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UNH Hockey 2023 Off Season Thread Turn and Face the Strange

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  • Originally posted by Darius View Post
    Absolute BS, Chuck. Completely unfair. I hope she does "get a head start" just to see you preceding her around campus, scattering rose petals in her path and otherwise doing her bidding.

    This. Relax. Enjoy the season and the final weekend of the NCAA softball regular season.
    You mean...lacrosse don't you? ;-)
    Here we go 'Cats!!

    Comment


    • Originally posted by HockeyRef View Post

      You mean...lacrosse don't you? ;-)
      Nope. Funny you say that though as the conclusion of the Princeton/Penn Ivy League semi-final lacrosse game preempted Washington/Stanford softball on ESPNU last night. Fans of all time all sport dynasties can tune to ESPN at 5:00 PM today to witness the wagon that is the Oklahoma Sooner softball team.

      I will not be out cheered in my own building.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by NCAA watcher View Post

        Chuck, moving through the five stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with grief. Looks like he's moved from two to three now.

        Chuck, join me in stage five, where depression already has occurred, and now just accept what will be until March 2024. It's much easier that way.
        Amen!

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Robert Balin View Post
          Good question, you would probably have to go way back 40's -50's lol. UNH kept Holt too long and Umile too long and we saw the end results. Ref and all, enjoy the nice day and thank you for the dialog.
          RB, I'm with ya. Somehow, though, I could never find it in my heart to resent Coach Holt overstaying his sell-by date, and he didn't make a pig of himself at the end. He still sets the standard high for coaching excellence at UNH. And even with Coach Umile, while I'm less forgiving of his extended goodbye - plus his meddling in getting the overmatched/underqualified MS7 the job as his successor - he was responsible for many of the best moments in UNH Hockey history. Not too many folks exceed their legendary predecessors, as we've seen these last 8 years, up close and personal. Coach Umile DID exceed Coach Holt's accomplishments. And it's not Umile's fault that his star-struck AD never had the guts to push back on him, nor was it Umile giving MS7 an entirely unwarranted contract extension, just so Blue Skies could give his bosses two fingers up on his own way out the door.

          Knowing the sway Umile had over Blue Skies, if there's anything I'm still angry with Coach about, it's him not doing more to stick up for his old pal McCloskey when the latter was being unjustly tarred & feathered by BS and the PC-driven admins above him. I'm sure if you put Umile on truth serum today, he'd admit he never saw MS7's time in charge of the alma mater becoming such a chronic, devastating sinkhole. We all make mistakes in judgment, and overestimating MS7's abilities is partly on Umile, but mostly on the guy who actually made the hire (BS).

          Originally posted by NCAA watcher View Post
          Chuck, moving through the five stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with grief. Looks like he's moved from two to three now.
          You know me by now, 'Watcher - always tilting at the windmills. Definitely Stage 3, suspecting a long Stage 4 stay ...

          ​​​​​​​
          Originally posted by NCAA watcher View Post
          Chuck, join me in stage five, where depression already has occurred, and now just accept what will be until March 2024. It's much easier that way.
          ... because I don't do "acceptance" very well. And a big part of me thinks Our Favorite Paisan will find a way to talk himself into at least two more years, because after upgrading to the Jumbotron, and more recently "shrinking the rink", there's other things left to kvetch about that's conspiring against MS7's drive for D-1 Hockey Nirvana. Gold plated flush handles on the locker room potties could grab the attention of some portal washouts who might otherwise be tempted to go to UVM or Brown or Princeton, after all.

          ​​​​​​​I can't keep up this pace over the summah anyway, so maybe Stage 5 is best for my long-term health & well-being ...
          Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
          Montreal Expos Forever ...

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Chuck Murray View Post
            I can't keep up this pace over the summah anyway, so maybe Stage 5 is best for my long-term health & well-being ...
            That and margaritas.

            From your image of AD Rich, does the lawyer/Princeton lady seem like the sort that will be smooth talked by the local Wakefield/Melrose crew?

            Get some margaritas in her and I'm sure she'd be cursing Marty for tying her hands. Maybe I'm projecting too much, but I'm sure absent a top 6 HE finish, which will be hard with the roster, MS7 is Helsinki'd.

