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  • Originally posted by dogtagger View Post
    No idea how many of you subscribe to the BDN, but here's Larry's latest article.

    After a disastrous season, the UMaine men’s hockey team is getting in shape

    Larry Mahoney

    For last year’s University of Maine men’s ice hockey team, conditioning was one of the team’s downfalls — especially early in the campaign.

    UMaine was outscored 13-4 in the third period of its first 10 games, in which it went 1-8-1.

    In the first two games of the season against the University of Nebraska at Omaha, UMaine entered the third period of each game tied but was outscored 5-0 as Omaha sweeped the series.

    The team is determined not to repeat that this season.

    UMaine is in the fourth week of a demanding six-week summer program on campus that includes at least eight workouts on the ice and off each week. Despite the on-campus program being optional for all players, every member of the team is participating — a rarity among Division I hockey programs — in hopes that it will save the team from a repeat of last year’s disastrous season.

    https://i0.wp.com/bdn-data.s3.amazon...8x48.jpg?ssl=1by Larry MahoneyMarch 23, 2022
    “You can’t be trying to get into shape the first two months of the season when you’re playing some of the best teams in the country,” said UMaine head coach Ben Barr, now in his second year with the team.

    A team’s conditioning “is not a variable a high-level Division I program should have to worry about,” he said.

    The team does conditioning work in the weight room five mornings a week lasting an hour and a half. The players skate three days a week and do on-ice drills. The ice is available if they also want to skate on their own.

    “To have everybody here three months before the season shows how much the guys care about what we’re trying to build here,” said Lynden Breen, a junior center for the Black Bears. “We all have one common goal: to become one of the best teams in college hockey.”

    Their on-ice skill sessions are conducted by Maine Nordiques head coach and director of development Matt Pinchevsky and Nordiques general manager Eric Soltys, a former UMaine assistant, both longtime friends of UMaine head coach Ben Barr.

    The Lewiston-based Nordiques play in the North American (Junior) Hockey League.

    UMaine sports performance coach Codi Fitzgerald handles the team’s off-ice strength and conditioning program.

    “Codi is unbelievable. He really takes it seriously and he caters a workout to each and every one of us. We’re lucky to have him,” Breen said.

    Hockey is a game of short bursts. Fitzgerald’s workouts focus on explosiveness and strength and feature lower-body workouts that include sprints and one-legged drills. There is also a weight-lifting component for the upper body, which is critical in puck possession and puck protection.

    On the ice, drills work on puck handling, shooting and skating, in addition to several drills involving one-on-one, two-on-two or three-on-three competitions.

    Fitzgerald said the summer has gone well.

    “We handed the guys a challenge at the end of the spring to come back in shape and they have exceeded expectations,” he said. “We’ve had a good first four weeks. To have everyone here speaks volumes to the culture Ben is setting up here.”

    Barr said it is the first time in his coaching career that an entire team has worked out together in the summer. Under NCAA rules, Barr and his assistants aren’t allowed to work with players during the summer.

    He previously coached at his alma mater, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, as well as at Union College, Providence College, Western Michigan and UMass.

    “This is the most important thing we’ve done so far. It is a huge positive,” said Barr, whose Black Bears went 7-22-4 last season and finished last in Hockey East with a 5-17-2 record.

    The fact that every player is participating is a “huge step for us. We are also getting a good head start on building our culture and chemistry,” Breen said. “Nobody is going to outwork us this season.”

    It’s a big shift compared with last summer, which was a difficult one for the team.

    The Black Bears’ then-head coach, Red Gendron, collapsed and died while playing golf at the Penobscot Valley Country Club in Orono on April 9, 2021. Barr was named to replace Gendron on May 12 that year.

    https://i0.wp.com/bdn-data.s3.amazon...8x48.jpg?ssl=1by Larry MahoneyMarch 14, 2022
    Previously, the norm had always been for the incoming freshmen to arrive on campus in early August and take a class to get acclimated to the school and the community. Barr implemented a workout regimen for the players to follow at home until they returned to campus.

    But when they workout at home on their own or with friends, there is no way to gauge how much time and effort each player puts into the training regimen, Barr said. Some worked out harder and more diligently than others.

