Saturday, May 19, 2018

Quinn To The Rangers

Dave Quinn draws out a play with
BU forward Hank Crone in a
late-season game against Vermont
last February. It was Quinn's
100th win as BU's Head Coach. In
total, Quinn went 105-68-21 in
five seasons.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
According to various reports, the New York Rangers have poached BU bench boss David Quinn to fill their vacant head coaching position.

Quinn, first interviewed earlier in the spring and after taking the USA World Junior position, seemed to have put the Rangers on the back burner. In the coming weeks, NYR made a strong push for Quinn and kept sweetening the pot and would not back down. He was their man and they were not going to be denied.

The swirling chatter that  Quinn would leave for the Rangers started about a month ago. Despite a few Tweets here and there, it didn’t seem as if there was more than a small spark of a chance he would leave.

Yesterday, TSN’s Bob McKenzie all but dumped gasoline on that spark in a pair of tweets, saying:

ESPN’s John Buccigross stated in a Tweet earlier today that he believes Quinn will get a contract in the area of five years, $12 million. That works out to $2.4 million a year. At BU, Quinn probably makes half of that a year, at best.

Just to speculate on a replacement, I would have to say assistant coach Albi O'Connell is the front-runner. Along with him, former Terrier and current Boston Bruins assistant coach Joe Sacco will be another top candidate. In addition, look for Jay Pandolfo to be in the running as well.

For all the success Quinn had at BU, he could never win. I don’t mean that he couldn't win games. He certainly could. He took the program to two Hockey East titles in four years and four straight NCAA tournament appearances, something that hasn’t happened since the late 90s. He was a period away from winning the national championship in 2015 before for well, you know what happened.

But he still couldn’t win with some. The amount of people who dumped all over Quinn while he was at BU is astounding. No matter what he did, it wasn’t good enough.

They said he was a good recruiter. He is. He’s fantastic. But that’s about the only credit he was given. They would say, “Oh, the only reason BU is good is because of the players they have.”

Yes, Quinn took a Jack Eichel led team within a goal of the national title in 2015. But don’t credit Quinn for that. No. It was all, 100% Eichel and most of that team were still Parker’s recruits… Right.

Then my favorite criticism of Quinn: His players don’t respond to his system. Ha… OK.

It seems when BU didn’t win (let’s use 2017 as an example), the “blame” was put all on Quinn’s shoulders. “Oh, they have all these NHL draft picks, they can’t even win the Beanpot anymore. The team just doesn’t respond to his system.”


Quinn had to start from scratch each year he was at BU. The 2017 team had a ton of talent. Yes, you’re right it did. The multiple draft picks that have flourished in the NHL so far (I’m looking at you Charlie McAvoy and Clayton Keller) dotted the roster. The team was a goal away from the Frozen Four and beat North Dakota in North Dakota in tournament play. That was a HUGE win for the program, if you’re asking me.

What gets lost in people’s minds when they see all these draft picks is that NHL teams pick these players in hopes they develop into better players in a few years and become NHL ready. For Quinn, no one head coach has been better at this than him over the past five years.

Sure, there are some examples of "bad coaching." Maybe the team shouldn't have played so defensively in the third period of the 2015 national title game and the Matt O'Connor goal never happens. But looking at last year and seeing what Quinn was able to do down the stretch with his line up was all the validation and proof you need to prove that he was a great coach.

Just because BU hasn’t hung a banner since 2009, doesn’t mean they haven’t “won.” It also doesn’t mean that “Quinn can’t coach” because they haven’t “won,” despite having the best recruiting in the nation.

Jack Parker was at BU for 40 years and “only won” three times. I never heard anyone say Parker couldn’t coach.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Bernie Corbett Feature

After coming to BU and joining the program as a student equipment manager for the JV team in 1978, Bernie moved up to the varsity in his sophomore year. This allowed him to work closely with longtime BU head coach Jack Parker and become exposed to the press box. This is also where he first got a taste of radio, a position he has held for 33 years and counting. Over that span, he has seen and described everything that is BU hockey. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Cohen on The Fast Track in Broadcast Career

Colby Cohen was named an All 
Amarican in 2011 after scoring 14
 goals from the blue line that season.
(Photo by Matt Dresens/2010)
Nine years ago Wednesday, Terrier defensemen Colby Cohen scored the game-winning goal in overtime of the 2009 national title game to cap off one of the most historic comebacks in college hockey history. Wednesday night also marked Cohen’s first NHL playoff game, not as a player but as a broadcaster.

Cohen first crackled the airwaves before his playing career was even over. After three years at BU, Cohen signed with the Colorado Avalanche, who drafted the Villanova, Pennsylvania native 45th overall in 2007. Cohen played three games for the Avalanche in 2010, before being traded to Boston.

He never quite made it back to the NHL, despite playing 147 games for the Providence Bruins and being a “black ace” for the 2011 Bruins Stanley Cup run. Cohen finished his playing career overseas in Finland and Slovakia, before finishing up in Britain with the Nottingham Panthers in 2015.

During his final season, while recovering from groin surgery, Cohen got his first crack at broadcasting. Like most broadcasting careers, some things just happen by chance.

