Chat with Inside College Hockey
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, the experts from Inside College Hockey will stop by to take your questions about the 2009-10 season.
ESPN and Inside College Hockey team up to bring you the latest NCAA college hockey news, scores, schedules, and more.
Send your questions now and join INCH Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET!
Joe Gladziszewski (2:33 PM)
It's time to talk college hockey. We'll be taking your questions for the next 30 minutes, talking college hockey and even a bit on the Olympics ahead of Team USA's 3 p.m. start.
Puckman (Troy, NY)
How about some love for the nations leader in goals (23) and points (46)? Chase Polacek is leading a relatively young RPI offense in an underrated ECAC Hockey. Will lack of respect for the league cost Chase? Either way the HFH will be rockin' when the Engineers host a playoff series for the first time in half a decade!
Joe Gladziszewski (2:36 PM)
Good to hear from Puckman, definitely in the Frozen Four of team symbols next to the Skating Friar. Chase Polacek has been a great performer this year and was mentioned in this week's Hobey Tracker, at INCH and here on ESPN.com. Big Freakout weekend for the Engineers and they can make a run toward locking up a top-four spot in ECAC Hockey. I think Polacek's candidacy isn't lessened by the fact that he plays in ECAC Hockey.
Jerome (Burlington, VT)
Coming off a disappointing weekend coupled with the dismissal of Justin Milo... is Vermont's season still salvageable?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:39 PM)
Vermont is a team that is puzzling to me. Great out-of-league wins prop it up, but they haven't played well in the league and are even in danger of missing out on the Hockey East playoffs. The Milo dismissal was a decision made by the coaching staff in the best interest of the team. Potentially, addition by subtraction. We'll see how UVM responds this weekend with another tough series, this one at UNH.
Matt (Schenectady, NY)
Hello,I'm an alum at the U and am really wondering what can Union do to get into the NCAA's besides winning the ECAC tourney? Wins over Princeton, Quinnipiac and Colgate really wont help their RPI or PWR as none are TUC teams. The only real game left is Cornell. Assuming they lose that game do they have to run the table in the tourney to make it to NCAAs?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:41 PM)
If Union goes 3-1-0 in the last four regular season games as you assert, it will have a first-round playoff bye. The Dutchmen could then win two more games on home ice, and a game in Albany - either the semifinal or consolation - and I think they would get into an at-large position. That's seven more wins and a total of 23 for the season.
Charlie (Granite Falls, MN)
Maybe this isn't a question for today's chat, but no that we are drawing in on the end of the final CHA season, how about a top 10 CHA moments article soon? What was your favorite CHA moment?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:41 PM)
Great idea Charlie, we'll definitely consider that.
I believe this is the most talented roster Mike Eaves has had at Wisconsin and is highlighted with the 3 lines at D. From 1-6, is there a better defensive corp in the nation this year, and where does this group rank all time in the WCHA? Minnesota had a solid group with Martin, Leopold & Ballard in 2001-2002 but I don't think that team was as strong from top to bottom.
Jess Myers (2:43 PM)
The Badgers defense is, in my opinion, the best in college hockey. And your comparison to the early 2000s Gophers is right on. As for the overall talent of this Wisconsin roster, I'm with you on defense, but the goaltending this year does not compare to Brian Elliott in 2006, and at forward I'd put up Joe Pavelski, Adam Burish and Robbie Earl against Blake Geoffrion, Michael Davies and Derek Stepan.
The Chief (Goggin)
After watching the UNO/Michigan series, and hearing Starman say all weekend that Miami will not win come March/April "because they haven't been tested yet", I'm curious what you think Miami's weaknesses are that may hold them back? The offence has come alive, the defence is still the best in the country, two great keepers. I guess Starman forgot about the sweep of SCSU and 3 of 4 from UNH.
Mike Eidelbes (2:44 PM)
That's a baffling statement considering the RedHawks have been the most consistent team in the country all season long. If anything about the RedHawks struck me as a weakness, it might be a tendency to be a bit too conservative, but seeing them drop the hammer on teams they should beat is encouraging.
Bert Olson (Grand Forks, ND)
Gladdy, do you still think UND has a chance to make the NCAA tourney?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:45 PM)
Yup. I liked their spirit in the second game at St. Cloud State last weekend and it sets North Dakota up nicely for an important series on home ice this weekend against Minnesota Duluth. The return of Brett Hextall has really boosted the Sioux power play and overall scoring.
