Thoughts, August 21

Welcome to the third installment of ‘Thoughts’. In the past month since we’ve started functioning in earnest, here at OverTheBoards.net, it’s been far from boring. In addition to a few other, minor roadbumps, the computer that had all of the articles to come up was afflicted with a failing hard drive, and the polished articles were lost. Thankfully, the ‘raw’ versions of the articles, were not, and thus it’s gonna be pretty smooth sailing to get right back into it. If you haven’t checked out our second installment of ‘Leagues of Their Own’, this time around it features a USHL Head Coach and General Manager in Josh Hauge, so give it a look to see some great quotes from him about the USHL and the transition to and from it for both players and coaches.

With that, I’ll jump right into it with my first comment this week. I’d like to announce a new feature, which is going to be the Over The Boards ‘Players to Watch’. Every once in a while until October, we’re going to release a list of ten players that intrigue us from different leagues, the NHL, all the way to the EJHL. This isn’t a top ten list, this isn’t a best uncommitted prospects list, it’s just a list of who we’re going to be following closely, and if you’re looking for some league story lines, it’ll be a good spot to start.

Every summer, the Beantown Classic is a major gathering of scouts and players, and quite a few players typically raise their stock so high from it that they commit, or get offers, soon after. We didn’t get a chance to go up to the Beantown Classic this year, but we’ll be back next year, and in lieu of a full re-cap, we’ve poked around and collected a list of guys who we’ve heard raised their stock here. It’s briefer than I’d like to be, but I didn’t see them there myself, so I don’t have the option to go in-depth about their performances. That said, we’re told Nathan Ferriero (Governor’s, NEPSIHA), Evan Schultz (Green Mountain Glades, EJHL) Mike Najjar (Belmont Hill, NEPSIHA), Nick Lotito (Green Mountain Glades, EJHL), Mike Weaver (Jr. Bruins, EJHL), Brian Pinho (St. John’s Prep, MA – HS) , Kyle Nickerson (Boston Advantage, to Dartmouth), and A.J. Greer (College Esther Blondin, Quebec Midget AAA) all raised their stock.

A.J. Greer, hot off his Beantown Classic performanced, has visited and committed to Penn State for 2015. He’ll be headed to Kimball Union Academy next year, who I’ve chosen as my pick for the NEPSIHA title next year. They’ll be absolutely loaded with talent and anything short of a championship is a failure, in my opinion. For more on Greer, I send you to Thank You Terry.

Previous Malden Catholic star, one third of the Fitzgerald/Collier/Vecchione line that terrorized every high school in New England (and even Delbarton, from New Jersey), Mike Vecchione, finds a new home at Union College. Union adds a gem to their recruiting class here with Vecchione, previously a UNH commit who was pushed back a year to 2013 and chose to decommit, stating publicly that UNH had over-recruited. One’s loss is another’s gain here.

That Malden Catholic line, now? Ryan Fitzgerald – Boston College. Brendan Collier – BU, and Vecchione – Union. I’ll take it. Vecchione with captain of that squad when they won their first Super 8 title (MA High School), going 20-2-2 along the way. Last season he was with the Tri-City Storm (USHL) and he’ll return for one more season as a key player before heading to Schenectady as a Dutchmen. Our ‘Leagues of Their Own’ feature with Josh Hauge, GM and Head Coach of the Storm, means this is far from the last thing you’ll hear about Vecchione here at OTB.

Other commitments since our last ‘Thoughts’:

Top prospect Christian Dvorak committed to Wisconsin, making himself the fourth Chicago Mission U16 player to commit to Wisco this past season. Forwards Seamus Malone and Dvorak are now huge feathers in the recruiting hat for Mike Eaves and his staff, as the overall 2015 recruiting class in division one college hockey begins to take shape. For more on Dvorak’s commitment, I send you to Bucky’s 5th quarter, with a nice piece by blogger Andy Johnson.

Charlie Kelleher, little brother of future Wildcat and current NTDP forward Tyler Kelleher, will be joining his brother in Durham. Here’s a run-down on the Kelleher boys from UNH’s recruits blog. Charlie will be playing for the Boston Jr. Bruins U16 team next season.

Sean McGovern committed to SLU. McGovern led Taft in scoring during the 2010-2011 season, and played for Surrey of the BCHL this last season. Nice get for SLU.

Joe Fiala of the Indiana Ice committed to Quinnipiac.

A feel-good college hockey article from College Hockey Inc., here, highlights North Dakota’s stud goaltender Brad Eidsness, and his decision to forego pro hockey for Law School, an admirable one. Just another unignorable reason why College Hockey is such a great option for young talent these days.

Moving away from the college hockey front, here’s a quote-filled interview with Michal Neuvirth, one half of the Washington Capitals goaltending tandem. After reading that, here’s an analysis from The Goalie Guild about how he thinks those comments are going to play into Neuvirth’s performance this year (spoiler: he thinks it’ll turn out well, and I’m inclined to agree.) I think there’s a fine line you need to tip-toe between talking too much, but I think we’re a bit hypocritical these days when we often complain about athletes giving stereotypical answers and not saying anything interesting. Sports is all about this stuff. Here’s someone giving it to us, the way it is for him. This is what it’s all about.

And that’ll do it for this edition of Thoughts. Thanks for reading!

- OTB