Wednesday, November 12, 2008

November 11 Hockey East Media Teleconference


General Comments on the season so far:
“I think we’ve played well up to this point, obviously. We’re 6-1 and we’ve beat some pretty good teams. Up until our last game, I thought we’ve were playing very, very thorough. I don’t think we played very thorough against UMass Lowell and I don’t think that they did either – it wasn’t a very well-played game. I thought we took a little dip and we were fortunate to win that game. Whoever won that game didn’t deserve it, I think, the way the game played out. As it turned out, we got the ‘W’. I hope we can get that mistake-riden type of game out of our system and get back to thorough hockey again.”

On the strength of Hockey East this year from top to bottom:
“It doesn’t matter if you’re rated down in the pack a little bit in this league because anybody can beat anybody. I think what separates this league – for a long, long time –from every other league is the fact is that it’s so strong from top to bottom. What makes it different this year is that everybody is strong compared to the other leagues. We’re in a situation where people ask me “do you like your team?” and I tell them that I like our team a lot, but the problem is I like every other team in our league, too.

“I saw UMass play in our tournament (Ice Breaker) at the beginning of the year with North Dakota and Michigan State. I thought they played terrifically well in both games and should have won both. They split, but they played real well. I’ve seen them on tape and they’re playing very, very well, obviously, and that
was a team that was picked a little bit farther down. You’ve got Maine that just
beat BC. They have so many new players that we didn’t know where they going
to be, but obviously they’ve bounced back pretty quickly. We’ve played
Merrimack and beat them in a real close game – much closer than the score
indicated – and obviously they had a pretty good night against UMass.

“Teams that were rated to be down in the lower echelon are as good as
anybody in this league, and the teams in the upper echelon of our league are
as good as anybody in nation. I would have to say that from a historical point
this is the best league that we’ve ever had from top to bottom –vis a vis
ourselves and vis a vis the rest of the nation, as well.”

On BU’s upcoming weekend games with UMass and Northeastern:
“First of all, I think that both of these clubs will absolutely be in the running
for home ice berths with us and some other clubs down the stretch. Any
league game is important, but when you’re playing teams that you’re hoping
you can stay ahead of or keep close to for the home-ice fight, you want to play
well. I don’t think there’s any question that these two teams are very, very
capable of not just earning home ice, but winning the league, as far as I can
see. They will be real battles – no question.

“You add to the fact that UMass is coming off a loss and us being pushed to
the No. 1 spot in the polls, it’s almost like a trap game for us. You know,
thinking that we’re pretty good and UMass can’t be that good because they
just lost to Merrimack, but we already know how good Merrimack is, and
we played them at our place, not at their place. And we already saw how
good UMass was when they played in the tournament here, so we shouldn’t
be falling into that trap.

“Northeastern has played us tough for a long period of time and they continued
to play us tough last year. I thought that they were the most improved team
in the league last year and I think they will be the most improved team
standing-wise this year. I thought they would wind up higher than they did
last year, to tell you the truth, with they way they were going early on. Now,
they’re going really well again and I think they will sustain that throughout
the season.

“We’ll have our hands full with two teams that we’ll be battling all the way
down to the wire for hopefully a home-ice berth in the playoffs.”

On the Terriers’ strong early-season schedule:
“All of a sudden we’re opening up with North Dakota and Michigan State,
which was a little insane on my part because we haven’t gotten off to quick
starts the last couple of years, but I think the challenge of playing those guys
got the best out of us. Then we had to play Merrimack, UNH and Michigan
and then go on the road to Vermont and Lowell. We’ve had a tough road to
hoe as far as the quality of the teams we’ve been playing, and low and behold
it’s a much stronger early schedule than we had last year, but we’re playing
much better than we were last year. We didn’t win our sixth game last year
until January. We’ve got a completely different type of start than we had last
year and I think that has a lot of it has to do with the quality of the teams
we’ve been playing. We knew we had to be ready and we were much more
prepared to open up the season this year.”

On being ranked first in the country:
“I don’t think it means anything, to tell you the truth. People knew that we
had a pretty good team this year. We were voted fairly highly in the preseason
polls in our league and in the nation.

“The last time we were rated No. 1 was in 2006 – the very last poll of the year
after the Hockey East tournament. Then we proceeded to lose two games later
to Boston College in the national tournament. The polls did not project and
somebody else became the No. 1 team.

“The polls are something for the fans to get involved in. When the NCAA comes
out with their polls (PairWise) starting in January, that means a little more
something because that’s the selection poll based on the RPI and the correct
criteria. Even then, that changes so drastically from game-to-game, that the
only poll then that counts is the last poll that selects the NCAA tournament
field. After that, the NCAA champion will be the No. 1 team in the nation. That’s what everybody fights for and everybody’s trying to get to. One team
wins their last game and everybody else loses their last game. This doesn’t
mean much to us except that we’ll have a little bit bigger target on our backs.”

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