Meet the Boston Hockey Blog’s new writer

By now we are all sure you have heard the news circling around the Boston University men’s hockey team, The Boston Hockey Blog is happy to confirm that Eddie Moran will be joining Matt and Liam for this upcoming season. Below you can find more information about Eddie.

We are working to learn more information about the rumors linking head coach David Quinn to the New York Rangers.

Ed Moran is a rising senior in Boston University’s College of Communication double-majoring in Broadcast Journalism and Advertising. He grew up in the New York City area, but now resides in Windham, a rural town in upstate New York’s Catskill Mountains. Although Windham is far removed from New York’s sports culture, Ed has been entranced by sports since his childhood days of watching Sunday football with his grandfather.

When he began applying for colleges in 2015, Ed focused on out-of-state schools with a strong communications background. He admittedly applied to BU on a whim, not fully aware of its academic, or even hockey, reputation.

Little did Ed know when visiting BU on April 11, 2015, for COM’s Admitted Students Day, that he was there the day of the 2015 National Championship game between BU and Providence. Seeing the BU students all along Commonwealth Avenue repping those scarlet and white colors exposed him to a sport he was previously unfamiliar with: hockey.

Watching the mayhem that day convinced Ed all along, BU was the school for him. During freshman year, he joined FreeP as a writer for women’s soccer, basketball and lacrosse. Since then, he has served as an Associate Sports Editor, and is grateful to spend his senior year on the Hockey beat.

 

An apology to our readers

Liam and I would like to personally apologize for the frustrations that you, our readers, had this year while attempting to access our blog. During the fall semester, while I was acting as the sports editor for The Daily Free Press, the website for the newspaper started experiencing issues which made it almost impossible to access the FreeP’s website. Due to the Boston Hockey Blog being an extension of the FreeP, our website also had issues. Being the sports editor, I sat in on meetings with the rest of the editorial board and we all shared the same frustrations about the website.

 

Over the course of the season, both Liam and I know that a large amount of readers became frustrated with their inability to go onto our website and follow the team. Personally, I made it a point to reach out to every person who shared their frustration with us via a direct message either through Facebook or Twitter. During those interactions with the readers, I felt awful that people were could not follow the team the way they have done for years. If any regular readers of our blog lost faith in us due to the issues with the website and ultimately decided not to log onto our website anymore, both Liam and I feel truly awful.

 

However, we would personally like to thank all the readers who stuck with us during our issues — those who were persistent in trying to log on even when they had the message “error establishing database connection.” You are all the reason we do this. You are all why both Liam and I love covering the team so much. Yes, we are both avid sports fans, but having such a loyal base of readers makes covering the Boston University men’s hockey team so extra special. Although there are only a few games left this season, Liam and I promise to cover the team the way you came to expect the blog to do so.

 

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please feel free to reach out to Matt at [email protected].

Midseason Report: BU hockey, halfway through 2016-17 season, in position to thrive

2016harvard-3328-1600x1065Boy does time fly by.

It feels like yesterday that the Boston University men’s hockey team got its 2016-17 season underway, but the halfway point is here. As things stand, BU is 10-5-2, sits fourth in the Pairwise rankings and sixth in the Hockey East standings.

Of course, the state of the Terriers is not that simple, so we’re here to break down some of the subtler nuances and trends that developed in the fall of 2016. It’s also important to note context, as BU entered the year with great hype and expectations, largely the byproduct of rostering 11 NHL Draft picks. The jury is still out on whether all that talent will translate into silverware of some kind.

Before we get underway, it’s important to give these two quotes from disparate parts of the semester a read through. The first came on Sept. 27 at Hockey East’s annual media day, and is from junior assistant captain Nikolas Olsson. Meanwhile, the second is from head coach David Quinn and came after BU’s 5-2 win over Yale on Dec. 13.

