Chat about College Hockey
Send your questions now and join INCH every Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET.
INCH Archive: Chats
Joe Gladziszewski (2:33 PM)
Welcome to another college hockey chat on The Show with editors and writers from Inside College Hockey. We'll be here for the next 30 minutes taking your questions about the first half of the season, this weekend's holiday tournaments, and the World Junior Championships. Keep the questions coming in.
Paul Sorensen Mi
Do you think that Michagen will make it to the frozen four this year.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:37 PM)
It'll be tough for the Wolverines to make a run in the postseason if their goaltending doesn't improve. Billy Sauer has been OK at times, but very inconsistent. They'll need to improve in that aspect, because other than the first round and quarterfinals of the CCHA playoffs, it's a one-game elimination. A poor performance from any goalie would make it tough to advance.
Brian (Minneapolis, MN)
Do you think this two weeks off will hurt the momentum that Minnesota has started off with???
Joe Gladziszewski (2:38 PM)
It certainly won't help, but the other major hindrance is that several of their top players are away at the World Junior Championships and won't be available for the Dodge Holiday Classic this weekend. Minnesota's overall talent level is strong enough to sustain those losses, but a tough UMass team could give them trouble this weekend, if they end up meeting in the second round.
What are your predictions about how hockey east will shake out? I think NH is runnign away with it but BU is going to come back mostly healthy and with something to prove. I think the top 4 will be NH, BU, Maine and Vermont.
Jeff Howe (2:40 PM)
UNH has built a nice lead but has also played more games than anyone in conference so the Wildcats aren't un-catchable. Plus, with a brutal second-half schedule, UNH will have its hands full. I'm not too optimistic about BU as of yet because it hasn't done anything offensively to warrant that. The top four might end up like UNH, Maine, BC, Vermont -- maybe BU leaps ahead of the Catamounts.
Peter (Columbus Ohio)
I saw a tape of Tim Kennedy of Michigan St. score a end to end rush against Michigan, was that goal unbelievable of what? Is Kennedy a drafted player?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:43 PM)
Kennedy is a very talented player and is leading the Spartans in scoring. He has good hands and great speed, and is an excellent playmaker. No surprise then, to find out that he's been drafted by the Buffalo Sabres. His type of game will mesh well with their current crop of forwards ... hopefully in a few years for Michigan State fans, as Kennedy is only a sophomore.
steve Rochester NY
I see that UMASS Lowell has a ton of freshmen playing in key positions, especially at Defense, Who are the freshmen to watch, and does this bode well for Lowell in the future? I see wheere they beat and tied BU earlier in the year.
Jeff Howe (2:44 PM)
Paul Worthington and Kory Falite have gotten off to nice offensive starts while Carter Hutton has had his moments in net. Nick Schaus and Barry Goers are a pair of young solid defensemen.
Paul. Omaha, Ne
I am a fan of the Omaha Lancers of the USHL, can you tell me how Nick Schaus, last years USHL D man of the year is doing at Lowel so far???
Jeff Howe (2:45 PM)
And a follow-up on Schaus ... the reports I've heard are that he had a tough start to the season, but with heavy expectations coming in on a youth-laden team, he was probably expected to walk on water. He'll be fine though. Defense is the toughest position to learn in college hockey as a freshman.
If David Brown stays hot, can the Irish reach the Frozen Four?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:47 PM)
Absolutely. Brown gets a lot of the attention, and his numbers are incredible for a very strong Irish team. The thing that impresses me most about Notre Dame is that they're so well-rounded. They don't appear to have an area of weakness, ranking near the top as a team in total offense, total defense, and special-teams categories.
What do you think about Joey Vitale and Kyle Kraemer up at Northeastern
Jeff Howe (2:49 PM)
I love the way Vitale plays the game. He's always going 100 mph, and he isn't afraid to get his nose dirty. He really typifies Cronin's style of coaching. Kraemer looks like a freshman with some potential so far. While two goals and six assists don't jump out in terms of statistics, he is part of a solid freshman class at Northeastern.
Joe Mpls, MN
True or false the road to the championship runs through the state of hockey?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:51 PM)
If you're asking if Minnesota is the team to beat, I think they are. If you're asking for driving directions to St. Louis ... there are lots of ways to get there, and most of them don't involve crossing the Minnesota border.
Ben (Concord, NH)
As a UNH fan I continue to see some soft goals. Can they go deep in the tournament with such a problem?
Jeff Howe (2:53 PM)
There's no question Kevin Regan has been shaky in net this season. It's scary to think UNH has the fourth-best scoring defense in the country right now, but the blue liners have been very good so far. Regan could turn into a liability if he doesn't straighten things out.
How about RIT this year?????
Joe Gladziszewski (2:55 PM)
What the Tigers have accomplished in Atlantic Hockey so far is truly commendable. They've proven themselves to be a top team in the league already. It's too bad they're not eligible for the conference tournament and automatic-qualifier to the NCAA tournament this year. They will be in 2008. While RIT is 8-2-1 in the league, their non-league record is 0-3-1, all against ECAC Hockey League teams. They play another next week, when they visit Quinnipiac.
Has Kyle Okposo already become the Gophers best player?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:57 PM)
An argument can definitely be made for that case. Right now it's hard to choose a "best" player on the Gophers. They're so talented, and when Tyler Hirsch has been in the lineup, he's been an absolute force. The goaltending, especially Kellen Briggs, has been good.
Who leads for the Baker Award?
Joe Gladziszewski (3:00 PM)
We've been tracking the Hobey Baker favorites all year, and right now we like the season that Nathan Davis has put together at Miami. He'll be a big key to the RedHawks second half. He shows up every night, plays a solid all-around game, and contributes in all situations. Michel Leveille at Maine is another strong candidate, as well as David Brown, the goalie from Notre Dame. I would also keep an eye on any of the Gophers, and the two big-time scorers at Michigan -- TJ Hensick and Kevin Porter.
Sam I am
How about Jeff Zatkoff at Miami OH now starting for the US juniors over in Sweden. Curious to hear your thoughts about his pro prospects as well as the potential for a strong postseason run for my beloved redhawks.
Joe Gladziszewski (3:02 PM)
As I just mentioned, Davis is legit, but I like their depth at forward in Oxford. Zatkoff's opportunity at the WJC is one that very few goalies are able to enjoy and learn from, but it should make him a better player in the second half. Charlie Effinger is another very, very solid option in net. Miami is dangerous. I wouldn't call them a favorite to make it to St. Louis at this point, but I also wouldn't be surprised if they ended up there.
Joe Gladziszewski (3:03 PM)
Thanks for all of the great questions, and check out INCH for news on new hockey uniforms that several teams will be wearing this weekend, and continuing coverage of tournament previews for all nine holiday tournaments.