Tough to be disappointed with a 1-goal loss on the road to a Top-5 team (and on a fluky goal at that). The team played better than I expected.
- That said, the dumb penalties continue to cost BU. Skoog and Stevens need to dial things back a bit.
- And giving up 3 breakaways in the first period - again, the young d had it's struggles. Seems like every other time Fensore rushes the puck, it ends up in our net.
- Qutie the turnaround for DeBoer. Goes from being the 13th forward to playing with the top forwards.
- Great effort by Curry. He is a key player for BU down the stretch.
- There have been several games this year where we are down a goal with the goalie pulled and we don't get nearly enough shots because we are looking for the perfect play. Tonight, with two extra skaters (on the PP), we should have had twice as many shots as well did.
BU Hockey: The trophy case is once again growing
I like Amonte, but he's a third line center at best on a championship caliber program. Cockerill had a HORRIBLE sophomore year. Coming into this season i was actually encouraged that most players (Cockerill & Bowers being the notable exceptions) improved from Quinn's last year to Albie's first. I like Quercia a lot, but when he's your 6th man on the ice when you pull your goalie and are trying to tie the game, that's a problem. Like Amonte, he's a third liner at best on a championship caliber team. Okay, so maybe that means the talent isn't there this year. Maybe being a .500 team is actually good given the talent. Well, the blown three goal leads and the absolutely horrible team D make me feel the coaches aren't doing their jobs.
Let's look at tonight's game. Was happy to see the boys fight back three times.
First BC goal, horrible team D leads to break away. Fensore pinched but Cockerill covered. Problem was that Cockerill was day dreaming and Fensore took his sweet time getting back.
Second BC goal, just a softie.
Third BC goal, poor D to D passing between Kotkansalo and Vlasic w/16:36 on clock. BU ends up clearing it but not past the red line so players aren't able to change. BC scores on a one-timer from behind the net to front with 15:41 on clock. Players are gassed because the D couldn't execute a basic hockey skill.
Fourth BC goal, looked like Mastrosimone was trying some fancy crap through center ice which lead to a 2 on 1 the other way. Fluke that it went off Farrance's back. Crotty was the D who wasn't back but he was positioning himself at left D when Mastrosimone was going through center ice. That turnover shouldn't happen.
So you have 3 of the 4 goals being the result of BU being lazy, unable to execute basic fundamental hockey, and prima donna play.
Again, i liked how the team continued to fight but the fact that this happens over and over and over again is incredibly frustrating. Unless hell freezes over and this team goes on an incredible regular season run, there is no way it is receiving an at large bid to NCAAs. That said, what's the harm in starting to bench players to send a message. Who cares if you will end up losing the games because you have D-level talent playing instead of C talent. Maybe C talent gets upset and plays like B talent when they get back on ice?
Last thing, maybe not take so many stupid penalties?
Why does our D zone coverage look like we're on the PK?
Fensore can't deal with bigger, heavier players. He's quick and nifty, but gets pushed out of the way by physically stronger players. I'd still like to see him converted to a wing or center. McCarthy is our biggest liability on the D-corps.
I would not want to hire a head coach that already has his eyes on the next job, and uses this one as a stepping stone. What I want is someone that wants to be here, and does such a great job that others come in for him because of the success being had.
The question surrounding Albie was he actually head coaching material, or one of those guys that is a great assistant but not a program leader. The players obviously were in his corner at the time. The jury is still out. And one of the most troubling things - some of it beyond Albie's control - is the steep decline in attendance, interest and buzz around campus for BU's signature program. A fire may need to be lit to spark interest again, and Albie may not carry any matches.
Bottom line: winning cures a lot of ailments.
Two that I think can make a big difference the rest of the way ... Sam Stevens and Wilmer Skoog.
Assuming the defense actually plays defense.
I don't think Quinn had intentions on leaving. If it was a different (i.e. non Original-6 AND non-contending) NHL franchise that made him an offer, esp. for the $$$$ he got, I don't think he would've been as likely to accept. Different situation than someone like Jim Montgomery, who wasn't coaching at his alma mater and also had a moderate NHL career. Also, Quinn would have had to coach @ BU for at least another 15 years in order to make what the full terms of his NYR contact would pay him. If I had the same type of opportunity in my line of work, I would have done the same thing.
During the hiring process to replace Quinn, I think a risk of hiring the external finalist was that said finalist would've already had 1 foot out the door -- leveraging BU's hockey profile (compared to his current employer) as a means to land an even higher-profile opportunity.
