Frozen Four Game-Day: Boston College vs. Union College (3pm MT, TSN2)

Gang, it all comes down to this. This afternoon, the Boston College Eagles attempt to advance to the NCAA Championship game on Saturday when they play the Union College Dutchmen. It’ll definitely be the last couple collegiate games for Flames 2010 fourth rounder Bill Arnold, but it may also be the final collegiate appearances for one Johnny Gaudreau.

You may have heard of him.

A win sends Arnold and Gaudreau to the championship game. A loss perhaps sends them NHL contracts and an NHL appearance this weekend.

Either way, the stakes are high as one (or both) of the Calgary Flames top prospects seek to end their NCAA career(s) in style. The game goes at 3pm MT on TSN2.

BOSTON COLLEGE

Lines, via Joe Meloni of College Hockey News. Goals scored in brackets.

J.Gaudreau (35) – Arnold (14) – Hayes (27)
Fitzgerald (12) – Brown (14) – Cangelosi (10)
Smith (2) – Sit (5) – Silk (3)
M.Gaudreau (1) – Gilmour (7) – Cainan (4)

Savage (4) – Matheson (3)
MacLeod (0) – Santini (2)
McCoshen (5) – Doherty (2)

2014 NHL Draft prospect Thatcher Demko starts for the Eagles. He’s 16-4-3, with a 2.16 GAA, .920 SV% and 2 shutouts this year. He started as the back-up and has really taken the reins.

The Eagles were eliminated in their conference playoffs by Notre Dame, then sat home for a week before besting Denver and U-Mass Lowell to punch their ticket to Philadelphia.

Obviously, BC’s team is top-heavy: the top line is SICK, and their defense is promising, but depth is an issue. The big question is if Boston College’s aces have one (or two) more big games left in ’em. Fitzgerald is a bit of a sleeper, and the second line has been decent of late, but this is the Gaudreau & Co. Show.

Seniors: Hayes, Arnold, Brown, MacLeod
Freshmen: Fitzgerald, Cangelosi, Gilmour, Savage, McCoshen, Cainan, Santini, M.Gaudreau, Demko
NHL Picks: J.Gaudreau (CGY), Arnold (CGY), Hayes (CHI), Fitzgerald (BOS), Calnan (CHI), Matheson (FLA), McCoshen (FLA), Santini (NJ), MacLeod (SJ), Gilmour (MIN)
Leadership: captain is Patrick Brown; alternates are Isaac MacLeod and Bill Arnold

UNION COLLEGE

Lines, via Joe Meloni of College Hockey News. Goals scored in brackets.

Carr (22) – Vecchione (12) – Ciampini (19)
Hatch (13) – Novak (14) – Sullivan (8)
Wilkins (6) – Lichtenwald (8) – Pontarelli (10)
Ikkala (2) – Coatta (5) – Cruice (6)

Gostisbehere (8) – Taylor (3)
Bodie (6) – Gingras (2)
Henry (0) – Vasaturo (0)

Junior goaltender Colin Stevens starts for the Dutchmen. He’s been superb this year, with a 26-4-2 record, 1.93 GAA, .932 SV% and 6 shutouts. He’s easily the best goalie in the ECAC this year.

Union has a more balanced line-up than BC, relying on offense from everywhere rather than riding one line. Their challenge will be containing the BC top line and making hay offensively when they’re not on the ice. Easier said than done, but the Dutchmen haven’t lost since January (amassing a 14-0-1 stretch). Whatever they’re doing, it’s working.

But can it work just one (or two) more times?

Seniors: Carr, Hatch, Sullivan, Bodie, Ikkala
Freshmen: Taylor, Pontarelli, Lichtenwald, Vecchione, Henry
NHL Picks: Gostisbehere (PHI)
Leadership: captain is Mat Bodie; alternates are Shayne Gostisbehere, Cole Ikkala and Daniel Carr

SUM IT UP

One way or another, Boston College’s season will end this weekend. Will it be via championship glory or the bitter taste of disappointment?

Either way, it’ll be a great chance to watch Johnny Gaudreau and Bill Arnold play ice hockey.

  • Rockmorton65

    Either he wants to come to Calgary or he doesn’t. What does that say if we essentially have to offer him a bribe?

    Burning a year on the ELC is a waste and a poor precedent to set.

    • piscera.infada

      It’s fairly standard with college players who come out at the end of their season though, no? They can’t be sent to the AHL, and I think we can agree (especially in Gaudreau’s case) we want his name on paper, then it’s really the only way it can be done.

