Monday, July 30, 2012

Three Stars: July 23-29

3. @PegulaVille


Just so you can't accuse me of not keeping you informed, there is something resembling an effort to get students to camp out for hockey games. I say "something resembling" because so far, it's just a Twitter account and a Facebook page begging for attention from Penn State and hockey-related people. That list didn't include me, so score one for Goon's World and the "nobody reads TYT" argument, I guess. On Twitter, I did retweet and follow the guy anyway, and got a follow back. So basically, we're boys now, I guess. Just to be clear, despite where I'm about to go, this or any student-initiated effort to promote interest in hockey has TYT's full support.

Interestingly, on Saturday, John Tecce chimed in on PegulaVille, via Twitter (1, 2):
Could we see a new PSU tradition on the way? Just stumbled across @Pegulaville, which is exactly what it sounds like it is. Having seen logistical side of something like that, it would have to occur indoors. Would be interesting to explore when Pegula Arena opens.
Tecce, if you're unfamiliar (and shame on you if you are) is a former president of Paternoville Nittanyville Paternoville (hey, it was still called that when he served). So yeah, he'd know about it. I'm not as informed about the obstacles as he is, but off the top of my head, I would think hockey season weather and space where it could be done safely and non-obtrusively would be major considerations that may push the group into the main lobby of the PIA. From what I can tell, that's a large, indoors area that won't be used all that much, except on gamedays (the community rink will have a separate entrance/lobby). John, thoughts? (1, 2)
I think it would be awesome to see. Would require a lot of coordination w AD and OPP to allow kids to camp in arena...tough to police it though. Trusting college kids in an arena that nice takes a lot.
Long story short, setting up social media accounts and getting attention is the fun part. Hopefully the guy behind the idea is willing to take on the not fun part as well - he'd be well advised to start with a history lesson. It's not a simply a matter of deciding you want to do something, raising awareness, and parking your tents. The football group's coordination committee doesn't exist merely to squeeze some funding out of it. Of course, people are allowed to disagree with me.
I was thinking if we get enough student support that we could make this into an official club at PSU and squeeze some funding out of it

2. Q&A with Penn State Coach Guy Gadowsky
(College Hockey News)

I suppose from a journalism point of view, this was well done. But as a Penn State and a Guy Gadowsky fan, the way CHN pounded on the "get Gadowsky to express a negative emotion" button was a little tacky, and the interrogative tone was unwarranted (obviously, I wasn't a witness to the conversation, so I'll acknowledge that it may not have gone as it reads, but I'm not the only person who felt that way). After seven scandal-specific questions, at least two of which were attempts to take a positive answer and spin it into a negative follow-up, we get...drumroll...
Your first reaction was as a parent, of course. I would be completely dishonest if I didn't go through that emotion.
...which was really just a repeat of something he had already said, and something I had possibly seen/heard him say before this interview (admittedly, it all runs together after a while). Either way, congratulations on getting a father to admit that he thinks of his kids first.

That said, I dare you to read the interview and argue that we hired the wrong guy. So it's not all bad I guess. But I do think that USCHO won the duel of head-to-head Gadowsky articles by a lot.

1. Penn State: Light in the Darkness
(Without a Peer)

It's not often that I play this card, but I will here: Just read it. It will restore your faith in the ability of people affiliated with other institutions to present a good, balanced take on things.

PS. The picture at the top is former RPI standout Oren Eizenman (2003-2007), Icer and ACHA Hall-of-Famer Alon's younger brother. As far as I know, the Eizenman family is pretty much the one thing PSU and RPI have in common, other than Union on the schedule this year. Well, that and the two games PSU played at Houston Field House in 1985 against non-RPI opponents that, in fact, no longer exist (not just the hockey programs, the entire schools).

Best of the Rest

Federal Hockey League Team Relocates to Pennsylvania
(The Hockey Writers)

Shooting for the Show gave you guys the heads up on the team that will be known as the Williamsport Outlaws a month ago, but there's been an interesting development in the story:
The Outlaws will play their entire [2012-2013] season at Bowman Field in Williamsport. The field is home to the Williamsport Crosscutters, the Single-A short season affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. Once the baseball season is over, the process of laying ice will begin for the Outlaws’ 30 home games form October to January. When the team is not using the rink, it will be open for public skating. Since Williamsport does not have an ice rink, the outdoor pond will be the first of its kind in the city.
The unorthodox arrangement is a temporary measure until an indoor rink can be developed, possibly in the city's YMCA building. Still, outdoor hockey...yay?

