Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Frozen Four Coach's Show

Golf has its four 'majors', the biggest tournaments of the year, and at The Pipeline Show we like to think that we also have four 'majors'. For us, the World Junior Championship, the Memorial Cup, the Frozen Four and of course the NHL Entry Draft make up the 4 must-cover events on the hockey calendar and last night we had one of our favorite annual shows.

The Frozen Four Coach's Show has become a yearly tradition that began in our second season on the air back in 2007. That year we only had one NCAA coach on, that being Rick Comley of the Michigan State Spartans and wouldn't you know it... his club went on to win the National title.

Word must have gotten out about TPS karma because last year we were able to get all four coaches on the air.

Last night was the third edition of The Frozen Four Coach's Show and once again we were fortunate enough to speak with the bench bosses from all four teams vying for the NCAA National crown.

First up was Enrico Blasi of the Miami RedHawks. The former RedHawks player gave us some insight into his team including veteran leader Justin Mercier (COL), his netminding duo and undrafted star sophomore Carter Camper. Blasi offered up his own thoughts in regards to the NHL Draft, comments that I thought we extremely interesting.

From Miami we went to their Thursday opponent, the Bemidji State Beavers and their head coach Tom Serratore. The Beavers might be this year's surprise team but fair warning: don't mention "Cinderella" around coach Serratore. We discussed the make-up of the Beaver's roster and why 50% of his club consists of Canadians. Serratore also talked about the effect their run has had on their campus and the reaction of the alumni community as well.

Last week's guest, D.J. Powers of Hockey's Future, and my co-host Dean Millard both picked Bemidji to win Thursday's opening game. On the other hand, I am now on record taking the RedHawks to prevail and I am pleased to say that last night the Sports Doctor also weighed in with his vote giving Miami the nod over the Beavers.

Hour 2 began with a conversation with Vermont Catamounts head coach Kevin Sneddon. The Catamounts have produced NHL talent like John Leclair, Martin St. Louis, Tim Thomas and Patrick Sharp but still aren't really regarded as a hockey power. Coach Sneddon talked about the challenges involved for his school to recruit in Hockey East against programs like BU and Boston College. Swede Viktor Stalberg featured prominently in our discussion as well. Speaking of Patrick Sharp, coach Sneddon finally addressed a Vermont question I had first directed at Sharp a couple years ago which the player could not answer. Thanks to coach Sneddon, that particular itch has now been scratched.

Jack Parker is the senior coach of the Frozen Four this year and with nearly 4 decades spent behind the bench at Boston University, he's pretty much seen it all. Still, Parker admitted last night that he can't recall a year that saw as many upsets as the national tournament has produced this season. Parker also talked about the contribution that Edmonton product Kieran Millan has made to his team both on and off the ice. We discussed Parker's extensive career including what it meant to him to capture his 800th win earlier this season. Finally, with a 4-decades long rivalry with Boston College and thier coach Jerry York, I asked coach Parker about the relationship he has (or doesn't have) with his Eagles counterpart.

The official TPS Frozen Four predictions: Millard has BU beating Bemidji State in the final game while both The Sports Doctor and myself have taken BU over Miami. Going by the success rate of our brackets up to this point that means that you should expect Vermont to be crowned the national champions on Saturday night.

The show ended with a short round of Bad Ass Trivia and an interview with 2009 eligible defenceman Tommi Kivisto of the Red Deer Rebels. Each week we're proud to bring a different interview with another 2009 eligible prospect and we pulled this interview out of the bank from last month when the Finnish rearguard's team had rolled through E-Town to play the Edmonton Oil Kings. I have never met a teenaged Finn who spoke better English than Kivisto, he's already on par with Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu.

If you missed any parts of those interview from last night, don't worry. If you miss it live, you can click the archive... HERE.

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