'The Show': INCH Overtime
hard as we try, it's virtually impossible to address every question
we receive during our weekly college hockey chat on ESPN.com's
'The Show'. So we thought, why not take the best submissions that
didn't get answered and post responses on INCH?
result is INCH Overtime. When warranted, we'll tackle everything
that we didn't quite get to during 'The Show.' We see it as a
win-win: your question gets answered, and we get talk more hockey.
you'll find what we had left in the mailbag after we wrapped our
chat previewing this weekend's NCAA Regionals.
do you think BC's sometimes crticized offense will fare against
the tough defenses in the tournament? Tom (Rochester,
Ewell: The Eagles should be fine against Mercyhurst,
but I would worry about the North Dakota matchup if I were a BC
fan. It’s got everything that could trouble the Eagles,
from defensemen with size (the Sioux D average 6-1, 215) to a
hot goalie. I still think BC wins, but I would guess it would
be 2-1 – not an offensive show.
do you think will be in goal for the Gophers this weekend?
Jason (Warroad, MN)
Myers: Great question Jason, and one that Gopher nation
would surely like to have answered. The general thinking is that
Don Lucia will continue rotating, which means Justin Johnson between
the pipes on Saturday (with Kellen Briggs the likely Sunday starter
if the Gophers advance). But Lucia hasn’t offered any definitive
word, which means everyone will be watching to see who comes on
out of the tunnel for warm-ups first on Saturday. Thanks for the
question, and go Warriors!
in the Northeast, there is a potential for some great games. If
UNH and Denver advance to the final game, I think it could be
a great game featuring UNH and Denver's potent offenses. Do you
think that UNH's superb powerplay and Kevin Regan's goaltending
of late will propel UNH over Denver? Bryan (Durham,
Ewell: I think UNH is at its very best right now, and
if the Wildcats click and get power-play chances, like they did
against BU Friday night, they can beat anyone. That said, I think
they’re still a year away from truly challenging for the
national title. If both teams play their best, Denver should win
seniors leaving this year will have the biggest impact on there
teams? Or any other player just leaving that certain school? What
team has the best freshman class coming in or is it to early to
tell? Tim (Woodhaven, MI)
Ewell: It was too early to tell the best incoming class
before Phil Kessel committed. Now it’s Minnesota, hands
As far as seniors leaving, Andrew Alberts’
loss will really hurt BC, and it will be accentuated by Ryan Shannon
leaving and the possible departure of Patrick Eaves.
Who do you think will be the best goalie over the weekend
and the best player over the weekend?
My pick for best goalie won’t even win a game: Matt Climie
at Bemidji State. I think he’ll stop around 55 shots. As
for best player, give me T.J. Hensick. I think Michigan gets out
of Grand Rapids, and if they are to do that, he’ll need
to be great.
Jahnke: In net, I'll go with BC's Cory Schneider in the
Obviously, he's a good goalie. His .933 save percentage is excellent.
His confidence must be soaring after earning the No. 1 tag away
from Kaltiainen. He shouldn't be tested too much by Mercyhurst
in the first game. He's already beaten both North Dakota and BU.
And, oh yeah, he hasn't lost all year. How's that for a case?
Best player...hmmm...there are a lot who could step up this weekend.
I suppose I'd keep a close eye on Denver's Gabe Gauthier in Amherst.
Mike Eidelbes: Give me Harvard’s Dov Grumet-Morris
as the best goaltender. After last year’s horrific meltdown
against Maine in the first round, he’ll redeem himself with
a strong effort against UNH. There are so many choices for best
player, but I’m going to follow Nate’s lead and pick
Michigan’s Jeff Tambellini. He’s been as good as any
player in the country over the last six weeks.
personally think Cornell can take on anyone right now, but I am
biased. My real concern with Minnesota is the ice rink size. How
does having the extra room alter the game in general that could
positively/negatively affect a smaller ice team – and specifically
Cornell? Baxter (Ithaca, NY)
Eidelbes: You wouldn’t think 15 feet would make
a difference, but it can. I think back to the Denver teams of
the late ‘90s that I knew really well – they were
built to play a physical, NHL-style game and struggled on the
big sheet because they seemed a stride slow. Guys would think
they were in position to make a play, but then realized there
was an extra five feet between them and the way. I haven’t
seen Cornell play in person since November (I think it’s
hard to get a gauge on team speed watching on TV), but I remember
them being a fairly good skating team. Plus they’re smart
kids, and they know the style of game that best suits them. They’re
a very, very good team – if they lose, it won’t be
because the rink is wider.
Who's going to win the Hobey, who makes the final 3, and
what do you think of all these goalies in the top 10?
Steve (Newton, MA)
Ewell: It’s a defensive game these days, so it
makes sense to have four goalies in there. That said, I don’t
think any of them can win it, partly because it’s so difficult
for a goalie to stand apart from his peers these days –
not like Ryan Miller who was head and shoulders above any other
goalie in 2001. My pick would be Brett Sterling right now, just
ahead of his teammate Marty Sertich.
