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UNH Hockey 2023-2024 Season Thread - End Of The Cellar-Dweller Era??

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  • Originally posted by HockeyRef View Post

    Well ok then. Let's take Souza out of this and go with a few offered possibilities already stated...

    In a Nutshell:

    *LeClerc and Gagne wanted to be a better version of the Wildcats
    *Coach Jeff is the answer to MS7's prayers (oops I said I'd leave him out of it my bad)
    *They have adopted a new 'in your face' style of hockey that plays a full 60

    Would love to hear more POV on this...it's a great topic!
    It is not a requirement to agree with me. (You are welcome to be wrong )

    I really think it is recruiting that has changed. Just what changed inside that? New Coach? New approach? Better job of identifying or closing?
    Last edited by JB; 11-29-2023, 09:16 PM.
    "Now Progress Takes Away What Forever Took To Find" Dave Matthews Band, The Dreaming Tree

    Comment


    • Originally posted by After the Whistle View Post
      Yes Ref this is a great conversation. Lots of interesting and good thoughts. I don’t see this years team coming out of no where. 3 years ago I could see an improvement with team effort but still no scoring and many defensive lapses. At the end of their freshmen year Devlin and I believe Cronin made a big statement about how the team was ready for a big step forward. Last year they appeared energized by a couple of descent freshmen, with Cy leading the way. He had a great start but appeared to reach a ceiling after the first of the year. HE schedule and teams looking for him may have contributed.

      But they looked better last year and appeared to be working very hard and with a lot of grit.
      Teamplay was spotty and as we saw the end of the year was not rewarding for the team. This years freshmen have just blended so well with the existing talent to the point that I believe we can roll 4 lines all game. Look at Connor Sweeney, he plays with such grit and determination that he find a heck of a lot of ice both on the P
      Think what you are saying here is there has been good development of current players and the addition of a player like Ryan Conmy, they are
      'right on time' with where they are at success wise. Seems to be a natural step up from the bright spots of last season. Friday is a big 'tell' as to
      where they are with tough competition coming at them.
      Last edited by HockeyRef; 11-29-2023, 11:07 PM.
      I'm just here for the hockey...

      Comment


      • Originally posted by JB View Post

        It is not a requirement to agree with me. (You are welcome to be wrong )

        I really think it is recruiting that has changed. Just what changed inside that? New Coach? New approach? Better job of identifying or closing?
        Thanks for the permission to disagree with you! Not that it matters but I can be a fairly argumentative person...I mean heck it was sadly a Senior superlative I earned...But here in the matters of recruiting etc I don't have the background so I tend to stick to what I know best lol.

        Obviously what they are selling is resonating with recruits like Comny etc. And that has to be somewhat different than the former "we are building on our illustrious past be a part of it" (that said when I read CHC's interviews with recruits alot of them seem to mention that).

        What underlying message do you (and others) think is being sent these days? Now as we speak the future plans of the 'Whitt renovations has to be a part of it and it sure doesn't hurt that the 'Cats are having early season success. But like you said that wasn't in place 3 years ago.

        Whatever it it it appears to be playing out...at least for the moment...Thus would be a great topic to bring up in a presser....wait we have pressers?!?! Ha!
        I'm just here for the hockey...

        Comment


        • Enjoying the discussion on "what's different?" and I guess short of being at all the practices, and interacting with the players and staff regularly, it's tough to put a definitive finger on the pulse of things. I'm only slightly surprised that no one has guessed "MS7 sold his soul to Satan" as the reason. And with all due respect to Guiliano ... he's been here for awhile, isn't Stewart away as much if not more often on recruiting, and when all is said and done, neither Guiliano nor Stewart has recruited to a Borek level (yet), and Borek was no McCloskey.

