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NCHC 2018-2019

  • Sunday, March 10, 2019 11:51 PM
    Reply # 7209813 on 6895937

    10 years ago, we faced a crossroads. People calling for the head of Mike Kemp. At that time, I believed in sticking with Kemp... with one possible exception - Dean Blais.

    But the game has changed so much in 10 years. It changed in the middle of the Blais era. The problem was Blais didn't change.

    It became clear 4 years ago that Dean lost the room. There was a specific moment for Dean when it all went south. And it appears that when he saw the end of the road, he just gave up.

    So... I was a fan of Blais on arrival. But the last couple of years of his tenure soured me a bit. Doesn't diminish what he accomplished. It's simply that the game passed him by.

    I also think the changes in the game - specifically player attitudes (for lack of a better term) - are why Gwozdecky and Lucia are out of coaching, why Blasi is likely in the twilight of his career, and I think a few guys like Hastings, Pearson, and Serratore will be on the outs in the next 5 years.

    Some coaches - like Rohlik, Gadowsky, Sandelin, York, and Motzko have been able to adjust.

    As far as Gabinet is concerned. I think he was handed the keys one or two seasons two soon. There was another crossroads moment. But UNO had to make a change, and unless Kemp was coming back for those bridge years, there was no other choice but to take some lumps in going with Gabby.

    That said, the deck was stacked against Gabs the past two years by Blais' despondence. Virtually no recruiting class in 17-18. Having to change the culture in the room that was against the coach before he got here - plus moving from a disciplinarian to a player's coach. And then he took a knife in the back from Mannino.

    But you can see the progress. Let's see where we are in Year 5 of the Gabinet regime before we start casting judgement. There are still some lumps to be taken. There are always unknowns.

    It's easy to sit back an criticize. It's not easy to have patience and let it play out. But realize: we're not that far off. Look at the freshman from Gabby's senior year. Those players led us to Worcester.

    Now look at this year's freshman. It's a very comparable group.

  • Monday, March 11, 2019 8:20 AM
    Reply # 7210117 on 6895937

    Agree with everything you said Chris. Surely a couple of more years as associate would have better laid the groundwork, but "potential" grows fast in the furnace.

    I still think that the start of the year held something in the locker room unsaid to this point. Maybe we'll never know, but based on the play of some, it sure seemed apparent to me.

  • Monday, March 11, 2019 11:39 AM
    Reply # 7210531 on 6895937
    Anonymous member (Administrator)
    It’s been just under four years since Blais took UNO to the Frozen Four. 

    I don’t think anyone was looking to make a change in 2015. If they were, it probably had more to do with “personality conflicts” than anything ice related. 

    Whatever Dean Blais’s faults might have been, the man 1). Could recruit, and 2). Could consistently finish ~.500. 

    My hope is that this season was a “blip” on the radar — and that the infusion of fresh faces on the roster next season will make a difference. 

    One of the things the current coaching staff has mentioned the past few months is how challenging it has been getting up to speed on recruiting. Their sentiments, not mine. 

    Recruiting is the lifeblood of any sports team at this level. In my opinion, they should have had an assistant on staff in 2017 who had a lengthy tenure recruiting in the NCAA. For whatever reason, that didn’t happen. 

    As I mentioned earlier, this is UNO’s lowest win total since the 2003-04 season (Omaha won 7 regular season games that year, and 1 game in the CCHA playoffs at Michigan). 

    The difference this season, though, is we didn’t quite have a breakout freshman performance like Scott Parse (who had 16 goals and 19 assists in the 03-04 season). The closest thing the Mavs had was Taylor Ward who had 8 goals and 18 assists on the MOW line this season (the best freshman performer on the team). 

    We also have to consider that the Kemp/DelCastillo freshman class in 2004-05 included:

    1. Mick Lawrence (who had 26 goals and 38 assists in his final season for the Omaha Lancers - #5 in points in USHL)

    2. Bill Thomas (who had 30 goals and 37 assists in his final season with the Tri-City Storm - USHL - #4 in points in USHL)

    3. Bryan Marshall (who had 27 goals and 32 assists in his final season with the Danville Wings - #8 in points in USHL)

    4. Brandon Scero (who had 28 goals and 15 assists in two season seasons with the USNDTP and had 2 goals and 6 assists in the World Junior Cup)

    It will be interesting to see if the 2019 class proves to be “transformative” in the same manner that the 2004 class was for UNO. 

    As it stands now, the 2019 class doesn’t feature anyone in the top 20 in the USHL in points (the highest is Brock Bremer, who is ranked 71st in points in the USHL - with 14 goals and 16 assists). 

