March 28, 2005's 'The Show': INCH Overtime

As hard as we try, it's virtually impossible to address every question we receive during our weekly college hockey chat on's 'The Show'. So we thought, why not take the best submissions that didn't get answered and post responses on INCH?

The 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.

Below you'll find what we had left in the mailbag after we wrapped our chat previewing this weekend's NCAA Regionals.

How do you think BC's sometimes crticized offense will fare against the tough defenses in the tournament? Tom (Rochester, NY)

Nate 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.

Who do you think will be in goal for the Gophers this weekend? Jason (Warroad, MN)

Jess 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!

Over 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, NH)

Nate 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 this game.

What 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)

Nate Ewell: It was too early to tell the best incoming class before Phil Kessel committed. Now it’s Minnesota, hands down.

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.

More from Tim...

Who do you think will be the best goalie over the weekend and the best player over the weekend?

Nate Ewell: 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.

James Jahnke: In net, I'll go with BC's Cory Schneider in the East Regional.
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.

I 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)

Mike 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)

Nate 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.

Mike, 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 (Bemidji, MN)

Nate 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.

Mike Eidelbes: 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.

If it's a full moon and I walk backwards into the rink and wear red socks will BU win this weekend? BU NATION

Nate Ewell: You’re in luck – it is a full moon. But please don’t walk backwards into my car.

We 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)

James 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.

Where do you see the biggest upset taking place this weekend? Don't (Ann Arbor, MI)

Mike 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.

Can you please clear up for us Minnesota fans, what the deal is with Tyler Hirsch? Everyone is "hush-hush" regarding his bizarre 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)

Jess 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 plays.

What kind of TV coverage will the tourney be getting? Doug (Chicago)

Nate 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.

Is 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 Pointe, MI)

Nate 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.

Thanks 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.

Send this to a friend

About Us | Advertiser Info | Site Map | Privacy Policy
© 2002-2005 Inside College Hockey, Inc., All Rights Reserved