For the first time in 40 years, someone other than Jack Parker will be leading Boston University hockey. That someone is David Quinn, a former associate coach under Parker and the man chosen to fill Parker’s large shoes.
So how do you replace a legend?
“You don’t think about it,” Quinn says with a smile. “These jobs are tough enough. You can’t consume yourself with whom you’re replacing and what’s happened before you got there.
“I’m in a unique situation in that usually when there’s a coaching change, you’re picking up a program that’s broken and needs a rebuilding process. We’re not in that situation.”
Let’s not forget that BU played Massachusetts-Lowell to a scoreless tie for 51 minutes in the Hockey East championship game before falling to the River Hawks 1-0. A slump in January and February put the Terriers in the position of needing to win that game to get into the NCAA tournament.
“We’re going to hope to avoid that little stretch and we’re going to hope to score one more goal in the Hockey East championship game and give us a chance to win it,” Quinn says.
Although there’s been a good amount of turnover on the Terriers roster, goaltenders Sean Maguire and Matt O’Connor will provide stability in net after strong freshman seasons.
“To watch those two freshman goalies adapt so quickly to college hockey [last year] was very impressive,” Quinn says. “They’re good-sized kids; they’re athletic. It’s a great situation to step into as a first-year coach.”
In front of them is an offensively talented group of defensemen led by Matt Grzelcyk, Garrett Noonan and Ahti Oksanen, all of whom totaled at least 17 points.
“In this day and age of hockey, you need all five guys contributing offensively — you can’t rely on just your forwards,” Quinn says. “It’s going to be a good group to have back there to generate our offense and start our transition.”
Up front, three of last year’s top four scorers return: Danny O’Regan, Evan Rodrigues, and Cason Hohmann. After those 30-plus point producers, however, there’s a precipitous drop to Max Lane (7 points) and Sam Kurker (5). Those two will need to take huge leaps forward while several of the incoming six freshmen contribute right away.
“Hohmann, Kurker and Lane made great jumps the second half of the season,” Quinn says.
Looking at all the holes on the blue line and up front, he adds, “We’ve got 10 freshmen so the bottom line is that our freshmen are going to have to contribute if we’re going to have depth and have success.
“But the thing that I’m excited about is our senior leadership. We have five seniors that have done a phenomenal job my first six months here in setting the tone and taking ownership of the team. It’s been fun to watch.”
About the Terriers
2012-13 overall record: 21-16-2
2012-13 Hockey East record: 15-10-2 (tie-third)
2013-14 predicted finish (coaches’ poll): Sixth
Key losses: F Matt Nieto, F Wade Megan, F Sahir Gill, D Sean Escobedo, D Ryan Ruikka
Players to watch: F Danny O’Regan, F Evan Rodrigues, F Cason Hohmann, D Matt Grzelcyk, D Garrett Noonan, D Ahti Oksanen, G Sean Maguire, G Matt O’Connor
Impact rookies: F Robbie Baillargeon, F Nick Roberto, F Brendan Collier
Why the Terriers will finish higher than predicted: The Terriers came within a goal of winning the Hockey East tournament last year. If the freshmen come through early, this can be a strong team.
Why the Terriers will finish lower than predicted: A lot rides on the freshmen, an almost certain recipe for a slow start. In particular, the depth up front could prove to be a big problem without significant rookie contributions.