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

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  • Originally posted by StillKIA2 View Post
    Take a look at which teams Hellsten has beaten and which teams Muselik has beaten.

    Hellsten beat Princeton, Notheastern (missing a few players), Sacred Heart, Dartmouth and UConn …That’s not, all by itself, All-American goaltending.
    He lost to Maine, BU, Uconn, Providence.

    his best performance (in the win-loss column) was a tie against Providence…again not All-American

    I think people might be mistaken thinking he is a lot better than muselik (who beat BU and Quinnipiac—missing a couple of their best)

    Both very good goalies, but neither is Conklin-quality (in my HUMBLE opinion)
    I disagree that BOTH are "very good goalies", KIA2. Muselik has never been "very good" at his current level. Over two D-1 seasons, his save percentage is running at roughly 88%, with this season slightly trailing last season. Hellsten's save percentage is slightly over 92%, which means that between the two goalies, for every 20-25 shots the opposition takes, Muselik allows one more goal than Hellsten does.

    Hellsten's GAA per 60 minutes this season (1.72) is roughly half of Muselik's 3.38 GAA. This weekend alone, Muselik got a win allowing 3 goals while Hellsten took a loss by allowing 2 goals, against the same opposition.

    If you're going for a comparison to the '99 tandem of incumbent Matile/newbie Conklin ... even in what was widely considered a more wide open game in D-1 hockey than nowadays ... Hellsten's GAA so far is slightly below Conklin's '99 GAA (save % numbers not available, to me anyway), and Matile was still almost a full goal per game less than Muselik - plus Matile had led the '98 team to the Frozen Four semis.

    Muselik to date has done nothing to approach a "very good" assessment at this level. To be fair, Muselik's first two seasons at UNH look a lot like Hellsten's first two seasons at UND. But stylistically AND numbers-wise, there IS a fair comparison to be made between '99 Conklin and '24 Hellsten ... so far. And it's a discussion that Muselik isn't even close to approaching ... so far. Maybe it will take Muselik another year, and a portal move out of Durham, to finally get to something approaching his potential, just as Hellsten needed to get out of UND?

    Hellsten is providing UNH with the quality of goaltending they haven't had since the days of CDS and Danny Tirone's first (shortened) season, so they have a realistic shot (expectation?) of their first winning record during the MS7 Era. But I think they're gonna need more than a narrowly-winning record to keep Coach Souza in a job come this time next year. I agree with Darius, I'm sure AD Rich already has two plans in place, and for every subsequent hairball that gets hacked up between now and the HE Semifinals, MS7's job status gets more and more perilous ... so going with Muselik last night was likely a message to everyone that failure to produce will have its ramifications, and seeing six goals materialize just like that seems to suggest that said message was taken on and registered well.

    Hellsten more than likely will be back for both games next week. 'Cuz MS7's job depends on it ...
    Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
    Montreal Expos Forever ...

    Comment


    • Agree with Chuck’s take over KIA’s take on UNH goaltending so far this season. Besides Chuck’s GAA and SV% comparisons, I note that Muszelik gave up 13 goals in the three games against BU and Quinnipiac to begin the season. Moreover, Muszelik gave up 5 goals in the loss to RIT (yes 3 were PPG’s), and then gave up 5 goals (again, 2 were PPGs) in the loss to Army, which got him benched for the next 7 games as MS7 began to see his contract extension slip sliding away.

      Last edited by Snively65; 01-28-2024, 02:29 PM. Reason: Added context

      Comment


      • Meanwhile, down on the farm ... former UNH forward Angus Crookshank (apparently selected for one of the AHL All-Star teams!) had quite an interesting night last night in Grand Rapids MI, facing the Yzerman/DRW talent incubator known as the Grand Rapids Griffins. Bringing his team back from a 3-0 deficit with two goals, the Belleville Sens took a 4-3 lead until the streaking Griffins struck back for two goals to take a 5-4 lead. Finally, in the closing seconds, Crookshank completed a fairly unique "hat trick" of sorts, scoring the Griffins' final goal into his own empty net to give the hosts a 6-4 victory. Angus could have stopped there, but ...

