Monday, June 27, 2011

Three Stars: June 20-26

Would John Gaudreau be pumped to play at a school close to home and with a coaching staff he likes?

3. Yanis talks Penn State pledge
(Lions 247)

Andrew Dzurita continues to plug away at tracking down everyone committed to Penn State so far, and his latest effort doesn't disappoint. Mark Yanis looks set to join a long line of great PSU athletes who share my major. On the hockey end of things, that includes former Icers Garrett Divins, Eric Harbaugh, Luke Walker, Chris Matteo, Joe Sheridan and Jason Zivkovic (who, unlike me, actually went on to graduate from law school).

2. Jonathan Milley commits to Penn State University

While Mark Yanis and Luke Juha have drawn the most attention of that group of three recruits from a couple weeks ago, don't sleep on Milley. He's increased his points-per-game output in each of his four seasons in the CCHL/CHL/CJHL/whatever they're calling it these days.

Milley will be back with the Pembroke Lumber Kings this year to help them defend their RBC Cup title, and you can bet that Juha - who will be joining the Vernon Vipers team Pembroke beat to win it - will be gunning for the honor as well. The 2012 event is in Humboldt, Saskatchewan. If the rematch happens, I will find a way to get there. Assuming there is a way to get there.

Roadie of the century...if I leave now. Saskatoon doesn't have an airport, does it? 

1. Northeastern Thrown in Further Flux After Draft
(College Hockey News)

Some drah-mah up Boston way in the wake of Greg Cronin's departure to the Maple Leafs.
The speculation over recruits began immediately. Following the draft on Saturday, the Fargo/Moorhead Forum reported that [signee and fourth-round Calgary Flames draft pick John] Gaudreau would not attend Northeastern. Later in the day, a source close to the program said that the Gaudreau family has requested a meeting with Northeastern athletic director Peter Roby. Typically, this signals a request to be released from a National Letter of Intent, which Gaudreau signed.

Gaudreau, the former USHL rookie of the year hasn't made a decision, but sources say a pair of Division I schools are both in play should he be released from his NLI. If he is not granted release, he would have to return to the USHL's Dubuque Fighting Saints for one season, sign with Calgary or sign with a CHL club.
Now, I don't know anything, but allow me to lay a couple of dots out there. Gaudreau is from Carneys Point, NJ, not terribly far from Philadelphia. According to the author of the linked article, Gaudreau considered Princeton in February, 2010 (of course, the Penn State coaching staff resided there at the time) before committing to Northeastern. Finally, after initial reports said that Gaudreau wouldn't be back in the USHL this year, he's now "likely" to return to Dubuque. Which of course synchronizes the start of NCAA play for both Gaudreau and PSU. One has to think Guy Gadowsky will at least make a call. Will it be more than that? We'll see.

Best of the Rest

Gulutzan says today's game about defense and tempo
(Bellingham Herald)

This is a Dallas Morning News interview with new Stars coach Glen Gulutzan that I wanted to read, but it's behind a pay wall (that particular paper's site has the highest pay-to-free ratio of all time). I didn't want to become a subscriber to read one article, but I really, really needed to know why I got a Google Alert hit on it. Solution? In steps some anonymous paper in the state of Washington with an apparent grudge against the Morning News, and we all get to read the article for free. Thanks, Bellingham Herald. Your contribution to killing the newspaper industry is appreciated, at least by me.

As it turns out, Gulutzan played for Coach Gadowsky back in his Fresno Falcons days and cites him as one of his coaching influences.

Big Ten may mean big issues for hockey
(Wisconsin State Journal)

Tom Oates doesn't strike me as particularly bullish on Big Ten hockey in this opinion piece, but he introduces a couple things that qualify as news-ish. First, the Big Ten conference schedule will be backloaded to avoid conflicts with football, which of course dominates the conference. However, with other conferences not following suit, scheduling quality out-of-conference games may prove difficult - even with the rumored Big Ten-WCHA scheduling agreement.

