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INCH Archive: Chats
Joe Gladziszewski (2:30 PM)
It's time to talk college hockey again and we wish everyone a happy holiday season. It's a light schedule this week, as teams take a break between semesters and get ready for holiday tournaments and the second half of the campaign. Still, there's lots to talk about so submit your questions now.
Ryan (Omaha, NE)
What's your opinion on the role of chemistry with a team? UNO this year is doing great with some younger guys contributing and in light of the departure of some offensive guys like Bryan Marshall and others, it seems like the chemistry is right. Thoughts?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:32 PM)
It's very important. The teams that make the Frozen Four every year always echo the same things -- we have great leadership, and it's the most fun team I've ever been on with great guys. Unfortunately coaches can't coach or recruit chemistry. They just have to do their best to bring in character guys and find good leadership in the room.
Its the season break, any predictions on who wins Hockey East? (I refuse to believe that B.U. is better than my Eagles!)
Jeff Howe (2:33 PM)
Right now, I'd go with BU to finish first with BC coming in second.
JEB from Grand Forks, ND
Now that UND has gotten back above .500 and beaten some pretty good teams will they now be in the INCH Power Rankings? I mean you have Cornell in the top ten and UND beat them handidly the friday night and put a whopping on SCSU as well. I would think they have earned a right to be ranked at least in the top 20.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:35 PM)
Right now we've got North Dakota just outside of our top-20. They've been much better in the last 3-4 weeks than they were during a very slow start. Finally, North Dakota is scoring goals at the rate that most people expected. We just couldn't rank/consider a team that was several games below .500. Now that North Dakota has reached that level we definitely have our eyes on them.
Gus, (Old Tappan, NJ)
For a team like Clarkson whose performance has fallen off the table, does it affect their ability to recruit top players or will the top players look at it as an opportunity to step in and bring a good program back to prominence?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:38 PM)
I think it might change some recruiting philosophies. Clarkson's recruiting in the last 2-3 years was based on bringing high skill, high talent level players to campus and they've seen with graduation some toughness and competitiveness lost to graduation. Clarkson's staff, tradition, and facilities will allow them to recruit great players. Picking the right ones is the key.
Ryan (Framingham, MA)
Why is it that when talking about Hockey East schools, people forget to mention how well Northeastern is playing? I know that they had a start like this last year and we all saw how that ended, but with NU playing only 5 home games and the second toughest schedule in the country, why do they keep getting overlooked by the likes of bu and bc?
Jeff Howe (2:39 PM)
You just answered your own question. Northeaster looked this good at this point last year, wound up on the road in the first round of the playoffs and home before things shifted to the Garden. I think the Huskies can build off that experience for a deeper run this year.
Drew (Lakewood, CO)
How will the Gophers do down the stretch? They seem inconsistent on offense from time to time. Do you think when Barriball and Carmen get back the team will return to how they were playing at the beginning of the season?
Jess Myers (2:41 PM)
Even with Carman and Barriball back at full strength, I don't know that Minnesota can sustain the hot start they had in October and November. They're enjoying some down time right now, and I see them as one of the top four teams in the WCHA but youth and health are legitimate concerns for Gopher fans who want to have a rooting interest in DC in April.
Jake (Toledo, Ohio)
Given the losses of Nate Davis, Ryan Jones and Jeff Zatkoff, are the RedHawks the nation's most surprising team? Where does Enrico Blasi rank amongst Coach of the Year candidates?
Mike Eidelbes (2:42 PM)
Blasi's done a great job of reloading down at Miami. Of CCHA coaches, he deserves consideration, as do UNO's Mike Kemp and Alaska's Dallas Ferguson.
Vinnie (Palos Verdes, CA)
Pioneers are on fire. They've won 7 straight and Chevy has been tremendous. What do you think the chances are the Pios make the frozen four given Bozak's recent injury?
