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Toot’s Take On This Year’s Meltdown; King Quick; Prep Playoffs

A FTT reader that goes by Bleedmaroon posted the link to this week’s hockey radio show over on UMasshoops.com and I thank him for that.  In the first 10 minutes of the show Toot is very candid about his thoughts regarding this year’s annual swoon that the team is currently finds itself in.  Take a listen yourself to the first segment of the show and hear what the coach had to say.

Now I have a lot of thoughts on this season, these players, this coaching staff, and this God-awful habit of collapsing late in the season.  But I think that’s a blog for a later date, like once the season is finished.  So therefore it might only be a few days away. 

However here are some highlights from Toot’s rant:

“The BC game (and its effort) is great to talk about but I’m really dissatisfied with the bottom line product and something needs to be done about it.”

“We gotta find a way to produce goals and find a way to get the bottom line taken care of.  There’s enough talent in this program for that to happen a whole lot more regularly than it’s happening right now.  This isn’t a talent issue and I really don’t believe, giving due credit to Len Quesnelle and Red Gendron, that it’s a coaching issue.  It’s a mentality issue.  And it’s a mentality issue that I’ll be happy to talk about for this entire program.  It’s been a mentality issue for a while but we didn’t realize it was this severe until this weekend.”

“Weak mindset and soft demeanor.  We’ve got guys who are exception to the rules.  I wouldn’t trade Brett Watson or Justin Braun for anything.  They’re the two captains and that’s the leadership end of it and I’ve been applauding their leadership skills all year long.  But sometimes some guys just stop listening.  And sometimes some guys just have an idea that they have a better way.  Or that they can compromise and do a little less than maybe what’s required.  And they thought for sure that everything was okay once we got through January and then their real disposition set in and then we’re doing exactly what’s required.  And it sickens me, quite frankly.”

“For three consecutive years it’s gone real easy (in the first half of the season).  We were #5 in the country three years ago at Christmas.  We were #12 in the country last year right after Christmas.  And we were certainly in the top ten this year.  And the second half of the year, althought it wasn’t January, we fought through that, February came around and we were 0-for-February.  And so I have a real disdain for a lack of mental toughness and there’s no other explanation than this when you look at the whole profile of the team.  The way we can skate, the way we can move it, and the type of athletes we have, for us to take a freefall as great as this it’s definitely mentality.  And the only way to conquer that is we’ll do the best we can this weekend to make this weekend work and try to grow that into maybe taking a run.  But I’ll tell you, you’re looking at a guy without a military background that’s going to learn a lot about the Navy Seals.  This will be the hardest program to play in and to stay in if you’re an athlete.  And if they don’t like it they shouldn’t come here.  And that’s what they’ve got to look forward to from here on in as long as I’m here because this is nonsense.

Brock asks him when this came about and Toot replies:

“Well I don’t think I came to total recognition until this weekend.  Until Saturday came around and we found out some news about things went on.  And we were aghast with it.  And there was nothing serious.  Minor violations, but it spoke to the team mentality.”

One wonders if this last part is referring to unconfirmed rumors that four UMass players ran into problems with the Amherst police over a noise disruption complaint over the weekend.

“There’s a reason why I call this the men’s league in January and February.  It is hard to go to practice, it’s hard to finish checks, it’s hard to block shots.  It’s hard to do this week after week after week when you look around campus and you see other guys go to class and then on Friday and Saturday nights go off with their dates and go to parties and lighten up a little bit.  It’s called entitlement.  And this country really suffers from it and unfortunately this program has shown that there’s a little bit of entitlement.  They’re great students.  They’re great ambassadors away from the campus in terms of getting involved with some social services.  I can’t take anything away from these guys on that front.  They’ve measured up.  That’s the culture we’ve tried to create.  But now we’re talking about Division I Hockey East competitive athletes.  Are you in Hockey East just to be in it?  Or are you in it to succeed and win games?  And that’s where the mental toughness and and the committment to stick-to-it-iveness has to stay in place.”

