College Hockey is heading toward the holidays, which means a lot of teams will play scattered games, if any, prior to the bevy of post-Christmas holiday tournaments. It's also a time of year when players who may have been otherwise ineligible, come back into the mix as the semester changes. And, with the World Junior Tournament coming up, many big teams will be losing players for some key non-conference games.
The season has been nothing if not strange so far for Boston College.
Coming off two-consecutive national championship game losses, the Eagles re-tooled and expected to be right back in the mix. The biggest question, whether freshman goalie
Nevertheless, BC found itself sub-.500 coming into last weekend, not having won a game in November, already recording five ties, and still settling down after being embroiled in controversy -- two players have been suspended indefinitely for an incident that hasn't been fully revealed, and which led to key defenseman
So a home-and-home with crosstown-rival Boston University was just what the doctor ordered. With BU going through its own woes, and unable to capitalize on an emotional win at a sold-out Madison Square Garden the previous weekend, the Eagles cleaned up, winning 6-2 and 4-3.
We stick with Boston College:
The pick here is Smith, a highly regarded sophomore who nonetheless went undrafted last summer.
Spies tell us BU junior defenseman
Another player likely to leave after this season, it seems, is New Hampshire forward
Speaking of which, there were few surprises as the World Junior team was announced recently. There wasn't much controversy in the selections, although the powers that be did select Minnesota sophomore
Boston University captain
That leaves the already-struggling Terriers without two-thirds of its top line, leaving only senior
Granted, without knowing the details, this -- along with the recent issues on the ice -- raises enormous red flags that hint at a coach who is no longer reaching his team. Parker is unquestionably a great, legendary coach with three national titles under his belt. But the program hasn't been to a Frozen Four since 1997, and the building of a new arena hasn't paid immediate dividends. Now these suspensions -- along with recent lackluster play and a propensity, even during good times, for maddeningly extreme swings in performance -- could be a sign of deeper issues.
It isn't the program's fault that New England youth hockey seems to be lagging well behind the west these days, and it isn't necessarily helpful to have a couple of goalies that have been poor this season trying to replace an All-America. The players take the blame here for doing whatever it is they did to draw this suspension. But you have to wonder if where there's smoke, there's fire.
Minnesota plays at North Dakota two games this weekend, Dec. 7-8. Both teams have been searching for that big breakthrough, winning one, losing one for a while -- albeit, it should be noted, against very good competition. For Minnesota, this represents a positive turnaround after a poor start, while for North Dakota, it's a negative one, after an incredible start. The games feature Hobey hopefuls and NHL prospects galore. Catch the games at the opulent Ralph Engelstad Arena, or nationally on satellite.