Thursday, July 31, 2008

One less forward

DPlaya at HIW has confirmed that Zach Bearson is leaving the Badgers but that the UW will honor his scholarship. (Not sure how much money he was getting, but I don't think it was a lot.)

Not a huge surprise, given his limited prospects for playing time this season. I confess I'm a bit surprised he's not transferring to another school, as he has 2 years of eligibility left. Not that my surprise means anything, since I obviously don't know the kid or anything about his situation (besides the obvious lack of ice time).

I was at Cap Ice a little over a week ago, and I believe at that time he was skating in the informal practices. Of course, if he's leaving the team but not transferring elsewhere, I don't suppose it would be all that unusual for him to skate with the guys over the summer. I'll have to check with nubeetle to see if he's seen Bearson lately.

So, by my count, that leaves the Badgers with 16 forwards this next season.

Mike Richter: Québec Nordique?

Funny headline on Puck Daddy: Sadly, Mike Richter has been traded to Québec. I'm tempted to buy a t-shirt for nubeetle . . .

Waterloo Blackhawks Tough Roster to Crack

Apparently, the Waterloo Blackhawks of the USHL have had to make some hard decisions this summer regarding their roster for the upcoming season. The Hawks should feature three future Badger forwards this season in Brock Montpetit, Craig Smith and Tyler Barnes. Not much in the article about the kids, other than Barnes had 2 assists in the all-star game. One of the coaches for Waterloo's camp was past Blackhawk and Badger Joe Pavelski.

This video features several of Waterloo's players including Brock Montpetit, who talks about working hard to improve his game.

Looking forward to see these kids in action this winter.

New College Hockey Blog ranks Wisconsin #7

I happened upon a new College Hockey blog the other day and they are putting together their Top 16 heading into the 2008/2009 season, at #7 is Wisconsin.

The author seems to have a pretty good background of WCHA knowledge, but the Badgers definately weren't one year removed from the National Title last season, but two.

Big things are expected out of Blake Geoffrion, and the potential of Wisconsin having the best blue line in the nation is touted as well.

Always nice to see Wisconsin getting some praise from outside sources. At the end of the day its all irrelavent though, the boys need to hit the ice hard in October and begin the season on the right foot.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

It's official: Don Granato new Wolves coach

(Photo from the Chicago Wolves website.)

As expected, today Don Granato was named head coach of the Chicago Wolves. The position became open when former head coach John Anderson became head coach of the Atlanta Thrasher.

The Wolves website has the official announcement, including a profile of Granato and some nice quotes by Wolves GM Kevin Cheveldayoff.

“When we began our search for a new head coach, we wanted a person who embodied the “Five C's” that we felt were important to continue the growth of the franchise, while maintaining our expectation of excellence: confidence, conviction, communication, character and championships. After the extensive interview process, it was clear that Don was the perfect man for the job,” said Wolves General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff.

“He is a person that is very confident with undertaking the job at hand and with the high standards of excellence demanded of all Wolves employees. He has strong convictions on how the game should be played and on how to lead people, and is an excellent communicator with a proven history of teaching and developing talent. Don is also a person of extremely strong character and has a very well rounded coaching and playing career with extensive championship experience.”

The Daily Herald also has a nice article today, including a few more quotes from Cheveldayoff, as well as some quotes from Don himself.

"And I think this announcement today brings another level of excitement because one of Chicago's own Donny Granato - born, raised, played hockey here - is now coaching one of the preeminent teams in the Chicago area."

"He has a proven track record of developing young players," Cheveldayoff said. "He has a proven track record of winning championships. Everything he's done, he's done to the utmost extreme."

"Going into games, and I mentioned this to Don (Levin), I would always have a thought, 'Boy, it'd be nice to coach here,'" said Granato, 40. "Then immediately I would say, 'You know what? Don't even think about it. You have a job to do. You have a job to do.'"

"This is a great challenge; the expectations here are very high," he said. "That, to me, I've always had higher expectations of myself than anyone else. To come in here, I have to do my job. I believe in myself and my job and the job I do. That will be my focus."

KT at Canada's U20 development camp

Canada's U20 development camp wraps up today, and KT has received some press. KT may not be available to particpate in the WJC as he'll likely be with Phoenix. Here's what he has to say about the situation.

"I'm kind of aware of it. If I'm in Phoenix, that's my dream come true. And if I come back here, it's always an honour to represent your country, so either way, it's a win-win situation."

"The coaches haven't addressed it, they just said come out and work hard. Just from my perspective, it's a new coaching staff and you want to impress them."

Turris scored a goal for Team White in the second intrasquad scrimmage. TSN has highlights -- Turris scores the 2nd goal -- he's #25 on the left of your screen. TSN also has an interview with KT.

I haven't seen much press about Brendan Smith or Cody Goloubef. Goloubef, of course, did not participate in any of the one-ice sessions. TSN has a feature on the defensemen at the camp, but neither Badger is mentioned.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Congratulations, Don Granato!

Last season, I was fortunate enough to run into Don Granato and chat with him a bit. At that time he was a scout for the Leafs organization, and he mentioned that he missed coaching and that he'd like to get back into it at some point. Looks like he's getting his wish, as he's expected to be named the head coach of the Chicago Wolves (AHL) tomorrow.

Hmmm. Perhaps I'll have to catch a Wolves game or two this season. Perhaps when they play Rockford.

Props to DPlaya for finding the above article.

Craig Norwich to be inducted into UW Athletic HOF

Baggot reports that the W Club will be inducting Craig Norwich ('74-'77, 114GP 42G 126A 168pts) into the UW Athletic Hall of Fame. Congratulations, Craig!

Other men's hockey players previously inducted include Steve Alley, Marc Behrend, Bert DeHate (W club spelled his first name wrong -- Bert is short for Delbert), Mike Eaves, Tony Granato, Bob Johnson, Mark Johnson, and Mike Richter. The W club has player profiles that include pictures and records, so you might want to check that out.

From the Badger Men's Hockey media guide:
Badger Blueliners
Among League’s Best
Many former Badgers hold WCHA records (career and season)and/or rank among the WCHA’s all-time top 10 in several categories. Below is a listing of those Badgers with the WCHA recordsthey hold and their rank in league history.
Craig Norwich
Points (season) 83 1st 1976-77
Points (season)* 63 1st 1976-77
Assists (season) 65 1st 1976-77
Assists (season)*49 1st 1976-77
Goals (career) 42 5th 1974-77
Goals (season)* 14 6th-tie 1976-77
Assists (career) 126 7th 1974-77
Points (career) 168 7th 1974-77
*–League games only

And below is what I wrote about Norwich a couple of summers ago for the "countdown thread":

Craig Norwich is one of just 5 Badgers to be named All-American twice -- he was first team in both ’76 and ’77. His 18 goals and 65 assists during the ’76-’77 season were good enough to put him in the Badgers’ record book -- first in single season assists (ahead of Eaves with 58 and Welsh with 54) and fourth in single season points. His 42 career goals also put him at the very top of Badger defensemen.

He was a key player on the ’77 title team, and he played the left point on that year’s famous power play. (This article has some nice quotes from Mike Eaves about that PP.)

About Norwich and the PP, teammate Tom Ulseth said, “We practice the power play all the time and we know where everyone is. Also, we have the best defensemen in the league. They move the puck around so well. Craig Norwich is phenomenal. I sit on the bench and I just enjoy watching him at the point because he’s so smart and good with the puck. It’s fun being a part of the power play and contributing any way that I can.”About the PP, Norwich said, “The key is passing the puck. We try to get the puck and give it to someone without stopping. By moving it quickly, it makes it tough on the defensemen and spreads them out. It’s just a matter of finding the open guy. Any power play is difficult to stop because you have the man advantage, it’s just a matter of how you use that man.”

And let's not forget what lites from buckyville had to say about Norwich: "Give me Norwich, and my team will kick your team's a$$!!!"

Badger Women's Schedule

The women's website on has yet to be updated with a schedule for the upcoming season. However, it does appear that the women's schedule is included in the Badgers composite schedule on The composite schedule contains some additions and differences from the schedule posted by Gandalf earlier. Most of the changes are pretty minor -- such as game time or Fri/Sat v. Sat/Sun.

Below I've copied the schedule that Gandalf posted, and I've noted the composite schedule changes in red. Not sure which is correct, as the composite schedule doesn't necessarily match up with what other schools have on their schedules.

