Tuesday, February 5, 2019

More History

TigerBlog's Super Bowl predictions were pretty close.

The Patriots won by double figures, though not exactly with as many points scored in the game that TB figured. And the commercials were nothing special, with most of them just flat out awful.

The only remotely good one was the one with the old NFL stars in it, and that was an NFL production. How hard is it to make a great commercial? Take your product, have a few cute dogs get involved, add some sentimental music and you're done.

Also, the halftime show? In a word - yuck.

And the broadcast? Tony Romo continues to be great. And Tracy Wolfson, the sideline reporter, got her start at a small station in Mercer County, where she covered a lot of Princeton events way back when.

Lastly, nobody likes the Patriots unless they live in the Boston area, with the possible exception of someone with whom TB rides his bike, who wore his Patriots socks while they were riding Sunday afternoon.

And with that, the worst Super Bowl ever played is in the past. It's not that the fact that it was 3-0 for most of the game and that there was only one touchdown scored that made it bad. It's that it was just ugly to watch, boring for the most part. It wasn't two great pitchers matching zeroes. It was, well, dull.

Contrast that with the Princeton-Dartmouth football game this past fall, which was a low-scoring, defense-dominated game that was a thriller from start to the finish. Each possession had drama to it, whereas that just seemed to be lacking in the Super Bowl.

That game was three months ago already, by the way.

Meanwhile, in more recent Princeton news, this past weekend featured a lot of history made by two Princeton athletes. TB talked yesterday about the extraordinary Bella Alarie and her 45-point night at Columbia.

If you missed it, you can read it HERE.

The other Princeton history also came in the state of New York, though about as far away from Columbia as you can get. Also, both of their accomplishments put them in the company only of athletes who competed here back in the 1960s.

In Alarie's case, her 45 points made her only the second Princeton basketball player to reach that many in a game, along with the great Bill Bradley, who did it five times in the 1960s.

The other record that was set was set on ice, and it was done by men's hockey senior player Ryan Kuffner.

The Princeton record for goals in a career in men's hockey for the last 56 years has been 67, set by John Cook, who graduated in 1963.

Kuffner went into the weekend with 66 and tied the record with a goal against St. Lawrence Friday night. He then broke the record Saturday night, with one against Clarkson just 1:28 into the game.

Interestingly, to TB at least, there have been 12 Princeton women's hockey players who have scored more than 68 goals in their careers, including three who have more than 100. One of those three is the current Ford Family Director of Athletics - Mollie Marcoux Samaan scored 120, one off the all-time record of 121, set by Kelly O'Dell, a 1984 grad.

As for Kuffner's record, think of all the men's hockey players - even a bunch of guys who played in the NHL, who couldn't do it. There have been five men's players who got to 60 since Cook set the record, but for 56 years nobody could chase down 67 until Kuffner did it.

It was fitting that the record-setting goal was assisted by Max Veronneau, who has now assisted on a remarkable 43 of them. Veronneau and Kuffner, by the way, are two of the 10 current players in Division I who have reached 100 career points.

Kuffner and Veronneau rank 4-5 all-time at Princeton in points in a career with 137 and 133, and they both have a real chance to catch Jeff Halpern, who is third with 142. Veronneau, whose 55 points last year were the program single-season record, is also tied (with former NHL player Andre Faust) for second all-time in assists at Princeton with 87, though the record of 118 (set by John Messuri, a 1989 grad) is out of reach.

The 87 assists, of course, mean that just short of half of his career assists have come to Kuffner. TB wishes he had an easy way, or any way, to look up what the records (Princeton, ECAC, NCAA) are for most assists from one player to one other player, but those two have to be way up there.

So congratulations to Ryan Kuffner on a remarkable achievement.

To be the best at anything for a program that goes back 119 years is extraordinary.

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