Tom Anastos has done a terrific job since he was hired by winning the press conference, opening some neglected recruiting trails and loving on a neglected fan base.Â Similar to what Mark Dantonio did when he arrived, he couldnâ€™t have done any better.
The more this team gets to spend with him, the new staff and of course the great Coach Newt will only make them stronger.
Finally he gets to start actually working out his players.Â As I have reminded you countless times since he was hired, you canâ€™t really start judging him until his 2013 recruits arrive on campus because 11/12 are already done by the previous staff.Â What you can judge are the players getting better and fighting and scrapping in every game.
Anastos will have to improve the talent level for sure.Â Like Dantonio who had to repair broken relationships in Detroit, Anastos has had several other relationships recruiting wise to fix.
The sad part is the ignorant NCAA rules have kept him from even getting time on the ice until last Thursday with his guys and even really getting to know them.Â He is like a kid in a candy store with excitement for getting ice time (albeit limited) with his kids and getting to actually spend quality time with them.
Things didnâ€™t start easy.Â When they arrived on the ice last week the Munn Arena staff had shaved the ice down in four spots on the rink to the cement so they could repaint some logos.Â Trying to maneuver around that was interesting, but fitting to how things have started for the new Spartan head man.
Anastos has the fire and intensity of Dantonio, and frankly by all accounts the demeanor of him also in coaching.Â He didnâ€™t complain, he just laughed and moved on.
On Monday and today he brought in a former Marine Commander and a Navy Seal to run a â€œJudgment Dayâ€ program for his kids.Â On Monday they did various non-hockey drills at the MSU football indoor facility.Â Today they met at the pool at 3:45 AM, yes AM and Anastos walked away impressed with the leadership and team chemistry of his icers, once again in non-hockey exercises.
The Marine and Seal are the same pair that have previously worked out the Womenâ€™s basketball team, softball and volleyball.Â All three of those coaches have raved about the impact on the team.
Here is how screwed up hockey is with the decrepit and outdated NCAA.Â The Spartans open hockey practice on October 1.Â Have an exhibition, but still a game on October 3 and then open the season on October 7 against what is a sure-to-be top ten Boston College team.Â Imagine Izzo or Dantonio playing a game six days after the NCAA actually allowed practice.
One thing Anastos likes is that he has a, â€œDepth of leadership that I did not anticipate.â€Â Does that transfer into wins?Â I wouldnâ€™t expect many, but it is impressive about the character of these young men.
I stand by as a goal for this team a .500 regular season record and to be competitive in every game.Â For the first time in a few years I canâ€™t wait for Spartan Hockey to start.
Here is an interesting anecdote from Coach Anastos that occurred at the 3:45 AM team-building event at the MSU pool this morning.Â There were several moments Anastos watched worried about his team and whether or not some would sink (literally) or swim.Â What amazed him was, â€œYou would see two guys who could swim go over to a guy that really couldnâ€™t and help him.Â I was just amazed at how well they work together.â€
I have no clue how Anastos will do.Â What I do know is that his fire and exuberance have done an amazing job reinvigorating the program and make sure you read the September Spartan Nation Magazine for more.