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owslachief
03-21-2014, 09:23 AM
Ah 'tis the off-season already. Glass half-full attitude says there are 7 NCAA ties that could have gone our way, but I lean toward some good goaltending preserving those ties.

11 - 18 - 7 => Nothing to write home about for sure. Last night's season-ender pretty much typified the season. 20 great minutes, 40 minutes that exposed MSU's talent gap. Panic in our own end, couldn't move the puck out with consistency, couldn't finish around the net.

Spartans started behind the 8-ball without Berry and Draeger the first two months, and Draeger - who should be our most talented D-man - not really accounting for much. Speaking of D-men, I wanted to see a little more from Holland, but maybe he needs one good event-free summer to reach his potential. Offensively, Darnell couldn't really get comfortable and took a step back this year.

Some nice surprises and positives though - Haag getting comfortable enough for D1 college-level hockey to show some of his savvy and talent as a freshman, Ferrantino being rewarded for his toughness and tenacity with some good production, Boyd - who, it seemed night-in and night-out was our most consistent blue-liner, albeit not a prolific offensive contributor, and Knudsen - non-scholarship player who is a sound skater and a nice, heavy shot ... could very well step in next season on a regular basis.

Berry as a senior looks poised to lead this team next season, but don't be shocked if Ferrantino gets that 'C'. The all-freshman line of Ebbing/Haag/MacEachern have huge potential and I think they'll make good on it. Cox could see some time on the top line.

Defensively, MSU should be fine. Our Achilles' Heel last season made some marked improvement this time around, and with the addition of Josh Jacobs in '14 this could really be a fine corps.

Goaltending for 2014-15 - what more to be said but "nice problem to have".

By all accounts - the incoming class is better than this season's, with D Josh Jacobs and G Edwin Minney being the big gets for Anastos. Saw a little of Jacobs' play at the World Jr. A Challenge, as well as F Marcel Godbout, and was impressed with both.

Seniors will leave a big hole. Wolfe carried his fine late-season run last year into this season, and Reimer really put it all together in his final year as a Spartan. Both Chelios' played a big role. Jake led the team with 19 assists, and Dean played well in all aspects save for lighting the lamp. Seniors should also be credited for a much improved power play over the last month of the season.

In all, State loses 32% of goal-scoring output and 38% of its total point production to graduation. On the plus-side, however, our freshman class accounted for 35% of our goals. If the Spartans get a couple of next season's seniors to play like seniors (notably Darnell and Sorenson), this team can greatly improve on its meager 78 total goals (2.2 per game).

The conventional wisdom is that Hollis is using the 2015/16 - the last year on Tom Anastos' current contract - as the make-or-break year for him as head coach. That's also when Anastos has all of his own recruits on the roster. IMHO, he can survive next season without making the NCAA's or finishing in the top-3 in B1G. But if MSU ends up next March with 11 or 12 wins to show for the year, there will be considerable pressure to make a change.


Correction: Did not get a chance to see the Ivan Hlinka tournament. Future Spartan Cody Milan participated in that one.

demhall
03-23-2014, 03:55 PM
Thanks for the synopsis. I suppose it was unrealistic to aspire to more than a close fifth place finish, followed by an overtime loss to a team that was 7 minutes from winning the conference tournament. But, for me this season didn't feel like the next step in the progression that it might turn out to have been. They did close with a bit of a flourish but going winless against WMU, MTU, and Ferris, not even making the GLI final for the second straight year, the 7-1 blowout in AA, and the last minute collapse to OSU at home defined the season. But beyond that was just a sense of team that played so cautiously most of the time. I guess Anastos concluded that that was the way that gave us the best chance of success but I hope it doesn't become a model going forward.

Since Abdelkader and Kennedy moved on we've had one pretty good team (Petry's) and one incredible year from an amazing defenseman (Krug). Patience is a virtue but...

UMICH
03-24-2014, 03:37 PM
Here we are again, both sitting outside of the tournament. No offense but I don't like it (at least us missing it)...

This is painful.

Spartanforlife4
03-24-2014, 04:00 PM
This was just a bad, bad, team that got by on goaltending and could occasionally show signs of mediocrity. In the Wisconsin series we saw five periods of what I would call great play, but we maybe had three or four games all season that looked like that.

