Monday, April 30, 2012


You've probably noticed (or not, if you're taking a break like us) that our post-season hangover period is pretty much in full swing. We haven't had an official wrap-up post yet, so... here it is. It's late partially because I wanted to be sure that the season schedule was front and center for a couple of weeks, and partially because dating to before that - right before the Frozen Four, in fact - I had a health issue that was being taken care of. On the mend and doing much better now.

Anyway, here's a little bit of the tidbits that are out there.

Pat Koudys departs
Probably the biggest news since the end of the Union series in RPI's corner is the early departure of junior-to-be Pat Koudys. We occasionally see players who aren't getting much playing time leave the program and turn up elsewhere: Jordan Cyr left and eventually ended up at Holy Cross, Jordan Watts departed and became a solid player at D-III Adrian, for instance.

Neither of those guys were potential impact players, however, and that's where Koudys' departure does hurt a little bit. It could be argued that the team got along fairly well without him down the stretch as Luke Curadi developed into a dependable asset on the blueline and Pat appeared in only four games after the month of January, none of which came during the playoff run.

Koudys came to RPI with a lot of upside potential, but did have a rough sophomore year defensively after a solid freshman campaign.

It doesn't do us much good to speculate about underlying reasons for the departure. Seth Appert told the Troy Record that it was a decision that Koudys himself made in part because of a lack of playing time. Why Koudys was a healthy scratch down the stretch is unknown and will likely remain that way. He was not injured this season, which means he was a healthy scratch on 12 different occasions this year on a team with only seven defensemen.

It's not outside the realm of possibility that the Washington Capitals weren't satisfied with his development in Troy (or just his playing time) and wanted him elsewhere, but Koudys plans to return to juniors rather than sign with the Oshawa Generals, the OHL team that has his rights. That means he's looking to use his last two years of NCAA eligibility in 2013-14 and 2014-15, and in most cases an NHL team leaning on a player to leave school would result in a bee-line for major junior.

Where he ends up from here is a bit of a mystery, but given that he majored in civil engineering at RPI, that might narrow it down a bit if he maintains his field of study. It makes Clarkson and Yale likely potential landing points, and would put Union out of the running, though he does have a connection there in Josh Jooris, who he played Junior A hockey with in Ontario.

At any rate, it's tough to lose a guy with as much potential as Koudys, but hopefully he lands on his feet. He's a good kid and his father, Jim, is a great person. Unless we see him across the ice at any point down the road, best of luck to him in the future.

What does this mean for RPI? Well, for the time being, they're back to being stuck with only seven defensemen, which is where they've been ever since Bryan Brutlag was moved up to forward midway through the 2009-10 season. Chris Bradley and Craig Bokenfohr are coming in, now replacing Mike Bergin and Koudys. Options include Bergin returning for his redshirt season (seen as unlikely), bringing in a last minute replacement (Koudys leaving almost certainly frees up a scholarship), or sticking with seven for a third straight season.

UConn applies to Hockey East
We have been keeping a close eye on the shifting sands in Hockey East, hoping that a spot could potentially be open for the Engineers to move there at some point. That door appears to have closed with the news that UConn has applied to become the 12th member.

From the outset, we have been pretty clear that UConn would be the best fit for the league, if only they showed significantly more interest in their program. Well, much to our chagrin, it appears that they are now moving in that direction, as they likely would not have made their application if they were not ready to do what it takes to compete in Hockey East.

This will mean a major upgrade for the UConn men's program, likely at the expense of other sports in Storrs as the school will need to offset the scholarships they will need to offer the team in order to stay in compliance with Title IX. The team may play its home games in Hartford until a new, Hockey East-worthy building is done on campus. Word is that Gov. Dannel Malloy, a big hockey fan, was one of the top people pushing for UConn to step up, and when the Governor is pushing something, frequently it manages to get

For RPI and the ECAC, this really means that nothing has changed about the league since the beginning of the sea change, the only league left untouched by the birth of the Big Ten and NCHC and the demise of the CCHA (which will have its final season this year). In July or August, however, I'm probably going to talk about the ECAC's place in the brave new world that gets underway in 2013-14.

Fingers crossed for a quiet summer
Since Without a Peer launched in the fall of 2009, we haven't had much in the way of downtime with the exceptions of the April/May periods immediately following the Frozen Four.

Two summers ago was the NHL exodus in which the Engineers got caught up when Jerry D'Amigo and Brandon Pirri left in August, which went along with a summer of change at RPI as renovations were underway at the Field House and a shifting situation with which recruits were coming in when.

Last year was a double whammy as the very foundation of college hockey shifted with teams jumping from conference to conference, not to mention a veritable coaching carousel which kept us on our toes.

