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Eeyore
03-02-2013, 01:14 PM
Yes, kudos to Colgate for that performance. In this case, I'd have to give lots of credit to the coach. Looking at the roster at the start of the season--or even a few games in--I thought Colgate would be hard pressed to win any games at all. As the season has progressed, they've caused fits for some very good teams. He seems to have done a lot in a fairly short time with what he has been given to work with.

I wonder if it helps to be able to say after the first weekend of the season, "Everything gets easier from here."

Trillium
03-02-2013, 03:25 PM
Colgate like several other teams are only were they are because their goalies have stood on their head! Nice season Rando!!!!!

I'm not saying Rando is not deserving of recognition for playing well, but to say that Colgate is were they are purely as a result of its goaltenders is not supported by any stats. Not only are Colgates goaltenders are not among the top 30 in D1 in save percentage, Colgate is 32nd is Team Defense, and 36th (last!) in Penalty Killing.

Within the ECAC, Colgate placed 9th in Team Offense, 12th in Team Defence, 12th in Penalty Killing, and 6th in Power Play. Since they managed to secure 8th place in their league, the coach surely deserves a large part of the credit for making the appropriate adjustments when necessary to make the most of the tools available in the right situations.

Flarrow
03-02-2013, 08:36 PM
Thanks for the comments.
Heard from a lot of voices I’ve come to ‘respect’ here, for the most part, for what that’s worth.

I tried to get a Union thread going this year, but backed off when it was pointed out to me that rfd8585 (I assume that’s Ryan Fay of UnionHockeyNews) had ‘already started one’. That thread hasn’t lived up to this site’s honorable discussion traditions; it’s been mostly college PR.

This has been a hard season to watch, again. CAB just can’t seem to get a team to play together. Some good individual players, but the team’s back seems to be broken.

In Fay’s blog wrap-up of senior day there were some telling quotes: “ Rambo said…'One of the most memorable moments of her Union career came early on. In my freshman year, I took out my assistant coach in the first practice. That was pretty funny,'she recalled." That’s a career memory for a four year player? Fay continued:“There's still a ways to go -- notably in league play, where zero of the team's seven wins have come. ‘We're more successful outside of our league, which makes me wonder what we need to do in the league,’ Barcomb said. ‘At the end of the season, you always re-evaluate and try to figure out what will make you better.’
Rambo already has the answer. ‘We need to have more good recruiting classes. We could use some good goal scorers and playmakers,’ she said, likely aware of the team ranking last in Division I at 1.24 goals a game.”

So the players know the coach is weak at recruiting, and the coach, after years playing and coaching in the league says ‘We're more successful outside of our league, which makes me wonder what we need to do in the league,’ … ‘At the end of the season, you always re-evaluate and try to figure out what will make you better.’

That ‘close game at Harvard? “Kurio, who is tied for 10th place on the program's career goals list with 13, said one of her best memories came much more recently. Last Saturday, she scored with 16 seconds left in the game to force an eventual 1-1 tie at Yale. "I was pretty shocked that it went in, actually," she said. "I was just trying to get to the net and luckily it went in.” [Fay, UHblog]. And the Dec/Jan season change of direction? How much of that had to do with Assistant Coach Chu’s playing schedule this year?

Can CAB carry the team on her own? Other than having played with her, CAB’s requirement to coach for her is apparently only to have played under her. Is that too closed of a loop? And is that another breakdown of Union’s recruiting efforts for the team?

I remain firm in my belief that the best thing for Union Women’s Hockey would be to allow CAB spend some time far away from D1 hockey; perhaps she needs to continue to wonder what it takes to coach in the league. If the AD keeps her, I’m inclined to listen to the voices that say the women’s team at Union is just a Title 9 beard for the men’s team. I can’t imagine that helps recruiting.
I’m really not interested in linking this thread to Colgate. And my original questions remain.

Skate79
03-02-2013, 09:13 PM
Not to defend Asano's coaching record, but this from the die-hard fan of a team which looked at the time to be on course for winning the league, and which beat this last place team only 1-0? Top to bottom, the strength of the ECAC is probably better than it's ever been.

Disagree. I don't think the league is nearly as strong as it has been in years past. I think what you have is a middle ground of teams that are okay but not great and then a mediocre group that includes Brown, Yale and Union. I realize the playoff results from Friday tell a different story but from what I saw this year, the conference wasn't as strong as in prior seasons.

