Grading the Terriers: The 2010-11 Defensemen

David Warsofsky: C/C-
If any other defenseman on this list had the season Warsofsky had, their respective grade would be much higher than a C. Fact is, Warsofsky entered the season with All American expectations, and wound up winning Second Team Hockey East honors to a rousing, “He did it on reputation alone,” from many around the hockey community. BU coach Jack Parker talked after the season about Warsofsky’s seemingly bored nature with the college competition, and supposed that the tougher test he’ll get with the AHL’s Providence Bruins may respark his competitive edge better than Parker could.

Max Nicastro: D-/D
Nicastro also entered the season with high expectations after a strong freshman year, but was probably the worst of BU’s blue-liners from start to finish. His team worst minus-9 rating, 59 penalty minutes, two game misconducts and nine meager points seem to paint the picture well enough. Nicastro has talent, and Parker attributed his struggles to a mental slump early in the season that the Californian failed to shake. The cure according to Parker: some confidence that’ll hopefully be gained in the offseason.

Sean Escobedo: C
Like Nicastro, Escobedo was also coming off a solid freshman season, but for a stay-at-home defenseman, “Scooby’s” defensive-zone play left much to be desired. He isn’t expected to contribute much offensively, so his six points aren’t a big deal, but he struggled at times to make basic plays on the breakout, something even a D-first defenseman needs to be able to do in modern college hockey. His 62 penalty minutes weren’t a big plus, either.

Ryan Ruikka: B-/C+
One of the best stories in Hockey East this year, Ruikka finally made his way onto the ice after missing all of the previous two seasons with major injuries. From the start, Ruikka proved he belonged. The redshirt sophomore earned praise for his work in the defensive zone, and finished fourth among the team’s blue-liners in goals. Among his most important contributions, oddly enough, was his ability to stay on the ice –– among BU’s starting six defensemen, Ruikka had far and away the fewest penalty minutes with 22.

Adam Clendening: B+
The US National Development Program alum didn’t exactly burst onto the college hockey scene, scoring nine points with one multipoint game in his first 18 contests. That changed as the season wore on, especially once the allure (and pressure) of a potential World Juniors appearance came and went without a phone call. The rookie scored 17 points over his last 22 games, finishing as the team’s highest scoring defenseman. Just as important, his play on the breakout and the defensive zone improved by leaps and bounds, making him more than just an offensive threat. The one apparent area in need of improvement is penalties, where his 80 minutes were second most on the team. It’s worth noting that 38 of those minutes came in two games, though, as he tallied 21 PIM against Merrimack on Jan. 18 and 17 PIM on March 4 against Northeastern.

Garrett Noonan: B+
Nobody was a more pleasant surprise for the Terriers in 2010-11 than Noonan, a super-late recruit who from day one, as Jack Parker said, “Surprised me with how good he was.” Noonan’s physical tools mostly range from average to above average, but his ability to think the game, according to Parker, are off the charts. Rarely if ever did Noonan make a dumb play with the puck on his stick, and defensively, he was easily BU’s most consistent player from start to finish. Like Clendening, Noonan struggled to stay out of the sin bin, logging a team high 89 PIM and earning a one-game suspension as punishment for three game misconducts.

Patrick MacGregor: C/C+
MacGregor only saw action in 13 games, but proved in that time span he’s capable of playing defense at the Division 1 level. The rookie is big-bodied and rangy, and skates fairly well for his size. He’s unlikely to ever be a top-pair defenseman for the Terriers, and will again have to battle for playing time next year, but BU could be stuck with far worse options at their seventh defensive spot.

David Warsofsky discusses his decision to leave and his season

By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff

I just got done with a quick phone interview with David Warsofsky. I wanted to ask him about his decision to forgo his senior year and sign with the Bruins, and also get his thoughts on this past season. Here’s what he had to say.

What went into the decision to leave?
I sat down with Coach Parker and other coaches, I sat down with my family, and I just think we all decided that me coming to Boston and not going back for my senior year was the best decision for me and the rest of my hockey career.

