Posts Tagged ‘men’shockey’

The Milo situation: No winners

February 18, 2010

When the coach of the area’s highest profile sports team dismisses one of the higher profiles athletes from that team, it’s news. Representatives of news organizations then have the responsibility to report the news as fully, accurately and fairly as possible.

However, should one side or the other, for reasons legal or altruistic, refrain from providing more detailed information, the interests and curiosity of readers, viewers, chat boarders, et al, are unlikely to be satisfied.

Such is the case of junior forward Justin Milo and his dismissal from the University of Vermont men’s hockey team by head coach Kevin Sneddon on Tuesday.

On one side, Sneddon said the decision was made in the best interests of the team. At Tuesday’s weekly news conference, Sneddon would not provide any more insight into his action beyond stating that the coaching staff, support staff and leadership had spent a lot of time considering the matter before acting.

On the other side, Milo expressed shock and said he was baffled by his removal. Essentially, he said he was told, he had been dismissed because of inconsistent effort, a lack of commitment to the program and a poor attitude.

One thing is undeniable: This was a severe action on Sneddon’s part. For him to make such a decision at this stage of a frustrating season, he had to believe it was necessary.

Whether Sneddon was right or wrong is another matter and it is impossible to form an opinion fairly without knowing all the details. Nor is it possible to know whether Milo truly doesn’t understand why he is no longer a Catamount.

One other thing is also undeniable: The situation has prompted extensive speculation.

Simply put, it’s difficult for many outside the team to accept that the reasons Milo said he was given for his dismissal are “the real story.” There has to be more to it, “they” say, and “they” might be right; logically, they probably are right.

Instead, alternative scenarios have been advanced in the Free Press’ online reader reaction and on college hockey Web sites, such as the USCHO.com fan forum. Some theories are speculation, pure and simple; others cite unnamed sources. Some fault the coach; some blame the player. None is a certainty.

Nobody wins in these situations; not the player, who no longer has a team; not the coach, whose reputation is on the line; not the team, which loses a talented player and faces possible internal strife; not the university, which is thrust into a negative spotlight; not even the public when rumors and innuendo might be far worse than the actual reasons.
For Milo, this was devastating, but it’s not the end of the world; it just seems it. He will still have his degree, his baseball and prospect of succeeding with the rest of life. For his sake, hopefully he will.

For the Catamounts, it’s a difficult experience, and only time will tell if they’ve been deeply wounded or if they can heal as a team. They already had enough challenges awaiting them.

Warriors will test Catamounts again

February 11, 2010

Even in the years when the Merrimack Warriors had trouble winning any game anywhere, they always caused the Vermont Catamounts plenty of trouble.

Those Merrimack teams seldom had anything more than grit, determination and a chip on their shoulders. The team that will be in Gutterson Fieldhouse this weekend has something else: game-changing players.

“They’ve always had a team that was very disciplined, very hard working, but what they’ve been able to do is find some players that are key guys in the league,” UVM head coach Kevin Sneddon said this week.

“Stephane Da Costa, who is leading the country in scoring for rookies, is a special player. Chris Barton has 17 goals for them … and their defensive corps is not only big and strong, but they do a great job on the power play getting shots through from the point,” Sneddon added. “Their goaltenders have been in a rotation and provided them the chance to win hockey game.
“Much like we went into Provident knowing it was going to be tough, it’ll be tough this weekend.”

While the Catamounts (13-9-4; 7-8-4 Hockey East) are trying to revive their bid for quarterfinal home ice, the ninth-place Warriors (10-5-1; 7-11-0) are fighting for their playoff lives. A pointless weekend in Burlington might push them closer to life support.

As league play resumes this weekend, every team—with the possible exception of Providence—is in the midst of a battle within a battle. New Hampshire’s two losses to Maine last weekend has narrowed the Wildcats’ lead over the Black Bears and Boston College to two points. Massachusetts, sitting fourth, is two points behind Maine and BC and must be concerned about a move by one of the three teams tied for fifth, UVM, Lowell and Boston University. And those three have a single-point advantage over No. 8 Northeastern, which in turn leads Merrimack by only three points with eight games remaining.

“Everybody’s jockeying for something. You’re either trying to make the playoffs or you’re trying to improve your standing in the middle of the pack, and then there’s certainly a lot of urgency at the top of the standings,” Sneddon said.

So the four points on sale at Gutterson are very valuable. Now it depends upon which team is willing to pay the most in terms of effort and execution to earn them.

Ice chips: Da Costa (11-21-32) and Barton (17-11-28) lead Merrimack in scoring … Andrew Braithwaite (3.40; .895) and Joe Cannata (3.38; .879) have been rotating in goal … The Warriors’ power play clicks at 25.9 percent to UVM’s 16.1 and their penalty kill is 82.1 to UVM’s 79.4 … Merrimack slapped the Catamounts 5-2 Oct. 23, using two power play goals to break open a 2-2 game … Brayden Irwin (11-13-24) and Justin Milo (9-12-21) lead UVM in scoring … Goalie Mike Spillane (lower body injury) has been moved from day-to-day to definite on the injury list … Wahs Stacey (lower body injury) is still day-to-day, but Tobias Nilsson-Roos (illness) is set to rejoin the lineup …