Monday, April 21, 2008

Team USA loses to Russia, Eaves comments on recruits

Unfortunately today Team USA lost to Russia 3-1 at the World U-18 championships.

Also today, Mike Eaves commented on the 6 recruits who have signed to be part of the 2008-2009 recruiting class for the Wisconsin Badgers. Those 6 are forwards Derek Stepan and Jordy Murray from Shattuck St. Marys, forward Matt Thurber (Pictured) from Omaha in the USHL, defenseman Jake Gardiner from Minnetonka high school, Ryan Little from Green Bay in the USHL, and Eric Springer from Sioux Falls in the USHL. Thurber (Beaver Dam), Little (Fond du Lac), and Springer (Wrightstown) are Wisconsinites.

Eaves comments on Stepan:
“Derek is a very gifted forward with a lot of offensive skill. He’s been a member of Shattuck and its last two national midget championships so he comes from a program that knows what it takes to win. We look for Derek to come in, and even as a freshman, hopefully do some good things for us offensively.”

Eaves comments on Murray: “Jordy also comes from Shattuck-St. Mary’s where he comes from two national championships – the first back-to-back championships they’ve had. Jordy will remind people a lot of Patrick Johnson. He is not very big in stature, but his heart is as big as his chest. He has a real good feel for the game, both with and without the puck. We look for Jordy, because of his competitiveness, to be able to come in and have an affect right away.”

Eaves comments on Thurber:
“Matt left high school as a 15-year old and has played three years in the USHL. He’s a heart and soul guy, and very much like Jordy Murray, he can play very well with and without the puck. He is very competitive and has great leadership qualities. He leads by example and is just a dogged player. Because of his experience in the USHL, which is probably one of the premier leagues in helping a young man get ready for college, we expect Matt to come in and be somewhat of an impact player right away.”

Eaves comments on Gardiner: “Jake is a highly-touted young high school defenseman who has a terrific gift to skate. Because of that skating ability, he will probably be a pretty high pick in the NHL draft. He sees the ice, skates and handles the puck. We are excited that he is coming to learn how to play without the puck and play the defense position. He will have a great mentor in assistant coach Mark Osiecki. We look for Jake to come in and learn quickly. He is going to get some significant ice time.”

Eaves comments on Little:
“Ryan has played the last couple of years with Green Bay in the USHL. He is a pretty steady young defenseman. He is very competitive in nature, makes a good first outlet pass, has a good stick and moves well. Again, we look to Ryan to battle for significant ice time.”

Eaves comments on Springer: “Eric is another Wisconsin lad who has been playing in the USHL. He was part of the power play and was a point-producing defenseman for Sioux Falls. He is very competitive in nature and not the biggest guy, but again one of those guys whose heart is as big as his chest. He sees the ice well with the puck and moves well and we look forward to seeing how he fits in. He is going to round out our defensemen and the biggest thing we’ve got going there is everybody is going to be pushing each other.”