“Jamie Erdahl was a friend of mine and someone at NESN asked her to ask me if I wanted to come and do a show,” described Cohen. One thing led to another and Cohen was on air for a NESN studio show for Friday night college hockey. He later would work the intermission reports for NESN in the Beanpot and Hockey East tournaments.

For a guy who was not a broadcast major in college, Cohen is very much on the fast track to a long career in the field. Normally a well known and reputable station like NESN is not where people break into the field.

“I really enjoyed my time at NESN because they gave me an opportunity and they had producers that believed in me and saw something in me,” said Cohen. “They gave me my first ever chance and the fact that the first network I ever went on was New England Sports Net, which is a pretty well-respected network, really helped me when I did stop playing and I started doing this more for real.”

Cohen may have traded in his skates and stick for a microphone, but ended up right back in the rinks. After a few appearances on NESN, Cohen jumped in on the broadcast for the 2016 NCAA regionals in Cincinnati with Allen Bestwick.

Much like the game-winning goal in 2009, getting on the call for those games in Cincinnati took a bit of fortune. ESPN had a few BU alums working as producers and found out Cohen had done a bit of TV work and obviously, knew he played the game. Thanks to a last minute drop out, Cohen got the call.

“I just kinda lucked into it. That was the first serious game I had and that parlayed into doing some games with CBS and American Sports Network which then parlayed into another regional. I kinda just got lucky a couple times.”

In a similar path outlined by the NCAA tournament, Cohen moved on from the regionals to the Frozen Four. Last year in Chicago, Cohen was a radio broadcaster for Westwood One. Seven years after playing for a national title, Cohen was describing one on the air.

Of course, radio is not TV. It requires a different skill set in comparison to a TV broadcast, but thanks to the people at Westwood One, Cohen found the transition pretty seamless.

“Their producers care so much about the product that they work with you. I’ve learned more working for Westwood One and I’ve gotten better at what I do working for Westwood One than another network just because my producers give me such specific feedback on my shows.”

The quick learning Cohen got the chance of a lifetime this past winter to work the Olympics in PyeongChang. While he may have wished he was on the ice with his former Terrier teammates Matt Gilroy and John McCarthy, Cohen still found the experience amazing.

“It was an experience I really wanted to take part in as a player and definitely it was something that made me miss playing. But it was a phenomenal experience getting to call Team USA and the Women’s gold medal game. It's definitely something that I will carry with me and remember as a broadcaster.”

The Olympics were also a huge learning tool for Cohen. The quickly rising talent got a front row seat to see not only great hockey, but world-class broadcasters. Ray Ferraro, Darren Pang and Kenny Albert are just a few who were on the calls in PyeongChang.

Like a good player who studies film and watches to see how other players might perform a certain skill, Cohen has taken that approach in the broadcast booth as well.

“You really have to find your own style. You can’t really worry about getting caught up in trying to be someone else. There are four or five guys who I think are just phenomenal at what they do and I try to watch them and take little things from them. I try and see what they do and I try to see how to make it work for me without changing who I am.”

Wednesday night, Cohen called his first NHL playoff game, a 1-0 win for Vegas over Los Angeles. He will be on again in the coming days, working for Westwood One.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

End of the Line - Updated

BU finally went to the well one too many times before it dried up Sunday afternoon at the DCU Center in Worcester, as Michigan put a swift end to BU’s impressive late-season run with a 6-3 victory over the Terriers to advance to the Frozen Four.

In the case of every season-ending loss, emotions were on display at the postgame press conference. Here are a few clips:

Throughout the postseason run, the resilient Terriers never stopped battling. BU overcame 1-0 and 3-1 deficits, but this time was never able to get the lead. In the second period, with Michigan leading 3-1 on goals from Quinn Hughes, Toney Calderone and Brendon Warren, BU’s Patrick Curry put home a wraparound goal to cut the Wolverine lead in half, midway through the second frame. 

Drew Melanson then tied the game 3:30 into the third period. Jordan Greenway, who notched the first Terrier goal, caused a turnover right in front of Michigan goalie Hayden Lavigne (24 saves). From the edge of the crease, Melanson corralled the puck and slipped it in behind Lavigne for his sixth goal of the year. 

Drew Melanson scores his final goal as a Terrier, after coming
to BU for one season as a graduate transfer from RPI.
(Photo by Matt Dresens) 
Michigan had an answer less than three minutes later. Jake Slaker skated in one-on-four across the BU blue line before unloading a shot at the top of the circle that deflected off BU defenseman Cam Crotty and fluttered past Terrier netminder Jake Oettinger (16 saves). 

“We seemed a little bit nervous,” said coach Quinn. “I thought as the game went on, we got a little bit better. We kinda found our rhythm. We did a lot of good things and then we made it 3-3 and you could feel the energy on the bench and then just, unfortunately, one goes off a shin-pad and in the net.”    

BU had a few chances to tie up the game, but Nicholas Boka picked a good time to net his first goal of the year, scoring with less than 3:42 left to ice the Terriers. Nick Pastujov added an empty net goal minutes later to round out the scoring. 

