It's the greatest weekend of the college hockey season, and we'll be here to talk about it for the next hour. Inside College Hockey's writers will be talking about the NCAA Tournament, Hobey Baker race, offseason news and more.
Gladdy, do you think the Fighting Sioux can make a run to the Frozen Four and win with their goaltending?
Yes and yes. Eidsness was good enough last weekend at the WCHA Final Five is as tough a tournament as the NCAAs. I think North Dakota is a good pick to come out of that region, despite it being closer to home for Boston College. Both teams are playing so well right now that it's tough to make a call.
What are the odds that Nyquist will win the Hobey, and also do you believe that he well be back at UMaine next year? Thank you.
I actually think he's got a pretty good chance, considering Maine didn't make the tournament. It sounds like people are split on the vote, and Nyquist resurrected that program so it will help out.
Two questions: Is Michigan the team you would least like to face if you were a #1 seed and are you going to do a podcast on the Wish List Draft to elaborate on the picks you made?
I think Cornell, St. Cloud State and North Dakota are the most dangerous teams of the non-number ones, but Michigan just beat Miami last weekend, so that has to be fresh. It's the team that No. 1-seed Miami would probably least like to face.There is a podcast for the Wish List draft. Link is on the Wish List Draft page, INCH front, and in our iTunes feed. Thanks for listening.
Which #1 seed is the most likely to be upset in the first round?
In the first round, I'd probably have to go with Miami. Alabama Huntsville is the lowest rated team but Miami plays with such a small margin of error. Cameron Talbot can steal a game in net for the Chargers, and there may be some indecision in Miami's net.
any thoughts on who will take over at Ohio State? do they need a big name to rejuvenate the program and get attendance up?
The problem at OSU hasn't been getting talent -- it's been coaching those guys up once they got there. The best guy for that job, in my opinion, is Cornell assistant Casey Jones, who was an OSU assistant for many years. He's a top-flight recruiter, a good on-ice guy, and is well regarded by his peers.
We all love this time of year in the world of college hockey. With the heart and determination the RIT Tigers have, what do you think are the chances they beat Denver in the first round? They definitely play in a weaker conference, but have clearly dominated it this year. The only concern would be the lack of wins against non-conference teams and the inability to match up talent wise.
There's a lot to like about this RIT team. They're a much better, much more confident team at this point in the season than when they lost some non-league games early in the year. Jared DeMichiel is a very good goalie and Cameron Burt is a talented center. Their defensemen also provide a lot of offensive punch. I think they'll be in it with a shot to win in the third period. I don't expect a blowout at all.
If you're Miami coach Enrico Blasi, do you with Hobey finalist and CCHA Player of the Year Cody Reichard or Connor Knapp at goaltender? Over the last few weeks, Knapp's clearly been the superior of the two.
Reichard has been very ordinary in his two most recent starts, giving up 10 goals on 45 shots in losses to Ohio State and Michigan. If I'm coach Blasi, I think I'd give Reichard the start but wouldn't hesitate to go to Knapp, who's been really sharp in his last two starts, at the first sign of weakness.
North Dakota plays a extremely physical game. Will the teams in that region be able to handle that kind of play, will speed neutralize North Dakota's style, or will tighter officiating from non WCHA refs force North Dakota to change its style of play.
If you change your style of play at this time of the year, you've got bigger problems than killing off a few extra penalties (if necessary). I don't think Yale will be intimidated by a physical presence. That's the scouting report they play against all season in ECAC Hockey. Teams try to play them tough, and they still led the nation in scoring average. Same goes with Boston College or Alaska (potentially) in the second round, should North Dakota advance.
You're Hakstol and Genoway tells you he's healthy enough to go. Do you put him out there and hope he adds offense at the blue line, or do you tell him to sit out since the team is playing so well without him and he may be rusty
I usually shy away from hypotheticals, but this is an outstanding question. There is not a team in the nation that would not be helped by having a healthy Chay Genoway in uniform, but I guess if I were Coach Hakostol I'd have to keep him out at this point in the season for two reasons. First, as you said, he'd be rusty and the Sioux are doing fine as-is right now, but secondly, to insert him into the lineup now would mean he cannot apply for a hardship and come back next year, so I think the promise of a full 2010-11 season makes more sense than up to four more games this year.
do you think ferris state - got a fair shake - they played very good all year - not to get an invite to the frozen 4 ?
The selection committee will tell you Ferris State got a fair shake because they rely on the computer data that had Vermont ahead of them to fill the at-large berths. But looking at it realistically, there are at least four teams (Ferris, Michigan State, Minnesota Duluth, Union) that would've been better picks than Vermont. Vermont is a really average team that benefited from a handful of wins against upper-echelon teams.
With Lehman's history at Harvard, and Union's poor track record prior to his arrival, do you think the Crimson or another 'big' program will swoop in for him after his success?
Nate Leaman not only built a good Union team for this season, he's built the strength of the program and I expect it to be successful for years to come. He's always stated how proud he is to be associated with Union and that he doesn't view that position as a stepping stone, so to speak. The opportunity to take on a bigger job might be appealing, but I don't think Harvard fits that profile.
