Tag: Frozen Four

2013 Frozen Four logo

PHT’s Frozen Four preview

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This year’s Frozen Four in Pittsburgh offers up one of the great storylines for all the teams involved. One way or another, someone is going to win their first national championship in hockey.

For three out of the four schools (UMass-Lowell, Quinnipiac, St. Cloud State), it’s their first trip to the Frozen Four. Yale hasn’t made the national semifinals since 1952.

Thursday’s first semifinal matchup provides quite the contrast in styles. Hockey East champions UMass-Lowell bank on dogged defending and the play of budding superstar freshman goalie Connor Hellebuyck to lead them to glory. They’ve got some scorers in Scott Wilson, a Penguins prospect, as well as Joseph Pendenza, Derek Arnold, and Riley Wetmore. Make no mistake, if Lowell is going to win it all, it’ll be because of Hellebuyck.

Yale, on the other hand, loves to push play and use their speed to their advantage. Newly acquired Flames prospect Kenny Agostino (part of the Jarome Iginla deal) leads the way for them in scoring and has great support in a pair of seniors, Andrew Miller and Antoine Laganiere. Coach Keith Allain has helped Yale to become a consistent tournament team, but he’ll need senior goalie Jeff Malcolm to bring his “A” game to take out Lowell, something he’s done already in helping the Bulldogs upset Minnesota and North Dakota.

In the late game, Quinnipiac facing St. Cloud shows off a pair of regular season champions looking to prove that winning over the long haul of the season pays dividends.

source:  Quinnipiac has done their business all year thanks to a lineup that features 11 seniors. Making a run at the title is a heck of a way to go out with style. Goalie Eric Hartzell is a Hobey Baker finalist and the key to their season. The Bobcats have a host of talent up front in Lightning prospect Matthew Peca (not related to former Sabres/Islanders center Michael), Jets prospect Jordan Samuels-Thomas, senior Jeremy Langlois (pictured), and the super-twins Connor and Kellen Jones (the latter an Oilers prospect).

St. Cloud does things a bit differently. The bulk of their talent is made up of underclassmen with the lone exception being Hobey Baker finalist Drew LeBlanc. Junior and Kings prospect Nic Dowd has been a big time tournament player for them, but it’s a crew of freshmen that help steal the show. Jonny Brodzinski, Kalle Kossila, and Joey Benik have been big in the postseason. Senior and Flames prospect Ben Hanowski has stepped up big himself since being part of the Iginla deal.

If sophomore Ryan Farragher can keep holding things down in goal and silence the Quinnipiac attack, things are looking up for the Huskies.

Predictions: It’s impossible to pick against Connor Hellebuyck at this point. He and Lowell have been too strong. I like Lowell to take down Yale and then St. Cloud in the finals to win their first national championship.

The Rangers are literally camped out waiting for Kreider


Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports that Rangers assistant GM Jeff Gorton is at the Frozen Four in Tampa, “prepared to talk contract with Chris Kreider.”

This development is noteworthy. Kreider, New York’s first-round selection at the 2009 draft, will lead Boston College into battle tonight against the University of Minnesota.

With a win, the Eagles advance to Saturday’s final.

With a loss, the Eagles’ season is done…and Kreider’s courtship begins.

We’ve covered this situation extensively over the past few days. While it might seem like overkill — how important could a 20-year-old with no NHL experience be to a playoff-bound club? — you have to understand that Kreider is not the average NCAA hockey product.

One, he’s big — 6-foot-3, 230-pounds — and can handle the physicality of an NHL postseason.

Two, he’s played with men before, and on a big stage. He represented Team USA at the 2011 World Hockey Championships, drawing rave reviews from head coach Scott Gordon, most notably after scoring a highlight-reel goal in a 5-1 win over Austria.

“He is so much more mature on and off the ice,” Gordon said. “He looks confident. Even before he scored the goal, he had a change of speed that messed up the defender along the boards.”

Three, his acquisition would be a “something for nothing”-type deal, not unlike what Nashville got in Alexander Radulov. While Kreider can’t be expected to replicate the success Radulov’s had with the Preds, it would be a nice jolt for the Rangers — especially since GM Glen Sather was unable to pull the trigger on any significant trade deadline move (see: Nash, Rick.)

PHT Related

Report: Kreider playoff eligible, no deadline to sign with Rangers

NHL exec calls Rangers prospect Kreider “legitimate NHL player” — will he be this season?