Next year is when the seat needs to start getting warm for Anastos. Hopefully we have no injuries during the offseason this time so we can actually be full strength at the beginning of next season, but things cannot be stagnant like they were the past two seasons.

Meese
03-24-2014, 06:17 PM
Out of curiosity, what is the student section at MSU like nowadays? I did my undergraduate degree at MSU (was there 2006-2010) and was never very impressed by it (and I went to a lot of games). My freshman year was the year we won the National championship and it seemed like all the State News covered and all anyone talked about on campus was how much the football team stunk (it was the year before hiring Dantonio). As someone who was a huge hockey fan, it was kind of a let down. Although it may just have been the unfortunate reality of hockey playing second fiddle to football and basketball at many D1 schools.

While I am an FSU fan (grew up in Big Rapids, there is nothing else to do there except watch hockey) I have tried to at least marginally keep track of how MSU is doing in the B$10 conference as I would like to see them do well. I didn't expect Anastos to have the best record in his first years but I did expect more marked improvement than I've seen. I guess I'll leave my judgment open until next year, but if its more of this I won't be impressed.

demhall
03-24-2014, 06:31 PM
Out of curiosity, what is the student section at MSU like nowadays? I

If you haven't been there for a few years I think you would be favorably surprised. It's much more organized and vocal. It makes you wonder what it could be with a top 10 team.

I do give Anastos a lot of credit on this front. He's put a lot of effort into PR and is very active on Twitter. Now, if we could just start scoring a few more goals.

Meese
03-24-2014, 06:45 PM
If you haven't been there for a few years I think you would be favorably surprised. It's much more organized and vocal. It makes you wonder what it could be with a top 10 team.

I do give Anastos a lot of credit on this front. He's put a lot of effort into PR and is very active on Twitter. Now, if we could just start scoring a few more goals.

That is great to hear. It has so much potential. Combine that with a few more W's and I hope Munn will be a great place for hockey players and fans.

owslachief
03-24-2014, 07:09 PM
Next year is when the seat needs to start getting warm for Anastos. Hopefully we have no injuries during the offseason this time so we can actually be full strength at the beginning of next season, but things cannot be stagnant like they were the past two seasons.

I think we agree. A .500 or winning record, a top-4 finish in conference - those are the criteria I can accept having met by next March. With the exception of Berry and maybe Darnell, it's TA's boys running the show now.

Spartanforlife4
03-24-2014, 08:30 PM
Out of curiosity, what is the student section at MSU like nowadays? I did my undergraduate degree at MSU (was there 2006-2010) and was never very impressed by it (and I went to a lot of games). My freshman year was the year we won the National championship and it seemed like all the State News covered and all anyone talked about on campus was how much the football team stunk (it was the year before hiring Dantonio). As someone who was a huge hockey fan, it was kind of a let down. Although it may just have been the unfortunate reality of hockey playing second fiddle to football and basketball at many D1 schools.


I joined the year after you left. It's alright. Name is terrible, management doesn't seem the best, and some of the chants are awful (Utah State basketball owns "I believe", not a hockey team that's lucky to score three goals). Anastos does a very good job at getting involved with the students, though. Got jerseys rather than shirts for us, has a team dinner with the student section, and does a meet and greet at different buildings on campus during the preseason. Hecklers are terrible. There was a really good one my freshman year but he graduated. I would give it a shot but my voice doesn't carry. Everyone shows up for the first series and then attendance sort of dwindles throughout the season with the exception of the UM games. I'm assuming that's because of the product the team puts out on the ice, but also because some students who join don't realize they're giving up the early part of both weekend nights and just stop going because it's too much of a time commitment.

I don't think hockey will ever have a great student section. I hear stories of how there used to be lotteries for just half season ticket plans. Now we can barely get the section halfway filled for Wisconsin. That's partly because the team is just plain bad, and partly because the two other revenue sports (I guess the two only revenue sports now that hockey is losing money) are top. Izzo has turned basketball into a blue-blood and football is at its highest level in 50 years. Meanwhile hockey is playing one goal games with AIC and blowing two goal leads in 90 seconds to OSU (Yeah I cherry picked the two worst games).

alnike
03-25-2014, 03:17 PM
Ah 'tis the off-season already. Glass half-full attitude says there are 7 NCAA ties that could have gone our way, but I lean toward some good goaltending preserving those ties.

