Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Why Zucker didn't play last weekend.

Western Collegiate Hockey Association logoImage via WikipediaTwo Colorado schools C.C. and DU kept their two high end players that just returned from the World Junior Championship out of the line up last weekend. DU forward Jason Zucker who is one of the top five forwards in the WCHA and probably soon to be a member of the Minnesota Wild went home to visit family while his team split with the UAH Chargers. That lose could be costly for the Pioneers.

Colorado College forward Jaden Schwartz, who is also a top five forward in the WCHA, was held out of Friday's game as well and the Tigers ended up losing to the Cornell Big Red, another costly personnel move, as the Tigers lost and tied the Cornell Big Red. 
Mike Chambers, the Field House --- DU coach George Gwozdecky said of the decision to keep Zucker out of the non-league set — a decision that was second-guessed by some in the wake of the upset loss to the nation’s only Division I independent program on Friday night. That loss conceivably could cost DU an NCAA tournament berth, considering its impact on the Pioneers in the PairWise rankings. Gwozdecky said the precedent was set after defenseman Matt Carle played for the champion U.S. team in 2004.

“Matt was part of that gold-medal team and he came back, and we didn’t know from experience what the whole thing was like and what it was going to do to Matt,” Gwozdecky said. “He was absolutely emotionally drained, physically drained, and his level of urgency wasn’t there for at least three weeks. After the first period of the first game he was back, it was like, ‘Oh, my God, I think we made a mistake here,’ because he was just shot. You certainly understand that. You’re playing for a gold medal on the world stage in front of huge crowds and all of a sudden, you’re coming back and playing against Bemidji or Wisconsin. It just doesn’t have the same luster.
I don't buy this argument that the players that return from the WJC need to be held out of games, they can get their rest as time allows, during the up coming weeks, there are also bye weeks in the schedule.

The reason I am not buying this argument is that you're talking about 19 year old kids who are world class athletes and not a bunch of 30-35 year old men playing in the house league. You have a limited number of games and the WCHA has taken a beating in the out of conference games and has an unimpressive inter-conference record of 26-25-8 and that could end up costing the WCHA come NCAA tourney selection time. 

Edit: I you click on this link you will see that Dan Myers of College Hockey News discussed this issue as well on the College Hockey News blog.
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