Jerry York, semifinal matchups, and the end of the line

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.

70 COMMENTS

  1. I can’t find a plausible scenario for Union not to get in even if they lose both weekend games (which is plausible)….  Seems like you need upsets across the board.. (i.e BC forgets which end of the stick to hold or whole BU team gets bird flu or or the Michigan plane is late to the arena..  I guess technically, it could happen.
    You basically need all auto-bids to not win a conference championship. 

    While not mathematically a lock, Union has to be basically a 99% lock.  That’s as sure a bet as they come in AC..

    On the other side, if you are BC, I can’t find a PW scenario where there end up any thing other than a #1 seed.. do you rest the team to avoid injury?

    UT  

    • Agreed. Union basically has a lock and will receive a 2nd or 3rd seed with very high probability. If I am the coach, I would rest the team and avoid injury. Winning the ECAC championship will have little impact on the calibre of opponents Union will face in the NCAA tournament and could put quality players at risk for the weekend after, which is considerably more important.

      •  If I were the coach I would try to win a trophy in AC since the odds of them making it out of the first round in the NCAAs is pretty slim, let alone making a frozen 4 run…

        • That’s actually kinda funny you say they won’t make it out of the 1st round they handled Michigan easily and lost to Denver by 1 on their rink! Union can even get a 1 seed actually if they win the ECAC and get help. Union is a lot better than people give credit for since they are from the ECAC

    • I totally agree with you, they are way too soft and their defensemen keep losing all the important 1 on 1 puck battles in the corners. Forbort needs to man up and play like a big boy and not try and get so fancy, he is the biggest defenseman we have but it’s like he is scared to play too physical now.

  2. You forgot to mention how poorly North Dakotas defense has been, considering who they have and who the coach is. I’m disappointed in that fact.

    • I totally agree with you, they are way too soft and their defensemen keep losing all the important 1 on 1 puck battles in the corners. Forbort needs to man up and play like a big boy and not try and get so fancy, he is the biggest defenseman we have but it’s like he is scared to play too physical now.

  3. This BU alum will miss Coach York’s presence behind the bench in what could be Coach Parker’s last game. I am sure the two close friends will be in close contact on game day no matter what happens. Jerry will probably tell Jack “if you win Friday, lets meet one last time at the Frozen Four.”

    Good health Coach York and good luck to all the teams at the Garden.

    • Agree, wish York could have been there for one last go-around. These two men deserved that last game against each other. Wonder if we can talk Len Ceglarski into coaching for one game?

      Still. BC/BU at the Garden. Eagles have ruined the BU Invitational the past couple of years, can the Terriers return the favor in the Eagle Memorial?

      While that’s certainly of utmost importance to us BU/BC fans, Providence and Lowell deserve to be here too, and their coaching staffs have done a tremendous job. It makes for one heck of an audition for the BU job

      (Kidding, PC and Lowell, kidding).

      • By the way, in recent years, BC has turned the NCAA tournament into the Eagles Invitational. It pains this BU alum to know there is truth in that.

  4. This BU alum will miss Coach York’s presence behind the bench in what could be Coach Parker’s last game. I am sure the two close friends will be in close contact on game day no matter what happens. Jerry will probably tell Jack “if you win Friday, lets meet one last time at the Frozen Four.”

    Good health Coach York and good luck to all the teams at the Garden.

    • Agree, wish York could have been there for one last go-around. These two men deserved that last game against each other. Wonder if we can talk Len Ceglarski into coaching for one game?

      Still. BC/BU at the Garden. Eagles have ruined the BU Invitational the past couple of years, can the Terriers return the favor in the Eagle Memorial?

      While that’s certainly of utmost importance to us BU/BC fans, Providence and Lowell deserve to be here too, and their coaching staffs have done a tremendous job. It makes for one heck of an audition for the BU job

      (Kidding, PC and Lowell, kidding).

      • By the way, in recent years, BC has turned the NCAA tournament into the Eagles Invitational. It pains this BU alum to know there is truth in that.

    • Yea, I was wondering the same thing, but couldn’t get anything in the pair wise predictor to boost Merrimack. Most of the teams left playing that they played are in the hockey east, and no matter what, 3 will lose, and 3 will win (well one team will win twice)

      We kinda do need to win the HEA tournament if we want to get the 4th #1 seed. But either way we should be close by in the regionals.

    • Yea, I was wondering the same thing, but couldn’t get anything in the pair wise predictor to boost Merrimack. Most of the teams left playing that they played are in the hockey east, and no matter what, 3 will lose, and 3 will win (well one team will win twice)

      We kinda do need to win the HEA tournament if we want to get the 4th #1 seed. But either way we should be close by in the regionals.

