Sid: Lucia does good job

BleedGopher

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per Sid:

Lucia does good job

A year ago, a lot of the hockey buffs who think hockey is the only sport that exists wanted Don Lucia fired and threatened to run a full-page ad in the newspaper to encourage Gophers athletic director Joel Maturi to find a new coach.

Well, now that the Gophers have won the MacNaughton Cup, all is quiet on the local front, and those critics who think they are experts don't exist when it comes to Lucia and his ability to coach.

No doubt the fact that Maturi helped bring Mike Guentzel back as associate head coach played a part in the success of the team. Guentzel left the Gophers in 2008 after 14 years as an assistant but returned this season.

"Mike has done a terrific job, he really has," Lucia said. "Grant [Potulny] and our staff and Justin Johnson working with the goaltenders and the defense core has done a really nice job. We thought it'd be a pretty seamless transition, and it has worked out that way. Mike obviously has a lot of passion for this hockey program and I think it shows with our players."

The Gophers will play Alaska-Anchorage, the team that knocked them out of the WCHA playoffs last year. "So we're kind of excited to get a chance to play them again," Lucia said.

Certainly, after this weekend at Mariucci Arena, the Gophers hope to keep playing in St. Paul. After again holding the WCHA Final Five, Xcel Energy Center also is home to the NCAA's West Regional.

http://www.startribune.com/sports/vikings/141837703.html

Go Gophers!!
 

DLguy

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The combination of Hill leaving and Guentzel coming back is the biggest reason for the turnaround. Guentzel is a great players coach, which is a great balance with Lucia who is not.
 

MRJ

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The combination of Hill leaving and Guentzel coming back is the biggest reason for the turnaround. Guentzel is a great players coach, which is a great balance with Lucia who is not.
Agree completely. From game one this season, the team's mindset seemed much different. And while there have been periods of uninspired play during the season, the team has come up big when it's needed to this season. None of that happened when Hill and Lucia were behind the bench together the last few years. Credit goes to Lucia for recognizing the importance of getting Guentzel back into the coaching fold.
 

bleedsmaroonandgold

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I think Lucia is good at getting talented players to come to the U, but I don't think he does the best job of identifying who his best players are. He has Jake Parenteau playing behind Marshal and Holl, when I think Parenteau is a much more solid even strength defenseman. Sam Warning has some promise, but I think there are better players for the second line. I would rather see Nick Larson, Nico Sacchetti, Tom Serratore, and Joey Miller getting more playing time at the expense of Ambroz and Warning. Maybe part of that is wanting to get playing time for players who will be around next year, but there is something to be said for senior leadership and experience as well.

Getting Guentzel back was huge. That man is a genius.
 
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