    “This takes the unknown out of everything because they are working out together. You push yourself more when you are around your teammates and peers.” Barr said.

    The 12 returning players began working out a week after last season ended. There are 15 rookies on the team this year.

    Senior left wing Ben Poisson anticipates the team getting off to a better start this season because of their conditioning.

    “We’re taking steps to make sure we will be the best-conditioned team out there,” he said.

    If players aren’t in tip-top shape, they are more prone to making mental mistakes leading to physical miscues, said defenseman Jakob Sirota, who will be a graduate student.

    “If we want to be able to compete at a high level, it is a necessity to have guys here early,” Sirota said.

    Sirota was having an outstanding year until he tore the medial collateral ligament in his right knee. He had season-ending surgery in February.

    He isn’t 100 percent yet but he admitted he has been “surprised” at how well the knee has been feeling and has begun skating.

    The Black Bears will have their initial workout with their coaches on the first day of school on Monday, Aug. 29.

    They will open the season with an exhibition game against the University of Prince Edward Island on Saturday, Oct. 1 at the Alfond Arena before traveling to Colorado for regular season games against the Air Force Academy and defending national champion Denver on Oct. 7 and Oct. 8, respectively, as part of the Ice Breaker Tournament.
    Geez, last time i did cut and paste like the above admin scolded me.


    ​​​​​​"Their on-ice skill sessions are conducted by Maine Nordiques head coach and director of development Matt Pinchevsky and Nordiques general manager Eric Soltys, a former UMaine assistant, both longtime friends of UMaine head coach Ben Barr."

    This is awesome, this is the sort of great change that Barr brings.
    Last edited by NorthMike; 08-08-2022, 06:51 PM.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by KrbFlint View Post
      Ken Ralph gone. Wow.
      Just saw this, damn now my outlook for hockey and other sports at the U just tanked. Had high regard and hope for him to make a significant shift in things.

      Last edited by NorthMike; 08-09-2022, 07:10 AM.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by NorthMike View Post

        Just saw this, damn now my outlook for hockey and other sports at the U just tanked. Had high regard and hope for him to make a significant shift in things.
        Here's a shorter cut and paste:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l01VaUJF84s

        Comment


        • Originally posted by dogtagger View Post
          No idea how many of you subscribe to the BDN, but here's Larry's latest article.

          After a disastrous season, the UMaine men’s hockey team is getting in shape

          Larry Mahoney

          For last year’s University of Maine men’s ice hockey team, conditioning was one of the team’s downfalls — especially early in the campaign.

          UMaine was outscored 13-4 in the third period of its first 10 games, in which it went 1-8-1.

          In the first two games of the season against the University of Nebraska at Omaha, UMaine entered the third period of each game tied but was outscored 5-0 as Omaha sweeped the series.

          The team is determined not to repeat that this season.

          UMaine is in the fourth week of a demanding six-week summer program on campus that includes at least eight workouts on the ice and off each week. Despite the on-campus program being optional for all players, every member of the team is participating — a rarity among Division I hockey programs — in hopes that it will save the team from a repeat of last year’s disastrous season.

          https://i0.wp.com/bdn-data.s3.amazon...8x48.jpg?ssl=1by Larry MahoneyMarch 23, 2022
          “You can’t be trying to get into shape the first two months of the season when you’re playing some of the best teams in the country,” said UMaine head coach Ben Barr, now in his second year with the team.

          A team’s conditioning “is not a variable a high-level Division I program should have to worry about,” he said.

          The team does conditioning work in the weight room five mornings a week lasting an hour and a half. The players skate three days a week and do on-ice drills. The ice is available if they also want to skate on their own.

          “To have everybody here three months before the season shows how much the guys care about what we’re trying to build here,” said Lynden Breen, a junior center for the Black Bears. “We all have one common goal: to become one of the best teams in college hockey.”

          Their on-ice skill sessions are conducted by Maine Nordiques head coach and director of development Matt Pinchevsky and Nordiques general manager Eric Soltys, a former UMaine assistant, both longtime friends of UMaine head coach Ben Barr.

          The Lewiston-based Nordiques play in the North American (Junior) Hockey League.

          UMaine sports performance coach Codi Fitzgerald handles the team’s off-ice strength and conditioning program.

