Games and titles are being won by teams with dynamic
by wearendhockey (2023-03-06 21:25:53)

In reply to: Better talent has to be part of the solution  posted by Boston Domer

offenses more and more. The way it's fixed is to have the coach show he's willing to adjust to the way the game is being played in 2023. It is especially true in the Big Ten.

If a player like Logan Cooley liked what he saw from Notre Dame to initially commit to the Irish, I don't imagine he would have bolted if he saw an offense that didn't look less interesting than watching the ice finish freezing after the Zamboni does its job.

It's all Jackson's doing, and he needs to fix it. Or Notre Dame should find someone who will.

Logan Cooley's Story
by ndmd99  (2023-03-07 10:24:40)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Cooley committed before the recent recruiting timeline changes in late 2018 (4 years before he would set foot on a college campus). Pretty sure McGroarty committed right around then too. Certainly our success in 16-17 and 17-18 played a big role (which debunks the fallacy that JJ wasn't trying to capitalize on our success).

Cooley saw our pretty good 2018-19 season. He didn't decommit.

Cooley saw our not great 2019-20 season. He didn't decommit.

Cooley saw our OK 2020-21 season (a season without non-conf play which makes it impossible to determine how good we were vs anyone outside the B10). He didn't decommit.

Cooley entered the NTDP in 2020. He wasn't on anyone's draft radar. He started as a 3rd/4th liner (which usually is a player who will be drafted mid/late draft round or undrafted).

By winter 20-21 he was usually centering the U-17 top line. Around this time McGroarty was the first promotion to U-18.

I forget exactly, but Cooley was moved to the U-18 team around Jan/Feb 2021. Pretty quickly he was centering the top U-18 line (between Dylan Duke and Pastujov).

His draft hype started picking up steam around summer 2021 as a first rounder. He started getting top-5 hype winter 2021-22.

He saw our team playing "dynamic" hockey in 2021, but never officially decommitted publicly.

Nov 2021, everyone signed LOIs. Except Cooley. Still no public acknowledgment of commitment issues, but clearly a problem. What exactly should JJ have done different at this time? Everyone signed for 21-22. We have problems with a center we banked on (and reserved scholarship $$) for years. And he bailed.

Cooley shopped around. For months on twitter there were random "insider" tweets declaring a shocking imminent flip for Cooley to schools like OSU, PSU, UND, UW, and a couple Boston schools. Who knows where else he looked. Finally one of those came true in Feb 2022 when he committed to the goofs. What was JJ supposed to do at that time? Where do we find a 1C for 22-23 in Feb 2022?

Wild speculation on my part -- but I got the sense Cooley might have been NIL shopping. I know he ended up with a Chipotle deal (which may not be related to signing with Gophers). Don't know if he has other NIL $$. I don't think NIL is playing a big role in NCAA hockey, but it may be something that gets used selectively to attract high end "talent" by teams with a rabid fanbase that will spend the $$ (I also see it as a possible way to circumvent the scholarship limit issue). If NIL is exploited in hockey, Irish will likely be in trouble with 5 star "talent".

Recruiting in hockey is a different animal. FB and BB recruiting gets all the press, but hockey recruiting (androster management) is wildly different. You can't find stud players last minute.

Irish committed to Cooley in 2018. He left us standing at the altar 3.5 years later (while we were in the midst of a season where we were playing great "dynamic" hockey).

With the Cooley problem we had 2 realistic solutions -- portal or bring in a freshman. Freshman options were probably either Fleming (who had the opposite draft hype trend to Cooley and left the NTDP in Nov 2021) or Ali. What decision should JJ make at the time? The portal was the right answer then. Pierson was brought in as the 1C. He had proven good production on a terrible team in Hockey East (the only critique I'd give is if they actually watched tape on him or did they rely on stats and phone calls with his coach) .

Hindsight is 20/20. Pierson was terrible at 1C. Ali on the team would've been the better option by a wide margin.