Quote 1: “We want to hold ourselves to our own standard, so we don’t want to pay attention to what everyone else expects us to do. We tune everything out and when we’re all in the locker room, we have a saying of, ‘Close that up and everything that’s in here matters – this is what matters, whatever is outside doesn’t.’ If we can figure out our affairs in here, then we can do great things.” – Olsson

Quote 2: “It’s been a really good first half for us. We feel our best hockey is ahead of us. It’s a great group. I love coming to the rink every day with them. They work hard, they care for each other, they’re forming some of those characteristics you need to have as a group to win important games in late March and April. We feel really good about where we’re at.” – Quinn


Forwards

  • harper-vs-upeiPatrick Harper – Who would have thought that freshman Patrick Harper would lead the team in points by the end of 2016? Heading into this season, the hype centered around Clayton Keller and Kieffer Bellows, but it’s been the 5-foot-9, 160-pound playmaker from New Canaan, Connecticut who has led the way early on. With seven goals and 13 assists, Harper ranks fifth in scoring among Division I freshmen. He will head into the next half of the season with a three-game point streak, and it’s safe to assume that the Nashville Predators draft pick will look to extend that run of form on the first line. – Nick
  • Kieffer Bellows – Yes, Kieffer Bellows has disappointed in his freshman campaign, but there’s a very good chance he turns it around. Just look at sophomore Jordan Greenway, who totaled one goal and seven assists in the first half of the 2015-16 season. After the holiday break, Greenway scored four goals and notched 14 helpers to finish the season top-5 on the team in points (26). Of course, Greenway didn’t have a plus/minus rating of -8 halfway through his freshman year, but you get the point. Sometimes, freshmen need some extra time to adjust before they flourish, and that very well could be the case with Bellows. His penalty problem can be easily fixed, and he’s flashed his trademark scoring ability at points. Let’s hope playing with Team USA in the World Junior Championships will energize Bellows so he can begin the 2017 on a high note. – Nick
  • pvd_at_bu-1-1600x1067Third line – Oft-overlooked, especially on a team with five forwards drafted by NHL teams, BU’s third line deserves ample credit for wins against powerhouse and mid-level teams alike. The contingent typically features senior Nick Roberto and junior Nikolas Olsson as wingers, with freshman Patrick Curry at center. They all have subtly good hands, play heavy on the forecheck and consistently skate with the pace and intensity Quinn so ardently desires. They’re chipping in on the scoreboard, too, as they’ve combined for 19 points from eight goals and 11 assists. What’s perhaps most significant about the third line, though, is that it affords BU’s top two lines the chance to catch a breather, all the while maintaining the level those elite forwards (Keller, Greenway, etc.) demand. Lastly, any team looking to make a deep postseason run with only two lines is in deep trouble. Luckily for Quinn, this Roberto-Olsson-Curry group won’t cause that worry to arise. – Jonathan
  • JFK – It’s natural to watch BU’s top-end players and make NHL comparisons. When it comes to Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, a sophomore and assistant captain, one of the highest honor surfaces: Patrice Bergeron. Both are centers, both were picked 45th overall by the Boston Bruins in their respective drafts and both offer forth the same skill set. Bergeron, now a two-time participant in the NHL All-Star Game, has smooth hands, makes smart hockey plays like clockwork and has won the Frank J. Selke Trophy three times, which is annually given to the NHL’s top defensive forward. As for Forsbacka Karlsson, the scorer of 45 points in 56 career games for the Terriers, he’s an expert at using his body to protect the puck, plays a 200-foot game in every sense of the phrase and does so many of the little things right. Who knows if “JFK” will ever reach Bergeron’s notoriety or respect throughout the professional ranks, but it’s still a joy to watch the 20-year-old Swede lead BU night in and night out. And for those who feel JFK isn’t chipping in on the scoreboard, he boasts three goals and 12 assists. That puts him a tie with Keller for the third-most points on the Terriers. – Jonathan