Second, each conference school has already been asked to play two Monday games per season, due mostly to Big Ten Network considerations. I fully expect more attempts to get live hockey on the air when no Big Ten basketball is being played.

'A real, living Paul Bunyan'
(Grand Forks Herald)

The tragic story of George Pelawa, who was killed in a car accident on August 30, 1986 - just two months after being drafted with the Calgary Flames' first-round pick and two months before what would have been his first game at North Dakota.

Pelawa, a truck even by today's standards at 6'4", 240 pounds, was recruited by Penn State to play linebacker, but decided that his future was hockey. Sadly, that future never happened.

Terry Pegula got some face time at the draft.

NHL Draft: Dear Diary
(Inside College Hockey)

We're still (probably/hopefully) a year away from a living, breathing Penn Stater being selected in the draft, but this year's first round - live-blogged at the link - still had a couple of storylines with PSU ties. The Namesake announced the Buffalo Sabres' 16th overall pick, Finnish right wing Joel Armia, which prompted this reaction:
How’d you like to be Pegula? He singlehandedly funds the Penn State college hockey program, is hailed as a savior for buying the Sabres, and, today purchases the American Hockey League’s Rochester Americans so he can bring the Sabres’ top minor league affiliate back to western New York. Pretty sure he owns a unicorn ranch, too.
Icer George Saad was spotted at least once on television Friday night at the Xcel Energy Center - although it wasn't a good evening for brother Brandon, the former top-ten projection who fell out of the first round altogether, before being scooped up by the Chicago Blackhawks with the 43rd overall pick on Saturday.

Tsunami Watch: CCHA
(Without a Peer)

WaP continues their Tsunami Watch series by looking at the conference most likely to be hit by one during the realignment process. Really, the program that needs to be worried is Miami. Notre Dame can more or less pick its conference. And if one's willing to be brutally honest about things, the other remaining CCHA teams outside of ND and the RedHawks might actually be better served by sticking together as a second mid-major conference (with some possible shuffling between their side and Atlantic Hockey).

New power program Miami is the one who will either have to plead their case to the WCHA/Hockey East or see that lofty status disappear in a hurry when they're stuck in a small conference.

Debunking Myths

College Hockey, Inc. gets salty when Canadians marginalize college hockey. They should probably get used to it, because that's what people do when their accepted order of the universe is threatened.

Rules Committee Discusses Changes
(College Hockey News)

Because it was the middle of the two-year "rules cycle," no actual changes took place for this season, just a lot of discussion and clarification regarding halfies and headshots.
Specifically, the committee clarified that a player does not have to "target" an opponent for the penalty to be called. In addition, they added several bullet point examples for what deserves to be called under the contact to the head rule.

The committee further emphasized, as well, language that already appears in the rules: “A player delivering a check to an unsuspecting and vulnerable player puts themselves in jeopardy of being penalized under this rule.”
Click the link for a handful of other rules committee points of emphasis.

College hockey on brink of conference realignment as Alabama-Huntsville waits
(Huntsville Times)

Just a little reminder about the Chargers dangling out there, and their attempt at business as usual. I think there's a very obvious problem that they're sort of brushing aside though: Huntsville is still not really an attractive add for a conference. The instability that exists now helps, but in order for it to ultimately benefit UAH, some conference - maybe the aforementioned CCHA, or Atlantic Hockey should the CCHA turn around and pillage it - has to need them. Like down to five teams and have to add someone to survive-level need.

Regardless, I'm rooting for them, and you should too. If you're unfamiliar (I'm not sure how that's possible with me always bringing it up), UAH was probably the biggest, baddest kid on the club hockey block just before jumping to NCAA Division II in 1985, frequently standing in the Icers' road to glory. One time they didn't - 1984 - resulted in PSU's first national title, a controversial one from their side of things. If there was an internet on November 22, 1983, I'm sure this article wouldn't have eased tensions during the once-heated, now-forgotten rivalry.

