|2011-12 Boston College Eagles: Where are they now?|
|Written by Dan Marrazza|
|Tuesday, 23 October 2012 00:23|
The members of the 2012 national champion Boston College Eagles have began to go their separate ways, but the bonds that tie the players together are still stronger than ever.“We win today and we walk together forever.”
Legendary Philadelphia Flyers head coach Fred “The Fog” Shero popularized this phrase in hockey when his Broad Street Bullies teams captured back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975.
And in most ways, Shero’s words still hold true to this day. After all, for any hockey player, those rare, perhaps non-existent championship seasons have the ability to be indelibly etched in their minds as highlights of a career where in more cases than not, a player’s season ends in defeat.
For college players, the “forever” aspect can be somewhat fleeting, in many ways ending with a graduation or signing of a professional contract. So while the memory of the championship season and the relationships forged along the way always remain fresh in college players’ minds, these memories are oftentimes overshadowed by being pitted against their former college teammates throughout their professional careers.
Furthermore, alumni of national championship-winning college teams often leave school with entirely different skill levels, casting their careers onto perhaps never-again-intersecting planes of development.
Six of the 26 members of Boston College’s 2012 national championship-winning team have since turned pro in either the AHL or ECHL, and none of them have joined the same team or project as even slightly similar professional players.
Of those six players, including Tommy Cross, Brian Dumoulin, Paul Carey, Barry Almeida, Edwin Shea and Chris Kreider, Kreider is obviously the Eagle who has soared highest early in his professional career.
“Seeing him come out of the Boston College program was cool to see,” said Brian Dumoulin of Kreider. “He was just playing with us for a national championship, and then we look up and he’s on a Stanley Cup run right away.”
Although Kreider, BC’s leading scorer in 2011-12, had his Stanley Cup run end when his New York Rangers were defeated by the rival New Jersey Devils in a hard-fought Eastern Conference Finals, he was able to use the NHL’s postseason to preview what looks to be his bright future as a Broadway Blueshirt.
Actually, Kreider not only provided Rangers fans a preview of what they can expect in the future, but also made NHL history in the process.
Scoring five playoff goals with the Rangers last season, Kreider broke Montreal’s Eddie Mazur’s 59-year-old record for the most career goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a player yet to have played a regular-season game in the NHL, while becoming one of New York’s most reliable forwards.
“He (Kreider) was a great player with us,” said Paul Carey. “The NHL is always a big jump, but we all knew that he could play at a high level.”
While Kreider made the big jump directly to the Rangers from college and has now jumped again to join the AHL’s Connecticut Whale during the NHL lockout, he isn’t the only member of Boston College’s 2012 championship team who has had to make an unexpected jump.
Hulking defenseman Brian Dumoulin, a 2012 Hobey Baker Award finalist and 2009 Carolina Hurricanes draft pick, was a centerpiece of the package that the Hurricanes traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Jordan Staal at the 2012 NHL Draft.
“The trade was something that surprised me, but wasn’t something that I took personally,” said Dumoulin. “I mean, if the Hurricanes had a chance to get a player like Jordan Staal, I completely understand. But being able to come to Pittsburgh, where I already knew so many of the guys, has made adjusting a lot easier.”
The guys that Dumoulin already knew in the Penguins organization were the slew of his former college teammates that were already part of Pittsburgh’s organization, including former Boston College Eagles Philip Samuelsson, Carl Sneep and Brian Gibbons.
“I think Brian will be a good player with the Penguins because he does the kinds of things that can’t be taught,” said Chris Kreider. “He’s poised, he moves the puck and he plays his best under pressure.”
While Dumoulin and Kreider are certainly the Eagles with the highest expectations and most pressure to perform as professionals, the two agreed that another one of their former teammates bears watching.
“Tommy Cross was our hardest worker on the ice and does everything 100%,” said Dumoulin. “He was our captain, he’s a great leader and he does everything the right way.”
“We’d always be told to do things the way Tommy did them,” said Kreider. “I feel like he was a professional in college even before he was actually a professional player. He just does things the right way. If he can continue to do the same things he did in college, I know he’ll be a good professional player.”
Cross, a play-it-simple, stay-at-home defenseman who was drafted by the Boston Bruins, is currently playing in the ECHL for the South Carolina Stingrays, after attending the Providence Bruins’ AHL training camp this past September.
But if Cross is the Boston College defenseman who has most flown below the radar while turning pro, Paul Carey would have to be the forward who has most been kept a relatively well-hidden secret.
Carey, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound cinderblock of a center, has four points in his first five games with the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters this season, which are more points this season than any Eagle who turned pro following the team’s 2012 national championship.
“He’s (Carey) a strong kid,” said Kreider. “He’s a pretty big kid and he moves well in that frame of his. He can make plays and he’s highly, highly skilled for his size. He thinks the game pretty well, too.”
“Having to learn a new system with Lake Erie is the biggest adjustment I’ve had to make,” said Carey, a former fifth-round draft pick of the Colorado Avalanche whose strong fundamental play makes up for his lack of high-end finesse. “Browny (Greg Brown), Cav (Mike Cavanaugh) and Coach York all do such a great job of creating a winning culture at BC to prepare us for careers after college. I think I’ve come to Lake Erie well prepared, and that I’ve been getting more comfortable every day I’m here.”
Meanwhile, Boston College’s third leading scorer last season, Barry Almeida, has played his way onto the Hershey Bears’ roster despite never having been drafted by an NHL team. In total, the 5-foot-8, 175-pound Almeida been able to successfully adapt his style to the pro game by scoring goals in two of the five games he’s played with the Bears stretching back to last season, seeming to indicate that he’ll have a good chance of climbing up the ladder in the Washington Capitals organization in coming seasons.
Additionally, defenseman Edwin Shea has also played his way onto a professional roster despite never having been drafted. A meat-and-potatoes style blueliner, Shea is currently plying his trade in the ECHL with the Greenville Road Warriors.
“Right now, I still consider a lot of those guys to be my best friends,” said Dumoulin. “A lot of us still talk all the time. We’ll always be friends, but I’m sure things will be a little different when we play against each other.”
Friendships changing after college?
Despite dominating college hockey, perhaps the members of Boston College’s 2012 national title-winning team are just like the rest of us?
Photos by Getty Images
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|Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 October 2012 01:23|