Monday, November 22, 2010

Jackets Third Jersey?

Is this the Jackets third jersey that's set to be unveiled on Wednesday night at Tuttle Crossing? If so, I like it and also find irony in the fact that deposed head coach Ken Hitchcock's "cannon" has become such a rallying cry for the franchise.

What do you think?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

#1 Miami cruises past Lake St. 6-2

photo: Rachel Lewis Photography

October 29, 2010 - Oxford, Ohio

The #1 ranked Miami RedHawks opened an early 5-0 lead en route to a relatively easy 6-2 victory over Lake Superior State at Steve Cady Arena Friday night.

The RedHawks (5-1-1, 3-0 CCHA), who were averaging nearly five goals per game, did not disappoint with the top line of seniors Carter Camper and Andy Miele and sophomore Reilly Smith leading the way with ten points between them. Camper, the nation's leading scorer, notched his eighth goal of the season and 20th point in just his first seven games while Miele recorded his second straight four-plus point night with a line of 1-3-4. The reigning national player of the week took over possession of second place in the national scoring race (4-12-16) behind his linemate. And, the real benefactor of playing with these two veteran seniors has been Reilly Smith who tallied his sixth goal of the season and now has a line of 6-3-9 in six games. In 44 games last season as a freshman, Smith had eight goals and 20 points. The Dallas Stars draft pick is doing his best to pick up the scoring void left by the graduation of Jarod Palmer and the early departure of Tommy Wingels for the pros.

Playing their first game without shutdown junior defenseman Will Weber, the RedHawks limited the Lakers to just 18 shots on goal as junior Cody Reichard improved his perfect season record to 4-0. Reichard took a shutout into the final period, but a series of Miami penalties provided plenty of chances for LSSU who went 1 of 6 on the powerplay.

Frankly, Miami played a very sloppy third period but it's evident early when the legs are going, the RedHawks have greatly improved their speed and puck movement over a year ago. They are playing with unmatched confidence and great skill that will help them against small, speedy teams that have typically given them fits. And, when they finally field a complete, healthy team, they should be a joy to watch this season.

At the start of the final period, and after a lengthy discussion, Miami senior captain Carter Camper was issued a five minute major for kneeing at :44. It was Camper's first career major penalty and led to a Laker goal from Chad Nehring at 2:14.

Sophomore Curtis McKenzie answered quickly for Miami and reestablished the five goal margin at 6:33. For McKenzie, it was his second goal of the season and an absolutely beautiful finish as he accepted a perfect saucer pass from senior Pat Cannone and roofed a backhander over Laker senior goaltender Brian Mahoney-Wilson.

Miami would take five penalties in the third period and LSSU was able to capitalize late in regulation just after the expiration of another Miami penalty to make it a 6-2 final. The RedHawks must find a way to cut down on penalties which have been a problem over the past several years.

The series with the Lakers concludes tonight at 7pm at Steve Cady Arena in Oxford.

  • Junior assistant captain Alden Hirschfeld returned to the lineup after missing the last five games due to injury. He picked up where he left off by notching what turned out to be the game-winning goal, his fourth of the season. He now has a line of 4-3-7 in just three games this season.
  • In the aftermath of junior defenseman Will Weber's neck injury, several Miami players including Carter Camper and Curtis McKenzie wore protective neck guards for perhaps the first time during last night's game. And others, like Andy Miele and Garrett Kennedy, had them on during warm-ups, presumably to try them out.
  • Camper's early statistics are eye-popping. He leads the nation in goals (8), assists (12 - tied with Miele) and points (20) after seven games and has a +11 rating.
  • The RedHawks have scored at least four goals in all of their victories and have topped six goals four times this season.
  • Miami's six goals were scored by six different RedHawks.
  • Miami has outscored its opponents 19-3 over the past three games.
  • The win was Miami’s seventh straight over the Lakers (2-4-1, 0-3 CCHA).
Coverage links

Cincinnati Enquirer

Dayton Daily News

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Week That Was/The Week That Is

photo: Rachel Lewis Photography

Oct. 29, 2010 - Oxford, Ohio

The Week That Was

What a week for the Miami RedHawks.

Coming off two consecutive weekends of non-conference action against top ten opponents, Miami opened the defense of their CCHA championship by sweeping winless Northern Michigan by a combined score of 13-1.

In doing so, junior netminder Cody Reichard registered his first shutout of the season blanking the Wildcats 4-0 on Friday night. The shutout was the eighth of Reichard's career leaving him four behind school leader David Burleigh's twelve. Reichard also improved his season record to 3-0 with a 2.14 goals against average and .910 save percentage.

However, the real stories of the weekend occurred on Saturday when the RedHawks trounced NMU 9-1.

  • Sophomore Reilly Smith recorded the first hat trick of his career.
  • Seniors Carter Camper and Andy Miele combined for ten points on the evening.
  • For his weekend efforts, Miele (2-7-9) was named national player of the week by Inside College Hockey and the CCHA's Offensive Player of the Week. In doing so, Miami has claimed the first three weekly offensive awards from the league (Hirschfeld, Camper).
  • Junior Trent Vogelhuber had a nice night scoring his first two goals of the season. The second of which came on a nice wrister to the top shelf.
  • Seniors Pat Cannone (101) and Andy Miele (100) became members of Miami's 100-point club.
  • Junior goaltender Connor Knapp made 15 saves to earn his first victory of the season evening his record at 1-1-1.
If those accomplishments weren't enough, the weekend sweep also vaulted the RedHawks back atop both major college hockey polls. Miami is once again the #1 team in the nation and has been for 28 of the past 75 weeks. Since the beginning of last season, Miami has been ranked in the nation's top four throughout both campaigns.

Then, there was also a "minor" story involving junior defenseman, Will Weber. Weber was injured near the end of the first period when an inadvertent skate blade from Northern Michigan's senior captain Phil Fox caught him under his cage resulting in a laceration running from beneath his left ear to his chin. The game was stopped with 2:59 remaining in the period to clean blood off the ice from Weber's injury. The teams went to their respective locker rooms and played the remainder of the first period before changing ends to begin the second period.

Weber, who needed 100 stitches and 15 staples to close the wound was seen back at Goggin Ice Center as soon as Tuesday and Justin Vaive provided us with this look at the injury.

From all accounts it appears Weber will make a full recovery and rejoin the RedHawks sometime in the coming weeks or months. If I had to guess, I'd say we'll see Weber back after the holiday break, but perhaps sooner.

The Week That Is

Tonight, the #1 Miami RedHawks (4-1-1, 2-0 CCHA) focus their attention back to the ice and take on the Lake Superior State Lakers in a two-game series at Steve Cady Arena in Oxford.

Last season Miami swept the Lakers in Oxford by scores of 2-0 and 10-4. As you may recall, that series was marred by the untimely death of former student manager Brendan Burke on Friday night. And, on Saturday, the RedHawks played with a major burst of emotion overwhelming the Lakers en route to the lopsided victory.

Miami enters the game with the nation's leading scorer, Carter Camper (7-10-17) propelling an offense that is generating 4.83 goals per game (3rd NCAA) while the Lakers are scoring just 3.17 per night while surrendering 4.17 goals per contest.