Given the above, tell me what JJ was supposed to do different?

I can present the timelines for Pastujov and McGroarty as well. It's hard to criticize JJ's decisions at the time. Heck, if Pastujov doesn't bail in Aug 2021 (after he was already on campus) I bet last season has a very different outcome. He was really the missing scoring talent needed on a team that played great hockey. JJ had no control over Pastujov getting drafted by the Ducks. He had no control over Guelph owning his OHL rights. He had no control over the Ducks wanting Pastujov to play with Guelph so he has access to some famous skating coach. And he had no control over the Ducks signing him to an ELC (which burned his NCAA eligibility).

All JJ can do is roll with the punches. Continue to adjust. Which he has been doing.

Recruitment doesn't end upon receive a verbal commitment
by Boston Domer  (2023-03-07 16:32:39)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Why is the attrition rate for Notre Dame recruits so much worse than our peer institutions? Jeff Jackson isn't the only coach who has to deal with NCAA, CHL, and NHL poaching, but he certainly seems to be doing far worse at preventing it than anyone else.

Those questions are not for ndmd99 to answer and I'm not trying to pick a fight. Yet for whatever reason I don't think JJ is doing a good job making himself and his program appealing to prospective athletes. Whether he can fix it is a valid question for which ND athletics should be demanding an answer.

100% agree there should be answers (and corrections)
by ndmd99  (2023-03-07 20:16:35)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

But it seems everyone has pitchforks out without considering the root causes. And lots of demands to "fix it" without realizing it realistically takes years to address roster issues in NCAA hockey (which is why I wanted to point out Cooley/McGroarty/Pastujov were all commits in 2018 -- a major criticism of JJ was not capitalizing in recrutiing on our Frozen Four success).

Already explained Pastujov. There was no way to predict it. We even had the kid on campus in August 2021 when it happened. I don't even know what could be done to prevent it from happening again. And the excuse was Ducks preferred the OHL because of the specific skating coach (which means it theoretically would've happened regardless of where Pastujov was enrolled). I'm all ears if anyone can explain how that's JJ's fault (or how it could be prevented in the future).

McGroarty in interviews openly admitted a big attraction to ND was the stud recruiting class that getting put together. He decommitted soon after the Pastujov issue. Michigan had back-to-back stud classes lined up. Those classes would've been impossible in normal years due to scholarship limits, but COVID came along at the right time (BTW August 2020 Matty Beniers needed a place to play since Ivy League was shut down -- we made a strong push, but he ended up in Ann Arbor). Michigan was aided heavily by Pat Brisson who pushed kids to MI to join his son. It was a confluence of freak events (Pastujov leaving, COVID, and an NHL super-agent recruiting kids to Michigan) that likely led to McGroarty decommiting. What should JJ do to prevent this from happening again? I'm all ears...

Cooley was almost certainly a product of McGroarty/Pastujov leaving as well as his rapid improvement in draft status. He did an interview with the week before signing day that said he was going to ND.....but then he didn't sign just days later. He shopped around for months while while still brandishing ND on NTDP lineup cards. It was a turd sandwich that snowballed from random uncontrollable events that will likely never happen again.

Like most on here, I had concerns there was something poisoning the program. Danny Nelson was my litmus test.

He isn't a top 10 prospect like Cooley, but he is probably in the 2nd round range. He had plenty of options. Gopher fans targeted him as the key recruit after MN HS tourney last year. His brother signed but stayed in USHL for a second year (the initial plan was only 1 year in USHL). But clearly Danny and the family trust JJ and ND because he committed in August and signed his LOI a couple months later.

Overall (despite the decommit problems earlier) we put together a very good group of commits last fall. Star ratings are pretty stupid and unreliable for hockey, but I believe Nelson/Stewart/Belle were 4.5 stars, Pardue/Mackie 4 stars, and Bartell 3.5 stars. And Kempf may be the first goalie on the team that gets drafted since Cal Peterson.