Sept. 26 – Quinnipiac 7:07
Sept. 27 – Quinnipiac 7:07
Oct. 3 – Syracuse 7:07 Wayne State 7pm
Oct. 4 - Syracuse TBA Wayne State 7pm
Oct. 10 – at OSU 7:07
Oct. 11 – at OSU 7:07 4pm
Oct. 17 – at Bemidji State 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 – at Bemidji State 6 p.m. 7pm
Oct. 24 – Open Minnesota 2pm
Oct. 25 - Open Minnesota 2pm
Oct. 31 – UMD 7:07 Nov 1, 2pm
Nov. 1 – UMD 7:07 Nov 2, 2pm
Nov. 7 – Open
Nov. 8 - Open
Nov. 15 – at UND 2:07 p.m. Nov 14, 7pm
Nov. 16 – At UND 2:07 p.m. Nov 15, 7pm
Nov. 21 – UNH in Ft. Myers, Fla. 7pm
Nov. 22 – UNH in Ft. Myers, Fla. 7pm
Nov. 28 – MSU time tba 2pm
Nov. 29 – MSU time tba 2pm
Dec. 5 – SCSU 2:07 Dec 6, 2pm
Dec. 6 – SCSU 2:07 Dec 7, 2pm
Dec. 12 – Open
Dec. 13 – Open
Dec. 19 – Open
Dec. 20 – Open
Dec. 26 – Open
Dec. 27 – Open
Jan. 2 – Open
Jan. 3 - Open
Jan. 9 – at UMD 7:07
Jan. 10 – at UMD 7:07
Jan. 16 or 17 - UND time tba Jan 17, 2pm
Jan. 17 or 18 – UND time tba Jan 18, 2pm
Jan. 23 – at SCSU 7:07
Jan. 24 - at SCSU 2:07 3pm
Jan. 31 – OSU 2:07
Feb. 1 – OSU 1:07 2pm
Feb. 6 – Open @ Minnesota 7pm
Feb. 7 - Open @ Minnesota 7pm
Feb. 13 – at MSU 7pm
Feb. 14 – at MSU 3pm
Feb. 20 – Bemidji State TBA Feb 21, 2pm
Feb. 21 – Bemidji State TBA Feb 22, 2pm
Feb. 27-March 1 – WCHA First Round
March 7 – WCHA Championship
March 8 – WCHA Championship
March 13 and 14 – NCAA Regionals
March 20 – 22 – NCAA Frozen Four in Boston.

Thanks again to sunpraire who did a remarkable job of tracking down the unofficial schedule.

Wisconsin kid impresses at Caps develoment camp

Jake Hauswirth isn't going to be a Badger, but it's always nice to see a Wisconsin kid do well, and starting in 2009 we'll have a chance to watch him when the Badgers play Michigan Tech. Ryan at the USHL blog indicates that Jake performed quite well at the Washington Capitals development camp, and he has some fun links regarding Jake's camp.

Kyle Klubertanz, TPS Turku

Looks like Kyle Klubertanz will be playing in Finland this upcoming season with TPS Turku. I don't know any Finnish, but Google is my friend, and it appears that TPS stands for Turun Palloseura. I believe Turun refers to the city of Turku, and Palloseura means something similar to Athletic Club. TPS has both a hockey team (HC TPS) and soccer team (FC TPS), so don't get confused when googling for the team website or other team news.

Photo courtesy of Redheat15.

WCHA, Best in College Hockey?

I've been thinking about the topic of the supremacy of the WCHA in the College Hockey landscape since last season following the debacle in Denver where Randy Schmidt presumably cost Wisconsin points on Matt Ford's late disallowed goal. Obviously there was no guarantee that Wisconsin would have won or tied in OT, but they had Denver on their heels, and the WCHA officials took that chance away.

Those thoughts were revived last week when the WCHA killed a potential Camp Randall game between Wisconsin and minnesota. In the Badger Blog, Andy Baggot has more on this after talking w/ the minnesota's athletic director. More on this toward the end.

So lets take a look at why the WCHA should be considered the elite conference of NCAA Hockey, starting w/ the positives.

The obvious start to this discussion is the WCHA's dominance in NCAA Championships. Sure the CCHA and HE took the last two, but the WCHA took the 5 before that. Out of 61 NCAA Championships starting in 1948, current WCHA teams have notched 31 of those by my count, so basically half, and doesn't include the combined 7 from Michigan, Michigan State and Northern Michigan when they were part of the WCHA. North Dakota and Denver lead w/ 7, while Wisconsin has 6. Over those 61 seasons, current WCHA teams have made 86 Frozen Four appearances or roughly 35% of the spots including the all-WCHA Frozen Four in 2005. Since 2000, the WCHA has not missed the Frozen Four.

None of that even mentions the success WCHA Women's teams have had dominating College Hockey.

The WCHA features 5 traditional powerhouses: North Dakota, Denver, Colorado College, Wisconsin and minnesota. CC hasn't done much in the post season lately, but they sure are a regular season contender, so I'll throw them in. Duluth has had some good teams in the recent past, and St. Cloud may someday actually win an NCAA tourney game, but are a rising program. The depth of the WCHA is unbelievable. Last season, the WCHA had 8 legitimate teams for most of the season, until Duluth really tanked in the 2nd half. The WCHA sent a record 6 teams to the NCAA tourney. While UAA will probably never amount to much, Mankato has been moving in the right direction, and Michigan Tech has slowly been turning the program around. Night in and night out, there are no easy match ups on the schedule.

Off the top of my head, I can only name 5 other traditional powerhouses in College Hockey: Michigan, Michigan State, Boston U., Maine and Boston College. There are some other great teams out there on the rise that are of similar caliber to the better teams of the WCHA including Miami (OH), Notre Dame, New Hampshire, perhaps even Clarkson. That is 9 other teams across the country in comparison to 6 or 7 teams alone in the WCHA that have the same status. While B.C. or Miami (OH) get to play cupcakes half their schedule, Wisconsin rarely gets a night off in conference play.

Behind the 10 teams in the WCHA, are arguably a large percentage of the best players in the entire country and those who choose the NCAA route from Canada. Roughly 6 or 7 of those teams listed above outside the WCHA regularly produce a decent amount of pro talent. In the WCHA, North Dakota, Denver, Wisconsin and minnesota alone are regularly sending kids to the pros. Every spring the feeding frenzy of kids leaving early for the pros hits which conference the hardest? That's right the WCHA by far. I think this past season, every single WCHA team, including UAA, had someone leave early. Michigan, Michigan State and Boston College seem to get hit hard as well, but not most of their conference mates. Its constantly a struggle for the WCHA powerhouses to stay on top w/ the mass migration of talent to the pros, but the various coaching staff keep reloading.

In addition, the WCHA has done rather well in Hobey Baker award winners. While I don't hold much stock in the award (no Badger has ever won the award started by some rodent to the NW) it still shows that a lot of talented young men have came through the WCHA and succeeded at a high level. Approximately 25% of the Hobey finalist are WCHA kids, featuring 13 winners out of 28, just under 50%, including 6 in a row between 2002 and 2007.

The next aspect separating the WCHA from the rest of College Hockey is the quality of arenas that are featured throughout the league. Though I've haven't been to many arenas east of here, I would think the CCHA and HE have a hard time comparing to the Kohl Center, Ralph Engelstad Arena and Mariucci. I have been to Notre Dame's rink; what a dump. I know it will be getting a face lift in the near future, but they obviously aren't selling recruits on the excitement of playing there currently. Even the World Arena, Magness Arena and the National Hockey Center sound like decent enough rinks though I haven't been to any to confirm this (give me a few more seasons). I'm sure the new DECC in Duluth will be a top notch facility as well.

Lastly, I think the fans that fill those arenas each weekend make the WCHA what it is. According to this article (College Hockey vs College Baseball attendance), the WCHA has 6 of the top 10 average attendances in College Hockey w/ Wisconsin leading the way. Nebraska-Omaha really doesn't belong on that list, their arena is still not even half full on average. Wisconsin, minnesota and North Dakota fans will travel a long way to see their teams play. How many of us traveled to Dayton, OH last year for the Lefty McFadden to watch our Badgers? All I know is their beer supply was not ready for the influx of thirsty Wisconsin fans. The Final Five is always packed w/ fans from all over the WCHA, well maybe not UAA and there are way too many goofs in attendance, but a good showing overall.

All in all, those 4 reasons make the WCHA pretty hard to beat overall. Two main things are holding the WCHA back though: officials and administration.

Officiating, what can I say about the Sheppard family. Not much in the way of positive things really, which is kinda sad. That is not just for people named Sheppard though, Adams, Schmidt. I can't think of one on ice official who I really like in the WCHA, and by like I mean that I wouldn't want to see fired immediately.

There really is no need to rehash the past w/ these jokers. I can count more than one game where a blown call decided the outcome of the game last season, and one is probably too many to begin with. It goes way beyond that though. How many games got out of hand last year due to the officials losing control of the game? Joe Finley pulling Blake Wheeler out of the handshake line and all the BS that led up to that event. The fights in the DU/North Dakota series where a NoDak player threw a punch and wasn't ejected. Beyond that even to the complete inconsistency in which they call the games. You never know what you are going to get on any given night. Is it time for obsessive obstruction calls destroying the flow of the game, or perhaps is it a good night to shallow the whistle, burn a few calories and call it a night letting the game get out of hand. Probably somewhere in between or to one side or the other. I'm honestly shocked that Bill Howard is still as vital as he is watching this mess over the years from the press box.

You don't hear about these kind of problems in other conferences, at least not on a nightly basis.