            And Charlie Holt really didn't overstay too long. He made the NCAAs in 83 back when that was what, 8 teams. His second to last year he was above .500. What did him in was Terry Flanagan getting the gig in Bowling Green. With him went the Stratford Culliton connection that was an easy recruiting pipeline for UNH up to 79. All the Stratford kids filled York's rosters from 82-90.

            I did three years with him, but in those days it really was a small pool. PC had Lamouriello, BC had Len, BU had Parker, Lowell had Riley, so you grew old with yours and hired from within. Maine broke the mold when they brought in an outsider, and adding the WCHA teams, made HE move from that model.

            Holt built UNH from a DII school to the 77 final four. He was innovative, and creative and gracious.
            Last edited by NCAA watcher; 05-06-2023, 06:25 PM.
            The Souza record:
            15-16 10th place
            16-17 10th place
            17-18 11th place
            18-19 8th place
            19-20 9th place
            20-21 10th place
            21-22 9th place
            22-23 10th place

            Comment


            • Originally posted by NCAA watcher View Post
              And Charlie Holt really didn't overstay too long. He made the NCAAs in 83 back when that was what, 8 teams. His second to last year he was above .500. What did him in was Terry Flanagan getting the gig in Bowling Green. With him went the Stratford Culliton connection that was an easy recruiting pipeline for UNH up to 79. All the Stratford kids filled York's rosters from 82-90.

              I did three years with him, but in those days it really was a small pool. PC had Lamouriello, BC had Len, BU had Parker, Lowell had Riley, so you grew old with yours and hired from within. Maine broke the mold when they brought in an outsider, and adding the WCHA teams, made HE move from that model.

              Holt built UNH from a DII school to the 77 final four. He was innovative, and creative and gracious.
              Did you work with Holt and/or Flanagan, 'Watcher? Personally, the years 1983-1987 were a blur for us, with graduating, getting married, buying our first house (Dover) and starting our family, and I missed the fine details of the end of the Holt Era, and really didn't get to see too much in the too-brief Kullen Era. Had season tix for the last few seasons at Snively, which as you know were fun years, with lots of exciting attacking hockey. Probably why I'm still a bit of a Umile apologist.

              I vividly remember when Charlie passed in the middle of the 2000 Hockey East tourney. There was a moment of silence for him pre-game at the Fleet Center, and I was sure UNH would ride the emotion to at least the Finals (this was a time of optimism, as UNH had lost in the FF Finals less than a year earlier). But after carrying a 1-0 lead deep into the 3rd period, BC scored twice in the closing minutes to advance to the HEA Finals, where they would lose to UMaine on a Niko Dimitrakos goal with seconds left in regulation. We actually went to the HEA Finals without UNH playing, because our eldest daughter was SO hooked on college hockey by then. Fun times.

              Seems like yesterday, but seems like a million years ago. I fear UNH Hockey may never be as much fun ever again ...
              Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
              Montreal Expos Forever ...

              Comment


              • So it is May 6th and here is the current status as I see it:

                1. MS7 is obviously here for another year.
                2. Athletics does not care about fan comments as I have not heard a word from any emails I have sent.
                3. No one wants to come here for a multitude of reasons
                4. Current players don't like him
                5. Our backup goalie has a lower save percentage than Ullmark


                I can't wait to renew my tickets. At our family board meeting I am considering buying 1 season ticket. Gets me upstairs, saves me a ton of money buying 2 GA tickets, we have 1 student ticket, and I still have no access to parking.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by NCAA watcher View Post

                  And Charlie Holt really didn't overstay too long. He made the NCAAs in 83 back when that was what, 8 teams. His second to last year he was above .500. What did him in was Terry Flanagan getting the gig in Bowling Green. With him went the Stratford Culliton connection that was an easy recruiting pipeline for UNH up to 79. All the Stratford kids filled York's rosters from 82-90.
                  Ironic and tragic that both Flanagan and Kullen later passed away within a year of each other, and would have awards named for them. Always wondered what might have been for each of them.
                  UNH Hockey: From "Why Not Us' to "Woe is Us"

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Felger View Post

                    Ironic and tragic that both Flanagan and Kullen later passed away within a year of each other, and would have awards named for them. Always wondered what might have been for each of them.
                    Speaking of awards...didn't see anything about this year's hockey banquet? Usually the awards are posted online. Thought there was a Kullen award but maybe confusing it with the Charlie Holt award.
                    Here we go 'Cats!!