Last weekend, the Lakers (2-3-1, 0-2 CCHA) secured their first victories of the season by sweeping Colgate at Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. LSSU is led offensively by sophomore forward Domenic Monardo (3-3-6), senior forward Rick Schofield (3-5-8) and sophomore defenseman Zach Trotman (3-3-6). In net, the Lakers will be carried by senior Brian Mahoney-Wilson and freshman Kevin Kapalka.

The Lakers are 0-2 away from the Soo.

Friday, October 15, 2010

RedHawks Knock off St. Cloud 6-3

Camper's two goals lead #4 Miami over #11 St. Cloud State

St. Cloud, Minn. - Senior captain Carter Camper tallied on the powerplay and added a shorthanded goal to lead #4 Miami to a 6-3 victory over #11 St. Cloud State.

After surrendering an early first period goal, Miami would recover on the strength of two powerplay goals by senior Andy Miele and sophomore Curtis McKenzie to lead 2-1 after one period. The RedHawks were able to withstand early energy from the Huskies who were playing their home opener after splitting a pair at the Maverick Stampede last weekend in Omaha, Neb. On Friday the Huskies defeated Frozen Four upstart RIT 3-1, but fell to Clarkson 6-2 in Saturday's finale.

The RedHawks rebounded nicely from a subpar outing last Saturday night against then #10 New Hampshire when they surrendered five second period goals en route to a 6-3 loss at Steve Cady Arena. Though they were outplayed in the first period of tonight's game, they found themselves ahead 2-1 after one period despite a 12-5 SOG disadvantage.

Miami took control of the game in the second period on the strength of Camper's powerplay marker and freshman Bryon Paulazzo's first career goal taking a 4-1 lead into the final period. The RedHawks imposed their will in the second period carrying the play and reversing the SOG deficit by outshooting the Huskies 14-4 in the period.

The Hawks put the game out of reach in the third on goals by Camper and sophomore Reilly Smith, but took five penalties in the frame allowing two Husky powerplay goals during garbage time. Miami needs to clean up their play in order to finish off St. Cloud tomorrow night in the series finale (8pm EST).

Junior netminder Cody Reichard made 21 saves and recorded his second win of the season to run his record to 2-0. For the game, Miami outshot the Huskies 31-24. St. Cloud was 2-7 on the powerplay while Miami converted three of six opportunities with the man advantage.

- Junior assistant captain Alden Hirschfeld, the reigning CCHA offensive player of the week, did not play this evening and apparently did not make the trip to St. Cloud.
- Camper has five goals already this season in just three games.
- Miami is now 8-1-1 all-time against St. Cloud State.
- The Huskies are coached by former Miami assistant Bob Motzko, a George Gwozdecky disciple. Motzko actually mentored current Miami head coach Enrico Blasi when he was a player for the then Miami Redskins.
- Sophomore defenseman Joe Hartman is making a homecoming this weekend. Hartman is originally from St. Cloud, Minn.
- Curiously, each of Miami's three games has finished with identical 6-3 scores.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

CBJ Round Table - Part IV

Welcome back, my firends, to the show that never ends. We're so glad you could attend. Come inside, come inside.

For those who are stumbling upon this blog for the first time, welcome to Jackets Required! For our loyal readers returning, please remember to take your dirty shoes off. Part 4 of the CBJ bloggers Round Table is here! Today's questions address the view of the mainstream media towards our Jackets, and Arniel's decision to take #61 off the Penalty Kill. Enjoy!

QUESTION #7: The larger “hockey media” has largely written off Columbus for dead due to the low roster turnover and coaching changes. Give a few reasons why they might be wrong…and a few reasons why they might be right?
Tom Felrath, Dark Blue Jacket: Boilerplate answers all around: Negatively, poor performance with no major personnel shakeup equals history repeating itself. Hence, the 14th-15th rankings in the West. On the bright side, the core of the roster is relatively young and maturing. Every year of experience is...another year of experience to build upon. Plus, the new coaching staff and playing philosophy should be helpful in shaking the team out of the doldrums. And these guys know that they have a lot to prove after falling down last season.
Dan Parker, Waiting for Next Year: They might be wrong because there is finally a system in place that encourages the younger, generally more skilled guys to open it up and let their talent take over. Couple in the general development of those young players and adding in the potential of a guy like Filatov, and this team should score some more goals. Steve Mason probably can't play any worse than he did a year ago (one would hope), so even if one takes the defense exactly as bad as it was last season the offense should be improved enough to mitigate some of it right there.However, they might be right because frankly, the Jackets blue line was atrocious last year, and it's all the same guys coming back and being asked to play in a system that encourages more pushing up and less staying at home on defense. They could get burned A LOT. If an injury here or there on offense slows down the output and the defense is as bad as it potentially could be, another 14th place finish is certainly a strong possibility.
Mike MacLean, The Cannon: Why they might be wrong? Laziness. You look at the team's standing last season (14th in the West) and you look at their roster changes (Moreau, Wilson...low-key to say the least) and without doing their homework it's easy to write the Jackets off again. If Mason, Brassard and FIlatov don't take the next step, or if anybody else on the roster regresses, they may be correct.
Lee Auer, The Jackets Blog: Scott Arniel's system could work perfectly, the Jackets end up with Rick Nash, Jake Voracek, Antoine Vermette, and Nikita Filatov scoring 30+ goals, Derick Brassard becomes the player we caught a glimpse of in 2008, RJ Umberger contributes 60+ points on the 3rd line, Kritian Huselius keeps up his usual 70-ish points a season, and there are no major injuries, this team can score with anyone. Not to mention the addition of grit with "teeth" (aka Ethan Moreau) and an angry Mike Commodore, this team could be a big thorn in the side that catches many teams off-guard again.
On the contrary, if you take one second to look at our roster, there isn't much reason to expect the Jackets to be contending for Lord Stanley's cup in early June. The biggest reason for this being the blueline. Jan Hejda and Fedor Tyutin *might* serve as a second pairing on the upper echelon of teams, and most of our defensemen might not even play every game. Not to mention, but there is a very real possibility that Scott Arniel's system could prove impotent once opponents figure out how to beat it.
Red Dog, Red Dog Rambling: -breakout year from Voracek-Filatov with a memorable first full season in the league-Mason will prove his mettle-Commodore will surprise with his effectiveness in Arniel's system-Arniel's system-Moreau is not washed up, is hungry, and will be a mentor to many of the youngsters-Brassard will grow more and more solid and become a notable playmaker-there is suddenly more depth in the AHL than this CBJ fan can remember seeing (Savard, Moore, Guenin, Kubalik, Calvert all seem ready - or near ready - to fill in when needed, and none of them were available a year ago.
TopShelf, Jackets Required: Reason they might be wrong: There are 2 main reasons for optimism in CBJland. The first is that Steve Mason will be better, the question is how much better. He single handedly took the team to the playoffs two years ago. If he can return to 80% of what he was his rookie year, that will go a long way to the Jackets being in the hunt. The second reason is that the Jackets offensive production will be much improved. Voracek, Nash and Filatov, in that order, will lead the team in goals. More goals scored + fewer goals allowed = playoffs.Reasons they might be right: In 9 previous seasons, we've only overcome their no-playoffs predictions once, and it was a surprise to everyone. If Mason is an average NHL goalie and the new system does not translate into more goals (or leads to more penalties than new goals), the jackets will be in line for another awesome draft prospect to build the future around.