On top of that, the WCHA is lucky enough to have Bruce McLeod, our fearless leader who guides the WCHA from his chair at Denver University. Bruce really doesn't do much, he created a standardized apology letter a long time ago to send out to schools like Wisconsin and St. Cloud when his officials make mistakes that could cost a team an NCAA berth or home ice in the WCHA 1st round. When the WCHA has a chance to really do something spectacular, like an outdoor game at Camp Randall, he squashes it because he is worried about the Herb Brooks Foundation screwing something up. Like Chris posted over on Western College Hockey, "if anybody is going to screw-up a WCHA's going to be the WCHA." Some quotes from Baggot's article linked earlier in the article:

"Maturi said McLeod was concerned about the fact the game would count toward the MacNaughton Cup. Why would that be a problem when NHL teams are playing outdoor games that count in the league standings?

Maturi said he spoke with McLeod, whose reply was that the NHL has an 82-game schedule and the WCHA plays 28 games. In other words, there is a much smaller margin for error in the WCHA."

So if there is a small margin for error, why does Bruce continue to allow the WCHA to be officiated by the biggest bunch of clowns this side of Circus World Museum? Does he not realize that literally every fan in the WCHA thinks the zebras out there are consistently good at doing one thing and that is a horrible job officiating WCHA hockey games? Its funny that while WCHA fans have some bitter disdain toward each other (I'm pretty sure DU fans will leave a lost CC fan for dead on a lonely highway), when it comes to thinking Bruce McLeod, Greg Sheppard and the officials of the WCHA are idiots, it doesn't matter what colors you wear, we all nod our heads in agreement and raise a toast like we are all long lost friends.

One last beef I have w/ McLeod, is that he works for a WCHA institution. The WCHA is big enough now, and important enough in the landscape of NCAA Sports, that it should have its own independent league commissioner and staff. The WCHA Final Five alone should be able to pay the wages of these people. I know the Big 10 is gigantic compared to the WCHA, but for the best of the conference, its time for the league to be run by persons not directly affiliated with any WCHA school. Jim Delaney, Big 10 Commissioner, went to North Carolina and was a commissioner of smaller conferences before landing in the Big 10. A little outside opinion and perspective is never a bad thing, and the WCHA really needs that right now in the worst way, along with a whole new set of officials.

Well, let's try to sum this whole thing up. At the end of the day, I still think the teams, their collective traditions and fans that support them, out weigh the idiocy of the WCHA administration and officials, making the WCHA the elite conference in College Hockey. But every season that gap is growing smaller and smaller. How many more games are going to have to be screwed up and how many big events to promote not only the WCHA, but College Hockey, have to be squashed by the people who run this conference before things are going to change. Its hard for the top teams in the WCHA to be wholly prepared for the NCAA tourney, when the officials in other conferences are calling games consistently and well, compared to the side show Greg Sheppard allows to exist every weekend in arenas throughout the WCHA. I'm glad Wisconsin is part of the WCHA, and I'm glad that all the games they play in conference mean something, I just hope that someday that the quality of the administrative heads of the conference catch up with the bodies making it so much money and bringing it so much success.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Playing your Seniors Part II: Tom Gorowsky

Earlier this month in his post "Playing your Seniors", Gandalf talked about Eaves' decision to play defenseman Josh Engel at forward in order to give the senior more ice time. As Gandalf mentioned, using Engel at F pushed the forward who would otherwise have played out of the lineup, and the most likely suspects for that spot were Tom Gorowsky and Andy Bohmbach. I'd like to think that both players would have had something to offer -- perhaps some scoring from Gorowsky, and perhaps some physical play from Bohmbach -- and I'd also like to think that their play would have benefited from the additional playing time.

Don't get me wrong; I have no problem with Eaves' desire to get Engel on the ice -- IIRC, he was the oldest player on the team, and last year's team was quite young and in need of experience and leadership from the older players on the team. Nor do I have a problem with Engel's overall performance, as he acquitted himself fairly well. However, I do think that other players would have been more offensively effective than Engel, and I think the team would have benefitted more from Engel's presence on the blueline. The blueline was extremely young last season, and Brendan Smith struggled quite a bit, especially as he seemed to lose confidence. Other defensemen also struggled, and while Eaves seemed to have no problem sitting forwards to send a message, I wonder why he hesitated to sit certain defensemen (and instead play Engel) when they appeared to be underperforming.

Now let's move on to the real topic of this post: Tom Gorowsky. As a senior, would his presence on the ice provide stability and leadership? Or would it push more deserving players off the ice? If given more playing time last year, would Gorowsky have been able to better step up his game? If given the opportunity this year, will he take advantage of it?

Before trying to answer these questions, let's take a look at Gorowsky's career with the Badgers so far.

Freshman year: Following up an excellent high school career with a pretty good season in the USHL, Gorowsky came to the Badgers with high expectations. Fellow freshmen that year included Jack Skille and Ben Street. All 3 played opening night v. SLU. Ben Street scored a momentum-changing goal , and Jack Skille scored the overtime game-winner. Skille and Street continued to play well, and Gorowsky seemed to be the odd man out. Given the Badgers' depth at F that season, it's not too much of a surprise that he was unable to earn a regular spot in the lineup. He played in only 18 games that season, and only 2 of those games were in the final 24 games of the season. In all but 2 of those games, he played on the 4th line. He finished with 0 G and 2 A for 2 pts.

Given the Badgers depth at forward and the results of the season, I have no inclination to argue with Eaves' lineup decisions. But that doesn't stop me from wondering what Gorowsky might have done if given playing time on the 3rd line as opposed to the 4th line, as I think perhaps his game is not best suited for the 4th line. Nor does it stop me from wondering what Gorowsky might have done if given more playing in time in the second half of the season after he had more of a chance to settle in as a freshman.

Needless to say, Gorowsky would have liked more playing time, but despite being frustrated he continued to work as hard as he could. Todd Milewski of The Cap Times had a nice article about Gorowsky's work ethic during his freshman year.

Sophomore year: Gorowsky entered the season disappointed about his freshman season and looking to make an impact his sophomore season. Milewski had a nice article about Gorowsky's mind-set coming into the season.

I remember watching the opening series v. Northern in GB, and I remember thinking that Gorowsky looked quite good. He looked like he was trying to prove he belonged in the lineup, and he looked like he was having fun. Playing on a line with Matt Ford and Mike Davies, he looked especially good on Friday night, finishing +3 with 3 assists and 3 SOG. (We all had a lot of fun that night, and I suppose that's when I became a Tom Gorowsky fan.) He scored his first goal as a Badger just 2 weeks later -- a power play goal v. Duluth.

Unfortunately, while being more productive than the previous year, Gorowsky didn't score as much as I (or he, I presume) would have liked. In 33 games, he recoreded 5 G and 7 A for 12 points. I'm a bit puzzled, as Gorowsky played in 33 games and was scratched for 8 games, but for some reason I had the mistaken impression that he sat for more than 8 games. I suppose it's because most of the scratches came during the second half of the season.

Gorowsky finished 10th on the team in scoring that year -- ahead of fellow forwards Andy Brandt, Blake Geoffrion, Ben Grotting, John Mitchell, Aaron Bendickson, Andy Bohmbach, and Zach Bearson. Of course, with the exception of Brandt, all of those players were freshman. And most of them can play on the 4th line, whereas it appears Gorowsky does not necessarily play well on the 4th line. My impression is that Gorowsky had a decent sophomore year but was not an impact player and perhaps did not fully take advantage of his opportunities.

Junior year: Gorowsky entered his junior year expecting to be able to earn regular ice time. Which is understandable, given that he was entering the year as the 4th returning scorer among forwards. However, the Badgers had some pretty good freshman entering the program, guys like Blake Geoffrion and John Mitchell stepped-up their games big time from the previous season, and guys like Grotting, Bendickson, and Dolan worked very hard and were very consistent in their play.

Before the season began, I had the opportunity to stop by a couple of the summer practices at Cap Ice. Gorowsky looked like he was having a pretty good time -- smiling a lot and scoring lots of goals. Was he smiling because he was scoring, or was he scoring because he was smiling? I'm tempted to believe the latter -- I like to think that he plays well when he's relaxed and confident and having a good time. And needless to say, I was quite excited about seeing how Gorowsky fared during the upcoming sesaons.

Starting out the season, Gorowsky actually got a decent amount of playing time. He played the first 6 games before being scratched for a few games, and he played in 11 of the 16 games before Showdown. So it seems he had the opportunity to earn ice time, and it appears that perhaps he did not take advantage of the opportunities, recording just 2 assists in those 11 games.

The Sat, Dec 1 game @ Mankato sticks out as the turning point where it became clear that Gorowsky was once again going to be the odd man out of the lineup. During the 3rd period, Eaves double-shifted Turris, and Gorowksy was the player who ended up on the bench. Not sure if Gorowsky got a shift at the beginning of the 3rd, but I do know that he did not play the final 15 minutes, as he stood in the exact same spot on the bench for those 15 minutes. Had to be frustrating for him, but to his credit he stood and watched the play throughout -- didn't see him sitting with his head down even once during that time.

