Thursday, May 13, 2010

Harvard Goes West

Harvard has a new addition to the Class of 2011 in Brayden Jaw. Brayden is a power forward who is describes as someone who lays it on the line every shift. He's 6'1'' 185lbs and is described as a "Ray Sawada" type player by his coach at Nanimo (Sawada was a very effective player at Cornell). He had a 13-21-34 line in 58 games and really picked up his game in the playoffs.

Harvard's Class of 2011 forwards resemble a typical Cornell class - size, strength, and grit!

Welcome to Harvard Brayden!

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Gifts Keep on Coming!

Mike Seward (6'1'' 195lbs LW) from Winchester has committed to Harvard's class of 2011. He will spend a year in the EJHL (next year) en route to Cambridge. He was recently ranked #208 (just squeaked in there!) in Central Scouting's final rankings for the upcoming NHL Draft in June and who knows - a team may take a flier on him.

Welcome to Cambridge!

Friday, April 16, 2010

...And the NEPSAC Stork Left Us....

....Two recruits, one of which comes in slightly unheralded, and one comes in very heralded.

Kyle Criscuolo (5'9'' 155lbs), a junior forward at Choate (from New Jersey) has committed to Harvard. He led Choate in scoring with a 19-22-41 line in 26 games. He has described as fast and resembles they type of player that BC has brought in over the years. Though bulkier, the description can't help but remind you of Steve Martins, a fellow Choate alum who went off to have a great career at Harvard.

Petr Placek (6'4'' 200lbs), a junior RW at Hotchkiss (from Czech Republic) is a bit of a late bloomer, but has really blossomed....blossomed so much in that he could be a 1st-2nd round draft pick in the 2011 NHL Draft if he has a good Fall next year. He had a 16-16-32 in 27 games which was good for 2nd on the team in scoring.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Central Scouting Final Rankings for Upcoming NHL Draft

Yesterday, Central Scouting released its final Rankings for the upcoming draft in June:

Harvard players:
Patrick McNally - 40 (His mid-term ranking was 84)
Danny Biega - 46 (His mid-term ranking was 31)
Tom O'Regan - 129 (His mid-term ranking was 148)
Dan Linnell - Unranked (His mid-term ranking was 197)

Other ECAC Players:
Ken Agostino (Yale) - 72 (His mid-term ranking was 79 )
Brian Ward (Dartmouth) - 121 (His mid-term ranking was 91)
Garnet Hathaway (Brown) - 110 - His mid-term ranking was 173)
Joe Faust (Princeton) - 118 (His mid-term ranking was 127)
Luke Curadi (RPI) - 125 (His mid-term ranking was 113)
Brian Ferlin (Cornell) - 141 (His mid-term ranking was 122)
Jessie Beamish (Dartmouth) - 159 (He was previously unranked)
Eric Neiley (Dartmouth) - 173 (His mid-term ranking was 166)
Kyle Quick (Brown) - 188 (He was previously unranked)
Andrej Sustr (Brown) - 195 (His mid-term ranking was 210)

Monday, March 15, 2010

State of the Union...

Harvard has ended its 2009-2010 Men's Hockey campaign with a demoralizing sweep at the hands of its arch-rival Cornell by a combined score of 8-1 in both games. This comes at the end of a brutal season and for this Harvard fan, probably the worst in recent memory, particularly given some of the expectations by fans, the media, and the coaches coming into the season.

Before we focus on the future (and there is much reason to be optimistic that I will get into later), let's talk about what went so horribly wrong for much of the season. Why did we see Harvard display its talent on such few occasions:

1) Conditioning - I would think that this would be a commodity at the D1 level, but what else could explain the colossal 3rd period collapses of this team (youth as well) that led to being outscored 49-32 in the 3rd period during the course of the year. Harvard gave up nearly half of its goals in the 3rd period. Yikes!!

2) Youth - Harvard was the youngest team in the ECAC, by far...particularly if you rank players by class (D1 experience) as opposed to age. Lots of guys simulataneously having to not only adjust to the rigors of college academics, but also the pace of D1 hockey - that is not a recipe for success. As we all know, ECAC and NCAA success is often predicated on the performances of the upper-classmen.

