NCAA Frozen Four Notebook
Title game coaches harken back to earlier
By Joe Gladziszewski
and Mike Eidelbes
ST. LOUIS – Boston College coach Jerry
York and Clarkson coach George Roll exchange text messages
often. But one recent exchange between the two is more significant.
Prior to BC's departure for St. Louis, the topic of Bowling
Green's 1984 championship came up and "feeling the
magic" from that year a team that York coached and
Roll played on.
College coach Jerry York led the Eagles to a national
championship in 2001, and guided Bowling Green to
a title in 1984.
Even though that team captured a championship
23 years ago, its impact remains timely. All championship
teams have something in common, and it's something that
Jerry York and Rick Comley know from leading teams to championships
in past years.
Boston College's York led Bowling Green to
a title in 1984 and Boston College to a title in 2001. He
said this current team has some of the traits that those
prior national championship outfits possessed.
"There are more similarities than dissimilarities,"
York said. "You've got to have great players, you've
got to get on a roll, and you have to have excellent team
Comley won a national title with Northern
Michigan in 1991. While that team was a more explosive offensive
team, the mindset in the locker room was similar to this
2007 group of Spartans.
"Attitude, I think more than anything
else, just the personality and the make-up," Comley
said. "Our senior class has had a tremendous year.
They don't put up a lot of points but their attitude, their
approach has been great. I'd say that our strength is our
Drawing on past experiences will help on Saturday
night, when the coaches will try to add another national
championship to the distinguished hockey histories of their
SEEN AND HEARD AT THE SCOTTRADE CENTER
• If Michigan State wins on Saturday,
Rick Comley will become just the third coach to lead two
different schools to national championships in Division
I men's ice hockey. The others are Ned Harkness (Cornell
and Rensselaer) and, of course, tomorrow night's opponent
Jerry York (Bowling Green and Boston College).
• Both Comley and York have followed
Michigan State Director of Athletics Ron Mason on the coaching
trail. After Mason left Lake Superior State in 1973, Comley
was the Lakers' next head coach. Mason then went to Bowling
Green, leaving that post in 1979 and York succeeded Mason
in Bowling Green. After Mason moved from the bench at Munn
Ice Arena to his current administrative position, Comley
again stepped in and became Michigan State's head coach.
|Michigan State goaltender Jeff
Lerg can help coach Rick Comley join an exclusive group
with a win in tomorrow's championship game.
• While many teams dress for practice
by having their players wear colored sweaters coordinated
by forward lines with different colors reserved for defensemen,
Boston College divides the team into two groups only, with
11 players wearing maroon practice sweaters and 11 players
dressed in gold. The coaching staff borrowed the idea from
Boston College women's ice hockey coach Tom Mutch and said
it helps them in some drills and scrimmages they use.
• Boston College brought some of the
local lingo to the Midwest. During a 2-on-1 drill, BC forwards
entered the zone ahead of the puck and Brian Boyle shouted
from the bench, "Wicked offsides!"
• Spartan defenseman Tyler Howells was
a part of a championship team when he won the Minnesota
State High School tournament with Holy Angels, and he said
that atmosphere of playing in a packed, professional arena
helped prepared him for the Frozen Four.
• Michigan State reserve goaltender
Steve Mnich received a text message after Thursday afternoon's
semifinal win from one of his teaching assistants back in
East Lansing. The TA created an impromptu field trip, relocating
the class to a local bar that is famous for serving several
varieties of chicken wings, and the class enjoyed the game.
• MSU forward Zak
McClellan used some of his post-practice down time to record
another installment of his "In the Box with Zak McClellan"
video feature, which can be found on the Spartans' web site.
McClellan, a junior from Frankenmuth, Mich., interviewed
kids hanging out by the walkway leading from the MSU bench
to the team's locker room.
captain Chris Lawrence, a senior forward, turned 25 last
month. He's often teased by his teammates about his advanced
age, as he told reporters gathered for MSU's post-practice
"I get teased about my age, but not as
much as Zak," Lawrence said, referring to the 24-year-old
McClellan. "He looks like he's 40."
• Considering that all but a handful
of Michigan State players weren't even born when the songs
were popular, the tunes emanating from the Spartans' locker
room following the team's practice had a decidedly mid-80s
feel. Among the choice cuts: Stevie Wonder's "Part-Time
Lover," "Break My Stride" by Matthew Wilder,
and "Easy Lover," the Phillip Bailey-Phil Collins
collaboration. What, no Kenny Loggins?
• The final word on the Spartan locker
room: We're not sure what this means with regard to tomorrow's
outcome, but the loosey-goosey atmosphere in the MSU room
reminds us of the free spirits who filled the wooden stalls
in the Denver locker room at the 2004 Frozen Four in Boston.
• A brief stroll of the Scottrade Center
concourse turned up a handful of links to college hockey
among the various artifacts and tributes on display. The
most obvious were giant photos commemorating former St.
Louis Blues greats — among those honored were Michigan
coach Red Berenson; Bob Gassoff, an ex-Blue whose son, Bob,
played for Berenson; and goaltender Glenn Hall, whose grandson
is Grant Stevenson, the former Minnesota State forward who
now plays for the San Jose Sharks.
There's nothing on display inside the rink
honoring Brett Hull, the ex-Minnesota Duluth star. The Blues
have retired his number, but the banners have been removed
from the arena for the Frozen Four. The stretch of road
that runs along thie east side of the Scottrade Center was
named Brett Hull Way this February.