Suits van Riemsdyk Just Fine
James van Riemsdyk hears it all the time:
He's overrated; he didn't deserve the high draft pick; he's
a prima donna.
Of course, that comes with the territory
of being the No. 2 pick in the NHL Draft. Opposing players
don't often try to get in the head of a fourth-liner. Such
is saved for the best, and the freshman power forward from
New Hampshire has an entire conference targeting him.
was a big deal when the Flyers took James van Riemsdyk
with the second overall pick in last spring's NHL Draft,
but you won't hear van Riemsdyk pumping his own tires.
"I try not to get involved in that stuff
too much," van Riemsdyk said. "That's just part
of the game. Guys always talk to try to get people off their
game. It's something you really just can't buy into. You've
got to go out there and let your play do the talking."
Behind one of the most talented players in
Hockey East is an extremely humble and highly motivated
superstar-in-waiting. He's considered the top-ranked prospect
in the Philadelphia Flyers organization, and Hockey's Future
gives him an 8.5 rating, which projects him anywhere between
an NHL first-liner and an "elite forward" or the
"potential for greatness" and "perennial
So, there's that.
UNH bench boss Dick Umile has never coached
such a high draft pick, but he's the first to praise van
Riemsdyk for his humility. With such a demand for excellence
at the forward position in Durham – and a slue of
extremely talented wingers already on the team – there's
no way he could have fit in without earning it.
Not one bit of a problem for vanRiemsdyk.
"The thing that really keeps me humble,
I guess, is I really don't feel like I've accomplished too
much yet," van Riemsdyk said. "It's my first year
in this league, and I really haven't done anything. You
have to go out there and basically just let your play do
the talking and speak for you. That's what I've been trying
to do this year. There's nothing really for me to be cocky
about because I really haven't accomplished that much."
In the grand scheme of things, he's right.
In the last few months, however, vanRiemsdyk has arrived.
He is second on the Wildcats with eight goals and 11 assists,
and tied for second with 19 points, though he has only played
in 15 games, having missed five to play for Team USA in
the World Juniors.
And he was dominant in the Czech Republic,
tallying five goals and six assists for a tournament-high
11 points in six games, while being one of three forwards
selected as a Media All-Star.
Per usual for college players returning from
the World Juniors, van Riemsdyk returned to the States as
a better player. He led the Wildcats with four points in
last weekend's home-and-home sweep of UMass. van Riemsdyk
got UNH on the board Friday night at the Mullins Center,
flipping a backhander past Dan Meyers to cut the UMass lead
to 2-1 – "a weird goal," as van Riemsdyk
put it, that finally awakened UNH. And he scored the go-ahead
goal Saturday at the Whittemore Center.
"It just gave me all the confidence in
the world going over there and having a good tournament,"
van Riemsdyk said of the World Juniors. "I felt way
more comfortable [last weekend] out there on the ice for
some reason, and the game slowed down for me. I was able
to make plays that I'm used to making, whether it be last
year or at the World Juniors. I just have a lot more confidence
now. I feel like that's a huge key. It's not like I had
a reawakening or anything. It's just one of those things
where I just feel more comfortable now and more confident."
But, as the numbers and marquee performances
pile up, so will the speculation. The college game will
help van Riemsdyk grow, sure. But when kids are given the
opportunity to turn in their term papers for that green
paper, a fine line is drawn.
It may not be of long-term benefit for vanRiemsdyk to hold
himself back playing amateur hockey, and the Flyers will
certainly come calling after he finishes his freshman season.
As of right now, though, van Riemsdyk isn't making any immediate
"I plan on taking it season by season
and seeing how every year goes, what I need to do, how I
need to challenge myself and where I can do that best, and
what's going to make me a better player in the long run,"
vanRiemsdyk said. "I'm just going to take it year by
SEEN AND HEARD IN HOCKEY EAST
A sight to 'C': Boston University
senior Brian McGuirk was reinstated as the Terriers' captain
on Tuesday, coach Jack Parker announced.
McGuirk was stripped of his captaincy when
he and three teammates were handed indefinite suspensions
on Dec. 5. McGuirk, Bryan Ewing, Dan McGoff and Brandon
Yip were all suspended for a violation of team rules.
They sat out during BU's 4-3 loss at UMass
Lowell on Dec. 7, and an exhibition game against the USA
Under-18 Team on Dec. 8. The suspensions were lifted prior
to Boston University's game against Merrimack on Dec. 30.
"Brian has handled everything very well,"
Parker said in a statement issued by the team. "He
has shown a great deal of maturity since returning and has
continued to be an important leader for this team. He has
earned the 'C' back and then some."
Pete MacArthur, who took over as the captain
following the suspensions, will remain as a co-captain.
Great Weekend Getaway
University at Boston College (Sat.)
This is the final Hockey East meeting between the
biggest rivals in the Northeast. Boston College swept
the home-and-home seven weeks ago. It's somewhat of
a letdown these teams conclude their regular-season
schedule this early, but they'll meet again in the
first round of the Beanpot on Feb. 4, and potentially
again in the conference and national tournaments.
While You’re There: Get on
the Green Line and head toward Boylston Street, where
you'll find a popular INCH hangout: Whiskey's.
reported here at Inside College Hockey, Boston College
forward Nathan Gerbe is good. Gerbe has an eight-game
scoring streak, in which he's notched 13 goals and
12 assists. BC freshman Joe Whitney (5-22—27)
is the only other player in the league who has 25
points all season.
certainly had a nice season, but it missed a solid
chance to make a real splash both nationally and in
Hockey East. The Minutemen, who were ranked No. 5
last week, held a 2-0 lead at home against UNH on
Friday before falling 3-2, and they got dropped, 5-3,
at The Whit the next night.
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• Boston University has a four-game
winning streak at Maine's Alfond Arena. It's the most productive
stretch in Orono for the Terriers since they won six straight
• Maine goalie Ben Bishop has 1,941
career saves, tying him with Jim Tortorella (1977-81) for
fifth on the school's all-time list.
• UMass Lowell and Providence split
the season series (1-1-1), with all three games going to
overtime. Six of the teams' last 11 contests have gone to
• Neither the River Hawks or Friars
were whistled for a penalty in Saturday's meeting, the first
time UMass Lowell has played in such a game in program history.
It was also the first time since Jan. 5, 1988, that Providence
was not penalized.
• Merrimack beat Northeastern Friday
for the first time since Feb. 20, 2004.
• UNH goalie Kevin Regan earned his
58th career victory with a win over UMass on Saturday, tying
him with Mike Ayers for the school record.
• Northeastern's loss to Merrimack on
Friday ended its 11-game unbeaten streak (9-0-2), the second
longest stretch in school history.
• Vermont is in the midst of a stretch
in which it will play eight straight ranked opponents. The
Catamounts didn't start out so well, dropping two straight
to Boston College last week. UVM hosts Northeastern for
a pair this weekend.
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report. Jeff Howe can be reached