Here’s a summary of UND hockey coach Dave Hakstol’s comments on tonight’s season finale of the Fighting Sioux Coaches Show with Tim Hennessy and Scott Swygman on KFAN (1440 AM).
On whether the Sioux are sick of playing Boston College:
I hope we get another shot at them. We’re beginning to work on getting back to the Frozen Four and trying to change that word “appearance.” We’re into our end of the season meetings. We turn the page and keep moving. That’s the excitement of college hockey in the playoffs. It’s one-game shots. Believe it or not, we did a lot of good things in that first period. In a matter of seven minutes we saw our season come and go. I give a lot of credit to BC. They were the better team and got the job done.
On not gooning it up when the score became lopsided:
There were a lot of shots thrown at our team throughout the year for playing good, hard- nosed hockey, playing together and sticking together. Once we got to that third period it was hard to keep our cool, but our guys did a great job of that. It wasn’t a lack of competitiveness. One of the hard things to do is to keep your cool and act with class. It was a tough way for that group to have their season end. I really wanted the seniors to go out with at least a shot at a national championship. That isn’t the way we wanted to see their season end.
On what he said to the team after the first two periods:
The real difference after one was that fourth goal. It was the one that really let the air out of the tire and we never recovered from. After the second period, all you can do is play for that crest on the front of the jersey. You try to get the first one and then try to get two. There’s no quit in our program. The one thing you do is you play for the program and the jersey. Under the circumstances, I think we did the best we could do. What else can you ask of the team?
On whether the Sioux would have acted differently in a regular-season game:
Yes, there was some chirping and jersey pumping going on, but you don’t come out on the right side of that. In the playoffs, it’s a different scenario and you’re working to build something.
On having BC on the ropes in the first half of the first period:
Somewhere after the Eagles scored their first two goals, we needed to get one. We had some great opportunities. We had 8 or 9 great opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on and they did. That’s the difference in the game. On both of our first power plays, we had a lot of good opportunities. Right off the first shift, Rylan Kaip’s line set a real good tone for us.
Were you surprised that Notre Dame was in the championship?
It wasn’t a surprise, but it was an upset. They had a tough second half, but they won some games late in the season and they started to get their confidence back. It was an upset to beat Michigan. The Wolverines couldn’t find their way out of the three-goal deficit. Notre Dame’s a good team. They’re really well prepared.
On a caller’s comment that he would have liked to see a third-place game between UND and Michigan:
It would have been one heck of an entertaining game. It’s hard to come back after a season-ending loss to play another game, and I think that’s why the NCAA did away with the third-place game. I would have liked to have played that game on Saturday in this case. It might have been easier for us to put our season in perspective. You have a chance to redeem yourselves and end on a high note. It’s tough when you take a look around the rink and see all the Sioux fans who were there and participating around the country. We had unbelievable support. I’ve never seen anything like it. You’d like to do something positive for the fans.
On whether Oshie, Duncan, Chorney, Finley and Kozek will leave early:
Those guys have decisions to make. We’re going to lose one or two or three guys. They have to look at the situation and figure out what the best opportunity is for them. If they’re ready to go, we help them out. That’s what we do. There are a lot of guys who are close. T.J.’s proven that he’s ready to go to the next level. For any of them, there’s nothing wrong with coming back to play a fourth year and getting a degree. We’ll know in the next two or three weeks. Nobody’s going to play, so they’ll stay here and finish up school. They’ll take several days to look at things and take their time. It comes down to a business aspect. Sometimes a player will want to play a game or two to earn the first year of a contract. None of our guys are in that situation.
On the importance of a player coming back for the right reason:
You have to come back for the right reasons. I believe all our guys who had opportunities to go last season came back for the right reasons. You have to be here for the right reason or it’s not going to work with the individual or the program. If there’s indecision and you spend half your time thinking you should be somewhere else, it’s not going to work. We have a very good relationship with our players and we’re able to talk to them about these things. We want to make sure everything’s in place and everything’s perspective. At the end of the day, it’s the players and their families who have to decide.
On next year’s goaltending situation:
We have to have three goaltenders. We have to give consideration to Landon Snider. I’m not going in with any preconceived notions. We know Aaron Walski is a good goalie and we know his work ethic. We know Brad Eidsness is a good goalie. We want to have a third goalie involved in that. Whether it’s Snider, I don’t know.
On whether some recruits scheduled for 2009-2010 could come next season:
Let’s be realistic and honest. It’s a combination of opportunity and readiness. I was in Chicago last night and Dane Jackson was in western Canada. We have to be part of making good developmental decisions for each recruit. We’re looking at a little bit of everything. We’re pretty comfortable with where we’re at with our guys. Jason Gregoire, Eidsness and Brett Hextall have all earned honors this season. All three are 19-20 year olds with great experience who could have come in last year.
On whether there will be any restructuring or revamping of the WCHA officiating system:
Officiating will definitely be on the agenda during the WCHA meeting in April. How in- depth we’ll get, I don’t know. What’s most important is the level of calls we want to hold our players to. That’s a tough one. You can show one video clip of a penalty to 10 people and get three or four different interpretations on how it should be called.
Does college hockey need a system where everyone calls penalties the same?
You have discrepancies from league to league and within the leagues. We have to get ourselves on the same page and keep working on it. From the last half of last year, our standards slipped. I thought we were getting away from clutching, grabbing and obstruction. I thought we slipped back there. That will be discussed in Florida.
On whether differences in officiating styles are what makes hockey unique:
To a certain degree, the personality of the referee has some bearing. But there has to be a more standardized, specific level. For example, what is a hook? What constitutes a penalty and what doesn’t? Two seasons ago, if you put an arm around a guy for two counts, it was a penalty. That has slipped back. Maybe I’m off base and I’m the only one who thinks that way. I’ve been the first one to say that we can’t go to the level of the NHL. They’re the best of the best and they still make mistakes. But I think we can get closer to that level of efficiency. We all have to be part of helping with that. One of the best ideas came from Dean Blais who said that after a 10-minute cooling down period, the coaches would meet with the officials after every game. He thought that would solve everything. (laughs) I thought that was a great suggestion, but I don’t think it was ever put to a vote.