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 (2:30 PM)
Thanks for stopping by to talk college hockey with the writers from Inside College Hockey. We'll be taking your questions for the next 30 minutes.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:32 PM)
Right off the top, a lot of bracket-projecting stuff is coming in and we understand the interest in that, but the answer to almost everything is: It's too early to tell. There are approximately 70 college hockey games left to play before the tournament field can be determined.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:32 PM)
For our bracket projection, expertly compiled by Mike Eidelbes Wednesday night, check out INCH. And remember, that's how we think the field will look, not how things currently stand.
Matt (Saint Cloud)
With SCSU slipping up big time last weekend against MSU, what will they have to do better in order to beat the Mavericks, who have been playing pretty darn good hockey these past two weeks?
Jess Myers (2:33 PM)
Having seen the Mavs recently, they play very little like an eighth-place team, but goaltending has been their question mark all season. Ryan Lasch needs five points to become SCSU's all-time leading scorer. If he gets all five this weekend, I like the Huskies chances, but frankly, I smell an upset here.
As outside observers, who should be happier right now, BC fans or UNH fans? Both seem to be thrilled. UNH needed 1 point for the trophy and got it. BC ended up getting the other 3 pts and moved up to a 1 seed after the weekend in the bigger picture.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:36 PM)
I agree with the points you raised, and I value regular-season championships as a measure of consistent excellence against rival teams on a long-range scale. To me, that was important for UNH, also because they rallied for three goals in the third period to tie up Friday's game. Another weekend for BC when they didn't get two wins. Next time that happens means no Hockey East title or an NCAA Tournament exit.
The Bug (Cleveland)
Do you see any upset winners in the upcoming conference tournaments?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:38 PM)
If we foresee it coming, then is it really an upset? Most leagues have 2 or 3 really good teams that are capable of winning it. I think a lot of coaches and programs that are vying for at-large berths are nervous to see what happens at Niagara this weekend at the CHA Tournament. If Bemidji State wins, that's one more at-large team that can get in the tournament. If any of the other three wins it, Bemidji claims an at-large.
Jack Seagull (Oxford, OH)
Do you think any Redhawks have potential to be play in the pros?
Mike Eidelbes (2:40 PM)
The RedHawks have a lot of talent on the roster and a few of those guys, whether they're draft picks or college free agents, should get a shot. But sometimes it's more important to be put in the right situation e.g. Ryan Jones, a great goal scorer in college who hasn't found the right fit in the pros. What will help the Miami guys at the next level is that they're sound fundamentally and responsible two-way players.
In light of beating Denver, do you see any such luck for Vermont again UNH?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:41 PM)
That win at Denver was the second game of the season. I think the more relevant recent results are the OT loss and tie that Vermont had at New Hampshire a few weeks back. Those were close games, and I expect this weekend's games to be very close as well. Definitely not an easy matchup for the Hockey East tournament's top seed.
dave (oxford, ohio)
I have already ordered my tickets for the NCAA regionals in Ft. Wayne. Am I safe to assume that Miami will end up there or is there a scenario where they go somewhere else?
Mike Eidelbes (2:42 PM)
There's no guarantee, obviously, but I can't imagine a scenario in which Miami does not end up in Fort Wayne. While balancing the bracket is the primary goal of the tournament committee, they'll make concessions with regard to attendance if necessary. That's why we feel both Miami and Michigan State will end up in Fort Wayne.
Is Scott Gudmanson capable of getting hot enough to bring a national title home to Madison, or is he just too likely to give up a soft goal the team just cannot afford?
Jess Myers (2:43 PM)
Any goalie is capable of getting hot, and it's almost impossible to predict who will get hot when. In Gudmandson's case (and in the case of Brett Bennett) I think that goaltending is the weakest part of the Badgers game, so if they go deep into the playoffs it will be due to their defensive talent and their goal-scoring depth.
How likely is it for the Badgers to play in St. Paul for the regionals?
Mike Eidelbes (2:45 PM)
It's hard to predict what the selection committee might do. Our most recent projection has Denver as the top seed in the West Regional, but the committee might decide that since the Pioneers have to get on a plane regardless, they'll send them to say, Albany, and put Wisconsin in St. Paul. Know this: the Badgers will be at the X if they finish ahead of DU in the computer rankings.
If Michigan State beats UoM this weekend, are they a lock for the tourny? If so, what is the lowest seed they are looking at with a win?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:47 PM)
Two wins would get Michigan State to 21 wins, which I think is sort of a "magic number" when you're considering at-large teams. They're in a closely bunched group of teams likely to be in the NCAA Tournament, and as we said at the top it all depends on what happens in every other game across the country. They could be as low as a four seed, possibly as high as a two.
