Howdy. College hockey time, and we're ready for your questions as the NCAA Tournament gets underway in one hour.
We can't have a chat around tourney time without this. It's time to address the hosting must stay home issue. 2 #1 seeds were shipped halfway across the country to accomidate one of the last teams in -something's backwards.
That's a matter of circumstance and timing as much as anything. It depends on the host schools to some extent. Nobody's complaining about Yale, because they earned the top seed. And what's the issue with Michigan Tech hosting. The bracket matchups generally worked out, the teams are slotted in the right spots. Where they play the games seems to be of less importance to me. You know what you're getting when the season begins and what some of the implications are.
There is going to be a lot of debate this weekend about the Hobey Baker. It seems like it is between Miele and Frattin, but is there someone with a big weekend this weekend that could knock off either of those two?
Of the Hobey finalists still playing with a chance to crack the top two, the best bet would be Boston College's Cam Atkinson. He's had a terrific year, and the BC guys tend to get lost in the shuffle a little bit because they're such a good team with a lot of depth. But he's a difference maker, for sure.
What are Union's chances today against Minnesota-Duluth? Big chance for the ECAC to prove its worth...here's hoping the Dutchmen can pull through
Let's be careful about lumping conferences together in this sort of thing. These are just two teams in this game, and it really doesn't make a difference about how you should feel toward Cornell or St. Cloud State as a result. So, as far as Union's chances, I like them. Minnesota Duluth is a good team, but there's a little bit of doubt surrounding their goalie and Union can make life miserable for other goalies by getting to the net and working in the dirty areas. If Kinkaid is solid in net for Union, they'll be in good shape to move on.
I've read and listened to a few different people associated with INCH that have slammed North Dakota for not touching the Broadmoor (or the MacNaughton). They have claimed that they have "disrespected" the conference tourney. This couldn't be further from the truth. The Sioux have celebrated both titles, taken many different pictures with big smiles and enjoyed winning both titles very much. It is not as if the Sioux have thrown the trophies to the ice and spit on them. They simply haven't touched it. Why does it matter? I think INCH deserves the Bench Minor for trying to put down a team when there is no reason why they should.
We'll share this question partially to give equal time and partially to offer some rebuttal. We're just saying that's not how we would have done things, and how it appeared to us. The perception that we're putting a team down is in how people interpreted the comments in First Shift. Two different ways of looking at things, that's it.
I'm planning on catching BC-Colorado College at the Scott on Friday, and wanted to hear your opinions on Colorado College F Jaden Schwartz (Blues #1 pick in 2010). As a Blues fan, I know how hard goals are to come by and wanted to know if this guy is anything to be excited about.
Schwartz is the real deal. He's got 42 points in just 28 games, which is impressive for an 18-year-old playing against guys as old as 24. Kid's got a great wrist shot and really quick hands. I'd like to think he'd come back to college for another year, but it wouldn't shock me if he didn't.
Which number one seed has the toughest road to the final four?
None of them are easy, that's for sure. I think the most difficult is probably Boston College's bracket. That's a dangerous CC team with great top-line talent in the first round. A Michigan team could await in the second round with some key veterans who can make an impact, or Nebraska-Omaha, that should be loose and has nothing to lose.
Miami has lost to a school with the word Boston in it for the past 6 years either BC or BU. Seeing we wouldnt meet BC until the championship...Miami gets to the championship game right?
Well, there's a trend I haven't seen yet. If that's the good luck you're looking for then kudos to RedHawks fans for finding that optimism. If Miami makes it, it will be on this team's merits. It's a great group and they've got tournament experience. Maybe that's the difference in pushing them to the next level this time around.
Resident Islander fan here, looking forward to the upcoming tourney. What's wrong with Gregoire (UND)?Could this be a coming out party for either Donovan (UD) and Kessel (UNH), as both could be playing for NHL contracts come summertime. Finally, have heard that the Isles are one of many teams looking at Merrimack's DaCosta. Could you please project what type of player he could be on the next level?Thanks for all your insight.Alan
Not sure on Gregoire's status as I type this, but if he's close he'll be in the lineup. Kessel has been great in the NCAAs before. I'd keep an eye on him, and Donovan too. Isles have found some good ones in the ex-college ranks with Jack Hillen and Matt Moulson contributing especially.
