Pair of seniors face unhappy endings

by David La Vaque

In the movie Dazed and Confused, there’s a scene during the Moon Tower party where teammates and friends Randall “Pink” Floyd and Benny are in the latter’s truck discussing Pink’s football dilemma.

Pink, the quarterback, objects to signing a pledge sheet stating he would abstain from alcohol and drugs. He tells Benny and other incoming seniors he’s going to quit the team.

“Man it’ll be the biggest mistake of your life Pink,” Benny warns. “No one quits senior year pal.”

Fair enough, but what happens when senior year appears to be quitting on you?

Two senior captains at Minnesota are being forced to answer this question: Nick Anthony, a gritty forward on the defending NCAA champion men’s hockey team, and Lindsay Lieser, three-point shooter extraordinaire for the women’s basketball team.

Senior year is supposed to be a grand finale, like Jordan Leopold winning an NCAA title and the Hobey Baker Award. Or it’s supposed to be a time where a player is honored for his or her sacrifice to the team, like big Kim Bell coming off the bench despite creaky knees.

It’s not supposed to go this way: During Thursday’s game at Northwestern, Lieser played only five minutes, the shortest amount of any Gopher.

Anthony, meanwhile, won’t play Friday against Wisconsin after being scratched last Saturday at Colorado College. He went from the top line a week ago to last in line.

Coach Don Lucia will bench seniors in favor of getting his younger talent more ice time. Stop producing for the Gophers and Lucia will play the freshmen who will benefit down the road.

Of course, this philosophy might anger soccer-mom types who think everyone should play and have fun. But the reality is, Anthony and Lieser play for the two University sports that garner the highest expectations.

And they must put up or sit down.

With strong depth and NCAA title aspirations, the hockey program requires one to score, assist or sit.

Women’s basketball is the only potential cash cow for any of the women’s teams. Borton’s squad must continue to win games and keep the turnstiles at Williams Arena humming.

Unfortunately, battles for national supremacy and the almighty dollar cause casualties. If Anthony and Lieser wish to go out in all their glory, they must produce.

Otherwise, they’ll be ushered out in the name of next year’s success and revenue.