Archive for the 'Commentary' Category

ECAC First Half Review

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

As always, the ECAC is not where we thought it would at this point in the season. Yale isn’t the dominant defensive team we thought it would be, Harvard’s offense is second to Quinnipiac, Cornell (I picked them 11th in preseason dumb ehh?) looks like a team to be reckoned with come March and well who thought RPI would ever have a nine game unbeaten streak?

The ECAC standings are extremely tight heading into the second half, with Quinnipiac having 14 points and Cornell close on its heels at 13. Cornell’s only ECAC league loss came to Quinnipiac, in a game it had a three goal lead and couldn’t hold on. Harvard and RPI are tied for third at 11 points, while St. Lawrence and Yale round out the top six with nine and eights points respectively. Any of those six teams are contenders at this point, because the bottom half have been less than stellar, or as I would like to say there is a step down in quality.

One of the biggest ECAC storylines of the first half is the quality of hockey being played throughout the league. The inter-conference record has been sparkling, although it has come down a bit in recent weeks. The .632 winning percentage in non-conference play has the league setup well in terms of the pairwise, as currently five teams are in NCAA tournament positioning. Quinnipiac sits first in the all important Pairwise rankings, while Harvard, Cornell, St. Lawrence and Yale sit sixth, seventh, 11th and 13th in those rankings. Even RPI sits in good positioning, as it is 17th in those rankings. Last year, the NCHC had a .652 inter-conference record and it had six teams in the tournament. Even more important for the ECAC as a league, it has a 24-16-3 against the two best conferences in the country, the NCHC and Hockey East. Maybe the ECAC is the best right now? Ya, lets see how the non-league games go in the next few weeks.

Well and to finish off I would like to say Happy Holidays to all. Hope all of you have an enjoyable holiday, no matter what you celebrate. See you in a week or so for my annual trip to Hanover’s Ledyard Bank Classic. (more…)

Breaking Down The Power Structure of the NCAA Council Vote

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

When the proposed Big Ten legislation on enrollment age for college hockey goes to vote in April, each of the 32 Division I conferences will receive a vote. However, some of those votes will count more than others. The votes are weighted, and the power conferences count more than the rest of Division I. The five autonomy conferences have their vote counted four times, while other non-FBS conferences have their votes counted twice and the rest of Division I conferences have their votes counted once.

It’s important to note that when the Big Ten legislation goes to vote, it will be decided by non-hockey conferences. In fact, the Big Ten itself is the only conference with direct voting power on the council.

“Legislation that is considered through the Council structure generally does get a final vote in April,” said Michelle Hosick, Associate Director of Public and Media Relations for the NCAA. “The Council members each have the ability to vote on legislation, whether or not they sponsor ice hockey. Some members without ice hockey may recuse themselves, but that doesn’t always happen.

“Every conference has a representative on the Council. The vote of a representative from one of the five autonomy conferences counts four times. The vote of a representative from one of the five non-FBS conferences counts two times. The vote of remaining representatives count once.”

Other schools could have influence on how their individual conference votes, but there’s no guarantee. To pass the legislation, all it needs is a simple majority.

There are 22 programs (36.7% of college hockey) that has no representation whatsoever on the NCAA council that will vote on this new legislation.

Here is a breakdown:

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Reacting to the Proposed Big Ten Legislation

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

As reported by College Hockey News on Tuesday, the Big Ten has proposed legislation to the NCAA that would lower the age limit on incoming hockey recruits from 21 to 20 years old, or two years after a player’s expected high school graduation date.

That proposal, and the manner in which it was proposed, has stirred considerable controversy.

First, there’s the proposal itself. The timing of it and the intentions are considered suspect by some coaches who are adamantly opposed to it. Then there’s the process in which it was proposed. Instead of debating this legislation as a college hockey body in Florida at the annual coaches convention, as all legislation in the past has been handled, the Big Ten proposed this unilaterally, without notification to its other conference partners.

That could be the bigger concern.