Parker said he thought you needed to be challenged. Do you agree with that?
I don’t know if that was the main idea. Obviously as a player, you want to be challenged to play better and compete at the highest level you possibly can. For me, I obviously have dreams to play professional hockey. That’s a challenge for me every day. Looking at it, I think every day’s a challenge for me here. I’m just looking forward to the challenge of hopefully making the Bruins some day.

Parker also said you didn’t quite meet his expectations this season. Can you evaluate your season?
I thought I played well at times. I obviously didn’t have the year I had hoped for. I had some injuries that were kind of nagging me, but as a player, you have to take the good with the bad. There were ups and downs for the season. I think that happened with everyone on our team. Overall, it was a fun year. I had a lot of fun at BU. I’m thankful that I went there for the three years that I did.

What accounted for your personal ups and downs? Was it mostly injury or was it something else?
As a player, you never like to play with something like an injury. But I think that was how the season went for everybody. It was an up-and-down season for the whole program, not just me in particular. I don’t think you can really make excuses for anything like that.

Then what accounted for the team’s ups and downs?
I don’t know. There are a lot of things you could say it might be. At the end of the year, you can’t point the finger. For BU, you hope to make it to the national championship every year. When you don’t do that, I think you want to point fingers, but it’s not the right thing to do. That’s not the right thing to do for a team. I think it’s just something everyone takes responsibility for.

From the FreeP: Inconsistent attitude and effort plague BU for second straight year

By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff

With 2:14 remaining in Game 3 of the Hockey East quarterfinals, Northeastern University’s Wade MacLeod took a pass on the left wing and wristed a shot into an empty net to give the Huskies a 5-2 lead. Boston University sophomore forward Alex Chiasson promptly smashed his stick over the crossbar of the vacant cage, knowing that the Terriers’ season was likely over.

Sure, BU managed to score two goals in the final 1:22 to make things at least somewhat interesting. And sure, there were still scenarios that could’ve unfolded the following weekend that would’ve moved the Terriers up in the PairWise Rankings and gotten them into the NCAA tournament. But for all intents and purposes, MacLeod’s empty-netter was the death knell for BU’s season.

The 2010-11 campaign was full of first-time-sinces, and none of them were good. The Terriers finished last in the Beanpot for the first time since 1980. They failed to reach the Hockey East semifinals for the first time since 2001, ending the longest streak of semifinal appearances in conference history.

Most importantly, BU failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament for the second straight season, marking the first time that’s happened since it missed the big dance three years in a row from 1987 to 1989.


From the FreeP: Early departures of skilled players hinder BU program

By Jake Seiner/DFP Staff

For Boston University, the men’s hockey season came to an early and abrupt ending two weeks ago, marking the second straight year the Terriers’ season came to a halt before the start of the NCAA tournament – disappointing for a program that hadn’t whiffed in such fashion since Ronald Reagan was in office.

The issues plaguing this year’s team were plentiful –– inconsistent effort, youth and inexperience, lack of power-play production, just to name a few.

The question, then, for BU coach Jack Parker and his staff, is how to mend the sails and right the ship to ensure some more boat-burning experiences in the future.

“That’s something we have to look at in who we recruit, what kinds of kids they are,” Parker said.


Leftover quotes from our postseason sitdown with Jack Parker

We had our annual postseason sitdown with Jack Parker last Thursday. Needless to say, there were a lot of topics discussed. My season review — which focuses on attitude, leadership, coaching and the power play — will run in Wednesday’s FreeP, as will Jake’s feature on recruiting and the challenges of getting players to stick around. Arielle’s working on a feature on Charlie Coyle that will run sometime in the next couple weeks. Even with those three articles, though, we still had nearly 1,700 words worth of interesting quotes leftover. Enjoy. And be sure to check back for those articles.

On David Warsofsky:
I think it was good for him to sign. I think he needed a challenge, something different. I don’t think he played up to where he would like to have played this year. I thought he had an OK year, but not a great year. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that he needs to be pushed a little bit and challenged a little bit. Otherwise he gets too comfortable. Really, his best year here was his freshman year. The best year I saw him have before that was the year he went to Ann Arbor [for the national development program] and had to prove himself there. So I think it’s good for him to get a new challenge.

