Thanks for stopping by to talk college hockey. Lots of excitement abounds here at Ford Field. We'll be taking your questions for the next hour.
How is the ice in Detroit? If it is bad, who do you think it'll impact the most?
It will be better today than it was yesterday. For starters, the outside temperature is about 20-25 degrees cooler than Wednesday. Also the ice had a chance to settle overnight and rink staff was able to make adjustments.
As to what team would be most adversely affected by bad ice, I think it's Boston College. They like to make long passes and generate chances off the rush.
I do not understand at all why the NCAA would play the frozen four in a terrible hockey seating facility when there are plenty hockey arenas that deserve the froen four. I would rather have 18k fans packed house, then playing in a football stadium and the fan experience being second class. Go Badgers...I wish it was in a hockey facility and I would have gone for sure! ESPN2 I will be watching.
Complaining about the facility without being here is a little backward. One of the most impressive things yesterday was how cozy the rink is. I don't think any of the seats will be bad and the fan experience should be fine. Credit to the NCAA, CCHA and Detroit Sports Commission for trying something unique and different. I agree that most years traditional hockey venues work best, but I'm also OK with exploring other possibilities.
If you were a betting man, would you take the Redhawks over BC today? Can Miamis forwards keep up with BC's high scoring offense?
I think Miami is a slight favorite to win tonight, wouldn't be surprised at all. The RedHawks play excellent defense and have excellent goaltending so I think they'll be able to deal with BC.
Favoritism aside, UW has been downright dominant nearly every night. Their achilles heel seems to be sending men to the box, and the refs were whistle-happy two weekends ago. How do you expect the refs to influence today's game? Do you feel a big advantage for RIT on the power play is a must for them to have a legit shot to win?
RIT's power play is good and you're right, Wisconsin will need to limit its penalty minutes. A key for the Badgers (and Miami in the second game) is to get the puck down low and work in the corners and on the cycle.
Fan enthusiasm is critical in these three games; nothing dampens that more than a 'quiet' building. And worries about that in such a large venue?
Not worried about it at all. All four teams have proven to bring passionate and enthusiastic fans and will be excited about this opportunity.
How much stock can Rico and the Miami coaching staff put into tape from Muse's awful outing in the regional?
Muse has been stung for a lot of goals in two of his last three games, but played quite well in BC's regional semi against Alaska. He's been at this level before and is the only goalie at this tournament that's won a college national championship. Goaltending is a concern for BC, but Muse could prove people wrong.
Who does Miami start in net tonight, and if they win, who do they start in the title game? How does Blasi decide?
I think the coaching staff and the team is comfortable with either guy. To me, Knapp is playing a little better right now but I don't make those decisions.
In your opinion, what red hawk will be the key to tonights game, or who do you see stepping up
I think it's the big forwards for Miami. Guys like Justin Vaive and Trent Vogelhuber. Miami gets a lot of chances down low, working the wall and wearing down defensemen. A concern for BC might be depth on the blue line and Miami can take advantage.
Do you think the BC and Miami contest will become a shootout and therefore a contest of the goalies?
If it gets to be a back-and-forth, fast-paced game the advantage goes to Boston College. Miami will prefer to play a little slower pace. However, Miami's goaltending is better than Boston College right now.
I was listening to the INCH podcast from March 28 and you guys seemed pretty down on Miami (it seemed like the listener should have known why, but I haven't been listening for the entire season). Any particular reasons? How about predictions for the tournament?
We didn't have a March 28 podcast, but at the end of the season Miami got by in a lot of close games. I think they were playing better earlier in the year.
But, thanks for listening to the INCH Podcast!
UW's puck possession has been unbelievable this season. Does RIT have any chance to match Wisconsin's team speed/puck-handling? Or can we expect another typical performance where UW plays the entire game in the offensive zone?
That's the kind of game that Wisconsin likes to play and they do a great job at it. RIT will need to move the puck out of their own zone quickly and effectively. It starts with good plays down low by the D, but also watch the RIT wings on the boards making sure to chip it out of the zone or carry it and start in transition.
How are you able to keep up with so many teams and players with so few games on TV? Go Miami.
We're lucky to be able to tune in to as many games as possible on TV and have staff in all of college hockey's geographic areas. Thanks for reading and checking in.
Of course, tonight's games are on ESPN2, and Saturday's championship is on ESPN.
Pretty exciting times for a college who usually don't have a lot of school spirit. RIT has been looking really good, and I know a lot of the reports speak to how loose their players are. How big will the impact be playing in front of 30k+ fans when they are used to playing in front of a packed arena of only 1800 fans?
I think their overall demeanor will help them on this stage. Most of RIT's players are between the ages of 21 and 25 so they've got a lot of hockey experience, if not in this particular event. They don't seem to be affected by too much in a negative way. I expect them to handle the pressure of the moment well.
Speaking of Muse's troubles, and knowing that there's a more than capable backup in Parker Milner, what kind of leash will Muse have? Any chance of a change if he gives up a couple of early goals?
We don't think so, unless it's a total meltdown like Kiprusoff had for Finland in the Olympics against the United States. Muse is the guy this weekend for BC, and the Eagles will stick with him.
Was the decision to have the Frozen Four due to ratings that the Winter Classic has had so muc success?
Nope. This Frozen was awarded before the NHL started its series of Winter Classics. Strangely enough, I think the Winter Classics and other outdoor events make this a little less unique than it would seem otherwise.
Chris from Brookline was asking about how sound travels and disperses in the large space, not about the passion of the fans. What say you?
Don't know, there weren't any fans here yesterday for practice. Others who have been here for Lions football and last year's NCAA basketball tournament have said that the place can get quite loud.
Who has the upper hand for the Hobey?
For us, it's Blake Geoffrion but both Hockey East forwards are also very viable candidates.
What are the local hotspots around town that hockey fans can check out when we're not at the games?
The downtown Detroit area where Ford Field and Comerica Park (Tigers baseball) are located has been revitalized over the last 10 years and there are a lot of places to eat and drink right around the stadiums and in the Greektown area. There are three casinos in downtown Detroit. We checked out a Red Wings hockey game last night.
Who are you most surprised out of the tournament didn't make the Frozen Four?
I'll say Denver, because of how strong they were throughout the regular season. WCHA regular season champs and ranked in the top three essentially from start to finish.
How do you see Miami slowing down BC's explosive offense?
One key is puck possession. Miami can keep the puck in safe areas and limit BC's opportunity to get on the rush and out in transition.
Do you think future Frozen Fours in Detroit will be based in Ford Field, or is this a one time thing?
I wouldn't rule it out in the future, assuming a successful event this weekend, but it won't be until long in the future, at least 10 years out. Too many other viable sites are in the mix and this is a coveted event that draws lots of strong bids.
Do you think UW will just overpower RIT? I know Denver didn't, even though they mostly dominated, but the Badgers are clicking. I don't think RIT has a shot.
I don't think Wisconsin will run over RIT. It will be a good game.
Who would you give the edge to in net? WI or RIT?
This is the one area where RIT has the clear advantage. Jared DeMichiel has been good all season, and excellent over the last 3-4 weeks.
Thanks for stopping by to talk college hockey, it's been great taking your questions. Be sure to check out Inside College Hockey for complete coverage throughout the week including in-depth previews that get you ready, including tonight's lineups as they are available.