the pieces are in place – except for a reliable goalie,
perhaps. But after winning two NCAA titles, is the desire for
another still there? With Grant Potulny as captain, one would
doesn't worry the Eagles, but they need to get good goaltending
out of Matti Kaltiainen, and better performances by the whole
team in big games.
past the second Thursday in April – the Wolverines have
been ousted in the Frozen Four semifinals in each of the last
need to overcome significant losses, including Lanny Gare, Colin
Hemingway and Garrett Stafford – but somehow they always
a reliable answer in goal is an obvious objective for coach
Dean Blais – and with the cadre of scorers he has at his
disposal, keeping a goals-against average below 4.00 could be
Crimson's talent, they deserve the preseason nod in the ECAC,
but they have to prove that they can unseat Cornell. They were
0-3-0 against the Big Red last year.
a star up front, the Terriers will need 15-20 goals from a few
players. If four guys reach that mark, suddenly scoring's not
Minutemen think an appearance at the FleetCenter is enough?
They need to show the same hunger that they had last year.
State can tell you how tough it is to replace an all-everything
goaltender, and Dave LeNeveu was just one of several big contributors
|| With the
return of Jeff Legue and Derek Nesbitt and the addition of Mark
Bomersback, the 'Dogs will score. But can they replace the leadership
of Chris Kunitz and Troy Milam?
have identified the Bulldogs as this season's "it"
team in the WCHA, Scott Sandelin's charges would do well to
avoid the glowing preseason adulation and remember they haven't
won a thing yet.
Peter Sejna would be enough of a challenge for most teams, but
the Tigers have to fill the skates of Noah Clarke and Tom Preissing,
few – if any – stars on this team, but George Gwozdecky's
strategies work best when he has the ability to roll four lines
and three defensive pairs that will smack you in the mouth on
one and and undress your goalie on the other.
has run out of Kariyas. We're not sure if there are any more
Lawsons, Liscaks or Heistens out there.
have depth on defense and are solid up front, but it'll be a
long season unless one of three untested goaltenders –
Nick Petraglia, Steve Hartley or Brandon Crawford-West –
isn't replacing star defensemen Brad Fast and John-Michael Liles;
it's teaching the new faces on the blue line that they're not
expected to live up to their lofty standards.
in goal was a problem last year, and it could be exacerbated
by the loss of three strong defensemen to graduation.
|| For the
Bucks, the challenge has already been issued. Guys like Mike
Betz, Doug Andress and Scott May are eager to prove the team
was more than The R.J. and Ryan Show last season.
for a challenge: trips to Michigan and Ohio State to open the
season, and later a 10-game roadie that includes eight games
against CCHA, ECAC and Hockey East foes.
No. 1: How will uberfrosh Ryan Suter live up to the lofty expectations
that precede him. Scary thought No. 2: What if he does?
squad advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season after coming
out of nowhere. Will they be able to do the same this season
now that they're coming out of somewhere?
fans wouldn't do for some consistency. No other CCHA team of
late has been more inclined to reel off a few wins in a row,
followed by a tailspin.
Irish players lived up to the praise heaped upon them by recruiting
analysts and NHL scouts, the only challenge would be making
postseason travel plans.
|| Yann Danis
gives the Bears the best goaltending in the league, but they
need to score more than three goals per game after averaging
2.74 last year.
in the history books and you'll see the last time the Purple
Eagles – this year's CHA favorite – advanced to
the NCAA Tournament, they boasted plenty of depth and experience.
life after the DiSalvatore-Rask-Fregoe line? The answer may
lie in the performance of freshman Colin McDonald.
Bill Simmons and his Ewing Theory would hail the loss of Chris
Higgins for Yale, but opposing coaches are happy to see him
gone as well.
main challenge hasn't changed: beat Mercyhurst. They'll need
a young defense to step up in order to do it.
isn't a word that's been used in connection with the Huskies
for some time. SCSU fans probably saw the writing on the wall
last season when their team squeezed into the NCAA Tournament
despite a second-division finish in the WCHA.
home-ice advantage is you want to have success in the postseason.
Traveling to road games from just south of the Artic Circle
takes its toll on a team.
statement. The Broncos consistently hover around the .500 mark.
Rarely do they finish higher or lower. Sustained mediocrity
can be a life sentence (ask the Seattle Seahawks).
|| The Beavers
will be Niagara's main threat in the CHA, but they can also
take stock in the growth of their program with games against
Minnesota, Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota State and St. Cloud State.
the 20th anniversary of the school's 1984 national title will
wonder when the Falcons will return to prominence. Scott Paluch
has the team headed in the right direction, but he needs to
have a fair amount of talent and they've been competitive over
the past couple of seasons. Now it's up to new coach Jamie Russell
to get the team over the hump by changing some of those narrow
losses to wins.
vibes need to be a thing of the past in Potsdam, and the Knights
need to make Cheel a tough place to play again. They were only
8-9-0 at home last season.
need to weather the storm early under a new coach, with games
against BC, BU and UNH to kick off the season. If they come
out of those with even one win, it could be a sign of good things
hope fans will be so enthralled by the new Qwest Center Omaha
that they don't notice the massive rebuilding project coach
Mike Kemp faces.
wearing a Chargers sweater, don't refer to Jared Ross as a daddy's
boy. Yeah, he's head coach Doug Ross's son, but he's also the
team's best player and one of the top five scorers in the conference.
in Hockey East was more valuable to his team than Joe Exter,
and making Warriors' biggest challenge overcoming his graduation.
of the ECAC, the Dutchmen have a new coach, but for Nate Leaman
it's his first head job.
the reasons Paul Pearl stayed at Holy Cross was the talent his
team returns this year. Can they crack Atlantic Hockey's top
last year's inaugural CHA playoff championship and trip to the
NCAA Tournament? Forget it: the Warriors are in rebuilding mode.
They will play all their home games, however, in a comfortable
arena (Compuware Sports Center in suburban Detroit).
nothing special about the Saints's power play or penalty kill
year – both finished in the ECAC's bottom three.
was a gifted goal scorer, a role that more than one Husky will
have to step up in order to fill.
start with one league win, and go from there.
last year's top five scorers are back, and they'll need to increase
production after the Engineers averaged 2.35 goals per game.
is one of the most underrated goalies in the ECAC, but the Raiders
will need some offense now that Scooter Smith has graduated.
be a good thing – if it comes together quickly. That's
the task ahead of head coach Blais MacDonald.
Tigers can get some consistent scoring – by someone other
than Chris Owen – they could jump a few spots in the ECAC.
a goal – on a breakaway, during a power play, off an opposing
player's skate. The Lakers lit the lamp a scant 60 times last
defense and penalty killing was the best in the MAAC; can that
carry over to Atlantic Hockey without Eddy Ferhi and Les Hrapchak?
Knights need to stay afloat early, since they have just four
away games after the first of the year.
one of those name games you used to play at summer camp, so
everyone can get to know the 15 freshmen.
Pat Ford has the experience from his stints as an assistant
at Wisconsin and Northern Michigan. The challenge here: make
it work when hockey isn't one of the school's top priorities.
won't sneak up on anyone this year, an advantage they had as
an underrated team in 2002-03.
makers dealt the Golden Griffins no favors, with a stretch of
14 out of 17 games on the road in the middle of the season.
football team provides a great model: commit to a style of play
and perform as a unit, then you can keep up with more talented
have lots of room for improvement, but they can start with a
power play that converted on only 8.9 percent of its chances