          “Codi is unbelievable. He really takes it seriously and he caters a workout to each and every one of us. We’re lucky to have him,” Breen said.

          Hockey is a game of short bursts. Fitzgerald’s workouts focus on explosiveness and strength and feature lower-body workouts that include sprints and one-legged drills. There is also a weight-lifting component for the upper body, which is critical in puck possession and puck protection.

          On the ice, drills work on puck handling, shooting and skating, in addition to several drills involving one-on-one, two-on-two or three-on-three competitions.

          Fitzgerald said the summer has gone well.

          “We handed the guys a challenge at the end of the spring to come back in shape and they have exceeded expectations,” he said. “We’ve had a good first four weeks. To have everyone here speaks volumes to the culture Ben is setting up here.”

          Barr said it is the first time in his coaching career that an entire team has worked out together in the summer. Under NCAA rules, Barr and his assistants aren’t allowed to work with players during the summer.

          He previously coached at his alma mater, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, as well as at Union College, Providence College, Western Michigan and UMass.

          “This is the most important thing we’ve done so far. It is a huge positive,” said Barr, whose Black Bears went 7-22-4 last season and finished last in Hockey East with a 5-17-2 record.

          The fact that every player is participating is a “huge step for us. We are also getting a good head start on building our culture and chemistry,” Breen said. “Nobody is going to outwork us this season.”

          It’s a big shift compared with last summer, which was a difficult one for the team.

          The Black Bears’ then-head coach, Red Gendron, collapsed and died while playing golf at the Penobscot Valley Country Club in Orono on April 9, 2021. Barr was named to replace Gendron on May 12 that year.

          https://i0.wp.com/bdn-data.s3.amazon...8x48.jpg?ssl=1by Larry MahoneyMarch 14, 2022
          Previously, the norm had always been for the incoming freshmen to arrive on campus in early August and take a class to get acclimated to the school and the community. Barr implemented a workout regimen for the players to follow at home until they returned to campus.

          But when they workout at home on their own or with friends, there is no way to gauge how much time and effort each player puts into the training regimen, Barr said. Some worked out harder and more diligently than others.

          “This takes the unknown out of everything because they are working out together. You push yourself more when you are around your teammates and peers.” Barr said.

          The 12 returning players began working out a week after last season ended. There are 15 rookies on the team this year.

          Senior left wing Ben Poisson anticipates the team getting off to a better start this season because of their conditioning.

          “We’re taking steps to make sure we will be the best-conditioned team out there,” he said.

          If players aren’t in tip-top shape, they are more prone to making mental mistakes leading to physical miscues, said defenseman Jakob Sirota, who will be a graduate student.

          “If we want to be able to compete at a high level, it is a necessity to have guys here early,” Sirota said.

          Sirota was having an outstanding year until he tore the medial collateral ligament in his right knee. He had season-ending surgery in February.

          He isn’t 100 percent yet but he admitted he has been “surprised” at how well the knee has been feeling and has begun skating.

          The Black Bears will have their initial workout with their coaches on the first day of school on Monday, Aug. 29.

          They will open the season with an exhibition game against the University of Prince Edward Island on Saturday, Oct. 1 at the Alfond Arena before traveling to Colorado for regular season games against the Air Force Academy and defending national champion Denver on Oct. 7 and Oct. 8, respectively, as part of the Ice Breaker Tournament.
          I disagree on conditioning playing a big part in last year’s season, when Maine played hard they were reasonably competitive. Improving conditioning certainly can’t hurt and there is a lot of value in getting the players together so they can start building chemistry.

          I think Maine desperately needs a decent season. Not necessarily win-loss wise but need good performances and hopefully be able to generate some buzz. The combination of the system/school facing major financial challenges, a new athletic director, the men’s team lack of success in recent time, and now the women’s team without a coaching staff make me a little nervous about the programs’ future. If it comes down to cutting hockey or cutting football I think it would be hard to justify cutting football give each program’s recent history.
          Originally posted by BobbyBrady
          Crosby probably wouldn't even be on BC's top two lines next year

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Drew S. View Post

            I disagree on conditioning playing a big part in last year’s season, when Maine played hard they were reasonably competitive. Improving conditioning certainly can’t hurt and there is a lot of value in getting the players together so they can start building chemistry.

