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

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  • And how is it that nobody thinks of JVR?
    Whenever I think of the past, it brings back so many memories. - Stephen Wright

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    • So now we have more examples of Umile playing freshman on the 1st line is not novel at UNH - just a bit rare. Haydar, Collins, JVR... I still hold Haydar as the best example for Souza that his old coach would do it, as Souza played on the same line (lived it).

      NOTE: Although I am pushing a hypothesis that gives more credit in the "what changed" question to something happening in recruiting around 2018-2019 (a guess as I haven't gone back and looked up when players committed), this actually gives MORE credit to Souza than less. I think that the hypothesis that the urgency of living without a contract, having Souza realize it is his team, paints Souza in a worse light. That without impending doom he was lazy, unmotivated, unaware of the hours and commitment needed. Giving the credit to a change in recruiting, the talent, says Souza figured out something he wanted to change 5-6 years ago and it is now working, paying dividends. That timeframe also lines up with Souza becoming head coach.
      Maybe the 3 year transition plan was as much bunk as we all thought and held Souza back
      Maybe Souza is more self aware and hired Giuliano because he needed a different view / recruiter
      Maybe the budgets wasn't the problem and Umile was restricting the ability to get on the road appropriately
      Maybe Umile really preferred the local hardworking kid to a talent that might be a pain in the rear off the ice
      Maybe...

      When I started poking at this topic, I didn't think I would end up writing a post supporting a coach I would have fired 2-3 years ago.
      "Now Progress Takes Away What Forever Took To Find" Dave Matthews Band, The Dreaming Tree

      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?
        Agree with Snively65. Should be Hellsten
        UNH Hockey: You can check out any time you like but you can never leave!

        Comment


        • Without any inside knowledge - I have no way of knowing if any significant changes have been made in the areas of recruiting or development.

          And while I certainly wouldn’t dismiss urgency toward the end of a contract - increased urgency or changes don’t illustrate prior laziness to me, rather reevaluation. One example Souza always used to tout ‘wanting players that wanted UNH’, where as my strategy (especially with growing programs) has always involved me showing and telling recruits WHY they should/could develop a ‘want’ for a program…

          That said, despite any changes or status quo, any humble coach (assuming there are any?) knows it’s always ALL about the players (talent, attitude, effort, discipline, desire, etc). Recruiting talent is hard enough, truly IDing the rest is downright difficult…

          So - as I’ve said before - UNH has found itself with a seemingly great mix of talents, attitudes and efforts, across position groups and age groups. The $300,000 contract extension question then becomes - is this a result or improved coaching processes or (and I ask the conversation for discussion purposes, not to rain on anyone’s parade) simply good fortune…?

          It’s a crucial question, because the future of UNH Hockey and a return to consistent program success depends on whether the mix the Wildcats have found this year is sustainable. Is the start real? Or are we chasing reasons to be optimistic? The worst case scenario is 1-2 good years of fortune followed by a slide back to a contract extended reality. AD Rich MUST be sure before she acts in a fashion longer than one year (maybe two with an easy buyout)…

          I have to get a swim in, but I’ll dive deeper into my concerns when I get a chance…
          Live Free or Die!!
          Miami University '03

          Comment


          • Originally posted by JB View Post
            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.
            I'm not sure I said that it was only a matter of working harder although that is part of the package IMO. It also involves working differently, and taking different approaches not only to recruiting, but also with player development, communications and motivation. I think the greatest coaches have an internal system that draws upon deeply-held inner beliefs on what works, what doesn't work, and how to turn that into results. And their ability to speak with total sincerity to their recruits - even better, with examples of success to point to - reinforces all that.

            My sense is that Souza did not have this earlier in his tenure at UNH. As a result, his message was not selling on the recruiting trails, and his lack of player development was writing a damning version of that aspect of coaching - and probably impacting on the recruiting, too. Let's face it, you can be the smoothest of the silver-tongued devils out there, but there are plenty of easily available resources out there for your recruits to double-check on whether they can rely on your promises to bear fruit. It's been a Catch 22 for MS7 the further his UNH career has gone on.

            Dan has spoken before on the issue of taking a positive, winning message with you out onto the recruiting trails, and since that is how things work in D-1 hockey - there is no weighted draft as in the pros, where the best players generally go to the worst teams - you'd better have your stuff in gear when you go to the supermarket to shop for your groceries (many pardons to Bill Parcells a/k/a The Big Tuna for riffing on his bit).

            To the extent that I've dabbled in coaching (I'm not sure "dabbled" is the right word for 20+ years, albeit at a lower competitive level) I've had my own strongly-held personal belief system in place on the do's and dont's, and I've read exhaustively on a few examples (one primarily, but lots of others secondarily), and from a good mix of sports, at different competitive levels. Personally, I started coaching when I was the same age as most of the kids playing for MS7 these days, if not slightly younger? When I say MS7 probably wasn't ready for the entire scope of the job, it's drawn from an admission that earlier in my life, a young me was naive and not ready, either. There was a whole lot of life experience that took place between my early failures, and what I picked up 20 years later, for what has been (and continues to be) a pretty successful gig.

            Whatever the reason(s) for this year's improvement, there has to be something(s) Souza is doing differently that is working out better. We've seen false dawns and mirages several times during his tenure, but this time looks and feels different. Even from the late stretch last season, where (when all was said and done) UNH finished off another forgettable with a slightly-overrated .500 finish, and another quick playoffs out. Things rarely happen all at once, overnight, so all the more reason (to me) this feels like sustainable change for the better.