With the recent greenlighting of the Big Ten Hockey Conference in 2013, where does that land Miami and Notre Dame. Hockey East sounds like a good fit for ND with the BC rivalry, and Miami would be inclined to follow ND. Then again, the WCHA stands with a lot more to gain by filling them in those spots vacated by Wisc/Minn. Where do you see Miami/ND moving then, and does that effectively dissolve the CCHA?
It's way too early to speculate about any other shuffling. Miami and Notre Dame are the upper echelon of their league now, and I think they can be the foundation for a revamped CCHA.
What's up with having the WCHA teams in one side of the bracket except one. Looks like the committee doesn't want two wcha teams in the final, They play each other enough during the year split them up. arguably the toughest conference in the nation.
It's not any sort of intention to limit the WCHA schools that can represent that conference. It's just how the bracket worked out, and everyone can see how those criteria and seeds are determined.
You guys didn't go out on any limbs and pick any #1 seeds to fail to make St. Paul, which works for me. But which #1 seeds/brackets were you wavering on the most and which are you most confident on? Nice haikus by the way.
Thanks for reading and checking in. The #1 that I struggled with most was Yale, because they're so closely matched with Union. I think the same can be said of a potential North Dakota-Denver meeting because of the great game they played last weekend.
Picking the No. 1s is a little bit lame and we've seen that this first weekend of the tournament is grossly unpredictable. If you picked RIT or Bemidji State or Vermont to make the Frozen Four over the last two years, it's a small probability. Doesn't make it a genius pick unless you can back it up with reasoning. We went with these teams because they had the best reasons for us to think they'd be successful. The gap from teams 1-16 in college hockey is so small, and the nature of the game is such that a bounce and a hot goalie might be all it takes to move on.
After winning the WCHA regular season title and tournament title and also going on a 12 game unbeaten streak, do you think UND will be able to keep the streak going and take the National Title or do you think they're due for a loss?
NoDak is the co-favorite along with Boston College, but getting put in the same regional with Denver probably isn't the best break for the Sioux. Assuming both teams win their first-round games, the Pioneers seem to match up well with UND. My top concern with the Sioux is G Aaron Dell -- he's been great all season, but the NCAA Tournament is a completely different animal.
On paper, Andy Miele's overall numbers (24-47-71) are the best in college hockey BY FAR. However, why is the media (see Barry Melrose) ready to hand the Hobey over to Matt Frattin (35-22-57)? I realize numbers are not everything, but I'm hard pressed to find one solid reason Frattin is more deserving of the award than Miele. How much of this inclination towards Frattin is attributable to the fact he plays at NoDak? If so, how soon is it before playing for Miami is no longer viewed as a blemish on one's Hobey resume?
I don't think there's any sort of thought out there that playing at Miami doesn't mean much, and I look at the likes of Jacques Lamoureux and Eric Ehn at Air Force recently to prove that you'll get the notoriety if you're truly one of the best players. Probably a little bit of a reach to refer to Barry as "the media". We've had Miele atop our Hobey Tracker Big Board all year. I think it's his to lose.
DU a 7 seed. Wow, we have really fallen. Is there hope for the near future?
First they're a 2 seed (7th overall) which isn't bad. Second, it's not where you start, but where you finish. Third, I'm not sure what you mean by "near future", but go up and down the Denver lineup and see how many of those players have "Fr." and "So." next to their names. Provided those kids stick around, the Pios are going to be really, really good for the next couple of years.
Do you think college hockey can be big like college football and college basketball?
I don't envision the sport ever taking strides like that, and I think most college hockey fans prefer it that way. We're not opposed to growth, but we like what we have with some smaller schools that are able to compete on the national level.
Given the great strides Western Michigan has made under first year coach Jeff Blashill, should the Lawson faithful be weary of a move on to a destination job?
It's always a possibility, but there's no reason Western Michigan can't be that job. Kalamazoo is a great hockey town thirsting for a winner, there are plenty of recruiting options, and the program is certainly pointed in the right direction. I think Blashill is primed to do some big things at WMU and won't leave until some of them come to fruition.
Thanks for stopping by to chat. Enjoy the games today, less than an hour until puck drops for Union and Minnesota Duluth. All of the games are on ESPN3 and ESPN networks this weekend, and check our TV listings at INCH for local affiliate stations that are also picking up games.
Full previews, capsules and our annual NCAA Tournament haikus will also get you ready.