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Chuck Murray
12-04-2015, 10:59 AM
With the "Part One" thread nearing its capacity (a little sooner than expected), I figured I'd take advantage of a relatively quiet day and set this follow-up thread afloat. Suffice to say that there were question marks added into the "Champions of December" thread for a reason, and we've pretty much spent most of the last 3 months discussing how the optimism for this year's UNH Men's Hockey team has quickly dissolved, and (as of the time of this writing) the team stands with a worse-than-mediocre 4-6-3 record after completion of most of the "easy" part of their schedule. With two of those four wins coming from twin D-1AA *powerhouses* AIC and Bentley, there's not a lot to look back and be happy about.

For spits and giggles, I've copied some of my outlook predictions and key questions from "Part One" below:

And so that brings us to that schedule thingie, and I'll say here and now that I expect UNH to win at least 10 games by the December break - and hopefully more. They should also have at least 9-10 points on the board after their first 7 HE regular season games. And that points outlook should have them postured for the top 4 - and REAL "home ice" for the HE quarterfinals, instead of "home ice" for the everyone-gets-a-medal round. And if the team can even come close to being able to approximate the strong late-season play of the last two seasons ... a return to the NCAA's SHOULD be attainable. But a fast start - like the good ol' days - is essential not only to set the foundation for a more challenging second-half league schedule, but also to build on the confidence the team developed down the stretch last season. "Champions of December" has been a taunt to the program in the past, but I'd welcome a return to that *title* in 90 days' time, so long as the team doesn't buy into any hype, and understands that even more will be required once they hit early 2016.

I'll leave it to others to discuss other issues within the team, including:

* Will Tirone continue as the everyday goalie? Will Clark get some starts, or is he en route to transferring out when Robinson arrives next season?
* Is Maller going to be able to return to form in the top two pairings? Which younger D-men will fill the other slots?
* Does the senior class of forwards have any shot at making an impact, and if not, what younger players step up?

If someone had told me two months ago that this team would be struggling to make it to HALF of 10 wins by the break, I'd have sent for the guys in the white coats to lock that *nutcase* away. But that's pretty much where things stand, and arguably the definitive "turning point" IMO was blowing a 5 goal lead to UMass Amherst. Even though there was a quick bounce-back after that dreadful loss - oops - tie, the after-effects of that fiasco seem to have seriously dented the team's confidence and carryover from the end of the previous season. And now, any momentum from last season is a mirage. :(

The questions for discussion - Tirone and the situation in goal (it's turned out MUCH worse than expected), the situation with Maller's injury (unfortunately still an ongoing issue), and the to-date dual failure of the seniors' "Maginot Line" and the younger players' inability to make consistently positive impacts, leaves this to be the most notably thin UNH squad I can recall in recent memory.

There are still a ton of games left to play this season, and arguably in the last game or two, we've at least begun to see some possible glimpses of the younger players breaking through and taking on bigger roles in a productive way. But the problem is that UNH's schedule gets decidedly more difficult soon enough, and even with a 1-1-3 HE record, the team sits in 9th place in the league. And while I understand part of that's because they've played so few league games to date (an undefeated Providence team sits in 7th place for the same reason), and some teams further up in the standings appear to be in false positions ... it's hard to argue against the idea that UNH may actually be in the bottom third of the league on merit. :( Perhaps this coming weekend's home-and-home series with rejuvenated UMaine will shed some light on this?

Anyway ... perhaps as much as we (as fans) entered this season with high hopes, perhaps so did the players, and if so, then maybe there was a little bit of complacency that slipped into the program for the early part of this season? There's no reason for that sentiment to be hanging around the locker room any further, though, and it would be nice to see the team get back up to .500 by the time they hit the break. Maybe build a little momentum and confidence, and then we'll see how things go with the HE heavy rest of the schedule. I don't think too many of us were predicting the (extremely) strong finish to the season last year, so I suppose it's possible it could happen again. But I just don't see it happening.

