Saturday, March 8, 2014

Terriers end rebuilding year, look forward to what has been built

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

BU celebrates after one of its goals during Saturday's
game against the University of Notre Dame.
Photo by Michelle Jay.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The meaning of the phrase “rebuilding year” can change depending on one’s outlook.

For the negative Boston University men’s hockey fan, a rebuilding year is one that featured a lot of losses. The Terriers came in fourth place in the Beanpot, went on an 18-game stretch in which it only won a single game and, thanks to Saturday night’s 3-2 loss at No. 11/12 University of Notre Dame, did not make it out of the first round of the Hockey East tournament.

There is a positive way to look at a rebuilding year for BU fans, however. The Terriers (10-21-4, 5-12-3 Hockey East) are only graduating two players who received significant playing time this season in defensemen Garrett Noonan and Patrick MacGregor, and have a whole bunch of underclassmen who used the season to get experience playing against some of the top competition college hockey has to offer.

“I think one of the bright spots about having a tough year is that our young players had to play a ton,” said BU associate head coach Steve Greeley. “And because of that they’re going to be better sophomores and they’re going to help this team going forward.

“Guys were put in situations – important situations in the last minute of the game or on the power play or penalty kill had a little extra time. They’ll all benefit from that, as will the team.”

One of those players was freshman forward Robbie Baillargeon. The center led the Terriers in points this season with 27 – including a power-play goal in the third period of Saturday night’s loss to the Fighting Irish (21-12-2, 9-9-2 Hockey East).

To Greeley, Baillargeon was one of the freshmen who benefitted most from the extra usage this season.

“When he came here he was an offensive kid and all of a sudden against [the University of Vermont] in a win he is playing 30 minutes in a game and he is taking important faceoffs,” Greeley said. “He is killing penalties for probably the first time in his life.

“All of these guys are getting put in situations that they haven’t played in before and Robbie Baillargeon – I think he grew a ton as a player and I think he is going to be a great Hockey East player next year.”

It’s not just the growth of the freshmen that will give BU a boost next season, but the addition of a large and strong recruiting class. The expected nine-man crew is highlighted by phenom Jack Eichel, who sources indicate will be coming to BU next year, contrary to rumors of him going to play Major Juniors in Canada.

Perhaps the most important thing about the class is that it will provide depth. BU played several games without a healthy scratch this season, which led to the nine freshmen getting more significant ice time than they would have gotten, ideally.

“I think you want competition in your lineup so you’re always trying to make sure you’re playing and you’re always trying to stay in the lineup,” Greeley said. “This will put kids in a situation where you’re just getting pushed and you’re trying to get your ice time.”

As BU head coach David Quinn pointed out, the Terriers had a rebuilding year in 1988-89 when it went 14-21-1. The following season, BU was 25-17-2 and back in the Frozen Four.

While that does not necessarily mean the Terriers will be back to glory and raising trophies next season, it does serve as a reminder that season-to-season turnarounds happen in college hockey. With the big recruiting class coming in and the large group of returning players, anything is possible with a little patience.

“Nobody wants to be 10-21,” Quinn said. “I certainly didn’t come here to coach 10-21 hockey teams, but everybody kind of knew the situation we were in this year and I think everybody has a good idea what we’re going to do moving forward.”

Moving forward, the young core of the team is getting older. BU’s top-three scorers will all be returning, and that doesn’t even include the team’s two returning juniors, forwards Evan Rodrigues and Cason Hohmann. With sophomore defenseman Matt Grzelcyk back from his shoulder injury, there is a lot of skill returning for BU.

While that group of returnees does not include Noonan, Quinn's first captain expects big things coming up for BU hockey.

“They’re going to be a wagon of a team next year,” Noonan said. “They will be loaded in years coming. Sometimes it takes a year like this to get back to the way they want to be.”

