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INCH Archive: Chats
Joe Gladziszewski (1:59 PM)
Hello and welcome to Inside College Hockey's weekly chat here on SportsNation. We'll be taking your questions for the next 30 minutes.
Chris (Detroit, MI)
Michigan State rode goalie Jeff Lerg to a season-series victory over Michigan this season, the only team to do so. Will they be able to ride him into another deep tournament run, much like they did last year to win it all.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:02 PM)
Lerg's numbers are outstanding, and even though he doesn't have the gaudiest stats measured against other goalies this season, they're very strong. His reputation, which was earned last spring, is that he's a big-game goalie evidenced by last year's national title and wins against Michigan this year. The Spartans should feel confident throughout the CCHAs and NCAAs with Jeff Lerg starting in net.
Jeff: Hamden CT
With Quinnipiac slumpping at a bad time, is there only hope for the NCAA's now a conference tournament victory?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:04 PM)
They haven't done themselves any favors over the last few weeks, and the best chance for them to make the NCAAs is by winning the ECAC Hockey championship. If they were to win out this weekend, and get three more wins in the playoffs there would still be a chance for an at-large bid, but that largely depends on what happens around the rest of the country.
Landon, Littleton, CO
I was wondering if you had any insight into the success the Fighting Sioux have had finishing the regular season the past two seasons? Which include: Since Jan 1st in 2008: 12-1-1 with a 13 game unbeaten streak and counting. In 2007 after Jan 1st: 10-2-5 with an 11 game unbeaten streak! Their success has also come while playing in the toughest conference in the nation! Thanks for the thoughts.
Jess Myers (2:06 PM)
There are two ways to look at it: Either praise them for playing great after New Year's Day, or question why (with the same players) it takes the Sioux half the season to get things going. Last season there was a team meeting during which the players challenged each other to play better, and the result was a trip to the Frozen Four. This year, even in the midst of all those splits early in the season, coach Dave Hakstol knew they weren't far away from putting it all together, and when they did finally click, it was to be expected. In any case, they're better off with late-season surges than conference rivals like Denver and Alaska Anchorage, who have had late-season struggles in recent years.
Ric (Edison NJ)
Do you think Princeton can win the conference outright this weekend?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:09 PM)
Can they? Of course. It's going to take a win on Friday night and potentially another on Saturday night at Clarkson and St. Lawrence. It's one of the toughest road trips in the league, so getting four points won't be easy. This Princeton team takes things one day at a time and goes into the weekend with a "just another game" mentality, so they're not putting any outside pressure on themselves regarding the league title.
Ryan (Grand Forks, ND)
What role does the Fighting Sioux's schedule (toughest in the country according to KRACH) play in J.P.L.'s chance for the Hobey?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:13 PM)
Strength of schedule doesn't play a huge role in evaluating Hobey candidates, at least in my consideration. Of course North Dakota's second-half surge and Lamoureux's strong play have an impact. One of the most impressive stats to me with J-P was a string of 55 consecutive starts. That means he's reliable, consistent, and has earned the trust of his teammates and coaching staff.
Andrew: (Milwaukee, WI):
Minnesota's offense erupted for 8 goals this past weekend against Wisconsin. Do you think that this previously anemic (at best) offense has turned a corner? Also do you think the Gophers might be able to do some postseason damage playing like this?
Jess Myers (2:14 PM)
With the caveat that the Gophers will probably score a few more goals this weekend versus an Alaska Anchorage team that is struggling, I don't see the Gophers being sound enough offensively (or defensively) yet, and would be hard-pressed to predict postseason damage.
Jeff: Boston Ma
When will the NCAA tourney expand beyond 16 teams? I think there are enough good teams to make it larger now, your thoughts?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:17 PM)
It's not going to happen. Sixteen NCAA spots in a sport with a Diivision I membership of 58 or 59 teams is a generous allocation as it is. For the teams that are on the outside looking in, play better during the regular season. I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing that a third or fourth place team in a given league is on the wrong side of the tournament selection. It's an indication that the best teams are truly competing for the title.
Tim (St. Paul MN)
Do you think some of the higher profile teams in the nation will alter their recruiting strategy based on players leaving earlier and sometimes in season? Will they avoid some of the high draft picks to try and get solid players who will play four years?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:20 PM)
It's an interesting dilemma and one that I've thought about quite a bit. It's unlikely that coaches will change their philosophy because in essence they're admitting that they don't want the best players wearing their team's uniform. One or two years of a Jack Skille, Teddy Purcell, or Erik Johnson is definitely a good thing for your program, not a bad thing.
Mike Vittum (Boston, MA)
Does New Hampshire have what it takes to go all the way? Hockey East has been weak this year, will that hurt them when playing the tough WCHA and CCHA teams?
Jeff Howe (2:21 PM)
With some reservation, I say yes, they do have what it takes to win a title. Kevin Regan has been playing phenomenal in net and could be the most underrated goalie in the country, and they've got three very good scoring lines. But this isn't the first time anyone has said that about UNH.
Jack, Madison, WI
I saw the Badgers were out of your tournament bracket. How do you have the Gophers in and the Badgers out as of right now?
Mike Eidelbes (2:24 PM)
The weekly 4x4 projection is not based on how the computer rankings stand today, but how we think they'll look once the league tournaments are completed. And despite the Gophers' well-documented struggles, I like their chances of winning at least three of their last four games (at UAA, vs. UMD) and getting into the WCHA playoffs on a little bit of a roll. I'm not so high on Wisconsin's chances at St. Cloud State this weekend, however. The Badgers' goaltending has been muy sketchy, and the Huskies are finding the net.
Marty, Lansing, MI
What team seems to be under the radar this season as we get closer to the Tournament? Do you see a team that could do what Michigan State did last year?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:27 PM)
Strangely enough, three of those teams might end up as No. 1 seeds when it's time for the tournament. I don't get the sense that New Hampshire, Colorado College, or Miami is getting enough buzz nationally. UNH and CC have both been steady and consistent and have run out to strong regular seasons. Miami hasn't been its best lately, but is very dangerous. I don't think there are any teams interested in playing them.
Joe: Hamden Ct
HOw many ECAC teams go to the dance? Is the ECAC under rated?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:29 PM)
Depending on how things shake down in the league tournament, it's probably a two-team year for ECAC Hockey in the NCAAs. Clarkson will make it in as an at-large if they don't win the ECAC Hockey automatic qualifier. Princeton also has a shot, as does Quinnipiac. But there are as many as five teams that I think have a shot to win the ECAC Hockey tournament, so it will be exciting.
How much more do you think Michigan State needs to do to solidify their birth in the NCAA tournament? And realistically how far up the pairwise can they go?
Mike Eidelbes (2:31 PM)
I think they're in now regardless of what happens against Bowling Green this weekend or in the CCHA quarterfinal series the weekend of March 14, and the Spartans are looking at no better than a No. 2 seed. MSU could pass Denver, but the likelihood of moving past Miami and North Dakota is slim based on the head-to-head advantage those teams have over the Spartans.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:32 PM)
Thanks for the questions. That's all of the time we have for this afternoon. Enjoy the end of the regular season in two leagues, and the chase for trophies around the nation. We'll be back next Thursday.