        ... showing a mixture of poor sportsmanship and dubious judgment, Crookie first shows his frustration by trying to disrupt the Griffins' ENG celly (which of course he netted for them) by jabbing and pushing some folks around ... still, not quite done, he lingers in a scrum long enough, then escapes briefly to shovel an opponent's helmet halfway down the rink, drawing the (unwanted) attention of "Victor Hedman 2.0" a/k/a DRW #1 pick Simon Edvinsson (he's the really tall guy wearing #77), who takes the time to separate from a previous engagement to take exception to Crookie being such a sore-sport. At this point, all is still salvageable for the spunky Sen ...

        ... but then Angus - probably spotting Edvinsson about a foot in height (and at least that much in reach), tries to fire off two shots to Simon's chin. Edvinsson seems to laugh at his first attempt that fell short, but Crookie tries a second shot, and that apparently was the breaking point, after which Edvinsson rips off Angus' helmet, fires off his glove, and rag dolls AC to the ice, giving him a little "what for" during and after what amounted to this skirmish - when Sens #9 finally realizes he's in over his head just a wee bit, and skates quickly away.

        Good Crookshank news - he's obviously playing well in Belleville. Bad AC news - he's not ready for prime time yet, and if he keeps making the dumb mistakes he made last night, he's gonna get himself killed ...
         
        Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
        Montreal Expos Forever ...

        Comment


        • Maybe Angus Crookshank thinks that he needs to behave like a jerk to get noticed and called back up to the mother ship?Speaking of which, I have been watching the Rangers come back to go ahead of the Senators 5-2, and it ain’t over yet.

          edit: oops, the game is a replay from last night, in which the Rangers scored 7 unanswered goals for 7-2 win. Ouch!
          Last edited by Snively65; 01-28-2024, 05:18 PM.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Snively65 View Post
            Maybe Angus Crookshank thinks that he needs to behave like a jerk to get noticed and called back up to the mother ship?
            The "mothership" is already loaded with young, emotionally immature forwards (see Tkachuk (C), Brady) and as you saw against a real team like the Rangers, they are terrible. They are also mired in last place in the Atlantic Division. Lots of bold predictions were made for this bunch after last year's perceived improvement, but they have (again) regressed, gotten their HC fired, and look to be playing out another futile string of a season. Maybe after some of the immature idiots running around impersonating NHL players get traded or released, AC will get another chance at The Show. But he'd be well advised to leave the Brad Marchand/Ken Linseman Starter Kit home, and play things straight. Say what we will about MS7, but I don't think he learned any of his Saturday night skillz from his time in Durham.

            But if the franchise model citizen is Tkachuk, well ... when in Rome, do as the Romans, I guess ...
            Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
            Montreal Expos Forever ...

            Comment


            • What's everyone's expectations for the Wildcats?

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Ferrrao1994 View Post
                What's everyone's expectations for the Wildcats?
                Expectation is UNH Hockey is in the mix for the NCAAs on an annual basis. Might miss every once in awhile and making deep runs once in awhile as well. Maybe someday a National Championship.

                What do I expect the rest of this year? At best .500 for the remaining games, maybe host in the first round, not make it past the 2nd round, (no Boston, no NCAAs) coach doesn't get renewed. AD has a plan so that a new coach is found quickly and any high end recruits (the twins) can be retained and there is not a mass exodus of talent (Comny) via the portal.
                "Now Progress Takes Away What Forever Took To Find" Dave Matthews Band, The Dreaming Tree

                Comment


                • Originally posted by JB View Post

                  Expectation is UNH Hockey is in the mix for the NCAAs on an annual basis. Might miss every once in awhile and making deep runs once in awhile as well. Maybe someday a National Championship.

                  What do I expect the rest of this year? At best .500 for the remaining games, maybe host in the first round, not make it past the 2nd round, (no Boston, no NCAAs) coach doesn't get renewed. AD has a plan so that a new coach is found quickly and any high end recruits (the twins) can be retained and there is not a mass exodus of talent (Comny) via the portal.
                  I think that JB’s expectation for going 0.500 over the remaining 12 games this season is overly optimistic. I envision that the Cats go 4-8-0 the rest of the way, maybe giving MS7 his first winning season, IF the Cats can win their MBPBEGAM round (and then lose in the next round) for a 18-17-1 record,, so no Garden and no NCAA regional.

