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Denver’s line chart for today’s semifinal game against Wisconsin at the WCHA Final Five is a little thin down the middle.

With Tyler Bozak and Tyler Ruegsegger out injured, the Pioneers have only three centers listed, and one of them is hurting, too.

Jesse Martin, who’s listed on the top line between Rhett Rakhshani and Anthony Maiani, was questionable for the Final Five after suffering what has been reported as a groin injury.

Joe Colborne and Brian Gifford are the other centers listed on Denver’s line chart.

The Pioneers have seven defensemen dressed to make up for being one forward short.

The shuffle adds a little more intrigue to the semifinal matchup. Denver has won all four games against Wisconsin this season, but the Badgers are 11-0 against the Pioneers all-time in the postseason.

  • 2moro

    are you kidding me? this is the best the spartans can do? i am a fan of msu and this hiring is a joke….get ready for last place in the big ten

  • Brian

    This is a hideous sham, and really reflects on what people in the Marquette area have been saying about the CCHA for years. Full of lies and deceit. Dishonesty runs rampant in this conference.

    “There’s nothing hidden about Tom Anastos.”

    What a joke.

  • What can change in week! He is also the owner SSG and his involvement in the ice business just adds to the stretch of the imagination to make him a head coach…maybe an NHL team is looking for a special teams asst. coach or a new management company for Munn! As the CCHA commissioner that just made that announcement that a Big Ten conference would be here soon it seems to be an abandon ship approach…kinda frightening after being there for 10 years..and all this transpires in what…four days, especially after years of trying to build credibility to this league and give it some stability… I wish the team and coach the best but I don’t think he’ll last long…successful coaches, especially at the college level seem to have a calling like the priesthood..sure some could be a bishop or cardinal but they build their parish (team/supporters/season) around their cause.. slowly..and MSU is a tough congregation to sell to if you don’t hear the calling.

  • Nwpilot414

    Tom Anastos??? Tom Anastos??? This is beyond incredible. I’m not sure which is worse, Hollis hiring a coach who hasn’t been a coach for almost two decades or the fact that the leader, the commissioner, the face and voice of the CCHA bolts two days after the Big 6 makes it official. That’s true leadership!!!

  • Anonymous

    Now someone can talk some sense into the CCHA about letting Huntsville in. The exuse “we can’t afford to travel there” is a lame exuse. Really? Perfect fit geographically and academically.

    • Bob

      With the three Big 10 teams leaving, you really thing the remaining eight members are going to want to go out an extend an invite to UAH where there certainly are more financial pressures than ever? Why would they add UAH, a school that would add very little to the league? The addition of that travel now makes absolutely zero sense. Adding schools may happen, but I don’t see UAH as one of them.

    • Davyd83

      Perfect fit geographically? Where did you study geography. By bus its a two day trip for all but Miami and maybe Notre Dame or Bowling Green. That adds expense for meals, hotels, bus and results in extra time missed from class. Though Omaha was a great town and a good league member, no one is missing that 14 hour bus ride. Or the expenses.

      • Anonymous

        Where do you think Beaver4life studied geography? (Honestly did not take a geography class while there – my bad)

        Huntsville is in N Alabama. True it’s a long(er) bus trip – but it’s within the the “footprint” of the CCHA (ie “central”). That being the point. Not necessarily an absolute proximity argument. Also academically similar to CCHA schools.

        Bemidji State traveled all over the country for many years as part of the CHA – a drain on the budget, yes, but not as bad as one would think. The question is not one of “can’t afford” but for one of an “unwilling to afford”. People get hung up on the fact they’re in Alabama. If it was Grand Valley State in the same position as UAH (which I know does not play hockey – this is for sake of argument) attitudes would be different I’m sure.

        Alabama is also warmer than most (okay pretty much all) college hockey playing towns in January.

        • Davyd83

          I know exactly where Huntsville is. I’ve been to many games at the VBC. Worked in the hockey biz in ‘Bama. I made the Michigan to Alabama drive many times. I’m wondering how you have it in the “footprint” of the CCHA. It is nowhere between Marquette, MI and Oxford, OH, between South Bend and Bowling Green. It is over 400 miles outside that footprint.

          I have great admiration for the UAH organization, team and fans. They are a great group. But you have to give something more than altruism as a primary reason for bringing them in.

          I would certainly love to see the program succeed. But adding them does not make sense financially to the rest of the league. And in these day when many schools are seeing reductions in state funding, which does funnel down to athletics, adding another expensive and lengthy trip does not stand up.

          • Observer

            I think you should look to get Huntsville in, I agree you might not think it is in the CCHA region but then how did Nebraska Omaha play in the league for so long…I saw a chart that showed if you average all the CCHA teams to Nebraska Omaha and all the CCHA teams to Huntsville, Huntsville is actually 38 miles closer. In my opinion you should be looking to grow college hockey not look to try and end a team. From what i have heard UAH has offered a great package to the CCHA, with all the teams bailing, to me it really makes no sense why you couldnt add UAH to the CCHA. Although maybe its fear of recruiting…honestly where would you rather play as a kid, somewhere that allows you to golf year round and has a nice size city, or up in the Northen part of Michigan where you barely get any sun at all…Not hating, just sayin….

          • bluetell

            UAH is waaayyy outside of the footprint. With UNO’s exit, the CCHA was essentially the Michigan Conference. 7 of the 11 teams were in Michigan. Notre Dame is 10 minutes from the MI border. Bowling Green is ~30 mins from the Michigan border. Adding UAH to the CCHA and saying it’s in the CCHA footprint is like Hockey East adding some theoretical Clemson or South Carolina team because it’s also “east”. UAH really doesn’t make sense on several levels

  • Pcice

    Does Hollis confirm that the first discussion with Anastos about being the new coach took place on Sunday? If so that is odd…if its not the case it probably is worse

  • Davyd83

    Nice article Paula. I share many of your skepticisms. I think this will either be a home run or a strikeout. Not much in between possiblity here.

  • MCB

    Anyone that has a passion for the game would rather be on or behind the bench instead of in an office building. Questioning the timing is a bit ridiculous. Knowing Anastos’ passion for the game, he would’ve taken the offer even if MSU was staying in the CCHA. Who wouldn’t?

    As far as experience, coaching is like riding a bike. Leadership is one of the most important traits in a coach. I’m not sure any real candidate for the job posses the leadership skills Anastos brings with him.

    Finally, if Hollis and Anastos can find away to bring Danton Cole in as an associate head coach, look out hockey world.

  • Guest

    Nice article Paula.

    So I really wonder, since the talk of a Big Ten conference started we’ve been hearing that the CCHA and the WCHA were making plans for life after the Big Ten starts a hockey conference.

    Now that the commissioner of the CCHA who was making those plans is now jumping ship, what becomes of those plans???

  • What happened to Newell Brown? Newell has much more experience as a Coach. He has been an Assitant and Head Coach in College Hockey, and has many years as an Assitant in the NHL. Tom Anastos has hardly any Coaching Experience. He can help out with the adminstrative work..

    • MCB

      Newell Brown is a coach for a team that’s leading the NHL in points. He was never a candidate.

  • LoisH99

    This is Hollis first “Biggy” mistake @ AD position….However, will probably get the opportunity to correct in 3 years. Hang in there Miller, Gwozdecky, and Danton Cole.