11 - 18 - 7 => Nothing to write home about for sure. Last night's season-ender pretty much typified the season. 20 great minutes, 40 minutes that exposed MSU's talent gap. Panic in our own end, couldn't move the puck out with consistency, couldn't finish around the net.

Spartans started behind the 8-ball without Berry and Draeger the first two months, and Draeger - who should be our most talented D-man - not really accounting for much. Speaking of D-men, I wanted to see a little more from Holland, but maybe he needs one good event-free summer to reach his potential. Offensively, Darnell couldn't really get comfortable and took a step back this year.

Some nice surprises and positives though - Haag getting comfortable enough for D1 college-level hockey to show some of his savvy and talent as a freshman, Ferrantino being rewarded for his toughness and tenacity with some good production, Boyd - who, it seemed night-in and night-out was our most consistent blue-liner, albeit not a prolific offensive contributor, and Knudsen - non-scholarship player who is a sound skater and a nice, heavy shot ... could very well step in next season on a regular basis.

Berry as a senior looks poised to lead this team next season, but don't be shocked if Ferrantino gets that 'C'. The all-freshman line of Ebbing/Haag/MacEachern have huge potential and I think they'll make good on it. Cox could see some time on the top line.

Defensively, MSU should be fine. Our Achilles' Heel last season made some marked improvement this time around, and with the addition of Josh Jacobs in '14 this could really be a fine corps.

Goaltending for 2014-15 - what more to be said but "nice problem to have".

By all accounts - the incoming class is better than this season's, with D Josh Jacobs and G Edwin Minney being the big gets for Anastos. Saw a little of Jacobs' play at the World Jr. A Challenge, as well as F Marcel Godbout, and was impressed with both.

Seniors will leave a big hole. Wolfe carried his fine late-season run last year into this season, and Reimer really put it all together in his final year as a Spartan. Both Chelios' played a big role. Jake led the team with 19 assists, and Dean played well in all aspects save for lighting the lamp. Seniors should also be credited for a much improved power play over the last month of the season.

In all, State loses 32% of goal-scoring output and 38% of its total point production to graduation. On the plus-side, however, our freshman class accounted for 35% of our goals. If the Spartans get a couple of next season's seniors to play like seniors (notably Darnell and Sorenson), this team can greatly improve on its meager 78 total goals (2.2 per game).

The conventional wisdom is that Hollis is using the 2015/16 - the last year on Tom Anastos' current contract - as the make-or-break year for him as head coach. That's also when Anastos has all of his own recruits on the roster. IMHO, he can survive next season without making the NCAA's or finishing in the top-3 in B1G. But if MSU ends up next March with 11 or 12 wins to show for the year, there will be considerable pressure to make a change.


Correction: Did not get a chance to see the Ivan Hlinka tournament. Future Spartan Cody Milan participated in that one.

From a rival follower:

Any chance Matt Berry gets interest as a free agent given his scoring touch?

Observation on the freshman lines - All were 1994's with an extra year of junior hockey under their belt, and most scored 10-12 points, with roughly half of those earned in the weekends against AIC and Princeton. Haag seems to have the most potential.

The senior class stepped up and really contributed more than expected with Wolfe, Reimer and J Chelios this season to win some games. Darnell, Deblow and Sorenson need to resurface (big improvement) to replicate some of this. Otherwise, with underperforming players and no scoring from the defense (like Michigan), don't expect much of a change in results.

Only one win on the road which was at PSU.

Ferrantino impressed this year with his work ethic and production.

owslachief
03-26-2014, 02:16 PM
From a rival follower:

Any chance Matt Berry gets interest as a free agent given his scoring touch?
Gets interest ... yes - we'll see if that translates to someone drawing up a contract. The best overall player the Spartans had this year in limited play, at 5'10-ish he may be a long shot for the Show, but I'm sure there are some NHL or affiliate organizations that can use his speed and offensive skills.

aallenpollreisz
03-28-2014, 01:20 AM
That was a rough one, and I'm still hurting a bit. Perhaps it's just me, but 2013-'14 seemed a bit more difficult to get through than the 25-loss effort submitted in 2012-'13. It really felt like MSU got stuck in a deep, muddy rut during that Massachusetts series and couldn't find a way to climb out all season. The reemergence of the injury bug didn't help whatsoever, either.

