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INCH Archive: Chats
Joe Gladziszewski (2:30 PM)
Welcome to the Inside College Hockey chat here at ESPN.com. Our writers are ready to answer your questions. We've got a lot of them already and are looking forward to answering as many as we can.
Luke, Hamden CT
Does Quinnipiac stand a chance at getting an at large bid or must they win the ECAC to get into the tourney?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:32 PM)
There's definitely a chance for an at-large bid, but they'll have to get really hot for the rest of the regular season and probably advance to the finals of the ECACHL tournament. With six regular season games left, if they win five of those they'll be somewhere around 19-10-5 heading into the playoffs.
Pete Toledo, OH
David Brown, Hobey Baker front runner?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:34 PM)
For now he is ... and we'll have more on Notre Dame coming up. He's having the best season and playing on one of the best teams. Those factors go a long way toward winning the Hobey. If the Irish stay near the top of the national polls and Brown stays near the top of the goaltending statistics, he'll be in the mix.
Alex (Burlington, VT)
Driving to Orono for the weekend series...seeing as how both teams are so up and down, how do you see the games turning out? How many HE teams do you think will make the NCAA's? Is a top 4 finish in HE league play and a trip to the semis going to be enough?
Jeff Howe (2:36 PM)
I think Maine is a better team than Vermont, and having home ice should help the Black Bears. But, Maine has lost five games at Alfond in nine league contests this season. This is a telling weekend for both clubs. A sweep would put either team in position to make a tournament run. I think 3-4 teams will make the NCAAs. UNH is a lock. BU looks like a lock. BC and Maine control their own destiny if they finish strong. Vermont will have to finish strong, and that starts this weekend. UVM is on the fringe right now in my mind.
Will we ever see the day of possibly a bigger national tournament? Teams like Sacred Heart are going to sneak into the tourney and solid teams will be left out. This doesn't seem right.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:39 PM)
The only way that we'll see a bigger national tournament is if there's a huge expansion in Division I programs. Somewhere like 10-12 programs. More than one-fourth of the current overall Division I participation currently qualifies for the tournament (16 out of 59) so I don't think bubble teams have much of a complaint if they don't make it in. You've just gotta be in the top 25 percent.
Nice to see Johnny Curry finally crack your top three hobey list! BU has had a really up and down season but Curry has been the glue and drive to all their succeses. If BU falters in the postseason, how realistic are Curry's chances of winning the hobey award?
Jeff Howe (2:41 PM)
It's tough for a goalie to win the award unless he is putting up near-historic numbers. The Hobey isn't necessarily an MVP award, which hurts Curry in that regard. I think he is the Hockey East MVP right now, hands down. He has an outside shot at the Hobey.
From the games i've seen this season, it looks like Michigan just doesn't have the intensity to beat Michigan State. What do you think about the UM vs MSU game on Saturday?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:45 PM)
Intensity is never a problem when Michigan and Michigan State play ... in any sport. These are the two hottest teams in the CCHA right now, and it should be a great one on Saturday night at the Joe. Wish I could be there! If it's a high-scoring game, it definitely favors Michigan, but if the Spartans can limit the chances for players like Hensick, Johnson, and Porter, it's better for the Spartans.
Drew (Denver, CO)
What will it take for the Gophers to finish strong in the regular season? What aspect of the Gophers game needs to be worked on the most?
Jess Myers (2:46 PM)
The answer for the Gophers is resoundingly simple -- don't choke. There are nine other WCHA teams (and a lot of the rest f the country) eagerly awaiting a Minnesota collapse like the one they saw last March. So play like you can play, don't panic and you'll be fine. As for what element of their game need the most work, they played shoddy defense versus North Dakota, which was costly. If that's better now, the Gophers are in good shape.
Thanks for taking my question. Do you think that it is realistic for Northeastern to jump into 4th by the end of the season, considering HE is so close, and the Huskies are only 5 points out of 4th currently? Thanks, love the chats!
