In our first regular season installment of Hockey Easy Buy Or Sell, we take a look at the comers and goers in Hockey East. Last month Grant "bought" Maine... oops.
Joseph Gravellese: Welcome to November's edition of Hockey East Buy or Sell, the show where everything's made up and the points don't matter.
Grant Salzano: That's right, the points are like Jack Parker's "rules."
Each month we'll take a look at where each Hockey East team is in the standings and buy or sell their stock based on whether we think they'll be rising or falling. Last month we bought or sold based on last season's finishing order. So we'll take a look at how our predictions are panning out so far, and buy or sell on current standings (as unreliable as early-season standings may be).
GS: I'm excited.
JG: At #1 this month: your Boston College Eagles. To recap, in last month's edition, BC was also at #1, and both Grant and I said "buy." So, we've been right on, as the Eagles are 4-1 and two points up on BU for the conference lead. Still buying BC at #1?
GS: You have to I think. BC faced off against what was widely looked at as the #2 team in the conference in Lowell this weekend and pretty handily won all four points on the weekend. I don't think there can be much debate on this one.
JG: Agreed. We'll know more about BU after this weekend's set at North Dakota -- plus the first BC-BU matchup of the season is just two weeks away -- but as of now I'm standing by my opinion that BC is the only real national contender in Hockey East. Buy.
GS: Next up is the Terriers, with six points through four games played. Are you buying or selling the Terriers at #2?
JG: Last month BU was #3; I said "buy," Grant said "sell." They're off to a good start at 3-1. Buy or sell at #2? I said going into this season that I thought they were #2 in the league and I'm still of that opinion now; their freshmen have come along pretty quickly.
Matt O'Connor seems to have emerged as their #1 goalie, though I guess we thought that about Billett at one point last year, so you never know with freshmen. But that was a big question mark coming into the season for them.
I think I can take a pretty solid guess at what your answer is gonna be.
GS: I'm predictably selling at #2 but I'm not as solid on that as I was last month. There aren't too many negatives I can come up with for them right now, other than, you know, their lack of respect toward women.
On the ice, they look oka.... they look o.... they look.... [cough] decent. Like you said yesterday, we'll have a much better idea when they face off against the Fighting [Redacted]s this weekend.
JG: #3 at 2-0-1 (4-0-1 overall including a pair of nice wins against St. Cloud State)... Jerry York's First Place Pick, UNH.
We both bought UNH at #6 last month and that pick looks good. Still buying now?
I'm selling, tepidly, at this point, but they will be a good team. They will definitely be in the home ice discussion and I wouldn't be shocked if they end up third, but they are going to cool off a little bit. (I mean, obviously, they're not going undefeated. haha)
GS: I am buying. UNH is who I would put at #2 right now. Until they lose, I can't really rank them lower than that. I don't know who's giving them two first place votes in the national poll, but that's another story.
Part of my reasoning for having them so high is because Jerry York does too... but I don't think that's flawed reasoning.
JG: Not at all.
GS: Northeastern is technically #4 right now at 5 points, but with 5 games played compared to the 2 and 3 games played by the teams behind them. How do you feel about Northeastern at #4?
JG: Northeastern is at 2-2-1, though it should be said they're 0-2-1 since that ferocious opening week. I'm selling -- this is not a home ice team -- but it's clear we both understimated them preseason, I think. You sold on them at #9. I bought, but didn't think (and still don't think) they'll contend for a top four spot.
A lot of what's playing out is exactly what anyone would have predicted, really: flashes of brilliance from their forwards, and a shambolic goaltending situation.
GS: I've tempered the "OMG NORTHEASTERN IS T3H AWESOMEZ!" trip I was on after week 1. I think I just got carried away, and overrated a team that showed up and played a perfect game against us. They are clearly better than #9 I think, but you sell and sell fast at #4.