31 comments:

  1. Evan Rodrigues, Cason Hohmann, and Matt Grzelcyk have all had huge drop offs from last year. What makes us think their production will improve next year?

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    1. Well, Grzelcyk did miss the 2nd half of the season, but between O'regan, Hohmann & Rodrigues, they scored 17 fewer goals & 51 fewer points compared to last season.

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    2. Parker really did manage to squeeze every bit of talent he could out of his players. It's a rare skill.

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    3. Grzelcyk barely played half a season, if that.

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  2. Friend_of_BU_HockeyMarch 10, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    Back in October I certainly didn't think this season would turn out this way. The first 2 months of the season played out the way I expected - a young, inconsistent team with some talent that had potential to be good. Even with a lack of roster depth, injuries (Grzelcyk) and departures (Kurker), I still can't quite figure out how the bottom fell out from this team and they couldn't even get back to the way they played most of October - November...

    I expect next season will be markedly better. More talent, more depth, more experience. Still a lack of upperclassmen (Hohmann, Rodrigues and Moccia will be the only Seniors) so I remain a tad concerned about the leadership on next season's team, but I'm confident we'll see a better on-ice product and hopefully their record will reflect their progress.

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    1. Seems the what Parker taught them still lingered in the early months (winning) then the full effect off DQ and his coaching happened.

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    2. Seems you're going to be very lonely without Quinn to obsess about. Poor thing. Thank you for all your entertaining posts. I didn't realize someone could actually be that insanely jealous and envious of another human being. Maybe some day you will reach the level of respect that Quinn receives from the educated hockey "people". You will find, once you let go of your anger and hostility, your life may actually get better. You can finally tell your Mom, that you're moving on out, to the real world, instead of the little fantasy world you've been hiding away in. Good luck to you. You're going to need it when BU makes their first, of MANY appearances at the Frozen Four!

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    3. Grzelcyk was a big hole in the team. Not that the record with him in the lineup was stellar, but without it was horrible.

      At the end of the day, there was no depth to the team. They psyches of the team had to be shot (remember when Parker had a sports psychologist in the last horrible season they had)

      Admittedly, at the end, they beat Wisconsin but lost to Dartmouth, Harvard (twice) and Bentley, though I claim Bentley won more than BU lost that one.

      Next year the sophomores will be juniors, Eichel will be on campus (hopefully) and even though I cannot blame Maguire and O'Connor for the lack of offense, there will be a new goalie pushing the position.

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    4. I agree with JD BU93. Grizz was a big hole on defense. Whenever he was on the ice, it seemed like we were playing with only one defenseman.

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    5. I disagree with you Anonymous, but that was a great line. Well played.

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  3. You heard it hear first!!!Scotty Young will take over as Director of Hockey Operations,and Buddy Powers will be shown the door.@Friend of BU HOCKEY,WHAT TALENT WERE YOU LOOKING AT???QUINN and Greeley are bringing in real talent,wait till next year people!!!

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    1. Unfortunately DQ's first realy recruit (Roberto) was bust. Now we know why Maine let he go so easily.

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    2. Friend_of_BU_HockeyMarch 13, 2014 at 10:57 AM

      The talent I was referring to was O'Regan, Grzelcyk, Baillargeon, Rodrigues and Hohmann. I fully agree that the talent upgrade Quinn & Greeley are bringing in next season (and in 2015 and 2016) is significant. I wouldn't be surprised if some current scholarship players may not be on scholarship next season; I also wouldn't be surprised if there are players who may be asked to leave the program per Quinn.

      As for Powers, I was shocked when Quinn retained him. I've insisted for years that one of Parker's biggest mistakes following 2009 was hiring Powers as a "favor" instead of John Hynes to replace Quinn, while keeping Bavis as an assistant (instead of promoting him). I was shocked back then when Powers was hired, given that he had been away from coaching for 7 years prior to returning to BU. We saw first-hand the impact that decision had on the program from a recruiting and player development (and retention) standpoint.

