Chat with Inside College Hockey
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INCH Archive: Chats
Joe Gladziszewski (2:33 PM)
Welcome to another chat at ESPN.com with the writers from Inside College Hockey. We'll be taking your questions for the next 30 minutes.
Nadler (Los Angeles, Massachusetts Raised)
After Boston College's subpar play of late combined with such an amazingly competitive Hockey East, do you think we can now safely write them off for the NCAA Tourney?
Jeff Howe (2:34 PM)
I definitely won't write them off yet. There's still enough talent on that roster to get things figured out, and I'm confident John Muse has started to get it going again. BU, UVM and Northeastern are the only three teams locked into the NCAA tourney from Hockey East, which means there is room for one more to emerge.
I am not too sure why so many people knock the Beanpot. Despite having only four teams from Boston, because of the national (and even international) attention it gets, I think that the tournament is great for college hockey. For example, what other February college hockey game can sell out a professional arena on two consecutive Mondays, is featured on Sportscenter, or is broadcasted throughout Canada on RogersSportsNet? Like it or not, the Beanpot brings fans and players to college hockey. Am I missing something here?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:36 PM)
You make excellent points about selling the game. The impact is multiplied even more when NHL broadcasts up to and after the Beanpot mention it. I saw a recent Devils-Bruins game where it mentioned the big happenings in Boston, and cited former BC Eagles and current Devils Mike Motteau, Brian Gionta, and Scott Clemmensen.
Dan (Grand Forks)
What is the overall feeling you allhave regarding auto-bids for the NCAA tourney? Do you think they should be scrapped or continue be a legit way to enter the NCAA tourney? I know it doesnt happen often at all where a team out of that top 14 wins a auto-bid but its possible. I personally have always thought the regular season champ really earned that spot with their body of work instead of 2 or 3 games in the end. Thanks and GO SIOUX
Joe Gladziszewski (2:38 PM)
The AQs are necessary and make the playoff games more exciting. What good would an underdog's deep playoff run be without that reward of making the national tournament? I value the regular season too, but if you do win the regular season title, you've likely done enough to earn an at-large bid anyway.
Will Kieran Millan's performance in the Beanpot championship finally get him some attention nationally? His stats are every bit as good as Thiessen's
Joe Gladziszewski (2:39 PM)
Like I said last week's chat, I can't speak for the rest of the country, but I wrote about Millan a short while ago. I think he's the best goalie in Hockey East right now, a tick better than Brad Thiessen. And he changed the pronunciation of his last name midseason, which worked wonders for John Muse last year.
Rodent GF ND
Do you see the Sioux overtaking everyone to win the WCHA regular season outright? Who do you see as the early favorite for the Final Five?
Jess Myers (2:41 PM)
Amazingly enough, I've got to say Wisconsin is the team to beat for the regular season right now. Denver and North Dakota both have to travel to Madison in the next month, and after their horrendous start, the Badgers have been strong enough at home that I see Mike Eaves claiming his first MacNaughton Cup. As for the Final Five, I never bet against Denver come playoff time.
Nathan (Rochester, N.Y.)
Did Niagara have any other options than to join Atlantic Hockey? Does it seem right for a program that wants to compete to have to relegate and lose scholarships (while Bemidji State does not)?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:44 PM)
I think Niagara was wise to accept Atlantic Hockey's membership offer for a number of reasons. One of those is peace of mind. After living with such uncertainty about their program's league affiliation for 2-3 years, waiting around to see what options might or might not appear would just continue that feeling of uncertainty. They'll still have scholarships, and they'll be able to compete in that league without a problem. Increased geographic rivals also helps the program and notoriety in western New York.
Chris (Ashland, Ore)
Hi, my alma mater Colorado College Tigers seem to perennially enter a season with high expectations, achieve a high ranking and then end up mediocre. Is there a good explanation for this? Is there something that CC can do to get over the darned hump just a little?
Jess Myers (2:45 PM)
It's not for a lack of talent this season, but the Tigers have definitely been underachievers in the regular season. Maybe that means they'll figure it all out on about March 10th and make a nice playoff run. The pieces are definitely in place for them to do so.
Joe (Anchorage, AK)
Do you guys sometimes stop when you marvel at a top player that dominates the game and almost look negatively at a guy for not challenging himself in the pros (like say, a Colin Wilson or back in the day, Paul Kariya)??
Mike Eidelbes (2:46 PM)
Great question. I kind of felt that way five years ago when Thomas Vanek was a sophomore at Minnesota. It sort of seemed like he was coasting for a good part of that season and still ended up with 26 goals and 51 points. I didn't look at him negatively, but there were instances where it felt like he was going about 75 percent and still dominating.
How can U of Minnesota be ranked ahead of U of North Dakota and U of Wisconsin after they both swept UM recently? UM has lost 6 of their last 8 games including 3 games at home. They have also allowed 5 or more goals in 5 of their last 8 games in all giving up 36 goals for a 4.5 goals against average in those 8 games. Pairwise and the other polls don't take some of these things into account that should be considered in my opinion. Any suggestions on this situation?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:49 PM)
You're obviously not reading the INCH Power Rankings. Shame on you. In our eyes, Denver, North Dakota and Wisconsin should all be ranked ahead of the Gophers ... and they are. We can't speak for the voters in the other national polls.
John (Boston, MA)
After a tough loss to BU in the Beanpot final what will it take for NU to at least split with BU next week and beat them in a possible Hockey East Championship game in the Garden in a little over a month? Can they even do it or is BU just too good this year?
