Chat: Inside College Hockey
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INCH Archive: Chats
Joe Gladziszewski (2:01 PM)
Welcome to another college hockey chat with Inside College Hockey. Myself and fellow editor Mike Eidelbes will be taking your questions for the next 30 minutes.
Joe (Rt. 11)
How important is this weekend's road trip for the Golden Knights? They have a big "rematch" with the "Q" and then head to Hobey Baker for an afternoon tilt with the upstart Tigers... how difficult is the task at hand and does a pair of wins cement Clarkson as the team to beat in the ECACH?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:03 PM)
I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how these games turn out. First of all, Clarkson is already cemented as the team to beat in ECAC Hockey. Princeton is a team that has given Clarkson trouble recently, and they come into the weekend with some momentum after getting two impressive wins at Colgate and Cornell. Quinnipiac is the league's sleeping giant right now. They have lots of talent and can get hot at any time. It's a tough weekend for the Golden Knights.
Mandy (Sterling, VA)
Is the CCHA really that strong this year, or are the high rankings of Miami, MSU, and that other team inflated by wins against weaker conference opponents (Northern, UNO, Alaska)?
Mike Eidelbes (2:05 PM)
Oh, Mandy ... you came with a very good question, and I'll try hard to answer. Like you couldn't see the Barry Manilow reference coming in on a breakaway. We discussed this at length on the INCH Podcast earlier this week. The CCHA as a whole isn't that strong. In fact, it's probably as weak as it's been in some time from top to bottom. The top four -- Miami, Michigan State, Notre Dame, and Michigan -- are exceptionally strong, however, and they share common characteristics with excellent depth on defense and on all four lines, and solid goaltending. Michigan is very talented, but extremely young, so I'm not sure how long they can maintain their start. But the other three clubs are legitimate top-10 teams.
Broad Street Brian (philly)
I know this is a college hockey chat, but help me out! A co worker is saying that Eric Lindros is/was a more talented player than Wayne Gretsky. I told him he was insane. that the Great One had Lindros Career year 10 times! Who's right here? Thanks for taking the time for such a silly question.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:08 PM)
You are correct, your co-worker is insane. And your argument would hold stronger significance if you spelled Gretzky correctly. Lindros was a very good player, and injuries affected his career differently than Gretzky, but even if he was healthy, he would never come close to what Gretzky achieved. Lindros had more size. Gretzky had more talent ... and made other players better.
Matt (Boston, MA)
It looks like Thiessen has put my greatest fears to rest with a decisive showing at UNH last weekend. How does your guys view of Northeastern change if they beat both UVM and BU this weekend, which is a great possibility.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:09 PM)
I don't know that it would change our view of Northeastern. We've expected a big year from them right from the start and wins over Vermont and BU wouldn't come as a surprise to me. Could they make it into the INCH Power Rankings? I think so, with those wins, if they happen.
Dwight (Cambridge, MN)
Do you think the Gophers will continue to struggle or will they bounce back? What do you think they need to work on the most to return to being competitive?
What's up with the Gophers? Do you forsee a down year for the program or is it just a slow start for a promising team? Thanks
Justin H (Denver, CO)
What is the deal with Minnesota this year? 0-4 to start the WCHA.... A slump year for them or will they rebound?
Mike Eidelbes (2:11 PM)
Three questions ... one answer on the Gophers. I certainly think they'll struggle this year, but struggling for Minnesota is much different than other teams' definition of the word. The guys who left school early for the pros -- Erik Johnson, Goligoski -- definitely hurt, but there are a couple additional factors at work here. First, their freshman class was not as highly regarded as previous recruits were; there's not an Okposo-type talent in the bunch. Second, they've had a terrible time scoring thus far. Outside of Blake Wheeler, no one has produced offense -- not Okposo, not Barriball. And losing a vet like Ryan Stoa for the entire season with a knee injury was a blow, too.
What did we learn from the first full weekend of ECAC play?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:14 PM)
The big storyline to me was that the Ivy League teams came out and played very well. Most of them were getting their first significant game action of the season, or playing on back-to-back nights for the first time. Of the six, only Cornell played at home. Princeton, Harvard, and Dartmouth were all very impressive (no shame in losing at Clarkson) and Brown and Yale each managed to get two ties at Rensselaer and Union.
It never fails; every year you guys and other pollsters rank Miami really high. Haven't you learned that just because you play in a weak conference and win a lot, it doesn't make you # 1?? They will go out early in the tourny just like they do every year. Why does Miami get so much love?
