Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Rockford/Chicago Badgers . . . & Dan Plante!

As previously mentioned, nubeetle and I hopped down to Chicago on Sunday to see Jake Dowell and Jack Skille with the Rockford Icehogs and Alex Brooks and Don Granato (head coach) with the Chicago Wolves. The Wolves won 4-1. Skille had the lone goal for the Icehogs. Dowell started on LW for the Hogs. Alex Brooks did not play.

Rockford has been a bit streaky this season -- they started the season really well (7-1), then had a 5-game losing streak (the last being a SO loss that nubeetle and I attended), then won 9 of their next 13 games, and now have lost their last 3 games. As a whole, the team just didn't look very good on Sunday. Jack Skille had a decent game, scoring a nice goal and generating a couple of nice chances. He had 4 SOG and finished -1. Dowell had a decent game as well -- did some nice work on the PK (had a nice blocked shot and some nice clears). He had 2 SOG and we think he might've clanged the pipe on a shot as well. He finished -1, but I gotta tell ya, that goal he was on the ice for had nothing to do with him -- defenseman Mike Brennan made a stupid pass in front of the net, defenseman Jordan Hendry mishandled the puck and turned it over, and not surprisingly the Wolves capitalized. (Hendry, in particular, had a brutal game for the Hogs.)

While we were there, nubeetle and I had the pleasure of chatting briefly with Dan Plante before the game. Plante played 3 seasons at forward for the Badgers ('90-'93) and served as an alternate captain his last year. He had just 3 points in his 33 games as a freshman, but he really stepped things up the next 2 years, scoring 15 G and 16 A in 40 games as a sophomore and 26 G and 31 A in 42 games as a junior. Nice! As a sophomore he was a member of the Final Five All-Tourney Team, and he received the Badgers Most-Improved Player Award. And let's not forget that his 26 goals as a junior tied him with Jason Zent for most goals that season!

A 3rd round draft pick of the New York Islanders, Plante went on to play 5 seasons in the Islanders' organization, including 2 seasons ('95-'96, '96-'97) in which he played exclusively in NY. He then went on to play 4 seasons ('98-'02) for the Chicago Wolves, helping the Wolves win a Turner Cup in 2000 and a Calder Cup in 2002. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention (gasp) that Plante played for Team USA in 1996 and 1997, winning a bronze medal in the '96 World Ice Hockey Championships in Vienna.

Plante is now the president of Northwest Sports, a sports agency based out of Woodbury, MN.

Nubeetle and I also had the pleasure of chatting with Don Granato after the game. Don Granato, of course, was a member of my beloved 1990 Championship Team. I regret that I don't have time to tell you more about him right now (hopefully I'll get a lengthier Granato post up sometime in the near future), but let me point out that he was recently named head coach of the PlanetUSA Team at the 2009 AHL All-Star Classic in Worcester, MA on January 26. Congratualations, Don!