Monday, December 15, 2008

Was An Update Really Necessary?

I didn't post a Friday preview and I am at a loss of providing a recap of this weekend's action. I mean, did anyone expect a different result? This is a national program versus a frustratingly underachieving team and the result speak for themselves.

As I mentioned awhile back, RPI has to make itself a top tier team in the ECAC. I appreciate Appert wanting the team to play against the best (like Izzo at Mich State bball) in the early going but the true test is can RPI hang with its conference.

Once the program gets to that level then the question can turn to, can they compete on a national level. As "What About Bob" taught us, its all about baby steps. This last weekend had nothing to do with that.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A Turning Point?

As soon as I write off RPI's season they go and put up a 7 spot in the Saturday day. Couple that with 3 goals in the first period Friday night and could we be seeing an offensive resurgence that offsets the horrendous defensive play?

I am going to cop out and say wait a while to see what happens. Clearly RPI has demonstrated that it CAN score and Appert seems to be feeling the oats a little bit:

“We gained some confidence in the fact that we created a lot of scoring chances on Friday (in the 7-3 loss at Yale) in both the first and the periods,” he said. “There’s no question we can gain confidence by finally getting some offensive success.

“I wasn’t worried about curtailing any of their exuberance,” he said. “I’ll make sure that their attention is focused on, while the goals and the win are good, we still have a long way to go to make that our norm and not the exception.”

The question remains, can the lads sustain this effort? Their defense isn't getting any better as they gave up 7 goals to Yale. As I have argued before, you need to increase the scoring if the D is going to be this lackadaisical and it looks like someone over at HFH has gotten the message.

On a sad note, it looks like the Governor's Cup is going the way of the dodo bird. I was always disappointed in the crowds that turned out for the event but I would always schedule time to go to it. Having it in the Knick was a great event and has great potential.

Someone on the USCHO message boards mentioned getting a tourney underway with SLU, Clarkson, Union and Ripee and I think this is a tremendous idea. These truly are the rivalrly teams for RPI and having them all come together would be tremendous. Of course, if the event was held in Lake Placid or somewhere north of the CD this could cause travel issues for the casual fan during the winter time but I am all for trying to keep something like the GC going in the future.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Appert, Myopia

Before I get to the Appert interview in this week's USCHO ECAC roundup, let's get to the games this weekend.

RPI vs. Yale/Brown

If I had not watched the games last weekend I would have thought this was a split. However, its clear to me that the problems that RPI faces this year will not be overcome and I foresee a bunch of back to back losses. Brown should be a win but until RPI actually wins (and scores more than 1 goal doing it) I am penciling in 2 losses for this weekend.

USCHO Article:

Here are some selected quotes from SA in USCHO.

Right now we need to be consistently focused on being a better defensive team,” said the coach, reiterating past assessments that RPI is not “a four-goal-a-game team” right now.

Really? No kidding? The defense was terrible last weekend at the HFH but you couldn't escape the feeling that RPI would be in it if they had the potential of scoring more goals to counteract the bad D. When you are only capable of scoring 1-2 goals a game you can't be giving up 3-4 in the first period. However, I see potential on the offensive side. There are scorers, there are passers, they are just not converting. I think it is going to be more difficult to fix this defense than to get the offense going and there has to be a way to increase the GAA of opposing goaltenders.

“When looking at our record, it’s frustrating, no question about it … but we’ve played five league games. We have more than 75 percent of our season ahead of us.”

Past results indicate future returns. If RPI can't beat Bentley and can't beat the current incarnation of Mercyhurst, what chance do they stand against the ECAC teams? Sure the ECAC is traditionally one of the weaker conferences in the US (compared to the CCHL and the WCHL) but there has been nothing to indicate RPI can rise up against in-division competition. Of course Appert can't bag on the season but there has to be some indication of change. I don't know if RPI fans can take "75%" of the remaining season to go like the first 25%.

Monday, December 01, 2008


Ok, so I saw the lads for the first time when I went up to the CD for Turkey Day. I thought I should list the positive attributes of the team rather than dwell on the losing and their terrible play.

1) Zarbo is a great puck moving defenseman. Fast on the rush, great dekeing skills, I love to watch this kid move the puck out.

2) Polacek has a hell of a shot. Heavy and fairly accurate.

3) Fans know I am a big rooter for Tyler Helfrich. While a bit on the smallish side, he has great hands and a nose for the net. He consistently is at the top of scoring for the cherry and white and a valuable recruit.

4) Goaltending. I believe, I really do. A lot of the goals I witnessed this weekend came from bad D not poor goaltending. I think Lange, while jerked around during the Alford year last year, is a valuable goaltender and while York has been inconsistent, I wouldn't be surprised if he rounded into a top goalie in his sophomore year.

5) RPI fans. Still there despite the losing. Still singing "RED" on the nat anthem and Clarkson cheers. Despite all the technology and recent national acclaim, this hockey team is THE identity for the Institute which brings together the students, the alumni and the hockey loving community of the CD. It was great to see everyone out despite the holidays and the general suckiness of the team.