Mike Eidelbes (2:16 PM)
Here's why Miami gets so much love: 1) The RedHawks lead the nation in scoring offense (5.00 goals per game) 2) They're tied for third nationally in scoring defense (1.50 goals per game) 3) Forward Ryan Jones shares the national lead in goals (eight in as many games) 4) Goaltender Jeff Zatkoff is among the five best netminders in the country. 5) They're a deep team -- seven defensemen deep, actually, and a great crop of forwards. 6) They've won their first eight games without Hobey candidate Nathan Davis. Regardless of conference, the RedHawks are a phenomenal club.
What're your thoughts on the Bowling Green program? Thanks.
Mike Eidelbes (2:18 PM)
Bowling Green fans have been anxiously awaiting a rebirth. At this point -- and I realize that it's still quite early -- I think they've got a chance to be competitive in the CCHA. Granted, the league is pretty watered down after the top four, but the Falcons have been getting some solid contributions offensively from Kevin Schmidt, Derek Whitmore, and freshman Jacob Cepis, and freshman Nick Eno has played pretty well in his two starts in goal. I don't think they're necessarily a lock to finish last in the league ... I could see BG challenge for a home-ice berth in the first round of the league playoffs, maybe a 7th or 8th place finish.
Billy Sauer is having an awsome early of the season. Do you think he has lost the name of an inconsistent goalie?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:21 PM)
That depends on how he plays in upcoming games. Sauer has been pretty solid this season, and usually consistency comes with maturity. Even if he plays just OK, Michigan will be in position to win most of its games. He's got a save percentage under .900 and about a 2.50 goals-against average. Only in one start did he allow under two goals.
Andy, Houghton MI
Who do you feel will end with Home Ice in the WCHA this year? How good is MTU's freshman class when compared the rest of the WCHA, the rest of the country? Thank you
Mike Eidelbes (2:23 PM)
Michigan Tech's freshman class will be judged on the impact Casey Pierro-Zabotel makes when, or if, he joins the Huskies' lineup next month. He's the most anticipated recruit to hit Houghton in some time. As far as home ice in the league playoffs (and how crazy is it to answer these questions in November?) outside of North Dakota and Denver, there aren't any teams that can be considered locks for the top five in the WCHA. In particular, the battle for third through eighth should be a particularly entertaining scrap. If Michael-Lee Teslak can continue his exceptional play in goal, Tech will be in the mix at the end.
Why isn't college hockey more popular in Philadelphia? The town loves the flyers but there's no major programs here!
Joe Gladziszewski (2:25 PM)
We need the Big Five schools to get their hats into the college hockey ring. Imagine the St. Joseph's Hawk skating around the rink, flapping his wings before the team takes the ice. That's what I'm talking about. In general, Philly is a pro sports town. But it did bid (unsuccessfully) to host the college hockey Frozen Four during the last round of site selection.
Justin H (Denver, CO)
What is your take on DU's class of 13 Freshmen. Do you think the youth in the organization has created better team work as everyone is new and must learn to work together from the start?
Mike Eidelbes (2:27 PM)
That number is a bit misleading, because only seven freshmen have seen regular playing time thus far. And I can't speak to the work ethic and togetherness, but it helps when two of your newcomers are among the top 10 freshman forwards in the country (Tyler Bozak and Kyle Ostrow). The Pioneers are exceptionally strong up front -- their top six forwards are freshmen and sophomores -- and Peter Mannino has responded well to being the full-time starter in goal for the first time in his career.
With the new Devils arena opening in Newark, do you see the possibility that the Frozen Four would be played there?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:29 PM)
Not likely, and certainly not in the near future. They'd have to bid for it, and the Frozen Four sites have been awarded through 2012. The bid process has become increasingly competitive over the last five years, as buildings and cities know that it's a guaranteed sell-out and prestigious event to host.
John ( MN)
Your thoughts on the ruling of the Fighting Sioux keeping their name till 2010?
Mike Eidelbes (2:31 PM)
Touchy subject ... I don't think there's anything malicious about the nickname, but I'm not a Native American. I hope the tribes with the authority to allow the school to retain the nickname do so, recognizing it's being used in a manner of honor and respect.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:31 PM)
Thanks for the great questions. We've got to sign off for now but we'll be back next week. Stop by insidecollegehockey.com to check out the INCH Podcast, and our national notebooks, which will be posted later tonight. Enjoy the games this weekend.