Mack’s Mailbag: Is it October yet?

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Q: Any word on when Notre Dame will make its final decision?
A: None that I’ve heard. About a month ago there was some heavy speculation that a decision would be made sometime in August. Now, we’re almost a third through the month. I would expect them to make some sort of announcement before the start of the regular season, whether it their official decision or something else.

Q: What has been your favorite sign from the Banana, Penguin, Taco and Sponge?
A: Hard to say … they’ve come up with some great, great, great ones. I’d have to say my all-time favorite was, without a doubt, “Thank you Mr. Clearinghouse.”

Q: What are your thoughts on Curtis Carr as the new assistant?
A: I’ll be honest here and say that I don’t know much about him. In part because the Warriors haven’t recruited much from the USHL. Knowing where he has been as a coach, it’s obvious to believe that his hire could bring about some recruiting pipelines from the USHL, which is always a good thing. Merrimack has had a tremendous amount of success in Western Canada but in the United States, there isn’t a better league than the USHL. That’s not to say that other leagues don’t produce good players – they do, a lot of good players have come from the EJHL, NAHL, etc. – but the USHL often times takes the best players from those other leagues.

So, if he brings about a connection to the USHL, and where he coached there you have to assume he will, then that’s a move in the right direction. Like most assistants, a enormous part of his responsibility is doing the legwork in recruiting. As for what kind of X’s and O’s coach he is, I have no idea. I haven’t had the opportunity to speak with him but hope to soon for a story.

Q: I really thought Jordan Heywood was underrated as a defenseman last year. Do you think he will really come out as a sophomore?
A: Not sure there is all that much “coming out” to do, to be honest. I thought he should have at the very least been on Hockey East’s All Rookie team. He wasn’t just one of the best rookie defenders in the league, for my money, he was one of the best, period. He was a freshman logging minutes normally reserves for a senior and just not making any mistakes. I understand he didn’t have the flashy name of being a top-draft pick or put up monster-like point numbers, but from a defensive perspective, I’m not sure there is a player I’d trade him for. Down the stretch, I thought he was arguably the best defenseman on the team, and with the talent they had on the blue line last year, that’s saying a lot.

Q: Is Rob Morton on next year’s team? I don’t see him on the roster.
A: There is a roster online and Rob is not listed on it. I’ve heard he has transferred to Utica. If so, I wish him the best. He’s a talented player, just a victim of numbers at Merrimack.

Q: Any word on Merrimack’s last game? Looks like they only have 33 on their schedule.
A: I believe I answered this last time, but I’ve heard from numerous people that Alabama-Huntsville could add Merrimack to their road trip around Thanksgiving, likely that Tuesday or Wednesday.

Q: What is your favorite opposing rink to watch a game?
A: Tough question. I’ve always liked Alfond, but the view from the press box leaves a lot to be desired in my opinion. The roof makes it hard to see some of the corners where I usually sit. I’m a huge fan of Gutterson and Matthews Arena, although I liked the location of the old press box at Matthews much better than the new one, believe it or not.

Q: Saw your MMA column in the Trib. Didn’t know you covered that too. Why all the hate towards Fedor?
A: Easy! He’s a media-created, over-hyped fighter. His total unwillingness to fight for the UFC, who offered him the most lucrative deal in the history of MMA, just goes to show that he knew he had something to hide. He used his management as a crutch, too. Dana White offered him $2 million per fight plus PPV incentives. Brock Lesnar would have been the next highest paid at $400,000 per fight. He has to be his own biggest fan. Look at what UFC rejects have done to him in Strikeforce? Even before his losing streak, Brett Rodgers almost knocked him out, and Rodgers was a flubbery 260 pounds at the time of that fight. He was never as good anyone made him out to be. He’s not a bad fight, just far from the “greatest ever.”

Q: Do you have any relation to Ed McMahon, Jim McMahon or Vince McMahon?
A: Not to my knowledge. Although I wouldn’t mind finding out I was somehow related to Vince. At one point in time he was a billionaire, so having some of that inheritance down the road wouldn’t be a bad thing.
My dad was on a business trip in Chicago back in the late 1980’s and everywhere he went people asked him if he was related to Jim McMahon, the former Bears’ quarterback. After a few days, he finally started telling people he was his brother, just so they would leave him alone.

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