Based on Eaves's comments following the game, it appears that Eaves was not comfortable with Gorowsky's ability to keep up in the fast-paced game. Gorowsky's skating and speed seem to be one of the main things holding him back, and while he worked on it quite a bit during the offseason, he still needs to make improvements.

Gorowsky played during the Badger Hockey Showdown, as a number of players were off at the World Junior Championships. He was the hero on Saturday, scoring 2 goals to salvage a 3rd place Showdown finish for the Badgers. It was Gorowsky's first 2-goal game, and I remember thinking that Gorowsky had finally taking advantage of his opportunity and showed that he deserved regular ice time. Unfortunately, Eaves comments in the former article indicate that perhaps he didn't see it that way -- his comments seem to suggest that he saw Gorowsky as a temporary fill in during the WJCs, regardless of how well Gorowsky played during that time, but perhaps I'm inferring too much.

I belive the following 2 games v. CC were also during WJCs, but Gorowsky was held off the scoresheet. Afterwards, Gorowsky played in only 2 of the remaining 20 games. I'm wondering if he would've gotten the opportunity to play in more games if he had more success in the Friday night Showdown game (in which the whole team played rotten) or the 2 CC games, but the point is moot given that he was held of the scoresheet in each of those 3 games.

Gorowsky finished the season with 2 G and 2 A for 4 points in 16 games, and as mentioned, most of those games were in the first half of the season.

So, where does that leave us? Let's look at the questions I posed earlier.

As a senior, would his presence on the ice provide stability and leadership? He doesn't have a ton of on-ice experience, but neither did Engel coming in to last year. It appears that Gorowsky has been fairly mature in handling adversity -- he worked hard his freshman and sophomore years despite his lack of playing time, and he tried to be a positive force on the team despite his frustrations. Becuase he was aware of his opportunity to play during the Showdown in his junior year, he worked during the Christmas break to be ready for the opportunity. Andy Bohmbach said "He never hangs his head. He's the first guy on the ice and the last guy off."

So while Gorowsky may not be the first name that comes to mind when thinking of the leaders on the team, he might just be a quiet leader who leads by example and who could be a good positive force on the team.

Of course, the team is older this year as compared to last year, and perhaps Gorowsky's leadership and presence as a senior is less crucial than Engel's presence as a senior last season.

Or would it push more deserving players off the ice? The Badgers have a ton of forwards this year. A TON. I count 17, meaning 5 forwards have to sit each night. And further meaning that Gorowsky has a lot of competition for ice time.

If given more playing time last year, would Gorowsky have been able to better step up his game? Given his performance in the Showdown consolation game, I'd like to answer "yes". That game shows that the potential is there, but there's no guarantee that he could play like that on a regular basis, and it's hard to expect a player to show that level of play afterwards when only playing sporadically.

If given the opportunity this year, will he take advantage of it? Again, I'd like to say "yes", but given the depth at forward, I'm afraid it will be a struggle for Gorowsky to get ice time to take advantage of, and I think it's hard for any player to play well consistently if he does not get consistent ice time.

So, what will this upcoming season hold for Tom Gorowsky. I guess we'll just have to wish Tom the best of luck and wait and see . . .

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Jeff Likens, Augsburger Panther

We recently reported that Jeff Likens would be playing in Germany next year, but we didn't have any details. Luckily, puckembucky is on the ball and found Likens on Augsburg's roster. Also playing for Augsburg is Wisconsinite Brett Engelhardt who played 4 years at Michigan Tech.

Photo courtesy of Neil Ament.

A few random items

  • As you know, Cody Goloubef, Brendan Smith, and Kyle Turris were invited to participate in Canada's U20 Development Camp that is currently underway (July 25-30). However, Goloubef will only be attending the first 2 days and will not participate in any on-ice sessions, as he is reportedly recovering from an injury. According to this article, the final U20 roster will be announced later this year in early December. In addition to being evaluated at the Development Camp, the players will also be scouted this fall.

  • On HIW, DPlaya shares an interesting conversation he had recently regarding Badger recruiting. I'm not surprised to hear "over-recuriting" being used by other teams against the Badgers, but I'm a bit surprised that the "defensive style of play" was not used. Anyway, thanks for sharing, DP.

  • Adam Burish can't wait to play at Wrigley field.

  • And in the "just plain goofy" department -- apparently the Iowa Chops (AHL) have offered Brett Favre a hockey contract. Thanks to Mirtle (who wonders if Favre can even skate) for the link.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Vacation Recap Part I

Figured its high time I get some pictures up from my Oregon/Washington vacation in June before the season really gets close and news rolls in left and right.

The first day of adventuring took us to Silver Falls State Park. Silver Falls is one of the top State Parks I've ever been too, I would put it in the same class as Devil's Lake. The park's main atraction is the Trail of Ten Falls, which as you might guess takes you by 10 waterfalls, here is five for your enjoyment.

All pictures are courtesy of my friend Roger who lives in Eugene, OR. He took the pictures, I shot video w/ my new camcorder. I hope to produce a DVD yet this summer.

South Falls, 177 feet tall.

Lower South Falls, 93 feet tall.

Lower North Falls, only 30 feet tall, but a lot of nice debris.

North Falls, 136 feet tall. This is one of my favorites. You can walk behind North Falls, and its deafeningly loud.

Upper North Falls, 65 feet tall.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Jefferson Dahl Recruit Recap

This spring/summer I plan to do an update on every currently known UW committed recruit. (I'm going to try and do it alphabetically by last name if possible) I have no idea if that will be once a week or once a month, it all depends on my free time. The first recruit we profiled was Tyler Barnes from Burnsville high school in Minnesota. We've also done goaltender Aaron Crandall. Todays profile is forward Jefferson Dahl who played this season with Eau Claire Memorial High School and will play next season for the Green Bay Gamblers (USHL).

Name: Jefferson Dahl
Position: Center
2008 Team: Eau Claire Memorial High School (WI)
2009 Team: Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)
Commit date: 5/28/2008
Season entering Wisconsin: 2010
Height/Weight/Birth year: 5'9/165/1989

Last Seasons Stats

Games: 26
Assists: 40
Points: 76
Plus/Minus: +59

Jefferson Dahl is one of my favorite recruits not only because he's an excellent hockey player and from my hometown, but he's one of the nicest people I have ever met. I wrote an article on that which you can find here.

Last season Dahl lead Eau Claire Memorial to one of the most successful seasons in the history of Wisconsin high school hockey. Eau Claire Memorial went 26-0 en route to their first state championship. While the team had many great players, no one was more important than captain Jefferson Dahl. Averaging nearly 3 points per game is an absolutely ridiculous feat even at the high school level.

As a player Jefferson is outstanding. A lot of people look at his physical stature which, depending on who is reporting it, could change within a few inches and 20 pounds, and they don't think he can succeed at the next level. After watching him play, you will realize that couldn't be further from the truth.

UW-Eau Clarie used to have a coach named
Marlin Muylaert who ran camps in Eau Claire and he taught the European ways to give and take ice. If you have never heard of that term, it's all about timing and flow. It's learning how to be in the right spot at the right time by taking the right angles and paths to the right spot. I'm not sure If Jefferson was too young when these camps were in Eau Claire but I've never seen someone who can give and take ice the way that he does. It seems like he always is in the perfect spot to catch a a breakout pass or in the right spot when the puck is getting there. That is the reason why he puts up the points that he does because he seems to always be in the right spot to make a play. Quoting myself from the earlier article I did, I think this sums up his his play the best. "Jefferson reminds me a lot of Garrett Roe when I watch him play. Maybe it's a little to do with the size. (Roe is 5'8 160, Dahl is 5'9 165) More I think it has to do with his ability to see the ice and see the play happening before it does. He's not going to take that straight line bull rush you way to the net in the way that Jack Skille plays, but his ability to maybe circle back and allow his teammates to come into the play and get themselves open is something that can't be taught. Being a smaller player he has done a very good job of learning to control the puck while taking contact. He's very good when in the corners with bigger stronger players. He'll never be confused with Matt Ford in terms of shot velocity, but he's very quick with it and always puts him self in good shooting lanes and is very good at hitting his spots. His play making ability is probably ahead of his goal scoring ability at this point but hes no slouch lighting the lamp."

Another feature that Dahl possesses that you don't see on the stat sheet is his leadership ability. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that Jefferson will captain the Badgers before his career is over. He might not be the best player on the team in his tenure at Wisconsin but I promise you he will be the most respected. He's very well spoken and commands respect of his peers in the locker room and on the ice.

I'm very excited to see how Jefferson transitions into the USHL next season. I have no doubt that he will be fine but it's a totally different game then the high school game. Unfortunately he was injured and couldn't play for Team Wisconsin majors in the Minnesota Elite League to see how his game would have played at that level, but he was able to compete with Team Wisconsin at the Chicago Showcase and did very well there teaming up with another future Badger Gavin Hartzog to win the championship.

