|The inspiration of John Muse||02.09.10 at 11:15 am ET|
It’s hard to watch John Muse and not think of Mike Lowell.
Boston College coach Jerry York feels that way. His star goalie, who played every minute of the team’s 2008 NCAA title run as a freshman, had surgery last April 30 to repair a torn labrum in his right hip, the same injury to the same hip that hampered the Red Sox third baseman in 2009. It was only natural for many to wonder if Muse could return to the ice and be effective, let alone return to championship form.
Ask Boston University and anyone who has come up against Boston College of late and they would say the East Falmouth, Mass. native is indeed capable of leading his team back to the promised land of college hockey like he did two seasons ago.
The goalie was voted MVP of the 2010 Beanpot following his performance on Monday night when he stopped 31 of 34 BU shots in a 4-3 win over the Terriers to capture the 58th Beanpot title.
“Anytime you have a hip operation, it’s a major surgery, even if it’s not hip replacement. He was on crutches for eight full weeks,” York said. “He keeps telling me, ‘I feel great coach and I feel more flexible,’ so hopefully, we’re past the area of concern.”
After starting the season, 3-3-1, Muse, who was platooning with freshman Parker Milner at one point, has caught fire in the last two months and is now 11-6-2, and appears ready to take his team back to the NCAA tournament.
“I thought his workloads in December and January [were good], and he practices very hard, so I think the surgery has been real successful,” York added. “Hopefully, we won’t have any more problems. It’s an injury that a lot of NHL goaltenders have. We’re all familiar with former New Hampshire goalie Kevin Regan, who went through the same operation with the same doctor.”
“It’s nice to be playing well,” Muse said following his Monday night performance that not only netted an MVP but the Eberly Award for best save percentage in the two-day Beanpot tourney.
Behind Muse, the Eagles have won four straight and six-of-eight and look to be gaining momentum for the Hockey East and NCAA tournaments next month.
“I think I’ve been playing well the past few games,” said Muse, who has lowered his goals against to 2.41. “The two trophies are more about help from my defensemen. A lot of those rebounds, they cleared right out of the way. I didn’t do it all by myself. I think we played really good team defense in the two games that we played here.”
Muse’s teammates are not surprised that he has made such a remarkable comeback after surgery last spring.
“If there’s one thing about John, it’s that he’s a competitor,” said BC senior Matt Price, who watched him train to get himself back on the ice this fall with the Eagles. “He wants to win. He wants to get those games. He wants to play the minutes and I think he did a great job.
“Especially coming off that surgery, he worked really hard last summer and he put in those extra hours, working on all those things he needed to do to get back to that shape he wants to be in. That’s huge in the offseason. Some guys can use it as an offseason, but John didn’t. He was working as hard as ever and it’s showed.”
BC is now 18-8-2 on the season, ranked 10th in the country in the latest USCHO poll, and ready to head into the spring with a hot goaltender.
“He’s been playing unbelievable and we don’t expect anything less,” Price said. “He’s a great goalie and John expects that of himself as well.”