Welcome to Inside College Hockey's weekly chat at ESPN.com. We'll be taking your questions for the next 30 minutes.
I was at the Miami game this past Saturday, gotta say I enjoyed the sweep. How do you feel Miami will do this Saturday against Ohio State?
Miami is clearly the better team at this point of the season. Ohio State seems to be at the good-not-great level and can compete with some upper-echelon teams but I don't think they will offer too great a challenge for Miami. The RedHawks' impressive wins last weekend have given them momentum. Their experience should help them maintain a high level of play.
Let's say one of the "premier" head coaching jobs at one of the "prestigious" programs opens up this offseason. What are the chances Enrico Blasi takes it, or has he already built Miami into a destination job? What will it take to keep in Oxford? Deep-pocketed alumni?
I'm not going to speculate on what people are thinking or what might make the most sense to them. The first thing to consider is what type of character and credentials a potential hire might bring to the table from an administrator's or college's perspective. Any candidate would have to judge a number of factors in making decisions to take new jobs.
How in the world is North Dakota still ranked 3rd? They can't seem to close the deal on any team other than MTU. Enlighten me.
You're seeing North Dakota as a half-empty glass and I think our Power Rankings staff and the national poll voters see the glass 95 percent full. When I watch the Sioux I see a team that has great speed and skill and the right amount of toughness. I'm a little skeptical about some inconsistent play in goal, but they score enough that they can overcome the occasional softie. I think they're a Frozen Four and national championship contender.
Is SCSU a legitimate contender for the WCHA regular season title?
I'm going to say that it's unlikely, based more on the overall strength at the top of the league rather than basing it on St. Cloud State's ability. North Dakota, Denver and Wisconsin are very impressive to me, and Minnesota Duluth is a strong team as well. I think the Huskies will have a good season and if they finish in the top five of the WCHA and win a first-round playoff series, I'd expect them to be in the NCAA Tournament.
The CCHA has seen quite a standings shake-up save for the Redhawks. I know its early for playoff talk, but pre-season, Notre Dame, Michigan and Miami were seemingly shoe-ins. Has that changed?
I think Michigan State and Ferris State are the obvious surprises in the CCHA standings shake-up. As you mentioned, Miami has been the expected constant and has proven to be one of the nation's top teams. I think Notre Dame will be better in the second half of the season. Michigan should be better as well, but I'm not thinking that it would be a significant improvement to vault them into the top four of the standings and that first weekend playoff bye.
Hey guys, why is their not a podcast every week? Also with the teams outside of the top three playin inconsistent week in and week out. Are Miami, Denver, and North Dakota that much better than the rest of the field or is the gap closer than it seems?
Thanks for listening to the podcast, Scott. It's tough to orchestrate the schedules of our staff for the podcast production so we're sticking to an every-other-week plan at least until January. We'll likely increase the podcast frequency after the New Year and down the stretch of the regular season.Right now, I'd agree that Miami, Denver and North Dakota are the three best teams, and I do agree that there's some separation in there after those three. The next tier would include the likes of UMass Lowell, Boston College, Wisconsin, Cornell and Yale.
With this Boston College win streak, are they back amongst the elite in your eyes?
I think so. They're getting good goaltending from two sources and the offense has come to life. To me, they're the most balanced team in Hockey East and there aren't any obvious weaknesses. Some of the other teams you can pick out something that you might be able to exploit. BC isn't that way.
With Princeton stumbling, do the front runners for the top four in the ECAC become Cornell, Yale, Quinnipiac and Union?
Yeah, I think those four are the best in the conference right now and I'd even give a slight edge to Cornell and Yale ahead of the other two. Quinnipiac started very strongly and has hit a bit of a rough stretch but I think they'll turn it around. Union has remained undefeated in league games in the first half of the year. They'll play the bulk of their ECACH contests in the second half of the season as they always do, but can be happy that they've earned at least one point in every league game thus far.
Die hard Gopher's fan...what can they do better to win more games???? HELP!!!
We've talked about this at length - they've got to start doing the little things that they really haven't had to focus on in the past because they've had so much talent. I'm talking winning faceoffs, sound positioning on defense and in the neutral zone, backchecking, winning puck battles ... that kind of stuff.
Watching James Marcou at Umass i would like to know if he keeps this pace if he will be at hatrick finalist for the Hobey .He seems just to make every one better he is on the ice with
He is a playmaker, as evidenced by his 20 assists thus far, tops in the nation. Marcou's Hobey candidacy will depend on what type of season UMass has as a team. If they're in the running for the Hockey East title and an NCAA Tournament spot, it's likely that he'll get some individual recognition. If not, he'll probably be viewed more as a nice player on an average team, instead of being viewed as the nation's most outstanding player.
How can a team (North Dakota) be ranked third in the country when they are in fourth place in their own conference with a record just over .500.
Because the 3-0-1 non-league record is also taken into consideration, and included in that is a tie against a very good Miami team and two wins over Ohio State, who was expected to be a contender in the CCHA. Also, of their five losses four have come on the road and four have come against teams that are top-20. Watching them gives us good reason to think that they're one of the very best teams in the nation. They'll prove their value for the rest of the season.
How do the Gophers turn the program and the season around? Should fans be concerned with the recent early/mid season departures, including the potential rumor of Jordan Schroeder leaving after the World Juniors? With 2+ years of underachievement how long of a rope does Don Lucia get?
There's probably some reason for concern regarding Schroeder, and concern about how the season has gone thus far. I'm not going to say that this is all the fault of Don Lucia and the coaching staff. Every program rises and falls from time to time.
Thanks for the questions. We'll be back next week to talk more college hockey.