I still remain cautiously optimistic for next season, though. The younger players on this year's team appeared to find roles toward the end of the year, and Anastos seems to be finding higher-caliber freshmen than Comley did during his last two or three years here. But next year's team will be young again, and, by now, we all know the potential perils of young hockey teams. Honestly, I think there are still some growing pains to get through.

I am a bit worried about Hildebrand, however. For the first time in his career, he started cracking toward the end of the season. I know that Minney is supposed to be really darn good, but I don't know if he'll be able to immediately contribute if Hildebrand has a rough start next year.

I think Anastos' goal is pretty clear for next year: Have a good season. Finish near .500 or better, win some big games, keep the kids out of academic trouble and show the AD and the fanbase that things are going in the right direction. I don't think another 20-loss season gets Anastos fired, but I do think it would heat his seat up considerably. If Anastos submits a historically awful season - say, something near the 30-loss neighborhood - I think that's the only situation where Hollis pulls the trigger.

I think there's about a 30 percent chance that Berry gets signed this offseason. As noted, though he's undersized, he's quick and has a nose for the net. I don't think many NHL teams will come calling, but I could see several AHL teams sending out an offer sheet with a minimum deal. I guess it all comes down to how enticing he thinks $41,000 per year is. If he left, it wouldn't be a crushing blow, but it would hurt a lot.

I'll also be interested to see if anything comes out this summer regarding Munn's long-rumored renovation. From a facilities standpoint, the program is approaching critical mass. Munn is still a fine arena and my favorite place on this earth, but, when compared to other facilities, it's the worst facility in the league. If MSU wants to compete in the B1G, there needs to be some investment from the administration. The MSU AD can't run this program like it's in the CCHA anymore - absolutely everything has changed.

owslachief
04-22-2014, 01:39 PM
Junior-to-be Mike Ferrantino is now Captain Mike, and to me there wasn't a more natural choice, given the work and dedication he put in the last two seasons, the way he carries himself and the example he shows around the net. This is a guy teammates will respect and listen to, if not (literally) look up to ;).

Spartanforlife4
04-23-2014, 12:06 PM
There's currently a crane inside Munn, so it's safe to assume the check didn't bounce on the new refrigeration system. This was also the summer they were replacing the boards and glass, correct?

I'll be interested to see if there's any aesthetic renovations. Even some banners of the Big Ten schools would be nice, or getting graphics boards that aren't from the '80s.

32 Degrees!
05-17-2014, 07:32 PM
I have a friend who's son has a LOI with Michigan State, I believe starting 2015-16. There's a few guys coming from Honeybaked Ham who look really impressive. They're headed to billets in the USHL this fall; but if I was a Spartan fan, I would be very comfortable about the future!

Pink Pony
05-18-2014, 07:13 AM
I'll also be interested to see if anything comes out this summer regarding Munn's long-rumored renovation. From a facilities standpoint, the program is approaching critical mass. Munn is still a fine arena and my favorite place on this earth, but, when compared to other facilities, it's the worst facility in the league. If MSU wants to compete in the B1G, there needs to be some investment from the administration. The MSU AD can't run this program like it's in the CCHA anymore - absolutely everything has changed.

Hope it all gets done.

owslachief
06-11-2014, 12:06 PM
I have a friend who's son has a LOI with Michigan State, I believe starting 2015-16. There's a few guys coming from Honeybaked Ham who look really impressive. They're headed to billets in the USHL this fall; but if I was a Spartan fan, I would be very comfortable about the future!
It does look promising. Those USHL billets resulted from several very high USHL draft picks, including some pre-draft tenders.

NHL Mock Draft - according to draftsite.com:
D Joshua Jacobs - #48 (2nd round)
G Edwin Minney - #62 (3rd round)
F Marcel Godbout - #133 (5th round)

We'll see what happens on June 28.

LSSULaker889294
06-16-2014, 05:12 PM
2014-15 schedule:
http://www.msuspartans.com/sports/m-hockey/sched/msu-m-hockey-sched.html

Spartanforlife4
06-17-2014, 11:48 AM
So our schedule includes:
4 games against the 2nd ranked team at the end of last season
1 game against the 3rd and 5th ranked teams
3 games against the 6th ranked team
4 games against the 7th ranked team

Anastos is going to have to produce good results with a tough schedule to keep his job. Unless Hollis just gave up on hockey entirely.

owslachief
06-17-2014, 03:33 PM
That's pretty rank.