            I think Maine desperately needs a decent season. Not necessarily win-loss wise but need good performances and hopefully be able to generate some buzz. The combination of the system/school facing major financial challenges, a new athletic director, the men’s team lack of success in recent time, and now the women’s team without a coaching staff make me a little nervous about the programs’ future. If it comes down to cutting hockey or cutting football I think it would be hard to justify cutting football give each program’s recent history.
            It's difficult to play hard when you're gassed. Hopefully a better conditioned team can play harder, longer.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Drew S. View Post

              I disagree on conditioning playing a big part in last year’s season, when Maine played hard they were reasonably competitive. Improving conditioning certainly can’t hurt and there is a lot of value in getting the players together so they can start building chemistry.

              I think Maine desperately needs a decent season. Not necessarily win-loss wise but need good performances and hopefully be able to generate some buzz. The combination of the system/school facing major financial challenges, a new athletic director, the men’s team lack of success in recent time, and now the women’s team without a coaching staff make me a little nervous about the programs’ future. If it comes down to cutting hockey or cutting football I think it would be hard to justify cutting football give each program’s recent history.
              How many third periods did they just get completely bodied in, especially early on, even if they had played well up to that point? Remember when they had a lead going into the 3rd at Matthews against NU? I disagree about lack of effort being the main culprit. I don't recall ever watching a team where it was obvious to me they weren't trying very hard, I just saw a team that a) wasn't very good, b) was tired quickly, and c) had very little chemistry and didn't play well together.

              I also find it hard to believe that they would ever cut men's hockey. It's probably still the most popular program on campus, and aside from one year (2018), football has never done anything truly notable, recently or otherwise. I would guess that as long as they have a D1 athletic department, men's hockey will be an offered program. Also worth noting that exactly zero (0) former national champions in men's hockey have ever cut their program in the future.

              Comment


              • Football is WAY more expensive than Hockey. No way UMaine cuts hockey over football, don't see it.

                A generation ago, BU cut its fairly successful Football program in the midst of a competitive upturn.
                Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
                Montreal Expos Forever ...

                Comment


                • Originally posted by amkirby10 View Post

                  How many third periods did they just get completely bodied in, especially early on, even if they had played well up to that point? Remember when they had a lead going into the 3rd at Matthews against NU? I disagree about lack of effort being the main culprit. I don't recall ever watching a team where it was obvious to me they weren't trying very hard, I just saw a team that a) wasn't very good, b) was tired quickly, and c) had very little chemistry and didn't play well together.

                  I also find it hard to believe that they would ever cut men's hockey. It's probably still the most popular program on campus, and aside from one year (2018), football has never done anything truly notable, recently or otherwise. I would guess that as long as they have a D1 athletic department, men's hockey will be an offered program. Also worth noting that exactly zero (0) former national champions in men's hockey have ever cut their program in the future.
                  I mean Maine was a no show against sacred heart, Friday night against Northeastern, Friday night against BC, UVM, Friday night against Alaska, and the entire weekend at Merrimack and BU. Don’t forget the winner in the game you cite was a fluky goal from center ice. Better conditioning would be great but don’t see it as a primary problem.

                  This was before your time but I’m old enough to remember when the athletic department told Maine’s most famous alum and major donor to go **** himself. I would like to think they wouldn’t cut hockey and agree it would be a major mistake but they’re going to have to balance the books somehow.

                  With Red passing, womens coaches bailing, and now Ralph leaving hockey doesn’t have much for allies inside the athletic department. Alfie’s voice probably carry’s some weight but there isn’t much beyond that.

                  One thing I would love to know is how much support the program has gotten from alumni. We haven’t heard much regarding the standbrook fund which leads me to believe it probably hasn’t been super successful. There are definitely a bunch of alumni with the means to donate big money but not sure they have.

                  One final concern is facilities. I love the Alfond, and long may it live, but how long is that feasible for? I don’t see the money available for a new facility either. One thing they could do is play at the cross center and it probably wouldn’t cost a ton to add ice.