Jess Myers (2:44 PM)
Losing Bozak hurts a great deal, not only in terms of offensive talent but in leadership as well. But Cheverie has done everything he's needed to do and there have been some nice surprises like Luke Salazar that have helped the Pioneers climb to the top of the WCHA pile. If I had to choose a MacNaughton Cup winner right now, they'd be the pick, which, if you believe the curse theory, means they can get to the Frozen but not win it.
Matt, East Main Street, NJ
Air Force has plenty of wins on their schedule but, as I see it, their only significant win comes against Colorado College (4-1) and is then followed by a loss against Denver (4-1). I would love to see them finish inside the top ten this year and maybe even make a run in the post season but with such a weak schedule, do you see this as being a reality?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:47 PM)
Well, considering the less-challenging Atlantic Hockey schedule, Air Force should be able to rack up some wins and earn a spot in the top-10 by season's end. It's tough to judge teams that might not play a lot of other very good teams. Canisius is dangerous in Atlantic Hockey as well as RIT.
Steve, Amherst, Massachusetts
Based on their strong out-of-conference record thus far, what do you think of the Catamounts' chances of returning to the NCAA tournament this year? How many Hockey East teams make it in?
Jeff Howe (2:48 PM)
In my opinion, there are seven teams from Hockey East, including Vermont, that are good enough to make the NCAA Tournament. Depending on how much they beat themselves up over the next three months, as many as five could return to the tourney. All of the major players in Hockey East have fared well out of conference, which will help the league improve on its two entries from last season.
Billy (New Jersey)
Has the second half hot streak starting early for the Fighting Sioux? How do you guys see them doing in the Great Lakes Invitational against MSU and UM and should we expect a continued push for the tournament in 2009?
Jess Myers (2:50 PM)
North Dakota has played very well in its last four games -- clearly a result of more experience in some key places where they are young, and of getting Joe Finley and Evan Trupp back healthy. They are more dangerous than either Michigan State or Michigan Tech right now, so I'd say that the GLI is between the Sioux and the Wolverines. As for how they'll do in March, I see them being a factor in the race for home ice in the WCHA which, by definintion, makes them a legitimate NCAA tournament candidate.
Matty (Chicago, IL)
So let me get this straight. Miami's record is almost identical to Notre Dame's, they swept the Irish in South Bend, and yet you rank them fourth while ND's No. 1. What gives?!
Joe Gladziszewski (2:52 PM)
We have Miami ranked fourth because we think there are three teams better than them right now. Notre Dame hasn't lost since those Miami games (12-0-2) and that was back in October. Miami is an excellent team and probably has its best shot ever at making the Frozen Four.
Tim, Goshen, Indiana
With the success of Notre Dame so far this season, why is it we aren't hearing more about goaltender Jordan Pearce? He's putting together his second outstanding season.
Mike Eidelbes (2:53 PM)
It's the curse of having such a talented team (and defensive corps) in front of him, I suppose. He ranks among the top 12 nationally in both save pct. and GAA ... maybe it's because he's rarely in the position of having to steal a win for his team. It's a very good question, and I'm not sure there's an answer.
What's wrong with RIT this year? Are they are stepping backwards or what? i thought they should get much better team than last year?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:56 PM)
Things are looking up for RIT. They've won four of their last five conference games, including a respectable split at Air Force, and are moving toward .500. The slow start was troublesome, but teams have proven over the years that a good run in the second half can make for good seasons.
Matt, East Main Street, NJ
Who finishes atop the ECAC this year?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:58 PM)
The better question is who will finish third and fourth. Cornell and Princeton are clearly the two best teams, and the Big Red got a big win during the opening weekend of ECAC Hockey play at Princeton. Since the Tigers have to play at Lynah Rink still, and due to Cornell's defensive proficiency, I give the nod to the Big Red by the smallest of margins. Both teams will be in the NCAAs.
Joe Gladziszewski (3:00 PM)
Thanks for stopping by to chat, and thanks for the great questions. We'll be wrapping up the first half of the season with midseason reviews in our conference notebooks, so check out INCH for complete breakdowns of every conference later today and tomorrow.