Chat about College Hockey
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INCH Archive: Chats
Joe Gladziszewski (2:01 PM)
Welcome to Inside College Hockey's weekly chat on ESPN.com. The regular season is winding down. League titles are at stake and teams are jockeying for position in the race for NCAA Tournament selection. INCH writers are on hand to take your questions this afternoon.
Matt (Boston, MA)
Northeastern has been on a windy road lately with being hosed at the beanpot last monday and then coming out strong on friday against UMass, which was followed by a weak performance the following night in Amherst. How do you see the Huskies finishing the season being that they have 6 games left: BU, Lowell, and BC.
Jeff Howe (2:02 PM)
I am definitely worried about the Huskies. They aren't getting consistent play in net from Brad Thiessen, and he's their most important player in their run toward success. I don't see NU clinching a home-ice slot, but they're still a dangerous team in a playoff format with their physicality.
Justin H (Denver, CO)
Was DU's loss on Friday to ND a result of sloppy play at the end on the 2nd period? Was that the nail in the coffin? How can they rebound?
Jess Myers (2:05 PM)
It's tough for me to point to one factor in the loss, having not seen the game. For the Pioneers as they stand right now, the biggest factors seem to be the sudden loss of two key sources of offense, with Brock Trotter gone and Tyler Ruegsegger out with a stomach injury for the past few weeks. You simply can't take that much offense out of the lineup and expect to be the same team. As far as rebounding, they have to make the most of this opportunity to get four points at home versus the WCHA's 10th-place team (Alaska Anchorage) this weekend, not only to stay solidly in the top half of the league standings, but to send a message about their playoff viability.
Mark Deckinich has put on quite the display over the past 3-4 games. Turning away 91 of 92 shots and has an ongoing scoreless streak of 3 games and an OT. He gets two powerful offenses in Princeton and QU this weekend. What are his chances of continuing the hotstreak?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:09 PM)
Dekanich getting hot at this late point in the season is great news for the Raiders. They've got some momentum, and their best players are veterans who were a part of some very successful teams in the past. I think it all starts with Dekanich. If he continues to play well, this will be a very dangerous team in the ECAC Hockey playoffs.
I am curious about Gerbe's chances for the Hobey Baker. I saw Lowell shut him down Friday and Sat, with him taking a dumb 10 minute misconduct, Does this hurt his chances, or is it a popularity contest, with the most votes win?
Jeff Howe (2:11 PM)
I could tell you a million things about Gerbe's Hobey chances right now, but I'm going to have to wait on that and tell you to read my Hockey East notebook tomorrow, which will give that subject a very in-depth look.
Jeremy: East Lansing
With Michigan State and Michigan meeting this week in a huge series. What do you think there chances are of possibly meeting in the CCHA playoffs and even the NCAA tourny?
Mike Eidelbes (2:12 PM)
Uh, yes? There are a lot of factors at play here, but it wouldn't be a shock to see Michigan and Michigan State meet up in the CCHA championship game or at some point in the NCAA tournament. Of course, the last factor depends on seeding and such; still, both teams are good enough to advance to the Frozen Four. Say hi to the good people at Crunchy's for us.
Luke (Hamden CT)
With the top four Clarkson, Quinnipiac and Princeton not really seperating themselves from the pack and Cornell rising in the ranks, is it possible that the only bid coming out of ECAC will be the auto bid for the tourny winner?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:15 PM)
It is possible, but if any of the top three teams you mentioned really plays well over their next three weekends they have a great chance to move up. With four regular-season games left, plus two potential wins in a playoff quarterfinal, these teams could all move over or near the 20-win mark for the season, which has been a pretty good mark to judge NCAA at-large teams in the past. If these teams, make it to Albany and win a semifinal game there, they'll be in decent shape for an at-large bid.
The Minnesota State Mavericks are on a roll. How do you like their chances of making the NCAA tournament this year?
