Inside College Hockey!
Mike Eidelbes (1:31 PM)
Good afternoon and welcome to Inside College Hockey on ESPN.com's 'The Show'. James Jahnke and I are here to answer any college hockey questions you may have, so fire away!
Todd (Dallas, TX)
How long until my alma mater RIT will be competitive at the D1 level?
James Jahnke (1:34 PM)
I don't see any reason why they won't be competitive in Atlantic Hockey right off the bat. They have a solid team, and that conference is pretty wide open. Without athletic scholarships, it might be tough for them to raise their quality real quick. But they've got great fan support and are in a bigger city, so I think it will work in the long run.
Curt (Minnetonka, MN)
Has the officiating loosened up since the crackdown early in the year?
Mike Eidelbes (1:36 PM)
I think so, but I think the players have figured out what the officials will and won't call. There's a middle ground now that didn't exist during the first month of the season. That said, the true test comes late in the regular season and in the playoffs, when the games have so much more meaning. Let's see if the whistles go in the pocket then.
Derek (Dover, NH)
Can you guys give us your thoughts on the biggest surprises so far in the college hockey season?
James Jahnke (1:38 PM)
I think Minnesota Duluth and Michigan State struggling as they have has been a surprise, as has BU bouncing back strong. And how about North Dakota getting shut out twice this season? I was surprised that Canisius fired Brian Cavanaugh, since the team is off to its best start as a D-I program.
Mike Eidelbes (1:39 PM)
I've been surprised by the job Ted Donato has done at Harvard. Their schedule has been pretty tough and after a little bit of a slow start, the Crimson have bounced back nicely. They're my darkhorse pick for the Frozen Four.
Jason (Howell, MI)
James, how good is Jared Ross? Would he be a top player on a "Big Four" conference team?
James Jahnke (1:41 PM)
I think so. He could play for anyone in the country. When he has played top teams, he's scored against them. He could easily be a top-six forward for anybody, from what I've seen.
Seth (Orange County, CA)
CCHA fans have been impressed with Bill Thomas of UNO, if there was a national rookie of the year award, would he be the favorite at the halfway point?
Mike Eidelbes (1:43 PM)
Hey, Seth...happy Chrismukkah! Thomas has been good, with something like 24 points in the first half of the season. But if I had to name a national rookie of the year, I'd go with Minnesota's Alex Goligoski. He's been tremendous for the Gophers.
James Jahnke (1:45 PM)
I'll take Vermont's Joe Fallon. He's got a 2.01 GAA and a .926 save pct. I think you can look at him as a prime factor in UVM's turnaround.
You guys missed the boat on Joe Fallon. Any other recruits who have surprised you?
Mike Eidelbes (1:47 PM)
Here are the guys who've impressed me -- Goligoski, Jonathan Matsumoto from Bowling Green and Tom Fritsche from Ohio State. I really like Fritsche...he's big time, in my opinion.
James Jahnke (1:48 PM)
Joe Pavelski from Wisconsin has been really good and has meshed well with Robbie Earl. And I think you've got to give some credit to North Dakota goalie Phillipe Lamoureaux, who's been pretty good for the Sioux.
William (Okemos, MI)
Can Michigan State turn it around?
James Jahnke (1:50 PM)
Good question. In all three years under Comley, they've been terrible in the first half of the season. But in the second half, they go on a tear. They've got the talent to make a run, but they'll probably be right on the bubble for an at-large bid again.
Mike Eidelbes (1:51 PM)
Their second-half schedule doesn't help them much. The rumbling has started in East Lansing...who knows what could happen if the Spartans start to slide even more?
Is Pooley on the hot seat with this Friars team? They just seem to get worse each time out and they have some scoring talent.
Mike Eidelbes (1:54 PM)
I think he is. Pooley's been at Providence long enough to establish a pattern, and Friars fans have seen what that pattern is. If I were a PC fan, I'd be concerned not only about the health of my program, but also that other programs (Lowell and UMass) seem to be passing the Friars.
Sam, Cedar Rapids, IA
Hey guys, what is your collective takes on RIT, and what do you think about such places as Penn State, Arizona State, and other programs that could possibly make the jump to DI?
James Jahnke (1:57 PM)
Road trips to Tempe in January? That'd be great! Hey, expansion is good for the game, especially if Atlantic Hockey raids College Hockey America for a 10th team. The CHA would need another member in order to survive. But I think Navy and Rhode Island are more likely to add varsity hockey than Penn State or Arizona State.
Mike Eidelbes (1:58 PM)
We've got time for one more question...
Tim (Charlottesville, VA)
I know it is early in the year, but can you guys give your predictions on who will make it to Columbus for the Frozen Four?
Mike Eidelbes (1:59 PM)
James says I get to go first. Therefore, I'll take Minnesota, Colorado College, Harvard and New Hampshire.
James Jahnke (2:00 PM)
I'll take Wisconsin, Michigan, Boston College and Boston U. I like the Badgers to win it all.
Mike Eidelbes (2:01 PM)
That's all the time we have for this week. Ray in DC, thanks for all your questions. You're brilliant! See you next Thursday!