Chat about College Hockey
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INCH Archive: Chats
Joe Gladziszewski (5:06 PM)
Welcome to the Frozen Four! The Inside College Hockey staff is here at the Pepsi Center getting ready for tonight's two semifinal games.
Joe Gladziszewski (5:08 PM)
We'll be taking your questions right up until face off for the 6 p.m. ET semifinal between Boston College and North Dakota. The second semifinal will match Notre Dame and Michigan.
Kenny (Chelmsford, Mass)
North Dakota has a bigger team than BC. Can BC's forwards generate chances with their quickness?
Joe Gladziszewski (5:13 PM)
The early game should be played at a very high pace and should be exciting. I'm not really worried about BC's smaller forwards because they have been facing bigger teams all season and it's obviously worked out. They were still dangerous against Miami in the regional final and explosive at the end of the second period.
Michigan is the best team, but the best team doesn't always win. How about tonight against Notre Dame?
Joe Gladziszewski (5:14 PM)
Clearly Michigan is favored. They're the number one team and won both regular season meetings against the Irish. The most important thing, in my opinion, for the Wolverines tonight is that they get off to a good start and take an early lead. The longer that Notre Dame hangs around, they'll gain more confidence and can pull the upset.
George: Palo Alto, CA
Hi Joe, Hobey Baker Preview: does Porter win and, if so, how close is the #2 in voting to him?
Joe Gladziszewski (5:17 PM)
I think Porter is the clear winner this year, and the margin will be quite significant. That doesn't diminish the performances of the other Hat Trick finalists Nate Gerbe and Ryan Jones. They were both outstanding, but Porter was just a bit better on a better team.
What do you think of the decision made by Jeff Frazee to turn pro? He obviously wasn't going to see much playing time behind Kangas. How will he do in the pro?
Joe Gladziszewski (5:19 PM)
It was probably the right move for Jeff Frazee to try his luck in pro hockey because as you noted, Kangas became Minnesota's number one goalie down the stretch. Frazee will see a big difference at the minor pro level from college because there's more depth in talent and many times he'll be playing behind defensemen that are also young and inexperienced, making for more turnovers and scoring chances.
Jackie (Ann Arbour, Michigan)
Do you think Billy Sauer deserves a little more recognition than he's been getting?
Joe Gladziszewski (5:23 PM)
Nice move with the Canadian spelling, Jackie. Well played. Sauer has been very good all year and a big weekend this weekend will put him right in the spotlight. I think that Sauer and Michigan's defense haven't been given enough credit.
Joe Gladziszewski (5:24 PM)
OK, Jess Myers will be stepping in for some more questions and answers.
Prediction time: BC or North Dakota?
Jess Myers (5:26 PM)
I picked the Sioux to beat Michigan for the title two weeks ago, so I'll stand by my story. Of course, if NoDak gives up six goals today (like it has in the past two Frozen meetings with BC) my pick weakens.
Bob (Boulder, Colorado)
What's the deal with Notre Dame? They don't even deserve to be here.
Jess Myers (5:27 PM)
The Irish are completely legit entrants in this tournament, especially after having to go to C-Springs as a four seed and winning twice. And I remember a Jeff Jackson team putting up nine goals in the NCAA title game not too long ago.
PJ (Grand Forks, ND)
Why didn't JP Lamoreaux win the Hobey?
Jess Myers (5:29 PM)
It was more about what others did, and less about what he didn't do. Although the fact that he was not the first team All-WCHA goaltender hurt his stock in the eyes of voters who don't follow him every day.
North Dakota has started slow in both games of this year's tourney; they also got behind early in each of the last two losses to BC in the Frozen Four ('06 and '07), it's pretty safe to say that UND has to get out to a good start if they want to move on. Agreed?
Jess Myers (5:31 PM)
Absolutely. If the Eagles score first and take the NoDak crowd out of it (and there are plenty of folks in green here) it may have a big factor in the eventual final score.