Ryan (Sheboygan, WI)
What do you make of the suspensions handed down to UND's Lamoureux and SCSU's Hepp? And lack of suspension handed down to SCSU's Marvin? It seems pretty bad that the WCHA hands out the same punishment for wanting to fight as it does for a likely season-ending check from behind.
Jess Myers (2:46 PM)
Like you, I am a little puzzled by the "wanting to fight" suspensions. It frankly reminded me a little of the movie "Minority Report" where people are charged with crimes before they're committed. But I know Greg Shepherd and the WCHA brain trust are adamant that their officials step in and prevent fights before they happen. As for Marvin, he got an appropriate punishment for an ill-advised hit.
With BC continuing to be strong, and Northeastern winning 5 straight Hockey East games, what do you see happening in the home and home series they have this weekend?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:49 PM)
BC has been playing pretty well in the last several weeks, but we've seen this before (December) and then they dropped three in a row. I think the Eagles are going to win Hockey East and I think they're the best overall team in the league, but this is an opportunity for Northeastern to make some noise.
Will the lack of difficult opponents down the stretch hinder Miami's and Denver's chances in there conference tournaments and the NCAA tournament???
Mike Eidelbes (2:50 PM)
What can the RedHawks and Pioneers do about their schedules at this point in season -- ask their opponents to play better? Miami and Denver will be fine. With their talent and depth, they can match up against anyone in the country.
What are the rules involving intra-conference matchups during the NCAA tournament? Are the rules different if one conference has a large amount of teams in?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:53 PM)
In almost all situations, the NCAA tournament committee will make sure that conference opponents will not meet in the first round, but they will also try to protect the seeding integrity within the bracket. It's a very rare case that two conference teams would play in the first round, and almost always, it would be due to a team hosting a regional and thus being guaranteed a place in that region. That was the case in 2008 when Denver and Wisconsin played in the first round.
How bad have things gotten in Minnesota? Is nearly 3 yrs of .500 hockey enough reason for fans to get frustrated? Does it seem like the players (or coaches even) have any spark to them? What will it take to get this turned around?
Jess Myers (2:54 PM)
When you share a league with Michigan Tech and Alaska Anchorage, which have not gotten a home playoff game in what seems like forever, it's hard to feel too sorry for the Gophers for being around .500. Still, there is very little spark at the U right now. Hope springs eternal with another uber-talented crop of freshmen committed for next season.
Joey (Charlotte, Vermont)
I'm officially confused about Vermont. They sit in 8th place in Hockey East, but 9th in the PairWise rankings? As a Catamounts fan, I'm thrilled they're still ranked nationally, but how much weight should be put on the PairWise? Does it matter where they finish in Hockey East?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:56 PM)
Vermont's non-league wins are propping it up in PairWise comparisons but this team isn't playing well right now. And, as we mention every week -- the PairWise Rankings are designed to measure the entire season. Looking at them before the end of the year doesn't really matter.
Jason (Brewster, MA)
Talk about Yale's chance at being the first ECAC team in years to be a legitimate national contender.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:58 PM)
I got a good look at Yale last weekend and they were disciplined and effective against Cornell. To me, I think they're a long way from being a true Frozen Four or NCAA Championship contending team.
Kevin Courtney (Big Rapids, Mi)
Will the Ferris State Bulldogs make the tournament?
Mike Eidelbes (2:58 PM)
They're right on the cusp, according to the computer rankings. But they're 2-6-2 in their last 10. Given that recent trend, I'd lean toward them not making the NCAAs. Taking at least one from Michigan State this weekend helps the cause, obviously.
Tom (Madison, WI)
Which team would you pick in a series on neutral ice: Denver or Wisconsin? Which team do you think has a better shot at a national title?
Jess Myers (2:59 PM)
I picked Denver at the start of the season. I picked Denver in the middle of the season. And I'm sticking with the Pioneers. Both teams have excellent offense. But head-to-head on neutral ice, I see Marc Cheverie taking away enough of the Wisconsin offense to win. I do not have the same kind of confidence in the Badgers' goaltending.
Joe, not to take anything away from RPI Polacek why would you think James Marcou would be hindered for the HOBEY because he plays at UMASS as you mentioned a few weeks ago when UMASS is pairwise is much better then RPI
Joe Gladziszewski (3:01 PM)
In today's chat I mentioned that Polacek wouldn't be hampered by playing in ECAC Hockey, not for RPI. The case with Marcou and UMass is that there are other programs in Hockey East that attract more attention. If Marcou was having the type of career at BC, BU or UNH, I think his candidacy would be aided by their traditional success.
Joe Gladziszewski (3:03 PM)
Thanks for stopping by with these questions. We'll be back for more college hockey talk next week.