I think he was probably thinking about that during the year this year, too. We didn’t want him back with one leg here and one leg somewhere else. He didn’t have anywhere near a bad year, but I thought he’d be an All-American defenseman and all that. He got injured, too, and that bothered him. In general, it was a pretty good move. I think it was the correct move for him. I wasn’t telling him, ‘Geez Dave, I think you’re making a big mistake.’ We would’ve loved to have had him back, but at the same time, it’s junior year, he’s moving on and he needs that challenge.

On other early departures:
There’s always a chance that somebody could leave. [Alex] Chiasson could leave or Charlie Coyle could leave or Kieran Millan could leave. You never know. We were banking on David leaving. Before the season started, we were pretty sure he was going to leave. So this is not a surprise. The most probable guy, because he’s a junior, is Kieran. But Charlie’s a prized prospect with good size and Chiasson had a real good year. So those things are possible, but not probable. I think we’re pretty sure we’ll have everybody back except David and Joe.

On Justin Courtnall:
I don’t think there’s any question he’s earned the chance to start off with an expanded role. He’s earned the chance to start off being an important guy not only ice time-wise, but an important guy in the dressing room because people respect how he came on the second half, especially the last 10 games. We need more Justin Courtnall type of players, too. So if we need more of that, we might as well make sure we keep him in the lineup.

On next year’s forward depth:
People are going to lose their jobs, there’s no question about that. There’s at least two guys and maybe three guys who played a lot this year that will not be playing next year. I believe the two incoming freshmen [Cason Hohmann and Evan Rodrigues] will be able to step in and help us out, at least on the third or fourth line. And I’m pretty sure that if [Yasin] Cisse’s healthy, he’s going to be a real important player for us. So we’re losing one and bringing in three.

We still have guys that were in and out of the lineup and fighting for a position that emerged, too. I thought [Kevin] Gilroy, the last four or five games, played pretty well. Maybe he’ll continue that. Maybe [Ryan] Santana will get himself back in the lineup. Maybe somebody’s going to play themselves out of the lineup. But there’s no question that we’ll have much more depth up front next year than we’ve had, especially if Cisse’s healthy.

So who sits? Fourth-liners?
I thought the fourth line gave us a pretty good fourth line this year. It could be somebody on the fourth line, but it also could be somebody who’s underachieving. And we had guys that underachieved this year.

On Sahir Gill:
I think he had a good freshman year. I think he was very competitive in a lot of ways. I think he can recognize his responsibility to his team and be a better player for us, a more consistent player for us. In general, he was up there with Charlie Coyle and [Matt] Nieto in point production, and he was pretty consistent throughout the year with the way he played. He was responsible defensively, he stuck his nose in there.

On the rest of the freshmen:
I thought all the freshmen played well. I thought if you took Charlie Coyle’s first half and Nieto’s second half, you’d have an All-American with those numbers and how they played. I thought [Adam] Clendening had a great second half. I thought [Garrett] Noonan had a very good year, total. Of all the freshmen, he was probably the most consistent. But he fell off a little bit in the end and tried to do too much at the end. I think all the freshmen had good, solid freshman years. I think they’re all capable of being really good players in this league. A couple of them might make All-Americans if they stick around.

On Ryan Ruikka:
I think he had a tale of two seasons. I thought he played great the first half of the year. He was worried about just making the team. I think two things happened to him. Once he made the team and got an important role, I think he got satisfied with that. And he also got hurt. Therefore, I don’t think he played as well the second half of the year. Was it the injury first? Or the satisfaction first? I don’t know.

I know it was a combination of both of those things. Maybe one more than the other, but they both had an effect. He was not quite as effective as he was first semester. He was really solid first semester. I was so happy for him after what he went through his first two years. I’m sure he’ll bounce back and give us more like he did first semester than he did second semester.

On Max Nicastro:
I thought from Day 1 he was having problems. He mishandled the puck a lot. He never had a problem playing hard. He’s a competitor and he works hard. I don’t know if he was as ready as he should’ve been to start the season physically, or if he worked as hard as he should’ve in the summer. I have no idea.

