Hockey Banter, Week XVI: Mailbag! Part III of III

via Walter Rossini

The third and final installment of our first Mailbag feature, where we take the time to answer your hockey-related questions, however serious -- or not serious -- they might be.

And finally, part III of III:

Joseph Gravellese: @MNState0fHockey: What would you say is the secret to Jerry York’s success? I know a lot of programs are trying to emulate his.

Grant Salzano: Nice try, Gopher fan.

No but seriously -- Dunkin Decaf and the good Catholic life.

My serious answer is that it seems he recruits players that, either by verbal commitment or otherwise, stay for at least three years, in nearly all cases. That is probably the biggest thing, in addition to Joe's aforementioned even-keeledness and steady improvements made over the course of a season, sometimes sacrificing mid-season wins for mid-season growth when necessary.

JG: This question also probably requires a more expansive answer than this format allows. His program doesn't really have notable weaknesses, from game management, to strategy, to recruiting... there's not a blind spot you can really name...

To distill it a bit as best I can, I'd say:

It's easy for BC to say because of how easy a time we have recruiting top talent. That said, York seems to really recruit the *right* players, in many ways. Players that fit the personality that BC is looking to forge as a team -- they tend to be disciplined, willing to do things Jerry's way, and are usually committed to BC and college hockey rather than seeing BC as merely a stopover en route to the pros. That's a problem that some of the other elite programs like BU and Michigan have had, in my opinion; you need to have an identity and recruit to that identity.

For instance, I thought Northeastern had its best success when its former coach, Greg Cronin, recruited players who really properly fit a Northeastern identity - chip on their shoulder, overlooked by the big guys, willing to outwork you in the corners.

The BC identity, as it were, is probably: talented, clean cut, dedicated, quiet/unassuming/unselfish, and loyal to the team/happy to be at BC. Also, good at hockey.

GS: Good at hockey is plus.

JG: York's even-keeled nature also helps a lot, and really helps in the players' development.

This answer was probably tl;dr.

@1NOnlyJGood: Who had possession of the banner on the garage before it was put back up? LOL.

I honestly have no idea who stole that giant Gaudreau banner. Like, seriously, not even in a wink-wink way. You?

GS: It was probably some Northeastern student, until they decommited and transferred their allegiance to BC.

JG: @BCInterruption: Who will be the next non-big 4 program to win the Hockey East tournament? (Please say UConn.)

Ha. This is assuming BC ever lets anyone win the Hockey East tournament ever again. I'm going to say Providence.

GS: Notre Dame. CURVEBALL!

JG: @AustinHBurns: More lol-able helmet design: Marotta’s national championship checklist or Sullivan’s ice princess?

Yeah definitely Marotta. I don't care if Sullivan likes his ice princess. If you're the goalie at Merrimack your checklist should be more like ___ Win more than three games on the road in a season, ___ Win A NCAA tournament game once

GS: I can dig Sullivan's ice princess. Marotta is just begging for people to troll him with that.

GS: @Adamar108: How awesome is it that we can hear the student section yelling BENNEDETTOOOO all the way from #OO?

Quite. There are lots of things that I hear from the student section now that caught on while we wer students - it brings a tear to my eye. The elongated "sieve" chant with "it's all your fault" at the end... "Sucks, EH?" when a Canadian player is introduced.... people staying for the alma mater... the seven nation army penalty kill chant (I swear, we did that before EVERY FREAKIN' TEAM started using Seven Nation Army... we were chant hipsters).

GS: "Sucks, eh?" is my favorite thing ever. I enjoy that it is totally unique to BC.

JG: @AustinHBurns: HANSENNNS or BENEDETTO???

GS: GRAVALLESE

JG: Benedetto is definitely preferable to the Hansens, but they're all low on the list. Uncle Grav is by far the best ref (and no, I'm not related to him).

@ACal6888: Do you actually enjoy listening to our commentary on hot players at the games or do you just pretend to?

It's actually a lot of fun. A big part of my BC hockey experience is hearing the tail end of something ridiculous you guys say behind me and snapping my head around to hear an out-of-context bit.

It will be more fun when we're a few years older and I can call you out for cougar-ing. (Is that a verb?)

@AdamShipley: Why is Lowell so bad this year?

Check the recent results, they're actually on fire. Don't know why they had such a slow start -- maybe the crushing weight of heightened expectations.

GS: They've also played a moderately weak schedule lately... so we'll see how long they hold up. But they'll be a tournament team.

JG: @AdamShipley: Why do I keep going to Matthews when the sight lines are so bad and we often lose?

Sightlines at Matthews are a bit like roulette. If you get lucky with the obstructions and whatnot, the seats up top are some of the best seats you'll find in college hockey. I have fun going to games there, personally.

GS: It's because Northeastern's fans are loud and obnoxious and fun and if that's not the very essence of college hockey, I don't know what is.

JG: @blanksy3: By how many tens of goals will we beat Harvard by in the first round of the Beanpot?

GS: 1/5th of a ten

JG: I think it'll actually be one of those Token Tough Games. We will probably be pretty firmly in control but the score will be close for most of the game.

@ACal6888: Best goalie name to chant: Rawlings, Cannata, or other?

DAINTON.

GS: Rawlings definitely. You can really get a nice throaty "RAWWWWW" in there. The right number of syllables, the right emphasis on the right syllables... just a quality Sieve Name.

JG: @BCInterruption: Who is the next Hockey East coach not named Tim Whitehead to be fired?

GS: Jack Parker. Serious answer.

JG: I'm going to go moderately out on a limb and say Jack Parker "retires" in the next 2-3 years. There's a lot of discontent among the older and influential BU fans and only Hockey East titles or Frozen Four berths will soothe it. And I don't see this group they have now accomplishing either.

