Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Contenders Emerge?

Out of nowhere Tuesday afternoon, Twitter gave us this, from @MarkHorgas, a long-time Icers sponsor and former coach:
Add Guy Gadowsky of Princeton to the Penn State D1 Men's Ice Hockey Coaching interview list.
Wait, "add?" This unusual choice of words for a solo tweet intrigued me, so I checked out Horgas' timeline. Turns out, I missed something because it was in response to someone I don't follow last Friday:
@chrismpeters. Paul Pooley, Derek Schooley or Casey Jones. PSU will not pay high salary.
So all along, I could have just asked instead of waiting for this stuff? Cool, good to know. Horgas followed with another name drop late Tuesday night:
I'm glad I at least did a Head Coach Candidate on one of them to avoid looking like a total idiot. I had Pooley and Cavanaugh tentatively scheduled for two of the last few spots, so I'm thrilled that my independent evaluation at least has a 60 percent hit rate, which is about 60 percent higher than I expected.

You can read up on Schooley from my HCC post, and here are the school bios for Jones, Pooley, Gadowsky and Cavanaugh if you're interested. That whole "PSU will not pay high salary" thing probably isn't a good sign for Mark Johnson or George Gwozdecky, widely assumed to be the most expensive of the serious candidates. By the way, if you read Pooley's link, you might have noted that he was the head coach at Providence when Scott Balboni was there. Hopefully that has nothing to do with his appearance here.

Before we go running to conclusions, let's keep one thing in mind: this Horgas tweet from December 10th of last year:
Penn State D1 Hockey Coach short list does not include Mark Johnson.
Which, of course, is seemingly contradicted by what we know - and by his own words three months later.
Also, rumor is that Wisconsin women's hockey coach, Mark Johnson, will get an interview. PSU will play @ Wisconsin in 2012/2013!
By and large, the content of his timeline are items that were already known to me at the time he tweeted them - things about Terry Pegula buying the Sabres, the fact that the Big Ten Network was key to the formation of the Big Ten hockey conference, or even the games at Wisconsin in that quoted tweet and the fact that PSU won't pay high salary for a coach (Joe Battista is already on record with the latter).

That's not really bragging - I've never once claimed to be somebody important and I'm not starting now - but it does indicate that Horgas might not be some insider knowledge machine dropping occasional nuggets on Twitter because...just because, I guess. In fact, most of his tweets seem to be a combination of known information, speculation, and opinions. Kind of like this one:
With PSU's Hockey BIG TEN entry pushed up a year. Joe Battista must hire a coach who is an experienced and successful recruiter
I don't want to go all the way down this road again, but WHY DOES THE BIG TEN MATTER? Were we going to just play a hodgepodge of Atlantic Hockey, DIII, the NTDP and the ACHA forever if we had joined the CCHA? Would an inexperienced, unsuccessful recruiter have been acceptable if Big Ten entry was still happening in 2014 instead of 2013? Does what's asked of our program to eventually win on the national stage change in any way whatsoever with the 2013 entry? No, no and no. I thought we were going into this with the idea of building a top NCAA Division I hockey program, not one trying to do things differently than what was previously decided as best, just to compete with some as-of-now unknown Big Ten standard. Let's build the program with the former in mind, and the conference stuff will take care of itself - the latter is a ticket to mediocrity.

Could Horgas know something? Absolutely. As mentioned, he has a long-standing relationship with the Icers, one that goes back to before I was born. The timing makes sense - as of this past weekend, the seasons are over for every DI coaching staff in the country except four (although notably, Pooley's Notre Dame is one of the four). Does he? That's for you to decide. I've presented the information in the way I believe all non-confidential rumors should be handled, with everything out on the table, so go ahead and make your own judgment on it.

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