Hockey East Pre-Season Rankings

The NCAA hockey season is just around the corner. If you are one of the people who don't really follow college hockey, you should get into it. If you're used to NHL hockey, NCAA will look like it's moving at a snail's pace with terrible passing; on the other hand, it's a lot of fun to watch these guys develop. If anything, watch a game between BU & BC. It's a great rivalry; anyone can get into it. Hockey East media day was this past Monday. The coaches released their preseason poll. The following is the rankings and my personal comments if I had any:

1. Chestnut Hill University
- Oh, I mean Boston College (but it's not in Boston nor is it a college, so really the name makes no sense). I had forgotten that they are the defending national champs until now. It's possible I might be sick to my stomach. Anyway, yes, BC will be good again. Surprise, surprise. Sophomore goaltender, John Muse, is unbelievable. I actually like him better than former BC goalie, Cory Schneider. The team will be led by Brock Bradford (who missed a lot of last year with injuries), Benn Ferriero and Tim Filangieri. Collectively, they'll play well. They lost a big player in Nate Gerbe who skipped his senior year to go pro. The Eagles will miss all 3'9" of him. They'll also have a big scoring hole to fill. Will they repeat their NCAA championship? It's a possibility, but for the sake of my sanity, let's hope not.

2. Boston University
- The team you should always be rooting for. ;-) BU has a lot of potential this year. If they want to, they can be great. If they don't want to, they could suck. Last year was a medicore year with a poor start and a strong finish that didn't amount to much in the post-season. They have some great players -- Colin Wilson (7th overall to Nashville in 08), Kevin Shattenkirk (14th overall to Colorado in 07), Colby Cohen (45th overall to Colorado in 07), Brian Strait (65th overall to Pittsburgh) and so on. If Wilson can play like he did the second half of last year, it would help BU out a ton. Defensively, they should be pretty sound with Strait, Shatty, Cohen and Matt Gilroy. The interesting situation to watch will be goaltending. After last season, BU got rid of Brett Bennett. That leaves sophomore Adam Kraus and two freshman -- Grant Rollheiser and Kieran Millan - to split the duties. I saw Kraus play in one game last year, and he looked decent. Then again that was against the US U-18 development team. It's totally up in the air, and it could really affect the team who is still dreaming about its days with John Curry. The freshman class has 10 guys in it - aka it's huge. Hopefully they learn quick.

3. New Hampshire - You can usually count on UNH to be pretty good. They lost a great goaltender in Kevin Regan, but I think they'll be fine without him. 2007's 2nd overall pick, James VanRiemsdyk, is back for his sophomore year. He's a big kid, and he wasn't drafted number 2 for no reason.

4. Northeastern - Nobody hates Northeastern. I'm not sure if anybody really loves them either. They're just there. Kind of like Harvard. Their key player is their goalie, Brad Theissen. His freshman year he was one of the best goalies I saw play; last year I felt like I didn't see as much from him. It's not that he was bad, but something wasn't the same. While NEU is never a team that's been a huge threat, you can always count on them to steal games from you when you're not expecting it. Pittsburgh draft pick, Joe Vitale, will captain the team.

5. Vermont - I still don't know what a Catamount is, but oh well. Vermont knocked out BU last year in the Hockey East playoffs, but lost in the semi-final to BC. You can't take them lightly, but they don't really have anything that stands out about them.

6. UMass
7. UMass-Lowell
8. Providence - I think being named the Friars just kills season hopes year after year.

9. Maine - It's weird to see Maine ranked this low. Last year, they missed the playoffs for the first time since 1998. They're usually a dominate team, but last year's unsuccessful season looks to carry into this one. It happens. Teams have good streaks and bad streaks. They also have ten freshman joining the squad this season.

10. Merrimack - Oh gosh. Someone please put this team out of its misery. Ranked last. I think the poor Warriors finish last just about every year. I'd love for them to have a good season one of these times. But I'm not so sure that will happen.


This means Alex Goligoski will be seeing some quality NHL time this year. Good luck bud.

Luongo Gets the 'C'

Roberto Luongo was named captain of the Vancouver Cancucks today ... kind of. I guess he doesn't get to wear the C or anything (something about rules), but technically he is the new captain. John Curry wore an 'A' on his jersey during his senior season at BU. Kind of similar situation.

Photo Credit: Darryl Dyck, Canadian Press.


Some Scranton Love ...

The LA Times had a little clip about prospect Eric Tangradi. It also noted a bit about his time spent playing in Kingston, PA:
Tangradi played high school hockey at Wyoming Seminary Prep, which is not in Wyoming, but Scranton, Pa., and had nothing to do with those who wish to become a Catholic priest.

"Just a fancy name for a prep school," Tangradi said. "It was probably the stepping stone to my hockey career."

That quote will probably only be amusing for those from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area. Sem isn't even in Scranton either, but that's okay. And most of my friends who went to Sem never even considered becoming Catholic priests. In fact, it's a Methodist school.


Regardless, it's still pretty cool to see a kid that played in the WBS area continue his hockey career.


Dear Kansas City

Here's what I have to say on the whole Kansas City issue about how they have this beautiful arena and no team for it:

It's not my problem. I'm over it.

If I have to be nicer, I would say that in Field of Dreams the whole thing was 'If you build it, they will come.' Maybe keep thinking that. Whatever works.

