Chat about College Hockey
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INCH Archive: Chats
Buzzmaster (1:46 PM)
Our Inside College Hockey gang will be here at the top of the hour to take your questions. Get them in NOW!
Joe Gladziszewski (1:59 PM)
It's time to talk college hockey once again, as the playoffs are set to begin in the CCHA, Atlantic Hockey, and ECAC Hockey. The WCHA, Hockey East, and CHA wrap up the regular season this weekend. Our writers will take your questions.
Luke (Candor, NY)
Who is your darkhorse ECAC Tournament champion, what will be the biggest upset in the tournament, and why?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:03 PM)
If asked to choose a darkhorse for the ECAC Hockey tournament, I'll have to take Colgate. They've got excellent goaltending, veteran leadership, and two dynamic offensive players in Jesse Winchester and Tyler Burton. If they get hot in the next three weeks, they could definitely win this thing. For the biggest upset, it's hard to say right now because we won't know the quarterfinal matchups until after this weekend. I'm a little worried about Princeton. Even though they're the second seed, they lost their last two games in the regular season and haven't had a good playoff history in recent seasons.
Chris (Detroit, MI)
With the loss of the hockey program at Wayne State and recent controversy over the ".500 rule" is it possible that we will see a restructuring of the NCAA tournament soon, perhaps back to 12 teams?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:05 PM)
I don't think we'll see the tournament field reduced to 12 teams again, unless membership dips down around 52-54 teams. There's also the eternal hope for more programs to join the ranks of Division I college hockey.
ACM in Rockford, MI
After posting an 8-0 record in our last 2 NCAA appearances Denver fans are anxious for a return to the tourney. Is an at-large bid for the Pios a lock?
Mike Eidelbes (2:07 PM)
Yeah, the Pioneers are in. The last couple of years, they've been on the bubble heading into the WCHA playoffs and lost their first-round series. But they're not in a must-win position now, and I think they'll split with Colorado College this weekend. DU is an interesting team -- they've dealt with a lot of adversity in the second half of the season, but seem to have emerged no worse for wear.
Yelo -- ND
UND/Sioux are playing some pretty good hockey right now. Their style of play is starting to look very old school. Good defense, great goal-tending and plenty of penalty minutes. Of course this is typical WCHA hockey. How do you think this style compares to the rest of the country and does this style of play help or hinder their chances of a national title?
Jess Myers (2:09 PM)
The physical play works if you're able to kill the inevitable penalties you're going to get as a result. Thus far, the Sioux (14-0-1 since Jan. 4) have shown that ability, so there's no reason to change what's working. This is clearly a different style than what you see from many other teams, and it will be interesting to see how they'll fare with non-WCHA officials calling their games, but based on talent, I'd say the Sioux are one of about four teams with legitimate NCAA title hopes.
Justin, Stillwater, MN
Looking at this weekend in the WCHA with big home-ice implications, who do you think will grab the 4 and 5 spots for the last two home-ice playoff series?
Jess Myers (2:10 PM)
I'd say that Minnesota State is a good bet for the fourth spot, needing only a home tie to move ahead of Wisconsin. The odds are longer for St. Cloud State, which needs a win at red-hot North Dakota to get home ices. But I was impressed by what I saw of the Huskies last weekend, and think they'll be able to win one versus the slightly banged-up Sioux. So in my opinion, pencil the Mavericks and Huskies in for fourth and fifth.
Ron Pittsburgh, PA
Does Robert Morris forward Ryan Cruthers have any chance at being a Hobey Baker final 10 guy?
Mike Eidelbes (2:12 PM)
Absolutely. In fact, he's one of the few forwards whose name you can write on your Hobey list in permanent ink. It hasn't been a banner year for forwards (or defensemen) stepping to the fore in the Hobey race -- Cruthers, along with Michigan's Kevin Porter, Boston College's Nate Gerbe, and Miami's Ryan Jones, are the best bets for top 10 status among non-goalies.
Crew (Ann Arbor)
It always seems like the College Hockey Polls are so fickle every year. Not that the ranking really matter all that much like football but I just found it funny that Michigan lost to Ferris at Ferris the night after they clinched the CCHA and Red put in Hogan in goal to give Sauer a break and they dropped in the polls because of the loss. What are your thoughts?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:16 PM)
Most people generally subscribe to the "what have you done for me lately" motto, and that's why North Dakota has moved to the number one spot and Michigan has fallen out of it. It's not just last weekend and a road start for the backup goalie. It's more that North Dakota has a 15-game unbeaten streak and Michigan is 5-3-4 in its last 12 games.