This year, not so much, or at least we hope. Minnesota State and St. Lawrence will have new coaches (both already determined), the teams that will move conferences have moved (hopefully), and there doesn't seem to be an exodus this year. So we're hoping to get a couple of months of peace and quiet before we get underway with our annual "Know Your Enemy" series, which will kick off with Ferris State on May 30, running every Wednesday through the beginning of the season.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Men's 2012-13 Schedule, Take 2

The revised schedule for next year has been released. Changes from the last go-round are in bold. Note that the games previously scheduled for the 25th and 26th of October at Western Michigan have been removed, this is now an open weekend. They have been replaced by a holiday week series at St. Cloud State, which had been rumored for a few months. St. Cloud State needed two additional games after the Great Lakes Invitational, to which they had been invited, was moved to Comerica Park to coincide with the NHL's Winter Classic in Ann Arbor. To add to the Michigan theme, Western Michigan became the invited team, so the swap makes very good sense. We can probably expect to see the Broncos on the schedule in 2013-14 instead.

Saturday, 6 October - Acadia (Exhibition)
Friday, 12 October - Ferris State
Saturday, 13 October - Ferris State
Friday, 19 October - at Minnesota State
Saturday, 20 October - at Minnesota State

Friday, 02 November - Union* (Black Friday)
Saturday, 03 November - at Union*
Friday, 09 November - at Dartmouth*
Saturday, 10 November - at Harvard*
Friday, 16 November - Mercyhurst
Saturday, 17 November - Mercyhurst
Friday, 30 November - Princeton*

Saturday, 01 December - Quinnipiac*
Friday, 07 December - at Yale*
Saturday, 08 December - at Brown*
Thursday, 27 December - at St. Cloud State
Friday, 28 December - at St. Cloud State
Monday, 31 December - Sacred Heart

Friday, 04 January - at Boston University
Sunday, 06 January - at New Hampshire
Friday, 11 January - at Quinnipiac*
Saturday, 12 January - at Princeton*
Friday, 18 January - Colgate*
Saturday, 19 January - Cornell*
Saturday, 26 January - vs. Union (Albany, NY)

Friday, 01 February - Harvard*
Saturday, 02 February - Dartmouth* (Big Red Freakout!)
Friday, 08 February - at St. Lawrence*
Saturday, 09 February - at Clarkson*
Friday, 15 February - Brown*
Saturday, 16 February - Yale* (Whiteout)
Friday, 22 February - at Cornell*
Saturday, 23 February - at Colgate*

Friday, 01 March - Clarkson*
Saturday, 02 March - St. Lawrence* (Senior Night)
Fri-Sun, 08-10 March - ECAC First Round (at higher seeds)
Fri-Sun, 15-17 March - ECAC Quarterfinals (at higher seeds)
Friday, 22 March - ECAC Semifinals (Atlantic City, NJ)
Saturday, 23 March - ECAC Championship (Atlantic City, NJ)
Fri-Sun, 29-31 March - NCAA Regionals (Providence, RI; Manchester, NH; Toledo, OH; Grand Rapids, MI)

Thursday, 11 April - NCAA Frozen Four (Pittsburgh, PA)
Saturday, 13 April - NCAA Championship (Pittsburgh, PA)

All times are considered tentative, but expect the Sacred Heart game on New Year's Eve, the Sunday game at New Hampshire, and the Princeton road game to be 4pm puck drops. The games in Mankato and St. Cloud should begin at 8pm Eastern since Minnesota is in the Central Time Zone. Televised games are typically pushed back to 7:30.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Union in Perspective

First ECAC team since...
* Win an NCAA game: Yale, 2011

* Defeat a Hockey East team in the NCAA tournament: Cornell, 2009

* Defeat a CCHA/Big Ten team in the NCAA tournament: Cornell, 2005

* Reach the Frozen Four: Cornell, 2003

Could become the first ECAC team since...
* Defeat a WCHA team in the NCAA tournament: Yale, 2010

* Reach national championship game: Colgate, 1990

* Win national championship: Harvard, 1989

* Sweep regular season, tournament, and national title: RPI, 1985

The Dutchmen reaching the Frozen Four leaves only two current members of the ECAC that have never been: travel partners Princeton and Quinnipiac.

Who are we rooting for? You shouldn't even have to ask.

Plenty of reasons:
1) If Union can win a national championship, anyone can.
2) Union having a national championship and Clarkson still being empty-handed would be hilarious.
3) Equally hilarious - watching all the chest thumpers from the supposedly "superior" conferences try to explain why an "EZAC" team won it.
4) Losing to a team five times in one season isn't nearly as bad if that was the eventual national champion.
5) Stephen van Rensselaer was Dutch.
6) Mark Jooris' kid.
7) Keeping it in the family, what kind of big brothers would we be if were weren't rooting for our little brothers?

I have to agree with a college hockey pundit I regularly chat with regarding the Dutchmen - there are teams out there that play better offense, better defense, have a better power play, and better penalty kill than Union, but none who are as good at all four. This is just a very, very balanced team - we learned that best during the playoffs. Nothing better than having a team capable of simply waiting for the other team to make a mistake, and that's what they have right now.

We rip on Union because... hey, they're Union. And it's fun. But at the end of the day, we agree with what Col. Knowlton told the TU - it's not like we're going to be rah-rah about it and wear the sweater, but we're in their corner.

Go get 'em, kid. Have a pumpup, on us.