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Chuck Murray View Post

                      Did you work with Holt and/or Flanagan, 'Watcher? Personally, the years 1983-1987 were a blur for us, with graduating, getting married, buying our first house (Dover) and starting our family, and I missed the fine details of the end of the Holt Era, and really didn't get to see too much in the too-brief Kullen Era.
                      ..
                      Not with. I was the student paper newsboy covering the team 83-87, so rode the bus with the team to and from road games, and interviewed the coaches. Coaches could have been dismissive of stupid questions from a nerdy 18 year old (Jackie Parker, looking at you), but Holt was grandfatherly. I wasn't aware of his age being an issue, but also lacked the broader perspective of knowing how things worked and structural issues that impacted the team. I mean, UNH got Norm Lacombe, an NHL first rounder in 81, and Peter Herms a top recruit in 82, and Peter Douris in 83. But the depth started to get hollowed out as the Stratford and Toronto pipeline became tighter, and they had to rely on fringe NE kids like Steve Smith and Jeff Cournoyer. Now, I didn't know they were fringe, but in retrospect, UNH was losing out on the top tier guys and settling for the local lower hanging fruit (sound familiar?)

                      I was there for the transition to Kullen, and he even wrote me a recommendation for grad school, though he was not warm like Holt, and was no-nonsense. But he had an intensity that he was able to sell once he was in the seat, and his first two recruiting classes were out of this world. UNH was back in the game with a new boss. It is largely with that experience that I was so put off by Mike Souza's "golly gee, we're just such a great family here" persona in his first several interviews here. As I wrote in 2015/2016, this was his chance to be respectful of his predecessor, but bring a new energy and intensity to distinguish himself from his patron, and send the message that would be appealing to the new generation. Instead -- and largely because of the *** up handoff process where Mike was "in charge" but not "in charge" from 2015-2018 -- Mike was meekly doing what he had been trained to do as an assistant coach. Defer. Marty neutered him from the start, and Umile did him no favors by that process that served only Umile to the detriment of Souza. And ultimately, people are who they are. Kullen was a type A intense. Souza is a type B, competitive but friendly.

                      I'm sensitive to this because I was also in that mold, and failed in my first chance to be the boss because you don't see yourself as the boss, just a supporting player. It took me a new start at my own to get to overcome this, which is why I think that being pushed out and having to find his own spot may be the best for MS in the long run, professionally and personally.

                      Just to finish off on Kullen, who, as I said was intimidating, but also thankfully not dismissive of weird 20-22 year olds. His first two recruiting classes were 87 & 88.

                      87
                      Chris Winnes - NHL
                      Adrien Plavsic - NHL (I remember Kullen said he was like a mini-Ray Bourque)
                      Kevin Dean - NHL
                      David McIntyre - All-HE
                      Dominic Amodeo - All-American (he was recruited for 87, but admissions deferred him to 88)

                      88
                      Scott Morrow -- NHL
                      Joe Flanagan - All-American
                      Savo Mitrovic -- All-Hockey East

                      That's what he left for Umile. The recovery was well underway even if those kids didn't pop the NCAAs until their senior year 91/92. In the interim Umile had done weaker recruiting of his Boston locals (think Bob Donovan, Mike Sullivan, Kevin Thomson, Bob Chebator), trending downward after the Kullen group left in 92 (a .500 year in 92-93) UNTIL another intense assistant named McCloskey came aboard in 92, bringing aboard classes:

                      93
                      Tom Nolan - top NE recruit
                      Eric Boguniecki - NHL
                      Tim Murray - All-HE
                      94
                      Mowers - NHL
                      Nickulas - NHL
                      95
                      Krog -
                      Bekar


                      Common thread -- intense guys who take ownership and aren't passengers.

