Wednesday, January 5, 2011

'We won't be there long; why should we listen now?'

TROY -- Rensselaer hockey coach Seth Appert was asked Wednesday if he worries that the Engineers being ranked No. 10 in a national poll, coupled with returning home for the first time in four weeks, along with playing arch-rival Clarkson on Friday night, along with the unveiling of a new video scoreboard, may change the team's attitude.
"It better not," he answered sharply. "If it does, we won't be there long."
Appert said earlier, when the new poll was released, that he continues to believe the Engineers are "mature enough to handle" all the fanfare and distractions.
He also spoke of the pollsters, somewhat directly.
"It's amazing that ... when people tell you you're no good," he said, "you don't want to listen to them. But when they tell you that you're great, you're willing to let yourself to be flattered with the adoration of your fans or the media or whatever else it is.
"The same people who rated us (No. 1o) now are the same people who said we can't win without (Brandon) Pirri and (Jerry) D'Amigo, (the stars who turned pro after one year at RPI) four months ago. We didn't listen to them then, so we shouldn't listen to them now."
"Yeah, I'm worried": While he has faith in the Engineers' maturity, Appert does admit he worries a bit.
"I worry that all this attention and the ranking and all that (may) make us a little soft and allow us to feel too good about ourselves."
Not looking ahead: Appert takes focusing on now to a higher level.
When asked if he's happy with where the team is as he and the players prepare for the final 16 ECAC Hockey games, he said, "I'm just thinking about (practice) Thursday afternoon.
"We had a very good practice today; we were just OK (Tuesday)," he said. "We were a very good hockey team today. But our approach all year has been that we want to be great today (each day) in practice and our focus has been on (that)."
Union gets benefit of Clarkson's schedule, not RPI: Clarkson will come to Houston Field House on Friday night after having played Minnesota-Duluth (at Clarkson) on both Monday and Tuesday nights.
Appert doesn't think the Engineers will gain any advantage over the Golden Knights' heavy schedule.
"I think Union will benefit from that (on Saturday night), I don't think we will," Appert said. "They're (the Knights)coming off a long (20-day) break. Two games aren't going to tire them out. They had two very good games (two losses, 4-1, 4-2) against a very good team in Duluth and I think Union will get Union will get a benefit when they (Knights) play their fourth game in six days. I don't think we will."
Neckguards -- should they be mandatory?: That question was put to Appert on Wednesday.
"We have them," he said. "We have the undershirts that have the neckguards in them and we have the neckguards, as well. Dana (equipment manager Dana McGuane) makes that option available to any guy on the team who wants to wear it, so that option is available to our guys.
"Should they be mandatory," Appert repeated. "I don't know ... I'd probably be in favor of the option."
Kearns thrilled: Gary Kearns, a former RPI player and coach will be named to Rensselaer's Ring of Honor on Feb. 12 during the Engineers' day game against Cornell.
"It's quite an honor when you think of the people who've already been inducted," said Kearns, who joins his RPI coach, Ned Harkness and players Frank Chiarelli, RPI's all-time leading scorer, Adam Oates, one of the NHL's all-time leaders in assists, Joe Juneau and Bob Brinkworth the in the Ring of Honor, which is displayed in Houston Field House.
"It was quite a surprising phone call (from RPI Athletic Director Jim Knowlton)," Kearns said. "You get a call like that and you wonder what you did to deserve it. It's such a wonderful thing."
In addition to being an All-American forward for the Engineers, scoring 144 points (61-83-144) in just two seasons, Kearns took over the as RPI coach on just a couple months notice in 1964 after Rube Bjorkman left suddenly after just one year.
Kearns is credited with saving the Division I status of RPI's hockey program, though he gives the acclaim to the players in his first class, the Class of 1969.
A reminder; any RPI backers who'd like to share their memories of Kearns, as both a player and coach, please do so within this blogspace at
New scoreboard in use -- no video: Rensselaer's new scoreboard will be ready for this weekend's games but the video aspects won't be functional for a couple more weeks at least, hopefully for the Jan. 21 game against Harvard.


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