            Last bit, and (again with all appropriate dismissals and discounts for different level, etc.) it brings me to my personal experiences over the last several years. If I'm being honest, my coaching results towards the late '10's/early '20's were trending downwards, kind of like the mid-stage (not end stage) Umile years at UNH. Things were further impacted by player "supply chain" issues after 2020, and word of mouth on the past glories were wearing thin and distant. I had an opportunity to switch the supply side equation two years ago, and I was lucky enough to have a couple of folks who hadn't forgotten my competency, and presented me with an opportunity that seemed both daunting AND attainable, with the right message and focus. The selling point with the players and their families was that last year's starting point would be a big challenge, and getting them thrown into the proverbial deep end. The project was a three-year message - Year One would be fun, learning, and getting a foothold. Year Two would be fun, growing, adding (recruiting) and actually competing. Year Three would be fun AND focusing on winning it all.

            I did not pull this out of my own hindquarters. See Lombardi, Vincent T. 1959-1961, albeit with different terminology. And, you know what? The kids did Year One right on target, getting to .500 and eclipsing the program I'd most recently led. Year Two went so well, they reached the Year Three goal a full year early. There were some breaks, but in the end, they deserved it - it wasn't luck. Year Three will now be a primer on how teams do not rest on their laurels, so the message changes. But it will still be fun, and will still involve learning, growing and competing.

            I'll predict a surprising slight upset win, UNH 4 UMaine 2, with Hellsten getting the goalie assignment. GO UNH!!
            Last edited by Chuck Murray; 12-01-2023, 01:49 PM.
            Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
            Montreal Expos Forever ...

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Snively65 View Post
              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).
              Originally posted by Aerman View Post

              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.
              That would be Sean Collins, right?
              Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
              Montreal Expos Forever ...

              Comment


              • Originally posted by JB View Post
                So now we have more examples of Umile playing freshman on the 1st line is not novel at UNH - just a bit rare. Haydar, Collins, JVR... I still hold Haydar as the best example for Souza that his old coach would do it, as Souza played on the same line (lived it).

                NOTE: Although I am pushing a hypothesis that gives more credit in the "what changed" question to something happening in recruiting around 2018-2019 (a guess as I haven't gone back and looked up when players committed), this actually gives MORE credit to Souza than less. I think that the hypothesis that the urgency of living without a contract, having Souza realize it is his team, paints Souza in a worse light. That without impending doom he was lazy, unmotivated, unaware of the hours and commitment needed. Giving the credit to a change in recruiting, the talent, says Souza figured out something he wanted to change 5-6 years ago and it is now working, paying dividends. That timeframe also lines up with Souza becoming head coach.
                Maybe the 3 year transition plan was as much bunk as we all thought and held Souza back
                Maybe Souza is more self aware and hired Giuliano because he needed a different view / recruiter
                Maybe the budgets wasn't the problem and Umile was restricting the ability to get on the road appropriately
                Maybe Umile really preferred the local hardworking kid to a talent that might be a pain in the rear off the ice
                Maybe...

                When I started poking at this topic, I didn't think I would end up writing a post supporting a coach I would have fired 2-3 years ago.
                Not at all. My thinking is that the general attitude towards Freshman has evolved. Back in the day, I heard that Coach Umile did not speak to Freshman and many were scared of him. Not sure if that was literally true, but pretty sure that virtually it was. Given the difference in kids today from 20 years ago (there's an opening for you here, Chuck :-)) this would be a significant change.

                I will not be out cheered in my own building.

                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 fans will not come out loaded on beer, 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.
                  FYP. Old school atmosphere tonight. Good experience for the team, win or lose.
                  Last edited by Darius; 12-01-2023, 02:26 PM.
                  I will not be out cheered in my own building.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by norbert View Post

                    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
                    The rotation...thats what I mean. And fwiw I think it should be Hellsten....
                    Here we go 'Cats!!

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Snively65 View Post

                      Gotta be Hellsten, if MS7 is serious about this game.
                      Ya in a perfect world but.seeing how MS7 has been using a rotation that's what led me to say that. Absolutely agree...
                      Here we go 'Cats!!

                      Comment


                      • From the Maine thread:

                        Originally posted by Wayuphere View Post
                        Expect sloppy ice, once again. The Maine women are playing this afternoon.
                        Originally posted by 9twenty View Post
                        What could hurt Maine is not rusty but being too fired up against a arch rival...figure Maine comes out like the barns on fire...hopefully they play discipline hockey and "IF" they score the first goal the roof could very well come off...Plus @ the rink @ 2pm and students already in line...just like old times...which is great imo.
                        I will not be out cheered in my own building.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Chuck Murray View Post



                          That would be Sean Collins, right?
                          Yessir!
                          Whenever I think of the past, it brings back so many memories. - Stephen Wright

                          Comment


                          • Go Cats! Scoring first for a change of pace.
                            Whenever I think of the past, it brings back so many memories. - Stephen Wright

                            Comment


                            • Blech. Just blech. Kudos to Maine. They (UNH) looked like they fell into old patterns...got outskated most of the night. Penalties galore. Yep..blech.
                              Here we go 'Cats!!

                              Comment


                              • Perhaps they should stay out of the box.
                                Whenever I think of the past, it brings back so many memories. - Stephen Wright

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