Revised predictions: UNH finishes under .500 both overall and in Hockey East (8th), ekes out a 2-1 series win at home in the make-believe, everyone-gets-a-medal round of the HE playoffs, then gets swept in the HE quarters on the road, doesn't get to Boston, and no NCAA's (again) :( Have at it, folks.

Nifty16
12-04-2015, 12:19 PM
I know I havenít been on a lot this year but have been reading everything, have been to the games except for a few in Oct. Not going to add any great insight that no one else has. Just my 2 cents. I see the same issues as a lot of people, lack of depth being the biggest one. AS great as it is to see the top line looking so good, it is fun to watch them on the ice, the lack of secondary scoring is a killer. I know there is a lot of talk about the Senior line, I do have to agree with that. If they were the 4th line I wouldnít have as big of an issue with them as they can check but to play them against one of the top 2 lines doesnít seem to be working, they arenít a true shut down line and donít add any scoring. I think the Freshman line has shown a little spark and would like to see them as the 2nd line and on the PP more. Having Eiserman on the 4th line doesnít make much sense to me either. I know losing Foelge was a blow to him as they had good chemistry but to bury him will not benefit him or the team. At this point I am not sure who you put him with but not playing him as much is a mistake. Not sure if Salvaggo is hurt, donít remember seeing anything about that, but he didnít look bad last year and would like to maybe see him with Eiserman. As for Tirrone every time I see him it seems like he has lost more and confidence, just watch his glove hand it seems to always be way down. I am sure once Clark is healthy he will get a shot in net as Tirrone at this point has not won the job. I like many other feel very frustrated watching this team but will be there to support them every game. Just think 3 years ago this week they were # 1 in the country. As for the future right now it seems like we are at the transition point , just watching the bench can see Souza talking the lead in a lot of things. I think once Umile feels confidence in Souza might see that change, I have a feeling that is going to come sooner than most people thing. When it does happen I hope it opens ups some optimism for the future, but people will take time to reflect and respect all Umile has done for the program it is easy to look at this point in time and think good riddance but with out him we as fans would not have the exceptions we have. Go Cats beat Maine!!

Chuck Murray
12-04-2015, 12:31 PM
To your point on Salvaggio's absence ... I think I read somewhere recently that he IS injured.

Not saying he is the answer, but I'd like to see Kalinowski get a shot sometime soon ...

Nifty16
12-04-2015, 12:40 PM
To your point on Salvaggio's absence ... I think I read somewhere recently that he IS injured.

Not saying he is the answer, but I'd like to see Kalinowski get a shot sometime soon ...

That would make sense, at least I hope. Would also like to see Kalinowski. Think the next 5 games in Dec are a good time to mix it up and see what can work.

Darius
12-04-2015, 12:42 PM
...I have a feeling that (this) is going to come sooner than most people thing(k).Crossed my mind, too. However if I were Coach I'd not be walking away from my compensation package without a (((very))) compelling reason.

Darius
12-04-2015, 12:51 PM
Looks like thread 1 is closed.

Regarding how the rest of NH views the Seacoast, it was never quite as bad as Charlie sings it and has gotten better since my time in Durham, but y'all are friends "of them long haired, hippy-type, pinko f@#s! I betchya (you've) even got a commie flag tacked up on the wall inside of (your) garage(s)." ;)

Scott
12-04-2015, 12:53 PM
To your point on Salvaggio's absence ... I think I read somewhere recently that he IS injured.

Not saying he is the answer, but I'd like to see Kalinowski get a shot sometime soon ...

Salvaggio has mono, according to today's article in Fosters:

http://www.fosters.com/article/20151203/SPORTS/151209740/14322/NEWS

Marks and Maller are also both out due to injuries, so it's a "bare minimum" compliment of defensemen for the weekend.

