Welcome in for another college hockey chat with the writers from Inside College Hockey. We'll be taking your questions for the next 30 minutes.
Thoughts on this weekend's Harvard-Cornell game? I'm interested to see how the heralded Harvard freshmen match up against the Big Red.
It's always an emotional game when these teams get together and one of the great rivalries in ECAC Hockey. Cornell is poised for a great year, but it needs great goaltending from Ben Scrivens. He was average in last week's Big Red win over Niagara. I thought it was very important for Harvard from a psychological standpoint to win at Dartmouth last weekend and run off five consecutive goals in the process. It showed two things they were missing last year - success on the road, and ability to score. They'll be in a good spot heading into Saturday night.
Merrimack! Are the Warriors headed back to the Hockey East playoffs? How high can they finish?
Merrimack's off to a very good start and the team has a lot of confidence, as our Hockey East writer Jeff Howe will report on our site later today. The split with the Eagles last week was a good step for a program to get an important early-season win, as well as the earlier win over Vermont. I think the Warriors will be among the top eight teams in Hockey East and in the playoffs at the end of the year. Judging by the season thus far, they won't be an easy out once they get there.
Since this is a SportsNation chat do you guys get to hang out with Michelle Beadle?
So, Frozen Four in a football stadium - any tickets available? "Plenty of bad seats left!"
Yes, obviously there are tickets available for this year's Frozen Four at Ford Field in Detroit. Taking the event to a non-traditional venue has drawn some criticism, but I think it has potential to be very successful. The seating arrangement won't be bad at all, as the ice surface will run sideline to sideline near one of the endzones, creating a three-sided permanent seating arrangement with bleachers on the field along the other side.
Gophers have lost a top player to a knee injury for the third year in a row and they haven't even played Michigan yet. How much will the loss of Barribal hurt the Gophers chances this season? Also, can you think of any other team who has had as much bad lucky injury wise in recent years?
Losing Jay Barriball definitely hurts Minnesota because the Gophers don't have much in terms of proven scorers outside of he and Jordan Schroeder. They'll really need some upperclassmen who've underachieved or the highly touted rookies to contribute ... otherwise, it could be a long season for the Gophers.
Wondering what your input is on the injuries plaguing the WCHA this season and who is hurting the most from them?
Injuries are going to happen, and nobody likes to see it. The long-term injury to Minnesota's Barriball has season-long implications but Denver's loss of Marc Cheverie, one of the best goalies in the nation, has significant short-term impact because of weekend series this month against North Dakota, Colorado College and St. Cloud State.
Miami is at Michigan this weekend. Who do you guys like?
Very interesting series beyond the obvious matchup of two top-5 teams. The RedHawks are 6-1-1, but they haven't really clicked offensively yet. Defensively, they've been outstanding, however. I think it comes down to Miami's offense being able to score timely goals and Michigan's defense and goalie being able to play to a level matching that of the RedHawks.
What do you think of Rondeau from Yale and last week's win over Princeton? This week at RPI and Union ?
One of the questions I had about Yale was what kind of goaltending they were going to get after the graduation of Alec Richards last year, and Ryan Rondeau made 40 saves to beat a very good Princeton team on the road. Rondeau has some playing experience over the last two years and split time in Yale's exhibition game with freshman Nick Maricic. RPI and Union are improving and competing. The Engineers will have a good crowd Friday night for their annual Black Friday game.
How do you account for Michigan State's turnaround this year?
Simply put, they're scoring more goals. Already have four players with three or more goals through eight games, including Corey Tropp with seven goals and 13 points on the year. I also got the sense that there was some sort of fractured allegiances on the team last year and have heard that this team has a much better attitude and team chemistry.
How significant of an addition do you think Nebraska-Omaha and Bemidji State will be to the WCHA next season?
It's significant in that both UNO and BSU are good programs -- well-coached teams, supportive administration, new or soon-to-be new arenas, solid fan bases. The best residual for the WCHA is that it'll be able to bring six teams to St. Paul for the playoffs instead of five. Ultimately, UNO and BSU benefit from increased stature, a boost in recruiting, buildings that are more full.
I can't believe Gladdy took a question from Haslett, Mich., without referencing the Mayfair Bar.
was suprised with Lowells play against BU last weekend, they should have won both games. Has BU lost that much talent, or are they just off to a bad start. Plus is Lowell that good?
I think you're right in your assumption that both are factors, but our early impression leans toward the fact that UMass Lowell is that good. Certainly, any team that loses the type of talent that BU experienced after last year's title, plus the injury to Nick Bonino, isn't going to be at its best. The Terriers will be fine this season.
Hey Joe, I read an article about the southernmost univ. w/ a team, Alabama-Huntsville, having their conference disbanded. Do you know of they will be post-season eligible?
They will be postseason eligible this season, as the conference (College Hockey America) is in its final year of existence and the winner of the league tournament gets an automatic bid to the NCAAs. After that, it's up to Alabama-Huntsville to decide what to do with its program. They can join another league if that other league will accept them, play as a Division I independent, or continue to play as a non-Division I team at the club level.
Better Hobey Baker winner in the pros: Mike Mottau or Jordan Leopold?
I'd go with Leopold. Mottau has finally found a home in New Jersey after bouncing in the minors for years. Leopold has been an NHLer basically from day one, save a short stint in the AHL.
Can anyone explain to me why Cornell and Yale are ranked so high?
Because they're very good teams. Looking forward to North Dakota's visit to Cornell in January. Should be a great series.
Thanks for stopping by to talk college hockey. We'll be back next week at the same time to take your questions. Enjoy the upcoming weekend at the rinks.