Monday, August 14, 2017

Quinn: ’17-’18 Terriers will be deeper, more mature, very competitive

Terriers' early outook
By Neal E. Boudette
Boston University will have a completely different look this season compared to the highly touted team that just missed getting to the Frozen Four in April.

But Coach Dave Quinn feels pretty good about what he sees.

“We’re going to be older and deeper, and we are going to be very competitive,” Quinn told a group of BU 40 alums and Terrier fans at a BU Hockey Summer Roundtable this past weekend. “I can’t wait for practice to start.”

The Terriers are welcoming ten new players to the lineup. Nine are freshmen, five of whom were chosen in the NHL draft in June, and one is a graduate transfer from RPI, 22-year old Drew Melanson.

Quinn said he thinks Melanson was one of the top players on an RPI team that won just six games last year, and has the potential to be a strong contributor at BU. “He’s quick, has good hockey sense,” Quinn said. “He’s going to be a real good player for us.” The New Jersey native had led RPI in scoring as a freshman.

Canadian Shane Bowers, taken by Ottawa in the first round, 28th overall, headlines the incoming class. The 6’1” center from Halifax had 51 points for USHL Waterloo. He’s joined by three defensemen all drafted in the third round – Finnish blueliner Kasper Kotkonsalo (#71 overall, Detroit), Canadian Cam Crotty (#82, Arizona) and American David Farrance (#92, Nashville). Logan Cockerill, a speedy forward whose stock is on the rise, was drafted in the 7th round by the Islanders.

Also arriving are Hank Crone (photo), from the Fargo Force in the USHL, where he was 24-38-62 in 56 games, third best in the league; Ty Amonte, son of Terrier great Tony Amonte, who had a 17-20-37 scoring line in 58 games in the BCHL last year; and Jake Witkowski, a Melrose, Massachusetts native who also spent last season in the BCHL, going 23-17-40. At 20 years of age, Witkowski will add age, maturity and grit to the line up.

The final freshman is Brady Tkachuk, son of former Terrier Keith Tkachuk. Draft-eligible next year and projected to be a top 10 pick, he was a standout for the American team in the recent World Junior Summer Showcase, showing both high-end skill with the puck and relentless, physical grit.

“He’s a beast,” Quinn said. “I think about putting him and Jordan Greenway on a line together.”

The coach was serious, too. It’s a potentially punishing combination he’ll probably try at some point during the season.

Quinn said he likes how this incoming group will fit with the returning players, especially leaders like Greenway, Bobo Carpenter (photo), Patrick Harper and Nik Olsson. The forwards will match up with a D corps that counts seven drafted players. The Terrier goal will be minded by Jake Oettinger with a year of experience behind him and by Max Prawdzik, back from a stint in the NAHL, where he led the Lone Star Brahmas to the league title.

“This group has become more mature than last year, when we were the youngest team in college hockey,” Quinn said.

This year’s Terrier team will likely have a more balanced attack, and should get stronger contributions from the third and fourth lines, Quinn said. And he expects many of the new arrivals to stay beyond just one or two years.

“This is the ideal recruiting class,” Quinn said. “We may not have a Clayton Keller or a JFK, I think this year’s class is going to make contributions to the program over a longer period of time.”

► reviewed the Nashville Predators prospects who played in the World Junior Summer Showcase, including Terriers Dante Fabbro, David Farrance and Harper. The report noted that Harper’s idea of playing center is a bit different from the norm:

 “At times he can be a playmaking, pass-first set-up man that camps out on the half wall on the power play, but at times he can drive and finish the play with elite execution on his own much like a winger would breaking through the neutral zone.” report WJSS standouts

Looking ahead
SB Nation looks at which Hockey East schools have the most recruits in their pipelines for 2000, 2001 and 2002 birth years. BU has the second most with 13, trailing BC, which has 15. Northeastern is third with 10.
● report
● College Hockey Inc. BU recruits

