Chat about College Hockey
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INCH Archive: Chats
Joe Gladziszewski (2:33 PM)
Welcome to another college hockey chat with Inside College Hockey. We've already received some great questions that we're looking forward to answering. Keep them coming as we're here for the next 30 minutes.
Aaron (Edina, MN)
Great piece on the "States of the Game" I had a feeling that Minnesota born and bred players had been increasing at the NCAA level. Any stats or other peculiar tidbits that didn't make it to press that might be interesting from all that research?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:35 PM)
Thanks for the compliment on States of the Game. (If you haven't seen it, visit INCH). One of the more surprising things that I saw was that there are half as many Europeans in college hockey compared to the 2002-03 season, when we first published States of the Game. With the success of players like Vanek, and this year at St. Cloud with Andreas Nodl, I think that trend will reverse. College coaches will start to recruit Europe more actively.
Give us a list of Christmas grads or players that will not be coming back to play next semister?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:37 PM)
A few players have left the college ranks to play in Canadian junior hockey, mainly because they weren't cracking the lineup at their college teams.
Clinton (Colorado Springs)
Since the half way point has come, Wisconsin is 7-9-2 do you see them turning around their season or is Minnesota, Denver, Colorado College, and St. Cloud to strong for them to make any kind of of a comback? Who do you see being in the Frozen Four out of all the WCHA teams?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:40 PM)
The Badgers certainly face an uphill climb, because of the difficult games they play in the WCHA. The sweep of North Dakota in early December was a good confidence builder. This particular stretch of the schedule, with the Badger Showdown (Clarkson, Lake Superior, Providence) and series agaisnt Minnesota and Denver in early January is a chance for Wisconsin to get on track and gain some momentum for the second half.
Gerard (Houston, TX)
After sweeping UND in Grand Forks what's the likelihood that MTU wins their tourney for the first time in a quarter century? With MSU, UM, and Harvard struggling it looks like the Huskies actually have a chance to win the thing.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:42 PM)
It's an exciting chance for the Michigan Tech Huskies to bring home the GLI title. In most of the recent tournaments, they were clear underdogs, but that's not the case this year. All three of the other teams will be missing at least one key player at the World Juniors. Plus, Michigan Tech is just plain better. They're doing some nice things and coach Jamie Russell appears to be turning that program around.
Do you think the Sioux's problems go beyond goaltending and will they be able to turn it around reach the tournament.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:45 PM)
It doesn't look good for North Dakota at this point in the season. They've got big series coming up against Colorado College and Minnesota, but they do have a chance to rack up some wins with weekend series against Minnesota State, Bemidji State, and Alaska Anchorage. They could still finish in the top half of the WCHA and host a first-round playoff series. That's what they should set their sights on for now. And a strong showing in the Final Five.
What do you think of Michigan State and their chances the rest of the way?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:48 PM)
Michigan State is another team that is at a crucial point in their season. Big games in the coming weeks could set the tone for the second half. With the GLI and two games at Miami, we'll get a good read on Michigan State. The best news for the Spartans is that Jeff Lerg started to play very well in December. Some of the sophomores who had a lot of success as freshmen last year know what it takes to go on a strong second-half run. That bodes well for the team in East Lansing.
Brenden (Hartland, MI)
Joe, Just curious on your thoughts about ND soph. Erik Condra and their chances at making a national championship run?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:51 PM)
Notre Dame is legit. One thing I like about them is that they're strong in all aspects. Ranking first in the nation in defense, and sixth in offense means that if something isn't going well in a particular game, the other areas can pick up the slack. Plus, they have a very favorable schedule down the stretch. They should earn a high seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:52 PM)
... we'll welcome in INCH co-editor Mike Eidelbes for answers to these next two questions.
College Hockey is often overshadowed a lot by other college sports.If you could give sports fans three reason to watch more college hockey,what would you say to them?
Mike Eidelbes (2:54 PM)
1. Fanaticism. You'll be hard-pressed to find an audience anywhere that is as devoted and cares so deeply about its sport as college hockey fans. 2. Accessibility. Fewer athletes are as approachable as hockey players (the same is true for the NHL). Most are willing to take time to sign autographs, chat with young kids, and get involved in the community. It's a big reason why some cities have such a strong bond with their college hockey teams. 3. Value. At most college hockey rinks, you can head to the game with 20 bucks in your pocket, get a good seat, a program, a bite to eat and head home with a couple dollars to spare.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:55 PM)
For me, I'll kind of combine the first and second reasons that Mike mentioned. Connection. Whether you're an alum of the particular school, or just a fan, you get to be a part of the action and can get to know the players/coaches/history of the program. When players leave school, they're still one of "yours" and you see an alum coaching somewhere, or winning a Stanley Cup, it's a special thing.
Pete (Toledo, OH)
We are at the halfway point in the season, who gets your awards?
Mike Eidelbes (2:56 PM)
Hobey: Nathan Davis, Miami. He's a gifted goal-scorer and playmaker, and, in my opinion, the country's top defensive forward. Plus he's so disruptive on the penalty kill with the way he uses his speed and anticipates plays. Penrose: Jeff Jackson, Notre Dame. An obvious choice given the way he's turned the Irish around in just his second season, but Minnesota's Don Lucia deserves credit for the way he's quickly meshed a ton of freshmen with a group of largely role-playing holdovers and turned them into the country's best team.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:58 PM)
You'll get no argument from me in those choices. Fortunately, we've got a second half of the season to look forward to and some new candidates will emerge. I think Dick Umile deserves some credit for what he's done at UNH. Great season so far.
David (Sydney, NSW)
Some of these exam layoffs seem interminably long. I'm afraid the lads might have forgotten how to skate by the time they get to lace 'em up again! What should Big Red fans be watching for in Florida next week?
Joe Gladziszewski (3:00 PM)
Another great part of college hockey ... these are student-athletes. They're involved in other things, like classes and exams, and not just hockey. When the teams return to the ice next week, there will probably be a little bit of rust, but it won't be the difference in winning and losing. For Cornell, they're at an excellent tournament with New Hampshire and Maine and Western Michigan. I like their chances. Seeing them earlier this season, I thought they had some balance in their forward lines and the defensemen have been better than anticipated. They'll give UNH fits in the first round, and will be a tough matchup for Maine or WMU on the second day.
Joe Gladziszewski (3:02 PM)
Thanks for the questions, and taking time to talk college hockey with us. It's always a pleasure to be here. Check out insidecollegehockey.com for more on the happenings in college hockey, and upcoming tournament previews and features.
Joe Gladziszewski (3:03 PM)
From the INCH staff, to all of you, Happy Holidays.