Chat: Inside College Hockey
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INCH Archive: Chats
Mike Eidelbes (2:30 PM)
Hello, everyone. Though we're in the midst of a week off and waiting patiently for the Frozen Four, we've got a ton of questions. Let's get moving ...
Dave Menomonie, WI
I see players starting to bolt for the pros already. Do you see Erik Johnson joining the Blues or will he stay at Minnesota one more year?
Mike Eidelbes (2:32 PM)
I think Erik Johnson will stay another year and gain some confidence playing college hockey. He had a very good year, but there's also room for improvement.
What is the reasoning behind not playing the Frozen Four this weekend? I was watching all last weekend and am looking forward to the games, but now I have to wait for another 2 weeks. I think this hurts casual fans like myself who aren't too familiar with the teams/players get into college hockey, do you agree?
Mike Eidelbes (2:34 PM)
Bob, the NCAA doesn't want the Frozen Four to butt heads with basketball's Final Fours this weekend, hence the week off. I, for one, like it. I think it's easier for fans to make travel plans to attend the Frozen Four if their teams make it, too.
Luke(grand Forks ND)
In light of Jack Johnson formerly of Michigan making his debut tonight. How many players in the frozen four could be on an NHL roster right now had they lost in regionals?
Mike Eidelbes (2:36 PM)
North Dakota forward Jonathan Toews (Chicago draft pick) is one, for sure, and I think you could put BC's Brian Boyle (a Kings pick) on that list. There are other first-round picks playing in the Frozen Four -- North Dakota's Brian Lee (Ottawa) and BC's Cory Schneider (Vancouver) among them -- but I don't think they'd make the jump right to the NHL.
But Mike, doesn't kill all momentum that a team might have built from winning both the Regional games? Seems like with a week and a half off, teams are more likely to be rusty, and hence not the best quality hockey, right?
Mike Eidelbes (2:39 PM)
That's a good point. My hunch is that the coaches appreciate the extra time off at this time of year to let bumps and bruises heal -- Maine goalie Ben Bishop's groin, for example -- and bask in the regional victory for a little bit before focusing on the Frozen Four.
2 things, What was your opinion on the goal that was waived off in the ND/MN game. Seemed like a lot of quick whistles in both of th Gopher games. They still played aweful. Also I thought Erik Johnson was pretty much gone according to his interview w/ bucci.
Mike Eidelbes (2:41 PM)
The goal Kyle refers to is a second-period shot from the point by Mike Vannelli that was waved off because Blake Wheeler interfered with the goalie ... at least that was the explanation. It's an extremely tough call, but in that situation, I think the referee made the right decision. Better to err on the side of caution with so much on the line.
Mike Eidelbes (2:42 PM)
After the Johnson's conversation with Bucci generated some rumblings, Johnson backed off some of the statements. I think he could go, but my opinion is that he'd be better served with another year at Minnesota.
Steve (St. Louis)
Is there any goalie you'd rather have than Cory Schneider? This kid looks awesome. How was he not a top 10 Hobey finalist? It boggles my mind.
Mike Eidelbes (2:44 PM)
Marty Brodeur? Schneider looked like he was in complete control last weekend, much like he did when BC almost won the national championship last year. I think he's the main reason the Eagles head into the Frozen Four as the favorite.
I know you guys did a feature on the best jerseys in college hockey a while back. Can I get an opinion on the pants that Air Force wears with the lightning bolt down the sides. I'm on the fence about this but I think I like it.
Mike Eidelbes (2:45 PM)
Love the bolts on the side of the Air Force pants! Very cool.
Nick (Kalamazoo, Mi)
I'm still trying to figure out how T.J. Hensick was left off the Hobey finalist list....
Mike Eidelbes (2:47 PM)
Nick, the Hobey voters submitted their ballots earlier this week. I'm no longer a voter, but I'm fairly certain that Hensick taking a 10-minute misconduct against North Dakota Saturday hurt his chances immensely. A Hobey Baker candidate doesn't miss half of the third period of the biggest game of the season for chirping at the official.
Mike P (Boston)
Where does BC-North Dakota rank in your estimation of college hockey rivalries? It seems like one is knocking the other off in the playoffs every year. Why don't they play more in the regular season?
Mike Eidelbes (2:49 PM)
I like this question. I'm a huge fan of these intersectional games. Maine and North Dakota are among the most aggressive teams in the nation in terms of scheduling non-conference opponents. NoDak, for example, is going to Cornell in a couple of years. BC and Notre Dame have developed a pretty good rivalry over the past few years.
Pat, Grand Forks, ND
Do you think Ryan Duncan will win the Hobey this year? or will he be passed over for David Brown like Jeff Panzer was for Ryan Miller was in 2001
Mike Eidelbes (2:50 PM)
If you're going to be passed over for the Hobey, it may as well be by the second-best college goalie in history behind Ken Dryden.
Mike Eidelbes (2:52 PM)
I'm really torn between Brown and Duncan. Right now, I'd give Brown the edge because Notre Dame came out of nowhere to have a phenomenal season and he was the primary reason for that success.
Peter Puck, Boston
Was wondering your thoughts on how Hakstol handled the "off-ice" problems early this season. The team seemed to take off after the incident but I cant help but wonder that the punishment would have been much different if it happened at either BC or BU...
Mike Eidelbes (2:55 PM)
Hakstol told a reporter last month that the punishment of Toews, Oshie, and Bina was taken care of internally, and I have no reason to believe that it wasn't. Coaches can discipline players and hold them accountable without making a public show of it. Hakstol chose to keep the punishment a private matter, and I respect that decision.
Ellis (Colo. Springs)
Why can't Ehn get it? Here's a kid who excelled at hockey, albeit in a weak conference, who has an exemplary record as an Air Force cadet. I think voters are dying to give it to a kid like this. I think it would be un-American to vote for Brown or Duncan with Ehn in the picture!
Mike Eidelbes (2:57 PM)
I think Ehn could win. Hey, he's one of the three finalists. I'd vote for Brown, however.
John (Lansing, Michigan)
It seems like everyone is overlooking MSU in the Frozen Four. Can they surprise everyone and win it all?
Mike Eidelbes (2:59 PM)
I think MSU gets overlooked because they don't have the big-name players of a North Dakota or a Boston College, and because they ended the regular season by struggling mightily. I think if Sparty is to get past Maine, they'll rely heavily on the goaltending of Jeff Lerg, and they'll have to keep Maine's power play off the ice.
What was your favorite game of the first weekend?
Mike Eidelbes (3:00 PM)
Minnesota-North Dakota. Only because I was there.
Who do you like to win it all? I joined late. Sorry if you answered this all ready.
Mike Eidelbes (3:01 PM)
Saving it for last, Ryan. I'm going to take Maine over Michigan State in one semifinal and Boston College beating North Dakota in overtime in the second game. BC wins the championship -- Cory Schneider is the MVP.
Mike Eidelbes (3:01 PM)
That's all the time we've got. Thanks for the questions. We'll chat from St. Louis multiple times next week.