Does Don Lucia resign after the mediocre run that he has headed over the last few years?
No, at least not this year. I think Don is safe for now, but knows that 2010-11 may be a make-or-break year for his career at Minnesota.
Which program do you believe has the top line in the nation?
Fantastic question because it's so difficult to answer. Denver's group of Colborne, Rakhshani and Ruegsegger is the best in my opinion. There are a lot to choose from. North Dakota's group with VandeVelde, Gregoire and Hextall is playing great right now, as are BC's bunch with Gibbons-Whitney-Atkinson and Nash-Greening-Kennedy at Cornell.
Joe, you've been critical of BC's lack of back-to-back weekend wins (even though they didn't play as many weekend series as they did weekday games). Did they show you enough in the Hockey East Tournament to make you think they have a shot to win it all?
They've shown me enough all year, I just never saw them get really hot for a consistent stretch until now. I'm not surprised to see it, this is a program that traditionally peaks around this time of the year. It was a gutsy win over Maine in the Hockey East final. Definitely exciting, but playing any more games of that sort in the NCAA Tournament could get the Eagles in trouble. BC is one of six teams that I think can win it all.
What chance do the Huskies have of beating Wisconsin on Saturday (something they haven't done this season), pending both teams winning on Friday?
Actually, the Huskies beat Wisconsin last week, so it would not be unique. But I'll put this question in the "counting the chickens before they hatch" category, because if the Huskies are thinking past Northern Michigan at all, they're making a big mistake. If both teams are to win on Friday, I'd probably pick the Huskies over the Badgers just based on goaltending and offensive balance.
... and adding to the top line question. One could make an argument that Maine's trio of Brian Flynn, Gustav Nyquist, and Tanner House was the best in the nation. They were phenomenal this year.
Has there been any talk of MSG or even the new Barclay's Center hosting a frozen four any time in the near future?
I haven't heard it mentioned, and it's not a good fit for MSG because it ties up a week of arena dates when the Rangers and Knicks are finishing the regular season. The new building in Brooklyn won't be ready to put in a formal bid. The next Frozen Four sites will be announced later this year. If a Frozen goes to NYC it won't be for a while, and I have never thought it would be a good fit for a Frozen Four.
Chris Summers is 80 percent likely to play against Bemidji State, how big is him returning to the lineup for the Wolverine defense?
Summers is an important piece of the Wolverines' puzzle because of his leadership and versatility. He's been a captain dating back to his days with the U.S. development program in Ann Arbor, so he's been through pressure situations and handled them. The fact that he can play both defense and forward and effective at both positions is a plus. Red Berenson is comfortable using him in any situation.
What are the chances that the University of New Hampshire will win the championship? What are their barriers?
The national championship? Not very good. The Wildcats' track record in the tournament and early exit from the Hockey East playoffs don't provide a whole lot of optimism. Plus, UNH will have to get past Cornell and Denver just to reach the Frozen Four, and that's the toughest two-game stretch, in my opinion, in any regional.
Can someone explain how Vermont makes the tournament and Maine doesn't? Vermont was ranked 8th in hockey east! I know they beat UNH in the quarterfinals, but Maine had a winning record vs UNH this year. Maine just made it to the hockey east championship and lost to BC, a number 1 seed, in overtime. I don't understand this at all.
There's a hard-and-fast formula of comparing teams that is used to select the NCAA Tournament field. Maine was on the wrong side of those comparisons this year. I don't agree with the criteria if that is the outcome, or at least how the criteria are applied. Maine is one of several teams that has a legitimate case to be included, but their 2-6-0 end of the regular season was probably what kept them out in the long run. Win and tie just two of those six losses and it's probably a different story.
Any thoughts on who will start in goal for BC? Is that different from who you think should start?
Good question, Mike. John Muse didn't play particularly well against Maine, but with BC's offense right now, neither goalie has to play all that well to win these games. Here's what I think it comes down to: If Jerry York plays Muse and BC loses, what can you really say? But if York plays Parker Milner and the freshman doesn't play well, York is looking at an endless amount of criticism. I think Muse will and should start.
A few months back the GM for LA ripped Red Berenson for not developing his players, its been my opinion that Michigan players have made some pretty good pros, do you agree?
I would agree, and it's not just because the Wolverines reel in a lot of top-end prospects. Guys like John Madden, David Moss, and Andrew Ebbett have survived (and thrived) in the NHL because they're complete players who've found a niche. And vets like Aaron Ward, Brendan Morrison and Mike Knuble have been able to hang around and be productive because they bring a lot of assets to the table. Maybe Dean Lombardi's mad because Jack Johnson wasn't the second coming of Bobby Orr when he showed up in L.A.
Are you guys going to rock-out the East Coast Bias.... Who wins between UND and BC if they meet in the Regional Finals?
Well, as an upstate NY lifer who primarily covers ECAC Hockey, I lean toward North Dakota to win that game. But Mike Eidelbes, a WCHA/CCHA guy from Northern Minnesota leans toward Boston College. You can decide on which way we're biased.