That class also shows me one of the first changes to "fix" things -- avoiding the mega stud 5 stars for the time being (although Belle might be the type of player that ends up a first rounder). I 100% agree with that strategy (at least for the short term). We need to get back on track ASAP and can't risk another "Cooley" or "Fowler" decommit in the near future. Once things get stabilized, then maybe push for the 5 stars again.

Cooley/McGroarty/Pastujov all committed before the recent recruiting timeline changes. Those changes alone should help "fix" things too (it's a heck of a lot easier for both player and coach to predict expectations/roster to a 16 yo that may be on campus in 2 years than a 14 yo who won't be on campus for 4 years).

It looks like there is a push to recruit more of the local Chicago kids too as a "fix". 2021 commits Slaggert/Fischer/Ali and 2022 commits Kempf/Pardue/Bartell are all products of the Chicago Mission program. We'll have more Chicago-area kids on the roster than I can ever remember.

The portal was great for us in 21-22. But it sucked in 22-23. It remains to be seen, but the next "fix" I expect will be avoiding the portal. Looking at the roster, unless Bischel doesn't come back for a 5th year I don't think we'll need the portal. If we dip heavy into the portal again I'll get my pitchfork out and join you guys LOL.

I also expect a "fix" with play style. It started in 21-22, but for the most part we mostly reverted to a very conservative game in 22-23 just to get wins. Although I have to say I thought we played a great game on Sunday despite the loss -- recruits/NHL/agents want to see us play that way.

Overall I also think we're just frustrated fans. At the end of the day, I expect JJ will retire whenever he feels ready (maybe it's this year or maybe it's 10 years -- and maybe he's "encouraged" to retire by leadership). We've seen the multi-year setbacks that occur with recruiting disruptions, so if we're smart we'll try to keep Slaggert around in some capacity. But I'll be fine if we jettison Pooley into the sun.

Always appreciate your recruiting insight. Hopefully Drew
by zahm82  (2023-03-07 23:31:57)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Stewart turns into the second coming of Max Ellis

I definitely appreciate the recruiting sauage. It does help
by wearendhockey  (2023-03-07 21:30:04)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

shed some light on some of the nuts and bolts of how we got here. And we are frustrated fans. Your sound reasoning is a good counterbalance to my emotion. I think I probably just feel a little more strongly about how much blame Jackson deserves as the one ultimately responsible for fixing things.
I absolutely concur with the Pooley note. Jackson needs to listen to a new voice as far as assisting in gameday prep, special teams contruction and anything else Pooley has a hand in.

Matthew Wood
by NH74Domer  (2023-03-07 15:39:42)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

As I was reading your post, I couldn't help but remember the linked article and the effort UConn made in recruiting Matthew Wood, the youngest player in D1 hockey.

I would like to believe that our coaches were as aggressive in trying to retain our previously committed players, but I am left wondering how much effort was put into it.

I wonder how much sway Snuggerud had with Cooley going to
by zahm82  (2023-03-07 14:21:21)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

the Gophers since the two were roommates in the NDTP program? Motzko was salivating publicly in the paper about how he wished Cooley was a Gopher before he "officially" committed to Minnesota

Maybe we should hire an offensive consultant because I don't
by zahm82  (2023-03-06 22:14:18)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

think Jackson knows any other ways to run an offense?

I wonder if adding Oglevie to the staff as a volunteer
by NH74DOMER  (2023-03-07 09:08:27)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

assistant coach was an attempt at this? If so, seems halfway at best.

He ought to know. His LSSU teams knew how to outscore teams
by wearendhockey  (2023-03-06 22:43:17)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

In 6 seasons there his teams led the CCHA in scoring or finished 2nd five times. Yes, a higher scoring era, but his teams still shone offensively compared to teams in those same seasons. Hell, in 6 trips to Detroit for the CCHA finals his teams scored 63 goals in 11 games (on the way to 4 CCHA playoff titles). It took his team this year 31 games to score 63 goals.