                      (And, of course as you will know, recruits all had good pedigrees in the days when nobody had access to info about the junior leagues. Just being from the hallowed Henry Carr pipeline didn't mean jack. Trying to understand what recruits were highly sought after fed my interest in recruiting. And it ties back again to McCloskey, who at the time was proud of his work and fed Barry Scanlon stories about who they were after, and what big scores they got when kids committed.)
                      Last edited by NCAA watcher; 05-07-2023, 09:20 AM.
                      The Souza record:
                      15-16 10th place
                      16-17 10th place
                      17-18 11th place
                      18-19 8th place
                      19-20 9th place
                      20-21 10th place
                      21-22 9th place
                      22-23 10th place

                      Comment


                      • As for players 'not liking the coach' I was at a top HE school pre-pandemic for a HE first round, talking to some people who had traveled in to see their nephew
                        play for XYZ coach/school. I asked how his nephew liked the coach. His words: kids think he a (word that rhymes with thick) but, they play hard for him...

                        So personally, I don't really take it that seriously when I hear a team doesn't like a coach. These players are here on scholarships...not a popularity contest...
                        But I guess it also depends on the culture you are building and how that culture creates a common goal for all. I dunno. Coaching today is not like it was
                        when Kullen and even Umile, were coaching. This is a different breed of cat (no pun intended)....

                        Good convo here btw...
                        Here we go 'Cats!!

                        Comment


                        • Thanks for the informative post, 'Watcher. I remember well, reading about all of the incoming UNH recruits "as they happened" through the old Foster's Daily Democrat (RIP) daily sports section back in the day. A lot of that, of course, was in the pre-Internet days (at least for me, and I was on relatively early) and that was the lifeblood of information regarding ham-and-egg UNH fans like us and our friends, as was the run-up to the construction of The Whitt. In many ways, you can draw a line between pre-Internet UNH Hockey right down the middle of the year-plus it took to build the new arena - last days of Snively (late pre-Internet), and first days of The Whitt (early Internet).

                          Regardless, the amount of reporting on UNH Hockey back in those days was relatively staggering, and those "media booths" that still exist at The Whitt were standing room only for many years after. We are fortunate as UNH fans - as are college hockey fans in general - that you've been "The Man" on D-1 recruiting on both sides of the Snively-Whitt Era "chasm". Continuity hasn't been a common trait in traversing that gap.

                          Without betraying confidences ... not too long ago, I had a brief Internet exchange with one of those UNH stars of yore who you named in your latest post, just checking in and wishing him well. As a throwaway line at the end, I mentioned how great it would be if someone like him were to come in and resuscitate the UNH Hockey program. His response was verbatim, "I'm ready when they are". So that gives me a lot of hope.

                          Originally posted by HockeyRef View Post
                          Speaking of awards...didn't see anything about this year's hockey banquet? Usually the awards are posted online. Thought there was a Kullen award but maybe confusing it with the Charlie Holt award.
                          Wow ... talk about another event that's fallen completely off the map ... the UNH Hockey Banquet. I think we attended once or twice (we did a lot when the kids were young), especially if autographs and player interaction was on the table, and back then it was HUGE - thanks Friends of UNH Hockey (again RIP)!! There are so many disconnected but historically wonderful past touchpoints that a new coach with even a passing familiarity with the program could resurrect to rebuild the old connections and enthusiasm the 'Cats used to enjoy. As it stands, they could've had this year's banquet in the drive-thru lane of the Effingwoods Wendy's, and STILL have room for more guests.

                          I also think I know who your "Coach Thick" is, and while my BFF Luce could easily fit that description as well, all I will say is that some guys are luckier than others, but the ones who find themselves on 3rd base at the start of their career, and somehow convince themselves they've "hit a triple" to get there ... well, those are the worst. Coach Holt started pretty much from scratch. Coach Umile at least started from the base that Holt had set for the program, and Kullen had put in motion on the recruiting front. Whether that's a first base or second base head start is up for debate, but I still hold to the idea that Umile left the place in better shape than when he arrived.