Jess Myers (2:17 PM)
I think they have an outstanding chance of making the NCAA field, barring a collapse in the next few weeks. They are playing outstanding defense, which is a fundamental shift from the normal "run and gun" style we got used to seeing with Troy Jutting behind the bench. And it's a great testament to the coach and his ability to adjust his coaching style to fit the players he has. Amazing to think that a year ago there was plenty of talk about Jutting's contract and whether he'd be out of a job, and now he's got his team playing like a legit final 16 squad.
Chris - Portsmouth, England
Since Kyle Okposo's much talked about exodus there has been a growing concern within hockey circles that this is a major problem. Has college hockey and the NCAA done anything yet to alleviate the early and mid-season departures from college hockey? Also, go UMD Bulldogs!
Mike Eidelbes (2:19 PM)
The commissioners of the six leagues met with NHL GMs at the latter group's recently completed winter meetings in Florida to open the lines of communication. The NHL has also said it will put together a committee to explore the current relationship between itself and the college game. I'm not sure what can be done to keep kids from leaving their teams during the season, but I think college hockey and the NCAA need to address the role of the family advisor -- better known as an agent -- and the relationship current NCAA rules allow them to have with players.
bcuster mishawaka indiana
maybe i shouldn't have as surprised as i was at ferris state's sweep of miami after the bulldogs gave notre dame all thewy could handle the weekend before. what's your view? also, how far do you see the irish going in the ccha playoffs and beyond? thanks
Mike Eidelbes (2:20 PM)
Curious team, that Notre Dame. I think the Irish overachieved just a bit in the first half of the year when they got out to a 17-5-0 start. They're 4-5-3 in the second half, and they've had trouble scoring during that time. ND is a very young team -- just four seniors play regularly. For a team breaking in an untested goalie and a lot of rookies, they've done pretty well overall. They'll have a tough quarterfinal match in the CCHA playoffs as the likely no. 4 seed, but they're pretty good at home. The Irish will get to the Joe and earn a no. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament, but I see them losing early in both cases.
Jeff: Hamden CT
What does Quinnipiac need to do to try and jump back into an at large bid or is the ECAC Championship their only hope?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:23 PM)
The Bobcats need to start playing with more consistency. It seems like every time they start to get on a roll this season, they take a step back and progress they've made disappears. Absolutely, Quinnipiac is one of the most talented teams in the league, and they've narrowly missed the NCAAs the last couple of years. As stated earlier, if they hold on to second or third in the regular season standings, get to Albany and win a game there, I think they make it in.
John (Oxford, Oh)
Would you attribute Miami's meltdown to a chemistry problem with the return of Nathan Davis, or to the loss of Carter Camper, or to another factor?
Mike Eidelbes (2:26 PM)
Losing Camper, who has arguably been Miami's best player in the second half of the season, hurt, as did weaving Davis into the lineup after missing all but a handful of games this season with an injury. After talking to coach Enrico Blasi after Saturday's loss at Ferris State, however, I think the real reason is that the RedHawks were due to stumble. Every team has to navigate rough waters at some point during the season; Miami's just doing so at a time when few teams experience struggles. Like we noted in this week's Power Rankings, Michigan State ended the 2006-07 regular season by going 1-4-1 in the last six games. No one remembered that in April, however. Miami is the most talented team in the nation; they'll bounce back.
Dom Hennig, Macomb, Mi
What do you think about Ferris State after the sweep of Miami. (#2 in the nation) How do you think they will do against Bowling Green State University this weekend, since both teams are TIED for 6th in the CCHA. AND against michigan? Predictions?
Mike Eidelbes (2:29 PM)
Ferris is one of those back-a-lunch teams, because regardless of how good or bad things are going, they're going to make you claw and scratch and battle for everything you earn. It's not just being physically tough, but mentally tough as well, because you're going to get whacked, thumped, and banged around ... the key is not retaliating. That said, the Bulldogs are a hard team to decipher. Sure, they won the season series with Notre Dame and swept Miami, but they were also swept by Lake Superior State and lost and tied with Western Michigan. I think they'll split with both BGSU and Michigan, assuming the Wolverines won't really have anything to play for in that last series of the regular season.