          Generally speaking, and I've said this before ... I truly believe Coach Souza underestimated the demands of what being a D-1 head coach for a Hockey East team with national ambitions entailed. He got to see Umile (and McCloskey) up close for four years as a player, but assuming he's not hanging out with McCloskey on his recruiting trips to Western Canada, he probably didn't truly appreciate the "above and beyond" aspect he needed/still needs from his recruiting team at the outset. When understudying with Coach Umile at the end, he saw a guy who had lost some of his fire from when he first knew him as a player 20 years earlier, and may have forgotten the better version of Umile, and fallen into the trap so many of us on here have in more recent times ... seeing the shell of Coach Umile, and forgetting this is a guy who won almost 600 D-1 games. And then thinking, "Is that all there is? I can do better, easily."

          Nothing will get a head coach more focused than knowing his previous (unconditional?) support system is gone, and his new boss is letting him work into the final year of his deal without an extension. Say what you will about MS7, but he is a UNH alum, and he was also a player that was part of some of the truly magical UNH moments. Among all of his fellow alums, he is the lucky one that was given the opportunity to live the dream (nightmare if it goes wrong) of being a HC at his alma mater. It probably came too easy to a degree, and the last season plus, with Blue Skies retiring, last Fall's horrible losing streak, and with no extension forthcoming from the new AD, whatever remaining cushion(s) Souza had to enable his continued mediocre coaching results were gone. In short, it's been sink or swim for at least a year now for MS7, and he has decided that he does not want to sink. He is fighting for his coaching life, and is probably realizing a lot of the things he assumed at the start of his tenure were harder to accomplish than he thought at the outset.

          One of the grave disservices that a certain HC working out of Foxboro over the last generation has done to New England sports fans/coaches is to churn out a series of trite phrases to shield themselves from having to do the full extent of their jobs, and let folks assume that's enough to be successful at coaching. When in reality, if you're being honest, successful coaching means being in charge of everything, all the time, and basically working to a point of exhaustion. Because everyone you are competing with is also a Type A highly competitive person, and when you take your foot off the pedal, someone else is going to hit the accelerator, and then if that repeats itself enough, you end up where MS7 was last season (and where Belichick has been since Tom Brady left). Being an HC for a nationally prominent D-1 program is no place for someone who is NOT a Type A control freak to "hope" to succeed. If I had to bet a fortune on the root cause, I would put $$ on all of this.

          If any UNH players who read this board would like to discuss this further, in absolute confidence, and with my promise not to disclose anything without your permission, reach out to me via contact info in my USCHO profile. My "day job" involves maintaining and preserving confidences in very professional and legal settings, and it's something I've done successfully for 40 years now without any issues that have come back to impact any of my sources - on this stuff OR on USCHO stuff. I'm "open for business" so to say.
          Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
          Montreal Expos Forever ...

          Comment


          • Hey Chuck was waiting/hoping you'd chime in here on this. LOL your soul comment, I mean....with all the speculation running rampant regarding
            this who'd be surprised if that really happened? Ha!

            I agree 100% on your thoughts about MS7 coming to grips with the enormity of the situation. It's not like his former digs at Brown or UConn overly
            prepared him given the results those programs saw. He has found some ground, tho, and I remember when he said at a FOH meeting that " you can
            find a good hockey player right in your back yard" (see LeClerc, Cy and Gagne, Alex as examples). And he's reached beyond the confines of
            Melrose bringing in the foreign players in Sardarian, etc. Agree about how you can't compare the results Borek had....yet. But I believe
            that is changing.

            The proof of all of this musing on the outside of this tiny bubble of a message board is who shows up next at UNH...as far as recruits go and
            the quality of them. I'm not kidding myself that we are going to recruit 5 blue chippahs (I hate that phrase but, it fits) but this will be
            a good sign if we bring in a few and some thing to watch for in the very near future. I was watching John Player last night on CHC's you tube page...he
            looks like a decent player although outside of that I don't know anything else about him.