Yes, this was against Huntsville. I promise.

Cornell loses another hockey assistant
(Ithaca Journal)

Scott Garrow is moving on to Princeton as they continue their efforts to replace the coaching staff that PSU stole.

Mike Eaves linked to NHL opening
(Bucky's 5th Quarter)

Assistant coach Hill leaving; Guentzel reportedly to return
(Minneapolis Star Tribune)

A couple of Big Ten coaching moves - one rumored and one actual.

One of the tightropes I try to walk here is deciding when "general" college hockey news is relevant enough to Penn State for its own TYT post. With the Tom Anastos hire at Michigan State, I established a conference head coach change as sufficiently newsworthy. I suppose that here, I'm making the opposite determination with assistants in the conference. It's also my backwards way of saying that Eaves gets his own post if his departure exits rumor territory.


  1. Regarding the CCHA, I'm cross-posting this comment that I posted to WAP.

    The CCHA in its current form is done. But... This presents an opportunity for a lower-tier all-sports conference to step up and become a powerbroker in ice hockey. I'm talking about the Mid American Conference.

    There are already two MAC Athletic Depts that have it as a goal to eventually form D-I men and women's teams: I'm talking about Buffalo and Ohio University. Add to that a school that resides in one of the greatest hockey markets in the US -- Northern Illinois University.

    In combination with Miami, Bowling Green, and Western Michigan who are currently members of both the CCHA and MAC -- you now have a viable hockey conference. If the MAC uses this as a platform to ride the coattails of the B1G, they could negotiate a deal with Fox Sports Net
    for multiple sports coverage (not just hockey)thru the Fox College Sports (FCS) channel. (You just have the right person making the pitch and a financial model that isn't pie-in-the-sky.)

    I'm sure the MAC would be willing to add Ferris State, Lake Superior State, and Northern Michigan as associate hockey-only members. They do this in other sports.

    As far as Alaska and Alabama-Huntsville, I don't have an answer for that. Alaska probably makes more sense in the WCHA. Bama-Huntsville could be another associate member in the MAC.

    I think Notre Dame is most likely going to end up in Hockey East. The Redhawks, Falcons, and Broncos need to be proactively preparing for this eventuality.

  2. That's a very interesting thought, and as a part-time MAC guy, I wholeheartedly approve. It almost seems silly to NOT do it, if they've taken anything away from Miami's rise. They (the schools and the conference) stand a much better shot of being something in hockey than in, say, football. Why not invest a little? WMU had a good year and appears on the way up, and even BG held a distinction as the last MAC school to win a team national championship before Akron soccer came along.

    Like you said, the MAC's been willing to take on "associate" members, like Temple in football right now, and NMU, FSU and LSSU all fit nicely in the MAC's footprint - but at the same time, it leaves room for growth. Central Florida was once a MAC school, so I don't think they'd be entirely opposed to UAH.

    Alaska's a strange dilemma for everyone. They don't want to be in the WCHA so that they can count playing UAA as their OOC schedule, but at the same time, it would be silly for a new conference to voluntarily take them on. Even if the CCHA survives as some kind of minor conference, they'd probably lock their legal department in a room until they figure out a way to boot them. A lot of people have fixated on BG as the most likely to die from this because of their much-publicized issues, but I'd put Alaska near the top.

    I agree that ND goes to Hockey East. They're a program that you take if they want in, even if that puts you at 11 teams, and you don't necessarily take a 12th just for the sake of having 12. None of the other remaining CCHAers can pull that off. With the new reality of college hockey on TV being a thing, ND needs Boston and the east coast, just like HEA needs another big ratings pull.

    I think the WCHA is fairly likely to stand pat unless Alaska's left hanging and they feel charitable. They're in the nice position of still being a strong conference and we agree that ND's likely going east, not west.