Michigan is back in the Frozen Four for the first time since 2011 when they lost to Minnesota-Duluth in overtime of the National Championship game in St. Paul. Michigan will face Notre Dame in the national semifinals and Duluth matches up with Ohio State. 

For BU, a season that started with unreasonably high expectations considering the talent that departed early (Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Charlie McAvoy and Clayton Keller) ended exactly where last year’s team finished. Like Quinn said, to go from where this team was on January 6th (8-11-1), to win Hockey East and an NCAA tournament game is pretty remarkable. 

Let’s also not forget, Patrick Harper, the only skater on the roster to average more than a point a game, didn’t play a single game after January 6th due to a season-ending illness. In his absence, Jordan Greenway and Bobo Carpenter took over the scoring lead, but it also allowed some of the younger guys to develop.

Logan Cockerill exploded onto the scene second semester, scoring critical goals, including one in the Beanpot semis against Harvard and the game winner in game two of the Hockey East Quarterfinals vs UConn. In that stretch, the freshman recorded a 10 game point streak from January 26th to March 10th. 

David Farrance, while he fit in nicely at forward for a bit, was shifted back to defense the weekend of the Hockey East championships at Boston Garden. He immediately looked more confident and his stats mirrored that. Farrance scored, at the time, the game-tying goal against Boston College in the semis and the game-winner against Cornell last weekend at the NCAA’s. He was also named to the "All-Regional Team." 

David Farrance celebrates after scoring the go-ahead goal against Cornell on Saturday afternoon 
(Photos by Matt Dresens)

The big names recruits - Brady Tkachuk and Shane Bowers - showed why they were so highly touted. Bowers was an instrumental piece on the second line with Bobo Carpenter and Logan Cockerill. When Greenway returned from Olympic competition, Tkachuk and senior Drew Melanson formed a surprisingly dominate top line for the Terriers that scored near every ‘big time’ goal down the stretch. 

Unfortunately, only one of those three will even potentially be back in the lineup next Fall. Obviously, Melanson being a senior means he’s graduating. In the case of Greenway’s, the junior from Canton, New York finally inked a deal with the Minnesota Wild and could be in the lineup tomorrow against Nashville. A lot still up in the air with Tkachuk, as well. He will undoubtedly be a top-10 pick come the NHL Draft in June. 

There is certainly a lot to like about where the program is right now. If Greenway is the only early departure, the team is still in fantastic shape going into next year. NTDP players Jake Wise and Joel Farabee headline yet another top-notch recruiting class for Quinn and staff. 

Yes, it's disappointing the way it ended, but there is a lot to look forward to for BU hockey. 

BU, Skate Michigan For Spot in St. Paul

Originally published on WTBU Sports

For the first time since 1997, BU has a date with the Michigan Wolverines in the NCAA Tournament; and this time the winner will advance to the Frozen Four in St. Paul, Minnesota. The two teams will square off in the Northeast Regional Final in their ninth-ever matchup in the postseason – the most against any opponent for the Terriers. BU is 5-4 against the Wolverines all-time in the playoffs as the 1991 meeting between the two teams was a best-of-three series (BU won 2-0).
From The Vault
Former Terrier Matt Lane scores against Michigan in a
November 21, 2015, loss to the Wolverines at Agganis.
(Photo by Matt Dresens) 
Fourth-seeded BU knocked off top seed Cornell, 3-1, in the early game, while Michigan dropped Northeastern, 3-2. Cooper Marody scored his second of the night for U of M with 4:30 left in the third period to break a 2-2 tie that proved to be the eventual game-winner for the Wolverines.

Speaking of Marody, he tops the Michigan scoring charts with 16 goals and 32 assists for 48 points. Tony Calderone has paced Michigan in goals scored with 23. Other players to watch include Brendon Warren, Quinn Hughs and Dexter Dancs.

Michigan ended the season on a hot streak, winning seven straight before falling to Ohio State in the Big 10 Semifinals. The Wolverines seemed to fly a bit under the radar this year, despite closing at eighth in the PairWise and landing a two seed in the Northeast Region.

Both BU and Michigan split a pair of games last season in Ann Arbor, with the Wolverines winning game one, 4-0, and the Terriers rebounding with a 4-2 victory the second night.

Puck drop is scheduled for 4 p.m. tomorrow afternoon at the DCU Center in Worcester.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Oettinger, Freshman Best Big Red

The beat goes on!

Behind three goals from the freshman class, BU knocked off number three seed Cornell 3-1 in the opening game of the NCAA Northeast Regional in Worcester, MA. BU is back in the “Great Eight” for the second consecutive year and awaits the winner of Michigan-Northeastern

Men's Hockey vs Cornell (NCAA 1st Round) 3/24/18
Photos by Matt Dresens

Cornell’s Trevor Yates opened the scoring 7:27 into the second frame, but Shane Bowers had the answer just 36 seconds later. David Farrance then clanged a one-timer off the post and in from a Brady Tkachuk pass from behind the goal line to give BU the lead 4:39 into the third.

Logan Cockerill added an empty-net goal in the final minute to secure the win.

Jake Oettinger was fantastic this afternoon, stopping 30 Cornell shots.