Jeff Little, Ten Minute Misconduct: Focusing on roster turnover is too simplistic. Due to the burden of the Foote and Fedorov contracts, Howson has really had two years to turn the whole ship around. We had guys underperform last year, in a system ill-designed for their talents and with a coach who was not equipped to deal with younger players. You can't blow up the roster every year, looking for the quick fix, when things go south. People need to get used to the fact that this is the pros, not college. This is a long term enterprise -- and we have a big stockpile of young talent. That being said, some players should be looking over their shoulder --- Methot, Boll, Dorsett, Clark. If Mason does not rebound, Howson may make a move. The greater hockey media is fascinated with the status quo, and respond to major personnel moves, of which there were . . . zero. The only two deals worth talking about ended up with the player staying put.
Matt Wagner, The Cannon: On the plus side, this is a team finally playing the type of hockey that they’re best suited for. Guys like Nash, Filatov, Voracek, and Brassard didn’t become top NHL draft picks by playing the trap or heavy defensive systems. They were in high offense, run and gun, aggressive teams. Taking the dogs off the leash should have exciting results. We’ve also seen players like Steve Mason and Mike Commodore start to rebound from bad seasons last year, and they seemed to improve even more in this pre-season. If they can continue to return to form, suddenly this team seems much more like a playoff club than a lottery team. On the down side, it’s still a young club, and changing offensive and defensive philosophies is tough. If they cannot adapt to the demands of playing for Scott Arniel quickly, it can be easy to dig themselves into a deep hole that they cannot recover from – look at Toronto last year, with a 0-8-1 start that pretty much torpedoed their season.
QUESTION #8: Will reducing the time Rick Nash is on the PK give him a better shot to lead the team offensively?
DBJ: Gosh, I hope so. He won’t have the excuse that he’s tired.
Dan Parker: I think it's a non-starter, actually. I think that if the top six can be consistent and can pick up some slack--as they did down the stretch--Rick can relax, play his game, and do what he does without having to try to be the everything on offense as it looked like he tried to do at times last season. And, as an aside, I'd just love the chance to see the Nash from the Olympics last year who used his size and skated like a banshee to become a super-force on offense. It always pains me to see what he's capable of with a lot of talent around him and when he's, how you say, more motivated.
Mike MacLean: I think so. If he can focus on putting up points, the team will be better off. There are a handful of great PKers on the team, so that will allow Nash to focus on offense.Lee: Another question that I have been trying to figure out for myself. At no point did I feel that he wasn't contributing offensively as much because of his time on the kill. I think Rick would agree with this statement, but he would not be the player he is today without Hitchcock's time in Columbus and making him play on the kill from the get-go.
I hope this move doesn't bite Arniel in the butt, but instead makes him look like a genius and Nash puts up 50 goals. I think a lot of Rick Nash's "lack of" scoring has more to do with the lack of consistent effort on his part.
TopShelf: I understand the line of thought here... keep Nash off the PK to keep him fresh for offensive needs. The problem is he is arguably our best penalty killer. If someone steps up and can be strong on the PK in Nash's place, then this is an okay idea. My gut feeling is that we will have more players stepping up in the goal scoring dept than in the penalty killing dept, and we will want to keep Rick on the PK. I would like to be proven wrong on this.

Andy Newman, The Cannon: Rick Nash should absolutely be a better player now if he's playing less minutes overall, with more time on the power play and in scoring situations. Ken Hitchcock helped make Nash one of the best two-way players in the league. But it's evident in international competitions and All-Star games, Nash is one of the premiere scoring talents in the world right now. He could hit 50 goals in the right situation. It's important to not overlook his value to the penalty kill, but with R.J. Umberger, Antoine Vermette, Sammy Pahlsson, Chris Clark, and even Jake Voracek, the team should definitely be able to spread the minutes around.
Red Dog: I like him on the kill, but rest is good, eh?
Jeff Little: Over the long haul of the season, it should enable him to stay fresher, but I don't think it is a big factor in his productivity. With Hitchcock's system, our offense was basically playing 3-on-5, and the defense could key on Nash. With the possession game and the defense involved, a la Chicago and Detroit, more time and space will be created for all of the forwards, including Nash. What Nash, and the other forwards, need to do is put the puck on net more consistently -- not "Chimera" the puck over the bar or wide.
Matt Wagner: Nash played an average of five minutes a game more than his linemates. He was the guy most often double or triple shifted, and it took a toll on him. Some of that is conditioning, which he seems to have improved, but certainly asking him to play more time at even strength or with the man advantage should be good for his offensive skills and to help him develop a little more on-ice swagger.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

CBJ Roundtable - Part III

In the third installment of this weeks Special Feature, the Jacketsblog hasthe next round of questions and answers posted. Todays topics concern which players have more to prove this season, and if there is a leadership issue with the club. Be sure to check it out. These are bloggers who watch a lot of hockey, not just the Jackets, and there are some good thoughts on the Jackets and their issues.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

CBJ Roundtable, part deux

"Nikita Filatov, and Restricted Free Agents"

The next series of questions is being hosted by The Dark Blue Jacket, one of my favorite CBJ blogs. Be sure to check it out. Today's questions concern breakout players and what to do with Anton Stralman.
Who do you think will be the offensive breakout player this season?

Monday, October 11, 2010

CBJ Roundtable

Bloggin' ain't easy, but it's necessary.

There are a lot of questions regarding our favorite NHL team as the new season begins. With that in mind, many of your favorite CBJ bloggers have teamed up to present a unique and (hopefully) entertaining way to bring you, our dear readers, our collective thoughts on the burning questions of the day. Different blogs will be posting different questions and answers on different days. Today The Cannon has the first installment. Be sure to check back all week as different sites will be posting new installments. As always, please join in the fun by posting your thoughts and comments in the section below.

Special thanks to Matt of The Cannon for putting this Blog-o-Rama together!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Four Lines Deep - 10.8.10

Sharks at Blue Jackets; Ericsson Globe - Stockholm
3 p.m. (EST); VERSUS (HD)

Man, that was a long off season. But here we are, the vulcanized rubber biscuits are in the freezer, waiting to be dropped on the ice. Season 10 for the CBJ begins today... Carry the Ignited Flag to See it Live!

It's been a long time, loyal readers, and nothing warms the cockles of the heart like sharing our thoughts and opinions about our favorite hockey team. Its good to be back. Let's all hope Steve Mason is back too.