            From what I can tell from my few short years (hey it's year 10) UNH lost valuable ground by not recognizing the recruiting landscape
            had changed and are slowly but surely? pulling themselves out of that. Hence my point, this is not...your former coach's program anymore
            and if you wanna survive you gotta grow into your own while taking what was good about that past (which in Souza's case, he has the
            benefit of knowing what winning felt like and he wants more than anything to impart that feeling to his players. This season he's seeing
            an almost full 'Whitt and that is energizing for the players which had not been seen in awhile.

            Oh, and just a reminder there is a VERY BIG GAME coming up tomorrow! Can't wait to watch and see what the 'Cats can do
            with the Black Bears in the not-so-friendly Alfond Arena. Like I said, not too invested in the results so much as the performance.
            I think the 'Cats have a great shot at winning the game if they can keep their heads on straight...and stay out of the box (please,
            no more 5 minute majors mk??)
            I'm just here for the hockey...

            Comment


            • Hey Ref, thanks for trying to save my last post. Not sure what happened. Lost the end.
              love the statement above, “not invested in the results as the performance”. That was clearly a big part of what I was trying to say. In watching these guys the past 3 years, I have noticed a big improvement in effort, focus, intensity and puck judgement that is finally translating into victories which builds confidence which builds……all that is good.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by HockeyRef View Post
                Hey Chuck was waiting/hoping you'd chime in here on this. LOL your soul comment, I mean....with all the speculation running rampant regarding
                this who'd be surprised if that really happened? Ha!

                I agree 100% on your thoughts about MS7 coming to grips with the enormity of the situation. It's not like his former digs at Brown or UConn overly
                prepared him given the results those programs saw. He has found some ground, tho, and I remember when he said at a FOH meeting that " you can
                find a good hockey player right in your back yard" (see LeClerc, Cy and Gagne, Alex as examples). And he's reached beyond the confines of
                Melrose bringing in the foreign players in Sardarian, etc. Agree about how you can't compare the results Borek had....yet. But I believe
                that is changing.

                The proof of all of this musing on the outside of this tiny bubble of a message board is who shows up next at UNH...as far as recruits go and
                the quality of them. I'm not kidding myself that we are going to recruit 5 blue chippahs (I hate that phrase but, it fits) but this will be
                a good sign if we bring in a few and some thing to watch for in the very near future. I was watching John Player last night on CHC's you tube page...he
                looks like a decent player although outside of that I don't know anything else about him.

                From what I can tell from my few short years (hey it's year 10) UNH lost valuable ground by not recognizing the recruiting landscape
                had changed and are slowly but surely? pulling themselves out of that. Hence my point, this is not...your former coach's program anymore
                and if you wanna survive you gotta grow into your own while taking what was good about that past (which in Souza's case, he has the
                benefit of knowing what winning felt like and he wants more than anything to impart that feeling to his players. This season he's seeing
                an almost full 'Whitt and that is energizing for the players which had not been seen in awhile.

                Oh, and just a reminder there is a VERY BIG GAME coming up tomorrow! Can't wait to watch and see what the 'Cats can do
                with the Black Bears in the not-so-friendly Alfond Arena. Like I said, not too invested in the results so much as the performance.
                I think the 'Cats have a great shot at winning the game if they can keep their heads on straight
                ...and stay out of the box (please,
                no more 5 minute majors mk??)
                IMO the first 5 or 6 minutes of this game will set the stage. If UNH weathers the storm, cause I can't believe that Maine will not come out loaded for bear, I think they have a shot. If Maine comes out and gets an early goal or two, you can pretty much pack it in. I may be wrong, as this team has shown a willingness to play hard all 60 minutes, but my gut tells me coming from behind at Alfond will be a hill too tough to climb. Can't imagine the place won't be sold out with a load and hostile crowd.
                GO BLUE!

                Comment


                • Ok UNH hockey enthusiasts, who gets the nod for the net tomorrow night? Am going with Muszelik...you?
                  I'm just here for the hockey...

