Small Sample Size-Itis

Being dissatisfied with the way some of my predictions have gone so far, I am going to take a flyer on guesswork this week. There has been enough observable hockey to make a few conclusions: New Hampshire, Brown, Yale, and Providence will unfortunately all lose. But there are also a number of series that will provide a considerable amount of information about teams that are still sitting in the cloud of significant unknowns.  UW/BSU is obviously the most key of these (obviously a high scoring game favors the Badgers and vice versa). BC/Cornell, BU/Northeastern, and to a lesser extent Princeton/Mercyhurst are all important series.’Who is Cornell’ is the question we ask every year. It should also be clear that I think despite their rough last few games, BC suffered from the single elimination play-off structure primarily. The Huskies are yet again playing rope-a-dope with the universe, and Princeton has the potential to make noise in the ECAC this year but we’ll see how they match up out of conference.  Stay tuned.

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Coaches Behaving Badly

The latest case is out of UConn, following situations earlier this year at OSU and Quinnipiac. The behavior seems largely obnoxious and unpleasant, rather than downright jaw-dropping as in the case of the Buckeyes. Part of the complaint is also that the coaching staff failed to rein in upperclass players who were engaged in hazing practices.

I tend to think that as with police brutality, what we are seeing here is not increase of incidence but increase of incidents becoming public. The situation has always been this bad, we just are more likely to become aware of it now. In the case of coaches using abusive language and turning a blind eye to hazing, we are also seeing a new and growing understanding of behaviors as unacceptable that would be considered normal a generation ago. Like sexual harassment, which is sometimes a component of inappropriate coaching, women have long been told that these problems are either something they must put up with in order to be considered tough or for the sake of the team, or their hysterical female emotions are causing them to overreact. For the good of our culture as a whole, including for men who have had to endure this same nonsense in the past and now also have found the courage to speak up, that’s finally changing.

College Profile: Colgate

Colgate is indeed named for the family with the toiletries empire. They have a long association with the school, which was founded in 1819. It didn’t go coed until 1970, which is par for the course for schools of its age. There was a lot of merging and de-merging with other local seminaries and universities. It started out Baptist and has also gone through several name changes. One of those splits created the University of Rochester.

The liberal arts college (yes it’s called a university), with enrollment just under 3,000, is located in a sylvan, mountainous New York setting complete with picturesque small town of Hamilton. It’s fairly expensive and is considered Ivy-esque for a SLAC: highly ranked in the U.S. News type of categories but mid-range (49th, still not bad) in terms of things the Washington Monthly ranks for, like creating social mobility. The campus made the Princeton Review’s Green Honor Roll for renewable and non-carbon-polluting energy practices. The school does have a Greek system, in which about 45% of students are enrolled. Colgate has an interesting numerological relationship with the number 13.

There seems to be a really well-thought-out core curriculum based around crucial interdisciplinary themes, rather than framing itself as some kind of timeless great books blahdy blahdy. The school website describes it as “ambitious and elegant” which is a lovely word choice. There are a surprising number of language majors, a *lot* of majors involving environmental sciences (including economics), a Native American Studies major, and a Peace and Conflict studies major among 50 or so others. The numbers suggest that many students go into careers in finance/business or in communications, so I hope someone is A. taking those liberal-artsy courses and B. translating their critical thinking focus into other fields. Bob Woodruff and Andy Rooney are among Colgate’s well-known alumni. Uber-leftist Chris Hedges and conservative commentator Monica Crowley are also both Colgate alums.

Colgate’s mascot is the Raider, about which I had trouble finding information. I later realized this had to do with the mascot, the ‘Red Raiders,’ referencing their maroon or red uniforms, but also initially being Native American. It has since been altered, to the school’s credit. Their athletics page prominently features their ‘You Can Play’ anti-homophobia video, also a welcome touch.  The women’s hockey team began as Division III in 1997, got pretty good very fast and switched to D-I in the 2000-2001 season. They’ve finished with a record above .500 three times since then, with a 19 win campaign in 2008-2009 as their best total. They’ve reached the ECAC semifinals once. Last year in a recruiting coup they brought in three first-years who had played with the U-18 Canadian national team. With the addition of goaltending this year, it still remains to be seen how that will pan out.

