Guy Gadowsky Talks Leadership, Offense At Hockey Media Day
Penn State hockey’s season is right around the corner, and it held its annual Media Day on Wednesday to build some hype. Head Coach Guy Gadowsky and his leadership corps took to the podium to address some offseason news and what to expect moving forward. Here are some of the biggest stories from the press conferences.
Eric Scheid Will Miss Six Weeks
While a Penn State coach giving some insight to injuries is refreshing, that doesn’t mean that this loss will sting any less. Scheid, the team’s leading scorer two years ago, is expected to be one of the team’s key forwards and was likely the leading candidate for the top-line center role to replace the graduated Taylor Holstrom. This opens the door for David Glen to step up to the top line, unless David Goodwin moves over from his natural left wing spot like he did at the end of last season when Holstrom went down with an injury.
Casey Bailey Is Gone, But Not Forgotten
The program’s all-time leader in goals and points in its short Division I history has left for greener pastures (or whatever you’d consider the Toronto Maple Leafs organization). His three seasons in Hockey Valley were historic, and his impact on the program will never be forgotten.
“We’re thrilled for him,” Gadowsky said. “We lost him a year earlier than expected, and certainly for this year that’s not ideal, but I think for our program that’s extremely important. To have him play in the NHL already after only three years in our program, I think it’s a great testament to him and it’s great for our program.”
“I think what happened with Casey Bailey is a very important step,” he continued. “I think when you ask, ‘Is it going to change Penn State hockey?’ I hope not. Because the great thing about Penn State hockey is Penn State University. The success that we’ve had has been the student section, the great atmosphere at Pegula Ice Arena, how much our student-athletes are supported by the athletic department, there are so many things that make Penn State hockey great that aren’t on the ice. But when you play in the Big Ten, and if you look at the number of players that are already drafted, the Big Ten leads the way in the nation.”
The Goalie Situation Is The Same As Last Year: Who Knows?
Penn State’s unorthodox, three-goalie approach last year was fun and somehow somewhat successful. Matt Skoff and Eamon McAdam started the season trading starts with the expectation that one would take the reins and carry the team through the season. That didn’t happen, and when senior and third-string goalie P.J. Musico was given time, he played lights out. Essentially, the approach to goaltending last year was unorganized, despite its decent amount of success. Gadowsky made sure to point out that this year will start like last year did. Skoff and McAdam will split time at first, and one player will see more starts if he plays better than the other. Musico has graduated, but freshman Chris Funkey, who was a star in junior hockey, will wait in the ranks for his turn. Who knows what will happen.
Lots Of Offense Left The Program, But It Can Be Replaced By Committee
Casey Bailey plays in an NHL organization, Taylor Holstrom graduated, Scott Conway left due to off-ice issues, and we won’t see Eric Scheid until mid-November. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of talented forwards in the program. From returning top-liner David Goodwin to incoming freshman Andrew Sturtz, there are many reasons for confidence across all four lines.
“Trust me, we’d love to have [Conway]’s offense back, but we lost him due to off-ice issues, and we’re disappointed not to have his skill in the lineup,” Gadowsky said. “Those are obviously two guys (Conway and Bailey) who put up a lot of points and a lot of goals, and we can’t replace them by pointing to Dylan Richard or David Glen or Eric Scheid and saying, ‘you’re the one that’s going to replace them,’ we definitely have to do it by committee. Sure there are guys who are very obvious that we’ll be counting on, but we’ll see. I think there a lot of guys that could fill the deficiency on offense by committee.”
“David Goodwin is the highest scoring returning player in the Big Ten,” he continued. “I think not only are we looking forward to him, I think everybody understands that he’s a guy that’s going to have to have a comparable year for us if we’re going to score as many goals as we did. The key for him will be to find synergy with someone else. His synergy last year was actually with two guys that we lost, Casey and Taylor Holstrom who graduated… I don’t think he necessarily received enough credit for the success of that line, but a lot of their collective success was because of chemistry, and I think our challenge is to find another line that can have the same chemistry or that can find strong chemistry with him.”
There Is No Lack Of Leadership On This Team
In February of 2014, David Glen donated bone marrow to save the life of someone he’d never met. With the graduation of former captain Patrick Koudys, there was no doubt who should be the leader of this locker room. Gadowsky said that Glen was selected as the team captain by a unanimous team vote, and deservedly so.
“We have a good group up here so we know the standard that’s been set by Koudys and guys like Jensen who were here from the start,” alternate captain David Thompson said. “They built a good foundation for us and it’s our role to just be able to build upon that and make sure that it’s stronger than it was in previous years so that when we move on, it’s a solid foundation and you can build on it from there.”
“I think we all have our high and low points,” Glen added. “I think some of us are more vocal in certain circumstances, I think all three of us lead by example and uphold a level of professionalism off and on the ice that we hope to pass on in the foundation of what we think Penn State hockey should always be about.”
Despite Some Key Losses, There Are Many Reasons For Excitement
Gadowsky said it all at Media Day: Even though some of Penn State’s best hockey players ever have left the program, there are many, many more ready to go and take it to new heights.
“I’m hoping that we’ll be better defensively as a team, we certainly lost some offense and it’s not a given that we’re going to score as many goals, but we brought in three defensemen and look at the returning defensemen that we do have… It’s team defense that gets that job done and as we’re continuing we talk about the creativity of offense being part of our identity, we also want to be very good and very consistent suffocating defensively. As a whole I think we’re getting better and better,” he said.
“It’s no secret that this staff has played to score goals, we really love the fact that it’s fun to watch from the bench and the stands, I think the NHL scouts enjoy watching it as well, and we believe it’s great for development and we can win that way.”
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The Nittany Lions moved up one spot following their 33-28 victory over Indiana on Saturday.
Toney finished the game with four sacks, including a crucial one on the Hoosiers’ final drive of the game late in the fourth quarter.
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