn’t just any 2-2 record. The Badgers didn’t lose to Minnesota or Minnesota-Duluth — the Alabama and LSU of women’s hockey to Wisconsin’s Florida.No, UW was shut out 2-0 in the season opener by North Dakota, a team that lost eight straight to end their season last year and fell 1-0 to Bemidji State.Bemidji isn’t even a real state!If you follow the women’s hockey team — save your jokes, there are fans who follow them — you understand how shocking this is.If you don’t own a personalized Erika Lawler jersey, then just think of Appalachian State over Michigan and you will be somewhat in the realm of just how surprising those losses were.First let’s start with what didn’t cause these losses.Watching Vetter graduate to go defend Team USA’s nets certainly won’t help Wisconsin, but with four experienced junior blueliners helping the new goaltenders, the drop-off shouldn’t be too steep. So far, UW has given up four goals in four games, an impressive average even for the superb Vetter. Goaltending may be a problem when the Badgers run into the talented forwards of Minneosta and Minnesota-Duluth, but the ladies between the pipes certainly haven’t been the problem so far.Well if it isn’t defense, logic states it must be offense, right?Losing Lawler (64 points), Angie Keseley (59 points) and Vetter (superman status) to graduation certainly would be a big blow to any program. Having the team’s best two-way player in senior Meghan Duggan and WCHA points leader junior Hilary Knight redshirt as they spend a year playing for the Olympic team hurts even more.With the team being shutout in both losses, the loss of the top four scorers must be the answer for their downfall, correct?Wrong. Even though the team lost enough offensive firepower to restart the Cold War, the Badgers (much like the U.S.), have enough weapons stocked a few missing missiles is no reason to panic (unlike the U.S.).With senior Jasmine Giles (45 points), preseason WCHA all-star Mallory Deluce, sophomore Brooke Ammerman (second on the team with 27 goals) and preseason WCHA rookie of the year Brianna Decker, goals shouldn’t be hard to come by, even if Decker is out until at least December with a broken arm.The defense isn’t to blame. The offensive talent is certainly there.The person most responsible for two unspeakable losses, unfortunately, is interim head coach Tracey DeKeyser.While this may seem like an unjustified attack on a coach after merely two losses, I actually mean it as a compliment.To current Olympic head coach Mark Johnson.Hockey is a game where lucky bounces matter. The NHL needs seven game series to fairly judge which team is better, because the team that dominates the puck doesn’t always win. In short, it is a game that cannot be mastered — you can only hope to put yourself in the best position to win.DeKeyser has the misfortune to follow what might be the most successful hockey coach of all time. Note that I didn’t say women’s hockey.Losing two games to conference opponents shouldn’t be shocking. Johnson has just been so successful, he has created a new standard.DeKeyser should not be blamed for losing two early games with a drastically different team.Johnson should just be praised for creating the illusion that DeKeyser should.Michael is a senior majoring in journalism and he would like to wish a happy birthday to his Dad! If you want to talk about hockey he can be reached at [email protected]last_img read more