With the regular season over, what are your thoughts as to next year in Hockey East? There's a lot of talent leaving, who do you see as the teams to beat next year?
If Gustav Nyquist and Maine's emerging stars return, I really like the Black Bears to finish in the top two. BC will suffer a few hits, as well, but it should have enough to enter the year as the favorites. BU will be interesting because it's going to have a hard time after some big departures. Lowell is also going to fall off due to losing some talent. Look for Northeastern to pick up where it left off through much of the second half and maybe grab a home-ice spot.
Any chance Vermont pulls the upset on friday and beats Wisconsin?
If there's anything we've learned over the past couple of years, it's that every team has a chance. Vermont's best bet to beat the Badgers is to follow the blueprint St. Cloud State used to beat Wisconsin in the WCHA tournament last week -- get a great performance from the goaltender and win the special teams battle.
Aside from goaltending, which Badger team do you think is better: '06 team or potentially '10?
The '06 team was better offensively and in goal. I would say the '10 team is much better in terms of overall defensive talent. Of course, if these Badgers can win four more games, that would make the debate MUCH more fun.
OK, great question here. We'll send it around the room to the whole panel ...
Who's the best player in the tournament?
I'd go with Marc Cheverie, the Denver goalie. Unfortunately for the Pioneers, he's also the guy with the most to prove after the team's no-show last weekend.
From Hockey East, BC's Brian Gibbons is probably the most well-rounded, Cam Atkinson is the best pure scorer and Chris Kreider will generate the most "Did he really just do that?" buzz.
Wisconsin's Blake Geoffrion. He's a goal scorer and a big, physical, two-way centerman who will be on the ice in every key situation for the Badgers. If I had a vote for Hobey, he'd be my guy.
I'll agree with Bus. I wouldn't vote Geoffrion for Hobey, but if I were drafting a team to go out and win a game, he'd be my first pick. He does it all. Love his game. And I'd take Ben Scrivens over Marc Cheverie in goal.
Even though the Badgers don't have elite goaltending, don't you think they are still the strongest #1 seed? They handled DU, Nodak and have not lost back to back once all season. I think they have the most depth and can win even with average goaltending. Thoughts?
Among the #1 seeds, the Badgers are the most complete team right now and have an excellent chance to get to the Frozen Four. And the last time the Frozen was in Detroit (1990) it turned out well for Wisconsin.
Joe who are they 6 teams you think can win it all
Four number-one seeds ... BC, Wisconsin, Miami, Denver ... plus North Dakota and Cornell.
joe, ive been witht the ducks since 93' and having michigan blood in me, ive always loved hockey, unfortunatley, im in socal, my question is.. is there any chance in the future of maybe starting any type of D-1 collegiate program out here? lacrosse made the trip
It's tough to expand varsity programs in hockey right now because of cost, Division I legislation and current conference structure. To me, it would take the formation of a Pac-10 Hockey League or something similar, where those institutions agreed on development, elevating some very popular and successful club programs up to D-1 at the same time.
Do you see the dominant Miami team of the regular season returning for this weekend? They seem to have had a tough go of it the past few weeks with teams that had everything to play for (UNO, OhSU, Michigan), all battling for seeding and tourney implications. Can they buckle down and compete this weekend when its one and done for everyone and advance to Detroit?
Funny how the script changes in a week -- based on the near miss at last year's Frozen, Miami is the team with everything to play for and the other teams in the regional (especially Alabama Huntsville and Michigan) have nothing to lose. So the question becomes, do the RedHawks bear down or will they be crushed by the weight of expectations? I tend to believe they'll advance to Detroit, but I feel less sure about it than I did, say, three weeks ago.
Do you think St. Cloud with finally get a NCAA win this weekend? Northern Mich is hot heading into this matchup. How do you see this game ending up?
Honestly, and I'll risk the ire of Husky fans here, I have to pick Northern Michigan for the upset on Friday. It would be a great story for SCSU, finally getting to play close to home to finally get a win, but my gut tells me the 0-fer will continue for another year.
OK, wrapping this up by heading around the horn again and giving some predictions ...
Who is your favorite to advance to the Frozen Four and ultimately win the championship?
BC beats Miami. Wisconsin beats Cornell and then beats BC.
Wisconsin. Their goal scoring and team defense make up for any shortcomings elsewhere, and Mike Eaves has proven before that he knows how to get a team to climb the mountain.
I like Wisconsin, Miami, Cornell, and Boston College to advance with the Badgers winning it all.
I'll take North Dakota over Miami in one semifinal, Cornell over Wisconsin in the other semi, and North Dakota beats Cornell for the title -- potential third game of the year between those teams after they split a series in the regular season.
Thanks for stopping by, thanks for the great questions and enjoy the tournament. NCAA capsules, podcasts, and other features get you ready for the regionals at InsideCollegeHockey.com with further preview coverage on the way. Plus, we'll be at all four rinks with full coverage all weekend long. Be sure to check out the games live on ESPNU, ESPN 360 and other ESPN partners this weekend.