Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Guest Post #3 from tAnonymous

“The Final Word” Or Not So Much…
Before I go any further, I’d like to thank the guys at BSRS for giving me a chance to rant a bit on their lovely blog, and I hope that I’ve been half as entertaining as the guys here are throughout the year(Editor's note: He/She must want something because we all know that we aren't entertaining).  To conclude my series of posts, I decided to get everyone excited about the upcoming 2013-2014 season.  What better way to do just than making a fool of myself and making some bold predictions for the upcoming season? I’m not a huge fan of predictions myself, but since there is so much uncertainty going into this new era of BU hockey I figured I’d give it a shot.  In a few months, make sure to bash me in the comments section when none of this comes true and you want to feel good about yourself for disagreeing with me now.

Anyway, since everyone  knows that I believe that BU is going to go all the way this season and Coach Quinn will be an absurdly great fit for the program, I’ll resort to some of my smaller scale predictions. The following ideas are in no particular order, and you are crazy if you try to figure one out:  

5. In Captain Noonan We Trust:
Some BU hockey fans might think that Garrett Noonan is the obvious pick to be a captain for this squad, but I would disagree with all of them. I might sound a bit hypocritical here because I do think that Noonan will ultimately be named captain, but he is neither an obvious or easy choice. What’s obvious is the argument against naming Noonan captain for a team with a good deal of young players coming in next season.  He led the team in total penalties and penalty minutes last year, and even after he received the “A” he managed to let his aggression get the best of him. Many felt that the idea behind giving Noonan the “A” during the season was to motivate him to play a smarter game and develop as a role model, but I just didn’t see this happen. The “Leading by Example” argument also loses traction when you look at his production last season.  His stats line (6-13-19) fell off quite a bit from his ridiculous season the year before (16-11-27), and his power play production, although decent at times, fell well below the high expectations. 
Everyone knows that Noonan’s heart is in the right place, and I would like to believe that part of his decision to come back and play this season is because one of his biggest regrets in life if he had left BU would have been never winning a Beanpot.  This fact alone makes me wish I had the power to name Noonan the captain myself.   My issues is that I still cannot say with 100% certainty that he is the right man for the job and there are other character guys on this team who should not be looked over for the title. At the end of the day, I do think that Noonan will get the “C”, and I really hope it inspires him to do great things in his last year.
(Bold “sub-predictions: “A’s” will go to Sahir Gil and Casen Hohmann, Noonan will not lead the team in penalty minutes in 2013-2014).

4. Matt Lane Will Make the Jump, But Is Still Human:
In case you’ve missed it, there are a lot of people who are excited about the potential for Matt Lane to thrive.  He will certainly be playing on the top two lines this year, and the combination of more ice time and a position alongside some of the top guys on this squad will give him the ability to make that sophomore year jump in production.  There have been a lot of comparisons lately being made between Lane and Casen Hohmann, and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t think these guys play a similar game in some regards.  If you remember his goal against BC in the Hockey East Semifinals, you know that Lane has the potential to skate circles around some of the best in college hockey.

I’d just like to remind everyone that this jump in production is no guarantee, and it will certainly not be without a few bumps in the road.  I think the loss of Matt Nieto will certainly create a goal vacuum that needs to be replaced by someone, but there is a lot of scoring talent in the incoming freshman class that could cause Matt Lane to be lost in the mix of things. Yet his ability to take advantage of situations that favor his style of play, combined with his high-effort style of play, should help him develop into a better player this upcoming season.
(Bold “sub-preditions #2:  Danny O’Regan will score at least 30 points again this season, as will an incoming freshman.)

3. Doyle Somerby and Matt Grzelcyk Will Become A Starting D Pair (At Some Point):
Okay, so obviously this prediction is not based as much in statistics and logic as it is in my hopes and dreams, but stay with me here.  We all know what an amazing talent like Matt Grzelcyk brings to this BU team, and there is a huge potential for “Grizz” to facilitate scoring at any point in a hockey game.  His 20 assists were the most by BU defensemen last season, and his +/- (+12) was well ahead of the rest of the pack as well.  What Grizz didn’t have was a steady D-Pairing that would allow him to take advantage of his scoring abilities and possibly light it up even more. 

I think that Doyle Somerby, the Islanders 5th Round pick in last year’s draft, could eventually become that foundation on which Grizz builds a more dangerous game.  Yes, I admit that a lot of my bias toward Somerby has to do with his size (6’5”, 228 lbs) and his pro potential, and every college hockey fan knows that there is a lot more to our game than these measurable factors.  However, Somerby was a converted forward who likely needs a few more years to develop his skills and adjust to the collegiate game. Why am I so excited about the potential for “Grizzby” or “Somerlcyk” (tweet @Burntboats for more creative name suggestions)? I just love the idea of two local boys (Somerby is from Marblehead) getting a chance to play together.  Their games have the potential to mesh really well, and it would be interesting to see the scoring opportunities that could come from having these two guys out there on the power play as well.
(Bold “sub-predictions #3:  Ahti Oksanen will not surpass his scoring numbers from last season. Also, Ryan Ruikka will not manage to use his multiple degrees to find a way to get back on the BU squad)

2. Boston University Will End Up With A Better Home Record This Season Than Last Season:
Again, this prediction is less based in logical thought, but it just seems strange that BU has lost it’s home ice advantage in the past few seasons. The record at home hasn’t nearly been as abysmal as it feels at times, but let’s look at the last few seasons for a second.  BU went 9-5-5 at Agganis in 2010-11, and the program lost a lot of it’s casual home fans to the wave of ties that occurred early on in the year (4 of the 5 ties in the first half of this season were at home). Then in 2011-12, BU managed a mediocre record of 10-8-0 at home.  This number was almost matched exactly in 2012-13 with their 11-7-1 record, and there is honestly a reason for concern with this loss of a home ice advantage that previous Terrier teams have cherished. 
I think a combination of two factors will kick start BU into a much better home record in 2013-14.  The first thing to consider is the fact that BU will play a plethora of high stakes non-conference games at Agganis this year.  Eight of BU’s fourteen out of conference games will be at home, and there are  more OOC games this year than years past because of the adjusted Hockey East schedule. I think that the marquee matchups with North Dakota (2 games) and Wisconsin will draw large crowd into Agganis that will certainly light a spark under the BU players, and the games against region teams like Bentley, Holy Cross, Dartmouth, and UConn cannot be overlooked even though they should be manageable games to say the least. Playing the same Hockey East opponents can be an issue as well for teams because it is easier to scout teams in your own conference and make the right adjustments throughout the season, and for BU it has been apparent that they are losing traction in this regard.  A change in the amount of times they are playing familiar teams at home may seem bad from a fan’s standpoint, but it can be a good change for BU.   

Playing fewer Agganis games against the same HE rivals and more against OOC teams should benefit the Terriers, but the second factor that really has my hopes up for this season is the fact that BU has Coach Quinn.  Before I continue, I do not believe that Coach Parker was at all separated in any way from his players in the past few seasons, and I think it is ignorant to claim such things like this without being in the locker room and on the ice with these guys on a daily basis.  However, I think that a change is always a good thing, and it can have an immediate impact on a team that is fully up to the challenges of transition.  I think this team is ready for the change and up to the challenge, and the home record should demonstrate this by the end of the season.
(Bold “sub-predictions” #4: BU will lose to at least one of these teams this year:  Holy Cross, Bentley, Dartmouth).    

1. Boston University Will Win A Tournament This Year

I cannot/will not name a specific tournament in fear of jinxing everything. In fact, I’m going to leave it right here and end my post. Peace.