ARM
03-02-2013, 10:02 PM
Disagree. I don't think the league is nearly as strong as it has been in years past. I think what you have is a middle ground of teams that are okay but not great and then a mediocre group that includes Brown, Yale and Union. I realize the playoff results from Friday tell a different story but from what I saw this year, the conference wasn't as strong as in prior seasons.In your opinion, when was the bottom of the conference better? A half dozen or so years ago, both Union and Cornell were dreadful and only really competitive against each other, and as Cornell rose, Brown sank. Yale was much better this season than it was last year. Princeton didn't have the goaltending it did last year so the Tigers were less consistent, but still managed to pull their yearly surprise. I thought the results through the conference and play against other leagues revealed far less of a "cupcake" ECAC. I'll grant you that the best team in the league may not be as strong as it has been in several other years, but we could view that differently by the end of March.

Skate79
03-03-2013, 07:29 PM
In your opinion, when was the bottom of the conference better? A half dozen or so years ago, both Union and Cornell were dreadful and only really competitive against each other, and as Cornell rose, Brown sank. Yale was much better this season than it was last year. Princeton didn't have the goaltending it did last year so the Tigers were less consistent, but still managed to pull their yearly surprise. I thought the results through the conference and play against other leagues revealed far less of a "cupcake" ECAC. I'll grant you that the best team in the league may not be as strong as it has been in several other years, but we could view that differently by the end of March.

I wasn't necessarily referring just to the bottom of the conference. I was looking at the conference as a whole. True, the top three are very good but thereafter I just didn't see teams that would scare anyone from either HE or the WCHA. Not to disparage SLU, Quinnipiac or Dartmouth but they just didn't seem to be as strong as in years past. And the bottom half to me really didn't look good at all. Yes, Union has been a train wreck and a perennial cellar dweller since entering the ECAC. The ECAC would be better served if in fact Union did become a playoff team. Then I would say the conference is more competitive and it would push the other teams. Strangely, Union has done better outside the conference and why that hasn't translated into some success inside the conference is a real mystery.

ARM
03-03-2013, 09:22 PM
Strangely, Union has done better outside the conference and why that hasn't translated into some success inside the conference is a real mystery.That's my point. I think there are less places to pick up a soft game or two with the current make up. In conversations with other coaches from around the ECAC, they seem to agree. Of course, they aren't likely to come out and say, "The teams in our league are crap and the coaches are dumb as stumps," even if that's what they thought.

dave1381
03-04-2013, 08:40 AM
That's my point. I think there are less places to pick up a soft game or two with the current make up. In conversations with other coaches from around the ECAC, they seem to agree. Of course, they aren't likely to come out and say, "The teams in our league are crap and the coaches are dumb as stumps," even if that's what they thought.
Yeah, and the numbers bear this out, that the bottom 4 are stronger than they've ever been -- you've had some recent years where Brown or Yale was truly awful.

That the bottom 4 are stronger still doesn't matter much in terms of their ability to actually beat the current top 3, however.

If you look at the WCHODR ratings (http://it.stlawu.edu/~chodr/wchodr/past.html), which are good because (1) there's an easily available archive, and (2) it actually considers margin of victory which matters for accuracy in assessing these weaker teams, you'll see that Union has improved marginally every year since 2008, albeit rather slowly (look at the rightmost column). I agree the change between this year and last year is the smallest yet, and may be in part due to the addition of Lindenwood and Penn State.

HockeyEast33
03-04-2013, 08:51 AM
Yeah, and the numbers bear this out, that the bottom 4 are stronger than they've ever been -- you've had some recent years where Brown or Yale was truly awful.

That the bottom 4 are stronger still doesn't matter much in terms of their ability to actually beat the current top 3, however.

If you look at the WCHODR ratings (http://it.stlawu.edu/~chodr/wchodr/past.html), which are good because (1) there's an easily available archive, and (2) it actually considers margin of victory which matters for accuracy in assessing these weaker teams, you'll see that Union has improved marginally every year since 2008, albeit rather slowly (look at the rightmost column). I agree the change between this year and last year is the smallest yet, and may be in part due to the addition of Lindenwood and Penn State.

Interesting data - never seen it before. For Union, improvement yes, but at near-glacial speed......

