Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Back To The Basics

It's amazing if you look back at the past 15 years of BC Hockey and look at all the amazing games those teams had. the Beanpots and National Titles are things that coaches, fans, and players will never forget. It was arguably the greatest run in the history of college hockey, I mean, those teams were loaded, year in and year out. That time has come to an end.

The Eagles were flat out humiliated by an inspired Harvard Crimson club that looked like the Pittsburgh Penguins out there. Vesey looked like Malkin, Kerfoot was like Crosby, and Criscuolo was reminiscent of Chris Kunitz. The fact of the matter is that Harvard and BU have surpassed BC in the ranks of college hockey in Boston, at least at the moment. Both teams look (much) faster, stronger, and unfortunately, way more inspired than the maroon and gold do. BC looks slow and lifeless. The days of the speedy playmakers are over. I don't understand why they got away from a style of hockey that worked so well for fifteen plus years. Smaller, faster, players thrive in this system and vice versa. This system is not built for big, tall guys that can't skate well and I have no idea why would want to stick to a style of play that obviously doesn't work. The best big forward we have had here is Hayes and even he had a tough time in his first couple seasons. It's not a system built for bigger guys unless they have an enormous amount of speed (Miles Wood, Chris Kreider). 

I don't want to forget Harvard because whatever Ted Donato and his staff are doing, they're doing a heck of a job. I've never seen a Crimson club look so fast, so skilled, and so aggressive. They made BC look like a high school JV team, even our top players looked lost in the mist of their super aggressive forecheck. I've always been a fan of Donato and I hope he gets the ship righted over there. They're certainly on their way. 

The program, in my opinion, is in rough shape. The players look lifeless out there. I'm sure they're trying but they just don't have that pop like other teams had. Remember when guys like Pat Mullane and Brian Gibbons would fire everyone up with a big play on the ice or with words on the bench? I don't see that anymore. I see a team that looks slow, lifeless, uninterested, and vastly lacks in the skill department.

Here is what I think must be done to fix the obviously broken program. 

Change up the recruiting. It is obvious that there are a lot of guys on this team that probably shouldn't be playing hockey at this school. Stop going after the "best" players and start going after the "right ones". Just because they're big, skilled, and have good shots doesn't mean they're going to be good skaters who can distribute the puck. Even the high end recruits the staff has brought in over the past two seasons, they're just not getting the job done offensively, mainly because they aren't the type of guys that have made this program succesful over the course of the past 15 years. They need to go back to the foundations of what made this program so good. There are three aspects that the staff should evaluate. #1 Skill (always first) #2 Speed #3 Heart  right now it's #1 Skill and #2 Height. It isn't working. At all. 

For whatever reason, it seems we want to get the bigger guys than the smaller, quicker, more skilled forwards. Look at Vesey, Kerfoot, O'Regan, Hohmann, Shore, and Hinostroza, those are the type of forwards BC needs. Are they undersized? Maybe. Would they thrive in BC's system? 100%. I think BC has some forwards that have skill but they don't have the speed to accommodate that skill. In the ISL, your height and weight is a huge advantage because you're already playing against kids that are underaged and undersized, for the most part. That skill is apparent in the ISL but it isn't noticeable in the NCAA because the speed isn't there. I saw some of these guys play in the ISL. They were tremendous because they were so much bigger and so much stronger than everyone else, not because they were 100 MPH faster. 

Look, I hate to break it to you but this year is a bust. The best thing the staff can do is continue to go out and recruit kids that FIT THE SYSTEM. Just because Player A is the best player in high school league B, doesn't mean he can come in here and the same player. We won National Championships because we had guys that could win every race with their speed and creativity but for some reason, they wanted to get away from that path. It needs to change. Immediately. 

Lastly, they need to start over recruiting, much like BU does. When you lose five forwards, such as BC did coming into this year, you need to have a loaded back up plan so you can test what works and what doesn't. Experience tells us that bigger, stronger, high school aged forwards don't thrive right away in Hockey East.  The smaller, faster, more inspired player does. I want to have guys that are going to run through a wall to put on that jersey. It isn't a right, it's a privilege that I wish to God I could have but obviously, I'm the one sitting here typing. 

I believe Coach York will fix this by this time next year but they need to continue to recruit. While the class looks very good, the more SPEED the better. Hockey is a game of speed, speed, speed. Not size, size, size. 

Pray for me. 

1 comment:

  1. BC is missing Johnny big time. Milano leaving was a real killer looking at the last few games. Not having that true speedster that could open it up shows. Even the heart you mention isn't helping. Guys like Smith, Sit, Spiro, Jeke, and Straight. I'd say all except Straight have tons of heart (Straight was just playing like a goon last night), but regardless, in general they are all pretty subpar. Those cannot be the guys that we can expect to be the heavy icetime guys on this team. Sure they have heart, but they are not very good. They were ok 3rd and 4th liners when we had a big 3 that were scoring 4 goals a night but they can't be depended on to score. It was repeatedly missed passes, turnovers, and shots into traffic that didn't even come close to net. They were in completely over their head. Those guys need to be defensive and possession guys that grind it out in the corners and tire out other teams' top lines. I don't think we can expect more of them. Where last year Johnny was speeding around the edge and getting past guys, last night predominantly, it was the defenders. Matheson and Hanifin and Doherty driving down the edges, making passes that either were on the tape and mishandled by those guys, or missed entirely because of pressure and led to counterattacks and odd-man rushes. Overall the whole game just had a feel of the defenders trying to pick up the slack of the attack and getting caught. What we need is the younger forwards (Fitz, Calnan, Gilmour, Cangelosi, Tuch and Sanford) to play to their potential, because at times they have shown a LOT of potential. If they were to step up and take some of the load off of the defenders, who were playing insane shifts by the end of the game and were dogged, I think that's our only chance to get things straight this season. Also, let's hope Demko gets well soon because Barone was not very impressive. If I were Billett and he took my spot I'd take a leave of absence too.
    Let's hope they turn things around.