Mack’s Mailbag: A lot of penalty talk

I saw your post on penalties in Hockey East (last week) and it makes me think that could hurt Hockey East teams in the (NCAA tournament). What do you think? They’re used to playing on special teams and they might not be there.

It could, sure. But it could be the opposite, too. I think a lot depends on how well teams play at even strength. Teams that have well even but struggle on special teams could benefit from playoffames that, traditionally, see less penalties called. But really, who knows how a game will be called? I’ve seen playoff games (Merrimack at BU, I believe Game 2, in 2008-09) had in the neighborhood of 19 power plays. That’s why, like I wrote in the post, I’m not sure there is anything to take away from it other than to just look at it and accept it for what it is.

Did you see any of the Denver game on Friday? Did you see Kyle Rau’s hit? What did you think of it? I think the amount of penalties called in Hockey East prevents things like that from happening in this league.

I did see the game and I saw the hit. It was, by far, one of the dirtiest hits I’ve seen all season. It was blindsided, it was from behind, it was to the head. It was about as dirty as you can get. The notion that more penalties in other leagues, you say like Hockey East, prevent hits like that from happening in other leagues I think is a stretch. Hits like that can happen anywhere, if you have a player reckless enough to perpetrate them.

When is Merrimack staring construction on the new portions of the Volpe Center? I thought it was supposed to start by now.

I don’t know the date or anything, but I believe it’s soon.

I read your comment from (Saturday) night about scoring, and while I think they need more goals, they played great over the weekend. Merrimack is still going to the NCAA tournament and I think they’re a favorite for the Frozen Four right now, they were No. 1 in the country!

It’s no secret that the Warriors need to find their scoring touch again. They were scoring at a much better clip earlier in the season than they have in the last 10-12 games. In the last four games, they Warriors have scored just one goal or less three times. That being said, it’s not something that can’t be solved and it’s not like they’re not generating scoring chances, in fact, it’s been just the opposite. The BU game two weeks ago was really a few mistakes on the defensive end. The win at UMass was a good game all around and the loss at Lowell on Friday could have swung in the other direction if it weren’t for a few reviews, and they generated 34 shots. Saturday night was the same story, 35 shots on goal but just one in the net. You look at the scrums in front and the amount of bouncing pucks that guys in front just couldn’t get a stick on. And look, part of it has been great goaltending on the other side. Doug Carr played fantastic on Friday and Casey DeSmith was even better on Saturday. You could look at it this weekend, for example, and say that Merrimack’s goaltender stopped 79 of 82 shots, and the Warriors took just one of four points.

The fact that the Warriors were stretching more this weekend than they have at other points this season could be in an effort to spark some offense. At the end of the day, I still think that this is a good hockey team. Do they need to find the net more? Of course, but saying that isn’t earth shattering.

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