Patrick (Pittsburgh, PA)
Do you think that if Robert Morris can win the CHA tournament? And if they do could you see them pulling a possible first round upset?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:32 PM)
I absolutely think that Robert Morris can win the CHA Tournament. They've got talent and they've shown that they can be competitive with the other top two teams in the conference, with splits against Niagara and Bemidji State. Whichever one of those teams comes out of that tournament definitely has enough to pull an upset in the first round of the NCAAs, but don't expect any more looking past low seeds by top seeds after what we've seen in the past.
Joe, Cubicle Hell
Can Northern Michigan and its young players make a run through the CCHA and get the auto bid? They sure seem to be playing real well right now.
Mike Eidelbes (2:34 PM)
NMU has been pretty good over the past month -- and actually, they're a respectable 12-8-3 after starting the year by losing eight of their first nine. Still, it'd be pretty tough for the Wildcats to run the table, especially because they still have trouble scoring goals at times. It wouldn't be a shock to see them pull an upset in the league quarterfinals. This team, by the way, should challenge for a top-four position in the conference race next season.
jason (s.portland, me)
Who gets the best of the UNH/BC home and home this weekend?
Jeff Howe (2:35 PM)
With the way Kevin Regan is playing, I'd give the nod to UNH, but if I had to make a prediction, I'd say each team wins on its home ice.
Justin, Stillwater, MN
Do you think this is a must-win/playoff type series for the Gophers, who take on Wisconsin this weekend?
Jess Myers (2:37 PM)
When you're 1-4-5 in your past 10 outings, every game is a must-win. But honestly, Minnesota is not going to finish in the top half of the league standings, so they're playing primarily for pride (it still means a lot to beat the Badgers) and for playoff position. If the playoffs started today, the Gophers would be going to North Dakota. With the way the Sioux are playing, that's a place you don't want to go right now. Alternately, I'd say that this weekend is a must-win for Wisconsin if the Badgers want to stay in position to have home playoff games.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:38 PM)
Also if the playoffs started today, I'd be sad. Because we'd miss three more weeks of hockey. And five ties in their last nine games? What are the Gophers doing? Trying out for Hockey East?
Trevor (Fargo, ND)
How is the rest of the college hockey community reacting to the fights/wrestling matches that North Dakota has gotten into versus Minnesota and Denver?
Jess Myers (2:40 PM)
Well, the Sioux have always been the target of opposing fans ire because they're good, so it's not like they were lovable underdogs before the recent spate of on- and off-ice ugliness started. In speaking with WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod yesterday, he said he spoke to NoDak coach Dave Hakstol this week and the coach gave assurances that he'd be speaking to the players about their style of play. McLeod said his bigger concern is a general atmosphere of coaches, players and fans rhetoric toward the officials heating up, an increase in fighting, and a general increase in on-ice thuggery. He vowed that's going to change, not just for one team but for all 10.
Mike: (Holt, MI)
So i saw you talking a little about Michigan State and Michigan but what's your take on the series this weekend? It could provide huge momentum for either team, but a sweep by Michigan State could make things very interesting in the next few weeks in the CCHA. Your Take?
Mike Eidelbes (2:42 PM)
You're right, Mike. Everyone assumes Michigan will waltz to the CCHA regular-season title after drinking Miami's milkshake in Oxford earlier this month. But the Spartans outplayed the Wolverines when the two teams met last month, and we don't know how the absence of Chad Kolarik will affect the Wolverines. A sweep would put MSU in line for not only a CCHA regular-season crown, but a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament as well.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:47 PM)
Thanks for the great questions. We'll be back next week at 2 p.m.