      • supra steve

        I just think it’s pointless for all of 1 game probably, 2 at most. He won’t sign otherwise? What does that indicate about him if he takes that stance? It just leads to future problems with other players. It’s poor business. Gaudreau has a bright future, but he hasn’t even played a game yet and that’s not knocking him either. I’m as excited as anyone to see what he can do in the NHL (or possibly the AHL), but I don’t think he deserves special treatment.

        Edmonton is about to experience just hoq quickly a club can go from trying to meet the floor to trying to stay under the ceiling. The big picture needs to be considered.

        If Johnny Hockey has any honor he will not only sign in Calgary, but start his pro career next season.

    • supra steve

      I kinda agree, would rather not burn that year either, but the precedent is already set. Agostino and van Brabant are both with the big club this year for a look, others have come before, and more will follow in the future. Just the way it’s done.

      • supra steve

        I get that, but we’re talking about more than a single game.

        Plus, Gaudreau has far more potential and will command a far higher price down the road than either of those two.

        I’m not saying it’s the end of the world, I just don’t get it for the sake of a single NHL game.

        • piscera.infada

          I completely understand what you’re saying, and just to reiterate, I don’t see the point of his actually playing the one game. At the same time though, I wouldn’t say it’s a case of Gaudreau holding the organization hostage, nor would I say the organization is being reckless in offering it. I think the number one priority for all sides (the org, the player, the fans) is to just get a deal done.

          Or, what @SmellOfVictory said – he’s far better with his words.

        • supra steve

          van Brabant has played 5 games so far. Agostino 7 games.

          Again, I agree, I wish BC was still playing, but they are not. There is a little leverage here for the Flames to help make this thing happen, so if they can use that to get it done, then they really have to do it.

          Also, I think that JG would probably earn a richer 2nd contract after 3 full years with the Flames/Heat than he would after only 2 full seasons. So that COULD work to the advantage of the club. At this point I wouldn’t anticipate cap problems in the 2016-17 season anyways, a few years later yes, but not ’16-17.

    • Victoria Flames Fan

      I wouldn’t call it a bribe. These guys are pro athletes. It’s their job. Say you have a company that has taken you under its wing as an intern, and you’re with that company as an intern for a couple of years while you get your education. They want to sign you after three years of this internship, although you have the option of extending it to four, and you have the option of joining the company right away, and getting an immediate pay bonus (for comparison’s sake, we’ll call it a $6,000 bonus/paycheque) and getting advanced a full year on the salary raise schedule. Or you can wait a month to get most of that money (minus what you would have gotten for the pay at the end of the fiscal year), and not be one year closer to your next raise.

      And this company is thousands of km away from you, and there are dozens of other companies in your area, near your family, that would be perfectly willing to pay you the same amount once your full internship was up.

      You tell me why, in rational terms, the Flames should deny JG the opportunity to sign with the organization immediately and burn off the first year of his ELC.

    • loudogYYC

      It’s basically a signing bonus. There’s tons of lower paying jobs that offer this, why wouldn’t pro sports offer the same?

      It’s a sign of good faith on the Flames behalf, they’re telling Johnny G and other up and comers that they aren’t cheap basically.

  • Rockmorton65

    I still haven’t heard the benefits to the organization for him to be signed ASAP. As I understand it, the Flames have his rights for another year, if he goes back to college. There is a ton of time to get a deal done.

    I think we should also cut him some slack. How many of us were ready to determine whether or not we wanted to go back to school for another year, less than 24 hours after we wrote our final exam? Let him take a couple weeks to figure out what it is he wants to do. There’s plenty of time.

    • Victoria Flames Fan

      You sound like my kid who never listens because they are busy thinking too much about how right they think they are. In the case of Arnold, I would say yeah 1 game, whatever, sign him next week & get the ELC kicking in next year. He looks like a real good prospect but we have several real good looking prospects. With Johnny, this kid is exceptional. His stats have our math guys analysing with woody’s & his NHLe is literally elite level. You want to cheap out, piss him & his family off for the sake of a few $$$$. He goes to be a UFA & then were whining on this board about what kind of return we can get instead of getting him inked to more or less a 2year ELC & get stoked about next year. Are you kidding me!!!!! If I can draw a picture on this I would but it’s called, get this kid signed & on a plane this afternoon. He’s in top shape, so throw him in the lineup against Winnipeg tonight as well if possible. Who cares, just get him in town.