It didn’t seem like he was way off, but that might have something to do with it because he didn’t start off very well and I think it kind of snowballed on him. I think confidence was really a big problem for him. He had less than the season we thought he was going to have for us, no question about that. He’d be the first to admit that. I think the good news is that it was mostly a confidence thing. It got off wrong and he never got it back.

We expected him to be better. We expected [Chris] Connolly to be better. We expected Warsofsky to be better. We expected [Corey] Trivino to be better. We expected [Ross] Gaudet to get a few more goals. We expected [Wade] Megan to be better. They were here and there, but they weren’t there all the time, and all for different reasons. There wasn’t any one similar reason for it.

On Trivino:
He’s a very skilled player who has yet to take responsibility for that skill. I think he’s getting there, I think he’s going in the right direction, but he’s running out of time. Next year is his last year. It will be interesting to see how he plays in his senior year. Even though he got more points, he’s got to play with more intensity and he’s got to understand how important he is to this team. If he doesn’t, then he won’t be that important to this team.

Has he had any off-ice issues since last season?
He’s had no problems whatsoever that way. I think a lot of guys were caught up in some stuff last year that they shouldn’t have been caught up in, and he was one of them. But I think he’s done a real good job of managing his time and taking care of business that way.

On what the plan’s going to be when it comes time for you to retire:
There will be a lot of candidates for this job and I don’t think we’ll have a problem filling the position. Obviously Mike Bavis is a candidate. He’s been here a while, he’s associate head coach, he’s a very successful guy and he’s well thought-of in the business and well thought-of by me. There are other guys as well. There are other guys within the BU community and there will probably be guys from outside the BU community who will be interested in this job. BU will have a very, very good coach when they get rid of me.

Will you have a say?
Yeah, I plan on having a say. I’ve had a lot to do with this program for a long time. I’d like to have a say in it. In reality, I would like it to be a BU guy. We have a lot of capable BU guys. Why not promote from within, so to speak? But that’s not necessarily. There are a lot of real good coaches out there who might apply for this job and might be more impressive. It doesn’t have to be a BU guy.

Your contract expires in 2015. Is that something of an end date?
No, I’ve never had an end date to tell you the truth. It was just the contract got extended, that’s all. And it could get extended again. In all probability it won’t. There was an end date in 2012 and then it got extended to 2015. So there’s always an end date to a contract, but that doesn’t mean that’s the end date. The contract could be 2015 and I could stop coaching this summer. The extent of the contract is no indication of if and when.

Grading the Terriers: Third and Fourth Lines

By Arielle Aronson/DFP Staff

This is the second installment of our end-of-season grades for the team. Today, we’re featuring the third and fourth lines. Our next installment will analyze the defense.

Wade Megan: C-

Megan finished last season with 12 points, and he did not show much growth in his sophomore campaign, tallying 13 points on eight goals and five assists. He did have a presence in the offensive zone at times and was fifth on the team in total shots (100), but he struggled to find a way to turn those shots into points. Megan also finished the season with a minus-3 and needs to become a better two-way player for the Terriers next season if he expects to play an important role on the team.

Ross Gaudet: D

Gaudet’s sophomore season was one he would probably like to forget. Although he dressed for every game, he scored only two goals all season and had a team-worst .036 shot percentage. Gaudet seemed to struggle a lot with puck luck. He would forecheck hard, but fail to beat the goaltender. The 22-year-old did show some signs of leadership this season off the ice and was always the first to give his teammates a high-five or a pat on the back, but leadership off the ice doesn’t mean as much if you cannot produce on the ice. If that streak continues next season, Gaudet could easily find himself out of the line-up.

Joe Pereira: B+
Pereira had an outstanding senior season. He tripled his goal total from last season and brought energy to every line he skated on. Pereira was one of the team’s best penalty killers, had a shorthanded goal and was second on the team with four power-play goals. The only negative of Pereira’s season was that he totaled only six assists, but he was clearly the heart and soul of the team all year long.