                          Lastly, as a postscript on what has turned out to be a rough week for late-stage Dead Wings alums ... after the passing of Petr Klima, we now learn that Gerard "Spudsy" Gallant has been given his walking papers by Chris Drury and the Rangers. Maybe the stars ARE aligning for Spuds to eventually get to the top with his old linemate/captain in Motown later this decade? Coached two of the best Rangers' teams in recent years, but with a first round collapse against the cross-Hudson rivals, it's another short term entry on the Gallant CV:

                          Rangers part ways with Gerard Gallant after disappointing season (nypost.com)
                          Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
                          Montreal Expos Forever ...

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Chuck Murray View Post
                            Thanks for the informative post, 'Watcher. I remember well, reading about all of the incoming UNH recruits "as they happened" through the old Foster's Daily Democrat (RIP) daily sports section back in the day. A lot of that, of course, was in the pre-Internet days (at least for me, and I was on relatively early) and that was the lifeblood of information regarding ham-and-egg UNH fans like us and our friends, as was the run-up to the construction of The Whitt. In many ways, you can draw a line between pre-Internet UNH Hockey right down the middle of the year-plus it took to build the new arena - last days of Snively (late pre-Internet), and first days of The Whitt (early Internet).

                            Regardless, the amount of reporting on UNH Hockey back in those days was relatively staggering, and those "media booths" that still exist at The Whitt were standing room only for many years after. We are fortunate as UNH fans - as are college hockey fans in general - that you've been "The Man" on D-1 recruiting on both sides of the Snively-Whitt Era "chasm". Continuity hasn't been a common trait in traversing that gap.

                            Without betraying confidences ... not too long ago, I had a brief Internet exchange with one of those UNH stars of yore who you named in your latest post, just checking in and wishing him well. As a throwaway line at the end, I mentioned how great it would be if someone like him were to come in and resuscitate the UNH Hockey program. His response was verbatim, "I'm ready when they are". So that gives me a lot of hope.



                            Wow ... talk about another event that's fallen completely off the map ... the UNH Hockey Banquet. I think we attended once or twice (we did a lot when the kids were young), especially if autographs and player interaction was on the table, and back then it was HUGE - thanks Friends of UNH Hockey (again RIP)!! There are so many disconnected but historically wonderful past touchpoints that a new coach with even a passing familiarity with the program could resurrect to rebuild the old connections and enthusiasm the 'Cats used to enjoy. As it stands, they could've had this year's banquet in the drive-thru lane of the Effingwoods Wendy's, and STILL have room for more guests.

                            I also think I know who your "Coach Thick" is, and while my BFF Luce could easily fit that description as well, all I will say is that some guys are luckier than others, but the ones who find themselves on 3rd base at the start of their career, and somehow convince themselves they've "hit a triple" to get there ... well, those are the worst. Coach Holt started pretty much from scratch. Coach Umile at least started from the base that Holt had set for the program, and Kullen had put in motion on the recruiting front. Whether that's a first base or second base head start is up for debate, but I still hold to the idea that Umile left the place in better shape than when he arrived.

                            Lastly, as a postscript on what has turned out to be a rough week for late-stage Dead Wings alums ... after the passing of Petr Klima, we now learn that Gerard "Spudsy" Gallant has been given his walking papers by Chris Drury and the Rangers. Maybe the stars ARE aligning for Spuds to eventually get to the top with his old linemate/captain in Motown later this decade? Coached two of the best Rangers' teams in recent years, but with a first round collapse against the cross-Hudson rivals, it's another short term entry on the Gallant CV:

                            Rangers part ways with Gerard Gallant after disappointing season (nypost.com)
                            The women's team had their banquet today...I really enjoyed the ones we went to..a nice family affair. I somehow doubt FOH will return...maybe?

                            On another note...those freaking Panthers!! Also..found out today I'm going to be a grandmother!!!!
                            Here we go 'Cats!!

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by HockeyRef View Post
                              Also..found out today I'm going to be a grandmother!!!!
                              That's fantastic news, 'Ref! Congratulations and enjoy. We're 2+ years into the experience ourselves, what a blessing!! :-)
                              Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
                              Montreal Expos Forever ...

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by HockeyRef View Post

                                The women's team had their banquet today...I really enjoyed the ones we went to..a nice family affair. I somehow doubt FOH will return...maybe?

                                On another note...those freaking Panthers!! Also..found out today I'm going to be a grandmother!!!!
                                Congrats, Ref!

                                Comment

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