First Line: Matchups on the ice and behind the bench. Word out of Stockholm is that the Sharks will be rolling three scoring lines. These three lines are legit, and could expose a fatal flaw in the recently formed Jackets #2 line of Filatov-Brassard-Voracek. These are three highly talented young players, but none of them are heralded for their defensive acumen. Being responsible for tying up one of those scoring lines for the Sharks could prove to be too much for the Young Guns. Could Arniel need to shuffle things around in the first period of the first game? That on-ice matchup relates directly to Arniel and his career debut at the NHL coaching level. Sharks coach Todd McClellan is experienced and has earned a lot of wins. It will be interesting to watch Arniel and his staff as they match wits with the San Jose staff.

Second Line: So, whats this new "system" all about? All new coaching staff, all new approach to the game. Jackets fans are use to watching a system of hockey that favored 3 offensive players trying to score goals, while the 2 defensemen did little more than keep the puck in the zone. Arniel brings a system that intentionally incorporates those two defensemen into the offensive game plan. It's so crazy, it just might work. Arniel's system asks the defensemen to 1) be more assertive in getting the put out of the defensive zone, and 2) when appropriate feel free to join in the offensive play and help make good things happen. This second part is the tricky one. If the defensmen moves too deep into the offensive zone, it is easy for the other team to get an odd-man rush the other way. So a forward may need to cover for the "pinching" defenseman... now you have a forward playing D, and a defenseman playing offense... it can lead to good and bad things. It is a higher risk, higher reward system than we Jackets fans are use to watching. It could lead to losses, but they will be more enjoyable to watch than in years past.

Third Line: Which Steve Mason will we get? From Rookie Sensation, to Sophomore Death Spiral, Steve Mason has experienced some extreme peaks and valleys. If the CBJ are to have any hope of making a playoff run, Mason will have to be the player he was in his rookie year when he won the Calder Trophy, and challenged for the Vezina. As goes Mason, so go the Jackets.

Fourth Line: Brother, can you spare a match? Year 10 for the franchise... a decade... one playoff appearance resulting in a four game sweep. Is Nash honked off enough to light a fire under the rest of the players? Does he have to do it alone, or will others in the room step up? we saw some fire in the belly of these guys during the playoff run two years ago... last year it wasn't there, even in the beginning. Will the hunger for success propel this team to win games? We'll find out at 3:00 this afternoon.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

CannonFest 2010 - Reminder!

Don't forget that the first annual CannonFest is taking place this Sunday! Come by BW-3s, 968 W Fifth Ave and enjoy a cold one, some tasty wings, and lots of Jackets talk with the whole CBJ blogging community!

Be sure to print out the coupons below for deals on food and drinks, plus the chance to win a kick-ass beer tube.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Design-a-Mask Competition

Sorry for the late notice, but I just saw this email in an inbox I rarely check. If you have been looking for a way to combine your artistic skilllz with your love for the CBJ, here you go!

DESIGN OUR GOALIES' MASKS - Or At Least Have a Chance to Win a Blue Jackets Third Jersey
Hey Blue Jackets season ticket holder! It is still not too late to submit your designs for the goalie masks that will be worn by Steve Mason and Mathieu Garon during the upcoming 2010-11 season. This once in a lifetime chance to make your mark on the Blue Jackets 10th season is available to ticket holders with full season, 20-game, 10-game and 6-game packages, as well as their spouses and children. Not the artistic type, no problem. Just send in your idea as to what should be included on the mask and if chosen, each goaltender's artist will take care of the rest.Upon receiving all entries, Steve and Mathieu will each select one winning design that will adorn his mask for the 2010-11 season. Following the season, each will autograph his game-worn mask and personally present it to their respective fan designers.In addition, all those who enter the contest are eligible to win a Blue Jackets third jersey, which will be introduced during the upcoming season, autographed by both goaltenders.
Complete contest details, including a printable mask design template can be found at the Season Ticket Holders page on or by CLICKING HERE.All entries must be received by Friday, July 16.All entries must be mailed to:Blue Jackets Mask Design ContestNationwide Arena200 W. Nationwide Blvd.Columbus, OH 43215

Monday, July 12, 2010

CannonFest 2010

Doldrums of Summer got you down? Need a hockey fix to get you through baseball season? Come to CannonFest and pretend like the puck drops tomorrow!
Join local bloggers and other fans as we gather to discuss all things CBJ. You can even RSVP on facebook... so you know this is a huge deal!

Monday, July 5, 2010

R.I.P. Mr. Probert

Bob Probertt died of an apparent heart attack today. Our thoughts are with his family. There was a lot more to Bob than his fighting prowess, but here are a few clips of what he did best. Godspeed Mr. Probert.

Friday, June 25, 2010

It's a Center!

I'll admit I nearly fell out of my chair when Howson selected someone that was not a defenseman with offensive skill. While I thought it was an interesting thought on Michael Arace's part when he mentioned Ryan Johansen in a recent commentary in the Dispatch, I was convinced the Jackets would take Gormley or Fowler. That said, the Jackets organization needs a play making center, and that is what Howson got. Aaron Portzline reports that Howson did try to trade down with the idea of taking Johansen in the 7-8-9 area, but couldn't make it happen. That he took the player he wanted with the pick he had says a lot about how highly the organization regarded Johansen.

The editors here at JR will do an Around the Boards feature in the next couple of days to get everyone's opinion on the entire draft, but for now here is an interview with Johansen moments after being drafted. Carry the Flag.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Afternoon Scrum 6/2/10

Hockey headlines for the CBJ and from around the league. Mmmmm... hockey

Just a few nuggets I came across today I thought I'd share. Have a good one.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Coaching Update

TSN is reporting that Howson has asked for, and been granted permission by the Montreal Canadiens to speak with Guy Boucher. Won't be long now!

Have a nice Memorial Day.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Around the Boards 5/28/10

Hawks vs Flyers to raise Lord Stanley's Cup. Who ya got?

Stick on the Ice:

I think Chicago will be winning the Cup this year. And that really is saying a lot, because they not only have to defeat a physical Flyers team, but they also have to contend with the Curse of Hossa and any lingering Karmic debt from that horrendous mural of Toews with the Island of Dr. Moreau nosejob. However, they simply have too much talent up front for Philly to contain. Hats off to Leighton -- he has been rock solid and certainly outperformed any reasonable expectations. But he's not going to stop Kane, Toews, Sharp, Hossa and all the other threats that Chicago cycles in. It's not as though Chicago is only limited to a solid scoring punch -- they have the best blueline in the NHL right now, and Seabrook, Keith, etc. have already proven that they could shut down the most productive forward line in the league during the Western Conference Finals. Richards, Leino and Briere are really going to have trouble finding much space. And when you have a role player like Big Buff pounding in goals almost nightly, you know that they have all the intangibles clicking too. Not to be too biased towards the West, but if nothing else, I have a really hard time believing that the 7th seed from the East is going to take down Chicago. I call Chicago in five...maybe six.


"We have no response, that was perfect."

Top Shelf:

'Hawks in 6. At this point, we can forget the "on paper" matchups. Forget that Philly was a 7 seed in the East and that Chicago was a 2 in the West. What we have now is two Conference champions playing a best-of-seven series for the prize that all of these players have dreamed about since they were kids. I want the Blackhawks to win, and believe they will win, but Philly quite obviously has their Broad Street Mojo working and they will put up a helluva fight. Flyers G Brian Boucher (remember him Jackets fans?) wants back in the line up after recovering from injury. It will be interesting to see if this leads to some kind of goalie carousel for Philly. If it does, that does not bode well for the Flyers.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Around the Boards 5/19/10

And then there were four... okay, three.