                  For a better future, I agree with JB’s take that a new coaching staff is needed (should be a no brainer for the AD if the Cats do not get to the Garden or the NCAA regionals); that Conmy, LeClerc, Devlin, and Hellsten must not leave in the portal; that Fitzgerald improves a lot on the blue line; and that the Ontario twins show up.

                  Comment


                  • UNH finds a way to go .500 the rest of the regular season. Wins their first round HE game, lose the next. Miss out on the Garden, NCAA's. (again coz this
                    is like 'Ground Hog Day') BTW going .500 is going to be a tall order for a team that doesn't always show up, especially when they need to. Sorry, tell me I'm wrong
                    about that.

                    As for MS7, he gets his first winning season and gets a 1 year extension to see if he can do better with incoming recruits.
                    With alittle luck we lose no one in the portal.

                    Have heard that MS7 is directly responsible for bringing in donors for the Whitt enhancement project (this is 'talk around the rink').
                    Question: do you not renew the coach who has brought in some bucks? Does that influence an AD's decision??

                    If UNH really tanks big time the rest of the way, then there should be absolutely no
                    question that a coaching change is needed, even if said coach brings in the entire amount needed.

                    Interesting... as money talks (or so I've heard)...


                    I'm just here for the hockey...

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by HockeyRef View Post
                      UNH finds a way to go .500 the rest of the regular season. Wins their first round HE game, lose the next. Miss out on the Garden, NCAA's. (again coz this
                      is like 'Ground Hog Day') BTW going .500 is going to be a tall order for a team that doesn't always show up, especially when they need to. Sorry, tell me I'm wrong
                      about that.

                      As for MS7, he gets his first winning season and gets a 1 year extension to see if he can do better with incoming recruits.
                      With alittle luck we lose no one in the portal.

                      Have heard that MS7 is directly responsible for bringing in donors for the Whitt enhancement project (this is 'talk around the rink').
                      Question: do you not renew the coach who has brought in some bucks? Does that influence an AD's decision??

                      If UNH really tanks big time the rest of the way, then there should be absolutely no
                      question that a coaching change is needed, even if said coach brings in the entire amount needed.

                      Interesting... as money talks (or so I've heard)...

                      Meh…my understanding is that Dennehy brought a ton of money to Merrimack AND he was winning. Lotta good that did him.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by HockeyRef View Post
                        UNH finds a way to go .500 the rest of the regular season. Wins their first round HE game, lose the next. Miss out on the Garden, NCAA's. (again coz this
                        is like 'Ground Hog Day') BTW going .500 is going to be a tall order for a team that doesn't always show up, especially when they need to. Sorry, tell me I'm wrong
                        about that.

                        As for MS7, he gets his first winning season and gets a 1 year extension to see if he can do better with incoming recruits.
                        With alittle luck we lose no one in the portal.

                        Have heard that MS7 is directly responsible for bringing in donors for the Whitt enhancement project (this is 'talk around the rink').
                        Question: do you not renew the coach who has brought in some bucks? Does that influence an AD's decision??

                        If UNH really tanks big time the rest of the way, then there should be absolutely no
                        question that a coaching change is needed, even if said coach brings in the entire amount needed.

                        Interesting... as money talks (or so I've heard)...

                        What does “tanks big time” mean? Would my realistic 4-8-0 expectation over the last 12 games qualify for tanking big time? Or, would we need to do even worse than that. I honestly do not see where we get any wins against BC (3), Maine (2), UMass (2), and BU, and maybe I am being too optimistic that we can sweep both Mac and UML, just as I was overly optimistic that we would sweep Yukon and UVM.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by StillKIA2 View Post

                          Meh…my understanding is that Dennehy brought a ton of money to Merrimack AND he was winning. Lotta good that did him.
                          Well its just a consideration and some are already talking about that, tho, I don't know how widespread it is. I don't mean to say that
                          if he gets an extension that would be the reason why just a part of it. And I don't think he'll get more than a 1 year if he does get extended, unless
                          UNH runs the table (in a perfect world). Two at the most.

                          Not that anyone would ever say that out loud as to one of the reasons he gets extended mind you...I mean, what AD would say that, even if it were
                          true?
                          I'm just here for the hockey...

