Hockey Banter, Week XIX: Beanpot, And Looking Forward

via Graham Beck, BC Heights Sports

This week we briefly talk Beanpot before looking ahead to Bigger Things.

Joseph Gravellese: So, four Beanpot titles in a row for the Boston College Eagles. All week long, I've been trying to put that in perspective. What does that accomplishment mean to you?

Grant Salzano: It's obviously significant for the senior class. Never losing a Beanpot is nuts. They never had to sit through those toolboxes on the other side of the balcony celebrating their national championship.

For the underclassmen, it's just the next step along the way toward their own clean sweep.

Moreso, though, I think now we -- and the team -- have a feeling of 'Okay, we got a trophy. We've still got this.'

JG: Obviously there's a lot of work to do before we get there, including what's sure to be a challenging best of three in the Hockey East quarterfinals, but the table is now set for BC's seniors to try to pull off a 16-0 record at the Garden. Which, if it happens... I think that's a marker that will go down in history for a long, long time.

GS: The women losing put it into perspective for me. Winning the Beanpot for the men put the national title in sight, somehow. The women losing made it seem much more distant for them (Minnesota notwithstanding).

JG: And yes, I agree -- getting the trophy, defending Our House, and making relatively easy work of two mediocre teams (NU made it tough on the back of Roy and Roy alone, but BC really dominated that game) -- is a very good sign for getting this season going down the stretch.

Has anyone had a better Beanpot in your fan-lifetime than Roy just had for Northeastern? He really was just about their whole team.

GS: It reminded me of Gerbe in the 2008 Frozen Four. Except, better teams, and we won.

JG: Despite their efforts at the garden I still wouldn't be surprised to see NU miss the Hockey East tournament. They have diddly squat past their first line. Also, they have to deal with the emotional baggage of their season being basically over now in the eyes of many of their fans.

Plus the win over BU looks a lot less impressive after they LOST TO HARVARD AGAIN LOLOL.

GS: BU is in a free-fall the likes of which I have never seen before. Except for maybe Merrimack last year.

They are in complete shambles.

JG: Is Jack Parker on the hot seat?

GS: Ugh I just don't even know. He's been there for just so long, firing him or a forced resignation at the end of the year just seems so impossible to fathom.

Personally I think it'll take one more off-ice incident. But maybe 1-2 more years of on-ice futility.

JG: It does. There was a BU fan on uscho (pirate?) who had the most plausible scenario to me, which is that Parker announces at the end of the year that next season will be his last, so it looks like a voluntary retirement, and BU takes the year getting a successor ready. Should be interesting.

GS: Do we WANT Jack Parker gone? How improved would BU really be without him? I have to imagine his legendary name is a draw for recruits.

JG: Yeah, but he seems to be Doing It Wrong. It would obviously depend on what route BU takes with their next coach. They easily have the resources and name recognition to bring in a high quality coach. But we've seen plenty of schools screw up such situations. So. There's certainly no guarantee they'd find a coach who would do better than Parker. Not on the recruiting trail anyway.

As to whether the kids have given up on Parker... that requires us to play amateur psychologist. But it sure seems that way.

Here's a fun-not-so-fun-kinda-gross hypothetical: Say BU cans Parker and offers Mike Cavanaugh the head coaching gig. That's too good for Cav to pass up, no? Does he take it? Would you hold it against him if he did?

GS: It depends on if he's been told he's coach in waiting. If not (I would have to assume he hasn't been told anything of the sort) of course he should take it. And nah, no hard feelings.

JG: Agreed. Which reminds me of something that is probably worthy of its own post over the stupid offseason, but I wanna kick it around now: what would you say are the best/ most desirable jobs in college hockey, assuming every job opened up this season?

I would say BC is probably #1, though a close #2, I think, is Michigan, because you've got the Michigan brand name in addition to the fact the US under-18 team plays on their freaking campus.

I'd put Minnesota at #3 -- crazy expectations, and restrictions to mostly recruiting in-state, though if there's one state you have to stick to recruiting in, that'd be the one.

North Dakota #4 because of the resources and being able to recruit anyone you want, though who knows if they'll dip from being left out of the BTHC shuffle.

From there, I have a hard time saying whether BU or Wisconsin would be #5. But the point is, BU is one of the top jobs that could possibly hit the market, so they'd have no shortage of applicants if it opened up.

Rounding out the top 10 for me would be Notre Dame, with their shiny new stadium, TV contract, and conference affiliation.... then probably Denver and Colorado College, with a stick-tap to UNH.

Of course, I have no idea what kind of munneh any of these schools would be willing to throw at a head hockey coach, which obviously makes a huge difference. Though I have to imagine anyone in that top 8 would offer a pretty hefty chunk of change.

GS: I think that's a pretty good analysis. North Dakota is probably pretty high up there in that like BU, the hockey team is pretty much THE team on campus.

I agree though... BC has to be the top position. Right? Wonder what an outsider would think.

JG: I guess you could go one of two ways on it. Maybe BC just seems like the best job because of how good York is, and maybe "by nature" being the #2a/2b sport and having facilities that lag behind BU (let's be real) might move it down a notch.

But I think the BC tradition is pretty firmly in place at this point such that the next coach would have to do some serious damage to undo it. I think any coach would take the BC job over any other job right now, for that reason.