With Paul MacLean out of the running to take the reigns in Columbus, the coaching search is rumored to be down to 4 candidates: Kevin Dineen, Guy Boucher, Claude Noel and Scott Arniel. The team at Jackets Required weighs in on who the next Head Coach should be, and why. Finally.

I am tempted to put this in the slam dunk category for Kevin Dineen.

  • Proven ability to work with young talent? Check.
  • Demonstrated record of finding success early? Check.
  • Hockey career/pedigree that current players (ie: young) can remember? Check.
  • Create some buzz among the few fans who are still paying attention? Check, more or less. At least more so than any other candidate.

The only thing that keeps me being completly convinced it is ol' number 11 is that Jackets GM Scott Howson is wise enough to keep an open mind and allow all the candidates to make their case, and then make an informed decision. Make no mistake, Dineen is a legit coach who will be assuming the helm of an NHL team much sooner than later, but any sentimentality fans and CBJ supporters may have for Dineen will not play into Howson's decision. If either Arniel or Boucher seem a better fit, they will get the job.
And yes, I left Claude Noel out of that sentence intentionally. If Howson thought he was
the man for the job he would have hired him weeks ago and forgone the protracted search. I wish him well, and fear his return to the Predators organization. All signs are that the Jackets are looking to continue the recent NHL trend of hiring a head coach who embraces the concept of playing and winning with a large dose of young talent. The inability of Ken Hitchcock to do this was what led to the need for a new coach in the first place. Dineen, Arniel and Boucher have proven that they are capable of winning with youth, albeit at a level of hockey where all the players are young. But it is the way they have managed to lead those young players that is the key. Further bolstering Dineen's "kid-cred" is that before proving himself behind the bench, the Jackets organization thought enough of his ability to relate to young players that they made him their Director of Player Development. Dude just flat out knows how to relate to young players. And that is the name of the game in this coaching search.


Kevin Dineen.

If it wasn't to be Paul MacLean, which I firmly believe would have been the right choice of the known candidates, then I think it will be the former Blue Jacket (and blessed Hartford Whaler). And, if Aaron Portzline is correct, Dineen just completed his second interview with Jackets brass at Double Eagle (posted on his Twitter feed around 9:15pm). Knowing Double Eagle is akin to the McConnell family's compound really makes me believe it'll be Dineen. I think that if it were going to be interim coach Claude Noel, he would have already been awarded the job. That said, I'm not a big fan of Kevin Dineen as a head coach. Why the Blue Jackets need to settle for a guy without NHL coaching experience or escapes me when you have a highly qualified, seasoned NHL assistant with just as much minor head coaching experience as Dineen, just three hours away in Detroit. MacLean is a guy who has been exposed to the right way to do things in the league. This strikes me as something the Jackets have never seemed to have, or at least show, even with Ken Hitchcock at the helm. But, if I could have chosen anyone, I would have brought back the Jackets' first ever head coach and current Phoenix Coyotes assistant, Dave King. King would have provided the right mix of hockey theory and tactics with a proven ability to deal with young players.The job he and Dave Tippett did this year with the Coyotes was impressive. Plus, King just seems to get it. He has a great demeanor and would have provided the daily stability this club seems to lack. Never too high or low, King's work with Hockey Canada, the European leagues, the Coyotes, Flames and the Blue Jackets is a great mix of experience that I believe would have been perfect for this club.

Stick on the Ice:

First off, I was a little surprised by MacLean not making it to the second round of interviews. I'm sure that Howson has great reasons, but I'm eager to uncover the reasoning. In my opinion, MacLean was solidly in my Top 3 and probably in my Top 2. He knows the Central very well, he's been part of Cup wins in two Western Conference markets and he was a solid NHL player. Further, he played at least some role in Detroit developing its young talent as successfully as it has. I thought that he, moreso than any of the other candidates, would have brought the most immediate cache behind the bench. I'm not saying he was the best candidate, but I was just surprised to see him out of the running so early. I'm sure he'll be a little saucy the next time we face the Wings. I know this isn't much of a reach, but I do think it's going to be Dineen. With MacLean out of it, it comes down to the interim coach and several AHL coaches. I like Noel a great deal -- and I do believe that he's a capable NHL caliber coach -- but I just see the organization going with some new blood. So, if you buy into that theory, the decision comes down to one of several AHL coaches. Any coach that meets with consistent AHL coaching success has to know how to develop young talent and natural potential -- all the candidates have proven that. But Dineen has some intangibles that really complement his natural gifts as a coach and put him ahead of the pack. For starters, he is a known commodity within the organization and has already received the vocal - if not yet public - support of the locker room. He played the game at a very high level for nearly 19 years in the NHL -- I think that will bring a unique perspective to the locker room. Plenty of people in Nationwide Arena saw him punch opposing players in the face and score goals. He scored more than 350 goals and had more than 2200 penalty minutes. That is impressive. It's already been proven to the organization that the guy has heart and a real will to win. And he has a standing relationship with Tyler Wright, as the two played together 2000-2002. With all the young talent that Columbus has to develop, I see the relationship between Tyler Wright and the new head coach as critically important. Dineen also served as a development coach for the Jackets, so he has great insight on the intricacies of that job -- which I see as another positive. Last -- it was just reported on Puck Rakers ( that Dineen was the first to get a second interview. It could be due to scheduling logistics, but that cadence seems tellling. And Boucher really has some ground to make up since he's yet to even have his first interview. And if Arniel gets an offer from Atlanta, I don't see the Jackets getting into a bidding war.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Jarod Palmer signs with Wild

Miami's Palmer signs free agent deal with Minnesota

A few weeks ago, Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson mentioned that he was looking at one college free agent as a potential signee. I was hoping it was going to be Miami's Jarod Palmer who had 18-27-45 this year for the RedHawks. Aside from possessing blistering speed, Palmer has everything you'd want. Decent size, great hands, a penchant for penalty-killing. Sound like someone the Jackets could use? You betcha. Plus, he's 24 years old and would have the maturity the team sometimes lacks.

Alas, the Wild scooped up the Minnesota native and signed him to a 1-year, $700,000 deal.

Here's the Star Tribune's coverage.

And, perhaps the Wild were swayed by THIS from last year's developmental camp. Nasty.

Best of luck to Jarod in the future. He was a great player at Miami for four years.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

This is Our Time!

Miami prepares to take on Boston College at Ford Field

Well, its come down to this.

The Miami RedHawks, last year's national runners-up, ranked #1 for the majority of this season, the runaway winners of the CCHA regular season title, champions of the NCAA Midwest Regional and the NCAA Tournament's top overall seed are back in the Frozen Four. Standing in their way in tomorrow night's national semifinal, however, is a name all too familiar to Miami hockey fans, players and alumni, Boston.