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by d.gerry View Post

                    IMO the first 5 or 6 minutes of this game will set the stage. If UNH weathers the storm, cause I can't believe that Maine will not come out loaded for bear, I think they have a shot. If Maine comes out and gets an early goal or two, you can pretty much pack it in. I may be wrong, as this team has shown a willingness to play hard all 60 minutes, but my gut tells me coming from behind at Alfond will be a hill too tough to climb. Can't imagine the place won't be sold out with a load and hostile crowd.
                    It is sold out. Crowd will be pretty amped. I must say though for such a rivalry both fan bases are pretty respectful for the most part. I went to the Whitt last year and got some crap but nothing over the line. I will be there for 2 this year too. Cheers to a good game.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by HockeyRef View Post
                      Ok UNH hockey enthusiasts, who gets the nod for the net tomorrow night? Am going with Muszelik...you?
                      Gotta be Hellsten, if MS7 is serious about this game.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Snively65 View Post

                        Gotta be Hellsten, if MS7 is serious about this game.
                        Agree...but given the history?
                        I'm just here for the hockey...

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Chuck Murray View Post
                          Nothing will get a head coach more focused than knowing his previous (unconditional?) support system is gone, and his new boss is letting him work into the final year of his deal without an extension. Say what you will about MS7, but he is a UNH alum, and he was also a player that was part of some of the truly magical UNH moments. Among all of his fellow alums, he is the lucky one that was given the opportunity to live the dream (nightmare if it goes wrong) of being a HC at his alma mater. It probably came too easy to a degree, and the last season plus, with Blue Skies retiring, last Fall's horrible losing streak, and with no extension forthcoming from the new AD, whatever remaining cushion(s) Souza had to enable his continued mediocre coaching results were gone. In short, it's been sink or swim for at least a year now for MS7, and he has decided that he does not want to sink. He is fighting for his coaching life, and is probably realizing a lot of the things he assumed at the start of his tenure were harder to accomplish than he thought at the outset.
                          Where I have a hard time with this hypothesis is by extension that means for better results in the 2018-2019 season (really pick any of them) the coach just needed to work harder. To stretch that further there has never been a talent gap/problem, recruiting has been just dandy all along. The coach working himself to exhaustion was it.

                          I see this as the logical extension of this team is better because Souza is coaching for his "life" simply because the recruiting cycles are generally too long. The most important talent pieces of this roster would have been in the pipeline before Souza lost his unconditional support system.

                          To take this to the NFL level, that would say it is all about the Patriots coaching and that they may have the worst talent on offense in the NFL in well over a decade is irrelevant. It doesn't matter that the receivers can't get open and the offensive line can't block, they just need to be coached up better.

                          "Now Progress Takes Away What Forever Took To Find" Dave Matthews Band, The Dreaming Tree

                          Comment


                          • Any thoughts on recruiting geography? We've transitioned away from western Canada and upped our European recruiting game, no? Not completely discounting Coach Souza is coaching for his life, but I'm with JB. That ain't the main part of this season's success. It's the players.

                            It is nice having UNH hockey talk on the thread again and even nicer looking forward all week to Friday night UNH hockey.

                            Go 'cats. Beat Maine!
                            Last edited by Darius; 12-01-2023, 07:47 AM.
                            I will not be out cheered in my own building.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by HockeyRef View Post

                              Agree...but given the history?
                              History? For whatever reason this team play better D with Jakob in goal. I’ve seen for years a good goalie basically taken advantage of with the “ I can take chances cause of who is in net” mentality which ends in a blowout.

                              both have played well. I think Moose’s stats don’t reflect his play

                              it should be Jakob as the #1 until he proves he isnt

                              Comment


                              • [QUOTE=Snively65;n3843777]


                                I think that Conmy is the second since Haydar worthy to be a first year player on the first line (the other was LeClerk last season).

                                [QUOTE=Snively65;n3843777]

                                Mr. Snively, I’m surprised at you. You seem to have forgotten a kid they put on Haydar’s line when his senior year rolled around. That kid was Hockey East ROTY.
                                Whenever I think of the past, it brings back so many memories. - Stephen Wright

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