The teams (and leagues) speak

Two teams. Two news releases.

Two leagues. Two notes of support.

Two different messages. That about sums up what we got today in the wake of incidents last Saturday night in the CCHA and the WCHA.

First, the more severe one. Michigan State has suspended Corey Tropp and Andrew Conboy for the rest of the season after Conboy delivered a clothesline to the head of Michigan’s Steve Kampfer and Tropp took a slash at Kampfer’s head on the ice. It was a vicious attack, and the penalty seems to fit the crime.

In Michigan State’s news release, coach Rick Comley said:

“What happened near the end of the game this weekend is not the way in which we want our hockey program represented. We cannot condone their actions. We felt that we had to send a strong message that this behavior will not be tolerated.

“However, one thing needs to be clear — this was an incident that was an emotional, split-second action, for which these players are being punished. I do not want this to be portrayed that this was anything pre-meditated, or that any single player was ‘targeted.’ Their reaction, while inappropriate, was a split-second response that I know that they wish they could have back.”

The CCHA followed up with a release of its own, saying it supports the decision to suspend the players.

Over in the WCHA, Denver reacted to the unusual event of coach George Gwozdecky’s ejection and subsequent on-ice parade last Saturday with a note of disapproval. Senior associate athletic director Ron Grahame said:

“We have discussed the incident with George, and he understands that his behavior was unacceptable. George’s actions were very much out of character. We respect the integrity of not only the University of Denver, but the Western Collegiate Hockey Association as well.”

The WCHA answered with a release, saying it also doesn’t condone the action and is satisfied that Denver resolved the matter promptly.

That’s quite a difference in messages. One says we won’t tolerate anything of this sort and backs it up. The other says we’re disappointed in you, but we’re not going to do anything further.

I thought the WCHA would have been more supportive of its officials, who basically were shown up by Gwozdecky’s choke sign, standing on the boards and walk across the ice at them. You can tell me all you want that Gwozdecky was looking for a way to his locker room, but I’m still going to be skeptical, knowing that the visitors’ locker room at Ralph Engelstad Arena is directly behind the tunnel from the visitors’ bench.

Gwozdecky isn’t alone in the blame, however. It appeared that referee Todd Anderson was doing his fair share of jawing right back at the coach and Denver players, when he should have taken the high road.

The WCHA bylaws circa 2007-08 say that a first offense for a coach using “obscene gestures or profane or unduly provocative language or action toward officials” is punished with a public reprimand. A repeat offense is met with a public reprimand and a suspension for up to 20 percent of the scheduled contests.

Gwozdecky has been ejected before. On Feb. 24, 2006, Anderson ran him from a game against the Sioux at Magness Arena after he got on top of the boards to protest a no-call. It’s interesting that last Saturday’s event didn’t qualify as a repeat offense.

There is no real apples-to-apples comparison between the Michigan State and Denver events, given the nature of the offenses. But I think Michigan State and the CCHA had the right idea, while Denver and the WCHA could have done better.


  1. I’m a biased poster, but Clarkson having a -10 ECAC isn’t nearly as bad as it appears. Remove the 6-1 loss verses Cornell and an 8-1 loss against Union, and the Knights become +2 for the year.

    Obviously blowout losses aren’t encouraging, but after watching Clarkson all year, I do not believe that these games are the norm. The miserable play of the past two years honestly seems behind the Knights, and I really think they have a strong shot at being a top-3 ECAC team at the end of the season.

    • I’m with Zekebud and his Clarkson optimism. Sullivan forgot to mention that Clarkson gave Yale a hell of a game on away ice. RPI and Union didn’t give Yale half the battle that Clarkson did. Will Clarkson realistically finish in the top three? Probability not, but this years team isn’t afraid of taking the hard road to the finals.

      Drew has it right, good teams win one goal games, bad teams loose them.

  2. How does the ECAC staff writer only put 2 ECAC teams in the top 16, when they are very arguably the second best conference this year?

        • I will post where ever I want to post. I would still like to know some think that the ECAC is the second best conference in College Hockey instead of acting like a jerk why don’t you answer the question… It was a legitimate question, I wasn’t trolling or trying to be a jerk. I think it’s funny how ECAC fans get defensive when fans of other conference challenge them…

      • BTW, the Hockey East writer just posted something about how they have reason to be concerned this year about their turnout in the rankings compared to the ECAC. If HE is conceding that the ECAC is having a better year than they are, maybe you could try it on for size…

        • Oh so one writer for Hockey East wrote that? So What? That’s one writer from USCHO… Last time I look B.C. is probably one of the better teams in the country along with UND. UNH is doing pretty well so far… Lot of hockey left.

  3. Are you kidding me? Michigan at #10? Have you seen them play even once this season? They are easily a top 5 team with a serious chance at winning it all this year. No chance that Union is a better team or deserving of a higher ranking than the Maize n Blue. Come on….

  4. Here’s a question I’d like to throw out there to the ECAC regulars: What do you think about the caliber of officiating in league games that you have seen over the course of this season?

      • Clarkson has had at least four called back goals… just at home. One was against Minn-Deluth, which was a big game. Overall, nobody ever likes the refs, (ask RPI) and I’d say they are just as awful this year as ever.

        • oh man don’t get me going on the refs….terrible in the ECAC this year, absolutey terrible…and it hurts, especially as a RPI fan, the ridiculous amount of invalid penalites called against them…some are warranted, but not most of them… they must have some vendetta against RPI…especially that ref MURPHY!!!

    • I’ve (RPI fan) chewed out the refs after a game this year when they were going into the tunnel. Here’s the sad part: we had won the game.

  5. Not sure how you can put RPI all the way down at 17th when they’re 7th in the pairwise and top 11 in every other poll…i mean opinion is opinion…but ECAC definitely up with Hockey East and CCHA now…progress being made on the WCHA each year…I mean, thats what happens when schools in ECAC with higher standards require a better GPA from their recruitments, tough to put out great teams every year, but that’s changing
    ……as a whole, division 1 is very even across the board this year…wish there were more opportunities for Eastern teams to face Western teams…so, really can’t compare leagues at this point…but with the spanking Yale put on Colorado earlier this year and with RPI crusing against BU..not to mention Dartmouth beating UNH, and the U beating Minn…and with the success of teams like RIT against western teams in the tourney last year, there’s no longer an elite conference….Yale is gonna make mince meat out of the western teams in the tourney this year


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