Justin Courtnall: B
Courtnall was one of the most improved players this season. Once Glass was kicked off the team, Courtnall found a regular role in the line-up, and he made the most of it. Courtnall dressed in 21 games in his freshman year and never registered a point. This season, he dressed for 32 games and registered six points (five of which came in the second half). Courtnall also established himself as a physical presence without drawing too many penalties (10 penalties for 23 minutes). If Courtnall can increase his offensive production, he could become a pivotal player next season.

Ben Rosen: B

Rosen started this season as a defenseman, but since the team had more room for him at forward. The sophomore did not play in the first eight games of the season, but he stepped in as a fourth-line center on Nov. 12 and stayed in that spot for the rest of the year. The 22-year-old was not stellar on face-offs, but his 80-100 record was right around the team average and was not too shabby for a guy who was not expected to ever be a center for the Terriers. Rosen played well enough this year to earn himself playing time to start the season next year.

Kevin Gilroy: C+

As a junior, Gilroy continued to struggle to find a way to earn regular playing time. He dressed in less games this season (18) than he did last season (25) and only played in two games from Nov. 12 through Feb. 7. Since then, Gilroy only missed two games, and Gilroy rode a four-game point streak through his final four appearances. Gilroy needs to figure out how to play well consistently, but he showed a lot of potential at the very end of the year.

Ryan Santana: D-
Santana skates hard, and that’s about it. The sophomore played himself out of the line-up this season by scoring only three points in 31 appearances. His one goal was the lowest total by a forward, and he was not solid in his own end, finishing with a minus-2. Hustle certainly is not a bad trait to have, but if it is a player’s only asset, then he needs to do some serious soul-searching.

Matt Ronan and Yasin Cisse: Incomplete

Ronan and Cisse both appeared in one game for the Terriers. If Cisse can get healthy and stay healthy next season, he could be a major contributor on offense, but with his injury, that is a big question mark. Do not expect much from Ronan next season.

BC’s Cam Atkinson signs with Columbus

By Arielle Aronson/DFP Staff

Junior forward Cam Atkinson will forgo his senior season at Boston College to pursue a pro career, the Columbus Blue Jackets announced today. The Blue Jackets signed Atkinson, who they drafted in the sixth round (157th overall) of the 2008 NHL draft, to a two-year entry-level contract.

In three seasons with the Eagles, Atkinson tallied 124 points (68 goals, 56 assists) and won a national championship. Atkinson had his best season with the Eagles this year, as he set a career-high in goals (31) and is one of ten finalists for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award.

Joe Pereira signs ATO with Bridgeport Sound Tigers

By Arielle Aronson/DFP Staff

Senior co-captain Joe Pereira has signed an amateur tryout contract with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders. Pereira played one game for the Worcester Sharks last week before moving south to Bridgeport. Pereira also previously participated in a prospect camp for the Islanders in the summer of 2008.

The 23-year-old forward played in the Sound Tigers’ 5-1 win over Portland on Friday night but did not factor into any of the scoring. He expects to play in games on Saturday and Sunday. Pereira said he is not sure whether he will be in Bridgeport through the end of the season because of school commitments, but did say that the team is happy with the way he is playing. Pereira is hoping to establish something more permanent with the Sound Tigers this summer.

Bridgeport is a 20-minute commute from Pereira’s hometown of West Haven, Connecticut.

Report: David Warsofsky signs with Bruins UPDATED

By Scott McLaughlin and Arielle Aronson/DFP Staff

Defenseman David Warsofsky has elected to forgo his senior season and sign with the Bruins, according to the Providence Journal. The article says Warsofsky was at the AHL Providence Bruins’ practice Thursday morning.

Warsofsky tallied 22 goals and 46 assists for 68 points in three seasons at BU. He was picked in the fourth round of the 2008 NHL draft by the St. Louis Blues. The Bruins acquired his rights earlier this season in a trade for Vladimir Sobotka.

The Bruins have not officially announced the signing yet.

Edited to add: The Daily Free Press was able to reach Warsofsky, who confirmed he has signed an entry-level contract with the Bruins and will be playing for Providence.