Whether it's followed by "University," as it was in last year's national championship game, or "College," as it was in 2006, 2007 and 2008, it has meant the same thing - loss. In some cases as in 2008 and 2009, it meant heartbreaking loss.

As Miami's program has continued to improve, the past six years have returned remarkable success. Consider:
  • Miami has the best winning percentage in college hockey since 2005-06.
  • Since 2007-08, Miami has spent more time atop the college hockey polls than any other school.
But, they are just 1-4 against Boston College/University during those years with the one victory coming over BU at the now defunct Lefty McFadden Tournament in Dayton back in 2004. And, tomorrow's opponent, Boston College, knocked the RedHawks out of the national tournament three consecutive years.

In 2006, Miami captured just its second ever CCHA regular season title and was ranked number one during the regular season for the first time in school history. However, they would fall in the CCHA Championship game dropping the RedHawks from a #1 to a #2 seed setting up the first of three consecutive meetings with the Eagles. This one coming in the first round. A broken stick and two empty net goals led BC to a 5-0 blanking of Miami. BC earned a trip to the Frozen Four, but lost in the national championship game to Wisconsin.

In 2007, Miami eeked out an at-large berth and #4 seed drawing New Hampshire in the first round. Led by junior captain Ryan Jones and classmate Nathan Davis, the RedHawks upset UNH earning the school's first-ever NCAA Tournament victory. Awaiting in the regional final? BC. Once again, the Eagles shut out the RedHawks breaking open a close game late and winning 4-0. With the victory over Miami, BC earned another trip to the Frozen Four, but fell in the national title game to Michigan State.

In 2008, Miami finished the regular season and CCHA Tournament 32-7-1 garnering a #1 seed in the national tournament. In the first round, Miami found themselves in a dogfight with all-world netminder Andrew Volkening and Air Force. After defeating the Falcons in overtime, they found themselves face to face with nemesis Boston College. Again. This time, Miami would take a 2-0 lead in the second period, but on the strength of three quick, consecutive goals, BC led 3-2 entering the final period. Senior captain Ryan Jones tied the game at three, but a fluke goal during overtime by current BC junior Joe Whitney sent the Eagles to their third consecutive Frozen Four. This time, they would not be denied winning the national title by defeating upstart Notre Dame in the final.

So, seeing Boston College on the docket standing between Miami and a return trip to the national championship game isn't all that surprising. The Eagles started slowly but have gone 17-4-1 over their last 22 games finishing 27-10-3 and are currently riding an 11 game unbeaten streak. But, BC has been incredibly lax defensively surrendering 14 goals over the past three games which will be a killer against a Miami team that is number one in the nation in team defense and ranked in the top 10 offensively. On the flip side, the Eagles can score. They rank second nationally in team offense and have potted 19 goals over those past three games winning each of them including a wild 9-7 win over Yale in the Northeast Region final.

Boston College appears to be a small team, compared to Miami, with one line that encompasses nearly 40% of their scoring. The Eagles are led by the line of Cam Atkinson (27 goals), Brian Gibbons (16) and Joe Whitney (16). However, none of the three are taller than 5'8" and Whitney is just 5'6". What does that mean? It means Miami's big, and mobile, defense should have a field day clearing pucks, punishing BC forwards and should dominate this game. You have to believe the CCHA's Defensive Player of the Year and CBJ draft pick, Will Weber (6'4", 225) is licking his chops considering the size differential. Weber and his defense partner, Joe Hartman (6'4", 200), comprise Miami's top defensive pairing. And, with Vincent LoVerde likely still out of the lineup due to injury, you can expect this pair plus Cameron Schilling (6'2", 185) and Steve Spinell (6'1", 200) to see quite a bit of ice time versus the diminutive, but speedy, Eagles.

In net, Miami and BC have experienced netminders to choose from. BC's John Muse backstopped the Eagles to the national title in 2008, and of course, Miami's Cody Reichard took the RedHawks to within a heartbeat of the title last year while Connor Knapp made 55 saves in the 3-2 double overtime Midwest Regional final victory over Michigan just under two weeks ago. But, I'll take either of the Miami pair over Muse who has been, frankly, awful of late.

After a review of the stats, schedules and rosters, I think Miami will find a way to win this game. BC's defense and goaltending have been abysmal, and you can't count on scoring five goals in a game like this. Defense and goaltending win championships and I think Miami has a distinct advantage in both categories.

Like the Michigan game, Miami must defeat a team that's become their nemesis. If they want to become a truly elite program, these are the teams, in these situations, that the RedHawks must knock off to exorcise their past failures. In a sense it's a revenge game for Miami. Considering BC has beaten them three consecutive times in the tournament, you'd think Miami will be more than up for this game and playing with something to prove. They desperately want to beat a team with the word "Boston" on the front of their sweaters.

Should Miami be fortunate enough to advance, they would play the winner of the RIT/Wisconsin semifinal at 7pm Saturday night on ESPN.

What: Frozen Four National Semifinals
Who: #4 RIT (28-11-1) v. #1 Wisconsin (27-10-4) - 5pm ESPN2 (Thursday, April 8)
#1 Boston College (27-10-3) v. #1 Miami (29-7-7) - 8:30pm ESPN2 (Thursday, April 8)
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, Mich.

National Championship Game
7pm ESPN (Saturday, April 10)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Motoring to Motown!

Sophomore Alden Hirschfeld's winner in double OT sends Miami back to the Frozen Four

With Miami's 3-2 victory over Michigan on Sunday night, the RedHawks once again find themselves within two wins of the national title. Miami will face a familiar foe in Boston College with RIT and Wisconsin making up the other national semifinal. Miami and BC faceoff at 8:30pm on Thursday, April 8 from Ford Field.

More on the matchups later. In the meantime, here's a healthy heaping of links to all the game coverage.

Sylvania native Hirschfeld delivers for RedHawks - Toledo Blade

Moving on to Motown - MU RedHawks Hockey Blog

Redemption for RedHawks -

Miami drops Michigan in 2 OT - (with video highlights)

Frozen Four Preview - Detroit Free Press

Boston College awaits RedHawks
- Dayton Daily News

Knapp, Miami survive, move on
- College Hockey

RedHawks exorcise OT demons - Inside College

More to come over the next week leading up to Thursday's games. Congratulations to the RedHawks!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

NCAA Tournament Time!

With the work thing getting in my way this week, and quite a bit recently, Alex over at MURedHawks Hockey Blog has the honors this week of writing up the preview of today's game against UAH. Thanks for letting me steal the content, Alex!

Many of you diehard college hockey fans have no doubt heard about the University of Alabama-Huntsville Chargers, but the majority of the publicity that UAH has gotten lately has been less than encouraging. Throughout the program's existence, UAH has been a part of the soon to be defunct College Hockey America (CHA). For now, the Chargers are in essence "homeless," without an official conference to play in next season and an independent schedule in front of them. With Nebraska-Omaha's departure from the CCHA creating an open slot, UAH applied for membership, and received a "thanks but no thanks" reply from the league and commissioner Tom Anastos. Most certainly down, but not out, the Chargers are writing a new chapter in their program's history, winning the final CHA Championship and making the NCAA Tournament as an Automatic Qualifier.

