Chat with Inside College Hockey!
Mike Eidelbes (1:30 PM)
Good afternoon and welcome to another Inside College Hockey chat on 'The Show'. I'm joined by INCH senior writer Joe Gladziszewski today, so ask anything you'd like during the next 30 minutes.
Ari from Ithaca, NY
After years relegated to the fourth spot amongst "the big four" conference in Division I, it seems as if the ECACHL has overtaken the CCHA this season. If the NCAA's started right now, there would probably be three ECACHL teams in it and two CCHA teams. Will the ECACHL's ascension sustain past this season?
Joe Gladziszewski (1:32 PM)
Without question, this is a strong season for the ECACHL, but forecasting it to the future is tricky because it comes down to recruiting. ECACHL schools certainly have a lot to offer in terms of academics, loyal fan bases and strong alumni support, and another thing is a good group of relatively young, enthusiastic coaches across the league. But competing with television exposure and facilities that are offered in the other 'Big Three' leagues is very difficult for ECACHL schools.
George Spring Lake, Michigan
In your opinion who's the best college hockey player in the CCHA?
Mike Eidelbes (1:36 PM)
Let's split that into two questions. And, no, it's not a cop-out. I think the most talented player is Michigan's T.J. Hensick (and you'll be able to read more about him in this week's CCHA notebook). He's a complete player with the ability to take over games. But I think the most valuable player is Jordan Sigalet at Bowling Green.
John Vitali, New Hartford, CT
What does Brown need to do to move up in the standings? They have a great recruiting class and solid players. Why aren't they more consistant against the teams they should beat.
Is BU for real? Or is their out of conference record mean they're just mediocre/lucky?
Mike Eidelbes (1:41 PM)
I think BU is absolutely for real. They're a young team and getting an unbelievable effort from a walk-on goalie in Curry. They may not be the most talented group out there, but the freshmen get better every game and the lineup is full of gritty, character players like Zancanaro. They'll be a real headache to face come tournament time.
Joe Gladziszewski (1:43 PM)
Now to get to your question, Jon, I think it depends on defining the teams that Brown "should beat." The only questionable loss so far is Princeton and that was early in the season. There's no shame in losing to Cornell and Colgate, even if those games were at home. To make the next step, Brown's young players must continue to develop, and that's an easier process with good leadership. The Bears definitely have that with Les Haggett.
dan (madbury, NH)
how can UNH improve themselves to be a national championship contender?
Joe Gladziszewski (1:46 PM)
For starters, they can't blow three-goal leads with 10 minutes left like they did last night ... and for fans that haven't seen the boxscore of Wednesday's 9-8 Dartmouth win, check it out. To me, UNH doesn't seem like it's got a killer instinct. They've struggled in close games against good teams so far (Vermont, Dartmouth, Michigan State).
Seth (New York)
Why do you think Al Montoya is struggling so much and do you think Michigan can win without him at his best?
Mike Eidelbes (1:49 PM)
Good question, as I just wrote a piece on Montoya for INCH yesterday. To me, Al seems mentally and physically tired -- he's slow to react, isn't challenging shooters and looks as if his focus is gone. The end result is a frightening number of soft goals. As long as the Wolverines continue to score six goals a night, they'll keep winning. But if I'm Red Berenson, I get Montoya some rest so he's fresh for the stretch run. But I'm in the minority with that opinion.
In your power rankings how could you put Colgate ahead of Vermont? And BU 9-1 in Hockey East in 13th?
Joe Gladziszewski (1:52 PM)
Thanks for the question Max. I made a case for Vermont to be the highest-rated ECACHL team in our rankings, but Colgate has a strong claim to be in that spot right now. Overall record, recent performance, and head-to-head Colgate stacks up better than Vermont. I just can't wait for the Jan. 21 games between these teams at Colgate's Starr Rink. They tied in Burlington earlier this year. As far as BU is concerned, they're 7-1 in their last eight, which is very impressive, but they've got some ground to make up after starting 7-6-0.
Mike, I'm worried about my Gophers. They had a great first half, but I got the feeling it was as much a result of luck as anything else. Now they've been swept by CC. Did they peak too early, or should I still expect them to do well in April?
Joe Gladziszewski (1:53 PM)
Doh, bad memory. Vermont did win that game against Colgate, 3-1.
Mike Eidelbes (1:55 PM)
I wouldn't worry too much about the Gophers, Jeff. They're too good of a team to not be in the hunt come March and April. Don't forget that the Minnesota teams that won titles in 2002 and 2003 hit patches where they were average.
Mike Eidelbes (1:55 PM)
One thing about this Minnesota team -- I think Kellen Briggs is a better goalie than Hauser or Weber, and they both have championships rings.
Joe - Worcester
Have you ever seen a team defense as good as Boston College where they have the # 1 and # 2 ranked goalies, have the top power play kill unit and only give up about 1.7 goals per game?
Joe Gladziszewski (1:58 PM)
Yes. I saw it in Ithaca in 2002-03 when Cornell went to the Frozen Four. Huge defensemen, great goaltening, and a tenacious work ethic. BC fans might remember that team from the NCAA Regional in Providence? This year's BC team is different because they've got more pure talent offensively. Guys like Eaves, Shannon, and Spina can create a goal.
Zach (Glen Rock NJ)
Which team has the best young players and should contend for the championship in coming years?
Mike Eidelbes (2:01 PM)
I'll give you a few -- Wisconsin, provided they find a suitable replacement for Bernd Bruckler; Boston U., Bourque and Co. will get the Terriers back to the Frozen Four; Michigan, not so much for this year's class, but next year they bring in Jack Johnson and perhaps Phil Kessel.
Mike Eidelbes (2:01 PM)
Keep an eye on the kids at Bowling Green and Nebraska-Omaha, too. We've got time for one more question...
Sean - Boston
When will the NCAA finally prevent regional host schools from automatically playing on their home ice? This is WAY too big of an advantage for a team when a single loss ends a teams season.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:03 PM)
Sean, you're not going to see it. When the NCAA sees full houses as they have at Michigan and last year in Manchester, NH, that's a big payday. Certainly, some teams have had to go into hostile "home" environments and win, but if you're truly the best team in the nation, it's a game you should win anyway.
Mike Eidelbes (2:04 PM)
Great questions, everyone. Wish we had more time to chat. Thanks for joining us...we'll be back next week for more college hockey on 'The Show'.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:05 PM)
That does it for our chat. Thanks for the great questions.