Tyler Barnes recap

Aaron Crandall recap

WCHA Squashes Camp Randall Outdoor Game

Wisconsin and minnesota will not participate in an outdoor game at Camp Randall during the 2008/2009 season.

Worried about losing control, Bruce McLeod didn't want a WCHA game transferred to the Herb Brooks Foundation who was looking to put the game together. Apparently Bruce missed the 2007/2008 season where he already lost control of several WCHA games including several involving Wisconsin, St. Cloud and Denver (who came out on the positive end of things, funny that McLeod works there). Being a regular season game, I think the WCHA just cost themselves some money. Even if the Herb Brooks Foundation was going to run things, the WCHA would have done pretty well packing 80,000+ into Camp Randall for one of the biggest rivarlies in all of college sports.

Some quotes from the article:

"The foundation's mission is to broaden the shrinking base of hockey's participation pyramid and keep kids involved in hockey. To that end, it proposed a three-day event in Madison that would include a hockey expo and clinics in addition to the game."

""Minnesota was going to play Wisconsin home and home, two games (each). Nothing changed for Minnesota and Wisconsin. What changed was the environment of the game, going back to the way the game was originally introduced to North American players -- outside. That's kind of a fresh look for a lot of people.""

"Even though that appears to be off the table, the teams share an off weekend in the 2009-10 season, Peltier said, and the group is eyeing Feb. 6, 2010, as a possibility."

Overall it sounded like a great event, and I loved the Lambeau Field game, and can't wait for the Wrigley Field Wings/Hawks this New Year's. I hope it does happen in the future, because it would be great for College Hockey and the rivalry. I think the planning for the event was a little late for the upcoming season and that might have killed things as much as the WCHA whining about control. Also, moving a game from the first home series (during homecoming) to this weekend wasn't high on my list of good ideas. The team is on the road a ton to start 2008 and needs that weekend, and two packed houses at the Kohl Center, to fight through the early part of the schedule.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Update to the Women's Schedule

Though the offiicial schedule is not yet released, USCHO poster sunprairie has kept things up to date over there, big thanks for that. Since I posted a schedule last month the Bemidji State dates have been added along w/ a home series againt Syracuse (it's their first season as a DI program). The only dates left are against minnesota, and rumor has it that they are trying to figure out the Camp Randall game before finalizing the schedule.

Also season ticket renewals for Women's Hockey are available. also has the updated roster for the Women's team w/ info on the incoming frosh.

Here is the preliminary schedule:

Sept. 26 – Quinnipiac 7:07
Sept. 27 – Quinnipiac 7:07
Oct. 3 – Syracuse 7:07
Oct. 4 - Syracuse TBA
Oct. 10 – at OSU 7:07
Oct. 11 – at OSU 7:07
Oct. 17 – at Bemidji State 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 – at Bemidji State 6 p.m.
Oct. 24 – Open
Oct. 25 - Open
Oct. 31 – UMD 7:07
Nov. 1 – UMD 7:07
Nov. 7 – Open
Nov. 8 - Open
Nov. 15 – at UND 2:07 p.m.
Nov. 16 – At UND 2:07 p.m.
Nov. 21 – UNH in Ft. Myers, Fla.
Nov. 22 – UNH in Ft. Myers, Fla.
Nov. 28 – MSU time tba
Nov. 29 – MSU time tba
Dec. 5 – SCSU 2:07
Dec. 6 – SCSU 2:07
Dec. 12 – Open
Dec. 13 – Open
Dec. 19 – Open
Dec. 20 – Open
Dec. 26 – Open
Dec. 27 – Open
Jan. 2 – Open
Jan. 3 - Open
Jan. 9 – UMD 7:07
Jan. 10 – UMD 7:07
Jan. 16 or 17 - UND time tba
Jan. 17 or 18 – UND time tba
Jan. 23 – at SCSU 7:07
Jan. 24 - at SCSU 2:07
Jan. 31 – OSU 2:07
Feb. 1 – OSU 1:07
Feb. 6 – Open
Feb. 7 Open
Feb. 13 – at MSU
Feb. 14 – at MSU
Feb. 20 – Bemidji State TBA
Feb. 21 – Bemidji State TBA
Feb. 27-March 1 – WCHA First Round
March 7 – WCHA Championship
March 8 – WCHA Championship
March 13 and 14 – NCAA Regionals
March 20 – 22 – NCAA Frozen Four in Boston.

Remembering Badger Bob from a Penquins' Fan Prespective

Dplaya over at HIW is damn good at finding good Badger Hockey related articles. Earlier today he posted a tribute to "Badger" Bob Johnson from the Bleacher Report. Here is the post from the Pens Evolution blog that it originated from. I like it more because it has pictures.

Probably nothing new for long time die-hard Badger Hockey followers, but I liked the different prespective of the writer.

Ford headed to the ECHL

Nice logo, eh?

Todd at the TCT reports that Matt Ford has signed a contract w/ the Charlotte Checkers of the ECHL.

As 60 reported yesterday, the Chicago Blackhawks organization chose not to sign him, but he has officially found a home for the 2008/2009 season. Congrats and GL to Matt on the start of his pro career.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

RLR: Simonelli, Mersch

Andy Baggot reports that, according to the latest Red Line Report, future Badgers Frankie Simonelli and Michael Mersch performed quite well at the USA Hockey Select 16 Festival:

On Simonelli: "Sleeper just continues to get better every game and has made a believer out of us. Plays with an edge and is tough to play against. Work ethic is exceptional and his skills have improved dramatically. Has turned into a premium blue-liner in his class with the skills to be offensive and yet still get back to defend. Solid, steady, consistent player does everything well.

Yeah, I'm pretty fired-up about Frankie Simonelli!
On Mersch: "Has great hands, vision, and can flat-out score goals. Past Festival performances rival anyone as he's been a top-10 scorer for three straight Festivals. Needs to work on his skating. . . . needs to balance his terrific offesnive insticts and skills with more energy and passion."

Ok, so he has some things to work on, but I sure do like the first 2 sentences of that review!

Baggot's article also has RLR evals of potential recruit Max Gardiner and Wisconsinite Aaron Harstad.

A couple of alumni updates: Matt Ford, Jeff Likens

  • The Blackhawks organization has declined to sign Matt Ford, but he has a tryout coming up with the Rangers organizations (AHL Hartford Wolf Pack and ECHL Charlotte Checkers). We here at No Alibis No Regrets are disappointed that the Hawks didn't pick him up, as we had been looking forward to watching him play in Rockford (Go Hogs!). On the other hand, we're excited about his upcoming tryout and wish Matt the best. Good luck, Matt!

  • Jeff Likens has opted to play this coming season in Germany. We don't yet have any details, but we'll keep you posted if we hear anything further. A number of Badgers have been quite successful in Europe (being who I am, Chris Tancill, Gary Shuchuk, and Barry Richter are the first who come to my mind -- and let's not forget guys like Brian Rafalski who were successful in Europe and then returned to a successful NHL career), and we wish Jeff the same. Good luck, Jeff!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Eaves Rumor Mill

Earlier this month, Mike Eaves was rumored to be up for the LA Kings head coaching position. Eaves, however, said he had not been contacted by the Kings and was not interested in that positon. And, as you may already be aware, the Kings hired Terry Murray.

In the Badger Blog today, Baggot has a bit more of the story. Apparently, several UW officials said that they had heard Mike Eaves would be announced as the Kings' new head coach at a press conference in LA. Nice. *rolleyes*

It's somewhat interesting that 2 days prior, "nearly a dozen NHL types had approached UW assistant coach Mark Osiecki, on a recruiting trip in Calgary, to say they had heard varying versions of the rumor". Of course, I'd imagine that Eaves' name is one that will come up pretty much every time there's an NHL head coaching vacancy, so I suppose that isn't all that surprising.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Anaheim Badgers - 2008 Draft Review

Hockey's future has posted it's review of Anaheim's 2008 draft selections. Included, of course, are incoming Badger Jake Gardiner and and '09 recruits Justin Schultz and Nick Pryor.

Jake Gardiner, D - MN-HS Minnetonka
17th overall
Jul. 4, 1990, 6'1, 173

Gardiner is a converted forward who has only been playing defense for one season. He played the 2007-08 season on his Minnetonka High School team in Minnesota, where he was one of the finalists for the Mr. Hockey award for the top high school player in the state. Gardiner is a very fast and explosive skater, who projects as an offensive blue liner in the NHL. He scored 16 goals and added 27 assists last season in 25 games.

He is committed to playing for the University of Wisconsin Badgers this fall, a program coached by Mike Eaves that is well respected for producing and recruiting top-notch defensemen. Badgers' assistant coach Mark Osiecki works with the defensemen, and he is one of the best college coaches for tutoring young defenders and preparing them to play the pro game. Gardiner should have a great opportunity to learn his new position with the Badgers. He will need a few seasons of development, but when he emerges, Gardiner could well be a real gem.