Like I said, I have a lot of thoughts about Toot and this team but I really want to hold off on a real season recap until after the season is over.  So I’m going to refrain from now.  But I’m sure when that time comes I’ll be referring back to Toot’s rant.

Δ

In maybe a bit of good luck for the Minutemen, Rachel Lenzi, the Maine beat-writer for the Portland Press Herald, tweeted today that NCAA leading scorer Gustav Nyquist didn’t practice today for the Black Bears for reasons unknown.  What that means for the weekend I don’t know.  Speaking of Rachel Lenzi, due to to prior committment (i.e. out celebrating the end of my dismal real job and the subsequent new career beginnings) I won’t be able to give game updates for Friday on Twitter.  But Rachel does a great job with her in-game tweets, so follow her if you want to follow along to this key game.  I’ll likely be tweeting on Saturday though.

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On the heels of his silver medal, Jon Quick set the franchise record for wins for the Kings with a 5-1 victory on Tuesday.  Congrats!

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Both Mike Pereira’s Avon team and Conor Sheary’s Cushing team were victorious yesterday in the first round of the prep playoffs.  Both had a goal each in their matches.  Sheary added an assist.  They’ll now move on to the semifinals of their respective divisions on Saturday.

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28 Comments

  1. hatsoff

     /  March 4, 2010

    So is the team traveling in school buses to Orono this weekend and sleeping in tents?

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  2. me and some friends went to that hockey show, and while it was hard to hear exactly what he was saying, he certainly seemed pissed. When we left we went to shake him hand and he was very apologetic to my senior friend for the swoon.

    I’m not sure what to make of it really, but my initial thought is that any kind of fire placed under this team is a good thing, and this time it seem legitimate. I suppose we will see in the next few years if this change of mentality is real. If this is the turning point, we should archive the show and give it a nickname.

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  3. Jason W.

     /  March 4, 2010

    The problem with trying to comment on a team is we dont know the whole picture. We’re not at practice. We’re not at film session. We’re not in the meetings. We just see the final result on the ice each weekend. And its been terribly frustrating.

    Toot’s comments are nice to see, but it pains me it took until this past weekend to have total recognition of the problem. While it might be the players who arent performing or acting the way he wants, it is the coaching staff to make sure the message and the team’s mission gets through to the players. Its pretty obvious that the message isnt getting through to these guys. They have tuned out the coaching staff. The team faces adversity and falls apart. Its nice to see he wants to get tough with the guys, but can he get the job done? Dont know. What I do know is since the comment in USAToday about Wellman possibly leaving this team is 2-8.

    I hope this team gets its head screwed on straight and comes out and plays great hockey. I hope they show the heart and passion to compete and win.

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  4. John

     /  March 4, 2010

    Well its easy for Toot to blame the team but 3 years in a row with players comeing and going maybe he should look in the mirror just for once he should stop and think about the annual collapse himself its the easy way out to blame them it sounds like by the end of the season he loses his team .So who is the blame its time for a new Bus Driver because this one has crashed

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  5. George

     /  March 4, 2010

    A) Rocks thanks for this and you’re right. As early as Saturday morning, you can fry the what to do about the team and Toot fish, but let’s concentrate on this weekend.

    B) Blind and Jason bring up great points. Blind says Toot seemed pissed and the few occasions I’ve seen him after a tough game or weekend and said hello coach, he’s always willing to say hello and talk or offer an “apology”, just like with Blind.
    My guess is Travis Ford, Steve Lappis or Kevin Morris would not be that congenial or “accessible.”

    C) Rocks, you referenced and Jason above makes light of it…..the answer to Brock’s question is disturbing. It was actually a great question because if it is mental toughness, our fans and especially this board knows the track record of this team on either side of the New Year for a while. The fact he says “this past weekend” is scary in the sense it’s either a lie or Toot’s got some big blinders on.