Grading the Terriers: Top Six Forwards

By Sam Dykstra/DFP Staff

Normally, we dole out grades to the BU offense, defense, goaltending and special teams after games. Now that the Terriers’ season has come to a close, we’ve received requests to bring out our red grading pens again to assess how individual players performed during the 2010-11 season. Over the next week and a half, we’ll break up our individual grades into four different sections, so keep checking back to see the grades as they come in. But first, our marks for BU’s top six forwards.

Chris Connolly: B
Connolly had a chance to score 30 points again in 2010-11 after becoming the first Terrier to reach the feat in his first two seasons on campus since 1994, but fell just two points short of that goal. He missed five games from late November through December with a broken pinky finger and was never able to recreate his point per game average (12 points in 12 games before the setback) from the first of the year on. Still, he finished second on the team in points, led in both plus/minus (+8) and shots on net (120) and was praised all season long by BU coach Jack Parker for his leadership as a junior captain.

Alex Chiasson: B+
The sophomore led the team in points this season with 34 and was in fact the only player in scarlet and white to break the 30-point plateau this season. (For comparison’s sake, four players hit that mark in 2009-10 and eight did so in 2008-09.) His 14 goals and 20 assists both ranked second on the team. Chiasson’s ability to control the puck down low and at times simply dominate defenders when he had possession led to those statistics and a spot as a Hockey East Honorable Mention All-Star. If he returns for his junior season, Chiasson could jump into the upper echelon of offensive talent in the conference, but he’ll have to work on both keeping his cool (75 penalty minutes as well as a one-game suspension from Parker for a stupid infraction) and his abilities in his own zone (third-lowest on the team in plus-minus at minus-5).

Corey Trivino: B
Trivino began the transformation from defensive specialist to a better two-way player this season, and the results for the most part were there. His 28 points this season were just one shy of the total he’d put up in two years at BU, and his 20 assists were nine more than he’d ever tallied at the collegiate level. Still, are those numbers what you’d expect from a center drafted in the second round of the NHL Draft? No, not really. Luckily for Trivino, he’ll have another year to grow and develop before entering the professional ranks. But if he can maintain this upward trajectory offensively while continuing to be the best center on faceoffs, the future could be much brighter for him than it looked just a few months ago.

Matt Nieto: B
Nieto was once regarded as a potential first-round pick before the season began. But the freshman left-winger struggled mightily from the get-go, scoring just two points in his first 11 games as a collegian. He kicked his play into another gear in the remaining 28 games of the season, though, as he raced to 23 points during that span, including scoring 13 points to round out the final 11 games of the season. His speed proved to be his biggest asset – yes, thus the gear pun in the last sentence – but like Chiasson, he could use some work defensively as he also ended the season with a plus-minus rating in the red.

Sahir Gill: B-
Unlike Nieto, Gill rocketed out of the start and looked like a serious contender for Rookie of the Year. His eight-game points streak from Nov. 12 to Dec. 8 was the longest for any Terrier. But that was followed up by a streak of 10 games where he didn’t register a single point. Even when Gill was doing well on the stats sheet, there were still times when he would go relatively unnoticed on the ice. Although his forte comes from his passing ability, his 54 shots were still the second-lowest among forwards who played in more than 30 games, only beating out Ryan Santana’s 26 shots in 31 games. His .402 winning percentage on faceoffs also was nowhere near noteworthy. Even though Gill rode out the season with six points in the last seven games, consistency will be the buzz word for him come the start of next season.

Charlie Coyle: B
Coyle won the conference’s Rookie of the Year and for good reason – at least according to me (my other BHB cohorts may disagree slightly). He led all Hockey East freshmen in assists and scoring with 15 helpers and 21 points in conference play. That was a direct result of his strength, especially in the corners and behind the net. However, that brute strength rarely found its way directly in front of the net where it was arguably most needed. After posting a hat trick in the team’s only preseason exhibition against the University of Toronto, Coyle only posted seven goals this season and not one after Jan. 22. It could be argued that he ran out of steam after playing in the World Junior Championships for Team USA during winter break, but the team could use a little extra power from the 19-year-old next year in his second year on campus.