      • Rockmorton65

        Why is it so important that he plays in the Vancouver game? I’m hearing a lot of tension around the fact that if he’s not in the Vancouver game that “this organization is going to crumble”. I’m just saying it’s not a huge deal if he doesn’t sign for a few days or even a week. If he decides not to sign, then yes that’s a problem.

        • Victoria Flames Fan

          Why are you so afraid of him playing in the Vancouver game? Why would that game be any different than any of the other games next year that may have meaning? If JG decides to wait & sign with us next week, that’s OK. But why would he do that? Hockey players are running a business themselves & should & want to maximize the financial benefits of the trade they ply for a living. Put it this way, if I were Johnny, I would only sign if I can get a year off that ELC as part of the package. Flames can do it, so why wouldn’t we?

          Of course Flames are not going to fall apart & crumble if he doesn’t sign. You cant compare Erixon to JG either, as the Rangers compensated the Flames very well because they didn’t want the Flames to file a complaint & have league investigation into any potential tampering. The optics were not good on the Rangers on that fiasco. I will give you the benefit in that you don’t seem to value Gaudreau as the best potentially elite prospect the Flames have in their system like many of us hope & think he is & will be. That’s fine, that’s a totally different argument & I respect your opinion, because really Johnny hasn’t proven anything at the NHL level yet & I emphasize yet. But if he has a 70 point year next year & in the Calder running, will you still think the Flames made a mistake & frittered away a year of ELC to ensure the kid signs with us. Once he signs, he will be our property & a RFA for what the next 6-7 years?

        • Jeff Lebowski

          I think the plan with all these college kids is give them a taste of what the NHL game is like, how fast, strong players are and how amazingly sweet all the ancillary aspects of professional sports is. Then their summer training is highly motivated and specific to what they felt they need to improve.

          Now Hartley has chosen to not throw players to the wolves in the past and learn some systems and get some practice time in but there are no more games and practices left.

          Not only do I expect them both to play but play extremely well. It might be a matter of too many guys available to play.

          I truly hope both McGrattan and Westgarth stay in the line up with these guys. I’m not a fan of goons but this is special circumstance.

          Anyone even looks sideways at any of our kids and I want immediate full scale nuclear response. Especially if rat bastards like Burrows, Kesler, Kassian, Bieksa are in the lineup.

          ON a side note. I wonder if Jay Feaster is hired by Van. I personally think Feaster is one of the brightest and progressive minds out there. No one is perfect but hopefully he doesn’t land in Van or Edm.

    • supra steve

      If JG goes back to college, there is no negotiating with him until he is done with the 2014/15 season, so about this time next year. At that point the Flames have until Aug 15th (I think) to get him signed, or he becomes a free agent and can go wherever he wants, with no return to the Flames. That is not “a ton of time”.

      That is a pretty big gamble for the Flames to make. Sure, he may finish next season and then immediatly sign and play a few games with the Flames. Or, he may decide that it would be in his best interests to sign with a team that is closer to his home (like Philidelphia, NYR, NYI, etc), or maybe he wants to play in a city with a better climate (Tampa, LA), or maybe he doesn’t like the thought of playing in Canada.

      I like to think that that wouldn’t happen, but we did see something similar with Tim Erixon a few years back. So, if he doesn’t sign with the Flames this spring or summer, and he goes back to school in the fall, it is completely reasonable to assume that there may be a problem. That is why you hear a lot of “trade his rights if he doesn’t sign” talk.

  • Rockmorton65

    For me, the ELC thing is secondary. He’s never played the game at this level before. Tempers always seem to run high between Calgary and Vancouver. There is a fairly substantial risk of injury. All it’s going to take is for him to have his head down once and someone on the Canucks deciding to send a message with a cheap shot. I say let him start his pro career at training camp.

    • piscera.infada

      I agree that I don’t care about “the game” in and of itself. I’m of the same mind of a lot of people out there (like Elliot Freidman). If he doesn’t sign here – when given an opportunity to make around $100,000 in real dollars (signing bonus and 4 days of pay) over the course of the next 4 days – he’s likely not coming this season. If he does decide to go back for another year, he’s likely not wearing a Flames jersey. The organization cannot afford to lose him for nothing next year. Pragmatically speaking, if Gaudreau stays at BC, he can have his pick of the litter – he’s that in demand (unless he were to take a major step back in NCAA hockey next year, which is very unlikely).