Greg Ambrose
12-04-2015, 01:15 PM
From Felger "Chuck I'm with you on this sentiment, but to be perfectly honest I think broad thinking individuals such as us are in the minority. All I have to do is remind you of the juvenile reaction of most of the UNH hockey fanbase to playing a game or two in Manchester...couldn't see the forest for the trees. The provincial, self-serving nature of that whining was a disgrace, and was one of many things that have turned me off a bit to the program."

Actually the fiasco of Manchester proves a point, that the rest of the state gives a rats a** about UNH. The first year they played Dartmouth at the Verizon, the game sold out. The last time UNH played at the Verizon, the attendance was south of 5,000. Now a lot of that has to do with the dwindling support in Durham. But you would think that if there was indeed the warm feeling around the state, particularly in Manchester and Concord, for the team, that plenty of alums, plenty of youth hockey groups would be jumping at the chance to see the ole State U in action. Not the case. And the grumbling among season ticket holders, myself included (not that it matters for me since, from Lynn, it's an hour to Durham and an hour to Manchester) was the disregard the school had for their most loyal supporters. I am talking seating, where the first year they were supposedly give me and my wife seats similar to what I have at the Whit (fourth row, on the blue line opposite the UNH bench) but instead had first row seats directly behind the Dartmouth bench. Then there was the year that fans were told that there was no possible way that UNH students could sit in the lower bowl but then come to the game and find the Maine fans sitting lower bowl right behind the net that Maine shoots at for two periods. And speaking of the students, UNH I believe UNH charged for bus transportation to and from the game for students, who could walk to the game if it was in Durham. Finally, there was the overarching rationale by Marty that we needed to play games in Manchester to show the NCAA that we are worthy of hosting. Well that ship sailed a long time ago. Putting aside the fact that perennial Worcester host BU never, ever played a regular season game at the Centrum, attendance at the Dartmouth game has had no bearing on how many show up for the Regionals, even if UNH is involved. And, of course, nowadays the NCAA is looking for anybody to host. Let's agree on this, that UNH did not bend over backwards to explain to their most loyal fans, the season ticket holders, why a Manchester game was necessary and did little to accommodate the other loyal group, the students, to make sure that they could get to the game. A lot of more of what Chuck and I have talked about.

HockeyRef
12-04-2015, 01:45 PM
Looks like thread 1 is closed.

Regarding how the rest of NH views the Seacoast, it was never quite as bad as Charlie sings it and has gotten better since my time in Durham, but y'all are friends "of them long haired, hippy-type, pinko f@#s! I betchya (you've) even got a commie flag tacked up on the wall inside of (your) garage(s)." ;)

used to love that song as a teenager in the 70's...

e.cat
12-04-2015, 02:07 PM
Greg A. Just to carry forward the discussion on DU and state support, I realize the search for DU's replacement is over as far as DU is concerned. However, it remains to be seen if this will stand though. It may be naivete on my part to assume a legit search will take place but the U must have strict policies regarding this which must be adhered to. Regarding state support/interest, I can only tell you that I know people who still travel to games from as far away as the Claremont area. Berlin has always been a hockey hotbed and UNH stronghold. Obviously(DU's fav word!), most fans going to the games come from the seacoast area because of the proximity to Durham.

Rover
12-04-2015, 02:37 PM
Lots of beating around the bush. I'll state it plain and simple...

WILL YOU PEOPLE FUKIN FIRE UMILE ALREADY!!!!

No need to thank me. Just buy me a beer.

e.cat
12-04-2015, 03:15 PM
Lots of beating around the bush. I'll state it plain and simple...

WILL YOU PEOPLE FUKIN FIRE UMILE ALREADY!!!!

No need to thank me. Just buy me a beer.

We can't because apparently he already fired himself and hired his own replacement! You can't make this stuff up!

HockeyRef
12-04-2015, 03:16 PM
Lots of beating around the bush. I'll state it plain and simple...

WILL YOU PEOPLE FUKIN FIRE UMILE ALREADY!!!!