Defense/Goaltending

  • pvd_at_bu-10-1600x1067Sixth Man – There’s really not much to complain about in this department, as BU ranks fourth in the nation in goals allowed (2.06). The core four of Charlie McAvoy, Chad Krys, Dante Fabbro and Brandon Hickey have been excellent, but perhaps the most important piece of the defense has been the sixth man, usually paired with captain Doyle Somerby. For the most part, that has been John MacLeod, who has four assists in 13 games but has also been dealing with injuries. When he’s unavailable, Brien Diffley and Shane Switzer stepped into his spot on the blue line, making smart choices with the puck and seamlessly slotting into the defensive zone. Expect the D-unit to continue to shut down top offenses in 2017. – Nick
  • LaCouvee – Jake Oettinger has been terrific in net, but a shoutout has to go to his backup, Connor LaCouvee. He’s only started twice, but knowing that there’s a solid netminder behind Oettinger is comforting for Terrier fans. He earned victories in both of his starts, and has a save percentage of .938. Sure, a small sample size, but so what? He’s been awesome in limited play. Should the 18-year-old Oettinger fall in a slump or require some rest, LaCouvee can slide right into the starting lineup and keep the Terriers in it. – Nick
  • m46a0201Oettinger – Speaking of Oettinger, it’s hard to ask for more from the freshman. It’s commonplace in postgame press conferences for his teammates to shower the recently-turned 18-year-old with praise, and that’s because he deserves every plaudit thrown his way. In his young career, the former U.S. National Team Development goaltender has three shutouts, blanking Quinnipiac, Sacred Heart and Vermont. He also boasts a .932 save percentage and 1.87 goals against average, which both lead Hockey East. In terms of a grander scope, the former statistic stacks up as the eighth best in the country, while the latter is fifth best in the nation. To the credit of critics in and around Agganis Arena, Oettinger did have an incredibly rough outing at home – BU’s 4-0 loss to UConn on Nov. 11 – but he has since bounced back with aplomb. Looking ahead, the Lakeville, Minnesota native seems stout enough to lead the Terriers when playoff hockey rolls around, as he instills confidence in the squad and can stymie the nation’s best forwards. Do you know what’s scariest of all? This kid is so young he isn’t even draft eligible until the summer. – Jonathan
  • Fourth line – While BU’s defense has largely been resolute, one area in need of marked improvement arises through the fourth line. Whether it’s freshmen Johnny McDermott and Gabriel Chabot, sophomores Ryan Cloonan and Oskar Andren, junior Chase Phelps or senior Tommy Kelley, a worrisome theme has surfaced against tougher opponents: an inability to break out of the defensive zone on a consistent basis. This note is based on the eye test and isn’t easily measurable, but too often has some combination of the aforementioned group been hemmed below its own blue line. There are several reasons for this trend – being mismatched against an opponent’s top line, a changing cast of characters and general fatigue late in games – but it needs a firm resolution. On the other hand, when this is the biggest complaint about the Terriers’ defense, they’re in pretty good shape. – Jonathan

