|Big Ten head coaches Steve Rohlik (Ohio State), Guy Gadowsky (Penn State), Tom Anastos (Michigan State), Red Berenson (Michigan), Don Lucia (Minnesota) and Mike Eaves (Wisconsin)|
On Thursday morning, coaches, players, staff and journalists from the Big Ten converged on St. Paul, MN's Xcel Energy Center for the conference's first-ever hockey media day.
The festivities began at about 9:00 a.m. eastern, with the release of the Big Ten's preseason coaches poll and players to watch list (covered separately here). From 10:00, each of the six bench bosses engaged in a ten-minute press conference with the assembled media that was streamed worldwide by Big Ten Network. Guy Gadowsky was up fifth, following Don Lucia (Minnesota), Mike Eaves (Wisconsin), Steve Rohlik (Ohio State) and Tom Anastos (Michigan State) and preceding Red Berenson (Michigan). Rather unsurprisingly, he was peppered with questions about laying the foundation for Division I's newest program, Pegula Ice Arena and the local reception to the program so far - and not about his projected lineup on October 11th.
One of the built-in flaws of the event was its relatively isolated location. Few journalists from Michigan, Ohio or Pennsylvania were willing to make the long and costly trek up to St. Paul for a payoff of, essentially, three hours on a Thursday morning. That left personnel from BTN and Minnesota/Wisconsin outlets to ask a vast majority of the questions. The result, as mentioned, was Gadowsky saying a lot of things we've already heard him say several times.
In any case, the Big Ten published transcripts of Gadowsky's Q-and-A (PDF link) as well as those of the five other coaches, along with a photo gallery and a quick highlight video. BTN also produced video of each session (here's Gadowsky's, with the others easy to locate from the link) and put together an interesting video mashup of comments from the coaches.
Following the press conferences, the representatives of each school (Nate Jensen and Tommy Olczyk were the student-athletes present on behalf of Penn State), as well as league officials coordinator Steve Piotrowski, were available for one-on-one interviews.
|Tommy Olczyk (left) and Nate Jensen (right) field questions during the one-on-one session|
Here's the best of what came out of media day with an emphasis on the PSU perspective (analysis of how Lucia will replace his pro departures need not apply), as of the end of the day Thursday. The pool of candidates for inclusion was actually much more shallow than expected, so I'll leave the door open for an update to this post should a flood of content present itself on Friday or through the weekend.
Big Ten Hockey Preview
Ross Insana produced what, quite simply, is the most comprehensive preview of Penn State's Big Ten opposition out there so far, helped along by things the coaches said at media day.
Big Ten Media Day notes
(The Daily Collegian)
Darian Somers did a good job breaking down what was really a pretty light occasion for PSU-specific news by honing in on the exposure BTN will give Big Ten hockey and also touching on the preseason coaches poll, watch list and trophies.
Gadowsky shares newness at Penn State with Big Ten
(The Daily Collegian)
The Collegian also noted how Gadowsky was left to answer a bunch of "we don't know anything about your team yet so talk about the arena" questions, although the coach admitted to not really knowing what he has in his team either.
Gadowsky looking forward to first Big Ten season
Greg Pickel is another consistently excellent writer covering Penn State hockey, and his contribution to media day was another article that focused intently on Gadowsky's press conference comments and surrounded them with context.
Big Ten hockey off to a high-profile start
(Wisconsin State Journal)
The notable Andy Baggot from the WSJ (no, the other WSJ) delivered some thoughts on how the Big Ten's event - contrasted with his experience covering the WCHA - indicates that the conference is well on its way to elevating the credibility of college hockey as a whole.
Big Ten Coaches Excited for New Beginning
(College Hockey News)
Many observers noted that "excited" was among the most frequently-used word at media day. CHN's Nate Wells dug into that angle here, showing how the Big Ten has given new purpose to the six conference coaches, from first-year head man Rohlik to occasionally-crusty legend Berenson.
Big Ten hockey begins as sport enters new era
So... other than the BTN video interviews that we probably won't see until the first intermission of the PSU-Army broadcast on October 11th, did anyone bother with Olczyk or Jensen during the breakout session? The AP's Dave Campbell did manage to grab a quote from Olczyk for his overview/"spririt of the thing" write-up.
Polls, Players To Watch, What The Coaches Are Saying
(B1G Ice Hockey)
Much like the Collegian, the B1G Ice Hockey Blog presented a nice overview of key stories. One interesting insight from Jessi Pierce: her interpretation of one of Gadowsky's comments as a reaction to Penn State's omission from the preseason players to watch list issued early Thursday morning.
Spartans picked fourth in Big Ten
(Lansing State Journal)
The most significant non-manufactured news to come from media day? Michigan State's announcement that forward Matt Berry and defenseman John Draeger would each miss the next 8-10 weeks for surgery on "lower body injuries." PSU doesn't play the Spartans until January 17th, so it's probably a non-factor in terms of the Nittany Lions, but the absences - particularly leading scorer Berry - certainly won't help MSU rebound from a disappointing 2012-2013.