Chat about College Hockey
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INCH Archive: Chats
Joe Gladziszewski (2:31 PM)
Hello again, and welcome to another college hockey chat on The Show, with writers from Inside College Hockey. We'll be taking your questions for the next 30 minutes.
Randy (Madison, WI)
Do you see the badger's turning around their recent woes any time soon?
Jess Myers (2:32 PM)
I don't see things turning around in the near future, just based on Wisconsin's schedule. The Badgers finish the season with four very winnable games (at Michigan Tech and at Minnesota Duluth), but before that they have to go to North Dakota, Denver and Coloado College, and they have to host Minnesota and St. Cloud State. While I see the Badgers improving, especially offensively, over the course of the season, I don't see a lot of opportunity for them to dig too far out of the hole they're in right now. Considering recent college hockey history, how interesting would it be to see the Badgers have to travel to Alaska Anchorage for the playoffs?
The Boston University Terriers have struggled early on to score goals. As everyone now knows, players on the team got attacked and hurt fairly bad. First I want to wish them well and second, Do you think this could be something that gets them on a tear or leads to more troubles for the team?
Jeff Howe (2:34 PM)
If anything, getting Kevin Schaeffer back (thinking optimistically that he can indeed make a return) will be a huge emotional lift. Though completely different circumstances, it would be similar to getting Van der Gulik back last year. If John Curry misses any time, that could really set the offensively challenged group back a bit since he has kept them in every game so far. At least the schedule - with the upcoming time off - favors them.
Tim (St. Paul MN)
Joe, How do you think the defections for the World Junior affect their teams? Minnesota will lose 5, but for only 3 games. Does playing in Junior affect their conditioning with the travel time, or does the positive factor of playing at such high competition help those teams in the long run?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:36 PM)
The WJC and assorted college hockey tournaments provide for some interesting opportunities. While the Gophers and other teams will certainly miss the talented players that have gone to represent their countries, they will come back from the tournament as better players. Oftentimes, those players that get away from campus and get that international experience come back with increased confidence and a higher level of play after competing on that stage. So, yes. It will help the teams in the long run.
john essex vermont
do u guys think the uvm catamounts have a legit chance to make it far in the ncaa tournament
Jeff Howe (2:37 PM)
Because UVM plays great defense, yes. Now, they have to make sure they don't fizzle out in the second half like last year in order to at least make the tournament.
Drew: (Lakewood CO)
Minnesota has been doing very well this season but what would you say is the Gophers weakest spot? Comparing the WCHA teams, which team seems to have the best chance in the long run to win the regular season title?
Jess Myers (2:39 PM)
The Gophers need to be better defensively. With all of their offensive firepower, they should be winning by wider margins. Instead, lapses on defense and in goal have meant that they're undefeated in 16 straight, but eight of the last 10 games have either been a tie or a one-goal win. It seems to me that shoring up the defense is the last element needed to make the Gophers favorites for the NCAA title.
David (Sydney, NSW)
Which Big Red team is for real? The one that splits at home with Wayne State, or the one I keep waiting to see?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:41 PM)
In reference to Cornell, I think they'll be fine. The non-league loss to Wayne State was surprising, but they fought back to win the next day, then rallied from a 3-0 deficit to get a tie with RPI. The 6-0 win over Union was another solid effort. Cornell gets to measure itself against some excellent competition at the tournament in Florida at the end of the month. I expect them to be fighting for a top-four spot in the ECACHL standings throughout the second half. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see them get one of those byes.
Pete (Toledo, Ohio)
Notre Dame is off to a great start this year. Will they be able to keep it up and win the CCHA?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:43 PM)
Notre Dame's start is very impressive. The fact that they're getting it done at the defensive end of the rink is important. Teams that play good defense don't go into extended slumps. The challenge is the difficulty of the CCHA schedule. With Michigan and Miami chasing close behind, and Michigan State in the mix as well, the Irish will have to play very well to hold off those teams. Those other teams have more recent success, and their upperclassmen know what it takes down the stretch. That's a disadvantage for Notre Dame.
RPI has had at least a 2-goal lead in 4 of their last 5 games, yet they have an 0-3-2 record to show for it. Whats the problem here, and will it get better?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:46 PM)
There's still an adjustment period, even 12-15 games into the season. When things aren't going well, it could be for a lot of different reasons. Some nights it's been the goaltending, some nights defensive breakdowns. This team is still learning and is getting better, despite the recent bumps in the road.
Is the Atlantic hockey league becoming more competitive with the other leagues or was HC's win in the tournament last year an anomaly?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:49 PM)
I still think there's a gap, talent-wise, and that will always exist with the scholarship limitations that Atlantic Hockey member institutions face. What's impressive to me is the competitive balance within Atlantic Hockey. Army got off to a great start, Sacred Heart has played very well, and RIT is near the top of the standings. While most people know Holy Cross because of last year's tournament win, there are several strong teams in the league. It'll be fun to watch those results in the second half.
TJ (Burnsville MN)
Fellas, Seems like every a team hides under the radar until the end of the season and the conference tourney's, and makes a big run to the Frozen Four. Any team out there underachieving that you think can catch fire and make a run in March?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:52 PM)
I don't know that they're underachieving but a couple of sleeper teams that come to mind -- teams that people might not know much about -- would be Clarkson and Quinnipiac in the ECACHL and St. Cloud State or Colorado College in the WCHA.
Jess Myers (2:52 PM)
A month ag I would've said St. Cloud State, but the Huskies are en fuego already. How about Alaska Anchorage? With Wisconsin struggling and Minnesota Duluth seemingly unable to get on track, the Seawolves could host playoff games this season. That could be a springboard to a good Final Five.
Vania (Fair Haven, VT)
Does Maine have what it takes to get back on top of the college hockey world, or were the Black Bears a fun early-season story that's over?
Jeff Howe (2:53 PM)
Maine certainly has the talent, and its early season run was by no means a fluke. The team is very similar to last year's squad that went to the Frozen Four. Whitehead is a great coach. The Black Bears will be fine.
Will (Crookston, MN)
Do you think that the Gophers sticking with Briggs will help to stop the defensive underachieving?
Jess Myers (2:55 PM)
In a word, yes. Briggs has been more consistent then Frazee this season, and I'd expect him to get the bulk of the minutes in goal, especially in March.
Is UNH the real deal or will they choke as always when the tourney rolls around?
Jeff Howe (2:58 PM)
UNH has a spectacular offense, which always seems to breed success in the regular season. I'm still not sold on Kevin Regan's ability to win a game in the postseason against an elite goalie, though. He was great in Amherst two seasons ago, but he has been shaky so far this year.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:59 PM)
Thanks for the great questions ... we're about ready to wrap this up, but first we'll quiz the panelists on how they project the Frozen Four at this point ...
Jeff Howe (2:59 PM)
BC, Minnesota, Michigan, Maine
Joe Gladziszewski (3:01 PM)
I'll go with Minnesota, Notre Dame, St. Cloud as a darkhorse, and Boston College.
Jess Myers (3:01 PM)
Maine, Miami, Colorado College, and Michigan.
Joe Gladziszewski (3:02 PM)
Thanks for the questions, be sure to follow INCH all season long for extensive coverage of college hockey. Join us again next week for another chat.