Column: Don’t blame Lucia for woes

Many players are underplaying this season.

by David Nelson

Don’t expect me to join the #FireLucia movement anytime soon.

It’s easy to say that head men’s hockey coach Don Lucia shouldn’t be fired following last weekend; the Gophers won their third game in their last four. But even before Minnesota went on this nice little run, the idea of firing Lucia seemed a bit outlandish.

When a team underachieves and disappoints, the head coach becomes an easy target for fans to blame for the season’s woes.

But a closer look at the Gophers’ stat lines would tell a far different tale.

Plenty of people want to put all the blame on Lucia for the way the season has unfolded, but it seems ridiculous to give him even half of the blame.

In Minnesota’s series with Wisconsin late last month, sophomore forward Taylor Cammarata notched just his second goal of the season.

Cammarata boasted five times that number last season, scoring 10 goals over the course of 39 games.

But it’s not just Cammarata’s scoring that is down.

Out of the six players who produced double-digit goals for Minnesota last season, not one of them has reached that double-digit margin this season.

Sophomore Hudson Fasching put together a phenomenal rookie season, posting 30 points last year. This season, though, he only has 13.

With only five series remaining this season, senior Sam Warning has half his point total compared to last year.

And the Gophers’ woes don’t stop with its offense.

The maroon and gold’s defense has looked shoddy at points this season.

Last season, junior goaltender Adam Wilcox finished fourth in goals against average. He dropped all the way down to 46th this season.

A coach shouldn’t be blamed for this ridiculous amount of misfortune.

It’s easy to look at Lucia’s tenure and think maybe the Gophers’ skipper has simply lost a step.

That’s not the case.

Lucia’s simply been a cog in one of the more disappointing hockey seasons in recent memory, but he’s not the issue.

As the old saying goes, sometimes the stars simply fall in line for one team, and the program elevates itself to a whole new level.

Unfortunately for the Gophers, the stars didn’t align, and they’re posting a rather frustrating season.

So to all hockey fans who are calling for Lucia’s termination, just remember: He’s not the one putting on the maroon and gold jersey.