Sources: Colgate.edu, Wikipedia

ECAC: Part Two

Even more impressionistic than the previous post because I got home from work unexpectedly late today. More detailed exposition will definitely follow. I am also planning a post on ‘most interesting/unexpected majors among NCAA hockey players.’

Princeton‘s recruiting class is pretty damn impressive for an Ivy that is not Harvard. There is almost no way QU picks up another comparably successful season after graduating Laden and of course the coaching-related debacle. They will not be bad, but those heights are probably out of reach. RPI is definitely in the running for best hockey names 2016 but they were outscored by almost two goals a game last year and while bringing in a TON of recruits could bring change, that change may well take more than one season to arrive. Speaking of being outscored by two goals a game, Union has at the very least probably picked up some goaltending but otherwise not a standout first-year class. SLU who, bless them, uses the term ‘first-year’ on the roster, is lucky to be bringing back most of its core from a campaign that saw them ranked last season, because the new players don’t seem top-shelf.  Finally, Yale has recruits who are disgustingly amazing in all areas except, like, U-18 national hockey experience. Yes this is true of all the Ivies. See my proposed post on college majors. A solid, middle of the pack team in every way except offense (including the power play), expect more of the same with possibly some upperclass uptick among the juniors.

Initial ECAC Thoughts

Some impressionistic remarks:

My goodness, how young the Clarkson championship team was. Much of that core remains intact two years later, with a few key exceptions. One of them, Howe, has been capably if not completely replaced by Shea Tiley. Since this is only Tiley’s second season, that she actually has room for growth given her first-year numbers is impressive. Carley Mercer has stepped into the lead scoring role. The Golden Knights continue their reputation for serving as Team Canada south, adding six from the Great White Behemoth including two who saw action with U-18s, and the rest are development camp-level which is nothing to sneeze at. I predict they take the conference.

Harvard is the other school that retains an elite core (Picard has been playing for 8.6 million years now), solid if not spectacular recruits (exception: Zarzecki), and some sophomores who should be coming into their own like Laing. The Crimson were the best overall special teams units in the country last season according to College Hockey Stats. Harvard will contend for the title as well.

Last year’s biggest disappointment outside of Hockey East, Colgate, clearly believed its major hole to be goaltending. It’s picked up a promising first-year plus a backup for that role. But the Raiders were disappointing primarily because the ’14-’15 recruiting class was spectacular on paper, and the fact that as a team they produced 54 goals is not Rando’s fault. This group still has that potential as they age and let’s hope we see it.

Dartmouth returns Stacey, but the recruitment was decidedly meh and Chemago faced almost 800 shots last year. For a goalie whose save percentage is not stellar it would help to cut those down. Brown proudly announced on its website that it landed 17 players on the ECAC all-academic team, which A. of course and B. kind of sadly hilarious. They do feature one interesting new face in Cara Najjar. The team still desperately needs both scoring and goaltending. But look…just go write your American studies paper on the hermeneutics of suspicion.

And then there’s the incalculable loss program, Cornell. Although the odd thing is that they seem to graduate irreplaceable players every single year and still float around the top ten without major wow-factor recruit signings. This year they finally ratcheted up the wow factor again. Sans Saulnier, Jenner, and Fulton, the Big Red pick up three from Canada’s U-18 squad plus some American junior talent. It’s going to take time for the young players to coalesce and the goaltending is solidly middle of the pack (I do wonder if Boughn might be the better choice for them moving forward) so expect Cornell to take a step back next season but be ready for 16-17.

Next time: rounding out the ECAC teams and starting in on the endless amusement (said in a loving way) that is the CHA.