Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Midweek Column: Rolling

Nine games into this young season, the defending National Champs are showing no signs of stopping any time soon as they have held the #1 ranking for four weeks and are starting to separate themselves from the rest of Hockey East. This past weekend was a fantastic display of effort, skill, grit, and determination from a team tha defeated two if it's biggest rivals by a combined score of 7-3. The biggest positive I take out of this weekend is that it's not just the Johnny G, Steven Whitney, and Pat Mullane show. Guys like Kevin Hayes and Bill Arnold are playing so well right now that you could easily make an argument for both them to be the MVP of the team thus far. Ever since last years Frozen Four where he had a goal vs Minnesota, Kevin Hayes has started to blossom in many areas that he hadn't yet during the course of his first two years. His performance the last couple of games has not been good, instead it has been dominant. But besides the guys on the first two lines, the bottom six guys, as Coach York stated in his Sunday post game presser, is the biggest positive right now concerning the Eagles. While guys like Smith, Linell, and Sit have yet to score a goal, they are becoming as close as you can to potting a few. That line has been solid but the play of the "fourth" (now third) line of Brown, Dyroff, and Silk has exceeded the expectations of pretty much everyone that pays close attention to BC Hockey. When BC's third and fourth lines are playing like they have been the past couple of weeks, this team can't be beat. If you don't believe me, then just take a look at their record.

The play of Parker Milner is pretty hard to put into words. Some of the saves he made this weekend, especially in Friday's game vs Notre Dame were out of this world. As of today, Milner is fourth in the league in save percentage (.933), third in GAA (1.88), and first in winning percentage (.889). The stats can be a little misleading however as I have yet to see a goalie that can match Milner's ability to make key saves at key junctions during games. There are so many key components that enable a team to win games in this league but when you have a club that scores like BC and has the goaltender that can make up for any defensive lapses, it makes for a real dangerous combination. The third goal in the first game of the year @ NU was one I'm sure Parker would like to have back but other than that, I can't think of a really "bad" goal he has let in all season. You see goals like the one Kevin Hayes had on Sunday and you just think (while it was a great goal no doubt) about how goalies should be in a position to make that save. It always seems that with Milner, he is always in the right position to make a save and more often that not, he does. With the way he is playing right now, it will be tough for any opponent not to get frustrated by the fact they can't get the puck by him.

On the defensive side of things, one thing that really hit me this weekend was how much Mike Matheson plays. I don't know the exact minutes but I'd be willing to say he plays more minutes than anyone on this team. Not only is he a gifted offensive defenseman, he is as reliable a "defensive" defenseman as you can have. For example, in the first period of Sunday's game, a BU player blocked a shot of his and started in on a breakaway. Not to be outdone, Matheson gave a phenomenal effort and was able to catch the Terrier forward at the BC blue line and prevent a great scoring chance. He along with Pat Wey, are becoming the Tommy Cross and Brian Dumoulin of this years Eagles. When healthy, Wey is a solid offensive defenseman but is as solid a "complete" defenseman as you will find in this league. His +6 rating for the year certainly backs it up. Combined, Matheson and Wey are +14 on the year and we've only played 9 games.

Overall, you have to be pleased with the way this team is playing right now. When I was driving home from BU on Sunday night I listened to the radio and one announcer stated "BC might just have the top 5 forwards in the league". I thought about this for a bit and soon came to a point where I certainly believe that BC has the top five forwards, best goalie, and best defenseman (Matheson) in Hockey East. Of course, theres that BC bias in me and I have yet to see every team in the league but right now, it would, in my opinion, be hard to argue that there are a better group of players in the whole league than those seven. Obviously, we've only played about a quarter of the season but right now, the Defending Champs are certainly still the kings of the court in Hockey East.

Hitting the links-

Johnny G won Hockey East player of the week (what else is new)

BC was named College Hockey News "Team of the Week"



  1. "but the play of the "fourth" (now third) line of Brown, Dyroff, and Silk" So does this mean they will be the official 3rd line on Friday night?

  2. I really enjoy your analysis and have agreed with just about everything you've written about the Eagles so far this season, with one exception. I have not been nearly so impressed with Kevin Hayes' play thus far. It's been my impression that he's holding the puck too long, try to deek with his stick alone (no foot movement), he's not using his size (other than reach), and he's missed some good opportunities. Now, I'm questioning my judgement here, not yours (yet). I was a huge fan of his brother, so perhaps I'm holding Kevin up to unrealistic expectations. Or, I'm just ignorant. Anyway, I obviously need to clear my vision and scout Kevin more closely.