    There have always been at least a couple of cage rattlers on his teams going way back.
    This year Dan Meyers kicks the year off and David Boehm kept it going. These weren’t curfew or late to practice violations. These were issues (Meyers one and two, someone needs to enlighten me on the Boehm deal more) that involved serious confrontation and the law. And this past weekend makes the hat trick.

    Anyway, that was a great show and I’m glad John’s question about recapping BC was aborted. Toot seemed like he was ready to spill his guts and that he did, to his credit.

    He said/inferred among the 3 coaches (he didn’t mention his own name, but Red’s and Len’s he did), that no blame lay there.

    Sorry, that’s plain wrong.

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  6. Gregg Anderson

     /  March 4, 2010

    On a positive note, since I was planning to go to the regional either in Ft. Wayne (FORT WAYNE???) or St. Paul, this is going to save me some dough. But it is disappointing nontheless. (It’s combined for me with the Golden Gophers’ collapse this year- they are HOWLING for Don Lucia’s head, at least in some quarters) I’m not sure what the issue is either, but it’s sure tough to watch talented players underperform like this- also having Lecomte Langeraap and Boehm out for extended portions of the season has been …err.. not helpful either.

    BTW way the Amherst Regional HS team wrapped up their season, the most sucessful in a while, with a tough loss to Holyoke after a thrilling overtime win vs. archrival Belchertown!

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  7. Gregg Anderson

     /  March 4, 2010

    Go ‘Canes!

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  8. All great observations folks. Like I said, I’ll weigh in more with my opinions shortly.

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  9. George

     /  March 4, 2010

    “One wonders if this last part is referring to unconfirmed rumors that four UMass players ran into problems with the Amherst police over a noise disruption complaint over the weekend.”

    Oh sorry Rocks meant to mention it’s been posted elsewhere, the rumors are fact, see Monday’s Hampshire Gazette Police Blotter.

    Like

    • That’s part of the Gazette’s subscription website. I can’t get to it. So far other than someone posting on UMasshoops, I haven’t seen anything concrete confirming.

      Like

  10. George

     /  March 4, 2010

    AREA POLICE NEWS
    By THE DAILY HAMPSHIRE GAZETTE
    Staff Writer

    * Email this page
    * Printer-friendly version
    * Delicious
    * Technorati

    Monday, March 1, 2010

    · Tyrus Stinson, 25, of 81 Belchertown Road, unit 42, was arrested Sunday at 1 a.m. on North Pleasant Street on a warrant, according to police.

    · Four men who reside at 29 Hazel Ave. – Casey Wellman, 22; Paul M. Dainton, 23; Chase M. Langeraap, 23; and Kevin Kessler, 24 – were arrested Saturday at 11:43 p.m. on a town bylaw violation of generating unlawful noise, according to police.

    · Henry A. Jerome, 22, of Worcester, was arrested Saturday at 4:26 a.m. at the Brandywine Apartments off Meadow Street on the charges of disturbing the peace and resisting arrest, according to police.

    · Daniel Carley, 20, of Walpole, was arrested Saturday at 4:20 a.m. at the 141 North Pleasant St. post office on the charges of breaking and entering in the nighttime and attempting to commit a crime, according to police, who said Carley entered the post office through an unsecured door.

    · State police from the Northampton barracks arrested Elizabeth Williams, 27, of Texas, on a fugitive from justice warrant Sunday morning.

    Williams was a passenger in a grey Infiniti that was pulled over on Interstate 91 northbound in Hatfield at 11:50 a.m. Sunday, said Trooper Brendhan Shugrue.

    Williams was not wearing a seat belt and an identity check revealed that she had a Texas warrant for her arrest for allegedly obtaining controlled substances by fraud, Shugrue said.

    · A 26-year-old Weymouth man received a summons to court Saturday at 10:39 p.m. on the charge of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol following a two-car accident on the Coolidge Bridge, according to police. No one was injured, police said.

    · A caller reported Friday at 6:42 p.m. that someone had entered her unlocked car, which was parked at a King Street store, and taken a GPS system valued at $200, according to police.