      I mean, logically, what would change between now and a few weeks from now other than Gaudreau missing out on a lot of money? It makes no sense if he wants to sign, to not take the money and be a year closer to a second contract

    • Rockmorton65

      He doesn’t have to play half the game. What do you think the risk realistically is, if they put him out there for 8-10 minutes of ES time and some PP time? Besides, he’ll have to play the Canucks eventually if he’s going to be a Flame, and he’s not going to get any taller.

  • Rockmorton65

    It’d be mistake to put him in against Van. The game means nothing. He’ll have no chance to practise. How prepared can he be if all he gets in is a morning skate? Just so we can see him in a uniform? Especially when we’re playing a hated rival who is still blaming us for their lost season. I wouldn’t expose him to a potential cheap shot. Not to mention, burning a year of his ELC for 5-10 mins of one game. Sorry for being a wet blanket, but I can’t find a good reason to have him in the lineup.

    • piscera.infada

      I agree it’s somewhat pointless to play him against Vancouver. However, the ELC, NHL money, signing bonus, and chance to play in an NHL game right away are the reasons he’d make a decision to sign right away. If that’s how it goes down, then so be it. From his camp’s perspective the “one year closer” to a second contract probably makes the most economic sense, and is likely the biggest reason he signs now. I’m sure from an organizational standpoint, if they can get pen to paper, they don’t care too much about the ELC aspect.

    • Rockmorton65

      burning a year of his ELC could be incentive for him to sign. It means he’ll get his payday sooner. Plus the PR of having him play would be good for the flames.

      • Rockmorton65

        Yeah, the burning of a year of ELC should be a big draw for JG. Ideally I’d prefer to have him play for the Heat in their playoff run instead, but if he wants to try the NHL, he should absolutely be given the opportunity.

  • Burnward

    I am so tired about the whining of where we might draft or that we should have tanked to get a higher draft pick. How did this team that almost all the experts and most of the regulars on this site picked to be 29/30 do better than the expectations.
    1. We had an NHL headcoach who set expectations for his team and held them accountable to these expectations.
    2. We had a captain that bought into the coaches system and who put the team ahead of himself and the rest of the leadership group followed.
    3. Some young players took big step forwards (Backs, Brodie)
    4. We added some surprises to the lineup.(Colborne, Bouma, Byron)
    5. The Kid was as advertised and the goalie eventually was as advertised.
    6.Maybe we underestimated the talent of the prospects and the grit of this team.

    While it appears that the top 5 of the draft class may be ahead of the next group of 10 how sure can we be sure. The Flames will have done their homework and will know which of the others is the best prospect for the organization. I’m not saying that next years team will make the playoffs but I am looking forward to seeing the work ethic continue and the what the prospects will bring in regards to skill.

    • beloch

      At the start of the season I predicted the Flames would be significantly higher in the standings than they are now (but not in the playoffs). By any objective standard, finishing in the bottom six is damned awful. However, the Flames are poised to break the NHL record for most close games in a season and I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re close to the record for the most one goal losses in a season too. This is a team that is almost getting it done. That leaves room for optimism.

      Where will the Flames finish next season? If Burke does absolutely nothing I think they’d finish much higher than they did this season. The goal-tending has improved, several players have taken big steps forward, and there are some injured players who will hopefully rebound next season (e.g. Wideman and Smid). If Arnold, Gaudreau, and Baertschi all make the team next season there is potential for a nice upgrade in firepower.

      Burke, however, is highly unlikely to do nothing. He has lots of assets to work with and abundant cap space. He might content himself with signing UFA’s, but I suspect he’ll be making “hockey trades” galore. It remains to be seen if those trades will favor the future or the present more.

      Whatever Burke does, the Flames are unlikely to be picking this high again next season. We fans should probably face facts. Calgary is not the city of lottery picks. If you want that, get onto the QE2 and head North.

  • Burnward

    carolina on the road to finish the season vs. det and philly? you know they are losing those. and I am sure we win one against win and van if not both. tied for points and we finish higher in the standings putting us at a 6th overall pick?

    Calgary has never picked higher than 6th overall anyways so I suppose its about right. Yay

    • Brent G.

      I don’t agree with your comment! Flames fans were sensitive because of the Tim Erixon situation, a highly regarded 1st overall who chose to not sign with the Flames. Although the trade worked out for the Flames fact is that a team like the Flames with low skill could not afford to lose Erixon at the time nor Guadreau and Arnold this time around!

  • Dear Mr Edwards…If you haven’t already done so please get Ken King and Brian Burke on your private jet and fly them to New Jersey to pick up Johnny’s parents. From there go to the tourney with his parents and have a pen and contract in your hands.

