Bad news first today, it happened yesterday, but Brock Montpetit will not be joining the Wisconsin Badgers next Fall. He has decommitted and will begin looking for a new home in the world of college hockey.
Apparently there were promises of a "full" scholarship at 100%, but at Wisconsin and every other school in the country for NCAA Hockey the max is about 90%. Being an in-state kid this isn't a lot of money, though I can understand if Eaves said 100% and now he is getting something different that wouldn't be cool. There is obviously a lot more to the story than this though. Brock's parents paid a lot more than $2,000 (the missing 10% roughly) for his tutition at Shattuck St. Mary's in 2006-2007. I think the real issue was that he was a 2008 or 2009 recruit, and he was pushed back til 2009 while his former Shattuck teammates Derek Stepan and Jordy Murray are currently on the Wisconsin roster. I can understand seeing others who committed after you, but arriving earlier making him angry, but Brock didn't exactly light up the USHL last season. In comparison, while against lesser opponents, Stepan and Murray dominated their opponents. Playing time is probably an issue next season too. As always, the whole story is out there somewhere.
This is the 4th decommitment for the Badgers since July when Patrick Wiercioch decided to decommit and head to Denver. Later Travis Erstad decided to take a different and puzzling direction w/ his hockey career heading to UW-Stevens Point. Next it was Nick Pryor's turn to decommit following his time w/ the US NTDP.
Eaves catches a lot of blame around other hockey blogs, espeically Western College Hockey. I'm not going to put on the cardinal and white glasses and paint Eaves as a saint, but he certainly is getting a worse name than he deserves. Does he over-recruit? Yeah he has, and its worried me all summer. I'm not blind, we are losing only one forward for sure w/ Ben Street's injury and possible medical hardship redshirt, but before Erstad decommited we had 6 forwards lined up, that was way too many.
Following the 2006 Championship season there was a large number of early departures that caught the program off guard, and there was no way to fill in the roster so late w/ a player of the caliber of Joe Pavelski or Robbie Earl. Since that time, Eaves has been stockpiling kids in an attempt to avoid this happening again, but it hasn't. It could happen following this season, prehaps they'll be ready then and look remotely wise, but at this point four players who would have been 2009 recruits won't ever be wearing the Cardinal and White. I'm not happy about this whatsoever.
The realities of the four decommitments are not directly over-recruiting, per the information available.
Patrick Wiercioch-pushed by Ottawa to step up to a higher level of play, he leaves for DU when David Carle is forced to quit hockey. Patrick knew only a few months before he would be 2008 only if McBain or McDonagh left, they didn't, yet he still choose to commit. My understanding is he never gave UW a chance to do something, he just left. I'm still bitter.
Travis Erstad-had a bad year in the USHL, from what I've heard he didn't like being away from home, so he decided to make a choice that was best for him. Would a 4th round NHL pick decommit, and then head to D-III, when dozens of D-I schools would be happy to have his services if he was forced out due to over-recruitment?
Nick Pryor-he told our blog that he wouldn't be able to get in for academic reasons, and then changed his tune when talking to Baggot and Todd Milewski. So Eaves is to blame for a kid having academic troubles? Prehaps the US NTDP should pull it together and make sure kids are progressing scholastically as well to reach their goals.
Brock Montpetit-this "could" be the actual case of over recruitment lost Wisconsin a recruit, and a decent one at that. I'm sure more info will leak in over time, but for now promises weren't kept and a young man was unhappy about circumstances, and Wisconsin looks bad for him decommitting.
Eaves and the coaching staff has set up the program to look bad anytime a recruit decides to go elsewhere at this point. Any idiot will point to all the kids lined up and scream over recruitment, even when that might not be the case. As a Wisconsin fan, I hope the coaching staff has actually learned something from all this and comes up w/ a better plan. Putting your head in the sand, lining up twice the amount of kids you need for class and hoping it will all work out, is far from a prudent way to go.
Lastly, Todd reports that Eaves says w/ the decommitment, that prehaps the recruiting door is open again. Unless a Dany Heatley or a Kyle Turris come walking onto the recruit radar for 2009, its time to close that door at forward and move on to 2010.