Fire Lucia? Umm... Why?

The Minnesota Golden Gopher hockey team finds themselves falling short of the NCAA title game once again, this time, failing to make the Frozen Four.
"Don't blame the players, if you want to blame somebody, blame me," said Don Lucia, Gopher coach, during his last radio show of the season. "You still have to look at the big picture and what the kids accomplished... It was a pretty good run for our guys."
Gopher fans aren't exactly happy with the team's first round exit during the NCAA tournament, while college hockey hockey fans are wondering what the heck happened to the team that was picked by a lot of people to win the national championship, preseason of course, and didn't come close.

Patrick Reusse wrote a great article pointing out mistakes and flaws in a program that has shown more disappointment in recent years than success.

Should Don Lucia be fired?  It seems to be the thing to do right now, right?

The Gophers are able to get the top recruits from not only the state of hockey, but also the surrounding areas.  Every year I see fans salivate at the thought of the returning talent and incoming freshman, and how this is going to be the year "Pride on Ice" takes it all.

It's no secret that the Gopher's have 15 NHL prospects on their team, giving them arguably the most talented team in the entire country.  So what's the deal?  It's Lucia the problem here?  Should the Gophs just have fired him the day after the 3-2 OT loss to Yale much like they handled the Tubby situation?

But hold on one second here...

This guy has taken this team to the NCAA tournament for the last two years now, including two WCHA regular season championship finishes.  What more can you ask of him.  Especially after the 2008-2011 drought where the only action the Gophers made was two slick 5th and 7th placings in the final conference standings.

Since Lucia joined the Gophers in 2000, he's taken the team to the NCAA tournament 9 times, Frozen Four 4 times and won the National Title twice.

As far as conference play goes, "tDone" has taken his teams to 4 conference play regular season champions, 3 conference tournament champions, and has an overal record with the Gophers of 344-181-59.

Do you fire a coach that has won the national championship 14% of his time coach the Gophers?  Or taken the team to the NCAA tourney 71% of the time.  Hell, the Gophers have either won the Broadmoor or the MacNaughton 50% of the time.  The best part being, tDon has won 65.52% of the games he's coached in maroon and gold.

Fire Lucia?  Who can do better than what Lucia has done?

Have Minnesota fans been royally spoiled to the point that winning the national championship is the new expectation?

Many believe there is no excuse for not venturing farther and farther into the NCAA tourney after getting arguably the best recruits in the nation (see Roman's article), but give me the names of a few coaches who could take a team to the Frozen Four year after year over an extensive period of time.

Look at the teams who are in the Frozen Four right now- St. Cloud State, Umass-Lowell, Yale and Quinnipiac.  With all four teams combined they display 15 NHL prospects, tying the
Gophers exactly.  Are these the most talented rosters in the country?  Not according to NHL scouts.  So what gives?

There's obvious many variables that decides the outcomes of games, like these for example: team one style of play vs team two style of play, who's "peaking" or playing hot at the time, what's the team's mindset like, how bad do they want it...   Think about it.

Is this really Lucia's fault?  If so, who would you replace him with?


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