The Beanpot isn’t until next Monday, but it’s never too early to talk about the event. Today, Brian from the great blog BC Interruption agreed to answer a few questions for me.
After the jump we talk about the BU-BC rivalry, Jack Parker and Jerry York, and the BC defense, as well as make some predictions. Make sure you read BC Interruption for your BC hockey news (and for all the other sports they’re not as good at), and follow them on twitter at twitter.com/bcinterruption
1. With BU and BC playing in the first round this year how does that affect the atmosphere in the building or just surrounding the game in general vs. when it is the championship game?
The Beanpot always gets a bit awkward every third year when Boston College and Boston University square off in the first round of the Beanpot. BC and BU still despite each other, but the Beanpot loses a bit of its luster when fans know the two best teams in town aren’t facing one another in the Championship game. That last statement might sounds pretty arrogant, but I don’t think you can argue that BC and BU aren’t the two best teams in this year’s Beanpot.
The opening round will probably still be well attended with BC and BU bringing the event home in the 8 PM game, but I would imagine Championship Game attendance will be down given the possible finals matchups (BC-HU, BC-NE, BU-HU, BU-NE).
2. BC has been outshot, or at least it’s been very close, in many of their games this year. Is the defense not playing up to snuff or is some other reason behind it?
I think the defense is holding up well, though the defense has been hit with plenty of injuries over the year. Patch Alber was out for 3 weeks with a broken jaw. Tommy Cross was sidelined with a knee injury for most of the fall. The Eagles also lost Brian Dumoulin and Patrick Wey to Team USA during the World Juniors. BC was so short-staffed on the blueline during the Ledyard National Bank Classic that York had to play Joe Whitney as a defender.
The other thing about the Eagles defense is that it is still very, very young. Carl Sneep was the lone senior defender on last year’s National Championship roster, and this year’s defense features no seniors, two juniors (Tommy Cross, Edwin Shea), four sophomores (Brian Dumoulin, Philip Samuelsson, Patrick Wey and Patch Alber) and a freshman (Isaac MacLeod). So the future is pretty bright for the Eagles on D.
I think a combination of a revolving door on defense, combined with a young blueline, might be behind some of the Eagles losing the shots battle.
The other thing I can think of is that BC’s Hockey East schedule has been front-loaded this year. BC has already completed the regular season series with BU, Merrimack and Maine. That’s three of the other four ranked teams in Hockey East. BC still has all three games against Massachusetts left, two against Northeastern, a game left with Providence and two with UNH. That’s a much easier remaining sched than some of the other Hockey East contenders.
3. Tying into the last question, talk a bit about how huge John Muse has been for you guys this year.
Huge. He’s off to his best start in his four years on the Heights (15-4-0). He’s started all but 5 games on the year, and has been great for BC. Muse had an off-night up in Orono, showing that he’s indeed human. But besides that, he has been lights out over the last 10 games.
4. Given that BU and BC are the last two national title winners, have the games between the two teams had an even higher level of intensity, or is the intensity as high as it gets already?
I’m not sure the games recently have been any more or less intense than they have been in the past.
If anything, I think the games have been less intense because when BC is doing well, BU has been a bit down, and vice versa. In 2008, when Boston College made the tournament and won it all, BU stayed home. In 2009, BU won it all and BC stayed home. And last year, BC won it all and BU stayed home. The Championships have been great and all, but I think the titles would have been just a little sweeter if our arch-rivals made the NCAAs only to fall flat on their face. Without the other making the tournament in the same year, fans could easily say “what could have been …” if they made the tournament the same year as the other.
That being said, there have been some really great games in the series, especially last year with BU’s win over BC in Frozen Fenway and BC’s 4-3 win over BU in the Beanpot Championship. So … I don’t know. About the same level of intensity?
5. Jack Parker is in his 38th year at BU and Jerry York is in his 17th at BC. What does having two great coaches who have been there a long time do for the rivalry?
Parker and York are Boston college hockey institutions, and this only takes the rivalry between BC and BU to the next level. The coaching career win counts only add to the rivalry in a weird, Bobby Bowden vs. Joe Paterno sort of way. I personally can’t stand Jack Parker, but I have to respect what he’s built at Boston University and will actually be sad when he decides to hang them up and retire. I think the rivalry will cool off a bit when either Parker or York decide to call it quits.
6. Lastly, give us some predictions. Who wins the BU-BC game, the other semi, and finally who do you think wins the Beanpot?
I’ll caveat this prediction by saying it is incredibly difficult to win four straight games over your arch-rivals, and Boston University always seems to get up for the Beanpot.
But … I’m a homer, so I’m going to go with BC. What a shocker, right? Predictions for the opening round: Northeastern 5, Harvard 2 and Boston College 5, Boston University 4. For the consolation game, I’ll go with BU a 3-1 winner over Northeastern, and in the Championship, I’ll take BC 6-3 over Harvard. MVP is Cam Atkinson.