It's time to talk college hockey. We'll be taking your questions for the next half hour or more.
BC looks even stronger than last year. Is it possible they make it look as easy as last year and blow teams away in NCAA's?
Ehhh, not so fast on that one Matt. It was a limited sample size but I was pretty concerned about the Eagles' defensive-zone play against Northeastern on Monday night. I'll be keeping a close eye on those games this weekend. That's something that BC is going to have to figure out if they want to make a deep playoff run. Of course, their offensive firepower is undeniable. Lots of talent up front that can carry the team if things break down a few times in the d-zone.
Why can't the St. Cloud State University Huskies find any consistency this year? Or more or less for the last 5 years???
It starts with overall defense and goaltending this season. When fans never know what's going to happen when the other team has the puck, that's a scary feeling. Still, one has to like what the Huskies have done since Christmas after a horrendous first half of the season.
Assuming HE standing stay what they are (BC/UVM, UNH/UMass, MC/NE, BU/ME) do you see any up upsets in the first round of the playoffs? Could a Madore or Rawlings carry his team to take 2 out of 3 on enemy ice?
I'd pick Maine out of that group if I had to choose one. One, because Maine has some talent and has defeated some pretty good teams this year (although mainly at the beginning of the year). Two, because BU is the most vulnerable of the teams currently positioned in the top-four of Hockey East.
UW is tied at 15 right now in the pairwise. With out a big push into the Final 5 playoffs are they in danger of not making the NCAA Tournament?
Wisconsin's achilles heel all season long has been the inability to beat teams with winning records. At some point, they're going to need a few wins to boost their resume, but with Minnesota, St. Cloud State, and Colorado College remaining on the regular-season schedule, it might not be enough to get them safely into the NCAA field. A Final Five win or two might just do it.
Given Clarkson's home record would they be better off being on the raod for the ECAC playoffs? Less pressure?
I wouldn't say that, not for the first weekend of the tournament, which Clarkson will be involved in. If Clarkson takes care of business at Cheel that first weekend, then the comforts or confidence of playing on the road would be nice to have in the quarterfinal round, which will be against a very tough team.
Is there a dark horse that could win the ECAC tourney and steal an NCAA spot?
If you discount Yale, Union, Dartmouth and RPI (currently in the projected field) then the team that would be next most-likely to make a run in that tournament, to me, would be Princeton. Possibly Cornell, but I think Princeton is just more dangerous overall, especially in a one-game knockout situation. There's more depth there in Princeton.
Is it me or do some of these 3 and 4 seeds in your 4x4 have a lot of potential to do serious damage in any regional? Notre Dame, Miami, and UNO can play some darn good hockey at times. All three seeds at the moment.
The field for this year's NCAA Tournament could be as wide open as any we've seen--and we've really seen some crazy stuff happen in recent years. As we mentioned in our recent podcast, there's not a lot of difference between the top overall seed and, say, the 13th overall seed. If the season ended today, Wisconsin and Rensselaer would be four seeds. Those are pretty good four seeds, in my opinion.
What are your thoughts on the rule that says even if a goal is scored during a delayed penalty, the offending team must still be shorthanded. I don't understand what it accomplishes, it's fine if you want to make the player serve the penalty time, but there shouldn't be a power play. I know that down the stretch as the games start to mean more this rule could have a serious effect on the outcome of games. I would hate to see a stupid rule effect any title game. Just wanted your opinion.
You might not like my opinion. I kind of like the rule. Technically, that goal that's scored during the delayed penalty is an even-strength goal, as the attacking team is pulling its goalie. The burden on the team that committed the infraction is simply to control the puck or make a play on the puck. They deserve the power play.
If you could draft any player in college hockey to build a program around (assuming he would stay all four years), which player would you pick?
That's a great, great question ... so good that I don't think that it can be sufficiently answered in this space. We'll definitely talk about it in a future podcast, and take your suggestions, too. Send 'em along to us on Twitter. We can be found @INCH.
ECAC better chance at pro level. Little vs. Polacek, Kearney vs. Carey, Zurevinski vs. Jooris/Carr/Bodie?
Whoa. I'm no scout, but if I was ranking those guys in terms of pro potential, Daniel Carr would be my first pick because of his scoring touch and work around the net. Polacek would be second for how far his game has come and Kearney would be third. That also kind of fits the matchup-nature of the question.
How about the Big Red's RED hot 2011?
I've been very surprised by Cornell in the second half of the year. Some struggles were expected entering the 2010-11 campaign when they lost so much veteran talent, but the team has really come together. Mike Garman and Andy Iles have been reliable in goal and some offense has come from guys who struggled in the first half of the year. Big home weekend for the Big Red this weekend. Take care of business against Harvard, and then there's a big opportunity against Dartmouth to really make strides toward a top-four spot in ECAC Hockey.
Bowling Green has a great history and they are trying to rebuild with the help of the many great alums associated with the program. Based off of what you have seen this year from the team, and everything that is taking place do you think that they can truly return to hockey greatness? basically are they on the right path?
It's not going to be easy, but it definitely can be done as evidenced by success stories at places like Union, Merrimack, and the like. The first step is getting those alums -- guys like George McPhee, Rob Blake, and Ken Morrow -- re-connected with the program, and it seems like BG is well on their way to doing just that. Then it's a matter of luring talent and coaching them up, and I think Chris Bergeron can lean on his experiences as a Miami assistant to make that happen.
Everyone talks about Merrimack and the Warriors are a great story, but why no love for Union? It seems to me the Dutchmen have a lot in common with the Mack, and actually have a better record, the most wins in the country. Is it the anti-ECAC bias?
You're probably hearing a lot of Merrimack talk based on your geography, but Union is getting plenty of attention where I'm based in upstate New York. It's not a case of bias, it's a case of regional interest. I see more ECAC Hockey coverage, you're likely to be exposed to more Hockey East coverage. And out in the WCHA, they don't care because their hockey is the best and don't tell them otherwise.
Picks on who take the CCHA regular season and then post season crown? Hopefully my Redhawks!!
Sorry, Eric. I'll take Notre Dame to hold on to win the regular season title and Michigan to win the playoff championship.
With Union getting a lot of love these days, why doesn't WMU's sweep earlier season over them seem to not be reflected in national rankings? A sweep of a top-10 team seems like a huge resume-builder to me.
Good point Buster. That will be reflected in Western Michigan's case when it's time to select the NCAA Tournament. Great year for the Broncos so far.
Thanks for stopping by to chat with us this afternoon. Lots of good coverage to get you ready for the college hockey weekend over at insidecollegehockey.com. Have a great weekend at the rinks and we'll be back to chat next week, same time.