Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Stubborn Seth

TROY -- Seth Appert was stubborn. That's not a trait of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's hockey coach. But Appert said he should have moved Bryan Brutlag from defense to forward after his freshman season, not last year, halfway through Brutlag's junior season.
"I was stubborn," Appert said. "I should have made that move sooner. He actually brought it up to me before that.
"But we brought Bryan in here to run our power play and play strong defense for us," Appert said. "So we waited. I guess the things that make him special probably work better at forward and it's his will to compete is as strong as anybody I've ever coached and he just has this incredible ticker to win puck battles and pursue pucks. That probably suits him best as an energy forward.
"Last year," Appert said, "I thought that one of our weaknesses was that I didn't think our forwards played hard. "We knew that moving Bryan up, he might struggle with some things but we knew he would play hard and he didn't struggle with anything."
"But I was too stubborn," he added. "We should have done it sooner."
Brutlag said, "I guess the idea first got put in the air after my sophomore year. I bring I some things (to forward) that some other guys can't."

"Holiday Tournament champs": The Engineers have been champions of their own Holiday Tournament for a few days now.
It's still a nice title, one none of the current players had ever worn before, and it still feels good.
"Yes, definitely," said senior winger Scott Halpern. "It's the first time (RPI) has won it in a long time and it's a great feeling. Any time you win a championship, doesn't matter what it is, guys get excited."
"Yeah, it still feels good," said senior winger Tyler Helfrich. "It's a new week, back to work. We've got Yale Friday night. It's going to be a big challenge and we're excited."
The championship "gives us some confidence in the knowledge that we can win championships," said senior defenseman Jeff Foss.
Revenge has to be on the mind of Engineers when Brown University is mentioned. The Bears beat the Engineers in overtime in Providence last season on some officiating calls that were, questionable.
Then the 11th-place Bears shocked sixth-place RPI in the preliminary round of the ECAC Hockey playoffs.
None of the players would admit to the revenge factor, however.
"Nah," Helfrich said. "I don't think it was number one on our list. But regardless, like I said, Yale's a very big game on Friday."
Linemate Chase Polacek was asked if he wished the Brown game were first on the weekend, for the revenge factor.
"No, we're playing the No. 2 team in the country (Yale is tied for No. 2 with Boston University) and I don't think you can get more excited for a game on a Friday than to play the No. 2 team in the country in their rink and have an opportunity to take down a very good team."
Yale, beaten 5-2 and 4-1 by the Engineers last season, will likely have revenge on its mind.
"I'm sure they will," Polacek said.
Hey, the Bulldogs probably blame the Engineers for the ouster from the playoffs in the quarterfinal round. Had RPI not been upset by Brown, the Bears couldn't have pulled off the incredible upset, beating regular-season champion Yale in straight games.
Appert was asked if resuming to league play -- with two very tough road games -- following the tournament title will be more beneficial than if the Engineers had, say, split the two games.
"Only if we practice well all week," he said. "Good or bad momentum will go only as far as you let it take you. Good momentum can propel you confidence-wise, and how you feel, an the energy in the (locker) room and on the practice (ice), as long as you continue to have good habits and prepare properly and do things the right way, which gives you the opportunity for success.
"Just like when you're struggling, good habits and hard work can help pull you out of it, as long as you allow yourself to be pulled out of it. Momentum is a funny thing and as quickly as you have it, you can give it away if you don't do things the right way."
Injury update: Rensselaer captain John F. Kennedy will again be sidelined with a hand injury this weekend at Yale and Brown, running his inactive skein to five games.
The Engineers, strangely, have won all three games without their most very valuable defenseman and leader but keeping the winning ways this weekend with JFK still sidelined, will be a extremely difficult task to be sure.
Both senior center Joel Malchuk and sophomore winger C.J. Lee, both suffering from mild concussions, are quite questionalbe.


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