Cut Time

So Pittsburgh cut another group of guys today. I'm not extremely surprised, but I find some kind of interesting. Here are my thoughts:

+ Ryan Stone and Jonathan Filewich were both cut. Everyone has said about 10,000 times that they really had to step it up this year at camp, and I hate to be the one to reiterate that, but it's true. I guess they didn't. I like the both of them. I think Stone has to play up his agitator side, and I think Filly pretty much always needs someone to set him up to score. They'll be alright in the long run. Just maybe not with Pittsburgh.

+ Kris Beech was also cut, but I don't know that he's even really played in the past, like, ten years (okay, so maybe it was only a year. It feels like ten). So that's really no surprise. Although I realize he can be very lazy, I like him. I hope he puts up points this year in the W-B.

+ The shocker is Paul Bissonnette still remaining in Pittsburgh. No offense Bis. I see potential, but nothing that's ready for the show yet. Maybe he's there because he's tough (or makes an attempt to be anyway).

+ Much love to John Curry who is still up there. I realize it's only because they want to take three goalies to Sweden, but it's still exciting. He stopped all his shots in the preseason game against Tampa Bay last night.

+ With Sergei Gonchar out indefinitely (hopefully not too long), Alex Goligoski will most likely get a chance to show what he's got. He had two assists in a preseason game the other night. Not bad. I still believe he'll be sent down once Pittsburgh has all their D-men at 100%. Who knows though -- maybe he'll tear it up. Time will tell.

Easy with the Golf Carts Bud

This sucks.
The fact that it wasn't even hockey related is even more brutal.



There's been a lot of talk about Alex Goligoski's upcoming year. Mostly about how he might just make the jump to the show and stick. I've seen Goose play quite a few games, and I really like the kid. But here are some quick reasons why I don't think he will play the full season in the NHL in 2008-2009:

+ Mark Eaton & Darryl Sydor. They technically are penciled in above Goligoski and would complete a fourth line of defense for Pittsburgh. It's completely possible that Goligoski could out perform them in camp and snatch a spot from them, but with contract nonsense and all that ... who really knows. I'm not aware of the contract situation with Eaton & Sydor (maybe it wouldn't make a difference), but I don't think either of them would want to spend time in the AHL. A trade could work. Whitney being out of the line-up for a bit leaves a little more room, but overall, I think they work against Goligoski's chances.

+ Himself. From the games I've watched, Goligoski is a great skater, and he has really good hands. But someone tell me in the final two rounds of the Calder Cup playoffs, is he coughing up pucks as easily as he did on some occasions? Other times, he took way too much time on some plays. Maybe I was just super tense because I wanted them to win so bad, but still ... come on. He's not a real big guy either. That being said, he can score (more than a lot of forwards can), and a defenseman that can contribute points is always welcome.

Once again, I really like the kid, and if he cracks the Pittsburgh line-up, that would be fab. As for now, I just don't really see it happening. He'll definitely get some games up there but all 80? I'm not so sure. And hey, a little more development never hurt anybody.

Photo Credit: WBS Penguins

Opportunities, Opportunities ...

Adam Proteau beat me to it, but I was totally thinking the same thing about the Tom Brady effect in the Boston sports world.

Naturally I was devastated along with the entire city when Brady succumbed to injury. It was like a living nightmare waiting to hear the test results. Everyone in Boston went through three stages: complete denial -> nail-biting wait for confirmation -> mourning. Needless to say, the Pats will move on, and for all we know Matt Cassel could turn this seemingly doomed season into a great story.

In the wake of all this, a lot of Boston fans have re-focused back on the ever-so-close-to-first-place Red Sox for comfort. It's not that they necessarily ruled the Pats out, but there is less reason to be excited (and perhaps even some apprehension?) about the rest of the season.

We all know that the Bruins are not high on Hub fans' list of teams, so why not take advantage of this open window to get people excited about them? After missing the play-offs for two consecutive years, the B's did have an exciting first round in 2008. Even though they lost, they rallied against Montreal to take it to seven games. With the exception of the outcome, it was a good moment for the team. Why not ride that into the regular season? Generate more interest. Get people going. With Brady out, there is room for other franchises in the area to move in. Kicking off the home opener against Pittsburgh will be great as well.

Of course, the best way to do this is to start the season off by winning a bunch of games. After all, Beantown loves its winning teams. The Bruins need Boston. And if the Pats start to sink, Boston will need the Bruins.


Sean Avery: The Movie

As if Sean Avery couldn't get anymore annoying, New Line Cinema has decided to make a movie out of him. A romantic comedy to be exact. :major eye roll: I guess they found it interesting that he's a wannabe fashionista and interned at Vogue over the summer. (Note: Use the term 'interned' lightly here) It's described in the Hollywood Reporter as: "...a film about professional hockey player Sean Avery's experiences in the fashion world, including his stint as a summer intern at a fashion magazine." Exactly what other experiences has he had in the fashion world? Anyone can put on a Gucci suit and walk down a red carpet with Elisha Cuthbert or sit in a show or two during New York's fashion week.

Anyway, I'm all for more hockey promotion in the 'outside world', but couldn't it have been someone else????

For a funny take on it, check out Perez Hilton's clip about it.

Photo Credit: MSG.com

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