This won't be the first time that the two schools have met. Miami swept the Chargers in the 2003-2004 season at Goggin Ice Arena and Miami holds a 5-1 all-time advantage against UAH. Here's a look at the matchup, scheduled for 4pm ET on ESPNU:

Up front, UAH has forwards Cody Campbell and Andrew Coburn. Campbell, a sophomore and Coburn, a junior are both 22 point scorers. Campbell has 8-14-22 on the season and Coburn is an assist better than his teammate, notching 7-15-22. Separating these two players gives the Chargers the ability to roll more than one line, as Coburn usually centers a line with Kevin Morrison and Chris Fairbanks. Campbell plays on the right wing with Neil Ruffini in the middle and Sebastien Geoffrion on the left side. The RedHawks will need to keep an eye on these two lines, especially Ruffini's.

The bread and butter within the Chargers game resides on the blueline and on special teams, particularly with the penalty kill, ranked 4th in the nation. On the blueline, there are a good mix of underclassmen and "veterans"; seniors with NCAA tournament experience.

Unlike the RedHawks, UAH has a definitive number one goaltender in Cameron Talbot. No platoons here. The junior has recorded the decision in every one of the Chargers games this season and has a record of 12-17-3 with a 2.62 GAA and a .924 save percentage (which ties him for 5th in the nation with our own Cody Reichard). Backup 'tender Blake MacNicol has only seen action in two games and has no record.

Keys to Victory
For Miami to advance, staying out of the penalty box and running a physical game are both very important. The RedHawks definitely have the size advantage in this matchup, and will rely on that physicality to carry the tempo.

Prediction: UAH is a great story, but doesn't have the depth that the RedHawks do. Many say this is a "trap game"; a 4-1 matchup, but I think the skill and experience win out. Miami advances, 4-2.

Friday Recap

East Regional
#4 RIT 2, #1 Denver 1 - Yet another #4 seed defeating a #1. Last year, three #4's advanced to the second round including Miami. Obviously the RedHawks will be on full alert today as they take on a #4 seed themselves.

#3 New Hampshire 6, #2 Cornell 2 - Overrated Cornell taken behind the woodshed by UNH. All-world goaltender Ben Scrivens let in several soft goals as the Wildcats rolled.

West Regional
#1 Wisconsin 3, #4 Vermont 2 - Close game, but Wiscy wasn't really threatened.

#2 St. Cloud 4, #3 Northern Michigan 3 (2 OT) - Bummer for the CCHA, but NMU played well. Interestingly, SCSU notches it's first ever NCAA Tournament victory setting up a rematch of last week's WCHA tournament semifinal where the Huskies shutout the Badgers 2-0. This game will be played in the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul likely handing the Huskies a sizeable home ice advantage.

Saturday's Schedule

Midwest Regional - Semifinals
#1 Miami v. #4 Alabama-Huntsville - 4pm ESPNU
#2 Bemidji State v. #3 Michigan - 7:30pm FSN North

Northeast Regional - Semifinals
#1 Boston College v. #4 Alaska-Fairbanks - 1:30pm
#2 North Dakota v. #3 Yale - 5pm FSN North

East Regional Final
#3 UNH v. #4 RIT - 6:30pm ESPNU HD

West Regional Final
#1 Wisconsin v. #2 St. Cloud State - 9pm ESPNU HD

Sunday's Schedule
Northeast Regional Final - 5:30pm ESPNU
Midwest Regional Final - 8pm ESPNU

Friday, March 19, 2010

2010 CCHA Championship Weekend - March 19-20

Miami captain Tommy Wingels hopes to continue last night's celebration on the ice in Detroit

Detroit, Mich. (March 19) - The CCHA season has hit its annual end point with the four remaining teams congregating in Detroit for the final weekend of CCHA play. This weekend, three of the top four seeds made it to the Joe for the CCHA Championships including top seeded Miami and #7 seed Michigan who play tonight at 8pm on the Big Ten Network.

#3 Ferris State and #4 Northern Michigan will meet in the first semifinal with the winner advancing to the championship game against either Miami or Michigan.

Miami and Michigan have faced each other twice already this season with Miami sweeping the Wolverines in Ann Arbor 3-1 and 5-1. But, as they say, that was then, this is now.

These Wolverines are 6-2 over their last eight games and just completed a two game sweep of arch rival MSU in East Lansing to earn a berth in the finals weekend. By most accounts, the Wolverines must win the tournament to keep their 19-year streak of NCAA tournament appearances alive. They are playing fast. They are playing smart and strong in front of walk-on goaltender Shawn Hunwick who is 5-1 since taking over for the injured Bryan Hogan. But, Hunwick has yet to face a team as talented as Miami and certainly not under the hot lights of Joe Louis Arena.

Meanwhile, Miami enters tonight's game secure. They are in the NCAA tournament, but they'd like dearly to hold onto either the #1 overall seed, or at worst, #2 by performing well this weekend. Plus, Miami has never captured the Mason Cup, a feat this team wants badly to accomplish.

Miami has talked about three championships all season. They have the first, the CCHA regular season title. The second is two wins away and the third begins next weekend. Can they do it?

Here's what College Hockey News had to say about the weekend. Miami has never fared well against Michigan, nor in Joe Louis Arena. I'm optimistic, but won't be surprised either way.

I'm out. Heading for Detroit.

Go RedHawks!

Zac Dalpe Signs with Carolina

Former OSU forward Zac Dalpe signs 3-year entry level contract

Raleigh, N.C. (March 18) - Well that didn't take long.

Just a day after Ohio State announced that long-time head coach John Markell would not be returning next season, super sophomore Zac Dalpe signed with the Carolina Hurricanes, the team that drafted him 45th overall in the 2008 NHL entry draft.

Dalpe, a finalist for the CCHA's Player of the Year, finished his Ohio State career with 34 goals and 36 assists for 70 points in 76 collegiate games. This year, Dalpe was by far Ohio State's most impressive and consistent player scoring 21-24-45 earning a spot on the CCHA's First Team. He will be assigned to AHL Albany after pocketing a $262,500 signing bonus and anticipated annual paychecks of $550,000 in 2010-11, $600,000 in 2011-12 and $700,000 2012-13 to complete the entry level deal.

In addition to losing Markell and Dalpe, Ohio State also lost junior forward Hunter Bishop, who signed with the Montreal Canadians. Bishop, a native of Fairbanks, Alaska, transferred from North Dakota two years ago and netted 15 goals and 27 points in 33 games this season for the Buckeyes. He will be assigned to AHL Hamilton.

This means the Buckeyes have lost more than 33% of their total goal production with the early departures of Dalpe and Bishop and the graduation of senior Mathieu Picard who netted 5 goals this season.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Got Hardware?

Miami takes home a truckload of hardware from
tonight's CCHA Awards Banquet

Detroit, Mich. (March 18) - The Miami RedHawks, already owners of the 2009-10 CCHA regular season title, took home nearly every individual award at tonight's CCHA awards banquet held at Detroit's Fox Theatre.