Skate79
03-05-2013, 08:27 AM
If you look at the WCHODR ratings, which are good because (1) there's an easily available archive, and (2) it actually considers margin of victory which matters for accuracy in assessing these weaker teams, you'll see that Union has improved marginally every year since 2008, albeit rather slowly (look at the rightmost column). I agree the change between this year and last year is the smallest yet, and may be in part due to the addition of Lindenwood and Penn State.

There are two schools of thought in my mind. First school reflects what Dave and ARM have pointed out, that the margin of victory is far less between the top three in the conference and the bottom four or however you group the teams. The margin suggests that the bottom feeders are better and closing the gap. Or it could suggest that the top guns aren't quite what they have been in previous seasons. Maybe somewhere in between.

Second school of thought is one that focuses on arcane but important numbers such as time of possession in the opponents end of the rink and shots on goal. While neither have a direct bearing necessarily on any particular outcome, I wish there was a measuring stick for time of possession. Case in point. Harvard played Brown at Meehan in January and outshot them 38-5 and controlled play for long stretches in the Brown zone. The final score was 3-0. Does the final score reflect what happened in the game? Not really. So can you truly say that Brown is that much better if they lose 3-0 as opposed to 6-1 if the time of possession and shots on goal are similar? All I can say is that the Brown goalie on that particular night played lights out and prevented the score from being worse than it was. The team in front of her however did nothing to help her for the most part. Harvard may have also contributed by not finishing their chances.

Numbers can say a lot of different things and can be used to prove points that don't necessarily add up when you actually see the teams in question. And that is what I am going on. Watching the actual games. Because the story there doesn't quite match up to the numbers being put forth to argue the relative strengths or merits of the ECAC.

Again, it is just an opinion based on what I've seen and it comes from one lens, Harvard. So my view is definitely influenced by one set of games, not a body of work that encompasses the entire conference which is reflected in the rating system that Dave offered in his post.

Skate79
03-05-2013, 08:31 AM
Having posted my thoughts on the conference and measuring the 'gap' between the top and bottom teams, I will say that women's hockey has come a long way in the past 15 years. A LONG WAY. Better skating, fundamentals, goaltending, athleticism, speed are all markedly better. So yes, if you were to use those qualities to measure Union, they are better than six or seven years ago. And I guess that points to the topic of this thread; whether Claudia Barcomb should continue to be the coach. If one believes that she is solely the reason for Union not climbing the ladder in the conference.

john0128
03-05-2013, 05:08 PM
the bottom line is why would players want to go to union? heres some reasons why no player that is truly talented is likely to choose Union:

1) Any player that is good enough to make a difference in a program is likely to get a lot of offers from other D1 schools so...

2) Even though Union is a great school academically, there are other schools that are better if not the same academically, and all those school have better teams and maybe nicer facilities at the moment, and those schools will be able to give that player a real scholarship. (Not CABs fault)

3) Perhaps due to being on a losing team the culture at Union is no longer win oriented and recruits can see that (partly CABs fault)

4) Many top tier players are either heart set on going to the Ivy League, or only looking at school that will pay for their education (Not CABs fault)

5) It is unfair to compare men's recruiting to women's recruiting. In Union's case the fact that the men have a great team has more to do with the very small talent gap and abundance of players available. Many men's players who are high calibre players may not have gotten any offers other than from Union. What I am trying to say is that in men's D1 hockey many recruits show up and completely over perform. They were not the best players in high school (maybe they were too small, or got injured and missed a season) but they surprise everyone once they get to D1 hockey. Catch a few of those players in men's hockey and all of the sudden your team is good and better recruits want to come to the school.

This does not happen in women's hockey. The talent pool isn't deep enough to have surprises like they have in men's hockey. If you were an average player and mediocre recruit in high school, then 99.9% of the time you will not be a high impact level player once you reach D1 hockey. All this to say that I would be surprised if Union was able to all of the sudden land high profile recruits even if CAB got fired.

The problem doesn't seem to be CAB, it is more so that good women's players will have several options and just do not want to go to Union. If the program wants to be successful they should consider changing leagues to the weaker CHA or D3, or start making serious changes as to what their program is about and how they are going to appeal to the better players.

This is not saying that Union doesn't already have talented players. I am just implying that they need more of them if they want to compete in the ECAC.

