These are the three things I think I learned this week.
1. Boston College coach Jerry York could miss the Hockey East championships.
When news broke on Saturday that York had suffered a second detached retina of his right eye, he was ruled out of the weekend’s series with Vermont and nothing more.
But with surgery scheduled for this morning and considering that last time he missed four games and had to spend the bulk of most days lying face down as part of his recuperation, I wouldn’t think it likely that he’ll be back to the Hockey East championships this week.
Associate head coaches Mike Cavanaugh and Greg Brown will lead the team in York’s absence as they did previously. Both are exceptional coaches, but York will still be missed. That this won’t be uncharted territory for the team helps, but it still means the Eagles won’t be at 100 percent.
Keep in mind that BC is not an overwhelming powerhouse this year that can simply run on autopilot. This team needs York.
That said, let’s hope he doesn’t rush back and in any way endanger his health. Even of that means he doesn’t return until a potential trip to the Frozen Four.
2. Friday night promises to be a dose of the old and a dose of the new.
Is there anyone (other than the teams that were eliminated and their fans) who is disappointed that on Friday night at eight o’clock we’ll be watching Boston College and Boston University play for the bajillionth time in their storied programs’ histories?
It’s great theatre when these two teams clash whether it’s in the Beanpot, a regular season contest, or a playoff game for a shot at all the marbles.
There’ll be even more on the line than usual, at least for BU. The Terriers will certainly be hoping to prolong coach Jack Parker’s career at least one more game so they should come out flying. And as it stands right now, they quite likely need a win to prolong their own NCAA tournament hopes.
BU sits on the bubble, tied with four other teams for 16th place. Strange things could happen, most notably if other results propel Merrimack back into Teams Under Consideration status (by pushing its RPI above .500). This would help BU immeasurably since the Terriers went 5-0 against the Warriors.
Strange things aside, however, BU most likely needs to win or have its season end entirely.
As for the new, there’s Massachusetts-Lowell and Providence in the 5 p.m. game. Although the two teams did just face each other a week ago in a weekend series to determine the regular season champion, they’re still relative strangers to the TD Garden compared to BC and BU.
You have go back 12 years for the last time both teams advanced to the league semifinals. Kudos to Lowell coach Norm Bazin and PC coach Nate Leaman for the exceptional turnarounds they’ve performed in just two years at those schools.
3. It’s the end of the line for Maine, Vermont, and Merrimack.
While almost certainly New Hampshire can expect an NCAA tournament berth, the season ended for the other three quarterfinal losers.
All three can point to high moments in the season. Merrimack stood in first place just a few weeks ago. Maine and Vermont both put together strong second halves.
But even if that softens the blow a bit, the sting still lingers, especially for the seniors whose collegiate careers have come to a close.
So here’s a tip of the hat to all those players who provided so much enjoyment for all of us.