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Snively65 View Post

                            What does “tanks big time” mean? Would my realistic 4-8-0 expectation over the last 12 games qualify for tanking big time? Or, would we need to do even worse than that. I honestly do not see where we get any wins against BC (3), Maine (2), UMass (2), and BU, and maybe I am being too optimistic that we can sweep both Mac and UML, just as I was overly optimistic that we would sweep Yukon and UVM.
                            Tanks big time means he loses most of his upcoming games...and I guess, your view could reflect that. I think they are going to do better (slightly) than your prediction but yeah...it's going
                            to be pretty tough to get points out of those you mention. I think we all know what we're up against. Maybe we all get egg on our faces and that would be ok with me!

                            "On any given night"...which is really our best hope. We've got some talent to be sure but our main elements like PP are lacking and we
                            have this preparation thing that seems to plague us. I'd like to think they'll get up for these games ahead because everyone else is.

                            Love to be wrong!
                            Last edited by HockeyRef; 01-29-2024, 08:50 PM.
                            I'm just here for the hockey...

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Snively65 View Post
                              I think that JB's expectation for going 0.500 over the remaining 12 games this season is overly optimistic. I envision that the Cats go 4-8-0 the rest of the way, maybe giving MS7 his first winning season, IF the Cats can win their MBPBEGAM round (and then lose in the next round) for a 18-17-1 record, so no Garden and no NCAA regional.
                              I still think they can get to 20 wins. I feel less definite about that than I did before the UConn and UVM losses. But there's absolutely no way MS7 should be expecting to keep his job without a winning record, at a bare minimum. Personally, I set the bar at a winning record AND a trip to Boston, and that gets you a one year reprieve, and a chance to prove that this year's improvement is the start of a good trend - not the apex of more mediocrity. It's already been pretty much a decade's worth of mediocrity at this point, and any more may cause structural damage.

                              Originally posted by Snively65 View Post
                              For a better future, I agree with JB's take that a new coaching staff is needed (should be a no brainer for the AD if the Cats do not get to the Garden or the NCAA regionals); that Conmy, LeClerc, Devlin, and Hellsten must not leave in the portal; that Fitzgerald improves a lot on the blue line; and that the Ontario twins show up.
                              I think once you opt for a new head coach and staff, you kind of take it as part of the transaction that you're going to sustain collateral damage to some degree with your returning players AND incoming recruits still somewhere in the pipeline. You have to leave it to the new HC and staff to make decisions on prioritizing some of the guys you've mentioned, and cutting bait on others. This reminds me of some of the discussions on the UMaine thread after Barr was hired, and how certain posters feared that some of Red's players and incoming recruits would not be back (and I'm pretty sure UMass fans - most of whom post elsewhere - had similar concerns when Carvel/Barr arrived at Amherst) ... but not too many folks seem bothered about those long-ago quibbles now, do they?

                              Bottom line: when you replace your current HC with a new HC, you are presumably doing so because you think the new guy will do a better job of recruiting, coaching and developing his student-athletes than the last guy did. If he sees value in the current roster that he's inheriting, then rest assured, he will want to let those players know they are firmly in his future plans - be it for the next year, or two, or three, etc. And if he doesn't, he will want to tell those players so they can make alternate plans through the portal, or try to turn pro. Others, he can flat out tell them they can return and compete for their ice time, with no assurances, other than a fair shot at things. The new guy and his staff likely will have a list of their own new targets - be it new recruits, portal transfers - to plug and play if they're already active in the D-1 game.

                              IF there is a change, and assuming MS7's next landing spot is unlikely to be at a current or formerly elite D-1 destination, there's little danger of the Conmys and Devlins tagging along with him to an AHA or D-3 outpost. But they will have other options, and would likely have to be courted again to stay. LeClerc being an in-state kid, he may be more prone to staying anyway, and may actually welcome a new head coach. Hellsten will have no shortage of suitors for his senior year, and having found success here as a junior, he may be hesitant to move without solid assurances of playing time, which elite programs may be loathe to commit to a one-and-done transfer. I do strongly suspect Muselik will be trying out the portal come Springtime, so Hellsten probably defaults into a full season as top dog, and the new guy gets to go shopping for the future goalie to lead the program back to the promised land. As far as the "Ontario twins" ... LOL, if they're as good as their hype, good luck getting them here regardless, as we've seen with the Stutzles and Commessos of the junior hockey world in the not-so-distant past.