    Going into the 2019-20 season, UNO has to find a way to squeeze as much juice out of the orange as they can. The fact of the matter is that players like Jordan, Ward, Keck, Conley, Jones, Knoepke, and Stewart have to find a way to put this team on their shoulders and carry Omaha forward. 

    It’s very possible the goal going forward is the play a “defensive, puck-possession” style where the team “shortens the clock” with puck control and support designed to frustrate opponents. 

    The theory is that you are more likely to score when you have a territorial advantage over your opponent, and are able break the game down into small battles during the game. 

    The question is whether the staff has enough of those “high IQ” players coming in to be able to execute what they hope to do. 

    This season, we heard the players/staff talking a lot about how difficult it was to get the team to “buy in” to the philosophy being preached. 

    My hope — and the hope of every UNO Hockey fan out there — is that they have players willing/able to do what needs to be done. 

    The program needs to have some positive results — and be “more” competitive next season. I don’t know if that is realistic or not, but it will be very difficult on the university if the team has two “single-digit win seasons” in a row. 

    I believe the coaching staff needs to take a look at everything this offseason. They need to look at systems, possible line combinations, practice, training/diet regimens, etc. over the summer. 

    We have a smart staff. I think they’re capable of doing great things at UNO. But the coaches need to be “bold” the next couple of seasons...

    Last modified: Monday, March 11, 2019 11:55 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • Monday, March 11, 2019 3:30 PM
    Reply # 7213503 on 6895937

    If we're looking at next year, I think we might be a bit deeper than we were coming in to this year. We have a very solid Top 6 in forwards:

    Jordan, Pulkkinen, Keck, Conley, Ward, Weiss. I suspect Primeau also factors in the top two lines as the likely #2 pivot. (With than in mind, I think Conley is a decent centerman, who maybe should take a few more faceoffs.)

    There are a couple recruits that have me a little excited for next year. One is Ryan Brushett. Prior to this year he put up numbers similar to Ward. Brushett stayed an extra year in the BCHL and exploded. If he's got a quarter of the hockey IQ that Ward has - you're looking at UNO being 3 lines deep on offense.

    Whose the ninth forward? Likely Goberis - who put up some numbers in the SJHL, and was talented enough to have seen time in the WHL. He'll likely need some time to get up to speed, and I think he needs to sit a weekend before his eligibility kicks in. But he looks like he could bring a physical presence we have been lacking.

  • Tuesday, March 12, 2019 9:23 AM
    Reply # 7214703 on 6895937

    I thought Goberis left school according to the FB post? Confused...

  • Tuesday, March 12, 2019 9:27 AM
    Reply # 7214711 on 6895937

    According to Elite Prospects, Goberis is playing ACHA at Metro State University of Denver. He has 8 goal sand 8 assists in 7 games.

  • Tuesday, March 12, 2019 12:38 PM
    Reply # 7215125 on 6895937
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I’m with you on Brushett, Chris. I think he’ll be a fun player to watch next season — and a key cog on the roster. 

    I’m also excited to see Brandon Scanlin. He looks like a Greg Zanon type defenseman. We could really use some more offensive production from the D-corps next season. 

    I’d also keep an eye on Joey Abate. I just have a feeling he’ll be a really solid forward for the Mavs. 

    Last modified: Tuesday, March 12, 2019 12:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • Tuesday, March 12, 2019 12:53 PM
    Reply # 7215174 on 7208868
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Quinn wrote:

    Folks if you disagree with anything sign up and reply -- #makemavpuckgreatagain!!!

    I’m trying, Quinn... it’s been a lot of work. I want to thank everyone for participating because I think the conversation has been really interesting on here. And everyone has kept it civil during disagreements/debates.

    Thanks guys! 

    Last modified: Tuesday, March 12, 2019 12:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • Tuesday, March 12, 2019 10:01 PM
    Reply # 7216069 on 7214711
    Anonymous wrote:

    According to Elite Prospects, Goberis is playing ACHA at Metro State University of Denver. He has 8 goal sand 8 assists in 7 games.

    You were the one pushing Goberis as recently as a month ago. Totally did not catch the change on his twitter - no longer listed as committed.
  • Tuesday, March 12, 2019 10:13 PM
    Reply # 7216090 on 7215125
    Anonymous wrote:

    I’d also keep an eye on Joey Abate. I just have a feeling he’ll be a really solid forward for the Mavs. 

    Abate, Boyer, and Sullivan all look like they are going end up in the 35-45 point range this season. Similar numbers to Galt, Spinner, Jordan, Pulkkinen, and Conley.

    Oddly, Morelli topped out at 23 points in juniors.

    It's a crapshoot, but if you're looking at projections....

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