Special Teams

  • keller_maddiemalhotra_online-1-of-1-1600x1109Net value – Special teams have been the strongest part of the Terriers’ game in 2016. They have scored on 16.87 percent of their power plays, while going 91.2 percent on the penalty kill, second best in the nation. What’s the most impressive stat from special teams? The Terriers have allowed nine goals on the penalty kill, yet they have scored six shorthanded goals this year. That makes them a fantastic -3 on the PK, which is even more impressive when you consider the number of penalties this team has been whistled for. Stick taps to all involved. – Nick
  • Freshmen – So who have the stars of the power play been thus far? You may want to sit down for this … it’s been the freshmen. Harper, Keller and Fabbro have three power play goals each, which lead the team. In fact, the only other Terrier with multiple power play goals is … Bellows. It’s obvious that these guys are well-coached when it comes to the PP, so another shoutout to the coaching staff for a job well done. – Nick
  • QB1, QB2, QB3 – In his weekly sit-down with the media, Quinn routinely talks about the importance of learning what a professional-level power play looks like. From BU’s first 17 games of the year, it appears as though Keller, Fabbro and McAvoy have firmly grasped every coaching point. The trio often operates from the point, quarterbacking the Terriers’ man advantages and always seems willing to pull the trigger. There’s proof in the pudding, too, as Keller and Fabbro both have three tallies on the power play. McAvoy hasn’t registered a point on the power play, but his contributions surface in other ways. – Jonathan
  • img_3767-1-1600x1138The magic number – During October and November, as was the case throughout college hockey, penalties dominated the conversation. Truthfully, BU has been one of the worst culprits in this regard, as its 16.24 penalty minutes per game is the 15th-highest total in the NCAA. Given that fact, you’d never guess this, but coach Quinn considers four to be his team’s magic number. And that’s a reference to taking no more than four penalties across all three periods. When that’s been the case, meaning BU is playing 5-on-5 hockey, it’s a dominant team that makes mediocre teams look poor and great teams look OK. This was the case in the 3-0 win over Northeastern on Nov. 5, as BU took five penalties, and the same pattern repeated in the 4-0 win over Vermont on Dec. 10, when it took six penalties. The Terriers are far from perfect in this regard, but the trend is clear. – Jonathan

Defining Moments

  • Surprise, surprise – Perhaps the most fun I’ve had watching the team so far was the last game of the semester, when Shane Switzer scored twice to propel BU to a 5-2 victory over Yale. Can’t say anyone saw that coming. It was great to see the guys hype the crowd up when Switzer was named the No. 1 star after the game. – Nick
  • mhock7_justinhawk-1600x1190Breakout moment – Another shining moment came in the exhibition against Prince Edward Island, when Pat Harper scored five times. Obviously, the competition wasn’t the best. But after Harper’s third or fourth goal, it became pretty clear that this guy was going to be integral. I remember being surprised that Harper was on the first line with Forsbacka Karlsson and Bobo Carpenter. Can’t say it was a bad move. – Nick
  • Bye bye Crimson – Outside of the result itself, pre-break games boast an extra layer of significance in that the scoreline will linger around for quite some time. So when then-No. 9 Harvard University visited Agganis Arena on Nov. 22 – just before the Thanksgiving break – an essential opportunity was before the Terriers. Its next game wasn’t for 10 days either, so a win or loss would remain fresh. In back-and-forth fashion, BU edged out a 5-3 win over the Crimson. Furthermore, coach Ted Donato’s side is now ranked fourth in the nation, making the win better than advertised at the time. – Jonathan
  • UConn at home – While adulation usually follows the Terriers at every turn, a low moment arose on Nov. 19 at Agganis Arena. The visiting UConn Huskies blanked BU, 4-0, cementing the fact that Hockey East wins won’t come easily for this squad. Quinn’s side didn’t play poorly against the likes of Tage Thompson and Max Letunov, so perhaps the result was an outlier without much of an explanation. After all, sometimes the better team goes home empty handed. – Jonathan

Recruits

  • The big get: Oh yeah, we almost forgot about the commits the Terriers secured during the season. It appears the biggest one was forward Shane Bowers, a 17-year-old currently with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL. He currently has nine goals and 10 assists through 26 games after totaling 33 points with the Black Hawks last season. With a few present Terriers likely to move on to the NHL next season, Bowers should contribute right away in 2017-18. – Nick
  • img_3861-1600x1126Reinforcements – On top of that, Finland defenseman Kasper Kotkansalo (at least it’s easier to spell than Grzelcyk) committed to BU and is likely to play next season. Kotkansalo, 18, measures up at 6-foot-2, 190-pounds and has a reputation for hard hits on the boards. He is also currently in the USHL, totaling a plus/minus rating of +7 in 20 games with the Sioux Falls Stampede. – Nick
  • Red, white and blue – When BU scrimmaged the U.S. National Team Development Program on Oct. 6, Terrier fans got a major glimpse into the future. The coveted squad featured defenseman David Farrance and forwards Brady Tkachuk and Logan Cockerill. While none registered a point – largely the product of BU skating to a comfortable 8-2 win – it was still interesting to see what the young guns could do. Lastly, Tkachuk is second on the NTDP in points with 22, Farrance is seventh with 18 and Cockerill is ninth with 17. – Jonathan
  • Don’t forget about me – While so much attention, understandably, is given to BU’s big-name recruits, it’s important not to lose sight of those who might not boast as lofty of a pedigree. This is certainly the case with Ty Amonte, who will call Agganis Arena home in the fall of 2017 and currently skates with the Penticton Vees of the BCHL. That’s the same squad that Fabbro used to play for, and Amonte currently has 28 points in 35 games for them. – Jonathan