I think the consensus around BU hockey circles is people are rooting hard for Albie to succeed, but have their concerns if he can lead BU to the level of sustained excellence the program expects. I think one concern is that he doesn't seem to project the "it" factor the way Quinn (w/ his telegenic charisma) or Parker (w/ his command & presence) did, which IMO is one contributing factor to the steep decline in attendance and interest amongst students, alumni, etc. There isn't a proverbial name and/or face to BU hockey right now that can grab people's attention in this day/age.
Two quality posts from Harry and Friend. On the mark.
Lots to consider in these recent posts for sure.
As I think of what it would take to get back to more consistent winning, and perhaps more importantly, to create buzz or identity, I can't help but think how much the game has changed in terms of the makeup of the team.
- When I think about my time at BU and for the several years after that (so roughly 86 to 97), there was so much more year-over-year consistency in terms of who was on the team. That '95 NCAA championship team had a ton of seniors, and most of them played significant roles. So we as fans had watched them grow over 4 years. Seeing Kaj Linna get a hat trick against LSSU was so sweet because HE was on the teams that had seen their season end in embarrassing fashion to the same team the past two seasons. Seeing Chris Drury develop from a 4th liner on a very good team to an absolute dominant player over 4 years was rewarding.
- We have had 4 straight seasons with a one-and-done player (moving on to the NHL). That NEVER used to happen. Keith Tkachuk and Scott Lachance only played one year but would have been back but for the Olympics. Does BU continue to try for these high-end forwards who end up on the USNDTP and then often feel like more than one year in college will mean they have failed? Or should they target more USHL guys? Will the new recruiting timelines let them better flush out the personality and goals of these kids and their parents?
- Perhaps more importantly, I feel like the schools aren't making the same type of commitment to the players. It seems like every year there are 3 or 4 guys who just lose their spot and are never heard from again. Did this used to happen? Would Ed Ronan be given the same opportunity to go from two terrible seasons to an okay Junior season and an awesome Senior season (and an NHL career)? I highly doubt it. The season with John Bradley and Bryan LaFort in net was a disaster, but they weren't "released" (well, I'm honestly not sure about LaFort, but Bradley went on to be the HE Title winning goalie as a Senior in 1991). Is Blixt done? How about Purpura? I feel bad for some of these kids. You work your tail off to get recruited at a D-1 school, and then if you don't become a regular as a freshman, you have to be wondering if you are going to get pushed out.
Not sure of any of this makes sense...
BU Hockey: The trophy case is once again growing
The NHL's current CBA hurts college hockey in some ways. While the #s and %s of NHL players coming from NCAA programs is higher than ever, most of them did not play 4 years. Conversely, from a marketing standpoint, this trend helps college hockey attract the high-end 1-and-done types that may have gone Major Junior maybe even as recently as 10-15 years ago.
In present-day college hockey, it seems the players most likely to play 4 years are the ones that were either not drafted (typically older as incoming Freshmen) or are late-round draft picks not projected to be top prospects for the NHL franchises who own their rights. BU's dilemma is that as a "brand", there's a mutual attraction between BU and the high-end players (1st/2nd round NHL draft picks) who are very unlikely to play even 3 years in college. I think when Quinn took over the program, he felt he had to go the route of recruiting as many of those high-end players as possible to reinvigorate the program, backfilling his recruiting classes with players who never really got the opportunity to grow and develop into solid 4-year players (like Ed Ronan, John Bradley).
Time will tell if Albie's recruiting philosophy shifts to one that perhaps is more balanced, one that creates roster depth and minimizes unexpected roster turnover. It can be hard at times to not recruit a high-end player who's committed to the NCAA route and is interested in BU, even if you know they're projected to be a 1st/2nd round NHL pick. What's important, though, when recruiting high-end prospects is to find more of the Fabbros and Greenways who stay 3 years and considered returning for their Senior years than the Farabees, Bowers, Tkachuks who surprise the program w/ their unexpected departures (regardless of Tkachuk's NHL success). Not to mention having a couple of Patrick Curry, Bobo Carpenter-types in each class is just as (if not even more) vital to building and sustaining a program hopefully for success.
Unrelated but relevant, T's Pub is apparently closing. Likely because Albie has no personality.
The entire College Hockey model has changed. This new landscape requires a nimble coach who can team-build in a smaller window and "coach 'em up" and support the blue chippers with the right 3-4 year players. On paper (with the exception of goaltending) this team appears to have all the ingredients to be successful, and yet...
Games IMO where goaltending cost them a W include (Save % in parens):
T vs. N. Michigan (.800)
L @ Providence (.824) -- to be fair, this game could've gone either way given how porous both team's goaltending was
L @ Dartmouth (.844)
In those games, if BU gets average D-1 goaltending, BU would likely be 11-6-4 right now.
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