                              If AD Rich starts saddling her would-be new HC and his staff with mandates on returning players and future recruits/commits, any such HC is likely going to thank her for her time, and move on to the next opportunity, with someone who trusts his judgment. I'm sure AD Rich will ask any HC candidate what their thoughts might be regarding the present roster as part of the interview process, if only to assess how he's likely to run their program in the future. And any HC candidate worth their salt will come to an interview with a well-defined plan, and that's where you decide the guy who is going to do a better job than the last guy did. The next 60 days will be enlightening ...
                              Last edited by Chuck Murray; 01-29-2024, 09:02 PM.
                              Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
                              Montreal Expos Forever ...

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Chuck Murray View Post

                                I still think they can get to 20 wins. I feel less definite about that than I did before the UConn and UVM losses. But there's absolutely no way MS7 should be expecting to keep his job without a winning record, at a bare minimum. Personally, I set the bar at a winning record AND a trip to Boston, and that gets you a one year reprieve, and a chance to prove that this year's improvement is the start of a good trend - not the apex of more mediocrity. It's already been pretty much a decade's worth of mediocrity at this point, and any more may cause structural damage.



                                I think once you opt for a new head coach and staff, you kind of take it as part of the transaction that you're going to sustain collateral damage to some degree with your returning players AND incoming recruits still somewhere in the pipeline. You have to leave it to the new HC and staff to make decisions on prioritizing some of the guys you've mentioned, and cutting bait on others. This reminds me of some of the discussions on the UMaine thread after Barr was hired, and how certain posters feared that some of Red's players and incoming recruits would not be back (and I'm pretty sure UMass fans - most of whom post elsewhere - had similar concerns when Carvel/Barr arrived at Amherst) ... but not too many folks seem bothered about those long-ago quibbles now, do they?

                                Bottom line: when you replace your current HC with a new HC, you are presumably doing so because you think the new guy will do a better job of recruiting, coaching and developing his student-athletes than the last guy did. If he sees value in the current roster that he's inheriting, then rest assured, he will want to let those players know they are firmly in his future plans - be it for the next year, or two, or three, etc. And if he doesn't, he will want to tell those players so they can make alternate plans through the portal, or try to turn pro. Others, he can flat out tell them they can return and compete for their ice time, with no assurances, other than a fair shot at things. The new guy and his staff likely will have a list of their own new targets - be it new recruits, portal transfers - to plug and play if they're already active in the D-1 game.

                                IF there is a change, and assuming MS7's next landing spot is unlikely to be at a current or formerly elite D-1 destination, there's little danger of the Conmys and Devlins tagging along with him to an AHA or D-3 outpost. But they will have other options, and would likely have to be courted again to stay. LeClerc being an in-state kid, he may be more prone to staying anyway, and may actually welcome a new head coach. Hellsten will have no shortage of suitors for his senior year, and having found success here as a junior, he may be hesitant to move without solid assurances of playing time, which elite programs may be loathe to commit to a one-and-done transfer. I do strongly suspect Muselik will be trying out the portal come Springtime, so Hellsten probably defaults into a full season as top dog, and the new guy gets to go shopping for the future goalie to lead the program back to the promised land. As far as the "Ontario twins" ... LOL, if they're as good as their hype, good luck getting them here regardless, as we've seen with the Stutzles and Commessos of the junior hockey world in the not-so-distant past.

                                If AD Rich starts saddling her would-be new HC and his staff with mandates on returning players and future recruits/commits, any such HC is likely going to thank her for her time, and move on to the next opportunity, with someone who trusts his judgment. I'm sure AD Rich will ask any HC candidate what their thoughts might be regarding the present roster as part of the interview process, if only to assess how he's likely to run their program in the future. And any HC candidate worth their salt will come to an interview with a well-defined plan, and that's where you decide the guy who is going to do a better job than the last guy did. The next 60 days will be enlightening ...
                                chuck…brevity.

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