Chat about College Hockey
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INCH Archive: Chats
Joe Gladziszewski (2:03 PM)
Welcome back to another college hockey season. The Inside College Hockey staff will be here to chat every Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m. Thanks for stopping by today and we're excited to take your early-season questions.
Guys, breakdown the CCHA! I feel that NMU could be a darkhorse.
Mike Eidelbes (2:04 PM)
The league's coaches and media don't share that feeling, Travis, seeing as how both groups picked the Wildcats to finish in the bottom half of the CCHA standings. Walt Kyle has done a good job of attracting talent to Marquette, but they don't seem to grow as players once they get there. I think NMU will struggle again this year, especially without Mike Santorelli around. Miami, Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Michigan are the class of this league, and I think Nebraska-Omaha could surprise.
Scott (Waltham, MA)
How about my alma mater Clarkson? A lot of folks are expecting NCAA tourney wins, but I'm not sure that Freeman makes up for the loss of Weller. PLus, Mike Grenzy played a critical role on the blueline that I'm not sure can be replaced. Can you reassure me that my tickets to Denver won't go to waste?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:07 PM)
Last year was a huge year for Clarkson in terms of getting back into the national picture. This year will be a greater challenge because they'll need to sustain excellence and people will be extra-motivated to play against them. They were overwhelming favorites to win ECAC Hockey in the coaches' and media polls. They have a realistic shot at making it to the Frozen Four.
Nelly, Duluth MN
Does Minnesota Duluth have enough depth on their roster to return to the top have of the WCHA and make the NCAA Playoffs.
Jess Myers (2:08 PM)
Scott Sandelin has said the key for his squad will be how quickly they come together as a team. They have a few very good players with a ton of potential -- I'm thinking in particular of names like Michael Gergen and Alex Stalock -- but as far as depth, I don't see their third and fourth lines giving them enough for a top-five finish in the WCHA.
Dave, Storrs CT
How about some love for the Minutemen? Solid in Hockey East last year and made some NCAA noise....awesome recruiting class....are they really not a Top 20 team?
Jeff Howe (2:10 PM)
I strongly disagreed with the national preseason polls, so don't hold too much weight on UMass' non-ranking. Losing Jon Quick was a tough, tough blow for UMass, and the same goes for Matt Anderson, Chris Capraro, Mark Matheson, and Kevin Jarman. I like their defense, though, which should play well in front of Dan Meyers. I think UMass will finish in fourth again this year in Hockey East.
BK (Hamden, CT)
Who gets the job as the 3rd pair of defensemen for Quinnipiac? Shouldn't Bauer have to wear No. 24 on principle alone?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:14 PM)
Reid Cashman's graduation means that Quinnipiac's defensemen will need to pick up a lot of slack to account for the points, ice time, and leadership that Cashman brought to the defense corps. Four rookie blue-liners are on the Bobcats' roster and coach Rand Pecknold will be using the preseason and the early string of non-conference games to tinker with combinations and to find specific roles that best suit his new players. Veteran defenseman Matt Sorteberg will be very important early in the season.
Bubba (Wheat Ridge, CO)
Do the coaches have Colorado College ranked too high? And which, if any, local team will be at the Frozen Four in Denver?
Jess Myers (2:15 PM)
The Tigers' preseason ranking stems from the fact that they've got the bulk of their scoring back from last season, although Jimmy Kilpatrick won't be in uniform until November after having hip surgery. But, like many others in the WCHA, their long-term prospects for success will depend on how effective their goalies are. CC has scoring and untested goaltending. Denver has scoring and tested goaltending, so if I were to pick one Colorado team to make the Frozen, it would be the Denver Pioneers right now.
Who are your top 5 pre-season candidates for the Hobey Baker award. You have to have Kyle Okposo in there somewhere, right?
Mike Eidelbes (2:17 PM)
Since it's my top five, I could put Dario Franchitti in there if I wanted. But I won't. I'm gonna take three guys from last year -- North Dakota's Ryan Duncan, Miami's Nathan Davis, and Air Force's Eric Ehn -- along with North Dakota's T.J. Oshie and Clarkson's Nick Dodge.
How's Maine gonna be this year? Awesome or supremely awesome?