Justin Schultz, D - BCHL Westside
43rd overall
Jul. 6, 1990, 6'1, 163

An offensive defenseman from the BCHL, Schultz continues Anaheim's trend of choosing players who were big risers in the draft. Little known at the start of the season, Schultz's offensive upside was high enough that some experts were seeing him as a potential first rounder in the draft. Schultz had 40 points in 57 games for Westside, and was named the Top Defenseman of his conference in the BCHL, which is no small feat for a 17-year-old.

Schultz has really good hockey sense, is very good at moving the puck, and has a special knack for creating offense from the back end. Obviously, the big knock on Schultz at 6'1, 163 is his size. He will have to get stronger and prove himself capable of handling bigger opponents before he is ready to play pro hockey.

Another University of Wisconsin recruit, Schultz will return to Westside next season for another year, before joining the Badgers for the 2009-10 season.

Nick Pryor, D – USNTDP U-18
208th overall
Sep. 9, 1990, 5’11, 184

Pryor is a 5'11 offensive defenseman. He is a very good skater and moves the puck well. He needs to get stronger in order to be able to handle larger forwards down low. Pryor had 14 points in 53 games with the National Development Program’s U-18 team. At the the U18 Championship in Kazan, he was held pointless in seven games.

One of the youngest players eligible for this year’s draft, Pryor will play for the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL this season before attending the University of Wisconsin in 2009. Pryor was the third Badgers recruit selected by the Ducks in 2008.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Evening Odds & Ends

  • Brian Fahey has signed with the New York Rangers.

  • The Badger Women have reportedly been recruiting B.C. player Kayleigh Fratkin. DPlaya indicates she's a 2010-2011 goaltending recruit, but the article indicates that she's a defenseman.

  • The June/July issue of USA Hockey Magazine has a nice article about the US team that won the IIHF World Women's Championships earlier this year in Harbin, China. That team included Badgers Meghan Duggan, Hilary Knight, Erika Lawler, Molly Engstrom, Kerry Weiland, and Jessie Vetter.

  • The June/July issue of USA Hockey Magazine also has a nice feature on Jake Gardiner, as well as a story on Jordy Murray at the national championships (scroll down a little bit).

Badger Hockey Paddle and Portage Team

Coaches Mike Eaves and Mark Osiecki will be part of a team in Madison's annual Paddle and Portage across Lake Mendota, portaging past the Capital, and then finishing across Lake Monona. The event takes place tomorrow. GL to both coaches and make sure to stretch out, don't want the kids laughing at you for pulling a hamstring or something.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hockey after High School

Not exactly Badger Hockey related, but interesting nonetheless . . . Ryan at the USHL blog was kind enough to send me this article about Oshkosh hockey player Jake Rudd. Rudd played high school hockey for the Oshkosh Warbirds and graduated this spring from Oshkosh West. He's now looking to make a USHL team for next season and after that play college hockey.

The article talks about why Rudd stayed in Oshkosh, his work-out regimen, and his chances of making a USHL team. I don't follow prep hockey or recruiting very much, so I was immediately interested by this article. Then I saw that DPlaya had also stumbled upon the article, and his observations are quite interesting as well.

St. Louis Badgers?

Yesterday, Brad Winchester signed with the St. Louis Blues. Today, it's Andy Wozniewski. Contract details aren't yet available.

I wonder who St. Louis will sign tomorrow . . . (because we'll need at least 1 or 2 more before we can really call them the St. Louis Badgers, hence the "?" in this post's title . . . )

Playing your Seniors

The season is a few short months away, but I thought it was as good a time as any to discuss this topic. Last season, Mike Eaves and the coaching staff made a concerted effort to put Josh Engel, a senior, in the lineup every night. That effort included converting Josh to forward to start the season. The other seniors on the team had regular roles and played every night included forward Matthew Ford, and defensemen Davis Drewiske and Kyle Klubertanz.

Last year's team featured a wealth of defensemen talent, or at least heading into the season it appeared that way. Klubertanz and Drewiske were there to lead the way as seniors and captains, and Jamie McBain was a sophomore coming off a strong freshman showing. First round picks Ryan McDonagh and Brendan Smith were in the fold along w/ Cody Goloubef who, while too young for the 2007 NHL Draft recently went early in the 2nd round to Columbus in this year's draft. In addition, Craig Johnson was available for the WJC and in case of injuries.

Looking at that list, aside from Craig Johnson, Josh Engel was the odd man out. Based on potential, prehaps the coaching staff found it hard to sit Smith or Goloubef early in the season. Also, the loss of Nigel Williams early in the 2006/2007 season for lack of playing time, might have weighed into their decisions.

During the 2007 half of the season, I thought Josh played pretty well at forward, notching a goal right out of the gate in Dayton, OH, and adding a two goal game later in the Fall after returning from an injury. Not to mention, he added some versitility on the penalty kill by allowing three defensemen on the ice, one in the guise of a forward.

At the same time that Josh filled a forward role, several young forwards were consistently healthy scrathes including Tom Gorowsky, Zach Bearson and Andy Bohmbach.

During the WJC, Jamie McBain left the team for 4 games to represent the U.S. and Craig Johnson stepped into that spot. As McB returned to the lineup, Brendan Smith went out w/ an injury and Craig Johnson continued as the 6th Dman, while Engel continued at forward.

In the 2008 half of the season, I thought Josh didn't play as well at forward, and when he was finally moved back to Dman in place of Craig Johnson, I thought Andy Bomhbach's addition to the lineup, and Engel's move to his natural position, were a boost to the team. After this point, Engel finished out the season on defense where I thought he played rather well.

Where is all this leading? Simple, what role will Tom Gorowsky have w/ the team during his fast approaching senior year? Last year the coaching staff was intent on playing Josh Engel, because they wanted his senior leadership on the ice. Engel's conversion to forward meant that other players would sit. If necessary will other forwards sit in 2008/2009 for no other reason so that Tom Gorowsky can bring additional leadership to the lineup?

Now I'm not taking anything away from Josh Engel (or Tom Gorowsky), I think Josh should have been in the lineup, but he should have been returned to D much earlier in the season than he was. Josh provided a stay at home type defenseman, on a team that had a lot of touted "offensive" defensemen. I think the team's defensive play improved when he was moved back to D.

To start the season, Josh Engel could have easily split time w/ Cody Goloubef and Brendan Smith at D, and as the season went on, he should have returned full time to defense as the team needed the "defensive" defenseman skill set that he provided. I would also argue that there were times when Drewiske and Klubertanz could have used a night off, but they weren't going to sit because of the captain's letters on their chest. While the coaching staff wasn't afraid to sit Podge Turnbull or Michael Davies for a lack of effort, the same was not applied for a few of the team's defensemen.

Unlike Josh Engel who played a ton during his junior year of 2006/2007, Tom Gorowsky's time was limited last season. At the same time, depth at forward this season will heavy. Blake Geoffrion, Ben Street, Michael Davies, Ratty Johnson, John Mitchell are locks to play every night. Sean Dolan, Ben Grotting and Aaron Bendickson should be as well after playing well this past season. The freshman (Derek Stepan, Matt Thurber, Jordy Murray and Chris Hickey) will all compete hard for spots, w/ all but Hickey likely being locks most nights. Podge Turnbull played a lot last season, and when given a chance the Andy "Bomber" Bohmbach impressed me in the 2nd half. After transferring, Tom Bardis will want to show off what he can do, and Zach Bearson is still working to get his chance to consistently break into the lineup. In between all that, senior Tom Gorowsky fits somewhere into that picture.

Tom wasn't a regular in the lineup last season, playing early in the season and again while players were gone for the WJC. At the end of the season when a spot opened at forward, Bohmbach filled that spot. Tom will have to fight his way into the lineup, unless his game accelerates to another level in the offseason, which would be great to see. Tom had some hype coming here including being Mr. Hockey in Minnesota and good production in the USHL.

Tom is only one of 3 scholarship seniors on the team next season, along w/ Street and Shane Connelly. Despite the large junior class of Grotting, Bohmbach, McBain, Mitchell, Bendickson, Bearson, Davies and Geoffrion, it could easily be argued that Tom's leadership will be needed on the ice as much as Josh Engel's was this past season.

So what is it going to be for the coaching staff? Will we see a lot of Tom Gorowsky this season instead of him sitting above Section 202? Prehaps Tom's play to begin the season will take the decision of playing your seniors out of the coaching staff's hands, and Tom will end his Badger career w/ a bang.

Carolina's Top Defensive Prospect: Jamie McBain

Lord Stanley's Blog caught up with Carolina's top defensive prospect at the Canes prospects conditioning camp. In a brief Q&A, McBain talks about why he attended the camp, his decision to return to Wisconsin this season, and his goals for the upcoming season. (Thanks to GSOBadger for the links.)

Personally, I can't wait to see McBain play this year. He was very good last season, and I think he'll be outstanding this season.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A few videos: Davis Drewiske, Tom Gilbert, Jack Skille

  • Davis Drewiske talks about his experiences during the Kings development camp and lets Kings fans know what they can expect from him.

