Friday, February 27, 2009

Weekend Hockey Primer: Getting Back On Track

2/27/2009 - Boston College 5, Providence 1 - BC 14-12-5 (9-10-5 Hockey East)

Barely breathin'. A must win for the Eagles. Looks like all that Ryder Cup inspiration paid off. Glad to see the Eagles took care of business on their home ice. Two goals from Almeida, and a goal a piece for Kucharski, Gibbons and Whitney. Muse stopped 17 of 18 shots.

The win, coupled with a Lowell loss, brings the Eagles within 3 points of 5th place in the Hockey East standings with 3 games to play. The win also breaks the tie the Eagles were in for 6th place with Massachusetts, currently losing to BU 5-3 in the 3rd. If the season ended today, the Hockey East quarterfinals would look like this:

(1) Northeastern vs. (8) Maine
(2) Boston University vs. (7) Massachusetts
(3) New Hampshire vs. (6) Boston College
(4) Vermont vs. (5) UMass-Lowell

The BC win coupled with a UMass loss momentarily staves off a quarterfinal matchup between Boston College and Boston University. But Terrier fans out there question whether playing the Eagles in a best 2 of 3 with home ice advantage would be better than potentially facing the Eagles in a winner-take-all semifinal at the Garden.

No Love in the National Polls. Not that any love should really is really warranted at this point, but this is the ultimate double whammy. The Eagles were dropped from the latest College Sports Poll, the first time all season. To add insult to injury, look who comes in at the #1 and #2 spots ... Boston University and Notre Dame. Guh.

Alumni Stadium Winter Classic? The University of Wisconsin hockey team has formally invited the Michigan Wolverines to play at Camp Randall in an outdoor hockey game next season on February 6. This is pretty cool. If the Badgers can sell out the stadium, it would break the previous outdoor attendance record of 74,544 that saw the Spartans and the Wolverines play at Spartan Stadium back in 2001.

This idea is awesome but why should these midwestern schools have all the outdoor hockey fun? It is time for BC to man up and host an outdoor game at Alumni Stadium. Fenway Park would be cool too, but might as well keep the game on campus. Host Boston U. on campus in late January or early February when students are back on campus (unlike some of our recent games against BU that conveniently fall over student breaks!). I know the school can't even fill Alumni for every football game and hockey attendance hasn't been all that great either. But if the Athletics Department can roll up their sleeves and really focus on this, I think they could pull this off. What better way to sell the school and Hockey East to high school recruits from Massachusetts and the rest of New England than an outdoor college hockey game?

Eagles in the NHL

What have you done for me lately? New Jersey Devils starting goaltender Martin Brodeur is back after having surgery on a torn bicep. Not only is he back, but he posted a shutout in his first game back against the visiting Avalanche.

Bad news for ex-BC netminder Scott Clemmensen, who was sent back down to the Devil's AHL affiliate Lowell Devils. The Devils are in first place in the Atlantic Division, largely due to the play of Clemmensen. Clem posted a 25-13-1 record, 2.39 goals against average and a .917 save percentage. Not too shabby. The reason Clemmensen got sent down - and not Kevin Weekes - was that Clem was called up on an emergency basis when Brodeur was hurt so he didn't have to clear waivers. Weekes would have had to have cleared waivers if he was sent to Lowell. Still, great work from a BC Guy. And he got a ringing endorsement from Brodeur for his time with the Devils:
I am sure he is disappointed, but he got a great chance to prove what he was able to do not only to the Devils but the entire league and I think he made his point," Brodeur said.
Breaking out the hardware. PRO-files New Jersey Devils forward Brian Gionta's path to the pros. A good read. Two BC Guy mentions in that article. At 5'7" Gionta remains the shortest player in the NHL. That is, until 5'6" Nathan Gerbe gets called up to the Sabres. (Thanks to Christian for the link)

Parting Shots. Finally, we leave you with this. Former Eagle Chuck Kobasew putting a hurtin' on the Panther's Keith Ballard. Atta boy. HT: Goon.

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