                  Maine hockey is my favorite team in the world and I’d be heartbroken if it got cut but there definitely are some major obstacles it’s facing. I’d encourage everyone to buy tickets, go to games, etc and not just take it for granted that it will always be there.
                  Originally posted by BobbyBrady
                  Crosby probably wouldn't even be on BC's top two lines next year

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by dogtagger View Post

                    Here's a shorter cut and paste:

                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l01VaUJF84s
                    My guess is he is probably right.
                    I swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell.

                    Maine Hockey Love it or Leave it

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by walrus View Post

                      My guess is he is probably right.
                      Don’t know if I believe that’s his sole reasoning for leaving. Probably a combination of that and differences with the rest of the admin.

                      Drew, I agree with your takes on it being a tough time financially for the athletic department but don’t agree hockey will be on the chopping block. Maine is running a low amount of sports as it is and they’re not cutting the only national championship program. Baseball will be cut before hockey or football, the baseball model is so unsustainable for northeast schools.

                      The team will be better. They were out of shape and weak, I love that all the players are together already, that’s going to be extremely beneficial for a young team. They were skated out of the rink during the whole month of October last year.

                      Comment


                      • Please don't copy and paste entire articles into threads. 4 paragraphs and a link will be fine.

                        If people want to subscribe to read more then they can.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by BlackBearFan19 View Post

                          Don’t know if I believe that’s his sole reasoning for leaving. Probably a combination of that and differences with the rest of the admin.
                          Yeah, Ken is a political guy so hes not going to be fully straight. Theres an element of truth in what he says but a whole lot hes not saying.

                          Too bad he is going, he had a positive impact and would have done more given time.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Drew S. View Post

                            I mean Maine was a no show against sacred heart, Friday night against Northeastern, Friday night against BC, UVM, Friday night against Alaska, and the entire weekend at Merrimack and BU. Don’t forget the winner in the game you cite was a fluky goal from center ice. Better conditioning would be great but don’t see it as a primary problem.

                            This was before your time but I’m old enough to remember when the athletic department told Maine’s most famous alum and major donor to go **** himself. I would like to think they wouldn’t cut hockey and agree it would be a major mistake but they’re going to have to balance the books somehow.

                            With Red passing, womens coaches bailing, and now Ralph leaving hockey doesn’t have much for allies inside the athletic department. Alfie’s voice probably carry’s some weight but there isn’t much beyond that.

                            One thing I would love to know is how much support the program has gotten from alumni. We haven’t heard much regarding the standbrook fund which leads me to believe it probably hasn’t been super successful. There are definitely a bunch of alumni with the means to donate big money but not sure they have.

                            One final concern is facilities. I love the Alfond, and long may it live, but how long is that feasible for? I don’t see the money available for a new facility either. One thing they could do is play at the cross center and it probably wouldn’t cost a ton to add ice.

                            Maine hockey is my favorite team in the world and I’d be heartbroken if it got cut but there definitely are some major obstacles it’s facing. I’d encourage everyone to buy tickets, go to games, etc and not just take it for granted that it will always be there.
                            As far as the Alfond life expectancy, look at the Matthews rink, still going and supporting a pretty good team these days. Alfond could go on forever with upgrades, maint etc

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Drew S. View Post
                              One final concern is facilities. I love the Alfond, and long may it live, but how long is that feasible for? I don’t see the money available for a new facility either. One thing they could do is play at the cross center and it probably wouldn’t cost a ton to add ice.
                              Still can't wrap my head around the fact that Cross Insurance Center was built without ice.

                              I'm sure it would be a logistical nightmare to try and retrofit CIC for hockey at this point even though there is probably a good need for it in the area as Sawyer/Penobscot aren't much to write home about.

                              Thankfully the Alfond has a lot of good years left and it seems like the planned improvements will do a good job of extending the lifespan.

                              Comment


                              • Ken Ralph hired Ben Barr and we’ll be eternally grateful for that.

                                As long as Barr’s here, I’m not worried about hockey. That’s a laugher. He goes, sky’s falling.

                                Maine Hockey: I want to believe
                                43-21-4 (.662) in games I attended over 4 years as a student
                                104-47-14 (.669) in that time
                                3x FROZEN FOUR

                                11-20-2 in games I've attended since. (2-2-1 under Red)

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