Mack’s Mailbag: Fins Win

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Did Rasmus Tirronen play in Finland? Is he from there or is he of Finnish decent who grew up here in the states?
For those not aware, Tirronen is an incoming freshman goaltender this season and he’s from Finland. According to what I’ve read, he’s from Kirkkonummi. He tended goal for Topeka (NAHL) last season, his first year in North America. He’s played extensively in juniors overseas, including two seasons with Blues of Jr. A SM-liiga, the top junior league affiliated with the elite league in Finland.

Have you heard anything new on the possible move by Notre Dame to Hockey East? I only ask because it seemed like a longshot not that long ago and then I read a rumor listed in this weeks Colorado Springs Independent that says ND might wind up in Hockey East with Western Michigan and St. Cloud St. going to the NCHC.
I did not see the Colorado Springs Ind. report, but from what I’m hearing, that scenario seems less likely. At least that’s from the perspective of many people here on the East side. I don’t know anything more than I did a few weeks ago. Hockey East would welcome Notre Dame with open arms if the Irish wanted to join the league. Notre Dame had still yet to make a decision, but I’ve heard they’re leaning towards not joining Hockey East.

You mentioned favorite places to eat in Orono but what about around Merrimack for pre or post game?
Depends on what you’re looking for. Fuddruckers has a nice quick burger. The 99 isn’t too far down Rt. 125 and Palmer’s is always a great choice right down the street, too. Some people like Bertucci’s, and there is one almost directly across from the campus, but I’m not a big fan of them myself. Harrison’s is up towards the 99 and has an awesome roast beef sandwich. There are a couple of smaller hole-in-the-wall places in Andover that are good, too. If you have some extra room on your credit card, Burton’s is one of my favorite places.

Where do you think Merrimack will finish this season in the Hockey East standings?
I don’t want to give too much away with my picks rolling out, but I have the Warriors in a home ice slot.

You don’t think Providence is better than UMass or Lowell? Look at all the players they brought in.
Nope. Instead of explaining, just read my thoughts on the preview posts as to why. Doesn’t mean a team won’t surprise!

Is there a standard size ice sheet for NCAA hockey like the NHL?
No there isn’t. I’d have to look through the rule book for a clearer definition (I don’t have a copy of one with me at the moment) but even just in Hockey East, ice sizes vary from building to building. UMass and UNH both have Olympic-sized sheets. Merrimack’s is an NHL-sized sheet, I believe. Some of the buildings have a different radius in the corners, too. UNH modified its corners before the start of last season.

Who is your pick in Merrimack (Valley) high school football?
Strange question, because there isn’t necessarily a Merrimack Valley championship. There is the MVC? Maybe that’s what you mean. Well, in the MVC I like Andover. I also think Methuen is on the right track. Keep your eyes on Haverhill, too. They’re not going to win a league title but they’re improved.
In you’re a NH resident, one of the most intriguing matchups of the year takes place tomorrow (Saturday) at 1 p.m. between Pinkerton and Bishop Guertin.

I didn’t know you were an MC (Malden Catholic) guy. Who was the hockey coach when you were at MC?
It was Mark Tarmey for I think one season, and then Kevin Tkachuk, brother of former BU and NHL’er Keith Tkachuk, who was a Lancer in the Class of 1990.

I read a story that Colin Blackwell almost went to Merrimack. Is that true? Wouldn’t Hockey East be more attractive than ECAC?
For those in need of some background on who Blackwell is, he was probably the best high school hockey player in the state of Massachusetts last season for St. John’s Prep over in Danvers. He’s going to be a freshman at Harvard this fall.
And to answer your question, I know that Merrimack was in on recruiting Blackwell and had heard a rumor that Merrimack was high on his list.
But in the end, the kid wound up with a free education at Harvard. That’s a hard thing to pass up.

What hockey equipment do you use?
In the rare instance I have time to get out and play some pickup, I still use a few first generation Easton Synergy sticks. I was lucky to end up with about two dozen of them from when I was at Merrimack. A little chip was too broken to play in a Hockey East game but not for my shenanigans. A little tape and they’re ready to go. I probably still have 17 or 18 of them lining my garage.
For everything else, I’m a Bauer guy, although I like the RBK helmets.

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