Good afternoon and thanks for stopping by to talk college hockey with us. We'll be taking your questions for the next half hour.
Why has Wisconsin Brendan Smith's name been excluded in the recent Hobey Baker projections? He is ahead of his teammate Geoffrion in points (14-25-39) and is leading the nation in scoring for D by a large margion. I know his D can be suspect at times, but can his offensive numbers be enough to land him the trophy this year?
Smith was a guy on our Hobey Tracker radar earlier this year and he's having a tremendous season. It wouldn't surprise me to see both among the 10 Hobey finalists, but for us, Geoffrion is the better overall player and we give him the nod.
With the final weeks of the regular season winding down, what are your predictions for the WCHA? Which 5 teams will be playing at the X?
This is a tough year to pick first-round upsets because most of the top-level teams have been very good at home. I'll go with Denver, Wisconsin and St. Cloud State as the top three, and either NoDak or CC (whoever gets home ice). Minnesota Duluth is the one team that might be susceptible to a home ice upset, but I say the Bulldogs will squeak out a three-game series.
What would you say are Boston University's odds of reaching the NCAA tournament this year?
BU definitely has some work to do, and it would almost definitely take a record of 6-1-0 down the stretch (including the playoffs) for them to get in at-large consideration. Of course, there's always the automatic qualifier from winning the Hockey East tournament, and while BC is pretty strong it's pretty wide open after that.
The last three years have seen NCAA champions from HE(x2) and the CCHA, with the runner's up coming from those conferences as well. With the WCHA likely to get 5 or more teams into the tourny this year and possibily have three #1 seeds, do you see this trend continuing again this year or does DU or Wisc pull it out this year?
There's no arguing the legitimacy of Denver or Wisconsin as national title candidates and one could make a solid case for St. Cloud State and North Dakota, too. Theoretically, you'd think two WCHA teams would end up in the Frozen Four, but there are so many variables in play -- seeding, injuries, running into a hot goalie. That said, Denver, Miami, and Wisconsin are, in my opinion, the favorites to win the title.
Unless my team (Bemidji State) loses out, they should get into the NCAA Tournament with either an auto-bid or an at-large. I notice their opponent this weekend (Nebraska-Omaha) has moved up to #18 in the rankings. What do you think it would take for them to make the tournament? Any chance of an at-large bid for the Mavericks?
Nebraska-Omaha is making a late push, but time is running out on the Mavericks. They're 7-2-1 in their last 10, and have wrapped up a home-ice playoff series. Getting those two games in the first round of the CCHA tournament helps UNO play themselves in, but it's also going to take a road upset in the quarterfinal series, and probably a win at the Joe to get them in.
Can I go ahead and book my hotel in Ft Wayne?
Yes. The only way Miami doesn't end up in Fort Wayne is if the city is wiped off the face of the earth by evil robots. And odds are overwhelming that they'll be the no. 1 seed there, too.
Will Merrimack be in or out of the Hockey East tournament?
Six teams for five playoff spots in Hockey East as it currently stands, and the schedule is favorable for Merrimack with home games against Maine and a home-and-home with last place Providence to close the season. If Merrimack gets at least five points from those four games I think that'll be good enough to get them in.
Other than Atlantic Hockey, do you see any autobids coming outside of the top 15? Who has the best shot?
I don't see it happening, but best chance I'd say would be Boston University due to their experience and the relative lack of strength atop Hockey East.
With the uncertain future of the CHA conference and UAH not receiving interest in membership from the CCHA, should Chargers fans be alarmed about the sustainability of the program?
"Alarmed" might be too strong of a word, because the issue is that the CCHA hasn't offered membership to Alabama-Huntsville. The school is still committed to Division I hockey ... at least that's how it appears. Charger fans can help by continuing to show up for games and show the CCHA they mean business. I'm a firm believer that UAH would be a great addition for that league.
Gladdy, when will you end your love affair with the ecac and jump on board with some of these other teams playing well around the country? There isn't anyone in the ECAC that can win a title, and Yale is highly overrated in your polls. They don't pass the eye test, unless your blind. Its tough to listen to these podcasts with you constantly drooling over the ECAC.....
Sorry for ruining your podcast experience. Yale is ranked highly because they have earned it. An 18-6-3 record, a team that hasn't lost back-to-back games all season and is currently on a six-game winning streak. They're a dangerous team on the counter-attack and will be a tough out in the NCAAs.
Who are the popular names rumored to be interested in the WMU job? Bronco Nation is trying to erase the last decade from our memories.....
Maybe Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones from "Men in Black", then? I'd put these three names at the top of my list -- Miami assistant coach Brent Brekke (a WMU alum), Robert Morris head coach Derek Schooley (also a WMU alum), and Alabama-Huntsville coach Danton Cole, who's from the area. All are solid choices.
What was your opinion of Aaron Marvin's hit on Blake Geoffrion?
We talked about it in greater detail in the latest INCH Podcast, but it was an unfortunate situation in that Geoffrion was looking the other way and his head got clipped by Marvin's shoulder in an open-ice body check. Hands, elbows and stick were all down and I didn't see any attempt by Marvin to injure Geoffrion.
Great to see head coach Enrico Blasi making an appearance here today, question is do you see him leaving Miami or has this become a destination job now?
I think he's there for the long haul. He's got a new building, established a winning tradition, and luring top-flight recruits to Oxford. He might listen to other offers if approached, but his situation at Miami is really, really good.
What are the chances that the upcoming Frozen Four gets moved from Tampa Bay? I would think attendance would suffer greatly by having it so far away from all the major hockey schools...
The Tampa Frozen Four isn't until 2012 so anything could happen in the next two years but it's highly unlikely that the Frozen would be moved. Non-traditional sites for Frozen Fours have been successful in the past - St. Louis and Anaheim most recently.
Besides Miami, are any of the CCHA teams good enough to win the Frozen Four this year?
I don't see it happening. Ferris State and Michigan State are probably the next best option and I don't see them being Frozen Four level teams, let alone winning two games while there.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for all of the questions. We'll be back next week to talk again as playoffs begin in Atlantic Hockey, ECAC Hockey and the CCHA.