Mack’s Mailbag: Offseason Episode 1

I remember reading around the time that Notre Dame joined that RPI was being strongly considered to be Hockey East’s 12th team, yet that has all seemed to go away with the thought that it’s UConn now. What happened with them? Were they ever seriously considered?

RPI was discussed by league members, but it wasn’t unanimous and that was still very early in the process, before they really did a full examination as to who  might be interested. Details are still vague, but at some point both UConn and Holy Cross informed Atlantic Hockey that they were going to explore the option of a possible move to Hockey East, and at the moment, it seems to be UConn’s spot to lose.

You put a trivia question on Twitter (who are the three players in Merrimack history to hold at least dual Italian citizenship) but I never saw an answer, what was it? I could only think of (Anthony) Aquino.

You’re right on one. Aquino, Agostino Casale (1988-92) and Alex Weinreich (1990-93) all hold dual Italian citizenship, according to the Elite Prospects website.

How is (Chris) Kreider able to play for the Rangers when he wasn’t on their team at the trading deadline?

The Rangers owned his rights, so he was on their reserve list, which means he was playoff eligible. The difference between Kreider and say, Marty Turco, is that Turco was added to the Bruins post-deadline, and wasn’t on their reserve list until after the trading deadline. The reserve list comprises of a 80 players (maximum of 50 contracted players) that includes players under contracts and rights held.

What rule changes would you like to see in college hockey?

I wouldn’t mind seeing the NCAA eliminate the full cage and requiring a half shield. I do believe that could help, even in a small way, in the constant battle for players with the CHL. It would also cut down on the amount of misconducts and major penalties, because I think you would see players be a bit more cautious before hammering someone from behind or up high if they don’t have a metal cage in front of their face for protection. … I think the hybrid icing rule is flawed, but if the NHL is going to use it, it’s smart for college hockey to keep it. … I’d like to see a 4-on-4 overtime implemented and wouldn’t mind seeing (this would be a HE rule change) a point awarded to each team on a tie after regulation. The only issue there is I don’t like how some games become worth three points and others just two. I’d like to see (and this includes the NHL too) wins go to three points, with an OT win being worth two points, so that each individual game is still worth three points in the standings. You win three if you win the game in regulation and two if you win the game in OT with the other point going to the OT loser.

Should they add more teams to the NCAA tournament? Why not go to 32 teams?

No way, keep it the way it is. Men’s basketball qualifies 19.6% of its teams (346 teams, 68 qualify). Men’s hockey already qualifies 27.1% (16 of 59 teams) and adding more will just dilute the tournament and take meaning away from the conference championships and the regular season, which is a bad thing.

Will Hockey East stay with 8 playoff teams if they add a 12th team?

I hope they do. Personally, I like that the regular season means something in Hockey East, and not every team qualifies for the conference tournament. There are models where they could qualify all 12 teams and have a “play-in” round, but I like the idea of the regular season determining something other than just seeding.

Who is your Stanley Cup pick?

Before it started, I picked the Blues over the Rangers in the Cup finals with the Rangers over the Bruins and the Blues over the Predators in the conference finals.

2 Comments on "Mack’s Mailbag: Offseason Episode 1"

  1. I agree, a 32-team tournament at this point is too much. Aside from the fact that it would be half the teams in D1 qualifying, as you said, there’s also the issue that they can’t even come close to selling out the NCAA regionals as is. Image diluting that even further?

    On the other hand — and I’d love to know what you think of this — how about a play-in for teams 15-18 in the Pairwise? So, 15 vs 18, 16 vs 17, with the two winners getting the final two seeds? (And no, not just because it means MC would have made a play-in this year…)

    • That’s an interesting possibility. A lot would depend on whether or not it was worth it for the NCAA. If it was a money-making proposition, then I think they would do it. You would have to find a venue to host it mid-week (hoops host all of their play-ins in Dayton, I believe), and that could make for some hectic travel (teams play in say, Worcester, on a Tuesday night and then have to play Friday in Minnesota, or something).

      But if travel and a venue could be worked out, and a network partner was ready to go, I think the NCAA would at least consider it. The problem there is that the network package for hockey (which is lumped in with other sports) barely allowed for the regionals to get adequate television exposure.

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