3) UpperClassmen Leveling out on the Improvement Spectrum - This is a very worrisome trend. Freshman and sophmores peaking early in their Harvard careers, and flat-lining during their Junior and Senior classes. There were many, many examples of this on this year's team. Is it the decision to focus more on academics and life after hockey? Is it frustration with the team and the system? Something else?

4) Coaching - This is the 2nd year in a row where Harvard has failed to earn a double-digit win total. Few would argue that Harvard does not have the talent to win. What is troubling is that lack of chemistry and the lack of systems that allow for players to come in and integrate into a well-honed system (See Cornell and its Left Wing Lock). I think next year is a make/break year for Harvard and if there is another performance like the last 2 years, the whispers will amplify.

5) Face-Offs - Harvard finsihed the year at a 45% clip which translates into a lack of puck-possession and the inability to create offensive-zone scoring opportunities.

6) Penalties - 302 -> 421 -> 459 ---These are the last 3 years of Penalty Minutes for the Crimson. Harvard was 17-13 in the 2007-2008 season. We know the results these last 2 seasons. This is a trend that MUST be reversed. This probably has direct implications on the 3rd period collapses - guys are dead in the 3rd period from killing penalties all game.

So, after 2 years of burying my head in my hands on Friday & Saturday nights during hockey season, why does this fan have reason to be optimistic. Well, the numbers don't lie:

  • Harvard returns 85% of its goals scored next season (70/82 for all of you quant folks out there)
  • Harvard returns 84% of its assists next season (109/132)
  • 6/7 Harvard's leading scorers are back (Doug Rogers is #7)

On the flip side, the major thing that give me pause is:

  • Harvard loses 3 of its Top 6 Defenseman. Next season's regulars will be Danny Biega, Chris Huxley, Ryan Grimshaw, and Brendan Rempel. The remaining 2 spots will be filled by (Dan Ford, Peter Starrett, and Dan Fick) - Harvard is going to be dangerously young and it will lack depth on its back line
  • Given that lack of depth, there are some available folks to provide much-needed depth (Brandon Russo at Salisbury comes to mind)

Expected line combinations assuming no late additions or early defections:


Killorn Leblanc Biega

Everson Morrison Fallstrom

McCollem Michaud Moriarty

Greiner Moore Kroshus

Extras: Valek, Bozoian, Coassin, DelMauro


Biega Starrett

Huxley Rempel

Ford Grimshaw

Extra: Fick

I welcome your thoughts and comments and hope to generate some healthy discussion as we look forward to the 2010-2011 season which will hopefully reflect a vast improvement from this past season!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Nobles' Reardon Considering Crimson....

Michael Reardon, 6'0'' 180lb Junior Defenseman, had a 8-15-23 line in 29 games and was the 2nd leading scoring defenseman on the team, after Sr. Gus Young who will matriculate at Yale in the Fall. He would be a 2011 or 2012 recruit for Harvard. Other schools in the picture include Cornell, Colgate, Brown, and Quinnipiac. He's a very talented baseball player as well and could potentially be a 2 sport athlete.

Reardon was ranked 140th by Central Scouting which would translate into a late round draft pick at the upcoming NHL Draft in June.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Couple of Recruiting Updates

Pat McNally (6'2'' - 180lbs), a junior Defenseman at Milton Academy, will join Harvard's Class of 2011. He was a first Team all New England selection (along with Gus Young) and he led Milton in scoring (as a defenseman!) with a line of 14-21-35 in 28 games.

Pat is projected to be a 3rd-4th round draft pick and was ranked #84 in Central Scouting's January Mid-Term Rankings for the upcoming 2010 NHL Draft.

Connor Riley (brother of current Harvard goalie John Riley) has committed to Harvard. Connor is a goalie at Deerfield (PG) where he posted a .921 Save % despite a very sub par Deerfield team this year.

With Richter (1 Year of eligibility ) and Carroll (2), I expect Connor to be waiting in the wings for the foreseeable future. It will be interesting to see if Harvard can land Jay Williams out of Hotchkiss for 2011 or 2012.