Jeff Howe (2:50 PM)
Northeastern can certainly hang with BU, but the Terriers are the best team in the country, hands down, in my opinion. The Huskies have to look at a few parts of the game, obviously starting with the three short-handed goals allowed. And they came close to tying it early in the third, but Kieran Millan was the superior goalie. In order for NU to get over the hump, it's got to stop making those deadly mistakes, and Brad Thiessen has to match Millan's production.
billy the gopher
what in the world has happened to the all mighty alex kangas? is he forgetting to put in his contacts or just mentally gone right now as well as our tissue soft defense? im not about t jump yet but patterson should get a start friday us alaska to wake aelx up along with the team overall. this all started in grand forks and kangas has given up like 36 goals in his last 8 games. what happened to my gophs? i personally think we are done!
Jess Myers (2:51 PM)
I'm in total agreement that giving Kangas a night off to watch from the bench would be a smart move right now. But Don Lucia has won a few more games than me, so I'm not going to question his wisdom when it comes to running a team. Still, I think Kangas is in a bit of a funk right now, as are the Gophers as a whole, and a night off couldn't hurt.
Anthony (Avon, CT)
For argument's sake, if the season ended today and BU were the #1 overall seed entering the NCAA's, do you think the committee would "reward" the Terriers by placing them in Manchester with a Regional Final vs league foe UNH in their backyard a distinct possibility? If Vermont were to retain a #1 seed as well, do you think they would consider moving BU to Bridgeport and placing Vermont in Manchester or do they stick to their guns placing #1 seeds as close to home as they possibly can? Also, what is the current status of the AWFUL "Geographic Initiative" that the NCAA is considering? When will we know if that passes and all of this won't matter because Hockey East and the WCHA (since they could send as many as 4-5 teams each to the tourney) might have to beat 2 league opponents to make it to the Frozen Four.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:53 PM)
If I was Boston University, right now I'd be OK playing against anyone, anywhere. UNH's record at the Verizon Wireless Arena isn't as impressive as most people imagine (I think 2-4-0 in their last six games in Manchester) and they just recently lost there to Maine. The only true "home" games in the NCAA Tournament will be for Minnesota, on their large ice sheet at Mariucci Arena.
Matt, East Main, NJ
Is Notre Dame in trouble without the likes of Hanson and Thang in the line-up?
Mike Eidelbes (2:54 PM)
You'd think, but the Fighting Irish did OK after losing Erik Condra in the first round of the CCHA playoffs last season. It sounds like Ryan Thang will be back in time for the CCHA quarterfinals. Hanson's got a concussion-type thing, so it's hard to know when he'll return. ND will be fine.
Scott (St. Cloud, MN)
You might not have to have love for the team, but you have to have love for St. Cloud State forwards Garrett Roe and Ryan Lasch. Roe is 2nd in the nation in scoring, and Lasch was a Hobey finalist last year and was the January player of the Month this year. How come neither have made your Hobey Tracker?
Mike Eidelbes (2:55 PM)
Are you kidding? Everyone loves Gladdy's Huskies! Roe hasn't cracked the top three on our Hobey Tracker yet, but he's definitely on the bubble. I know it's an individual award, but team success plays a role, too. If St. Cloud State can get on a little roll and make a push for a top-five spot in the WCHA and an NCAA berth, it'll enhance Roe's chances. Even so, he's a likely top-10 finalist.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:56 PM)
Yeah, backing up Bus ... the Hobey Tracker Big Board only ranks three, but we'd have had Roe somewhere between fourth and sixth all season long.
Max (Burlington, VT)
I am wondering if UVM has what it takes come tournament time. They have produced this season and won big games that they needed to. But usually the team flubs up in the post season. How far do you envison the catamounts advancing?
Jeff Howe (2:57 PM)
I wouldn't call a trip to the Hockey East championship game a postseason "flub." Anyway, they've got solid goaltending once again, and Viktor Stalberg is the legitimate scoring threat they haven't really had since Torrey Mitchell bounced. Vermont is good enough to win the Hockey East title, but I don't think it gets past both BU and Northeastern. The NCAA tourney is a different animal, especially for an inexperienced squad. Again, UVM could definitely win a game or two in that tourney, as well.
Stat (Atlanta, GA)
Tradional college hockey powerhouses such as North Dakota, Wisconson, and Minnesota are all jeopardy of missing the NCAA tournament. Is this a changing of the guard, and do you see any or all of those three teams making the tournament?
Mike Eidelbes (2:58 PM)
If you check the latest INCH 4x4 (shameless plug -- updated today!), you'll note that we project all three of those teams in the NCAA Tournament. In NoDak's case, I think they'll win the WCHA's automatic bid, and Wisconsin's on quite a roll now with some big games remaining. The Gophers' chances appear to be the most tenuous, but I believe they'll find a way.
Mike (Ithaca, NY)
What is going on with Cornell? Why can't they score all of a sudden and where has their defense gone?
Joe Gladziszewski (3:01 PM)
To me, the defense isn't the problem ... they've only allowed a total of three goals in their last three games. Of course, their record in that time is 1-1-1. Having forwards Michael and Patrick Kennedy out of the lineup doesn't help. I think there needs to be a greater sense of urgency earlier in games. Cornell wins a lot of close ones, but burying chances in the first and second period could give them the type of leads/margins for error so that the Princeton situation isn't replicated.
Joe Gladziszewski (3:03 PM)
Thanks for sending all of the questions. Great topics from across the country as always. As we mentioned, this week's INCH 4x4 has just been updated, and we're working through some software issues with our podcast program ... that will be back online early next week. Check out our conference notebooks for news from across the country.