We're back for another college hockey chat. We'll be taking your questions for the next 30 minutes.
Thoughts on this weekend's BC/BU series? Personally I think BU's record is inflated by their competition but BC is off to their traditional slow start.
It's going to be a good one for sure. As we discussed on our most recent INCH Pocast, we still believe that BC is the best team in Hockey East, even though they may not be playing the best right now. BU has slowed a bit after a great start. This weekend will tell us a lot about both teams as they transition to the middle part of the season. I like the timing of this series.
Let's talk early Hobey frontrunners and who is on your radar. Camper for sure. Muse? Atkinson? Nyquist was the preseason frontrunner but has disappointed thus far.Who else is on your radar from around the country? Can anyone edge out Camper at his current pace?
Carter Camper at Miami had a great start. If he maintains his scoring pace and Miami remains in the top 10 of the national rankings and in contention for a CCHA title, then he's obviously a leading candidate. Boston College always has at least a few guys worth considering, and you mentioned Cam Atkinson and John Muse. Yale also has a couple of dynamic forwards who may get individual-award attention in Denny Kearney and Broc Little.
Saw the USA Today article about the increase in college players at the NHL level. Did that surprise you? What do you think are the reasons?
We're not surprised to see the amount of college players getting a chance and making the most of the chances. Gradually, NHL executives and player development personnel are realizing that college hockey is a viable path for players to develop into great pros. As more ex-collegians prove themselves, it opens doors to current and future college hockey players.
What do you think about the UND retiring the Fighting Sioux, being an alum, its hard to swallow and comprehend, what will they do with the Ralph, and do you think this affects the hockey program?
I've always been of the opinion that North Dakota has represented the Sioux community in the best possible light. That said, if the tribal members aren't happy with it, it should go. Its effect on the hockey program should be minimal at worst, but I don't know how they're going to get all those logos out of the arena.
Neb. Omaho-Where did this team come from, I know they have a great coach in dean blais, but can this team really compete with the powerful house of the WCHA (NoDak, Minn-Duluth, Denver, etc)
So far, indications are that they can compete with the elite members of the WCHA. They've lined up and competed well against teams like Michigan, Minnesota and North Dakota so far this season. How will they be in February? That's the big question. Three of their last four series this year are against Wisconsin, Denver and Minnesota Duluth. How those weekends turn out could be the difference between a WCHA regular-season title or a sixth-place finish.
Who is an under-the-radar guy having an all-american or even potentially Hobey-like season?
Here are three names for you: UNH forward Paul Thompson, who leads the Wildcats with 19 points and, coincidentally, featured on INCH this week; Ferris State goalie Pat Nagle, who has been outstanding for the Bulldogs; and Denver forward Drew Shore, who's been on fire as of late. You might see him as part of the U.S. team at the World Junior Championship later this month.
Please tell me with this rare year where HE has done so poorly AGGREGATE OOC = does that mean at most Three Hockey East in NCAA even if a team like Merrimack is the auto qualifer? That could leave two of the BC BU UNH Maine quartet out in the cold
Way too early to worry about NCAA criteria and out-of-conference games. Having a good winning percentage and finishing in the top four of Hockey East is usually good enough to get an NCAA spot.
I'm going to the Quinnipiac-St. Lawrence game tonight. What should I look for in this game?
Enjoy the game, Dave. So far this season, looks like two teams trying to find their way a little bit. Quinnipiac has shown very well at times and struggled at others. St. Lawrence is pretty banged up with injuries right now and seems to be in a bit of a transition year. You won't get cheated by effort hardly any nights these teams play, so expect a hard-fought contest.
How shocked are you that Eidsness has essentially lost his starting job at UND, and why in the world is SCSU going to play Lee against us, if we chased him out of the last two games. (not that im complaining. we can just light him up again)
We're a little bit surprised by Eidsness and how he's played this year. We saw enough good things from him last year and increasing consistency to think he'd be in line for a big 2010-11 season. Not surprised that he lost the job, because the North Dakota coaching staff will always play the guys it thinks gives the team the best chance to win. Right now, that guy is Aaron Dell.
Are you going to the Big Chill game? What do you expect from that?
I should go seeing as how I live only an hour from Ann Arbor. But I'm not. As far as expectations, it'll be just like every other outdoor hockey game, just with more people. It seems that the setting gets more of the attention, and rightfully so, while the action on the ice is typically less than stellar.
How long will Michigan State be content with Comley? Sure he won a national championship but the results other than that have been un-MSU like.
I don't think MSU is in a rush to make a change, but I don't have any inside information to back that up either. I wouldn't give up on this year's Michigan State team at this point. They've been in a bit of a rut, but Ferris State and Notre Dame are pretty good teams. I still think the Spartans can make a run at a top-four spot in the CCHA, even though there's a real strong group of teams in the upper half of that league.Besides, does it matter? Michigan State is a football school!
With 2010 winding down, give us your best memories, notable events, etc for the year and maybe some predictions for 2011.
Great idea Chris, but this probably isn't the right outlet for a discussion that big. We'll jot it down and cover it in an INCH Podcast.
Next up, two questions from Brian about the DECC and Minnesota Duluth ...
How good is Duluth? Another Frozen Four in the future this year?
Minnesota Duluth is very good. There's no question they can score goals and I think their defensemen don't get enough credit. The question mark is in goal, but Aaron Crandall has been good -- and he doesn't need to stand on his head for UMD to win.
Do you have a fondest memory of the DECC?
Favorite memories of the DECC? Here are two, both involving Mike Sertich, one of the great characters in college hockey. First, there was a game about 15 years ago when the Bulldogs were playing Harvard. Sertich spent most of the third period with his back pressed up to the the bench wall, and as he walked off the ice after the game he had a towel around his waist. Turned out he ripped the seat of his pants during the period.
Second is the time in the late 90s when UMD knocked Minnesota out of the first round of the WCHA playoffs by winning game three on a Sunday night. I can't remember who scored the OT goal (Mike Peluso, maybe) but after the game, Sertie took a run from center ice and slid into the net to celebrate.
I've been out of the loop but any updates on Penn State hockey? Big Ten conference still possible?
No real updates. Penn State announced its plans in September, still forging ahead. Big Ten hockey is certainly possible. We'll wait and see if and how that comes to pass, and in what fashion.
That's all of the time we have today. Thanks for the great questions. We'll be back next week, same time, to talk more college hockey.
Check out InsideCollegeHockey.com for feature stories from each conference, our weekly Friday Four-cast and don't forget to play INCH Pick 'Em.