Before I start with any hockey, let me first say that the tragedy in Connecticut is truly one of the worst events I have seen in my lifetime and may the Lord be with all those families that are going through unimaginable pain. God bless.
On a brighter note, the first half of the season is over but the Eagles had as good a week as you can have by picking up goalie Thatcher Demko from the USNDT. I can tell you that the upside for this kid goes to the sky. He could truly be the next great goalie that we see here on Chestnut Hill. Some have emailed me asking about what I think about the goalie situation for next year, so here are my thoughts. Demko, a 6'2 goalie that, as I said earlier this week, beat Merrimack and tied UNH when they were ranked #1 in the country. Not too bad for a Jr in high school. The downside with Demko is that he is very, very young. Yes, he will be able to play at the start of next season because he will take summer courses but in reality being that young and starting for the best team in the best league in the country can certainly cause some nerves for anyone. The feeling around this kid is that while he may take some time to get going because he is so young, the upside and the chance to be a truly dominant goalie are as high as you can get. As for the question if he is going to start right off the bat next season, we will have to and see next fall as I bet it will be a head to head battle between him and Brian Billett.
Grabbing Demko makes next years recruiting class flat out unfair. Just think if one of Johnny G, Arnold or Hayes stays, how stacked the lineup could be a season from now. Anyways, that's a long way away and if you haven't noticed, this years Eagles aren't too shabby. This team has shown us a lot this season. Whether it's fighting through adversity like in the OT win @ UMass or the the season series win over BU, it's quite clear that BC is confident enough in their abilities to comeback and play at a high level whenever they want. One positive I look at is that BC has not played with their full lineup since the November 11th game @ the Jack Parker Rink, unfortunately that streak could continue through January 5th as Johnny G is all but a lock to make the US World Jr's team and will miss the two games in Minnesota and maybe the game vs Yale. Straight will most likely be back for Minnesota but I would assume that it would take him some time to get back into the swing of things.
Anyways, the makeup of this team when healthy is among, if not the best, in the nation. The biggest issue right now with the Eagles is the play of the defenseman, especially evident in the last couple of games. If they want to beat teams like Minnesota with Bjugstad and Haula, the play in the defensive zone needs to be much, much better. Beating the Gophers without Johnny G is going to be tough but I believe the long lay off is really going to revitalize this Eagle club. I'm looking forward to seeing how they fare vs the best out of conference team they will face all year (along with maybe Notre Dame).
With Christmas just around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to elaborate on an idea I saw on USCHO a few days ago. They made a Christmas list for every team in Hockey East but didn't go too in depth in terms of BC's. Let's take a look at the top things on BC Hockey's Christmas list.
1. Get everyone back and have the full lineup by January 5th. Once everyone is back in place and the Eagles can run two lines that are both scoring threats, then they should get back to that earlier form. There are certainly some guys that need this break for injury reasons.
2. Having the play of the defenseman get better. I like the way Matheson and Wey are playing right now but the other guys have been too inconsistent thus far. I can't tell you how much this aspect needs to improve for Trophy Season.
3. Let's get the first line back to form. I may have said it after the Providence disaster but right now, I think the second line is playing better hockey than the first line. Granted their have been some health issues on the first line, I still think they can play at a higher level. Whitney and Mullane need to forces in order to beat the Chargers and especially to beat the Golden Gophers.
4. No more major injuries here on out. There is probably a slim chance of this happening but this team is not deep enough to keep having guys like Straight and Johnny G out of the lineup. Sure the bottom couple of forwards are interchangeable but the top 6 certainly aren't.
5. Win the Beanpot.
I'll have more coming up later tonight....Sorry, I have not been keeping up with my midseason reports.