Mike’s Mailbag: Getting Through the Summer

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Q: Do any of these coaching changes in Hockey East have an affect on Merrimack?
A: On the outset, you could say no. Merrimack didn’t lose any coaches to the process – though Phil Roy did take a position at Clarkson – and the MC staff, for the most part, is still in place.

But, if other programs weren’t really considering trying to add Mark Dennehy to its program, then there were athletic directors who weren’t doing their jobs. I’m sure Dennehy had opportunities to leave, but he opted to stay, including signing a new extension.

Then, of course, there is the fact that a new coach always brings a little bit of fresh air and new life into a program, and at least early, you’ll see that at Northeastern, Providence and Lowell.

Q: Why do you think (Darren) Yopyk got passed over for the Northeastern job? Is he a future head coach???
A: I don’t know why Yopyk got overlooked for the Northeastern job (he did interview). Not only do I think he will be an NCAA Div 1 head coach down the road, but I think he’ll be a very good one on top of it. Has tremendous recruiting background. Remember, he was very much one of the architects who helped build this Merrimack team.

Q: Do you know the last non-conference game for Merrimack?
A: Nothing is set in stone, but I’ve heard that Alabama-Huntsville might be adding Merrimack to their Hockey East road trip around Thanksgiving. So as far as I know, the NC schedule will include a road date with Colgate as well as the Dartmouth Tournament (2 games) and then hosting UAH, Union, Army and UConn.

Q: You keep saying that adding Notre Dame could get Hockey East a national television deal but we all know that will never happen. Are you serious? College hockey will NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER have a national TV deal.
A: Firstly, I never said that adding Notre Dame to Hockey East guarantees the conference a national television deal, I merely speculated that it could help. Secondly, I’ve been told Versus is currently in negotiations to televise a national “game of the week” every Friday night on the network. It would feature each conference twice (including Atlantic Hockey). I hope to have more on this later in the week.

Q: I assumed all these guys (the players) are on full boats and don’t pay for college but someone mentioned to me that not everyone was. Are they?
A: Not everyone. To sum it up as simply as I can, teams are allowed 18 full scholarships (NCAA rule) and can basically split them in any which way they want. Some conferences (Atlantic Hockey) make the cap lower. So to answer your question, yes, some players pay to go to school just like everyone else, and play hockey. Others are on scholarship.

Q: No way Merrimack makes home ice this year. You’re nuts if you think so. Lost too much. Check out BC. Going to run away with it.
A: Not really a question there … but (and my picks won’t be coming until later in the summer), I have the Warriors pegged into a home ice spot in my preseason picks. I think it tiers out something like this:
1/2. BC/BU
3/4. UNH/MC
5. Maine
6/7/8. NU/UVM/UMA
9/10. UML/PC
Something like that. Merrimack will have, in my opinion, the best goalie in the league between the pipes and an offense that, while lost quite a bit, still returns some of its top scorers in Jesse Todd and Mike Collins as well as a dominating second line that was one of the best combos in the country come playoff time last year. Not to mention that the defense returns four excellent players that played regular minutes and Tom McCarthy, in my opinion, was just a victim of numbers as a freshman. He’ll play big minutes this year and is also a very good blue liner.

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