-- Not many things -- as the proverb goes -- are worth a pile of beans.
At 60 years running, however, the most valuable is likely the mythical stash inside the Beanpot Trophy.
Awarded the second Monday each February in Beantown to the winner of college hockey's most celebrated in-season tournament among Boston College, Boston University, Harvard and Northeastern, there are only a few new and unique facts to be established since Harvard kicked it off with a 7-2 win over BU in 1953.
That's the lead headline quote in the recent January edition of "Stops and Starts," the American Hockey Coaches Association publication.
Hockey East commissioner and AHCA Executive Director Joe Bertagna offered some unscientific results from a poll he sent to all coaches last November around possible rules changes in the new NCAA on-ice rule book coming in June.
Here are few quotes from Bertagna around the same two major rules that NHL.com conducted last season in an unscientific survey with current NHL players from the NCAA ranks in a two-part series -- namely a new overtime format, and the possible adoption of half-shields/visors.
* "There is broad support for going to 4-on-4 overtime, though most coaches prefer that a team get some credit for if tied after 60 minutes." (Currently, OT is five minutes at 5-on-5; a win in OT is two points for the winner and none for the losing team; one point for each in a final tie.)
* "Some who want 4-on-4 also want a shootout if the game remains tied, but not a majority of the 4-on-4 crowd."
* 52 of 59 programs responded to the question: "If you could make one change to the Rule Book:" The No. 1 response was "4-on-4 Overtime." No. 2 was "Leave the book as it is." No. 3 was "Allow half shields/visors."
Look for the NCAA to adopt the NHL rule of a five-minute, 4-on-4 OT with two points to a winner and one to a loser if the tie is broken, and nix any move to half-shields/visors, for reasons mostly associated with insurance and liability from facial injuries.
-- Bob Snow
One is for certain this Monday at TD Garden when Harvard takes on BU in Game 1 at 5 p.m., and BC tangles with Northeastern in Game 2 at 8 with NESN (New England Sports Network) televising both.
No Beanpot Tournament has featured four head coaches who have all won the tournament as a player.
If Harvard and Northeastern win their semifinal game, another milestone will be accomplished: these two have never met in a Beanpot championship game.
BU's Jack Parker has the most 'Pots as a coach and player with 21 and three, respectively. (BU has won 28 tournaments overall.)
"I won my first in 1975," Parker said at Monday's Beanpot luncheon at TD Garden where the 'Pot gets skated Cup-style, and the banner gets hoisted on Feb. 13. "It's a special event that has become recognized not only here, but around the country and internationally."
Jerry York has won it five times as bench boss and twice as a player; the trophy has been on display 16 total times at the "Heights."
"It's a great effect on the rest of your season," York said. "You've won a major trophy."
Indeed, Ted Donato
was a sophomore on the Harvard Crimson team that won the Beanpot in 1989 en route to the national championship trophy two months later.
"Great event that makes for a great season," said Donato, whose alma mater has won it 10 times.
Enter Jim Madigan, who has been part of three of NU's four tournament victories. He won it his junior and senior years in 1984 and '85, and then again as assistant coach in 1988, the last time the beans have been spilled on Huntington Avenue.
They came close to a fifth last year before bowing to BC, 7-6, in overtime.
A few months later, Madigan -- who had assumed various administrative positions at Northeastern after he was assistant coach in the late '80s -- succeeded Greg Cronin, who joined the Toronto Maple Leafs
as assistant coach to Ron Wilson.
"Exciting, obviously," Madigan told NHL.com about his rookie status come Monday night. "To be back involved with it just reflects me back to some of the positive memories I have as a player and coach. We've had some tough games in this tournament recently; last year, losing in the finals to a real good Boston College club. Our guys are real anxious to return the Beanpot to Huntington Avenue, which hasn't been done in a long time."
What's his focus to achieve that?
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"You take on the role to help get them prepared," he said. "Each player knows their role, but it needs to be refined as we get ready and make sure we play a 60-minute game. They don't have to wear the burden of the last 23 years not winning the Beanpot. Go out and win it for your current team and for our institution right now."
Northeastern has done well under Madigan's first four months of leadership. The 10-11-3 overall record (6-11-2 in Hockey East) is punctuated with an 8-0 run from Nov. 18-Dec. 31 in which it took three on the road at Michigan and Notre Dame.
NU then celebrated New Year's Eve by taking down national power and host Minnesota, 3-2, in the Mariucci Classic final in Minneapolis.
What's with the slight falloff since?
"After winning the Mariucci, we just didn't play with that same hunger," Madigan said. "It's a tough league; we lost three one-goal games against BC, BU and Lowell -- all nationally-ranked. But the Vermont trip last weekend came at just the right time to get us back on the road with two wins and just refocus."
The Beanpot will do that for most teams.
"The Beanpot is sudden death," Madigan said. "Monday night is sudden death. Then if you win, go to the second night of sudden death. That sense of urgency focuses on, 'Hey, you gotta play a full 60 minutes. There's no place to let your guard down.' It has to be approached like a playoff or Game 7.
"[Former Harvard coach and AD] Bill Cleary always said you want each class to win one Beanpot, so they can walk away with that experience once in four years. It carries through the rest of your life."
Madigan has carried those experiences his whole life. Monday night, it's about those in front of him.
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"The story of Jim Madigan at Northeastern is a good story, but now it's about 26 players in our locker room," he said.
On Campus Clips:
The Central Collegiate Hockey Association announced the return of "Local Hockey Heroes," as part of USA Hockey's Hockey Weekend Across America celebration on Feb. 17-19 and Hockey Day in Michigan on Feb. 18. Developing and promoting hockey in the community is a group effort, but often there are "all-stars" who go above and beyond the call of duty. "We would like to recognize the hard-working, dedicated hockey people that help make the game fun," said the CCHA's Tim Weatherhead. "If you know a 'Local Hockey Hero', please let us know by nominating them by Feb. 10." To nominate a "Local Hockey Hero," send an email to: email@example.com or visit Facebook at facebook.com/hockeydayinmichigan for more information. ... The Ferris State Bulldogs extended their unbeaten streak to eight games (6-0-2), and the weekend sweep of Michigan State was a first since 1990. ... Former Michigan forward and current New York Rangers
rookie Carl Hagelin
won the fastest skater challenge Saturday at the NHL SuperSkills competition, part of the All-Star Weekend in Ottawa, with a time of 13.218 seconds.