JG: #5 right now is Providence. We bough bought them at #7. They're off to a decent start at 3-2-1 (2-1-0). For laughs, we can point out that they lead Hockey East in goal differential (+7) though this can mostly be chalked up to whooping Sacred Heart 8-2 in the season opener.
GS: Haha Sacred Heart
JG: I'm buying PC at #5. Traveling out to Miami and playing two tight games -- one tie, one 1-goal loss -- will be character-building for them. As an inexprienced team who haven't played much on the big stage in recent years you couldn't expect much more than that at Miami.
GS: I'm also buying at #5. They look decent. Nothing spectacular, but I think #5 is just about right for them. They'll float around the middle of the rankings all year I think, but this seems about right.
Up to Merrimack sitting at #6... Buy or sell?
JG: Last month we both sold big-time at #5. And I'm still selling at #6. I expect them to finish down near the bottom and three points against UVM isn't going to convince me otherwise. I'll give them props for beating Union though, since some sweet soul has them #1 in the country.
Mike Collins has definitely emerged as one of the conference's better players, putting up a 4-3--7 line. He'll be good all year for the Mack.
GS: This is tough. I feel like we have your more traditional Merrimack this year but the bottom of the conference is just so bad. Seeing as how they did beat someone's number one team in the country (...) I think I would have to put them at the top of the Bad Teams and say that #6 seems about right. I'll buy.
Up to #7 Vermont now. Number 7? What?? They have a couple surprising ties against Merrimack and Lowell, but I don't think "hey, we didn't lose a couple times!" bodes very well for the start of your season. They're winless, and somehow sitting at #7 in the conference standings... if people actually held Vermont stock we'd be looking at an absolute FIRE SALE... SELL SELL SELL
JG: Yeah, I don't have any UVM stock to sell. And I'm not buying any now. But at least they look competitive so far, unlike last year. Sell.
Lowell at #8 right now. Victims of circumstance, right? We were both pretty high on them preseason at #2 (I sold, but figured they'd be at #3; you bought).
There's no way they're #8, obviously. Buy. Regardless of whether you bought into them as a national top ten team or not, they're better than they've shown. On Friday night at Tsongas they looked every bit like a top team in the conference, though they were picked apart much more convincingly on Sunday.
GS: Yeah, you kind of have to give them a break for having to play two against BC so early. They didn't look bad or anything. Although, honestly, you tied Vermont... come on, brah.
But like you said, there's just no way they are going to wind up #8. Buyer's dream here.
Down to poor, hapless Maine at #9...
JG: #9 is Maine and ouchhhhhhhh, they've been one of the worst teams in the country, at 1-6 and with only a narrow win over Army to their credit. Clearly we both underestimated their losses (you even BOUGHT them at #4...FAIL!), but strictly following the buy or sell format I'm going to have to buy because there's no way they don't at least improve from the way they've been playing. There's just no way they could stay this terrible. Is there?
GS: I ... don't know? From reading the tweets of the one Maine fan I follow on Twitter, it sounds like they've hit quite a few posts, but that's not nearly enough to explain getting absolutely stomped by Saint Lawrence... twice.
I don't know what to do with this team. Are they #8? #9? #10? Right now I honestly have to sell and call them the worst team in the conference. Will they rebound? Maybe. But this could get worse before it gets better.
Finally we're down to UMass at #10. Are you buying or selling?
JG: I didn't think too much of UMass preseason, though I bought on them three-peating!!! as the 8th place team when we did this last month. I'm buying but I wouldn't be flabbergasted if they finished in the cellar.
GS: Have to agree. They certainly look better than a few of the other terrible teams this year. At the moment I'd put them above Vermont and Maine, and pretty close to Merrimack even. They've played pretty well despite their record, at least early in games. They blew the three-goal third period lead against BC obviously, and also dropped a game to BU that they had been leading 2-0. So, two brutal losses, yes, but they are at least battling some top teams pretty solidly. This is a clear buy.
That just about wraps us up for this month. Hopefully Maine can stop embarrassing us all and at least look like a hockey team.
...After this Friday, that is.