Republican: Marcou To Turn Pro; Guzzo Release

I had hoped to be posting my thoughts on the season that was, but at this point I, and I expect most UMass fans, am caught up in the departure rumors surounding the program.  My season recap is in the works, but for the time being I have to write about the subjects at hand.  And with that….

Dick Baker of the Springfield Republican is reporting that James Marcou is planning on turning pro.  Personally, I have heard much of the same from very reliable sources since the team was eliminated Saturday night.  Earlier tonight former Collegian writer Joe Meloni posted on Twitter that Toot Cahoon does not expect Marcou to return.

Earlier today I gave you my thoughts on Casey Wellman turning pro, now I guess it’s Marcou’s turn.  Frankly, there is no doubt in my mind that James Marcou has NHL skills.  His vision and playmaking abilities are unrivaled, at least in terms of the 17 years I’ve watched of UMass hockey.  But, to point out the elephant in the room, Marcou is going to have problems with his size.  James is listed at 5’8″.  That’s nice.  Let’s assume it might be true.  That’s still very short for an NHL forward.  Are his skills NHL level?  Most definitely.  Can he overcome the challenge of his stature to have an lengthy NHL career?  In my uncertified opinion, no.  Well, perhaps, I guess.  Not to say he can’t do it.  Just saying I frankly have no idea.  And that’s a big ole question mark.

James has been quoted as saying multiple times that one of his big hockey heroes is equally diminutive but amazingly talented Martin St. Louis.  St Louis has let nothing stop him from not only having a legitimate NHL career, but establishing himself as an All-Star level type player.  Like Marcou he too was an undrafted player when he entered the collegiate ranks, but if Marcou leaves early St Louis accomplished something James will have not.  St Louis stayed all four year for the Vermont Catamounts and became their best player of all time, leaving the venerable Gutterson Fieldhouse as the record holder in points and assists.  He was also a three time NCAA All-American and Hobey Baker candidate.  Sound familiar?  Marcou is already the all-time assist leader at UMass.  The points total will be tough to match, only because the great Pat Keenan was so dominant for those early 70s teams.  But Marcou has a chance to equal most if not all of those accomplishments.  Three time All-American?  He’s well on the way, assuming he is selected to such an honor again this year.  Could he become the first UMass player to WIN the Hobey Baker?  He would certainly enter next year as one of the favorites. 

The NHL will be there in a year.  Could his statstics potentially go down with the loss of Wellman?  Perhaps.  But did he prop up Wellman’s stats or the other way around?  I would argue the former.  He makes the players around him better, not the other way around.  What could Syner’s numbers be as Marcou’s go to winger?  How would star recruit Mike Pereira do matchedup with up a setup-man like Marcou?  James, The NHL will be there in a year.  College immortality is something most never even have a chance at.  In the next couple days Marcou will be making his decision.  Judging from what is being reported and what I’ve heard his decision is close to being made.  But I hope he reconsiders that decision.  He could go on to a solid NHL career perhaps.  Or he could be the next Greg Mauldin and live a life of AHL busses and an occasional season overseas.  Even the great Thomas Pöck could never fully establish himself in the league and now plays in Switzerland.  But how many hockey players can live their life with the title of being the best player to every play at their collegiate program.  That’s the decision James Marcou has in front of him.  I for one hopes he goes for the near sure bet of one more year of immortality versus the immediate risky venture that is pro hockey.


In more positive news, the commitment of Steven Guzzo is official.  I like the intangibles described in the Oakville press release.  Note that it appears Guzzo will be coming to Amherst this fall.

(photo by Oakville Blades)



  1. Jason W.

     /  March 16, 2010

    Goodbye James. You were a joy to watch for 3 seasons. Thanks for the memories. Best of luck. You will be hard to replace.

    And please teach your brother about hockey instincts… cause he doesnt have any.


    • I disagree about Mike. I’ll be honest and point out that when he first signed with UMass I was not impressed and thought it was purely as a favor to James and his family. But Mike is a legitimate Hockey East defenseman. He’s not the most athletically gifted defenseman but he does have the wits and especially knack for positioning that allows him to play at this level. And he’s evolving considering the offensive aspect he added to his game this year. Though I hope he continues to get better, I think Mike Marcou has earned his spot on the UMass blueline.


  2. This just ruined my night, I’m so sad


  3. George

     /  March 16, 2010

    St. Louis 67 goals through 3 years
    Marcou 34 goals through 3 years.

    This is where Marcou will have a big problem.

    Plus St. Louis had 15-20 pounds on Marcou and a few more inches. Not that I’m comparing the two….but I am I guess LOL.

    Rocks agree with you on his brother. Like Doug Kublin, huge improvement in year 2.


    • I believe that Marcou could’ve (damn you past tense) scored a ton more goals at UMass if he had only looked to. Sometimes his extraordinary playmaking skills work to his disadvantage. From Day 1 I’ve wanted him to shoot more. He actually has a decent shot, certainly good enough to get by a many more college goalies than he has. But sometimes he was too unselfish.

      I appreciate your thoughts on Marcou the Defensman.


  4. Mel

     /  March 17, 2010

    I know this is strange for me, but I am going to focus on the positive side. I love that Guzzo is coming here and I also like some of our other recruits. Maybe they won’t be as good as Marcu and Wellman, but maybe they will bring a new, tougher attitude to this team. Even if Irwin signs a deal — I can’t figure that one out — I say bring on the new guys and let’s see what happens. Expectations will certainly be lower next season and they have a tough OOC schedule, but it will be exciting to see new faces. And, maybe Toot changes things up a little given it is the last year of his contract. Anyway, bring on the summer and more recruits.


  5. Ben (Flag Guy)

     /  March 17, 2010

    I think he should stay, look at casey they promised him that he would play right away, but then they don’t dress him for the first game.

    Jimmy should be UMass’ all time player


  6. dickie dunn

     /  March 17, 2010

    I loved watching all of these guys and wish them luck in whatever they choose to do. But keep in mind that, of all the guys that are leaving the program, the five seniors — Braun, Meyers Nolet, Ortiz and Watson — were the ones who helped the team get to the NCAA tournament.


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