Looking back
The Hockey News’ early look at candidates for the Calder Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s top rookie, lists Arizona’s Keller and Boston’s Charlie McAvoy as #1 and #2.
● report

Thirty-four teams, including a squad of Terriers, participated in this past weekend’s 16th annual Travis Roy Foundation Wiffleball Tournament in Essex, Vermont. With attendees from as far away as California and the U.K., the event raised more than $500,000 for enhancing the lives of individuals with spinal cord injuries and their families by providing adaptive equipment and by finding a cure through increased funding of research.
Roy suffered a spinal cord injury in his first game as a Terrier freshman in 1996. The injury has confined him to a wheelchair with only very limited use of one arm.
NBC 5 report and video
Burlington Free Press Sights & Sounds of 2017 tournament

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Linkorama; Whalers hold reunion at Agganis

On Wednesday night, freshman Brady Tkachuk guested on NHL Network, looking back on his WJSS tournament and ahead to wearing the Scarlet sweater his father, Keith Tkachuk, wore.’s Jon Morosi talked with Jake Oettinger about the WJSS and his hopes to return to the World Junior Championships. (Video)

BU’s 24-12-3 2016-17 season and return to the NCAA tournament is #4 in the BU Athletics Terrier 12.

Terriers will send a squad to compete in this weekend’s 2017 Travis Roy Foundation Wiffleball Tournament in Essex, Vt. This year’s event seeks to raise $600,000 for shortening the path to a cure for spinal cord injuries and helping spinal cord injured survivors in need of adaptive equipment to improve their quality of life.
● report

Looking back
Original New England Whalers’ Reunite at Agganis 
On Saturday, August 5, members of the 1972-73 New England Whalers gathered at BU’s Agganis Arena to celebrate the 44th anniversary of their winning the Avco World Trophy in the first year of the World Hockey Association.

In an informal setting, teammates mingled and caught up on the last 44 years. Owner Howard Baldwin and Coach Jack Kelley (whose 90th birthday was part of the event) gave short talks and stressed the success of the Whalers was instrumental in expanding the financial success that players enjoy today. The players risked all as did the ownership. Captain Rick Ley spoke for the players - thanking Howard and Jack for giving the opportunity to the players.

Kelley led the Whalers, who played games in both Boston Garden and Boston Arena, to the league title, right after concluding his ten seasons behind the BU bench with back to back NCAA titles in 1971 and 1972.

Present were:  Howard Baldwin (owner), Jack Kelley (GM & Coach),  Ron Ryan (Asst. Coach and Asst. GM), Skip Cunningham (Equipment Manager) Rick Ley, Paul Hurley, Bruce Landon, Terry Caffery, Tim Sheehy, Kevin Ahearn, John French, Larry Pleau, Brit Selby, Bill Berglund, Tom Earl, John Danby (’72 BU captain and All-American) and Chris Henes (Statistician).

Six players have died since we won it all in Boston Garden over Winnipeg and they were acknowledged: John Cunniff. Guy Smith, Al Smith, Ric Jordan, Mike Byers and Tom Williams. Al Smith’s wife and daughter were present as were Mary Cunniff and her two sons Chris and David.

Cunningham has the unusual distinction of being part of the team since its inception to the present. Along the way, he won an Avco World Trophy Ring and a Stanley Cup ring with the Hurricanes.

►The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame will hold its induction dinner on December 13 at Boston’s Westin Waterfront Hotel and it will have a strong Terrier flavor. Among the inductees are BU forty-year coach Jack Parker, former Terrier assistant  and head coach at Dartmouth and Northeastern Ben Smith, and Scott Young, former BU forward and assistant coach, recently named Director of Player Development for the Penguins.
● report and ticket information

Doyle Somerby, captain of the 2016-17 Terriers, plans to test the free agent waters next week. A 2012 Islanders’ draft pick, his ties to New York expire on Tuesday.  With several teams reportedly interested and the Isles still in the mix, Somerby and his agent will explore their options. report

Looking ahead
Early projections for the 2018 draft have begun to emerge with several future Terriers rated highly. Future Considerations (report and thumbnails) has pegged Tkachuk at #6, 2018 recruit Jake Wise (photo) at #22 and 2018 recruit Joel Farabee at #35.’s early ranking has Farabee #3, Tkachuk #4 and Wise honorable mention.