Top Goals

1.) Patrick Harper vs. Northeastern

via GIPHY

2.) Brandon Hickey vs. Providence

via GIPHY

3.) Shane Switzer vs. Yale

via GIPHY

4.) Clayton Keller vs. Northeastern

via GIPHY

5.) Clayton Keller vs. Vermont

via GIPHY

From the FreeP: BU knocks off No. 4 Quinnipiac

The Terriers managed a complete turnaround after dropping a pair of games to No. 6 Denver University last weekend. They topped No. 4 Quinnipiac 3-0 on Saturday, thanks to goals from Jordan Greenway, Bobo Carpenter and Jakob Forsbacka – Karlsson.

Check out our articles on the game below:

  1. Jon’s recap, focusing on the sophomore forwards and the penalty kill
  2. Nick’s sider on Jordan Greenway’s impressive weekend.

Also check out our postgame videos if you missed them.

The Terriers don’t have any games this upcoming weekend, but they will get back on the ice Friday, Nov. 4, when they take on Northeastern.

Finally, keep an eye out for a feature from us this week!

Help send the Boston Hockey Blog to St. Paul

Dear readers,

The NCAA announced early Sunday afternoon that the BU men’s hockey team will be traveling to St. Paul for regional competition, continuing a whirlwind season for the Terriers. We are hoping to join them to provide game coverage, as we have each game for many seasons now. 

As many of you know, The Daily Free Press is self-funded and does not accept funding from Boston University, in order to maintain its independence and neutrality. We each pay our hockey travel expenses out of pocket, a financial commitment we gladly embrace. Though we always arrange the most cost-effective accommodations, last-minute travel plans can pose a significant financial burden. 

Therefore, we are turning to our readers to help ease the cost of our short-notice travel plans. If you have the means, we would greatly appreciate whatever you can contribute. Feel free to chip in using our PayPal account, through the button located at the top right corner of this page; if you’d like to help out but can’t spare the cash, please help us spread the word on social media. (Edit: if you’re on mobile, you can scroll down and the PayPal button is right below the schedule.)

We appreciate your loyalty all season and your support of independent student journalism. We are fueled by our readers, and have all grown as writers and reporters with the opportunity to produce content for you. We are absolutely thrilled for the opportunity to continue providing the best coverage of your favorite team throughout the remainder of the season.

All best,

Sarah, Andrew and Judy

The 2015-16 Hockey Preview Issue is here!

After several long weeks of reporting, interviewing, photographing and writing, our annual Hockey Preview Issue is here! You can check out all of our stories here.

You can pick up a print copy at multiple locations across BU’s campus. If you aren’t near campus, you can see the PDF of the print edition here.

Looking forward to hearing what you all have to say about this year’s issue!

Beanpot semifinals moved to Tuesday

Due to the impending snowstorm set to hit the Boston area on Monday, the semifinal games of the Beanpot Tournament have been postponed and moved to Tuesday.

The game times are still scheduled to be the same — Boston University and Harvard University will face off at TD Garden at 5 p.m., followed by the game between Northeastern University and Boston College.

We’ll still have full coverage tomorrow and Tuesday as BU seeks its first Beanpot championship since 2009. Stay warm and safe, everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving!