  • Tom Gilbert apparently got some new shoes (I can't believe Principe asked him about that) and is pretty happy in Edmonton.

  • This video is a bit older -- in the 2/27/08 "Bacon Bits" segment, Jack Skille talked a bit about Icehogs and Blackhawks hockey. (The video was passed on to me by Redheat15 from a friend of hers -- thanks to Redheat and friend!)

KT wouldn't give up year at UW for anything

Thanks to Todd at TCT for nice article about young Kyle Turris. It's a little review of KT's past 12 months from #3 overall pick to his season at Wisconsin to getting ready for his first full season in the NHL w/ the Phoenix Coyotes.

A nice quote: "The atmosphere and the school spirit were out of this world. I wouldn't have traded that year for the world."

Though I'm sure there will be a lot of people at his games in the NHL, fans won't be cheering for him quite as diehardedly as they did at Wisconsin.

KT has added on 10 lbs during the year and should start the season as Phoenix's 2nd line Center. KT's thought on the upcoming season, "I'm just going to go out and work as hard as I can, and try to do everything I can to help the team win. I'll try to chip in offensively and not be a liability defensively."

More Signings: Winchester, Piskula

Madison native and Badger alumnus Brad Winchester has signed a 1-year deal worth $600,000 with the St. Louis Blues. Last offseason he signed a 1-year deal worth $475,000 with the Dallas Stars after the Edmonton Oilers did not extend a qualifying offer. In 41 games with the Stars, Winchester had 1 goal and 2 assists.

Winchester previously played for the Edmonton Oilers, where his best career season so far was the 2006-07 season in which he scored 4 goals and 5 assists in 59 games. My recollections (which could be incorrect) are that he played pretty well in the '06 playoffs and pretty well to start the '06-07 season before fading for the rest of the season.

In his 4-year career with the Badgers, he had 40 goals, 44 assists, and 215 penalty minutes in 150 games.

For what it's worth, I think Winchester can make a go of it in the NHL as a 4th-line winger, but it certainly appears that he needs to find some consistency in his play and his goal-scoring. Anyway, hopefully he will step things up with St. Louis so that they'll want to hang on to him after this season.

Antigo native and Badger alumnus Joe Piskula has re-signed with the LA Kings. It's a one-year deal, but I don't have any salary information. I'd expect he'll spend much of the season in Manchester, which is where he spent most of last season. With Manchester, he had 6 points (0G, 6A) in 55 regular season games. He was held of the scoresheet in 4 playoff games. He did appear in 5 games with the Kings but did not record any points.

I'd like to see Piskula do well, but I think it may take a bit longer for him to develop. In general, it tends to take defensmen longer to develop, and I think perhaps Piskula left the UW a bit early on his development curve. I look forward to following his development and the progression of his career.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

4 Badgers make Canada's U-22 selection camp

Team USA's U-22 team is set (including Erika Lawler, Hilary Knight, and Meghan Duggan, just in case you forgot), but Canada is still selecting their team. 5 Badgers attended Canada's strength and conditioning/skating camp that took place in May, and 4 of them will now attend the U-22 Selection Camp that runs Aug 12-19. Defenseman Brittany Haverstock and fowards Mallory Deluce, Jasmine Giles, and Carolyne Prévost have made the 40-player selection camp roster. has the announcement, camp roster, and camp schedule.

The US and Canadian U-22 teams will play a 3-game series Aug 20-23.

Prospect camps: Wings, Wild

  • Thanks to NEWI Badger Fan for spotting this article about Brendan Smith at the Red Wings' prospects camp. (I think NEWI must be a Wings fan, because he also gave us an article previously. But hey, I'm a Wings fan, too, so I'm not going to complain.) The latest article has a number of nice quotes from Smith and Detroit VP Jim Nill -- Nill has some nice things to say about Smith, and Smith talks about what it's like to play in front of 15,000 fans at the KC, the areas of his game that he's working on, and how long we might see him wearing the Cardinal and White. (I don't believe the last part for a second!)
  • Thanks to DPlaya on HIW for sharing this article about Chris Hickey at the Wild's prospects camp. Hickey talks about what he's been working on in camp and why he wants to play for Mike Eaves at Wisconsin.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Jake Dowell: growing up with pro aspirations

The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram has a fantastic article about Jake Dowell (and fellow EC native Derek LaPoint.) I see now that the article is a year old (apparently I wasn't really paying attention yesterday), but I like the article, so I'm keeping it here. The article talks about Jake's determination as a child, sacrifices made along the way by him and his parents, what made his family realize an NCAA scholarship might be a possibility, and what made them realize an NHL career might be feasible. It also has a nice recap of Jake's career highlights. (Photo by Dan Reiland of the Leader-Telegram)

Let's help Gandalf . . .

I'm a bit worried about my friend Gandalf; he's lost his favorite recruit. I thought it'd be nice if we all help him pick an new favorite. And therefore I started a poll (on the left below the other poll) where you all can vote. For further persuasiveness, you can give your reasons in the comments section here if you'd like. (I hope I didn't miss any recruits in my list -- please let me know if I did!)

EDIT: My apologies to the person who voted earlier -- I had to redo the poll, as Gandalf informed me he wouldn't consider the 7 kids coming in this Fall. So, sorry, and please re-vote!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

New Poll Question

Something new for the blog, want to know where the readers think Wisconsin will finish in the WCHA this season. Take a look in the upper left hand corner and vote away (no worries about hanging chad).

Yesterday was the 90 days to go mark before the Badgers open up at Boston College. The season is right around the corner, as much as I don't want summer to end, I'm really looking forward to hockey.

Eaves Perplexed about Wiercioch

Andy Baggot has a piece about this recruiting "fiasco".

Baggot also mentions that there are rumors about Eaves being considered for the LA Kings head coaching job, but Eaves has not been contacted.

Edit: Todd at TCT has more about Wiercioch and Coach Eaves.

Another Edit: Mike Chambers at the Denver Post further clarifies the Wiercioch situation.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Job Opening: New Favorite Recruit

Well yesterday was lame. My favorite recruit decided to change plans and head to Denver this Fall instead of waiting til 2009 to attend Wisconsin. Not to mention I want Brett Favre to return to the Packers, but that is a whole different story not related to Badger Hockey.

It appears that Patrick Wiercioch asked Wisconsin for a release from his verbal commitment, and was the initiator in contacting Denver and inquiring about a spot for this season. For now, I won't fault Coach Gwozdecky too much. He probably could have told Patrick he should honor his commitment, but than NCAA Hockey would have lost another top player to the CHL. Though I'm very disappointed Patrick decided to change plans, at least he will pursue an education and play NCAA Hockey.

Todd Milewski at TCT added his thoughts on the situation yesterday. I certainly can't blame a kid who in the second half of the USHL season (and playoffs) was probably the best Dman in the league. After vaulting up the NHL Draft board, he probably needed a higher level of play to compete at this season. Todd's piece reminded me that Patrick was a 2008 or 2009 recruit; I'm sure Patrick was hanging his hat on coming in this year. To be realistic, raise your hand if you thought McB and McD were both coming back this season. Not too many people out there I would guess, I didn't raise my hand. To further play devil's advocate, there is that remote chance (better chance of winning powerball) that McB, McD, Smith, Goloubef and Gardiner will all be back in 2009 (to defend UW's 7th National Title). Where would the open spot be then?

Still, Patrick knew that he "could" be 2009, and still made the commitment. If he wanted to play in 2008, he should have made that clear in January to Coach Eaves and staff. If they couldn't guarantee that, he should have chosen a different school out of the gate, and saved any hard feelings Badger fans might have. In the end, I know he is just a kid, I remember being 18 years old (only 10 yrs removed from that), and so I cut him some slack.

Its interesting what role the Ottawa Senators played in all of this. NHL teams have a long arm in influencing their draft picks, which is only fair since their rights are their property. They probably wanted Patrick at a higher level this year, so they can get him in the pros sooner. After all when you have arguably the worst minor league system in the NHL, you need to try to correct that. There is more to this story and hopefully we'll find out more in the coming days.

The Badgers really aren't any worse off than they were thursday before all this happened. Sure Patrick is a blue chip recruit, but its not like we don't have other guys waiting in the wings as well. If three underclassmen leave after the season, perhaps Chase Drake (along w/ Schultz and Pryor) gets to start his UW career earlier than expected, or perhaps the Badgers land someone else who makes leaps and bounds in his development. I know Dplaya at HIW is very high on Ross Henry of the Lincoln Stars of the USHL. He is a defensive defensemen who flys under the radar from everything I read.

Its the dangers of over recruiting, which until now, has not reared its ugly head. The coaching staff knows that there are no Dmen graduating this season, yet we still had 3 recruits lined up. While its possible (probable more likely) we lose some underclassmen, its not set in stone either.

