Thanks for stopping by to talk college hockey. Happy to be joining you for this discussion from Atlantic City, where I'll be covering the ECAC Hockey championship tournament this weekend. Action is already underway at the WCHA Final Five and we're excited about five really good tournaments this weeekend.
Is the Big 10 conference likely within a year or two of Penn State making the full transition to D1?Any word on additional schools seriously considering the jump? With the current economy will anything less than a Terry Pegula gift be required to get a school to D1?
Yep, it's pretty much inevitable that there will be Big Ten hockey in the very near future. You raise a good point, that hockey is an expensive sport to operate because it requires a versatile facility like Ohio State or Wisconsin or a unique hockey-only building. Major donors and commitment will be required, and there are also Title IX issues that must also be considered.
What happened to Union last weekend? Awful no call at the end of the game 3 that should have gone against Colgate, if not disallowed the goal.
Union had three games worth of hockey to play before any one call put them at risk. As that team admitted after dropping the series, Union just never could get that next goal, especially in Sunday's game three to put Colgate away. Letting a dangerous and suddenly-confident Colgate team stick around was Union's undoing, not one call or decision.
Why did the ECAC hockey committee move the tournament from Albany to Atlantic City? It makes no sense and attendence will be far less than it was in Albany. At least Albany was within a 4 hr bus ride of every school unlike Atlantic City which is a lot longer.
It might not make geographic sense, but it makes financial cents (and dollars). There's always a dollar amount associated with decisions like this and Atlantic City is trying to draw as many events as possible to the area. Last weekend the same venue hosted the Atlantic 10 men's basketball championship tournament. Driving into town today I saw a boxing card advertised for next weekend and a rodeo in two weeks.
Further, the Albany tournament had grown pretty stagnant in my opinion. This is a destination and you don't know how it will work unless you try new things. It's a gamble, but how do you know unless you roll the dice. Yes, these horrible puns are intended.
What do you think the chances of Matt Frattin of UND winning the Hobey Baker?
Frattin's got a great chance -- he's the leading scorer on country's top-ranked team and leads the nation in goals. But when we broke down his numbers on INCH a couple weeks ago, it turns out that he did most of his damage against the bottom half of the WCHA. That's not an indictment, but a fact. Miami's Andy Miele, to me, is the leading candidate, but I fully expect Frattin to be among the top three.
Couple of news items to share that have come down this afternoon. Minnesota defenseman Cade Fairchild signed a contract with the St. Louis Blues, and Nebraska-Omaha coach Dean Blais was named as head coach for the United States at next season's World Juniors, which will be held in Edmonton and Calgary.
How is Blashill not CCHA coach of the year??? He is likely the national coach of the year. Does this fuel WMU even more against Michigan? I think all things considered the Broncos will win tonight.
Good question, although Jeff Jackson certainly is a worthy honoree for taking a freshman-heavy Notre Dame team to the NCAA Tournament. I thought Blashill and Merrimack's Mark Dennehy were shoo-in's for coach of the year honors in their respective leagues, but voters in Hockey East chose BC's Jerry York. As far as the Broncos' chances, they'll definitely be motivated -- they're no NCAA Tournament lock by any means, and you've got to think WMU regrets letting that game against the Wolverines in Ann Arbor last month slip away.
Also note that unless Merrimack and Western Michigan advance to the Frozen Four, Dennehy and Blashill won't be considered for the Spencer Penrose Award for national coach of the year. The four Frozen Four coaches and each league's coach of the year winner comprise that pool.
What's more likely - Kinkaid going pro or Leaman getting wooed away by a bigger school? Both?
I don't know which is more likely, but I'll acknowledge that there is some likelihood in each case. And I'll make this commentary on Leaman, should he be pursued and accept a position with another program -- it would not be out of any sort of disrespect toward Union. He is very proud of that school, that team and the program they have built within that community. It would simply be a move toward a different opportunity and a new challenge.
There is a such thing as college hockey? Here's to you and the 3 other fans...lol
Yup, and we like it. Go back to fretting over how your "bracket" is destroyed by noon games on Thursday.
I'm all for Coach York being recognized as Hockey East Coach of the Year, but I also can't believe they didn't give the award to Dennehy.
Jerry York is a great coach, but let's be serious -- you or I could guide that team to an NCAA tournament berth. Dennehy has turned around a historically downtrodden Merrimack program and guided them to a 24-8-4 record. There have been months in recent seasons when the Warriors have lost eight games. I'm gonna go Charles Barkley here and say that decision was turrble.
I'll add to that. I disagree with the choice this year of York, but I will compliment him on something that I think he does as well or better than every coach in the nation. York always seems to find little experiences or opportunities to add value to the college hockey experience. He brought in New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick to talk to the team recently. You hear stories like that from BC every year it seems.
What are your thoughts on Rensselaer's Chase Polacek's Hobey Baker chances after winning the ECAC Player of the Year for the second season in a row?
Certainly a tremendous honor for Polacek, and as we noted in today's Hobey Tracker, he's just the third player in 50 years to repeat as ECAC Hockey Player of the Year. I think his Hobey candidacy would be helped if RPI was still playing in its league tournament. He could make an impact in meaningful games and add to his point total. If RPI gets in the NCAAs and he has a big weekend at the regional, he may end up among the top three finalists.
If Miami beats ND today and then presumably Mich tomorrow in the CCHA final....any way they snag a #1 seed for the tourney?
Yes, but it may be largely irrelevant unless you put a ton of stock into having the last line change. If it comes down to Miami-Michigan in the CCHA championship game, the winner will be a No. 1 seed, probably in St. Louis. But the way I'm seeing things, I think the loser of a Miami-Michigan title game ends up in the Lou as a No. 2 seed.
OK, lots of questions in the hopper about predictions for this weekend's tournaments. Bus and I will leave you with our calls on who gets the trophies tomorrow night ...
I'll go with the chalk in most cases here. Give me RIT in Atlantic Hockey, Miami in the CCHA, Yale in ECAC Hockey. I'll get Boston College in Hockey East and North Dakota in the WCHA. What can I say? I'm a risk-taker.
For me, I'll go a little outside the box in a couple of cases here. I will take Boston College and North Dakota in those leagues. They were the teams we expected to be on top when the season started and they're both playing that way now. I like Air Force to win in Atlantic Hockey, and Michigan to win the CCHA. And a darkhorse-ish pick here in Atlantic City, just riding a gut feeling on Dartmouth. They've never completely put it together, but this might be the weekend.
Thanks for stopping by, thanks for the questions. Check in with INCH all weekend. We've got our writers at each league tournament, and we'll have the best NCAA Tournament coverage Sunday, with a comprehensive look at the entire field, and our annual Selection Sunday INCH Podcast.