    • There are a lot of unreasonable Umile haters out there (almost as much as the Whitehead haters) but i think the criticism is not unwarranted. He gets a free pass from the university for almost everything. But this program has really choked down the wire almost every year since 2003, often times when they should have been the favorite. He’s not recruiting the same caliber of kids that he was 10-12 years ago. And the good ones he does get like JvR, don’t stay. I’m not expecting a championship every year like a BC or Sioux fan, but a lot of season ticket holders are really grumbling, and many that i work with are not going to renew their tickets for next year. Umile getting fired may not make them stay, they would probably actually struggle for a while if they did fire Umile, but i don’t think a serious look at him and the team’s performance over the last few years is unwarranted.

    • There are a lot of unreasonable Umile haters out there (almost as much as the Whitehead haters) but i think the criticism is not unwarranted. He gets a free pass from the university for almost everything. But this program has really choked down the wire almost every year since 2003, often times when they should have been the favorite. He’s not recruiting the same caliber of kids that he was 10-12 years ago. And the good ones he does get like JvR, don’t stay. I’m not expecting a championship every year like a BC or Sioux fan, but a lot of season ticket holders are really grumbling, and many that i work with are not going to renew their tickets for next year. Umile getting fired may not make them stay, they would probably actually struggle for a while if they did fire Umile, but i don’t think a serious look at him and the team’s performance over the last few years is unwarranted.

  5. Good luck to Coach York. I hope to beat BC this coming weekend and have a real rematch in the frozen four if possible.

  6. Good luck to Coach York. I hope to beat BC this coming weekend and have a real rematch in the frozen four if possible.

  7. BC and BU ALWAYS get the top slot. Lowell deserved the 8pm game so yes some people are disappointed about BU-BC at 8. Whoever wins that game will get the calls on Saturday. Remember Lowell getting screwed 4 years ago against BU??

    • I appreciate all Hockey East teams, even the one at Chesnut Hill College. I congratulate all the teams that made it to the Garden.

      Having said that, I trust Joe Bertagna and team to figure out the right top billing, both locally and for national television.

      Lowell/PC can get top billing Saturday with a win.

      • well there are advantages for the 5pm timeslot (see 2009 when UML-NU ended at 8pm, BU-BC didnt start until about 9 and went past 11)

        at least lowell then had time to focus on the final game.

        Besides, everyone would just leave before the 2nd game if BU-BC was early. Just sad that Jerry doesn’t have a chance to send Jackie into retirement

    • While fans may consider the 8 pm game to hold an advantage, the players and coaches do not. It’s to a team’s advantage to play the 5 pm game. That gives them three extra hours of recuperation time AND allows them to scout their opponent. Those are HUGE advantages, which is why the number one seed usually prefers the early game. However, the league also factors in the distance the team’s fans have to travel so Maine or Vermont would be more apt to get the 8 pm time slot for that reason. But since all the schools are in reasonable time proximity, it perfectly appropriate to have Lowell and PC play at 5. Lowell earned that advantage by winning the regular season. (I’m almost certain BC took the early game last year as the number one seed.) So Lowell fans should be HAPPY their team has this advantage even though it’s less convenient for the fans personally. This is a time to… take one for the team. :)

      • One would think the mental rest is as big or bigger than the physical rest during a league championship weekend. Especially if either (or both) games go to overtime. I remember getting out of both Boston Gardens after midnight for a Beanpot with overtimes.

  8. BC and BU ALWAYS get the top slot. Lowell deserved the 8pm game so yes some people are disappointed about BU-BC at 8. Whoever wins that game will get the calls on Saturday. Remember Lowell getting screwed 4 years ago against BU??

    • I appreciate all Hockey East teams, even the one at Chesnut Hill College. I congratulate all the teams that made it to the Garden.

      Having said that, I trust Joe Bertagna and team to figure out the right top billing, both locally and for national television.

      Lowell/PC can get top billing Saturday with a win.

      • well there are advantages for the 5pm timeslot (see 2009 when UML-NU ended at 8pm, BU-BC didnt start until about 9 and went past 11)

        at least lowell then had time to focus on the final game.

        Besides, everyone would just leave before the 2nd game if BU-BC was early. Just sad that Jerry doesn’t have a chance to send Jackie into retirement

    • While fans may consider the 8 pm game to hold an advantage, the players and coaches do not. It’s to a team’s advantage to play the 5 pm game. That gives them three extra hours of recuperation time AND allows them to scout their opponent. Those are HUGE advantages, which is why the number one seed usually prefers the early game. However, the league also factors in the distance the team’s fans have to travel so Maine or Vermont would be more apt to get the 8 pm time slot for that reason. But since all the schools are in reasonable time proximity, it perfectly appropriate to have Lowell and PC play at 5. Lowell earned that advantage by winning the regular season. (I’m almost certain BC took the early game last year as the number one seed.) So Lowell fans should be HAPPY their team has this advantage even though it’s less convenient for the fans personally. This is a time to… take one for the team. :)

      • One would think the mental rest is as big or bigger than the physical rest during a league championship weekend. Especially if either (or both) games go to overtime. I remember getting out of both Boston Gardens after midnight for a Beanpot with overtimes.

