Thursday, January 5, 2017

Back On Ice

At some point in his adult life, TigerBlog began to prefer Diet Peach Snapple to Yoo Hoo.

He's not sure exactly when that was. He does know that his grandmother Judy turned over in her grave on that day. Judy, as you might recall, stood about 4-10, and she was the taller of TB's two grandmothers.

Anyway, TigerBlog's Snapple cap yesterday said that there are more robins in the United States than there are people. Not total birds. Just robins.

That's more than 300,000,000 robins alone. There are, apparently, more than 15 billion total birds in the U.S. and 400 billion in the world.

No wonder Hitchcock came up with that movie. Can you imagine if the birds ever did figure out how to collaborate? They'd take over in no time just by coordinating strikes on human windshields.

As for the robins, yes, there may be 300,000,000 of them in this country, but TigerBlog doesn't think he's ever seen more than one at a time. They're very peaceful birds, and there's something beautiful about seeing one in a tree.

Just ask Jingles, or MeowBlog, as TB once called him. He's Miss TigerBlog's cat, and he loves to sit up in the bay window and watch the peaceful robin - or whatever bird happens to stop by - in the peaceful tree outside, where the bird feeder exists to lure new visitors for Jingles to stare at. "Cat TV," Miss TigerBlog calls it.

Jingles can sit there and stare at the birds for hours. No wonder he's so relaxed all the time.

The Princeton men's hockey team has been relaxing for a few weeks now. The Tigers last played nearly three weeks ago, when they split with Minnesota State-Mankato.

Princeton jumps back into it in a big way, with games tomorrow night at Dartmouth and Saturday night at No. 4 Harvard up next, followed by a home weekend against Cornell and Colgate before the next big break, for first semester exams.

If you're not interested in addition, then that would be no games in 20 days, four big league games in eight days and then no games for 14 days.

If any team could be forgiven for not wanting to have its momentum broken, its the Princeton men's hockey team. The Tigers were 0-6-1 to start the year and then 7-2-1 after, with five wins against ranked teams, four against teams in the Top 10.

The ECAC standings don't really tell you much right now, because of the wide disparity in total games played. Dartmouth, Princeton's opponent tomorrow night, has played just six league games, the fewest of any team, while two other teams have played 11 and three others, including Princeton, have played 10.

Even Princeton's record doesn't say anything of value. The Tigers are 3-6-1 in the league, in seventh place of the 12 teams. Princeton started out 0-5-1 in the league, before going 3-1-0 since.

Princeton's turnaround was dramatic, especially offensively. It'll be interesting to see what momentum has carried over after the first long layoff.

As for the Princeton women, they'll be home tomorrow at 6 and Saturday at 3, also against Dartmouth and Harvard, and then the Tigers will head to Cornell and Colgate before exams. Princeton has played 14 leagues games (6-6-2), while Harvard and Dartmouth have also played 14 - if you combine them.

Princeton sits in fourth place. There's a big drop-off after sixth to seventh, and there is home ice in the ECAC playoffs for the top four. TB should have mentioned this before, but there's home ice for the top eight in the men's playoffs.

Princeton played last weekend on the women's side, with a non-league tie against Penn State and then a big win over No. 8 Quinnipiac. Princeton swept the ECAC's three weekly awards, winning Player of the Week (Carly Bullock), Goalie of the Week (Steph Neatby) and Rookie of the Week (also Bullock).

Neatby was also the league Goalie of the Month, and Karlie Lund was the Player of the Month.

The men did even better, with the ECAC Player of the Month (Max Veronneau) and ECAC Rookie of the Month (Jackson Cressey) and then the National Player of the Month, won by Veronneau.

The Princeton women went 4-0-1 in December, and that streak is now at 5-0-1 after the New Year's Day win over Quinnipiac.

The men went 5-2 in December. That makes the two of them a combined 9-2-1 in December.

TigerBlog doesn't have to do a lot of research to know that's probably up there with any hockey month Princeton has had lately.

Now it's January. It's a weird month for Princeton Athletics, with some huge games in the first two weekends and then crickets the rest of the month for exams.

It's not about building momentum, or hoping that any momentum is left over from before the holidays. Now it's just about four games in eight days, for both teams.

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