Deep Blue Sea: College hockey’s unpredictable season

Plus thoughts on the All-Star Game selection process, a KHL coach is fired and more in today’s news and notes.

If you thought the NHL’s plan for mounting a full season during the uncertainty of a pandemic is bad, wait until you find out about how the NCAA is handling things.

Division I Men’s ice hockey is not only dealing with a sport where conditions are ripe for transmission of COVID-19, but with the Olympics, and even NHL teams, poaching their players, leaving rosters obliterated and little idea who will be competing on a night to night basis.

The University of Minnesota, for example, lost their starting goaltender Jack LaFontaine to the Carolina Hurricanes last week, and no one thought to inform the Golden Gophers’ head coach ahead of time. The roster took another hit when USA Hockey announced their 2022 Olympics roster was chock full of collegiate talent, including three players from Minnesota’s program.

The constant rescheduling and reshuffling of the schedule has left the system with an ridiculously long and complicated schedule, far more than other collegiate sports. The NCAA has already struggled to establish itself as a clear pathway toward becoming a professional hockey player in the way it has in other sports. But an avalanche of circumstances has muddied their purpose and mission even further.

It’s not a stretch to wonder if the last two years have done demonstrable damage to the NCAA, and if the future of men’s ice hockey pulls even further away from the collegiate system.

Read more about the situation in the Star Tribune piece linked below.

News & Notes

  • NHL Trades That Both Teams Lost [The Hockey News]
  • Which teams still have a realistic chance to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs? [NBC Sports]
  • Sharks Must Give Ryan Merkley an NHL Roster Spot [The Hockey Writers]
  • San Jose Sharks reviving a previously unsuccessful ‘experiment’ on power play [The Mercury News]/

Blood in the Water

  • College hockey season has become 190 days of constant uncertainty [Star Tribune]
  • Ex-Canuck Reid Boucher convicted of sexual assault [The Province]
  • Lou Lamoriello says he had no knowledge of Reid Boucher’s past sexual assault when he drafted player [The Athletic]
  • Wild teammates praise Boldy’s first few NHL performances [Hockey Wilderness]
  • Rodrigues’ breakout season is coming (mostly) independent of Crosby [Pensburgh]
  • NHL teams hoping for clarity on Evander Kane’s situation this week [Sportsnet]
  • NHL notebook: Does the selection process for the All-Star Game need fixing? [The Seattle Times]
  • NHL All-Star weekend gets boost with new skills, trick-shot players [Sportsnet]
  • Officials: Connecticut high school hockey player did not fall before fatal accident [Hartford Courant]
  • Russian hockey coach fired for kicking one of his players [Yahoo! Sports]/

Scores & Recaps

  • Nashville Predators 3, Boston Bruins 4 (OT)
  • Vancouver Canucks 1, Carolina Hurricanes 4
  • Washington Capitals 2, New York Islanders 0
  • Columbus Blue Jackets 2, Florida Panthers 9
  • Toronto Maple Leafs 6, St. Louis Blues 5
  • Buffalo Sabres 0, Detroit Red Wings 4
  • Dallas Stars 1, Tampa Bay Lightning 3
  • New York Rangers 3, Philadelphia Flyers 2
  • Anaheim Ducks 0, Chicago Blackhawks 3
  • Colorado Avalanche 5, Arizona Coyotes 0
  • Los Angeles Kings 3, Seattle Kraken 1
  • Ottawa Senators 6, Edmonton Oilers 4
  • Pittsburgh Penguins 2, San Jose Sharks 1 (OT)/

Click on a team name to find a recap on their SB Nation site!

On the Schedule

  • Vancouver Canucks at Washington Capitals, 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET on NHLN, SN, TVAS, NBCSWA/