    Ditto for Billy Arnold! Your franchise simply cannot afford another Tim Erixon situation! Enough said on this already!!

    • McRib

      Tim Erixon situation? We actually easily won that trade give me Markus Granlund & Tyler Wotherspoon anyday over Tim Erixon. Not to mention we got 1/2 of Ladislav Smid for Roman Horak (not that I am a huge fan). At this point I think I would take just one of Wotherspoon or Granlund over Erixon. I want Johnny Hockey to sign with us as much as the next person, but imagine what kind of value he would get in return if we traded him. If he said he didn’t want to sign with Calgary this offseason and would sign with a Boston or Philadelphia at this point I think he could get better return than Iggy did. Regardless I think he signs with us after the NCAA Tournament, as his parents seem to be just trolling the media more than anything. Or the media is trolling them which is much more likely setting them up for quotes to make a story.

      • mattyc

        No question we did win that trade as it turned out. But if I was the ownership of the Flames never again would anyone, Glen Sather included, dick around with my draft picks. I would simply not allow it and take it as a learning going forward.

        Like you I am also of the mindset that if it is clear he will not sign with the Flames we would easily get great value in return! His college accomplishments are well documented and his size should not be a determining factor, given the successes of a Martin St. Louis etc.

    • McRib

      “He will sign with the Calgary Flames. Gaudreau will be picked up, along with his senior teammate Bill Arnold, and flown in the Flames’ corporate jet to Vancouver” Report from the Boston Herald.

      They listened to you!!!! Hahaha. Apparently it has also leaked that he has won the Hobey Baker!!!

  • Rockmorton65

    The way I see it is one of two things will happen;

    1) He signs with the flames and the organization finds out in the next 2 to 3 years what kind of impact player he can be.

    2) He decides to go back to college, probably signaling that he doesn’t want to play for the Flames. The Flames then have over a year to decide what they want to do. 16 months to be exact (that, in my mind, is a lot of time). During that time they can try to change his mind, and if they’re not able to do that trade him to a team that wants to try to sign him. My guess is if he doesn’t sign in the next week or two, he will be dealt at the draft.

    People talk a lot about the Erixon situation as a comparable. I see the situations as being quite different. First, Burke is not Feaster. Erixon sweet talked Feaster and convinced him that he was going to sign and then told him two days before he was to reenter the draft that he wasn’t going to sign here. Feaster then managed to get a decent return for him. My guess is Burke will give Gaudreau a week or two to decide. If he hasn’t made up his mind by then I’m sure Burke will try to deal him, knowing what’s at stake. There’s no way in Hades that Gaudreau will string Burke along only to walk away in a year.

  • Burnward

    @coachedpotatoe Agree with everything. That’s exactly why Flames fans are excited/optimistic about this team. Jay Feaster deserves ALL the credit for the assembly of this team and its philosophy. He reminds me of Bill Clinton… Managed the country well but made 1 critical mistake and got impeached. Only to be proceeded by an imbecile who ruined everything…but hopefully the second part doesn’t happen.

  • mattyc

    Kinda too bad the NCAA/NHL system is built to incentive teams to have players not finish their degrees. If instead of being a FA the August after their degree, if teams could retain their rights for another calendar year, we could do right by a lot of these kids and let them finish their college degrees.

    • piscera.infada

      It’s kind of too bad the NCAA is garbage towards their athletes. Hockey is small potatoes to the entire NCAA apparatus. They make billions in TV rights for Basketball and Football alone. The players aren’t allowed to receive a penny (or even have representation), the coaches are paid millions. It’s a broken system that takes advantage of the players. The problems we see between the NHL and NCAA are just a product of the broken system, it’s not an NHL CBA issue (at least in my view).

      • mattyc

        Yeah – I guess the flip side to my lamentations on finishing a degree is the school gets to market JG for another year, while JG misses out on a year of 850k or whatever his entry level deal is.

        I know a couple folks who were good enough after high school that they got scholarships to schools in the States. Seemed like a pretty good deal at the time for them, but I guess if you’re going to make the show, it pales in comparison to getting an NHL paycheque (you’ll never worry about student loans etc. again)

  • Skuehler

    So Burkes been on board for a full season. This opportunity for the flames would be his first big positive move. If it doesn’t get done then Burke hasn’t accomplished much in rebuild year one. This is a must do for the org. Whatever it takes. Unless of course he goes back to college.