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.