No need to thank me. Just buy me a beer.

I do believe there's a thread for that 😉

Darius
12-04-2015, 04:16 PM
I do believe there's a thread for that ��Don't encourage them.

HockeyRef
12-04-2015, 05:29 PM
Don't encourage them.

My bad not my intention...

Chuck Murray
12-04-2015, 08:32 PM
We can't because apparently he already fired himself and hired his own replacement! You can't make this stuff up!

One of those very rare times e.cat and myself are in near complete agreement. :eek: :)

e.cat
12-04-2015, 08:59 PM
One of those very rare times e.cat and myself are in near complete agreement. :eek: :)

Like I said, you can't make this stuff up;):)

HockeyRef
12-04-2015, 09:20 PM
Any idea how bad the injuries to Marks and Maller are? Also looked like CMacD injured. I know we were lucky to get a tie tonight but hats off to DT. But Oh how many times did we let them just skate right in its basic coverage!!! Watching the B's...

Chuck Murray
12-04-2015, 09:24 PM
Actually the fiasco of Manchester proves a point, that the rest of the state gives a rats a** about UNH. The first year they played Dartmouth at the Verizon, the game sold out. The last time UNH played at the Verizon, the attendance was south of 5,000. Now a lot of that has to do with the dwindling support in Durham. But you would think that if there was indeed the warm feeling around the state, particularly in Manchester and Concord, for the team, that plenty of alums, plenty of youth hockey groups would be jumping at the chance to see the ole State U in action. Not the case.

I'll offer a different view, Greg. The Manchester/Concord market was there for the taking for years, if not decades before the Verizon Wireless Arena opened early in the 2001/2002 AHL season. Even in its first year, when the brand-new Monarchs in the brand-new arena were drawing just over 8,000 folks per game, the UNH game vs. Dartmouth (as you recall correctly) was a sell-out. Right then and there you would think it would be patently obvious to the folks in the UNH Athletics department there was a huge, mostly unrealized market thirsting for live hockey - at least in part created by the remnants of the '94/'95 road season at JFK, combined more prominently with subsequent teams that would make deep runs in the NCAA's. And UNH back then had the upper hand - the Monarchs were new and unknown, no local history, and a farm team for an organization located 3,000 miles away on the left coast. UNH was regularly on TV, playing big games in Boston in the HE Tourney (they would win their only two in the first two seasons the VWA was open), and also FF participants in both seasons. NESN, NHPTV and other outlets (possibly WMUR - I forget??) would show games free over the air fairly regularly, which was another something the Monarchs didn't have going for them.

So what happens next? Instead of striking while the iron is hot, and realizing that (at the very least) there was a crossover market of hockey fans who probably would have been there for the taking for UNH ... UNH got complacent, "fat and happy", whatever you might want to call it. Sure the Whitt was still a steady sellout ... remember back then, when the waiting list was reportedly into the thousands, and there were actually straight-faced discussions on here about the possibilities of adding a balcony(s) to the Whitt to accommodate the extra demand? Whether that would create a super-charged atmosphere with the balcony(s) creating a crescendo of noise onto the ice??

The demand was assumed to be permanent. The need to "expand" the footprint of the program was deemed unnecessary. Attendance for the Monarchs continued to grow, hovering at or around 9,000 per game until around the time the economy went into the toilet. And by then, the Manchester/Concord market was "lost" by UNH to the Monarchs. Even when the Monarchs' attendance steadily dropped for several years afterwards, down to about 5,500 per game for most of this decade (a 40% drop since their peak a decade earlier), did UNH make any efforts to increase marketing to those areas? Not that I'm aware of. Oh, and by the way, UNH had its own fall-off, and whether it's due to the economy or the decreasing on-ice success, even modest marketing to the center of the state - much less to the far corners (some of which may be more conducive to Dartmouth anyway) - of disaffected Monarchs' fans could have made up a difference.