Matt, Duluth MN
If the season were to end today, would you care if a team like Minnesota Duluth with a below .500 record was going to make the tournament?
Jess Myers (2:18 PM)
Call me old school, but I think that winning more games than you lose should be a bare-minimum standard to get into that final field of 16. But since we've put so much emphasis on a computer program when it comes to picking the field, I guess that's where we are. As for the particular case of the Bulldogs, they didn't get an invite in 2003 when they were the hottest team in the country for the last month of the season, so maybe it would be cosmic justice if they got an invite this year after going three consecutive games without a goal in February.
Mark, Burnsville, MN
Do the recent injuries the Sioux have suffered hurt their title hopes or do you believe they will keep rolling?
Jess Myers (2:19 PM)
Taking players the caliber of Evan Trupp and Colby Genoway out of any lineup would hurt. But the presence of players like Robbie Bina and Taylor Chorney on the Sioux blue line will certainly help cushion the blow. They are still a very good team and perhaps the most talented team in the country, but those are big losses.
Mojo (Marquette, Michigan)
Whose the most dangerous team in the CCHA outside of the Top 4. Which if any will advance to The Joe?
Mike Eidelbes (2:21 PM)
I think all of the four teams hosting first-round series this weekend -- Ferris State, Northern Michigan, Nebraska-Omaha, and Bowling Green -- are dangerous. FSU and NMU strike me as the most capable of pulling the upset, Ferris because they're playing with a lot of confidence (wins over Michigan, Miami, and Notre Dame) and their style of hockey is conducive to playoff success. Northern, too, has played its best hockey of the season during the last six weeks and has been scoring a lot of goals as of late. Another factor working in favor of the Bulldogs and Wildcats is that, if the top four seeds win this weekend, Ferris travels to Notre Dame and NMU heads to Michigan State for quarterfinal series. In both cases, the underdogs handled the favorites when they met in the regular season.
Is it possible that the WCHA gets 8 teams in to the NCAA playoffs? Minnesota-Duluth has a strong pairwise ranking despite its sub-500 record, and I think Wisconsin will win its series in the first round of the WCHA playoffs.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:22 PM)
It's possible, but unlikely. They'll be playing against one another, which means that the winning teams will move up and the losing teams will move down, so what we'll see is a division of those 4-5 teams near the tournament bubble.
Jeff: Hamden CT
What can be attributed to Quinnipiac's awful finish? Are they that bad or were they never as good as people may have thought?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:25 PM)
Attribution would only be speculation, but I think Quinnipiac is a good team that has hit an awful slump at the wrong time. When things go drastically wrong, it's not usually just a single factor that you can point to, it's a combination of things. The start of the playoffs brings a new energy and attitude, maybe they can turn things around.
In your opinion, are the bubble teams like Notre dame better then those lower tear WCHA teams that have a really strong RPI. or do you think those bubble teams would be worse in the WCHA??
Mike Eidelbes (2:26 PM)
I don't pretend to be an expert on the permutations of the computer rankings, but I think the books get cooked a tad in the favor of the WCHA teams bacause of the strength of schedule stuff. Despite their recent struggles, Notre Dame is a darn good team. If the Fighting Irish were in the WCHA, I think they'd finish fourth or fifth -- certainly ahead of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Minnesota Duluth and possibly ahead of Minnesota State and/or St. Cloud State.
Gus, Old Tappan, NJ
Can Clarkson compete with the elite programs in other conferences or are they just the best ECAC team?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:28 PM)
At this point, I think the biggest obstacle to Clarkson competing with elite teams might be Clarkson's mentality. It's a matter of belief. They'll need great leadership and confidence to get the job done in the NCAAs. Wins over Boston College and St. Cloud State show that they are capable of making a run. Being swept at Colorado College can't be good for the Golden Knights' confidence.
How are the Fighting Irish looking as the season hits the final kick?
Mike Eidelbes (2:30 PM)
Not so good, based on the recent stretch during which they compiled a 2-3-3 record against the league's fifth- , ninth- , 11th- , and 12th-place teams -- and five of those eight games were at home. Notre Dame has forgotten how to score, it seems. The team that scored 3+ goals 16 times in 20 games before Jan. 1 has done it just four times in 16 games since.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:31 PM)
That's all of the time we have for chats today. Thanks for the questions and enjoy this weekend's games.