GS: His team is one scandal away from NCAA trouble. They're also taking a very inopportune nosedive right now.

JG: Also, going a couple of weeks without getting someone kicked off the team would probably be good.

I don't see anyone else other than Timmay as being on the hotseat right now.

@BCHysteria: Have you ever almost fought an opposing team’s fan or fans? If so, what team, and tell the story.

GS: DIBS

JG: My closest was at Northeastern when someone tried to steal the BC hockey banner. That Banner. The Banner. But yes, Grant, go.

GS: Last year BC hosted St. Lawrence in the NCAA women's hockey quarterfinals. Somehow St. Lawrence brought as many fans to this game as BC did, which was pretty impressive.

Now, for women's hockey we had our usual perch in section XX where we chant and sing and do all kinds of fun things that we do at women's hockey games. Midway through the first period a St. Lawrence player got just DECKED by a clean, awesome hit. Unfortunately that's not legal in women's hockey (2 minutes for body checking) but I felt compelled to yell "THAT WAS SO WORTH IT."

Well, apparently the girl's dad did not think that it was worth it, and made a point to storm up to our section, grab me behind the neck, and rather violently tell me so. So I made a point of telling TeamOps that I was being physically accosted by a very wasted (at 1pm!) St. Lawrence parent.

It was still Worth It.

Those were the most obnoxious parents ever. Even aside from just that one guy.

JG: And then they lost. Ha ha. Thank you so much for that, BC women's hockey team.

GS: Yeah that was pretty high on the list of satisfying W's.

JG: @BCHysteria: Which opposing fanbase is the most tolerable in Hockey East? Which non-ratdog fanbase is the least?

GS: Maine's is most tolerable. Definitely, especially their non student fans. Least tolerable is a toss-up between the vulgar neanderthals at UMass or Vermont.

JG: Obviously for most tolerable, you dismiss BU, UNH, UMass and Vermont out of hand. As far as UML and Merrimack are concerned, you can't hate what isn't there.

NU is fun but not in the most tolerable way. I like Providence, but I, too, will give the edge to Maine. Fun fans. Really knowledgeable about hockey and supportive of their team/the sport. I was also never really heckled or bothered at Alfond.

Second-worst to me is UNH. Ugh.

GS: We were heckled by some 16 year old chick at Maine pretty viciously. But then the game ended in a tie, thank God. She would have been pretty intolerable.

JG: COUPLE MORE!

@adamar108: Which fanbase’s girlish squeals make your ears bleed more: BU or UNH?

BU's, only because Agganis is acoustically louder and because my seats tend to be a lot closer to their students, as opposed to all the way on the other side of the rink.

GS: BU's because UNH's fangirl's voices tend to be pretty deep with their 30-year-old-male-filled student section.

JG: @BCInterruption: What’s the worst college hockey arena you guys have personally attended? If it’s not Lawler (Merrimack) or Frietas (UConn), which is it?

It's definitely those two, by far. I can't think of any other arenas that I actively dislike.

I do hate the Whitt, but it wouldn't be fair to say I hate the Whitt in the way I hate Lawler or Frietas.

GS: Freitas is just an indescribably horrible Division 1 college hockey arena. Really and truly. It makes Merrimack look like Tsongas.

JG: @Kmcpartyland: With all four regionals in minor cities within 2 hours of real cities (Boston and Detroit) this year, doesn’t it make sense to move to two super regionals? I like keeping four regionals, just in two locations.

We had a long discussion about this, and you should read it.

GS: Of course it makes sense, so it'll never happen.

JG: @BCInterruption: Taking nothing away from #1 QU, but would you like to see changes to PWR and TUC? Weighted TUC, perhaps?

No. I like the PWR as it is. Honestly, I like that everyone knows what's up, here's how we decide the field. And it tends to pretty much always produce a pretty fair field.

And if you're a great team that the PWR has shut out all you have to do is win your conference tournament.

The ONLY really stupid thing right now is the auto-hosting schools getting to play in their local regionals regardless of what seed they are.

GS: It would be nice to either have a weighted TUC or maybe a "record vs. top 10" or something. But really this is probably a case of "ain't-broke-don't-fix-it."

There really isn't a single argument that can be made against the Q right now. They are a legit #1 and have played a very solid schedule.

I think it would be interesting to see what what happen to the PWR if you made the primary tiebreaker Head To Head instead of RPI, but it's probably unnecessary and would probably really screw things up.

JG: Two more.

@mandylizz: Aside from "change the scoreboard," what is the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard a BU fan say?

GS: "Eff em up Eff em up BC sucks" during non-BC games is the classic, but I wonder if they realize how truly stupid "Not From Boston" really is.

JG: There are just too many to choose from. Every time they do their stupid BC sucks song would have to be up there. When they would chant "you're a racist" when Yip or Cisse got a penalty: dumb. The kids who still bring signs about BC diving or the very original "dive scorecards": dumb and hilarious given that BU is basically the Italia of Hockey East right now.

GS: Also, one day walking down Comm Ave before a BC/BU game at Agganis: "BC sucks!!!" "At what?" "[silence]"

JG: The Not From Boston stuff is so stupid it almost makes me existential.

Finally...

A.J. Black via comment: Who wins in a steel cage match: Nathan Gerbe or Johnny Gaudreau?

I'm going to have to give Gerbe the edge, because an NHL game basically IS a steel cage match with sticks and pucks.

GS: My vote is given to Matheson who comes in, knocks out the ref, gives them both a tombstone piledriver, but then is unfortunately given a 5+Game.

JG: LOL... Nicely done.

Eh?

GS: Eh.

That was long, but thanks for following along. We hope to keep this as a semi-regular feature... though probably not as long as this in the future. This was not fun to edit.

In any case, as always, Go Eagles.

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