I followed Patrick pretty devoutly the past 6 months, and its a tough pill to take. I wish Patrick well in the future, except when he plays Wisconsin. Other Badgers fans might disdain him, but I find it hard to. I will cheer loudly though when Ratty Johnson tells Wiercioch that he owns him, which will happen, and Ratty will own Patrick Wiercioch in their WCHA matchups.

So I guess I'm looking for a new favorite recruit, luckily I have a ton of options.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Chris Hickey

There are a lot of good quotes in this article about Chris Hickey and the Wild. (Thanks to DPlaya for spotting the article.)

"This year will be a much better test, to see him at a higher tempo on a well-run team," said Tommy Thompson, Wild assistant general manager for player personnel. "We'll see how he does there."
So, it sounds like the Wild are happy that Hickey is headed to Wisconsin, and it's nice to see that they have a high opinion of the Badgers.

After tearing a ligament in his left knee as a senior with the Raiders, Hickey said he felt behind in his development and joined the USHL to "touch up on everything."

"It was really good for me," he said. "Now I feel like I'm all the way ready to play in the WCHA and make an impact right away."

I hope he is able to make an impact right away, and it's nice to hear that that's his plan. The Badgers could definitely use his scoring touch. I also like his response to his injury and playing in the USHL.

A seventh-round pick in the 2006 entry draft, Hickey played on state championship teams in hockey, baseball and football at Cretin-Derham Hall but chose to pursue hockey when the Wild drafted him after his junior season.

Hickey was available late because of questions about his skating ability. "I think it's fair to say the question mark is still the same," Thompson said. "Is he going to be quick enough to play at a higher tempo?"

Well, not everyone is the fastest skater. Joe Pavelski isn't the quickest guy, but he sure gets things done. The question is whether his skating will be merely a hindrance or an actual liability. And, of course, at this point I can't help but think about Tom Gorowsky. It seems like Goro's skating has held him back with the Badgers. Goro's skating did improve last year, but it appears the coaching staff is still not comfortable with his ability to keep up in fast-paced games. (More thoughts on this later.)

"My skating is probably my weakest part of my game; I definitely need to improve," he said. "I need to get a lot stronger in my lower body. ... I really didn't have the time to get that strength because of that injury to my left knee, and I really couldn't work on it. So this past year in the USHL, I really worked hard on my lower body strength.

"I'm getting faster. We had the testing (Wednesday), and I saw a significant improvement in my quickness. My speed still needs to improve. ... I feel like if I can get faster and quicker, I can make it (in the NHL) someday."

Nice to see that he recognizes his weaknesses and has already started to make improvements. I know I say this about all of our recruits, but I'm looking forward to seeing him play.

A big framed wrecking ball?

I have a fun little quote, and I removed the player's name so that I could ask you who you think this quote is regarding.
If you have had the opportunity to watch any of the Badgers’ games this year you would know this player is a big framed wrecking ball on the ice who loves to throw his body around to punish opponents. The Wild could use some grit as well as an element of nastiness to its prospect pool. He is another tryout who will garner some long looks by the team’s management.

Any guesses?

Of course, if you've been following the Wild's prospects camp, you know that John Mitchell is there. And yes, Mitchell is big-framed. But I don't think he's a wrecking ball who loves to throw his body around to punish opponents, nor do I think he provides an element of nastiness. In fact, I think he could use his body a bit more than he does.

Don't get me wrong; I'm a John Mitchell fan. I love how hard he works, I love his long reach, and I love how he elevated his game last year over the year before. And I'm looking forward to watching him play again this year. But I think the above quote misrepresents who John Mitchell is as a player. And it makes me want to ask the author, "Did YOU have the opportunity to watch any Badger games last year."

Props (again) to DPlaya for finding this article.

Bye Bye Patrick Wiercioch

Yesterday, Gandalf posted that Patrick Wiercioch was on the Hot List again. Today, Patrick Wiercioch signed a LOI with Denver. Oops.

As you know, David Carle's hockey career is over due to a congenital heart disease, and therefore Denver has an opening on it's roster. Apparently, Wiercioch saw an opportunity and went for it. Based on the article, it sounds like Wiercioch wanted to start his college career this year rather than next year, and he would have had to wait 'til next year to play for the Badgers. It also sounds like he expects Denver to be able to offer more ice-time. Which may or may not be the case -- you can argue that Wisconsin's blue-line is deep and that the competition for ice-time will be tough, but you can also argue that Wisconsin would be unlikely to sit Wiercioch very much. (I don't think Wisconsin wants a repeat of the Nigel Williams situation, and heck, if the didn't sit Brendan Smith last year before he got injured, I can't imagine they'd sit Wiercioch even if he struggled.)

I'm not hugely surprised that Wiercioch has gone to Denver. IIRC, Denver recruited him pretty heavily. I'm disappointed that he backed out of his verbal commitment, but I suppose the draw of playing a large role in Denver starting this year was just to much. And, with all the discussion among WCHA coaches about their "gentleman's agreement", I do wonder who initiated contact at this time -- Gwoz, or Wiercioch?

Props to DPlaya (who apparently wants to erase all record of Wiercioch from his blog) on HIW for breaking the story.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Brendan Smith at Red Wings' Camp

Thanks to Newi Badger Fan on the uscho forum for the link to this article about Brendan Smith's time at Detriot's prospect camp.

Had to pull this out of the article.

"Eaves is basically an NCAA version of Babcock.

If a player is lacking in intensity, "You'll get a kick in the butt," Smith said.

Smith and McCollum are both several years, at least, from possibly becoming NHL regulars."

Eaves gets so much good press w/ the NHL crowd, when is tDon going to get some good press?

Anyway, I think its likely that Brendan will be in the Cardinal and White for two more seasons, prehaps even see his senior year. As the article said, his season was halted by injury. I'm expecting a lot out of Brendan Smith this season. In my mind, Brendan will either be paired w/ his good friend Cody Goloubef, or as part of the 3rd pairing w/ either Johnson/Little/Springer. Either way he needs to step it up this season. I saw a lot of head hanging out there when he made bad plays last season, there isn't time for that, since he will be expected to increase his leadership role this year. His offensive game is just fine, hopefully he has been busting ass on improving his defense.

Wiercioch on NHL Hot List (again)

Photo from

Patrick has made the Hockey News hot list again, this time the NCAA version. He ranks #5.

The Hockey News sounds like they expect him in Madison this season, which I find highly unlikely unless we have a late departure from our blue line.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Badger Men's Hockey: schedule updates

  • The match-ups have been officially set for the opening night of the Badger Hockey Showdown. At 4pm, Harvard will open v. Lake State. At 7pm, the Badgers will take on Alabama-Huntsville.

  • The Saturday, March 7th game v. North Dakota has been moved back to 8pm.

Playing Catch-up

Since I've been AWOL for a couple of weeks, I thought I should do a little link-o-rama to post the random items that have escaped our attention here on the blog.

I have a number of links from HIW, which just goes to show that if you haven't been reading that blog, you probably should be.

  • As you may be aware, Rene Bourque has been traded to the Flames. Regarding the acquisition, Flames GM Darryl Sutter said, "Rene is a young player with size who will play in our top nine forwards. He will be an important part of the remaking of our left side along with other young players already under contract."

  • Blake Geoffrion has been making adjustments to his workout regimen and has been doing a lot of little extra things.

    "The biggest thing was that I got back in the weight room and got in the best shape I could,'' Geoffrion said. "There were a lot of little things, too — eating a lot healthier, working out hard and going in with a positive attitude at the beginning of a new year.''

    "I did all the extra little workouts after practice — putting pucks in from (close range) and putting shots upstairs,'' said Geoffrion, elected by teammates as one of Wisconsin's captains for the coming year. "I was always one of the shooters in goalie practice. All those things can be kind of annoying to do, but they really pay off and I really saw that this year.''

    I'm impressed by Geoffrion's attitude and work ethic, and I'm excited to see his game further elevated to another level this upcoming season.

  • Mike Davies is now apparently off of goaltender Charlie Effinger's family Christmas list. Back home in St. Louis, Davies played in the Blues Future Stars scrimmage at the Scottrade Center, and he scored a goal off a face-off just after Effinger entered the game in the 2nd period. Davies reportedly had another nice scoring chance later in that period.

  • Derek Stepan participated in the NY Rangers Prospects Camp, and you can find video footage on Rangers NHL TV.

  • The Daily Telegram has a nice article on Dave McNab and the Anaheim Ducks, asking the question "when did University of Wisconsin become an unofficial farm team of the Ducks?". McNab, a longtime assistant manager for the Ducks, was a goaltender for the Badgers 1973-78.

And here are some links that we haven't yet mentioned from Capobianco's blog:
  • Curtis Joseph has been picked up by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Says GM Cliff Fletcher, "Curtis will bring great character to the locker-room. We're going to have a lot of young players in there next year. His leadership will be invaluable.''

  • Kyle Turris participated in the Coyotes camp, and you can watch an interview with KT on Coyotes NHL TV.

I also have some links from the LetsGoDU blog. This is not strictly related to Badger Hockey, but LetsGoDU has been doing a nice job following the David Carle story.