Cody Reichard - The sophomore netminder from Celina, Ohio was named the CCHA's Player of the Year besting former Ohio State forward Zac Dalpe and Northern Michigan's Erik Gustafsson. Reichard,
who also garnered Goaltender of the Year honors, finished the the regular season as the CCHA leader in goals-against average (1.23), save percentage (.950), and shutouts (5). He also led the nation in overall GAA (1.48) and winning percentage (.841).

Tommy Wingels - The junior was named captain of the RedHawks at the beginning of the season and was tonight named the CCHA's Best Defensive Forward. Wingels was +12 in CCHA action consistently seeing time against the opposition's number one line.

Will Weber - Sophomore and CBJ draft pick Weber was honored as the CCHA's Best Defensive Defenseman. Weber is 6'4" and 200 pounds and will be solid contributor for the Blue Jackets. He has a smooth skating stride and is very fast for such a big man. What's more? Weber has a mean streak to go along with that size and is a big hitter.

Enrico Blasi - Miami's head coach was named the CCHA's Coach of the Year for the fourth time in eleven seasons at Miami. Blasi led the RedHawks to their third CCHA regular season title with a remarkable 21-2-5 conference record including a 23-game unbeaten streak in league play.

Congratulations to the RedHawks! Now bring home the Mason Cup!

Coaching Change at Ohio State

Miami fans will have to find another tan man to heckle

Columbus, Ohio (March 16) - After 15 years behind the Buckeye bench, OSU athletic director Gene Smith announced the contract of head hockey coach John Markell, would not be renewed. Markell, a Bowling Green alum, took over for Jerry Welsh in the middle of the 1994-95 season and compiled a respectable 280-267-56 record including the school's only CCHA tournament title in 2004, six NCAA tournament appearances and the school's only trip to the Frozen Four back in 1998. However, after reaching the NCAA tournament last season, the Buckeyes were largely expected to contend for a top four finish in the CCHA. Instead, they finished 9th in the regular season and a disappointing 15-18-6 overall. Instead of a first round bye, the Buckeyes hosted a first round playoff series at the OSU Ice Rink sweeping Notre Dame. The following week, they traveled to regular season champion Miami where they extended the RedHawks to three games but were ultimately eliminated.

Blue Jackets beat writer Michael Arace recently penned a column where he states that Markell was not the problem, but rather, Value City Arena and the OSU administration bear much of the blame for the lack of consistency the program has put forth. While I agree Value City Arena is an absolutely awful venue for nearly anything, it's a pro-style facility that most certainly has all the amenities a professional hockey team might have. And when full, VCA could become a significant recruiting advantage for Ohio State. The problem is that college hockey simply does not play to 17,500 seats every night, anywhere. The top drawing programs like Wisconsin, North Dakota and Minnesota play in buildings that hold 15,237, 11,640 and 10,000 respectively with Wisconsin rarely playing to a full house. Arace is correct in saying that most programs have buildings that range in the 2,500 to 6,000 seat number and a rink of that size on campus at Ohio State could have far-reaching implications for the program. But, I find it highly unlikely that the administration would want to pony up $40-$50 million to build it.

Ultimately, Arace is wrong. It's not the building or the lack of real commitment to hockey at Ohio State that doomed Markell. He was not renewed because his program had stagnated. Even considering he took a program that averaged just 9 wins per season in the decade prior to his arrival on campus to one that won nearly 20 a year during his 15 seasons, he simply could never generate consistent momentum while being tormented by Rico Blasi and Miami down the road.

And while Ohio State has never been #1 in the state of Ohio for men's hockey behind Bowling Green and now Miami, there was the feeling that the momentum Markell had generated a few years ago was squandered. That even with decent recruiting classes, Ohio State was not winning enough to move the needle forward. That long time donors and season ticket holders finally gave up hope and stopped giving their money. In the end, Markell is out because he didn't win consistently enough and was too nice a guy to point out the fact that Ohio State doesn't really care about hockey, regardless of what they might say.

Ultimately, I do feel for Coach Markell and hope he finds another opportunity down the road.

Next Coach?
Adam Wodon of College Hockey News had this to say on possible Markell replacements.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Friday Night Lights - March 12

Red and White Wall - Miami defeats Ohio State (photo:

Oxford, Ohio (March 12) - Led by two goals apiece from Carter Camper and Andy Miele, the top seeded Miami RedHawks overcame a one-goal first period deficit to defeat Ohio State 6-2 in a CCHA second round tournament game at Steve Cady Arena.

Miele would get the RedHawks on the board first before Ohio State's Hunter Bishop would score his fourth and fifth goals in the last two games as the Buckeyes took a 2-1 lead into the dressing room at the end of 20 minutes.

But Camper would tie the game for Miami just 17 seconds into the second period on a one-timer from Miele and get the game-winner on the powerplay a few minutes later firing up the better-than-expected crowd of 3,141 at the Goggin Ice Center (Miami students are still on spring break). The RedHawks would score twice more in the second period to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 5-2 lead heading into the final stanza.

On the night, Miele had 2 goals and 2 assists for his third career four point game while linemate Jarod Palmer had a goal and an assist. Junior captain Tommy Wingels chipped in with two assists and added a massive, clean open ice hit on OSU assistant captain Peter Boyd which resulted in a cheap retaliation spearing penalty to Wingels' nether-region. After the intent to injure penalty was assessed, Boyd was escorted to the locker room and the Buckeyes did not muster much of a comeback even when awarded a late third period two-man advantage.

After a slow start, Miami goaltender Cody Reichard made 26 saves and Buckeye netminder Dustin Carlson was pulled for the second consecutive start at Steve Cady Arena.

Game two of the best-of-three second round series is tonight at 7:05pm from Oxford. You can find an additional game recap at

Around the CCHA

Michigan 5, MSU 1 - Don't look now, but maybe, just maybe, Michigan is about to turn it on. They overwhelmed their in-state rivals with three first period goals and rolled in front of super-sub Shawn Hunwick who is still manning the crease while Bryan Hogan recovers from a groin injury. I believe the Wolverines will have to win the CCHA Championship in order to make the NCAA Tournament for a 20th consecutive year.

Ferris State 3, UNO 1 - Solid performance from the Bulldogs in shutting down one of the hotter offenses in college hockey.

Northern Michigan 4, Alaska 3 - After jetting to a 4-0 lead, the Wildcats had to hang on to defeat the Nanooks in Marquette, Mich.

Around the Country

Niagara 5, Bemidji State 4 - With the Beavers loss, it means that the four-team CHA will likely get two teams into the NCAA tournament spoiling the hopes of an at-large bubble team from a power conference. Currently, Bemidji is 6th in the Pairwise Rankings. I find it highly unlikely they would slide far enough to miss out on an at-large bid. The Purple Eagles will go for the final CHA Tournament title tonight on home ice vs. Alabama-Huntsville.

Quinnipiac 3, Union 2 - Why include this score, you ask? Because it took 5 OT periods for the Bobcats to pull out the victory in the longest game in NCAA history! The two teams meet again tonight in just a few hours.