Jeff Howe (2:47 PM)
I love the pride and optimism, Benny, but that question made me laugh. I see your point about being just five points out of fourth, but they would have to jump over Maine, UMass and BC for that to happen. NU only plays UMass down the stretch, which seriously hurts their ability to leapfrog that many teams. I will say this. Every coach in the league is scared of facing Northeastern in the first round of the playoffs. The Huskies play tough, and they are in just about every game they play. I like their chances in a tournament format, but I don't think they have a chance in the world at opening up at home.
Rik (Grand Rapids, MI)
I am a bit concerned that Michigan State may miss the tournament. They take 3 out of 4 points from UNO over the weekend, but yet fall from 8th to 13th in the latest RPI. First off, why did their RPI fall so much and do I really need to be worried that the #6 team in the country will not make the tournament? Thanks Much.
Mike Eidelbes (2:48 PM)
I wouldn't worry, Rik. Michigan State will be there in the end as long as the Spartans take care of business down the stretch. Even if they don't beat Michigan Saturday, I expect MSU to win no fewer than five of seven down the stretch, get a first-round CCHA playoff bye and advance to the league's Final Four in Detroit. That should be enough to get them in.
Mark, New Haven
Brandon Wong? sleeper Hobey? maybe next year?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:50 PM)
Definitely not this year, but he's been one of the most impressive freshmen in the country. He didn't arrive at Quinnipiac with tons of publicity, so it'll take some time for his name to get out to the masses.
Andrew (NY, NY)
Has there ever been a conference as deep in goaltending as Hockey East has been, especially this year. Curry, Fallon, Schneider, and Merrimack doesnt lose games because of Jim Healy.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:51 PM)
You're absolutely right that this is one of the deepest years that I've seen in any conference with goaltending quality. And you didn't even mention Jon Quick at UMass, Regan at UNH, who are both having excellent years.
Michigan Tech has made some major strides this year, do you see them continuing this upward trend in the next few years?
Jess Myers (2:52 PM)
Recruting is the key. I saw the Huskies last weekend and they're solid defensively, but their power play's inability to score consistently is what's kept them out of the top five so far. A lot of their best players are sophomores and freshmen, so I would say there's hope for the future.
what is wrong with cornell this year? too young??
Joe Gladziszewski (2:55 PM)
The argument about being too young doesn't fly anymore, since they're 20-plus games into the season. The lack of consistency is a concern, and that's not easy to fix. It usually means that everyone's not pulling in the same direction, and that's up to the guys in the dressing room to figure out. The inconsistent goaltending from Scrivens and Davenport hasn't helped.
Polish to Polish, I see St.Cloud state going the distance. Your thoughts?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:56 PM)
It would be a great story ... if that's the case, find me in St. Louis. We'll share a pierogi and discuss it then.
Boston College or Boston Universty?
Jeff Howe (2:58 PM)
I love the way the Terriers play defense, and John Curry is the best goalie in the league right now so I give that advantage to BU. I'd give the offensive nod to Boston College, though. It doesn't hurt that on any given night, Cory Schneider could make 50 saves while blindfolded. When the two teams split two weeks ago, the major difference each night was special teams. I see no reason for that not being the case again on Monday. When two teams that are so even play one another, it often comes down to the little things. Since it's the Beanpot, though, I've got to take BU winning 3-1.
Jeff, Cumberland RI
Joe, who wins the beanpot final on Monday?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:59 PM)
Jeff summed up what I was thinking too, and he'll be there covering the games on Monday night. I'll take BU in a close one ... overtime win for the Terriers, 3-2.
Tim (New York)
David Brown is the current Hobey lock, but its tough for a goalie to win it unless he's putting up historic numbers. Are Brown's numbers that historic?
Mike Eidelbes (2:59 PM)
That's a great question. Brown's numbers aren't historic, but Notre Dame is having its best season in school history and Brown is the key reason for that success. In ranking him as the top Hobey candidate to date, I argue that no player in the country is more important to his team's success than Brown is to the Irish.
Joe Gladziszewski (3:00 PM)
... I'd suggest John Curry is more important to his team's success, but that's a debate for a different day.
Joe Gladziszewski (3:01 PM)
That's all the time we have for questions, thanks for sending them in and be sure to read Inside College Hockey for the latest news, notes, and players to watch from around the nation.