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 (2:31 PM)
It's time to talk college hockey once again, and we'll be taking your questions for at least the next 30 minutes. Playoffs are set to begin in Atlantic Hockey, ECAC Hockey and the CCHA this weekend while the other leagues wrap up regular season play.
Kyle (Duluth, MN)
What affects will Bemiji St have on the WCHA when they are included.
Jess Myers (2:32 PM)
Unlike the more recent additions to the conference like Alaska Anchorage and Minnesota State, who have rarely cracked the upper half of the league standings, the Beavers have the potential to be an immediate impact kind of team. Look at their record versus WCHA teams this season and there will be no "expansion team" vibe to Bemidji State when the WCHA logo is on its sweaters.
Michael, Potsdam, NY [via mobile]
My hometown team is the Clarkson Golden Knights and their mens hockey team had an awful season this year. What do you see happening for them next ssn.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:35 PM)
I think I read earlier this year that Clarkson had never finished in last place. Despite it being a lousy season, they can make it a little more memorable for the right reasons with a playoff series win over rival St. Lawrence this weekend. I think things will change at Clarkson in terms of attitude. The coaching staff won't stand for losing and that message will be made clear to the players. The Golden Knights were also woefully short of defensemen this season for a number of reasons.
With the CCHA tournament starting this weekend, I was wondering if you guys see any potential first round upsets and which ones?
Mike Eidelbes (2:36 PM)
In a league in which 10 points separate the fifth and tenth-place teams, calling anything an upset is a bit of a stretch. Is an up-and-down Notre Dame team beating an up-and-down Ohio State team in Columbus an upset? And with goalie Bryan Hogan's health an issue, is Lake Superior beating Michigan an upset? I'd be surprised if Alaska and Nebraska-Omaha lost, but the other two series really could go either way.
With Minnesota most likely missing the NCAA tournament for the 2nd year in a row, what's your opinion of Don Lucia's future? What are your thoughts on Dean Blais returning to Minnesota to coach the Gophers in the next year or two?
Jess Myers (2:37 PM)
Don Lucia's future at Minnesota is secure for at least another year or two. As I have mentioned to several who have asked, the Minnesota Athletic Director, Joel Maturi, just gave a contract extension to a football coach who is 14-24 for his career. The thought that he would fire the hockey coach who has hung seven banners in 10 seasons is not realistic. As for Blais, unless Lucia retires in the next two years, I think Dean's comfortable place in Omaha and his age mean the window of opportunity for him to coach his alma mater is closing.
Curtis (Boise, ID)
First off, I love the podcast. When will the next one be?Being all the way out here in Idaho (and not having cable/satellite), I don't get much of a chance to watch college hockey. I see the stats, but want to know from someone who has watched a lot of the games this year who you think are a couple of impressive/dominant players who may not get Hobey consideration due to either being on a mediocre team or not having piled up the eye-popping stats of some of the primary Hobey candidates.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:40 PM)
Thanks for listening and we're glad that you like it. Next podcast will be middle of next week, continuing our bi-weekly format. We'll also have one Selection Sunday. For the off-the-radar Hobey candidates, James Marcou of UMass fits that bill. He's one of the nation's leading scorers and is a dymnamic offensive talent. Dan Ringwald from RIT is a likely candidate from Atlantic Hockey, as he's been among the nation's top-scoring defensemen for the last three years.
Bee (Oxford, Ohio)
Last year, Miami was upset in the second round of the CCHA Tournament and still got in. If the upset repeated this year, do you think they are still good enough to be a No. 1 seed or would they fall into the 2s?
Mike Eidelbes (2:41 PM)
The RedHawks are on solid footing when it comes to earning a no. 1 seed for the NCAA tournament. Even if they stumble in the quarterfinal round, I think it's unlikely that they drop far enough to warrant anything but a 1 seed.
You are commisioner for a day. What playoff format do you adopt for your post-season tournamant? One where everyone is included in three game series (like CCHA) or a single elimination where only the top few are included (WCHA)?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:43 PM)
All of the tournaments except for College Hockey America have some elements of them that include three-game playoff series. I prefer that in the early rounds and the single-elimination format for the league championship weekends. I also like the third-place game, but I may be among the few that like those.
Can St. Cloud State really be a number one seed without at least getting to the WCHA Championship game?
Jess Myers (2:44 PM)
All of the computer ramifications make my head spin (I was a journalism, not math, major) but it would seem to reason that the Huskies would have to be one of the two two teams in the WCHA, either in the regular season or the playoffs, to get a #1 seed.
Matt (Portland, ME)
Say Maine sweeps UMass this weekend and wins a QF series do you think that would get them in safely?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:47 PM)
More bracket stuff ... and this answer applies for most teams, so pay attention fans! Tournament fate depends on what your team (Maine) does, but also what happens with other teams. A lower-ranked team winning an auto-bid, a first-round upset of another bubble team, or a hard-charging team that moves up would affect the fate of other similar teams under consideration. Too early to tell at this point, but for me, 21 wins is a pretty magic number. Getting to that total tends to bring good news.