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12 Hockey East thoughts for Oct. 23, 2015

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

All 12 Hockey East teams are in action this weekend with four playing home-and-home series in the league standings. Let’s take a look around the league with 12 thoughts for 12 teams …

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Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Oct. 19

Monday, October 19th, 2015

The first full weekend for Big Ten hockey saw Michigan open its season against Mercyhurst. The Wolverines swept the Lakers and scored six goals on Friday. Meanwhile Minnesota’s struggles continued, and the Gophers are now 0-3 after a series sweep by Minnesota-Duluth.

The Buckeyes are 0-4 on the season after dropping two series to in-state rivals Bowling Green and Miami. Penn State split its series with Notre Dame, while Michigan State was swept by Denver.

Wisconsin’s woes continued thanks to a road sweep in Boston, although there were a couple of positives from the losses. The Badgers have some talent, but they’re too inexperienced and reliant on underclassmen. Still, this isn’t last year’s Badger team.

It’s early in the season, but so far Kyle Connor is leading the Wolverines in scoring. He has four points through two games, including three goals. And Michigan is sixth in the country with an average of 4.50 goals per game.

While it’s still early in the season, it looks like this will be another year of non-conference struggles for the Big Ten. Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State are the only teams with wins.

(After the jump: Matt Jurusik will be Wisconsin’s starter, a new basement team for the Big Ten and it’s going to be a tough season for Minnesota.)

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Random thoughts heading into Hockey East’s second weekend

Friday, October 16th, 2015

The results around Hockey East on opening weekend where, in a word, interesting. UMass swept Colorado College, Boston College and Boston University both suffered losses in the Capital Region while Providence impressed at Miami, Lowell beat a good RPI team and Maine picked up two ties in the IceBreaker, including one against North Dakota.

It’s dangerous to make any assumptions about a team — good or bad — based on one or two games, but here goes nothing …

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Three Things I Think ECAC: October 14, 2015

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

In what very could go down as one of the most important weeks of the season for ECAC teams, league teams went 9-2-1 in non-conference play. Union and RPI had the most impressive wins of the week with victories over Boston University and Boston College, respectively. Those wins will be huge for the pairwise boost in the future, as both will probably be near the top come the end of the season. The league schedule will kick off in two weeks, as Harvard and Dartmouth will kickoff the slate with a pair on Halloween weekend. I wasn’t going to write this week, but there is a point I wanted to get across that is hardly league related but it is. Without much ado, here are my thoughts of the week. (more…)

Despite Despair, O’Connor’s Poise Is Why We Love The Game

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

BOSTON — You hardly see a National Hockey League player cry after a crushing loss. Last night, after a 4-3 loss to Providence in the national championship game, there wasn’t a dry eye in the Boston University dressing room.

That’s because in college hockey, at places like Boston University and everywhere else, you’re playing for something bigger than you, and you know it.

Players like Cason Hohmann, Evan Rodrigues and Anthony Moccia might play hockey beyond this season, but it will never be the same. Never.

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A Rebuttal To Every ‘We Got Screwed’ Column You’ll Read This Week …

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

In a blog post earlier this week on the website for The Lowell Sun, which covers UMass Lowell, a writer admitted that he didn’t “know squat” about the Pairwise. That’s fine. Unless you’re a college hockey diehard, you probably wouldn’t know the difference between the Pairwise and a pair a shoes.

But that didn’t stop the newspaper from publishing a front-page column on Tuesday, where the lede was “The UMass Lowell hockey team got screwed,” and calling the River Hawks “victims of a computer” in its headline.

Before I sat down to write this blog post, I asked my laptop if it had any bias against any particular college hockey programs. It didn’t answer me.

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Thoughts on Frank Vatrano Signing with the Boston Bruins

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

News broke on Thursday that undrafted free agent Frank Vatrano will forego his final two seasons of eligibility at Massachusetts, and has signed an entry-level contract with the Boston Bruins.

At first the news took me by surprise. It’s not that Vatrano, who scored 18 goals and amassed 28 points in his first full season in college hockey, wasn’t talented enough to take his game to the next level. Far from it, in fact. But I never gave much thought to Vatrano leaving UMass after one season, especially not after essentially sitting out two years in order to get there.

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