Chat: Inside College Hockey!
Mike Eidelbes (1:31 PM)
Good afternoon and welcome to another edition of The Show...Inside College Hockey-style!
Mike Eidelbes (1:32 PM)
We're taking a break from our guests to answer your questions about the season to date. Ask anything...we'll give it our best shot.
Derek (Cambridge, MA)
Are there any favorites for the Hobey out there? Or too early to tell?
Nate Ewell (1:33 PM)
It's the 25th year of the Hobey Baker Award, and it may be one of the most wide-open races ever. I'd call Patrick Eaves the early favorite because he's the best player on the best team, but he's only played five games. We've got a long way to go.
Mike Eidelbes (1:35 PM)
Everyone put Michigan State's Jim Slater and Maine's Jim Howard among the frontrunners at the beginning of the season, but they haven't gotten off to the starts they'd hoped...individually and as a team. Keep on eye on Brett Sterling of Colorado College.
John (Rochester, MN)
The Golden Gophers are not suppose to have a good year and yet there they are in the top 5 again. Is this for real or are they going to slide?
Nate Ewell (1:37 PM)
We had the Gophers 10th in the preseason, so we thought they'd be in the mix. I think the surprise is that they've done so well so early with such a young team. Kellen Briggs has been very solid in net, and young players like Alex Goligoski, Ryan Potulny and Danny Irmen have stepped up.
Kirk (Ann Arbor)
True or False: Michigan is the best team in the CCHA.
Mike Eidelbes (1:39 PM)
Well, Michigan is certainly the most talented team in the CCHA. And I think in the end, they'll prove themselves as the best team. It looks like the inconsistency that plagued them in the past has gone by the wayside. Jeff Tambellini and T.J. Hensick have been terrific thus far, and Al Montoya seems to be rounding into form.
Joe (Waltham, MA)
What do you consider the biggest surprise to this point?
Nate Ewell (1:41 PM)
I've been surprised that the penalties seem to be the story every time you see a game. We knew they'd be called tightly, but I didn't think it would make such a drastic impact. Hopefully the players can adjust to the stricter rules enforcement -- I think whether that can happen or not is the big question right now.
Mike Eidelbes (1:43 PM)
I think the biggest surprises thus far have been the Alaska teams. No one gave Anchorage and Fairbanks much of a chance, but both are playing well right now. UAA is especially stunning, considering all the talent they lost during the off-season and the turmoil they experienced just prior to the start of the season.
Farrell (Dryden, NY)
Cornell's off to an impressive start, and the win over Harvard was big, but the other wins were against Brown, Sacred Heart, and Army. Are the Big Red for real?
Nate Ewell (1:45 PM)
Sounds like the Big Red have uniforms and everything -- they can really play. Joe Gladziszewski had a good report on Cornell's attention to detail that you'll find on ESPN's college sports page later today. They still haven't played a very good team, though, so this weekend will tell a lot. If they can come up with a win -- possibly two -- at MSU, that will really tell us something.
Matt (Boston, MA)
With the NHL lockout, what are the chances that college hockey will receive a bit more national coverage?
Mike Eidelbes (1:48 PM)
Well, the fact that we're participating in this chat right now is evidence that national coverage of the college game is increasing. SportsCenter is starting to show more highlights -- especially in 'Play of the Day' features -- and the regional cable outlets are beefing up their live coverage as well. I think more people are finding out how entertaining the college game can be.
Please forgive me, I have never watched a game of College Hockey in my life. I tend to catch a few NHL games near the second half of the season, especially the Playoffs-cuz College football is #1-So I guess I will have to watch some NCAA Hockey. Should I be sad or happy? PS. I just saw Michigan has a pretty decent program, NICE.
Nate Ewell (1:49 PM)
All is forgiven, Leno ... as long as you get over to Yost Ice Arena soon -- you won't be disappointed.
What's worong with Maine? 5 losses already! That's unheard of up here!
Nate Ewell (1:50 PM)
The real question is why Maine hasn't done as well at home -- they've lost four games at Alfond after losing just one all year. Jimmy Howard's a little banged up, but the real problem is that the defense has struggled -- both playing physically and with the puck on their stick. But as Howard improves his health and their D gets more experience, they should improve.
Nancy (Henniker, NH)
Seems like a logjam of teams behind BC in Hockey East. Who do you think steps to the front there?
Mike Eidelbes (1:54 PM)
UNH impressed me when they played at Michigan last month. They've got impressive depth, with three lines having the ability to produce offensively. Goaltending could be a bit of an issue, but they've been pretty good thus far.
Rich (Atlanta GA)
Are there any coaches who need to have an exceptionally good year to keep their job.
Nate Ewell (1:55 PM)
The two that jumped to mind at the beginning of the year -- Bruce Crowder at Northeastern and Mike Kemp at Nebraska-Omaha -- are really off to good starts. If they can keep it up, they'll be safe.
Joe (Hanover, NH)
Word is out today that Dartmouth's star Hugh Jessiman is out for the season with an ankle injury. This was supposed to be the season that Dartmouth broke through and made the tournament, but they looked very different without him Saturday and lost to Princeton (yikes!). Who do you see as winning the ECAC? Cornell is there as usual, but is Colgate for real? Or will Dartmouth overcome Jessiman's injury?
Mike Eidelbes (1:57 PM)
While Jessiman may not have lived up to expectations thus far, it's still a huge loss for Dartmouth. The good news is that the talent for the Big Green to challenge for the ECACHL crown is still in place, though Cornell looks like the team to beat. With or without Jessiman, Dartmouth needs to start scoring.
Matt (Bay City)
Give Northern Michigan some love. The wildcats have been great so far. Will they be a contender?
Mike Eidelbes (2:00 PM)
I think they've got a great shot at finishing second in the CCHA to Michigan. They've got great depth at both the forward positions and on defense, and Bill Zaniboni and Tuomas Tarkki, though unproven, have been outstanding early on. They're a dangerous team.
What's the toughest leauge,top to bottom,WCHA or Hockey East?
Nate Ewell (2:01 PM)
Hey, I'm a Hockey East guy, but I've got to give the WCHA credit. They've got six of our top 11 teams, and the team everybody pegged for last place, UAA, just swept a team coming off a Frozen Four season. That's impressive.
Krista (Royal Oak, MI)
Who's the best looking INCH writer?
Nate Ewell (2:01 PM)
I think that's whoever wakes up next to you, Krista.
Nate Ewell (2:02 PM)
That's all we've got time for, folks. We may be NHL draft gurus, but we can't hold a candle to Mel Kiper, who's up next. See you next week at the same time for more college hockey talk in The Show!