Hockeydad4two
03-05-2013, 06:41 PM
the bottom line is why would players want to go to union? heres some reasons why no player that is truly talented is likely to choose Union:

5) It is unfair to compare men's recruiting to women's recruiting. In Union's case the fact that the men have a great team has more to do with the very small talent gap and abundance of players available. Many men's players who are high calibre players may not have gotten any offers other than from Union. What I am trying to say is that in men's D1 hockey many recruits show up and completely over perform. They were not the best players in high school (maybe they were too small, or got injured and missed a season) but they surprise everyone once they get to D1 hockey. Catch a few of those players in men's hockey and all of the sudden your team is good and better recruits want to come to the school.



Don't forget that the men have a couple of additional years in juniors to develop that the women don't have.

HockeyEast33
03-05-2013, 06:54 PM
Don't forget that the men have a couple of additional years in juniors to develop that the women don't have.

True sort of - most girls players (at least in NE) repeat a school year and are getting to college when they are 19. A few have even then done a post-grad year in JWHL after that - there is at least one 20 year old freshman that I can think of.

Skate79
03-05-2013, 07:35 PM
What I am trying to say is that in men's D1 hockey many recruits show up and completely over perform. They were not the best players in high school (maybe they were too small, or got injured and missed a season) but they surprise everyone once they get to D1 hockey.

We have the opposite problem with the men's program at Harvard. Recruits that are highly rated or sought after yet come to Cambridge and underperform. By a lot. This year was a prime example but it has been going on for years on end. Changing coaches hasn't really solved the problem.

I don't agree with this theory. There is enough information and video out there on players to know who will perform at D-1 and who won't. It used to be that you could find some diamonds in the rough 15 or 20 years ago. John Murphy for Harvard is a prime example. Walked on and became a key contributor to the national championship squad. I really don't see that happening these days because kids are going the junior route before college and are entering as 19 and 20 year old frosh. You don't really surprise anyone when you have a body of work to show the coaches.

HockeyEast33
03-05-2013, 07:52 PM
We have the opposite problem with the men's program at Harvard. Recruits that are highly rated or sought after yet come to Cambridge and underperform. By a lot. This year was a prime example but it has been going on for years on end. Changing coaches hasn't really solved the problem.

I don't agree with this theory. There is enough information and video out there on players to know who will perform at D-1 and who won't. It used to be that you could find some diamonds in the rough 15 or 20 years ago. John Murphy for Harvard is a prime example. Walked on and became a key contributor to the national championship squad. I really don't see that happening these days because kids are going the junior route before college and are entering as 19 and 20 year old frosh. You don't really surprise anyone when you have a body of work to show the coaches.

The more I think about this the more I agree with the above. If mens players are committing as freshman (they are), tracked for the full four years, and then play another year or two of juniors, how many "surprises" can there really be? Seems like the women's game should generate a lot more "surprises" in terms of who is successful in college. So this would lend itself to Union being more successful then it is on the women's side - food for thought...

ARM
03-05-2013, 08:37 PM
5) It is unfair to compare men's recruiting to women's recruiting. In Union's case the fact that the men have a great team has more to do with the very small talent gap and abundance of players available.IMO, this is the key point. Look at the top scorers in men's hockey. Nobody has yet reached 50 points. On the women's side, there are a number of players who have considerably more. In men's hockey, there are a good number of players that have reached the 40-point plateau, and even more that are in the 30-40 range. For women, the very top scorers produce even more, but it tails off more rapidly; the plateaus are narrower. If you're a team that has one, two, or in rare cases even more of these top scorers, then you have people that can are going to get into the scoring column every weekend, and over the course of the season, that will make the difference between winning and losing a number of times. If you are Union, you're left to try to get a couple of goals off of screens, deflections, or scrums and hope that is enough to win games.

The landscape is improving. Even the worst teams have more talent. Their third-line players can hold their own on the ice against a good first line for a time. Fifteen years ago, that resulted in a goal almost right away.

In men's hockey, lower ranked teams have players who weren't heavily recruited but wind up in the Hobey Baker conversation. In women's hockey, that usually only happens with goalies. Once in a while a forward like Melissa Boal or Felicia Nelson will wind up as a top 10 finalist for the Kaz, but because of her impact, she improves her team to the extent that they finish in the upper division of the league. St. Cloud State finished 3rd in the WCHA the year that Nelson, Caitlyn Hogan, Holly Roberts, and Meghan Pezon were seniors; the next year, they were all gone, and SCSU was dreadful.

Programs like Union wind up with the records that they do because there aren't enough offensive players to go around, and the majority of the most gifted wind up on a small number of teams. In theory, that happens in men's hockey as well, but there is less separation on the men's side between the blue-chip recruits and the next tier, and each tier contains more athletes.

