Monday, August 16, 2010

Early Departures and the Life that Could Have Been

There has been a lot written recently about the mass exodus taking place in college hockey of players leaving to the pro or junior ranks:
Thankfully, none on our Huskies team decided to split from their college commitments to go play somewhere else this off season. However, it is a very disconcerting phenomenon in our sport right now. I am most concerned about some peoples attitude on the competitive nature and strengths of college hockey (NCAA hockey vs. Major Junior for instance). I think Shane Frederick from the Mankato Free Press gave the best example when he said (talking of Tyler Pitlick's departure):
"In a pre-draft blog, Pierre McGuire, an analyst for NBC and a contributor to Sports Illustrated wrote, 'He plays university hockey but has the potential to play for the Medicine Hat Tigers.'

It was if going from 'university hockey' to the NHL is some improbable leap. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe McGuire was 'inside the glass' when a former college star, North Dakota’s Jonathan Toews, won the Conn Smythe Trophy as he captained the Chicago Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup championship a couple of weeks ago."

In this discussion of players leaving early and my recent (and upcoming) look at last season, I can't help but to think of Andreas Nodl's early departure from the Huskies at the end of the '07-'08 season. (Of note, Nodl also played for two years for my Sioux Falls Stampede). Had Nodl stayed with the team he would played in his senior year last year. In his time with the Huskies, Nodl had 46 points his first year and 44 points his second. It is hard to believe that the Huskies would not have won just one more game and made it to the Frozen Four last year if Nodl had been playing right up there with Lasch and Roe. Since leaving the Huskies, Nodl has spent the majority of his time with the Philadelphia Flyers AHL affiliate Phantoms (107 games). Nodl has also played 48 games for the Flyers team though. Most recently, Nodl was called upon to fill in for Ian Laperriere during the Stanley Cup finals after Laperriere took a puck to the face (see video below).

Was it better for Nodl to leave? Could SCSU have gone on to the Frozen Four and a possible national championship with Nodl on the roster last year? I guess we'll never know.

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