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INCH Archive: Chats
Joe Gladziszewski (2:01 PM)
Hello and welcome to another college hockey chat at ESPN.com hosted by Inside College Hockey. It's an exciting time of the year when we get to break away from conference action ... holiday tournaments, non-league matchups, and the World Junior Championships will dominate our conversation today.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:02 PM)
I'll be taking your questions for the next 30 minutes.
Marty (St. Pete)
What do I need to know about the Lightning Classic this weekend? Looks like four good teams.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:05 PM)
It'll be a nice tournament with all four teams currently in the national rankings. Colorado College and Notre Dame have legitimate hopes for the Frozen Four and have had excellent regular seasons so far. For UMass and Rensselaer, they're kind of those teams that nobody wants to play. Dangerous on any given night, and certainly improving in recent seasons, but have lacked the consistency so far to be considered threats for the national championship.
Ed (Columbus, Ohio)
Take your pick of the holiday tournaments -- where would you like to go?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:08 PM)
For me ... either of the Florida tournaments. Both have excellent fields with intriguing storylines and there's the draw of playing some golf before hockey starts up each day. I think the most well-rounded tournament with the closest games might be in Madison at the Badger Showdown with a couple of surprising teams in Northeastern and Bowling Green along with a veteran Colgate squad and the host Badgers.
Pat (Hoboken, NJ )
Hello, I was wondering whats is going on with Northeastern Program..as an alumni..since we play in best conference..are we ever going to be decent?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:10 PM)
You'll get some arguments as to whether or not Hockey East is the best conference, and my stance is that the WCHA and CCHA (this season) are a little ahead of Hockey East. The Huskies are in first place at the break and are already worthy of being called "decent". Forward Joe Vitale and goalie Brad Thiessen are worth keeping an eye on.
Nick (Mason, Mich.)
If Red Berenson retires, will Michigan hire the coach of West Virginia's club team?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:11 PM)
The answer is trending toward yes. And I heard that the reason the football and basketball coaches from West Virginia took jobs at Michigan is because employees have a dental plan benefit at Michigan. But that's just something I heard ... haven't confirmed it yet.
Evan (Upstate NY)
What are the odds of the ECAC producing another national champion any time soon?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:13 PM)
The odds are long on that one, because right now there's not enough depth in strength at the top of the league standings. On a given year, one or two teams might be considered a long shot to even make the Frozen, whereas other leagues have as many as four or five teams with legitimate national title aspirations.
Pete (Martha's Vineyard)
What are the keys to watch for on the U.S. World Junior team? What will need to work for them to have success?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:16 PM)
Yesterday's 5-1 win over Kazhakhstan revealed the keys for the U.S. The first is balanced scoring, as five different players scored. This team is deep and skilled at the forward positions, and also on defense. The second key was that the States played better as the game wore on. Eliminating early jitters and getting better through the course of this tournament is key. The medals are awarded at the end of the tournament, not in the round-robin stage, so getting in position and playing well next weekend will be the key to success.
Really Hot Girl
So, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most awesome, how awesome is Jeff Howe? Is he like super awesome, around 15, or is he just totally wicked awesome, like around a billion? I'd say he's totally wicked awesome.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:18 PM)
Well, Hockey East writer Jeff Howe certainly is awesome, but his attention span toward college hockey has been a little compromised by NBA games so far this year. Make the decision for yourself on that.
Lots of talk about the tournaments but none about UNH-North Dakota ... what's going on there?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:21 PM)
Good question, and good call on this series flying under the radar a little bit. It's a good matchup of two teams that had high expectations. North Dakota was a favorite to make a Frozen Four appearance but haven't dominated the WCHA like many expected. We think they'll be fine in the long run and expect another second half run like last year. UNH started off with a pair of early-season wins over Colorado College. Without leading scorer James van Riemsdyk (away at World Jrs.) NoDak has to be considered the favorite to win these games on home ice.
Kyle (Grand Rapids, MI)
does Ohio State's program have a chance to make a run at the title this year?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:23 PM)
They can make a run at the Ohio Hockey Classic title this weekend at home, even though it's a very strong field with St. Cloud State, Miami, and Harvard in town. As far as the CCHA goes, they've got too many excellent teams to jump over to win the regular season, and with the strength of Michigan, Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Miami, it'll be tough for them to even get some wins in the postseason to make the NCAA Tournament.
What do you think some of the tougher arenas for opponents to play are? Orono back in the 90's was nuts, not sure what it's like now.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:26 PM)
Every league has its own leaders as far as difficult places to play. Maine and Vermont are up there in Hockey East, and Cornell in ECAC Hockey. For the CCHA, some of the smaller rinks are tougher than the larger, newer facilities ... the Lawson at Western Michigan has never been easy. Same goes with the National Hockey Center for St. Cloud State in the WCHA because of its atmosphere and the DECC in Duluth because of its ice surface and crowd hovering over the ice.
I know this doesn't entirely pertain to college hockey, but how do you feel about the "outdoor" hockey game gimmicks?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:28 PM)
It kind of does pertain to college hockey as Michigan State staged the first event of this magnitude several years ago when the Spartans hosted Michigan at Spartan Stadium. Wisconsin hosted Ohio State at Lambeau Field several years later. They're nice events and are memorable. We'd just prefer that they didn't become the norm. There are still many skeptics about the Frozen Four being played at Ford Field in Detroit in 2010. That being said, they should probably host a hockey game there as a rehearsal to discover and address any logistics problems. There has been talk of Michigan and Michigan State playing at Ford Field, perhaps in a doubleheader with the Detroit Red Wings.
Which college team is hurt most by World Juniors. Can they still win their holiday tournaments?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:30 PM)
Wisconsin is right up there, as three of the Badgers' top five scorers are at the WJC -- Kyle Turris from Canada and Blake Geoffrion and Jamie McBain for the U.S. Michigan has four players away that won't be available for the GLI, but their two best players are seniors. Both the Badgers and Wolverines can win their tournaments.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:31 PM)
That's all of the time we have for questions today. Thanks for submitting them and for reading Inside College Hockey. Four tournament previews are already posted, and five more will be online for Friday morning.