Return of the Macks

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Previewing this week’s content.

Hello? Is this thing on? The internet still works, right? Even if we haven’t been!

Many sports fans say that the final week of January and first few weeks of February comprise the worst time of the year on the sports calendar. After all, several weeks have passed since college football crowned a national champion, the NFL is ready for its corporate showcase … err … championship game, and let’s face it, basketball kind of sucks.

We’re a month from baseball spring training taking full hold. Even the Daytona 500 is a couple of weeks away. It’s no coincidence that Sports Illustrated launched its annual swimsuit/model showcase publication at this time of the year and has maintained its place on the calendar after more than 50 years.

If this truly is the worst time of the year for sports, it sounds like just the right thing for us. When it comes to “worst of” and “sports” the staff of Inside College Hockey pretty much dominates. And besides, these weeks are the start of the best time of the calendar for college hockey. It’s the stretch run of the regular season as teams build toward conference and national playoffs.

With that in mind, allow us to get the band back together for a special engagement. A Week of INCH will include many of our old editorial features. We’ll drop the puck on things tonight with First Shift and Found On A Cocktail Napkin. We’ll have a Hobey Tracker in the middle of the week and preview the weekend with our Friday Four-cast.

But wait, there’s more! For separate processing and shipping and handling, we’ll include a reunion edition of the INCH Podcast. We’ll wrap things up with an INCH Power Rankings to be posted after the Super Bowl.

Thanks for checking out our coverage as the week goes along. It’s great to drop in on the sport we love, combat our boredom, and maybe help out if you’re doing the same.

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INCH Podcast: March 19, 2013

INCH PodcastBack by popular demand, the INCH Podcast is here to help you kill some time prior to this weekend’s conference tournaments. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so we dive right in and take a look around leagues with an eye on the upcoming NCAA Tournament. With the announcement of the Hobey Baker Award top 10 looming, we discuss potential candidates for that honor. And we’ll give you our early Frozen Four picks as well.

INCH Podcast: March 19, 2013

Gladdy Says: An Introduction And Early-Season Thoughts

As means of introduction, thanks for reading the debut of Gladdy Says, which will be published here at INCH Writers whenever I feel like it. Over the past several years I’ve found myself reading more train-of-thought briefs from writers like Elliotte Friedman, Pat Forde, Buster Olney, Peter King and others. I thought I’d throw some thoughts out there in a similar format.

The distinguishing characteristic about Gladdy Says is that these briefs will be presented in order; ranked by Opponents’ Opponents KRACH Above Replacement. No they won’t, they’re (mostly) about hockey and capturing the spirit of the thing. I do encourage your comments, rebuttals and feedback at the bottom of this post or on Twitter at @INCH_Gladdy.

GLADDY SAYS: NOV. 19, 2012

• I don’t think anyone would’ve been surprised to see that Sacred Heart was the first team in the nation to allow 50 goals on the season, which they’ve done in the first 11 games. The next-highest total goals-against aggregate is 49, which RIT has allowed in 11 games and Alabama-Huntsville has surrendered in 12 games. Next highest after those two? Michigan and Colorado College at 39.

• I didn’t think there would be a point in the entire season where Cornell would be mired in a five-game winless streak (two ties and three losses) nor did I think they’d struggle to score like they have recently. Certainly, an uptick in degree-of-difficulty on the schedule has something to do with that, but the Big Red have been held to one goal in each of their last three games. That might be remedied in the coming weeks with games against Michigan and Clarkson, ranked 55th and 45th nationally in team defense, and a St. Lawrence team that has allowed 16 goals in its last four games.

• My Rams.

• As Mike Eidelbes and I mentioned via our @INCH Twitter account, we didn’t get the entire band back together but he and I were able to gather this past Friday in East Lansing and check out some college hockey games on the good old color television while catching up on some thoughts about the early part of the season. It was a special-engagement duet reunion show. We consider Jeff Howe to be our one-armed drummer. Of course, we also met up with distinguished hockey scribe Neil Koepke and got his takes on some of the teams and players. Good to see those guys as always.

• Of course, one of the games we dialed up was the Friday night contest between North Dakota and Minnesota Duluth. I encourage the readers to take advantage of your opportunities to watch Danny Kristo play hockey. He’s one of the best offensive talents I’ve seen in my years of closely following college hockey. I consider some of Kristo’s attributes as a combination of the players involved in the great Hobey debate of 2008. His anticipation to make plays and to be in the right places on the ice matches Michigan’s Kevin Porter. Kristo’s skill, excitement, and big-game contributions compare favorably to Boston College’s Nathan Gerbe. Even Jess Myers would buy a ticket to watch Kristo play.

• If I had a Hobey vote this year, I would vote at the end of the season. It’s too early to make any claims at this point.

• Stick Salute to Dartmouth for making my preseason projection that they’ll be a breakthrough team look pretty good in the early going, even without a ton of significant contributions from Dustin Walsh.

• Bench Minor to me for not giving Colgate a little more credit. They have relied on depth in scoring and have great team quickness and have accounted for the departures of Austin Smith and Chris Wagner very capably. Of note on the Raiders, head coach Don Vaughan mentioned that he loves the hockey intelligence that this freshman class has brought to the team. Seven freshmen have been lineup regulars for the Raiders this season and freshman goalie Spencer Finney has started to earn more playing time in recent weeks.

• Finally, a sincere thanks to those who sent many kind words about our work at INCH over the years. I consider myself fortunate to have met great people and to continue many of the friendships built while INCH was more prominent, especially within the ECAC Hockey circles. I can still be found at Lynah Rink for most Cornell home games and am looking forward to seeing everyone around the rinks.