Jeff Howe (2:18 PM)
We'll go with the title of our favorite summer movie on this one: Superbad. The Black Bears lost a combined 205 points and seven of their top-10 scorers from a year ago. There's rebuilding going on with Tim Whitehead's 10-member freshman class.
Dusten (Madison, WI)
How much of an impact do you see Kyle Turris making early on at Wisconsin?
Jess Myers (2:19 PM)
The Badgers' offense was not very potent last season, which probably kept them out of the NCAA tournament, so I see them feeding the puck to Turris early and often. But like Phil Kessel a few years ago, there's no secret that this is the go-to guy even though he's a rookie, so Turris will draw plenty of defensive attention right from the start. I predict he'll lead Wisconsin in scoring, but with all of the other questions in Madison, I don't think that will be enough to get the Badgers playing in late March.
Guys, what are your thoughts on the 2-2 Referee/Linesman system? Do you think college should adopt the 2-2 permanently?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:22 PM)
I've never been a fan of a two-referee system at any level of hockey, but I understand its importance in the NHL. I think college hockey has done a spectacular job over the last three seasons of cracking down on obstruction, holding, and interference and the commissioners from all of the leagues should be applauded for helping move the game in that direction. Now that there's more flow and tempo, adding another person on the playing surface seems to congest things a little more. Look for a lot of breakout passes and clearing attempts to get tied up in officials' skates.
Wade (Fbx, AK)
What about my hometown Nanooks? New coaching staff (except Ferguson), and losing Greentree, Campbell, basically our top 5 scorers, is it going to be a long cold season here?
Mike Eidelbes (2:23 PM)
It would appear that way, but you can never really write off the Nanooks just because that trip to Fairbanks is such a bear for the rest of the teams in the CCHA. Losing Greentree hurts, obviously, but Dion Knelsen should have a breakout year, Tyler Eckford is an impact player on defense, and Wylie Rogers and Chad Johnson are solid in goal. New coach Doc DelCastillo has some tools to work with.
Bollie (hamilton, ny)
How about Colgate? They look like they're ready to make a move to me.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:25 PM)
They made a move last year, in the wrong direction. Everyone around the Colgate program was disappointed with how things turned out, especially after three straight 20-win seasons. There's enough talent for them to move back into the top four of ECAC Hockey. Goalie Mark Dekanich and forwards Tyler Burton and Jesse Winchester all appeared on preseason all-league teams.
Ron (Melrose, MN)
Is SCSU going to fall as far as has been predicted? Can the Huskies make it back to the NCAA tourney?
Jess Myers (2:26 PM)
I don't see as many dark clouds (pun intended) in St. Cloud as some others. They return two of the league's most exciting young scorers in Andreas Nodl and Ryan Lasch, and their goaltender, Jase Weslosky, was very good in limited duty last season. They'll fall out of the top three, but not out of the top five, which puts them solidly on the bubble for another crack at winning an NCAA tournament game.
How far do you think Michigan can go with 12 freshman?
Rebecca, Grand Rapids, MI
What do you think of Michigan and their 12 freshmen?
Mike Eidelbes (2:27 PM)
1) That's a lot of freshmen. 2) There are some really good players in that group -- Max Pacioretty, Aaron Palushaj, Kevin Quick. I'm most intrigued by Carl Hagelin, about whom I've heard really good things. 3) They didn't bring in anyone to replace the losses of Jack Johnson and Matt Hunwick on the blue line, and Billy Sauer is still the goalie.
How is BU ranked behind BC given BU's last 2 freshmen classes and BC losing Schneider. Isn't Gillespie/Bennett better than Muse?
Jeff Howe (2:28 PM)
BC's three junior forwards -- Gerbe, Bradford, and Ferriero -- are the three highest-scoring players returning to Hockey East this season. Muse is an obvious question mark, but he has garnered a ton of praise from coaches and scouts in the region. Regardless of how good Gillespie or Bennett might be this year, do you honestly expect them to top John Curry's production from last year? BU's biggest concern should be scoring goals, and the Terriers should be better in that regard this year. Heading into the season, though, BC is unquestionably a better team than BU.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:31 PM)
Thanks for all of the great questions. For complete previews of each conference, check out Inside College Hockey. We've already taken a look at College Hockey America, ECAC Hockey, and the CCHA. Tonight we'll post previews on the WCHA and Hockey East.