Welcome to Denver, INCH. Hope you guys are enjoying our town. Is this Michigan's tournament, or can someone else sneak in and steal it?
Jess Myers (5:34 PM)
Absolutely loving the Mile High City (do locals call it that, or is that a term reserved for tourists, like "Frisco" is to San Fran, or "Minny" is to my home state -- nobody who lives there calls it that). But I digress -- yes Michigan is the clear favorite, which probably means they're doomed. How often have we seen the "smart money" pick go south under the bright lights of the Frozen.
Andrew: (Winona, Minnesota)
Where would you rank the WCHA this year compared to some of the other conferences? To me it seemed like the WCHA had a ibt of a down year as far as depth
Jess Myers (5:37 PM)
I'd agree that this was a down year for the league overall, which is strange to say after six of the 10 teams made the NCAA tournament. The WCHA had three good teams, three pretty good teams and four underachieving teams.
Will Don Lucia be able to turn the gophers around next year to return to the top of the WCHA? many boosters weren't too happy this year, how is next years recruiting class looking?
Jess Myers (5:39 PM)
The Gophers routinely get roughly 60 percent of the top recruits coming out of the state, and next year will be no exception, so I definitely see Minnesota climbing back into the top half of the WCHA next year. I heard a lot of the grumbling from fans in the Twin Cities this year, and it's a testament to how good the Gophers have been historically that a trip to the Final Five title game and a trip to the NCAA tourney are part of what they regard as a "down year."
Is Notre Dame this year's Michigan State (nobody was talking about the Spartans entering St. Louis)? Or is that too much to ask out of Jeff Jackson's club since it's a surprise the Irish made it to Denver?
Jess Myers (5:43 PM)
I learned from Jeff Jackson's term at Lake State that there's never too much to ask out of his teams. It's great to have him back in the tournament, and I look forward to seeing what the Irish bring to the rink tonight.
Hakstol moved Kozek back to the first line with Duncan and Oshie for the third period against Wisc. It seemed to have a positive effect on the team. Any idea if he'll put him up there for tonight's game?
Jess Myers (5:45 PM)
Kozek is starting at right wing with Oshie and Duncan, so obviously Hak liked what he saw from that trio in Madison. Of course, you run the risk of having all your eggs in one basket, but that's a pretty nice basket.
How is BC's defense? Can they stop the Sioux forwards.
Jess Myers (5:46 PM)
I would say defense is the weakest part of BC's game right now, so if the Sioux forwards can jump the blue line early, that will be a huge advantage for North Dakota.
Jess Myers (5:48 PM)
Just to clarify a note from a few minutes ago, the Watkins-Kaip-Frattin line is starting the game for the Sioux. But I'd expect Duncan, Oshie and Kozek out there not too much later.
Jess Myers (5:49 PM)
Handing the baton to Mike Eidelbes. Enjoy the games.
Bill (Reno, Nevada)
Can John Muse keep up his solid play, or will the freshman factor catch up to him?
Mike Eidelbes (5:53 PM)
Hey ... good be be here. About 12 minutes from faceoff. I think Muse will be fine. We're 42 games into the season, so he's no longer a freshman experience-wise. Most important, the guys in front of him are playing well ... they've really jelled over the last third of the season.
brian custer mishawaka indiana
irish showing lots of confidence and the goal drought seems to be finally broken. do you think notre dame can make the finals?
Mike Eidelbes (5:58 PM)
There are two things I like about the Irish. One is that they literally have nothing to lose, so they'll be the loosest team here. There's been a history of the most relaxed team winning this thing in recent years (Denver, Wisconsin, Michigan State)
Mike Eidelbes (5:59 PM)
The second is Jeff Jackson. He's been through this before, and he'll have his team ready to play. I think it'll be a great game.
Mike Eidelbes (6:00 PM)
OK ... we're about four minutes from faceoff here in Denver. This is going to be a great couple of days. I'm taking BC in game 1 and Michigan in OT in game 2. See you 1 hour prior to Saturday's faceoff!