Matt (Saint Cloud)
I noticed that in your version of the bracket, you put Denver in the West Regional, but the bracketology guys at USCHO put St. Cloud State in the West Regional, even though they were the lowest ranked #1 seed at that point. What will SCSU have to do in the WCHA playoffs in order to get the West Regional?
Mike Eidelbes (2:48 PM)
Other projections base their bracket on the comparison rankings as they stand today, whereas our 4x4 is a projection of how we think the bracket will look when the field is announced. Our rationale for putting Denver in the West Regional was that, as our projection as the top overall seed, the Pioneers deserved to play in the regional closest to Denver. But the selection committee may think different -- it might decide that since DU has to fly, they might as well send them to Albany or Worcester. For SCSU to end up in St. Paul -- in our opinion -- it would have to get the top overall seed, a tough proposition with both DU and Wisconsin ahead of them.
Oswego State vs. Plattsburgh on Staturday for the SUNYAC Championship. Mark your calenders!!!
Joe Gladziszewski (2:49 PM)
Indeed. The best of Division III.
Did you see in the Sioux hockey blogs that Genoway is "intending" to still play this season? Watch out if we get him back!
Joe Gladziszewski (2:50 PM)
I personally did not see that report yet, but adding a player of Chay Genoway's ability would make every team better. Amazing stat that we saw last week - Genoway still ranks third in goal scoring by WCHA defensemen despite missing most of the year.
Is it possible for BC to pull off a 1 seed in the Northeast Region?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:52 PM)
As we said earlier, it depends on what happens with the teams around it. In BC's case, that's Bemidji State dropping a couple of its remaining games and St. Cloud State doing the same.
Matt (Portland, ME)
If you're Maine, who do you want next weekend? My gut says NU or Vermont.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:54 PM)
If I was choosing for Maine, I'd pick Northeastern because the Black Bears are 2-1 against them this year and they just seem less dangerous. Some of Vermont's best performances have been in the big games against marquee opponents and they have shown the ability to "play up" in those big games.
Chris (Stoughton, MA)
Logjam for the fourth and final home ice spot in Hockey East. Who gets it and who is left out of the playoffs? Does Vermont have any shot at making the ncaa tourney if they don't win out through the league championships?
Jeff Howe (2:55 PM)
To add to that logjam, Lowell is playing UVM this weekend, and BU is playing Northeastern. Northeastern and Vermont are playing the best out of those four teams, but I can't foresee any sweeps this weekend. Because of that, I'll give the nod to Lowell, which enters the final weekend with a key one-point advantage on the other three teams. I'm maintaining my prediction from last week that UMass will miss the playoffs. And finally, UVM needs to win the Hockey East tournament to get into the NCAA tourney.
How do you see UNH/BC playing out this weekend? Any chance UNH doesn't get an at large birth to NCAA's if they were to lose both games?
Jeff Howe (2:57 PM)
UNH should be all set to make it to the NCAA tournament. It would take four losses in the next two weekends and some serious upsets in the other league tournaments for the Wildcats to miss out. As for this weekend, it's tough to argue with how well BC is playing. I'm predicting a three-point weekend for the Eagles, which will give them a share of the regular-season title and the top seed. Oh, and don't forget to read my series preview tomorrow on INCH.
Enrico Blasi (Oxford, OH)
I have a dilemma - Reichard has been my #1 goalie all season, but recently Connor Knapp has been outplaying him. I don't want to throw my team off their rhythm, but I am also tempted to start Knapp for the CCHA and NCAA tournament. What should I do?
Mike Eidelbes (2:58 PM)
Sounds like a no-lose situation to me, especially since there's not much of a drop-off in productivity between Reichard and Knapp. The good news is that Miami is likely locked into the 1 seed in the Midwest Regional, so Blasi ... err, you ... could continue rotating goalies during the CCHA playoffs and see if one emerges prior to the NCAA tournament.
Adam (Schenectady, NY)
What are the Dutchmen's chances of getting an NCAA berth? That loss at Colgate seems like it hurt Union's chances of getting in. How far in ECAC championship do they need to go to get in?
Joe Gladziszewski (3:00 PM)
Again, again ... depends what happens elsewhere. Obviously Union can get to the NCAAs with an automatic qualifier by winning the ECACH tourney and that's within the realm of possibility. A quarterfinal sweep and one win in Albany might also be enough.
Ben (St. Paul)
Do you think that 5 WCHA teams will make it to the touranment?
Mike Eidelbes (3:00 PM)
Denver, Wisconsin, St. Cloud State, North Dakota, and Minnesota Duluth were all in our most recent 4x4 projection. The Bulldogs are the closest to missing out.
Bob (Boston, MA)
What's your prediction for the BU vs NU series this weekend?
Jeff Howe (3:01 PM)
I really love the way Northeastern is playing right now, but BU always seems to have the Huskies' number. I'm going to be lame and predict a split.
Matt (Portland, ME)
Cheverie's Hobey to lose?
Joe Gladziszewski (3:02 PM)
That's how we see it right now, according to our most recently-published Hobey Tracker. Check that out at INCH and ESPN.com. Several other good candidates have had nice seasons, but Cheverie is tops in our minds.
Joe Gladziszewski (3:03 PM)
Thanks for all of the great questions. We'll be back next week, same time, to talk more about the conference postseason tournaments.