Smart Heads Start Season

I think it might have something to do with making sure the ice is frozen enough to support all those big brains, but no matter the reason the Cornell Big Red begin their exhibition season later than any hockey team in captivity.

Tonight they host Windsor University (great, I didn’t even know they had a university. I already feel stupid) at Ithica, NY and tomorrow night it’s a very good U.S. Under 18 National Team.

Cornell begins their regular season on July 1.

I’ll be paying close attention to young Riley Nash this season for two reasons. He’s a talented center with a wide range of skills and he’s enough of his own man to have irritated Kevin Prendergast. Seems Nash likes college and those girls in the great big “C” sweaters, whereas KP would prefer the young man ride buses and eat at Denny’s.

He’s already a favorite.

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15 Responses to "Smart Heads Start Season"

  1. Hawerchuk says:

    LT – I remember having a hard time finding a place to eat when I was last in Ithaca. Ended up at the Denny's down the hill from campus.

  2. PunjabiOil says:

    I don't know how to feel about Nash.

    Riley Nash had a rookie freshmen year, with 32 points in 36 games. Obviously not as good as Chris Higgins 31 in 27 games, but could be assessed in the ball-park.

    Last year was somewhat concerning. Basically he improved by 3 points from his freshmen year. That may not be indicative of taking the next step in development, especially in a league that carries weak competition.

    He also failed to qualify for the WJC team as a 19 year old. Another flag.

    He`s already 20 years, and he`ll be 21 by the time this season is over. It`s likely he`ll play at least another year in college or in the AHL, meaning the Oilers will have just 5 years left before he`s UFA bound.

    We already saw Prendergast publicly express displeasure at Riley`s decision to play in a weak NCAA conference and failure to jump ship to the AHL. While that stance was loosened a mere few days later after Kevin Prendergast read LT`s blog entry, it`s no secret the Oilers want to see Nash playing games and developing.

    The Oilers drafted Nash on the premise that he`ll be a solid 3rd liner. I`m fine with that stance, if you feel the player has the potential to develop into something more. It may have been a reaching pick however, and it appears Pacioretty, Blum, or Perron would have been less of a headache.

    The lack of games at a critical development stage is concerning. It`s certainly disappointing Nash didn`t turn professional this week, and his priorities should be openly challenged. If he does not become a decent prospect, one could argue the lack of games at 18, 19, and 20 likely played a role.

  3. hunter1909 says:

    College chicks are the hottest women found anywhere on earth, period.

    Okay so Nash doesn't develop. How exactly is this leading to the end of the world?

  4. Steve says:

    Same way as it was the end of the world when MacT ruined Schremp's career. The world ends a lot around these parts.

  5. Lowetide says:

    oh hunter. You're just not dramatic enough.

  6. Lowetide says:

    Nash has 2 assists so far tonight, 6-0 Cornell.

  7. delooper says:

    Ithaca. Persistent spelling error, two Nash posts deep now.

  8. Zachary says:

    R. Nash had a decent enough game tonight. One shift where he looked like he could do absolutely anything he wanted (made a D simply fall at the blue line when he changed directions), and it led to a nice goal. Seemed strong on the draw, though I haven't seen the numbers. The Windsor team was pretty seriously overmatched, and obviously it showed in the score. Nash is also looking a little bigger than last season, or so it seems to me.

  9. Jfry says:

    the easiest part of building a house is learning to use the tools. the hard part is conceiving how to, in fact, build the house.

    count me in the group that favour this kid staying in school as long as possible. if his natural athleticism is what we've been told, then all we're doing is letting him get smarter and become more of a man. The recent re-awakening of the Philly City Party Boys and their pictures at frat parties reminded me how young these kids are. The late teens and early twenties are learning of all different sorts and when a kid choose the college route, we're sort of trusting that he's saying he needs more identity work than games played.

    it seems to me we've had great success leaving college players in school, rather than taking them out. if you're choosing college over major junior you're choosing a slightly different route than the "career" player.

  10. Dennis says:

    I've got no problem with kids taking the long road through college and getting their degree; or at least something resembling it.

    But it's up to respective orgs to decide how much they value that and whether it's a good thing to draft a guy who isn't hockey mad.

  11. raventalon40 says:

    @Dennis

    I don't know why the Oilers don't sign more Hobey Baker finalists or winners.

    Matt Gilroy is a great D-man for the Rangers and John Curry is a great goalie for the Penguins farm. I think there are more quality entry-level guys who can play Chris Higgins or Riley Nash type of roles just looking for a chance to prove they can enter the league.

    Hey, they can't be worse than Bryan Lerg and I think they would probably at least be in the Cody Wild, Riley Nash or Jeff Petry skill range.

    Otherwise, why would they get Hobey Baker recognition?

  12. Dennis says:

    I've been wary of smart college players ever since I heard the Ballad of Ed Caron.

    That guy was smart enough to realize his best bet was a real job and maybe Nash is thinking the same and, hey, overall, that's the best move possible and one I'd suggest for my son or loved one.

    But, it isn't the kind of guy I'd want to waste a top pick on.

  13. digger says:

    I don't know why the Oilers don't sign more Hobey Baker finalists or winners.

    It's a 2 way street, these Hobey Baker kids generally have multiple teams knocking at their door.

    Why would they choose to sign with the Oilers, when teams like the Rangers, Devils and Penguins are throwing contracts at them?

  14. Marc says:

    I'm not sure it's fair to call the Ivy League/ECAC a weak league this year. Three of its teams, including Cornell, are ranked in the top ten and there was a fourth team in the top twenty the last time I looked.

    They play fewer games than other conferences, but that would be mitigated by a long playoff run, which Cornell did have last year and looks likely to have again this year.

    Does anyone really think that Nash would have developed better last season at a place like Michigan State, a traditional power in a 'good' conference – but a terrible team last season?

    Or for that matter on a truly crappy Springfield AHL team? With hindsight a top ten college program was the best place he could have gone last season. I don't think we can question his decision to stay at a top ten program and wait and see if Springfield turns into a decent team before going pro either.

  15. raventalon40 says:

    That guy was smart enough to realize his best bet was a real job and maybe Nash is thinking the same and, hey, overall, that's the best move possible and one I'd suggest for my son or loved one.

    But, it isn't the kind of guy I'd want to waste a top pick on.

    I'd agree with you but I don't see any problem if they already have some education at whatever college they play for. Didn't Tom Gilbert finish college before joining the Oil (or Roadrunners)?

    They have the inside leg on the NHL and they have a chance to do something for a living (for 10-15 years) that almost nobody else will get a chance to do.

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