Jess Myers: Steve, this is one of the rare places
that Nate and I disagree. (Interestingly enough, the other place
we used to disagree was in an ongoing debate about whether fans
of the Vikings or Red Sox had it worse, but I think I “won”
that one in October.) While I would still say one of the CC forwards
is the odds-on favorite for the trophy, a big weekend by David
McKee and I’m speculating that the two CC guys could split
the vote, opening the door for the third Hobey-winning goalie.
you're kidding about the Pairwise, right? It is a subjective [sic]
system that is about as fair as possible. Now, if you want to
make an argument that KRACH is better, than do so, but to say
you "think" Cornell and Michigan are better is just
an excuse to go back to the "smoke-filled room" nonsense
that purveyed the NCAA before the PWR came about. Also, if you
want to complain about CC and DU being arbitrarily switched, go
ahead, but your argument otherwise holds no water. Moose
Ewell: I wouldn’t say CC and DU were arbitrarily
switched. That’s nonsense. The two teams competed for two
championships; they tied one and DU won the other. That’s
objective and by the numbers as much as any other formula you
want to throw out there.
Don’t forget head-to-head – DU won three, CC won two.
I recognize the value of computer rankings, but I think there
is too much of a reliance on them. According to the computers,
Minnesota ranks ahead of Cornell because of record vs. teams under
consideration and record vs. common opponents. But I look at the
won-lost records, and Minnesota has 10 more losses – 10!
– than Cornell. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t
think there’s that much difference between the top four
hockey conferences – and I think 26-4-3 is better than 26-14-1.
I could go on for hours about the shortcomings of the computer
rankings and I’m sure some stat geek could blow me out of
the water with mathematical minutiae. Thankfully, they decide
who’s best on the ice.
it's a full moon and I walk backwards into the rink and wear red
socks will BU win this weekend? BU NATION
Ewell: You’re in luck – it is a full moon.
But please don’t walk backwards into my car.
know Michigan can score, and we know Montoya can be unbeatable
at times. Will the Wolverines put those two together with enough
consistency to make a run? Stu (Houston)
Jahnke: A month or two ago, I would have said no. "Consistency,"
as you mentioned, was a fairly foreign concept to U-M. But the
Wolverines have been a much better hockey team since letting those
two late leads get away in ties against Michigan State in early
February. With Montoya playing as well as he's played all season,
I actually have Michigan going to the final game in my bracket.
do you see the biggest upset taking place this weekend? Don't
(Ann Arbor, MI)
Eidelbes: I picked Ohio State to beat Cornell. Maybe
I reached a bit here, but I really like the way the Buckeyes play
the game. They’re a selfless bunch of very good –
not great – players.
you please clear up for us Minnesota fans, what the deal is with
Tyler Hirsch? Everyone is "hush-hush" regarding his
bizarre behavior....do you know anything about this or why he
did what he did? Dan (Minneapolis)
What do you guys make of the Tyler Hirsch situation?
Sam (London, CT)
Myers: Sam and Dan, thanks for the question. Not surprisingly,
that’s been the topic of the week in the WCHA. Everyone
clearly wishes Tyler the best, and the Gopher nation is delighted
to seem him back on the rink, although it is still not known whether
he will be cleared to play on Saturday. As to the “what
and why” questions about his actions after the Colorado
College game, those are still unanswered. The Hirsch family participated
in issuing a statement that, while thanking people for support
and patience, explained next to nothing. Sadly, as much as they
would apparently like the questions to go away, this is not likely
to die down until either the Gophers get eliminated, or Hirsch
(or his family) are more open about what fueled his strange behavior.
But unlike other web sites, you won’t see speculation and
rumor being passed along as news on INCH.
Do you guys give my Beavers any kind of a chance?
Jason (Bemidji, MN)
James Jahnke: Jason, I probably give them more
of a chance than most people, but it still will be incredibly
tough to get past Denver. The Beavers'
defensive system will keep this game from being a blowout - as
long as Matt Climie doesn't let in any soft goals. The question
is whether Bemidji can score enough (especially without injured
star Andrew Murray) to keep pace. I'd say they need at least four
goals to win, and scoring that many at 5-on-5 against a team as
solid as DU won't be easy. Thus, BSU must convert on its power
kind of TV coverage will the tourney be getting? Doug
Ewell: Look for some very familiar faces from ESPN’s
NHL broadcasts. ESPNU will offer some great wall-to-wall coverage
this weekend. Click
here for the full schedule.
it just me or is the West regional kind of weak? I don't see any
real strong favorite there. I would say the Gophers at home, but
they are not doing well there lately. FS (Grosse
Ewell: I wouldn’t call it weak. Top-to-bottom it’s
probably the best of the four, and when you consider Cornell,
Ohio State and Maine, it definitely has better goaltending than
the other brackets. Since it’s playoff hockey, that counts
for a lot.
for the questions. Remember to check out The
Show each Thursday, and let
us know if you have ideas for guests you'd like us to invite.