Women’s Team
Former Princeton standout Liz Keady has joined Coach Brian Durocher’s staff as an assistant. A Braintree, Mass., native, Keady previously was an assistant at Harvard for two seasons and at Union College for one season.
● report
● report

Monday, August 07, 2017

WJSS Wrap-up; Kotkansalo, Fabbro interviews

Blog contributor and New York Times automotive writer Neal Boudette was at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan throughout the World Junior Summer Showcase. Here are his final reports, along with related news:

Harper: Pride in Beating Canada

Sophomore Patrick Harper scored a goal and set up another in the USA win against Canada, and played on the point on power plays. His skill with the puck created the first American goal, in the first period with the man advantage, when he stickhandled into the circle and fed Joey Anderson for a redirect.

“Joey and I talked about that play before the game, so it was definitely something we were looking out for,” Harper said. “Just a high tip. Joey just presents his stick in the middle and then I try to pass the puck under the d-man’s stick and luckily something good happens, and it did.”

In the third period, he scored a key goal, weaving through the Canadian defense and picking to far corner.
“I just caught the puck off the boards in an awkward position for the defenseman, and then found some time and space and just got it to the net,” Harper said. “I was trying to go far side so, luckily in went in for me.”
Harper collected two goals and five assists in six showcase games. The talk around the team is he’ll almost certainly be selected for the USA junior team in December.
“I thought I played alright. It’s a good benchmark. I always want to win when I put on the [USA] sweater and we won the majority of our games,” Harper said. “It’s good to see all these guys in the summer and have an idea what the team will look like come December.”
He added that the USA players took great pride in beating their rivals from north of the border in the event’s final game. “Even though this game was in the middle of the summer, it meant a lot in our locker room and hopefully we can keep it rolling in Buffalo,” he said. “It’s the rivalry between US and Canada. Whenever you have those two teams facing off, we always want to win.”
Harper will spend a few weeks at home in Connecticut and then head to Boston to start classes and workouts with his Terrier teammates.

For Tkachuk, the Tests Keep Coming 
From the intensity of the World Junior Summer Showcase, and the U.S. facing Canada, Brady Tkachuk is going right into another pressure packed situation.
“I’ve got three exams in five days when I get back in Boston. So hopefully I’ll do well on all of those,” he said Saturday night after picking up two assists in a hard-fought 7-5 win over Canada.
The Terrier recruit finished the showcase with a goal and four assists, with his whole family – including father Keith, the Terrier legend, and brother Matt, the Flames wing -- looking on. “I don’t get to see them often since I’m in Boston, so it’s pretty special,” he said.
He is expecting his father to drop in at Agganis a number of times during the coming season. The second Monday of the Beanpot will be a Tkachuk family reunion.
“The whole family’s coming down. Brother is playing Boston the Tuesday after the second Beanpot Monday, so he’ll be able to be there, too,” Brady said. “So pretty excited for the year to get started.”

Cockerill: Motzko Likes The Energy
A seventh-round pick of the Islanders, Logan Cockerill is one of the lower draftees skating for the USA team at the World Junior Summer Showcase. But his speed and tenacity forechecking and backchecking has made a strong impression. And he’s shown an ability to create scoring chances for himself and his linemates.
In my opinion, he deserves very serious consideration for the junior team. He could add speed and some scoring potential to a third or fourth line, and bring some energy to the penalty kill.
Here’s what Coach Bob Motzko had to say about the BU recruit:

“Tremendous energy. He jumps on pucks. You notice when his jersey’s flapping and he’s going to put pressure on the other team. There’s spots for guys like him.”