We’d like to wish all of you folks a very Happy Thanksgiving. The three of us are thankful for many things, including our readers who interact with us and read our content. Additionally, we are grateful for your patience throughout our transition this season to our new format — it’s taken some time to get used to it, but we’re pleased with how it’s turned out, and are happy to see people engaged and excited about the blog.

We are grateful for the opportunity to cover BU, an experience that gives us the skills we need to be successful professional journalists. Here’s to a day of rest and delicious food, a peaceful holiday season and a continued exciting season for the Terriers.

All best,
Sarah, Conor and Andrew

A note to our readers

To our readers:

We’ve received quite a bit of feedback over the past several weeks about our transition to the new Boston Hockey Blog platform. We wanted to address some of your concerns in a somewhat more organized manner, so here’s a “State of the Boston Hockey Blog” address, if you will.

Many have voiced concerns about the new commenting methods. We have now turned on the option to comment anonymously in the hopes that it will foster a livelier and more engaging discussion. We hope that conversation will remain respectful and productive, but you now have the option to voice your thoughts without revealing your identity if you feel more comfortable that way.

In terms of the live blog, many of you have expressed concerns with the CoverItLive window cutting off when using it in a mobile or tablet format. One of our readers (thank you!) reached out with a solution, and we consulted with our online editor. We believe we have found a solution — essentially, it involves an option we didn’t realize need to be checked off while setting up the live blog, and a few other sizing options. This should solve orientation and spatial issues for future live blogs, but if it doesn’t, please let us know and we will work to fix it as quickly as possible.

There are a few more nitty-gritty issues in terms of bugs that are plaguing the dailyfreepress.com domain as a whole — any time you get an error message, that has to do with an internal issue with the whole website. We believe it’s partially due to the number of users within the system, as we have a new process of posting stories. That’s also something we’re trying to solve with our web developer, and we’re hoping error messages become limited in the future. Errors on any website are inevitable, but we’ll do our best to limit the frequency.

As we’ve mentioned before, this year has been a huge transition for the newspaper as a whole and also for this specific blog. In addition to being an entirely new beat, we are testing out a completely new platform and trying to make our content more online-oriented, as to correspond with the new ideology of The Daily Free Press as a whole. We know that change can be difficult, but we are determined to make sure all of the changes within the blog and its structure are positive.

We appreciate your patience and loyalty throughout this process, and we hope you continue to be patient as we sort through our technical issues over the next little while. In an exciting year for the BU men’s hockey team, we will continue to try our hardest to bring you up-to-date and informative content about your favorite team. As always, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out.

All best,
Sarah, Andrew and Conor

Welcome!

Hi Boston Hockey Blog readers,

Welcome to the new and improved Boston Hockey Blog. We hope to use this redesign as an opportunity to bring you an in-depth and interactive reading experience.

Additionally, we’d like to introduce ourselves, since we’re an entirely new beat this year. The three of us all have editorial experience at the FreeP in addition to diverse backgrounds in sports coverage.

Andrew Battifarano is a junior at BU working toward a dual degree in international relations and journalism. He was Sports Editor of the FreeP in Spring 2014, and has covered women’s hockey, softball, women’s basketball and men’s soccer for the paper. He has also interned for NESN.

Sarah Kirkpatrick is also a junior at BU, studying journalism and gender studies. She was Editor-in-Chief of the FreeP in Spring 2014 and was Sports Editor the previous semester. She has primarily covered women’s hockey, cross country and track in her time at the FreeP, and has also interned for the sports department of seattlepi.com.

Conor Ryan is a senior at BU studying journalism. He is currently Sports Editor at the FreeP, and has covered women’s hockey, women’s basketball, women’s lacrosse and women’s soccer. He’s also interned for WEEI.com, and has experience covering the Bruins and Red Sox.

We’re excited to get underway with our coverage this season. We’re always open to suggestions for improving our content and providing the best reading experience possible. Let us know what you’d like to read about BU hockey this year by shooting us a tweet (@BOShockeyblog), email ([email protected]) or comment.

All best,

Sarah, Andrew and Conor