      I wouldn't be surprised to see Young join the staff. I've seen him around quite a bit this past season, chatting w/ Quinn and Greeley after games. Would also like to see who could join as an assistant if Powers leaves; could it be a young up-and-coming assistant (i.e. Joe Pereira), or another ex-NHLer (Mike Grier? Jay Pandolfo?)

      Bottom line: there will be changes and next year will be markedly better b/c of it.

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    3. Quinn did not have ANY recruits this year. Just another dumb comment from the troll

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    4. This Troll who lives in mom's basement continues to show his ignorance,None of this year's team was recruited by Quinn,he was working in the NHL!!! I love this troll,his ignorant posts keep me laughing...Thanks

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  4. Before it shows up on BC HOCKEY BLOG,How about the news Scotty Young might be taking over BU Director of Hockey Operations.And with 9 incoming freshman,who appear to be VERY talented,WHO will lose their scholarships??Do the math,some current players have to be shown the door.

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  5. i would be so happy if current players were shown the door - collier, duane, moran, kelly so stiffs like ryan and lawrence don't have to play. addition by subtraction. let shake this moribund program up. i am all about winning and if that means showing some guys the door, i say SEE YA

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  6. young will never be hired because he does NOT have a degree. nice thought though

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    1. Young is the perfect example for a BU hockey player. He will be hired.

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  7. Expect to hear about some cuts fairly soon. And the number of recruits may increase, too. With these changes and the anticipated staff changes, DQ is putting his own imprint on the program. Adding Young gives the staff a third member with strong NHL connections.

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  8. G-d bless the Fighting Irish! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

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  9. Right on Glen. The look on Jerry s face after the game.........Priceless

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  10. Great day to be Irish... and I am Italian. Loved yorkie's comment about the "crushed" locker room. fabulous. loved that JG did not break kariya's mark. loved to see their goalie play all nervous. now we need one more loss, and then we can regale in "trophy season".
    sucks having the only thing to root for is rooting against them, but it is what it is for now

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  11. Do you think JY coaches his kids on running goalies and diving. BC does it more than any other team I have ever seen. Also, the rest of the officials in HE should take note of the BC-ND game. It was great to watch a game that wasn't over officiated as almost all of them are.

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    1. I am a long time ardent BU fan. Nonetheless, I don't think Jerry York is any different than any other HE coach in what he teaches his players regarding goalies and penalties. All coaches want to "upset' a goalie. All coaches want their players to drive the net. That is not to say Jerry York or any other HE coach wants to injure a goalie. York may be a rival, but he is an excellent coach who recruits better than most coaches in the country. Just look at the last several years, Gionta, Gerbe, Atkinson and now Gaudreau.

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  12. You bet they do

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  13. Can we please stop with the Jack Parker awards. After the abominable state he and his buddy, Bavis left us in, I think he should just keep a low profile for awhile. One frozen four since 1997. I know this is going to piss a lot of terrier fans off, but right now I got no use for Jack. No wonder why he apologized to Quinn for the subpar D1 squad he left him

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    1. Granted what was left when Jack retired was not great or even good. Things fo in cycles so I suggest looking at Jack's entire body of work as a coach. How many coaches can you name who have won as many national championships as Jack? How about Beanpots? How about wins -- in one of the toughest leagues in the country and having to play every league team 3 times a year, at minimum? How about olympians - think of the four from 1980 and what they brought to BU and the lasting effect of what they did. How about the 2008-09 season when Jack coached a team that won every championship series they played; seven in number including the big one. i, like many other BU Alums could go on and on. In short, DON'T BE SO SHORT SIGHTED. And, we will be back with DQ.

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    2. JP left DQ with Eichel and if DQ can't do anything with him, that failure is on him.

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  14. No one on the first team or the second team all Hockey East. One honorable mention. Pretty much sums up this season.

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    1. Didn't some of these players make the all Hockey East teams last year?

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