Now, the "Monarchs" skate what I'll charitably refer to as a "goon league" quality product. At least with the AHL product, you could tell your fanbase they were watching the future stars of a what turned out to be a multiple Stanley Cup-winning franchise - even if most of the parent club's games were on obscure cable TV outlets at times when most folks in these areas are asleep. Now, the chances of you taking your kid to VWA to see the next Jonathan Quick or Dustin Brown or Tyler Toffoli are marginal, and you're far more likely to see the next coming of the Hanson Brothers or Ogie Oglethorpe. *Might* that create another opportunity for UNH to try to grab back some of that previously-lost market? I would think so ... but I don't see anyone in Durham doing anything creative to try to make that happen. And now you have plenty of open seats to fill, and no pesky new balcony(s) to construct. So what's the hold-up????????? :rolleyes:


And the grumbling among season ticket holders, myself included (not that it matters for me since, from Lynn, it's an hour to Durham and an hour to Manchester) was the disregard the school had for their most loyal supporters. I am talking seating, where the first year they were supposedly give me and my wife seats similar to what I have at the Whit (fourth row, on the blue line opposite the UNH bench) but instead had first row seats directly behind the Dartmouth bench. Then there was the year that fans were told that there was no possible way that UNH students could sit in the lower bowl but then come to the game and find the Maine fans sitting lower bowl right behind the net that Maine shoots at for two periods. And speaking of the students, UNH I believe UNH charged for bus transportation to and from the game for students, who could walk to the game if it was in Durham. Finally, there was the overarching rationale by Marty that we needed to play games in Manchester to show the NCAA that we are worthy of hosting. Well that ship sailed a long time ago. Putting aside the fact that perennial Worcester host BU never, ever played a regular season game at the Centrum, attendance at the Dartmouth game has had no bearing on how many show up for the Regionals, even if UNH is involved. And, of course, nowadays the NCAA is looking for anybody to host. Let's agree on this, that UNH did not bend over backwards to explain to their most loyal fans, the season ticket holders, why a Manchester game was necessary and did little to accommodate the other loyal group, the students, to make sure that they could get to the game. A lot of more of what Chuck and I have talked about.

To be fair, UNH has treated its season ticket holder fanbase with a combination of disdain and disinterest for far too long. And I haven't held season tickets since the Snively days, so it's not my fight, to be fair. But back when things were good, not only were season ticket holders taken almost completely for granted - after all, with a few thousand folks waiting in line behind you, if you're not happy with the product, then hey ho, out you go, and we plug in someone else in your seats, and you go to the back of the line - but were also subjected to any number of ridiculous money-generating schemes for premium tickets, premium parking spaces, bonus loyalty points towards lord knows what meaningless trinkets attached to the program. Lots of fans didn't like it, but tolerated it so long as the hockey was good. But when the on-ice product fell off ... well, these folks have long memories, and many of them walked. And by then, the vaunted "wait list" had become a mirage. Karma came home to roost. Nowadays, if you want a season ticket, you get a guided tour to review hundreds, if not thousands of options.

It will be interesting to see if lessons were learned with how Hockey was mismanaged with the season ticket holders - not to mention the potential fans elsewhere in the state - and if so, how will they be applied to Football when they open the new stadium next season. I'm sure attendance will be great for a few years. And there are no "Monarchs" to compete against anywhere close on Saturday afternoons.

It's an even easier field of competition than UNH Hockey faced in the early '00's.

Unless lessons were indeed learned over the last decade, I give the current crew five (5) years max to FUBAR. IF lessons WERE learned, then maybe they can be applied to Hockey as well - better late than never, but late nonetheless. JMHO.

C-H-C
12-04-2015, 10:42 PM
"Tirone Makes 50 Saves; UNH Ties Maine 3-3" (http://unhhockeyblog.blogspot.com/2015/12/tirone-makes-50-saves-unh-ties-maine-3-3.html)