Kotkonsalo: In Good Hands at BU, Draper Says
Red Wings scout Kris Draper likes what he sees in Kasper Kotkonsalo, and thinks the Finnish blueliner is well positioned to develop in college hockey:
“We like his hockey sense. We like the way he defends. He’s got a good stick and for a Finnish defenseman to come over – he played in the USHL, he obviously made a commitment that he wanted to go to school – you like seeing that. You like seeing him have a goal and go all in. We’re looking forward to seeing him play. But the things we like about Kasper are the way he can skate, a good first pass, he moves the puck, he defends well.
“If he’s OK with it, we’re OK with it. BU’s done a pretty good job. We don’t get involved in the choices where the players want to play. He obviously made that decision before we drafted him. We’re looking forward to getting him to BU. Playing a college schedule, he’s going to have an opportunity to get bigger and stronger, the way they’re going to train, the way the schedule’s set up. That’s something that Kasper talked about that he needs and is looking forward to. He made that choice and we support that choice and look forward to seeing him play at BU.”
The Malik Report: A quick chat with Kasper Kotkansalo (audio)

A Late Arrival, Farrance Turns Heads With Coast to Coast Goal
The highlight goal of the World Junior Summer Showcase came from a guy who wasn’t even supposed to be there.
It came Friday night when defenseman David Farrance wheeled around the USA goal with speed and galloped up the ice. He blew through Finland’s defense before deking the goalie. Talk about clutch -- the USA had been outplayed and was probably lucky to be in a 3-3 tie. Farrance’s Bobby Orr act gave the Americans the lead with 6:10 remaining.
“Saw an opening through the middle and took it to the net,” Farrance deadpanned after the game.
“I looked at my options first. Just saw open ice right up the middle. The puck was wobbling a little bit, so it was easy to flip up over a couple sticks. I just tried to go as fast as I can and use my speed through the middle.” The end-to-end dash earned ESPN’s #1Top Play of the Day designation.
Farrance, a 2017 Predators draft pick, was initially left off the roster of 40-plus players brought here to represent the U.S. In my view, he should have been there from the beginning. I saw him play more than a dozen times at NTDP last year. He’s got great skating ability, and adds an offensive dimension when he rushes the puck or joins the play. He’s secure with the puck in his own zone and defends well.
I think he’s every bit as good as the other NTDP defensemen who were invited – Quinn Hughes, Phil Kemp, Tyler Inamoto – and often better.
But when the event got under way, Farrance was in Boston, working out with other BU freshmen last Saturday. Then Chad Krys had tweaked his shoulder and Inamoto suffered what appeared to be a concussion, and a call came summoning Farrance to Michigan.
Last Sunday, Farrance took a 7 a.m. flight, landed at 9:30 and was on the ice for a 4 p.m. game against Sweden.
“It was not too hard of a turn around. It was good to play that first night against Sweden and get right into the swing of things, right off the plane. You’ve been playing hockey all your life, so you get thrown into a game and you just play,” he said.
After limited action against Sweden, Farrance suited up as USA White took on Canada and he picked up two assists in an 8-2 win. He was a +3 on the night.
The coaches elected to keep Farrance for the rest of the showcase. He sat out a game against Sweden before returning for the Finland game and his coast to coast rush. “I’m just happy to be here now and be around such a great group of hockey players and I’m pretty thankful for the opportunity they’ve given me,” he said.
Farrance also said he’s pumped about the coming season with the Terriers.
“We’ve got a lot of older guys with a lot of experience. A lot of great guys. The new guys I’m coming in with like Brady and Logan and Shane Bowers, it’s a good group to be coming in with,” he said.
He knows he’s going to have to work to earn ice time – BU will have seven drafted defensemen on its roster. “I’m going to just work my hardest, try to find my way into the line-up every night. Just play my game and sneak into the line-up,” he said. “I think it helps a lot. You develop most in practice. You’re going against some of the best players in the world and that can only help you. I think that will transfer over to games.”

► Chris Peter’s WJSS analysis
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