Monday, September 29, 2008

Season Preview Part I: It's Personnel and Personal

As I sit and ponder which direction to take my 2008-2009 UNH Men's Hockey Season Preview I've decided that the season comes down to personnel and this year it's personal.

After last year's fourth-consecutive, first-game exit from the NCAA Tournament many players took the bombastic bombardment from certain segments of the fan base personally. They have shouldered the responsibility for the less than desired result and have promised to deliver all that they've got this season - I wouldn't expect anything less.

The Leadership.

Seniors, Joe Charlebois and Greg Collins. Born just four days apart these two New York natives found their respective ways to the ranks of the Blue and White through the top Junior hockey system in the country, the United States Hockey League. Joe came to UNH through the Sioux City Musketeers, Greg through the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. As physically different as two hockey players get - Greg stands 5'9", 170 pounds whereas Joe is 6'1", 219 - but where they do not differ is in their commitment to defense. Charlebois, the Chicago Blackhawks' 2005 6th round pick, was Hockey East's Best Defensive Defenseman with his incredible +26 rating last season. Collins became Coach Umile's go-to forward in crucial defensive situations winning the Warren Brown Award as UNH’s best defensive forward award for the second straight season and earning the Robert Kullen Award as the unsung hero of our 'Cats in the process.

So, what can we expect from these two this year? Leadership by defense. Neither of our 2008-2009 Captains are prolific scorers. In 2007-2008 Charlebois and Collins produced 9 and 11 points respectively. But this is precisely why they were chosen for the role - this year's team is clearly going to be defense first. Both of them could easily be seen wearing a hardhat on the ice with their commitment to team and dedicated work ethic through each and every shift. Leading by example, look for the team's persona to carry their outlook throughout - it's too bad that we won't get see our men playing on NHPTV this year.

Seniors, Greg Collins and Joe Charlebois, your 2008-2009 UNH Men's Hockey Captains.

Coming up tomorrow, Part II: Rounding Out the D.

In the meantime, pump yourselves up for the upcoming season with the newest song added to my 2008-2009 UNH Men's Hockey Playlist - Pillar's, 'Throwdown' from their album, For The Love Of The Game!

Go 'Cats!


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