Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Laliberte won't be here; Nolan Graham will

It pains me to say it, but Jacob Laliberte won't be among Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's freshman class in September. As mentioned herein several times before, the high-scoring centerman will likely never play for the Engineers, or play college hockey anywhere.
It's too bad. The slightly-built Laliberte certain has outstanding offensive skills.
The problems, numerous sources say, are simply a matter of maturity and discipline; or rather, a severe lack of both.
Rensselaer fans are well aware of Laliberte's scoring prowess. He scored better than one goal per game in the Central Junior Hockey game and totaed 119 points (65-54-119) in 62 games. What most of them aren't aware of is that Laliberte lacks maturity and committment. He expects things to come as easy to him at the college and pro level, sources say, as they have in junior hockey. Of course, his outlool is unrealistic.
Laliberte left his Cornwall Colts team for several games last season to vacation in Florida with his girlfriend's family. He demanded a trade. He was moody.
Rensselaer fans, excited to see Laliberte on an RPI power-play unit with Chase Polacek, Brandon Pirri, Jerry D'Amigo, Mike Bergin, don't understand that unless Laliberte realizes that succeeding at the college level will take much more committment, hard work and discpline than do the juniors, and unless he's willing to make that committment, he will not succeed at RPI.
Whether or not Laliberte comes to RPI in the fall of 2011 will be entirely up to him.
Time will tell.
On more positive note, former RPI center Nolan Graham will be hired to replace assistant coach Jim Montgomery.
Graham, who scored 77 points (27-50-77) in 140 games at RPI, has head coaching experience at Alberni Valley of the British Columbia Hockey League. He led the Bulldogs to the league playoff semifinals one year after they won just 16 games.
The Record has also learned that head coach Seth Appert has pretty much finalized the class of 2014.
The kid -- Patrick Koudys -- will come to Troy one year early. He and the Engineers will have played 11 games by the time Koudys turns 18 years of age in mid-November 15.
Koudys will join Bowling Green transfer Nick Bailen, and the 6-foot-4, Guy Leboeuf on the blue line for Appert.
Also, defenseman Bo Dolan is said to be close to committing to RPI. He's a 5-foot-11, 190-pound two-way blue liner who can be a second-unit power play man but who also is a physical, nasty competitor.
So, Appert and staff, it would seem, have done a fine job replacing graduating defensemen Erik Burgdoefer, Peter Merth, Christian Jensen and Mark Zarbo.
Defensemen Luke Curadi and Nick Quinn, both of whom Appert considered for next season or 2011-12, will play for Montgomery in Dubuque next year and join RPI for 2011-12.
Right winger Greg Burgodoerfer, who transferred from Air Force and sat out last season, will be among four first-year awards next season, along with left wingers Brock Higgs and Matt Tinordi and center Johnny Rogic.
More on them next time.

LaLiberte won't be here