Penn State’s other sports will survive

Here's Rob Rossi (we're probably related, although I can't prove it) on the subject of the NCAA sanctions and their effect on non-football sports:
Sanctions levied Monday by the NCAA against Penn State’s disgraced football program will not put the university’s fledgling hockey teams on ice.

Nor will the other 26 programs that comprise Penn State’s athletic department be negatively impacted by punishments against the football program that include scholarship reductions, disqualification from bowl games, vacated victories and a $60 million fine.

“People are going to see that figure and be wowed by it, but it’s not a significant number considering the ability of that program and that institution to generate money,” said Daniel Fulks, a professor at Transylvania (Ky.) University.
My Comets beat Cleveland Heights 3-1 in the Snow Days Tournament championship...hey, would you rather have a photo of Ohio State here?

Another outdoor game rumored for Ohio State icers

Know what makes more sense than an Ohio State-Mercyhurst outdoor game in Cleveland? Most things, actually.

I will leave this out there though: the Cleveland Indians put on a festival called Snow Days at Progressive Field during the winter months, which includes things like a high school hockey tournament (won by Solon, my alma mater, last year I'm proud to say), ice skating and snow tubing. In other words, there will probably be an ice rink set up there with or without a college hockey game, removing much of the expense from the equation.

It's about time living where I do gave me some kind of advantage.

By the way, the rumored game won't take place until December 2013, so feel free to forget all about this.

INCH A-Z: Jack Berger, Princeton
(Inside College Hockey)

While Penn State is a full-on NCAA Division I hockey program now, we're still in a little bit of an awkward place where I don't really expect full-on NCAA Division I treatment all the time. For instance, I'd be kind of surprised if INCH featured a Nittany Lion in their annual A-Z series this year. Prove me wrong, INCH.

In case they don't, here's Jack Berger's entry. He was recruited to Princeton by Guy Gadowsky, who then moved laterally on the Berger family tree to recruit brother Chase to PSU for 2015.

Chase Berger Commits to Penn State University
(St. Louis AAA Blues)

Speaking of...this is old news (Berger committed in early May), but this is the first acknowledgement I've seen from his current team.


Did you not hear what I just said above? I'm happy he stayed at UMD too. Actually, I don't really need to be happy, since he didn't have much of a choice - he wasn't offered the job.

Let me just put something out there, because to be honest, I'm kind of sick of this sentiment that's been floating out there for over a year that Gadowsky was something other than a first choice.
  1. I know for a fact that he was the last of the three finalists (Mark Johnson was the third if you've forgotten) interviewed. Actually, I don't even think that's insider knowledge anymore, as it more or less came out after the fact. That sounds like a slot you'd give to your leader going into the final round, so that you can make an immediate offer if he confirms your opinion. That is what played out, as the interview turned into a trip to Philly for a Sabres-Flyers playoff game and a face-to-face with Terry Pegula. That took place on a Friday/Friday night, and Gadowsky was officially announced on that Sunday - Easter Sunday, when a certain half-in-the-bag blogger, not expecting any news that day, had to get something online from his parents' house.
  2. Given all of that, would they have offered Sandelin or Johnson the job before even talking to Gadowsky? What about after? It seems much more likely that an offer was made to Gadowsky Friday, then accepted Sunday after the standard "let me talk it over with the missus" day.
  3. Rejected finalists are often allowed to "withdraw" as a face-saving courtesy. The fact that Sandelin and Johnson both apparently took that option means nothing.
No guesswork needed on my opinion. I know it's easy for me to say now, but back when I thought Sandelin was going to be the guy, I was disappointed. When I later heard that it was likely to be Gadowsky, my initial reaction was "Really? We can get him?"

Niagara AD McLaughlin Leaves for VCU
(College Hockey News)

A big change in the administration of one of PSU's CHA riv...oh, right.


The sophomore goalie's banter with now-former teammate Paul Daley is hands down the funniest (relevant to this blog) thing I've seen in a while. Don't get it? Check out the last entry in this Three Stars from a few months back.