        • It’s even more significant for an athlete because they’ve got so much adrenaline in their system, it’s a long time before many of them are ready to sleep.

  9. Parker retiring. Umile on the hot seat at UNH, and with a second detached retina, is it possible that York could bow out as well and have 3 of the most legendary coaches in HEA step down in the samey year?

    not likely.

  10. Parker retiring. Umile on the hot seat at UNH, and with a second detached retina, is it possible that York could bow out as well and have 3 of the most legendary coaches in HEA step down in the samey year?

    not likely.

  11. You wrote: “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.”
    “Kudos”, which loosely translated means “half hearted pat on the back” is a word most people reserve for when they have to praise someone they dislike. I’ll agree that Coach Leaman has performed an “exceptional turnaround”. 31-33-11 and 2 trips to the Garden in 2 years is very good. Congratulations to him. But mentioning Leaman in the same sentence with Norm Bazin? Really? The same Norm Bazin who was 2012 HEA Coach of the Year, engineered the greatest 1 year turnaround in D1 history, has a 48-23-3 record in 2 seasons, went to the final 8 in the 2012 NCAA tournament, has clinched a 2013 NCAA tournament birth and became the first coach from a school other than ME, BU, BC or NH to win a Regular Season Title in HEA history? This is like comparing the cute checkout girl at Marketbasket with Kate Upton or the “steak” on a Dunkin Donuts breakfast sandwhich with a Capital Grille 24 oz Aged Porterhouse. Exceptional turnaround? Try historic. Never-before-seen. Never-see-again. Miraculous!

    • Where did you ever get that definition for “kudos”? It isn’t in my dictionary. Dictionary.com describes kudos as:
      honor; glory; acclaim: He received kudos from everyone on his performance.
      Nowhere does it refer to anything half-hearted so please don’t put those words in my mouth. As for Bazin and Leaman, they DO belong in the same sentence because they were the two coaches who took over programs that missed the playoffs the year before they arrived. Two years later, they were playing in a winner-take-all game for the first regular season title for both schools. Bazin gets the nod because Lowell performed better last year and won that deciding game. But Leaman also took over a program that had missed the playoffs THREE straight years. The Friars had also only scored something like 75 goals the year before he arrived (one of the lowest totals if not the lowest) AND graduated 50 of them. They both are outstanding coaches and it isn’t appropriate to diminish either of them in my opinion.

  12. You wrote: “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.”
    “Kudos”, which loosely translated means “half hearted pat on the back” is a word most people reserve for when they have to praise someone they dislike. I’ll agree that Coach Leaman has performed an “exceptional turnaround”. 31-33-11 and 2 trips to the Garden in 2 years is very good. Congratulations to him. But mentioning Leaman in the same sentence with Norm Bazin? Really? The same Norm Bazin who was 2012 HEA Coach of the Year, engineered the greatest 1 year turnaround in D1 history, has a 48-23-3 record in 2 seasons, went to the final 8 in the 2012 NCAA tournament, has clinched a 2013 NCAA tournament birth and became the first coach from a school other than ME, BU, BC or NH to win a Regular Season Title in HEA history? This is like comparing the cute checkout girl at Marketbasket with Kate Upton or the “steak” on a Dunkin Donuts breakfast sandwhich with a Capital Grille 24 oz Aged Porterhouse. Exceptional turnaround? Try historic. Never-before-seen. Never-see-again. Miraculous!

    • Where did you ever get that definition for “kudos”? It isn’t in my dictionary. Dictionary.com describes kudos as:
      honor; glory; acclaim: He received kudos from everyone on his performance.
      Nowhere does it refer to anything half-hearted so please don’t put those words in my mouth. As for Bazin and Leaman, they DO belong in the same sentence because they were the two coaches who took over programs that missed the playoffs the year before they arrived. Two years later, they were playing in a winner-take-all game for the first regular season title for both schools. Bazin gets the nod because Lowell performed better last year and won that deciding game. But Leaman also took over a program that had missed the playoffs THREE straight years. The Friars had also only scored something like 75 goals the year before he arrived (one of the lowest totals if not the lowest) AND graduated 50 of them. They both are outstanding coaches and it isn’t appropriate to diminish either of them in my opinion.

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