Mark (St. Paul)
no way MN can win up in Grand Forks. playoffs, gophers, englestad arena. You will be able to hear the roars down in Minneapolis after goals. That place will be way to intimidating to play in for them to win. and as I have read, they are something like 0-9 in road playoff games.
Jess Myers (2:48 PM)
I don't think intimidation is a huge factor. The Gophers know the Ralph and if anything I think it's too nice a place for opponents to visit. However, the way that North Dakota is playing right now, I like the Fighting Sioux's chances to sweep this one.
Any thoughts on last Friday's BC - UNH game where BC seemingly did not pull out all the stops for the win and a chance at the HE regular season title, in order to protect their seeding for the NCAAs. Not second guessing Coach York and his staff, just wondering about your thoughts on it.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:50 PM)
Well, they pulled out all the stops in the first two periods. I'd be more concerned about the three-goal lead that got away in the third than the regular-season title. As I stated earlier, I value regular season titles. I think BC made the right play in terms of hockey integrity (both theirs and UNH's) in overtime.
Bill (Gwinn, MI)
If NMU wins it's playoff series this weekend, does that make them a lock for the NCAA's? Does it need to be a sweep? And what does it do for the Hobey chances for Olver or Gustaffson?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:52 PM)
I think Olver and Gustaffson are nice players, but they're outside of the Hobey conversation at this point. Depends on what happens in other leagues, but I think winning this weekend's series helps Northern Michigan, but doesn't guarantee anything. Adding another win in Detroit the following weekend would do it, I think.
Robert (Fridley MN)
Going into the playoffs what should St. Cloud State do with their goal tending situation? Play Dunn who had been great until the last weekend or use Mike Lee the freshman who is supposed to be the next big thing? Or even keep them in a rotation?
Jess Myers (2:53 PM)
They have a nice tandem, but if I had to go with one, I'd pick experience over youth.
Wow gladdy, you're still on that "no 2 Ws in a weekend" kick for BC, huh? You didn't answer the question though. I'm happier than UNH fans, though. You guys are harsh on BC this year with the low power rankings all 2010 and now this but I understand...
Joe Gladziszewski (2:55 PM)
I am on that kick. I think it's a relevant point, so I will keep making it. I think BC got a nice break by missing Vermont in the first round. The Cats have played their best in the biggest games this year.
If Maine sweeps Lowell this weekend will that be enough to earn a spot in the NCAA tournament?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:56 PM)
No. They've got more work to do, and they'll have to do it without their starting goalie.
Jason (New York)
Do you think there will be any upsets in this weekend's ECAC quarterfinals matchups or should we expect to see Yale, Cornell, Union and Colgate in Albany next week?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:58 PM)
I'd keep an eye on the St. Lawrence / Colgate series but that's a 4/5 matchup and can't be considered much of an upset. I would be very surprised if Union, Cornell and Yale didn't advance. They've been the three best teams all year.
Drewedllebug (Fort Wayne)
Besides the top 5-6 teams (Miami, Denver, North Dakota, St. Cloud, Wisconsin & Bemidji), who do you think has a chance to make the Frozen Four who is off the radar? Similar to Bemidji
Joe Gladziszewski (3:00 PM)
Your off-the-radar teams would then be from the east -- BC and UNH are the top picks in Hockey East, Cornell and Yale in ECAC Hockey. Michigan State next best bet in CCHA.
Scott (cincinnati, oh)
Is it me or does it feel a little more exciting with the rivalry matchups we have in the first and second rounds of the play offs around the country?
Joe Gladziszewski (3:02 PM)
Agreed. Some of these series are going to be even better than usual because of traditional rivalries.
What's the likelihood of seeing Denver and Miami meet in the finals? Who do you think would win?
Mike Eidelbes (3:03 PM)
We've said all along that Denver, Miami, and Wisconsin are the clear-cut top three teams in the country, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Pioneers and RedHawks in the championship game. It's a long way away, obviously, but I'd give the Pioneers the edge -- Marc Cheverie is the best goalie in the nation and DU has more playmakers, guys like Rakhshani, Colbourne, Wiercioch, etc.
Joe Gladziszewski (3:05 PM)
Thanks for stopping by to talk college hockey. Appreciate all of the questions and be sure to check back with INCH later tonight and Friday morning for complete end-of-season coverage from all of the leagues and playoff capsules previewing this week's action.