The conference is a real let down and until things change there won't be much conversation.
Votes are being cast for pre-season rankings...3 weeks away from Penn St. vs. SLU marking the start of the season for the conference...and no conference thread?
Will the conference put more than 1 team into post-season play this year? As usual, the first 2 months of the season will tell the tale as almost 90% of non-conference games come before the Christmas break. Given how young a number of the teams are this season that doesn't bode well, but we should see some improvement from the Gophers, Badgers and Buckeyes.
How will the conference standings shake out? Here's how I see it heading into the season:
1 - Minnesota
They lose Hudson Fasching but return the core of their regular season championship team as well as adding some talented youngsters.
2/3 - OSU and Michigan
OSU lose almost nothing from a team that wasn't far off from competing for a title last season.
Michigan lose a lot, but as always reload. How well the freshman integrate and acclimate to the college game will be key.
4/5 - PSU and Wisconsin
Penn St. lose a lot from last year (7 skaters, 6/11 top point-getters, both their goalies) . I expect this to be Gadowsky's most challenging season behind the PSU bench since their inauguration.
Wisconsin has their "dream team" coaching staff, some talented forwards in Grant Besse, Luke Kunin and freshman Trent Frederic. But they have been truly awful the past couple years and have significant questions in goal.
6 - Michigan St.
They sucked last year and it's hard to see them being any better this year. They lost 10 players from last year's team including leading scorer Mackenzie MacEachern and goaltender Jake Hildebrand. They have a roster with 8 freshman skaters and no proven netminder. Methinks this will be Anastos' last season...I mean....it has to be, right?
How about All-Conference honors?
F - Luke Kunin (UW)
F - Justin Kloos (MN)
F - Nick Schilkey (OSU)
D - Drew Brevig (OSU)
D - Jake Bischoff (MN)
G - Eric Schierhorn (MN)
ROY - Trent Frederic (UW)
COY - Don Lucia (MN)
Last edited by Stauber1; 09-17-2016 at 02:41 AM.
I don't know what to expect from UW.
Early reports are that they're practicing a VERY different style from what they've been playing (which was expected, and promised at their initial press conference). So if the boys can adapt quickly, it'll be a good season. Wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't take hold for at least part of the season, though.
As for the conference, I'll bet anyone that they don't get three in the NCAA's. I'm guessing 2. I expect MN to improve enough to sneak in, and am guessing there is a decent chance another team gets the autobid by beating them in the bi6 Championship.
If they can play mediumly (pretend that's a word) right out of the gates this year, that would be pretty okay, all things considered.
As to what constitutes a good season for Wisconsin, I would be happy with somewhere close to .500. I think they'll have the offense to win significantly more games this year.
Otherwise, I mostly agree with your predictions. I'll predict Ohio St for 2nd.
I'd really like to see the Big 10 adjust the schedule so that 1 or 2 of the conference series were moved up to Oct/Nov, which might help the non-conference records if all the non-conference games aren't so front loaded.
I like what Jeff Sauer said about Big Ten hockey in Todd Milewski article. From day one I have also been vocally opposed to the Big Ten Hockey League.
We don't need this, this is the dumbest move college hockey has made period.
UW Hockey NCAA Champs 73, 77, 81, 83, 90, 06
The Big Ten conference may have not been what everyone expected but it is here and it will grow into a competitive conference in a few years. It will grow next year with the Fighting Irish and hopefully can add a few more teams over the next few years.
Last edited by Dangle; 09-18-2016 at 01:23 PM. Reason: spelling
Internal competitiveness might only come from the result from teams with equal levels of mediocrity. External competitiveness can only then come form 2-3 teams a year - a league of 6 (or 7) isn't going to be sending more than 3 teams (usually) to the NCAA's a year simply due to the limited spots available for at-large entries to the NCAA tourney, IMO.
Badgers have their exhibition opener this Saturday at the KC.....Who else is playing this upcoming weekend in the B10?
Yeah Golden Domers, I guess you could include yourself here too....
Overall, without seeing this team live, Michigan fans have an unknown quantity. Best guess is that they can compete in the conference but will not have the talent or experience that Minnesota has in order to win the title.
I think the door is wide open for UW to finish 2nd. The rodents are the class of the conference (puke) PSU and UM lost a ton of players, OSU will under achieve as usual and MSU is still MSU and they lost a ton of players too.
Wisconsin Hockey: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 WE WANT MORE!
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