PHT Morning Skate: Messages keep getting sent in Washington

Dale Hunter

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Caps coach Dale Hunter benched Jeff Halpern and Keith Aucoin after being on ice for a Jets goal. At what point is this just a pointless gesture to show power? (CSNWashington.com)

Here’s your wacky thought of the day. With the Sabres charging hard in the East, could they actually win the Northeast Division? They’re just five points back of Boston. (Buffalo News)

The Red Wings are getting healthy in time for the end of the season and that’s bad enough news for Carolina tonight. (Detroit Free Press)

Think the Predators are bothered by Pekka Rinne’s slump? Not a chance. (Tennessean)

The Blues would love to prepare for their first round opponent in the playoffs but no one else in the West wants to help clear that up. (Post-Dispatch)

If your team is out of the playoff picture, the way it is for the Maple Leafs, it’s time to settle in for heavy doses of schadenfreude. (Globe And Mail)

Hey, at least Nazem Kadri showed what he’s capable of for the Leafs last night. (TSN)

Steve Stamkos sure picked a bad time of the year to hit a slump. (Tampa Tribune)

Jonas Hiller has shown what he’s made of dealing with issues this season. (OC Register)

Finally, INCH gets you caught up with yesterday’s goings-on in the NCAA tournament. Congrats to Union College, UMass-Lowell, Cornell, and Ferris State for their wins and their shot at earning a bid to the Frozen Four today. (East Regional, Midwest Regional)

NBC Sports Network will carry 16 college hockey games this season


The NCAA’s Frozen Four is a great treat for hockey fans, but for some, it’s a tragically small taste of another puck-related world. If you want more, you’re in luck; NBC Sports Group will begin carrying college hockey games on Dec. 31.

That first game (12th-ranked* Boston University at fourth-ranked Notre Dame) will take place on Versus while the remaining 15 games will be televised under the NBC Sports Network banner. Here’s the full coverage schedule, including the Hockey East Tournament.

NBC Sports Network’s College Hockey Schedule (all times ET, subject to change):


Saturday, Dec. 31 #12 Boston University at #4 Notre Dame 7:00 p.m. (VERSUS)
Jan. 6 Dartmouth at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 13 #14 Minnesota-Duluth at Nebraska-Omaha 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 20 #3 Michigan at #4 Notre Dame 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 27 #9 Yale at Harvard 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 3 Cornell at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 10 #1 Boston College at Vermont 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 10 #5 Minnesota at #8 Denver 10:00 p.m.
Feb. 17 Dartmouth at #9 Yale 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 24 #12 Boston University at Vermont 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 24 #15 North Dakota at #8 Denver 10:00 p.m.
March 2 #8 Denver at Nebraska-Omaha 7:30 p.m.

Hockey East Tournament

March 9 Quarterfinals 7:30 p.m.
March 16 Semifinals 5:00 p.m. and 8 p.m.
March 17 Finals 8:00 p.m.

* – Those rankings are based on an Oct. 31 poll by USA Hockey Magazine and USA Today.

Eastern Conference finals mark reunion for college teammates Martin St. Louis, Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas, Martin St. Louis

Every once in a while, a college hockey team will manage to attract players who go on to have special NHL careers. The University of Vermont experienced that kind of season in 1995-96, when Martin St. Louis and Tim Thomas helped the team make it to the Frozen Four for the first time in the program’s history.

St. Louis and Thomas set plenty of career and single season records that still stand, but both players faced bumpy roads to the NHL. After all these years, they still maintain a solid friendship, but those fuzzy feelings will be placed on hold as their teams meet in the Eastern Conference finals.

As it turns out, that isn’t the only connection Thomas will feel with the opposing Tampa Bay Lightning’s players. Joe Haggerty points out that Thomas might not have gone to the University of Vermont if it weren’t for Dwayne Roloson, who played in the University of Lowell’s net.

St. Louis sat next to Roloson at the TD Garden podium on Friday afternoon and jokingly thanked the former University of Lowell goaltender for discouraging Thomas from playing college hockey at Lowell – and instead pushing the Vezina Trophy winner toward the University of Vermont where Thomas and St. Louis put on a show for four years at the Burlington campus.

“Marty is one of the greatest competitors I’ve ever played with – and I’ve ever seen play,” said Thomas. “You know it’s unfortunate that we have to play against each other. That’s the way it works out, though. I couldn’t have more respect for a person as a player and as a human being than I do for Marty.”

As confident as those two athletes are, Thomas and St. Louis probably weren’t expecting to have the success they have experienced in the NHL when they were struggling in the minors and/or foreign leagues. Yet St. Louis already has a Hart Trophy on his resume and Thomas is a Vezina winner, with both players shooting for their second trophies this season.

That’s an excellent sign of success, but it also highlights an undeniable fact: only one of them will play in the 2011 Stanley Cup finals. Whenever people generate Alex Ovechkin vs. Sidney Crosby-type buzz, they forget that those two players aren’t always competing as directly as it might seem. There’s no denying that if St. Louis wants to be successful, that means getting the puck past his former teammate. Thomas has connections to both Roloson and St. Louis, but for 4-7 games, they will be his enemies.

NHL.com shares this amusing retrospective video of the UVM’s remarkable 95-96 season, featuring much younger versions of St. Louis and Thomas.