Mack’s Mailbag: March 27, 2012

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Do you think Marotta is definitely the starting goalie next season, or does Tirronen have a shot at the job? Or will we see more of a true platoon situation? Can either give us anything close to what we got from Cannata the last two seasons based on what you’ve seen or heard about them so far?
It’s going to be a different situation than they’ve been in years past. Really, for three seasons now, it’s been Joe Cannata’s job to lose, and rightfully so. As expected, he never lost it. Now, the job is going to be someone’s to win. I wouldn’t be surprised to see shared time at the start of the season until one person steps up and claims the job.

Will the rink renovations (e.g., new entryway, MC hall of fame, second ice surface, etc) be ready for the start of next season? Is the new ice surface strictly for community and junior league teams, or will the Warriors eventually play in the new (and presumably a little nicer?) rink, with the community and junior leagues moving to what is now Lawler? (Sorry, I have no idea what’s going on with the renovations.)
The new rink is not for Merrimack to host games. It’s much smaller in terms of seating capacity. If Lawler is used for things other than hockey down the line (basketball games, concerts, trade shows, etc.) then there is ice next door the Warriors could use for practice ice. To be honest, with the season going on, I haven’t been too plugged in to what the plans are regarding a completion date, etc. Merrimack’s actual ice surface is new (it was replaced along with the stands two years ago).

Do you see 2012-13 as a rebuilding season or can MC once again compete for home ice? Opinions seem to be really mixed, with some people predicting them to finish 7th or 8th.
On paper, I understand people predicting a seventh or eighth place finish. But, the way we’ve seen the league go lately, throw all that out the window because it doesn’t mean anything. The popular argument is that “they’ll have a first-year starting goalie,” but when has that been a problem with any other program? Look at history of first-year goalies in Hockey East lately. Chris Rawlings, Rob Madore, Joe Cannata, Kieran Millan and Casey DeSmith, just to name a few, have stepped up in their first season and have been major contributing factors to their team’s success. No one saw Lowell doing what it did this year. No one saw Providence advancing to the Garden, either. So, the more I watch, the more I subscribe to “anything can happen.” … and it probably will.

Where is the offense going to come from next year? Do you think Josh Myers has the potential to become a breakout star in his sophomore season?
To answer the second part of your question, yes. I think you saw him play with more and more confidence down the stretch this season. Remember, he only played half a season. As for the first part of your question, you really look to the guys who will be juniors. The end of the sophomore year, start of the junior year, is really when you need players you’re counting on leading you to step up to the plate. Mike Collins, sort of quietly, has 55 points in just two seasons. Connor Toomey had 16 points (including 7 goals) as just a freshman.

Will Cannata play for Vancouver this year?

No. In fact, I’m not sure this is the case, but there are rules within the CBA where his actual NHL contract may not have even started yet. It’s likely (again, I’m not sure this is the case) that his NHL deal kicks in this summer, and right now, he’s on an AHL ATO with Chicago. That allows Vancouver to retain a year of his entry level deal and not burn one. Stephane Da Costa played in the NHL at the end of last season and burned a year off his entry level deal, but that was part of the negotiations with NHL teams. Da Costa (and Andy Miele of Miami) had leverage and wanted a quicker path to unrestricted free agency by burning that year off the entry level deal. Again, I’m not positive, but I believe that’s what Joe Loprieno did when he signed with the Sharks three seasons ago. He signed after Merrimack’s season was complete, signed a deal with San Jose that kicked in that summer and played on an ATO with Worcester the rest of that season. After March 15, teams can assign entry level deals towards next season, and sign an player to an ATO.

I saw on ESPN this weekend the commentators said that Union was non-scholarship, but then you said on Twitter that it’s “the biggest misconception in sports.” What do you mean? If they don’t give scholarships, they don’t give scholarships right?
Well, technically yes. But, no. Other schools are in the same position. All of the Ivy’s for example, and I know RIT “do not award scholarships,” meaning they don’t give financial aid compensation for athletics. But, they do award financial aid. And under the NCAA, there is really no governor that controls how much financial aid you can award a particular person. I’m not saying the following scenario is likely, but you could, in essence, have “no scholarships” but also have 28 players on your team going to school for free. The NCAA allows 18 scholarships. So to make a big deal that Union, or any other team for that matter, made the NCAA tournament “despite having no scholarships” is terribly misleading.

6 Comments on "Mack’s Mailbag: March 27, 2012"

  1. troublemaker | March 28, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Reply

    The comment on “no scholarships” — should be “no ATHLETIC scholarships”. Or, “no scholarships based on playing sports.”

    Yes, you are correct in the fact that the Ivies, and upper tier academic schools dispense a substantial amount of financial aid. HOWEVER ….

    – it usually is based on need. And the need would have to be proven. If my parents’ net assets were $30 million, I *could* get a hockey scholarship at Merrimack (or another school) — I could not at Harvard. In fact, my parents would have to pay the full boat fare if they had the money.

    – If I were an Ivy student, my scholarship would have absolutely no connection to hockey. If I dropped off the hockey team, I wouldn’t lose my scholarship. Try that at another school.
    In fact, they might kick me off the hockey team if it jeopardized my academic standing.

    – academic scholarships carry requirements; grade point average, and, you have to be working toward a degree — not just taking space in a classroom for 12 hours a week. And if a student had an academic scholarship at Union or Harvard, again — his status on the hockey team would have no relevance to its continuation. But he/she better the h*ll keep up a high (not just passing) GPA, and be fulfilling degree requirements, or the scholarship is pulled.

    The way you wrote this, it’s as if you’re saying that the “no athletic scholarships” is a matter of semantics, or a loophole, at schools like Union or the Ivies. You know, and everyone else should know, that it isn’t the actual situation.

  2. A former player at a non-scholarship school, who I am good friend with and whose family had a household income of close to $500,000, went to that school to play hockey (and get a degree from a great school, by the way) and didn’t pay a dime.

  3. troublemaker | March 28, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Reply

    Yes — but it probably was not a “hardship scholarship” — but an ACADEMIC one — with all the academic requirements to keep it, right?

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