Season 3, Episode 29 of the Chasing MacNaughton Podcast from Tech Hockey Guide: Season’s Gone. This week, Tim Braun, Dustin Lindstrom and Rob Gilreath were guestless. In this episode, they discussed the 2022 NCAA Frozen Four, the Hobey Baker Award, the transfer portal, coaching changes around college hockey, Hockey East and new Division One men’s hockey teams.

2022 NCAA Frozen Four

Most of the Frozen Four conversation centered around the final game between Minnesota State and Denver. The overall sentiment from the guys was that it was hard to explain what happened to Minnesota State, and that they all felt bad for them. Rob said that there couldn’t have been a more heartbreaking 20 minutes for Minnesota State, and Dustin wondered if Minnesota State panicked after they gave up the first goal to Denver. Tim looked into some of the stats from the game and talked about how many lines each team rolled during the game. Tim also pointed out that Minnesota State is losing a ton of players which will make it interesting to see how they reload and what happens for them next year.

Hobey Baker Award

The guys gave kudos to Minnesota State goaltender Dryden McKay for finally winning the big national award. Though Dustin did express his confusion at the fact that McKay won the Hobey Baker, which is for the best player, but not the Mike Richter Award for best goaltender. Tim pointed out that McKay might have been lost some votes based on when the voting for each award happens. One is voted before the NCAA Tournament, and the other is after the regional series’ have been played. Dustin brought up the fact that Western Michigan’s Ethan Frank wasn’t even in the Top 10 for the Hobey Baker, despite being the top goal scorer in the top conference in the country. The guys agreed that it might be time to make the Hobey Baker a skater award, now that the Mike Richter Award exists for goalies. Tacked on to the end of the Hobey Baker section was a discussion on Dustin’s thoughts on streaming the regional series’.

Transfer Portal

Dustin was surprised at the number of players in the portal and was especially surprised by some of the names in the portal too. Tim commented that there’s one player that Michigan Tech should be interested in, then added that he doesn’t know yet what coach Joe Shawhan will do. Tim said that Tech currently has five skaters in the portal, two of which have announced where they’re transferring to. The guys then discussed how the transfer portal is being used by the players. Dustin felt that the portal seems like a half measure and a way for players to change teams whenever they want. Rob shared his biggest problem with the portal which was that players are using it as a springboard to getting poached by bigger and bigger schools.

Coaching Changes

Tim brought up the news that Danton Cole was no longer the coach at Michigan State and commented that it was surprising to hear this news before any news on Michigan coach Mel Pearson’s new (or lack thereof) contract. Dustin joked that was because Mel was going to sign with Michigan State. The guys then discussed one candidate that they knew for sure was going to apply to the opening at Michigan State.

Hockey East and ESPN+

Dustin made sure to mention the news of Hockey East announcing their streaming partnership with ESPN+, which means that ESPN+ now has two NCAA D1 hockey leagues on it’s platform. Dustin also said that with these two NCAA leagues, plus the NHL, ESPN+ is becoming a destination for hockey watching. Tim thought that ESPN+ is a better platform for the casual fan to watch the games as many folks have it as a package already. Tim related that point to recruits as well, pointing out that many of them likely already have ESPN+ and wouldn’t have to buy another streaming service to watch Tech games. Rob said that it would make sense to switch to ESPN+ so long as the TV side of things isn’t produced by them.

New D1 hockey teams

The guys discussed the new D1 teams that will be joining the fray next year, and in 2023 in the case of Augustana. The new teams joining next year are Lindenwood University and Stonehill College. Dustin talked about the fact that there will be eight teams playing and scheduling as independent teams. Tim discussed Alabama Huntsville and the lack of commitment they’ve shown to their hockey team since the program shut down. The guys brought up St. Thomas as an example of how new teams can utilize the transfer portal to jump start the program.

Cut for time

This week’s cut time for Patrons is approximately 13 minutes long. Tim told a story about some signs that he did not see while in Loveland. There was an extended discussion on the transfer portal, including extended bits talking about incoming Michigan Tech recruits. The guys talked about some of the nice aspects of streaming through ESPN+. The longest segment was the guys discussing the idea of Hockey East splitting to make two conferences along with the independent teams. The guys also talked about the bottom feeders of the NCHC.

Learn More

For additional information and more episode liner notes, check out our episode overview on Tech Hockey Guide. To make sure we can afford all our fancy equipment we purchased for the podcast and the THG website in general, please check out our Patreon page and consider joining. Patrons at our Black Level or above receive an authentic MTU jersey patch and access to extra podcast content including extended versions of our other episodes. This week’s extended version is about 82 minutes.

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