Seriously, if someone who reads this blog makes a sign that says "Skoff >>>Wawa" and sends me a photo of it on display at a game (preferably behind the PSU net while Skoff's in a game, but I won't be picky about that), I'll name my first born after you. Or maybe just something on this blog.


  1. Gadowsky is clearly the best of the possible candidates. As soon as I heard he was in the mix, I wanted him to get it over any other possibility. The only other guy who I can imagine doing it as well would be Herb Brooks, and he's no longer available.

    What would Sandelin know about recruiting outside of Minnesota? I doubt Johnson really wanted the job. He's a Wisconsin lifer, I suspect.

    These people who think the hockey budget is going to suffer - do a little research before posting crap.

    I read that CHN interview too. Definitely a case of badgering the witness, but he handled it so well that I hope any potential recruit reads it.

  2. The Collegian ran an article on Pegulaville, so it's a real thing now, I guess.

  3. Johnson's kind of a strange bird. He's probably a Wisconsin lifer, but ever since he lost out on the job with the men's team, he's been occasionally rumored to hop back over. Yeah, he's got rare name recognition for a college hockey coach and yeah, he's been ridiculously successful with the UW women. But we're at the point now where we're almost too far down that road to come back easily. He hasn't recruited a men's player in over a decade. Not saying it can't be done, but toss in the other degree of difficulty factors at PSU with the new program, and that's far from an ideal situation.

    Sandelin is a good coach, but he's just never excited me on any level. He took a decent program (Brett Hull, a couple Frozen Fours in the 80s) with not-too-stringent academic standards and elevated it marginally. His career record is slightly over .500, the program's record without him is slightly under .500. Wowee.

    Gadowsky, of every active NCAA coach out there, has come the closest to doing what we're asking. Princeton may as well have not existed before he was there, and he had them in back-to-back NCAA tournaments within a few years. And it's Princeton, so you know the academic side of it is there. Maybe it's a rationalization, but I tend to think that once in the NCAA tournament, a lot of times it's a crapshoot. Yeah, Sandelin has a national championship and Gadowsky hasn't won an NCAA tournament game, but that doesn't really mean much to me. I remember watching them go head to head in 2009, when UMD won in OT thanks to two Bulldogs goals in the last minute of regulation, one with less than a second left off a brutal turnover from PU's Hobey finalist goalie (he threw it into the corner, thinking that was enough to kill the wasn't). I've said, I wish them the best and hope it takes off. Love the enthusiasm. I just hope that they realize, like I said, attention is the fun part. Where would they camp this year? Administration won't let them do it outside in the winter, not when they shut down Paternov...errr...Nittanyville when it's raining or windy. The rink lobby (unlike the PIA) is heavily used and not big enough. There's going to have to be a lot of effort and cooperation with the university put into it, and I haven't seen any evidence of that yet.

  4. Sandelin got his team from point C to point D. We need somebody to get us from point A to point B. Nobody has proven they can do that better than Gadowsky (or the aforementioned Herb Brooks) Or really, we need to go from point -A to point B.

    If Gadowsky gets PSU into the tournament year after year but we fail to ever advance, then maybe we can say then that he's lacking something, but we're a very long way from that and I don't think that's ever really an issue anyway. It's a short single elimination tournament. The hot team wins. It's not like the NHL where the playoffs are like a whole new grind of a season with lots of ups and downs and the Presidents Trophy winner often fails in the first round because they aren't "built for the post-season."

    I don't know where Pegulaville will set up next year. Perhaps they'll just have to be limited to a few hours before game time. That would still be a good way to get a tailgate scene started.

    One thought would be to have them come in the back door (which was open to fans this year for the first time ever, I think) on the Hastings Road end. There's a grassy area there they could set up and not bother anyone.

    They've got a while to get this sorted out. The probably weather won't become an issue until November at the earliest. And they might just be hoping for an "easier to ask forgiveness than permission" situation and just show up, build support, and then wrangle with the PSU cops about it after they've already become a fact. The old George Costanza "I'm ensconced!" approach.

  5. So many Seinfeld references you can use there. George and Kramer both went to work at jobs they either never had or had quit, thinking once they got into the routine of things, nobody would notice or care. Kramer finally breaking down with "I don't even really work here!" when he gets in trouble is easily one of my 10 favorite lines from the whole series.

    Good way to look at Sandelin vs. Gadowsky. Exactly what I was trying to say except, you know, concise.