Friday, November 4, 2011

Your questions, my answers

Quite a few questions, mostly about the same subject. But let's get to them ...

From Sam: How much do you think playing in an inferior WCHA (in terms of big name schools and programs) is going to kill MSU recruiting? That's my biggest worry, outside of even more lackluster fan support. I follow Chris Heisenberg's recruiting page and have noticed the Mavs haven't received any verbal commitments in what seems like quite awhile. Could just be a coincidence.

Sam, there's no question that recruiting will get tougher — maybe even a little more cutthroat, too — in a couple of years. However, I think the jury's out on this. One reason is that the players MSU is getting now aren't necessarily being recruited by the North Dakotas, the Denvers and the Colorado Colleges or the top Big Ten schools. While I think MSU's sales pitch has to be a little different in the "new" WCHA, I think they're still going to go after the same type of player they're going after now. The coaches do a pretty good job identifying smart, good-skating, hard-nosed players who play with a lot of energy. The hope is that they also find a way to sneak in an under-the-radar blue-chipper. That may get harder, but it's not that easy in the team's current situation, either.

As far as verbals go, the Mavericks have a pretty full class (six/seven) committed for next year already, especially considering the size of this year's freshman class (seven). I see no reason to be concerned that they don't have a bunch of kids committed for '13 yet. Sometimes when teams stockpile for years down the road mistakes get made.

From Sam: Staying on the subject of recruiting, what are the chances a guy like Teddy Bluegar (2012 or '13 recruit) reconsiders his options with the new leagues forming right around the time he'll be starting his college career?

Sam (again), I don't know if players are going to change their minds. I suppose it would depend on their reason for choosing a school like MSU to continue their hockey careers. Do they like the coaches? The style of play? The school? The campus? The proximity to the Twin Cities and NHL scouts? The opportunity to play significant minutes right away (in the case of a potential star)? None of that changes. If they picked MSU just to be in the WCHA (in its current form) then maybe they'd have some reservations.

From Todd: Who does the scheduling for the WCHA? Don't they have to check with schools about potential conflicts at the school, such as basketball or wrestling? It seems strange that all but one conference game for both basketball and men's hockey takes place on the same night, making it impossible to go to both. So much for loyalty from the league that MSU has given to them.

Todd, I don't know exactly how this works, but I would guess the schedules aren't made in concert very often. It's too bad and not just for the fans. Even from a manpower standpoint, MSU's athletics can't like this situation (it's going to be tough for The Free Press, too!). But considering that MSU, St. Cloud, Bemidji and Duluth are all in the same leagues right now for both sports that they might have tried to  find some flexibility to switch around dates or even times for games. Even the University of Wisconsin and the University of Minnesota move around games to accomodate the other sports (the Badgers share a building, while the Gophers have all of their facilities in the same general location). The Gophers already have played a Sunday game, I believe.

From Jeff Williams: I'm with Sam. I wonder about the quality of recruits. Also if we ever decide not to renew Jutts contract what kind of coaching prospects can we hope for?

Jutting has another year left on his contract after this one; let's not get ahead of ourselves. I could be very wrong, but I still think, once healthy, that this year's team has a chance to surprise some teams. I said that at the beginning of the year. But to answer your question, there are just 58 Division I men's hockey teams in the country. Almost all of them would be an attractive jobs to any coach.

From Hockey Girl: Why does it seem like the current administration doesn't care about hockey? With it being the only sport operating in the black, you would think they could put more resources to making sure it can compete with the 'big' schools and maybe tried harder to get into the future NCHC instead of settling for the 'new' WCHA. St. Cloud and Duluth, both DII schools, have had success in DI hockey. What are they doing differently than MSU and what can MSU learn from them?

I wouldn't say that the administration doesn't care about hockey, although I certainly understand the criticism. There does seem to be a different philosophy at MSU when it comes to hockey than there is at St. Cloud State and Duluth. Now, I don't know if hockey is the only sport at MSU that operates in the black. In fact, I can't imagine that basketball is in the red — fewer players, scholarships, their own facility, etc. I'm not even sure if hockey is making big money. The last time I checked it was close to being self-sustaining as well as pay for women's hockey scholarships. As for trying to get into the NCHC, MSU wasn't invited; they were on the outside looking in. In my opinion, the breakaway teams wanted a higher profile in order to be on par with the Big 10, and they weren't going to do that by inviting Mankato, Bemidji, Michigan Tech and Anchorage to their party. I am still firmly of the belief that St. Cloud would still be right with MSU had Notre Dame been in the new league from the beginning. I'm not so sure Duluth is invited without their brand-new building and their national title.

From BIGhkyfan: so, is Huntsville coming back? New donors came forward

BIG, I saw that story, too, but I'm wondering if it's too little, too late. Apparently donors say they can fund the program for three more years. But what happens after three years? Also, Huntsville is still without a conference, which is just a killer in college hockey. I hope they can find a way to make something work down there, but they have to get support from the school as well as in the rest of the college-hockey community. And, given all of the dealings in this past offseason, who’s going to come to  rush to UAH’s aid? It’s every program for itself right now, it seems.

From TMAVS18: On the topic of recruiting can we get updates or interviews with our current commits? Do you know any possible kids the Mavericks are looking at for 2013? Thanks.

TMAVS, I don’t have time to do that update in this post, but I’ll plan on doing an update on the recruits very soon. The early signing period begins next Wednesday (Nov. 9), so that would be a good time for an updatee, maybe interviews, too. Once the players’ letters of intent are in, coaches can talk about them, too, so there will be some fodder for some stories. One teaser: Forward recruit Dylan Margonari of Youngstown was named USHL offensive player of the week last week

Thanks for your questions everyone. We’ll do it again real soon.

1 comment:

Sam said...

Thanks for doing the "You Want Answers" Shane...always appreciate your insight.