OneTimer
03-05-2013, 10:33 PM
What will never be known in this forum is how much admissions has or has not cooperated with the coaching staff. It would seem that admissions has cooperated equally between the men's and women's program.

D2D
03-06-2013, 12:55 AM
IMO, this is the key point. Look at the top scorers in men's hockey. Nobody has yet reached 50 points. On the women's side, there are a number of players who have considerably more. In men's hockey, there are a good number of players that have reached the 40-point plateau, and even more that are in the 30-40 range. For women, the very top scorers produce even more, but it tails off more rapidly; the plateaus are narrower. If you're a team that has one, two, or in rare cases even more of these top scorers, then you have people that can are going to get into the scoring column every weekend, and over the course of the season, that will make the difference between winning and losing a number of times. If you are Union, you're left to try to get a couple of goals off of screens, deflections, or scrums and hope that is enough to win games.

The landscape is improving. Even the worst teams have more talent. Their third-line players can hold their own on the ice against a good first line for a time. Fifteen years ago, that resulted in a goal almost right away.

In men's hockey, lower ranked teams have players who weren't heavily recruited but wind up in the Hobey Baker conversation. In women's hockey, that usually only happens with goalies. Once in a while a forward like Melissa Boal or Felicia Nelson will wind up as a top 10 finalist for the Kaz, but because of her impact, she improves her team to the extent that they finish in the upper division of the league. St. Cloud State finished 3rd in the WCHA the year that Nelson, Caitlyn Hogan, Holly Roberts, and Meghan Pezon were seniors; the next year, they were all gone, and SCSU was dreadful.

Programs like Union wind up with the records that they do because there aren't enough offensive players to go around, and the majority of the most gifted wind up on a small number of teams. In theory, that happens in men's hockey as well, but there is less separation on the men's side between the blue-chip recruits and the next tier, and each tier contains more athletes.

This is all so true. Just look at the Minnesota men's team - they are No. 2 in the polls and in PWR, but have only one sweep (against UAA) in the WCHA all season. And they have just one player in the nation's top 25 in terms of scoring, with 42 points. On the women's side, Kessel, Brandt and Bozek have 223 points between the three of them.

And look at Quinnipiac's men's team. They are No. 1 in the polls and in PWR, but they have NOBODY with even 30 points. But their women's team has three players with at least 30 points each, led by Kelly Babstock with 55. Yet Quinnipiac is not ranked and their season is over...

Bottom line is that for a number of reasons there is a lot more parity in D1 men's hockey than in women's. And as a fan of both, I don't see this as a bad thing! In fact, one reason I enjoy the women's game A LOT is that the very best players stay with their college team for all four years (for the most part) vs. with the men's so many of the most talented leave early. Around here in Minnesota, we see the same thing at the high school level - for the most part all of the best players stay through their senior year vs. so many of the boys leaving early for juniors or the USA development team in Ann Arbor.

Call It
03-06-2013, 07:44 AM
This is all so true. Just look at the Minnesota men's team - they are No. 2 in the polls and in PWR, but have only one sweep (against UAA) in the WCHA all season. And they have just one player in the nation's top 25 in terms of scoring, with 42 points. On the women's side, Kessel, Brandt and Bozek have 223 points between the three of them.

And look at Quinnipiac's men's team. They are No. 1 in the polls and in PWR, but they have NOBODY with even 30 points. But their women's team has three players with at least 30 points each, led by Kelly Babstock with 55. Yet Quinnipiac is not ranked and their season is over...

Bottom line is that for a number of reasons there is a lot more parity in D1 men's hockey than in women's. And as a fan of both, I don't see this as a bad thing! In fact, one reason I enjoy the women's game A LOT is that the very best players stay with their college team for all four years (for the most part) vs. with the men's so many of the most talented leave early. Around here in Minnesota, we see the same thing at the high school level - for the most part all of the best players stay through their senior year vs. so many of the boys leaving early for juniors or the USA development team in Ann Arbor.

I just said this on the UNH thread...I think that the role of a solid Defensive D-man has been overlooked by to many Women's coaches. They seem to recruit D-man that can put up points more than stop the other teams first line. That is why we have players with big points. Also, the top players by and large go to a small percentage of schools (i.e. MN, WI, Cornell, and the school that has the next Olympic coach)