Sauer – the sixth-winningest coach in college history
– writes a bi-weekly column for Inside College Hockey.com.
"The Dean" was the head coach for 31 years at Colorado
College and Wisconsin, where he won two national titles. Sauer
retired at the end of the 2001-02 season. He was the 2003
Snooks Kelley Award winner for contributions to U.S. hockey
and ranked 16th on INCH's list of the all-time greatest
college hockey coaches.
listening pleasure, find The
Bud Song on Wisconsin's official site.
of the fun in doing this column is the opportunity to interact
with you, the hockey fan. Please send your questions or comments
The Dean's List by Jeff Sauer
is the best. Big crowds and the excitement of teams gathering in
one venue to play for a trophy provide some of college hockey's
I was fortunate
to get a jump on the tournament season by attending the Beanpot
Tournament in Boston for the first time. I was impressed at the
passion and the crowd at the Fleet Center – it is
as much a spectacle as a hockey tournament. Certainly the Beanpot
is THE hockey event in Boston in February, maybe even moreso in
this year of the National Hockey League lockout.
exciting overtime victory over Northeastern whet my appetite for
the tournament hockey which will come in the next few weeks. With
the end of the season in sight, it looks like it will be a wide
open and exciting NCAA Tournament with no clear-cut favorite.
Boston College, Cornell and Colorado College have made claims to
being among the elite teams. There are more teams than ever who
are in the next tier of clubs that legitimately think they can win
in March and April. And then you have the surprise teams of this
regular season like Nebraska-Omaha, Northern Michigan and Harvard
who would like to think they can continue their regular season success
in the postseason.
I have been
fortunate to see most of the top 10 teams and many of the best players
this season and I also think the Hobey Baker race is as wide open
as the tournament. Certainly Colorado College has two of the best
players in the country in forwards Marty Sertich and Brett Sterling.
Michigan Tech's Colin Murphy has had an impressive season and there
are two goalies – David McKee who keeps posting shutouts
for Cornell and Jordan Sigalet at Bowling Green –
who I have not seen, but have heard great things about from coaches
and scouts. All those players should get consideration.
Like many of
you college hockey fans, I'm sad to see the NHL finally gone for
this season. In all the analysis I have read about the lockout and
what the game needs to do to improve, I have been most impressed
at John Davidson's comments. He is a friend of college hockey as
well as an astute observer of the game and a former NHL player.
In his remarks
Davidson said there are four things that have to happen when the
game returns: 1) Fewer games; 2) More talent and energy given out
by players on a nightly basis; 3) Fans should be able to walk away
feeling good about the effort and game that they've just seen; and
4) being affordable for fans to watch.
fans are familiar with those four tenets. Even though the lockout
is certainly not good for anyone, it may provide the NHL with a
chance to be a better game in terms of excitement and enthusiasm
on a nightly basis, which is what fans get from college hockey on
a nightly basis.
I think the
lockout has us all wondering what will happen to the draft, which
is traditionally held in June with many college players and recruits
selected. With no collective bargaining agreement in place, no one
knows if and when the next draft will be held. No one can tell with
certainty the draft order, and that is more important than ever
with a talent like Sidney Crosby available as the first pick.
Finally, I want
to salute Coach Jack Parker and the folks at Boston University on
their state-of-the-art Agannis Arena. As part of my Beanpot visit,
I got to see the Terriers' new home. Jackie certainly did his homework
and picked up ideas from all the great new college hockey rinks
that have been built in the last few years. He put them together
in a gem of a building and great place to watch hockey.