Let's make sure to bring this topic back up over the summer. We should do stuff like this once a week.

A couple quick BC lineup notes from the Beanpot final: Colin Sullivan was back, but didn't play - probably the right call, as BC was in a little bit of a groove with rolling 5 D, and the Beanpot final isn't really the time to throw someone back in.

Secondly: the Straight, Sit, Silk line didn't play much. This is certainly the time of the year where York starts to play some of the lines more often and it looks like those guys are the "4" with the emergence of the Brown line as the energy line.

That being said, I'm kind of disappointed in Straight's numbers this year. I still think he's one of our most talented forwards and keep expecting him to turn the corner, but it just hasn't happened yet. He's still young, and I suspect he'll be here four years, so maybe he'll have a late jump, Almeida style.

GS: Yeah he seems like he's got the skill to get it done, but maybe he just needs some more development. In York We Trust.

At this point the lines are starting to feel good. We have had a TON more transition chances lately, which bodes well.

On a side note -- we're really lucky to be so spoiled in goal. Milner is as consistently rock solid as they come. He has had a mental lapse here and there but in general he's a good enough goaltender to take us all the way.

JG: As he has proven time and again in big games.

I still kind of want to see Jerry take a flyer on giving Straight a shot with the top line over Linell. But that ship may have sailed. Danny will put up lots of points as Gaudreau comes out of his scoring "drought." (Lol, drought.)

GS: The ship may have sailed, but have the boats been burned? Lulz

I actually prefer Linell up there. Linell looked great playing with Kreider. I think that line shouldn't be touched.

JG: Reasonable. You certainly can't argue with BC's record since the lines got tinkered.

**WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! This is a message from the National Association of Female Feminists for Feminism. We have commandeered BC Interruption and required its writers to comment on BC women's hockey and also to fabricate a false interest in it as part of an evil plot to ruin Sports. Please proceed**

How the bloody hell did we lose to Northeastern in the women's Beanpot?

GS: That sucked. Like really hard.

I honestly think there are times we can't get out of our own way. We need to stop taking so many penalties. Which is funny, because we're like 6th in the conference in PIM...

The problem is, it seems so much worse because we're terrible at killing them. I don't know if we're too aggressive on the PK or what, but it is just killing us.

We really shouldn't have lost that game. Props to NU though. That's one hell of an upset, toppling #2 and #3 in the nation for back-to-back 'Pots.

JG: Maybe the BCWH penalty kill will be like the Bruins Power Play of the championship run. But yeah, it seems a lot more likely to be an achilles heel. Not good. That's pretty much what it all comes down to, we lost that game because of special teams and lost out on a trophy because of it.

The good news is, we are still #2 in the pairwise, and we have two games against UConn this weekend, which, lol. UConn has a slightly better chance of getting one point against BC this weekend than they do of, for instance, making the men's shootyhoops tournament. But not much better.

GS: Yup. Hopefully the team is sufficiently pissed off and Kinger-Crowleyer makes them do PK drills until they drop.

JG: ***END OF NAFFFF ALERT***

The men are thrown right back into the fire this weekend and can't afford any Beanpot hangover as we face the teams that are, suddenly, #2 and #3 in the conference, Merrimack and UNH. Where the heck did Merrimack come from?

GS: I'm not entirely sure. At first I thought maybe they've had an easy schedule, but their latest run has been against Maine (I know, but still...), Lowell, and UNH.

Maybe they're just catching teams at the right time? Maine may have been still floundering when they played them, and Lowell and UNH are currently in a nearly-but-not-quite-BU-esque freefall at the moment.

JG: Maybe. But I think we unfortunately need to somewhat modify our longstanding "never take Merrimack seriously" policy, because they are right in the thick of the race right now. Plus, they'll probably win on Friday night, because, hey, it's BC at Lawler. That's what happens. And then they'll be in first place? Crazy.

Sunday will be huge. UNH is dipping and we really need to break their backs and do what we can to keep them from getting a 1 seed. Quinnipiac is basically guaranteed to lock down a 1 seed at this point so we need UNH out of the top 4 in order to stay east.

GS: Yeah this is big. I'm thinking a 2-1 style game at Lawler either way. Maybe an empty netter.

I do think we beat UNH though. Because they are UNH.

JG: Yeah, I'm thinking a stupid, aggravating 3-2ish loss at Merrimack, before a nice, big home win on Sunday.

In a bit of breaking news, BU's Alexx with Two X's Privatera has been booted from the BU hockey team for "on-ice discipline issues," which, as @BCHysteria pointed out, is at least a step in the right direction for BU hockey in terms of player behavior. So there's that.

GS: Uhhhhh, I guess. Holy hell. Wonder if he's going to leave the program. I would guess so. BU doesn't really have a history of people "sticking it out in hard times" lately.

Maybe he can get a job in the porn industry. He's already got the name for it.

JG: I think that's a perfect note to end on for this week.

GS: He can even practice his skills in the penalty boxx.

That's a big ol' [SIC], of course.

JG: Until next time - go Eagles, and enjoy those Double Banners every time you go into TD Garden. May we have the good fortune in March to see the college hockey portion of the rafters stay fully maroon and gold for another year.

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