    · Brian P. McCullough, 33, of 78 Hawley St., unit B, was arrested Friday at 5:42 p.m. on Main Street on two warrants, according to police.

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    • George, I didn’t mean to sound like I don’t believe you. I just meant I hadn’t seen with my own eyes.

      Like

  11. George

     /  March 4, 2010

    Rocks I know. Nothing taken. You just said you couldn’t access the site. I can, just wanted to make your life easier :-). Now I have to work on mine!

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  12. Anonymous

     /  March 4, 2010

    The Boehm thing was him getting in a physical fight with another guy on the team, these boys have been doomed since October when Meyers almost got kicked off. Toot needs to really shake stuff up and kick off some of the guys. It will be drastic and he’ll get a lot of heat for it but the new guys coming in need to know that violating the rules and the NCAA code are serious.

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    • I find it hard to believe they’ve been doomed since October and the Meyers issue. They mananged to enter February tied fo second place in Hockey East.

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      • Agreed. Successful teams are able to battle through adversity, be it injuries or other distractions.

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  13. I sure hope this doesn’t hurt us with our recruits.. Looks like we have two good ones coming in up front..

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    • Well, Pereira and Sheary have already signed Letters of Intent so the school would have to let them out of them if they wanted out.

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  14. Ryan

     /  March 4, 2010

    As good as they had been playing since before February, I knew this was coming. I didn’t know how bad it could be however (tied for 2nd, and might not make playoffs now). The team chemistry looks absolutely horrendous now and something is def. wrong that we don’t know about. All I can say is it will be real fun for them next year in Minnesota and Wisconsin. When you can’t beat Merrimack at home you aren’t going to go to the Kohl Center and beat the likes of Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh.

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    • Of course you knew it was coming. You’re a UMass fan.

      Agreed about the team chemistry though. These guys do not seem to be on the same page at all. Who knows, maybe Toot can bring them together with his comments and give them all a common enemy. Him. He wouldn’t be the first coach to do it.

      Like

  15. paul

     /  March 4, 2010

    This team is mental look at Toot threw his team under the bus not my fault all theres. . Three . years of the same old story the players come and go there is only one thing that does not change TOOT .How come they wernt mental 4 weeks ago a coach got involved and sank his team

    Like

  16. John

     /  March 4, 2010

    Wouldnt it be nice to put the players on the radio show and hear what they have to say about the swoons

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  17. I just put up possibly my final post for this season..sad! I will be posting in the coming weeks, especially my NCAA predicitions and such, but it will be a somber trip home if they fail to qualify for the playoffs!

    Like

  18. Carlos Verdad

     /  March 5, 2010

    I heard the radio show rant on Tuesday night. Name a great coach that goes public with the fact that his team has repeated the same losing behavior pattern for 3 years – and none of the results are the coaching staff’s fault? Name a successful business leader that has failed 3 years in a row – and the CEO blames the employees? What does this say to the kids/employees? The NESN broadcaster last Friday said something very simple, “I have seen UMass 4 times this year. They run its 2 first lines into the ground, and these kids are obviously warn out – it’s been going on all year.” And this morning in one of the local papers/website stories Coach Cahoon says, ‘We (the coaching staff) have done all we can do, it’s time to lace up the skates. We can’t do anything else’. Maybe the kids have given up, the leader(s), who are grown men, have given up on the kids, publicly. What does that say about them? Is this the life lesson we are teaching, “When things get tough or go bad, run over your co-workes/employees with a bus and cover your backside.” I guess the ‘men’s league’ toughness requirement only applies to the kids.

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  19. Butch from the Cape

     /  March 5, 2010

    good call about the top 2 lines, he definitely runs them into the ground

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  20. The kids to me seem like they don’t care. If they are getting in trouble after 2am then we have issues. Get rid of the hockey houses move the kids back on campus. I also notice we get bumped around alot get in the gym work out harder

    Like

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