Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Vote for Jack Skille

I had seen the fan poll on blackhawks.nhl.com, but I forgot about it in the midst of all the other stuff I was posting. Thanks to Heather for reminding me!

The current Fan Poll asks which rookie winger you'd most like to see on the Hawks' opening day roster. Your choices are Jack Skille, Troy Brouwer, and Kris Versteeg. As of right now, Skille is leading with 66% of the vote.

Vote for Skille!!

Blaine Badgers defeat Bemidji, Minnesota

The Blaine Residency program recently played the Bemidji women and the Minnesota women. Team USA defeated Bemidji 7-0 on Saturday, and they also defeated Minnesota 3-2 in overtime on Sunday. Usahockey.com has a nice article about Sunday's victory. The article mentions Team USA's short bench -- on Saturday they dressed 12 skaters, and on Sunday they dressed 13 skaters.

Molly Engstrom had 3 assists and Kerry Weiland had 1 assist in the victory over Bemidji. Engstrom had 1 assist and Weiland was held off the scoresheet in the victory over Minnesota.

During the course of the season, Team USA will play the rest of the WCHA women's teams. Here's the schedule. Don't forget -- they'll be in Madison playing the Badgers on Jan 3 and the Madison Capitols on Jan 4!

Edit: Just a reminder that Jinelle Zaugg be will joining the Blaine Residency later this season (Dec or Jan).

Tom Gilbert preseason update

Several days ago, in a little post about Tom Gilbert, I indicated that his play in the Oilers' first preseason game was a bit off.

Here's what Dan Tencer had to say about the Gilbert's first preseason game this season:
Tough night for the blueline. Bryan Young was caught out of place on both Vancouver goals and Tom Gilbert had a costly giveaway on one of the goals as well. Gilbert and Grebeshkov are a solid pairing that were relied upon to play a few too many minutes because of the roster iced last night...not worried about their regular season play at all.
And here's what Tencer had to say about Gilbert's most 2nd preseason game:
Tom Gilbert and Denis Grebeshkov looked much more comfortable than they did on Tuesday night in Vancouver. On Tuesday they were the go-to pairing and were relied upon to play plenty more minutes than usual; on Thursday, Smid, Staios and Strudwick were also in the lineup so it eased the burden on 37/77 and allowed them to slide into a more comfortable place minute-wise and situationally.
I don't want to know what he has to say about tonight's game. In his 3rd preseason game, Gilbert had 4 giveaways in a 4-0 loss to Calgary.

Of course it's just the preseason, so no big deal -- I'm sure Gilbert will be ready when the regular season rolls around.

Badger Blackhawks

A few more things on Skille/Burish/Dowell that I (gasp) missed this morning . . .
  • Blackhawks TV talked to Jack Skille after his game-winning goal in the Hawks' 4-3 victory over Dallas on Sunday. You can see his goal in the game highlights video -- start watching at about 2:09. It was his first goal this preseason, and he was named one of the 3 stars of the game. Skille has played in 3 of the 5 Blackhawks' preseason games so far. (Photo by Bill Smith from blackhawks.nhl.com)
  • The Third Man In weighs in on Jake Dowell's assignment to Rockford. He wasn't surprised by Blunden, Bickell, or Hambly being sent down, but he was surprised about Jake.
    The only thing I question is sending Jacob Dowell back after just one in-game look while keeping an obviously skill-deficient Evan Brophey around. This makes no sense to me. Brophey was a top scorer two years ago in the OHL but that particular knack hasn’t played itself out yet at the pro level. Dowell, 23, was solid in each of his call-ups last winter and spring and proved he could play a regular shift at both left wing and center on the third or fourth line. On a good team, he projects, at best, as a fourth line center, but this isn’t necessarily a deep group of forwards and I wouldn’t consider Ben Eager, Adam Burish or Craig Adams to be head and shoulders ahead of Dowell in ability. When Pelletier, Brophey, Kevyn Adams and Tim Brent are still in camp, it makes one wonder if the organization believes it’s seen enough and has determined Dowell has already capped his potential. I’d rather see Dowell a time or two again than get another look at Tim Brent. Dowell is a good skater, strong on faceoffs, finishes his checks with intensity and is dependable enough in his own zone that he can be trusted killing penalties. Today’s early demotion may be a blow to Dowell’s confidence.
    Needless to say I'm biased, but I was a bit surprised he was sent down after just 1 preseason game. I wasn't necessarily expecting him to make the opening day roster (although a girl can always hope), but I thought he'd stay up a longer than he did.

WCHA Previews: Denver

Finally wrapping this up...

School: Denver
Mascot: Pioneers
Head Coach: George Gwozdecky, 15th year, 323-205-41

Last Season: 16-11-1, 3rd Place WCHA; 26-14-1 Overall

Predicted 08/09 WCHA Finish: 1st

Key Departures:
F Brock Trotter, 13-18-31*
D Chris Butler, 3-14-17
F Tom May, 9-6-15
D Andrew Thomas, 1-7-8
G Peter Mannino, 25-14-1, 2.27 GAA
*All stats listed from 07/08

Key Returnees:
F Tyler Bozak (So), 18-16-34
F Rhett Rakhshani (Jr), 14-14-28
F Kyle Ostrow (So), 10-13-23
F Tyler Ruegsegger (Jr), 10-12-22
F Patrick Mullen (Sr), 4-18-22

Top Sieve:
Marc Cheverie (So), 1-0-0, 1.70 GAA

Key Additions:
F Joe Colborne (AJHL) 33-57-90, Jr A POY
D Patrick Wiercioch (USHL) 3-18-21, Defecticon
D John Lee (USHL) 1-10-11
D Luke Salazar (NAHL) 41-46-87

When Wisconsin Beats DU: @ DU 10/17 & 10/18, KC 2/20 & 2/21

07/08 Recap: During the 1st half of the season, Denver gave CC a good run for their money. Shortly after Christmas, Brock Trotter got into some sort of trouble and was suspended by the university. Not long after that he signed a contract w/ the Montreal Canadiens organization, leaving Denver w/ out their top forward (arguably) for good. This combined w/ the bad karma from having Randy Schmidt in their back pocket, Denver started to slide in the 2nd half. They recovered late in the regular season, and went to the Final Five and brought home the Broadmoor trophy as tourney champ. Denver really got the short end of the straw for seeding in the NCAA Regional. They landed in Madison, where they had to face the Badgers, and despite their incredible success at the Kohl Center since its opening, they were beat down and sent home quickly. In the off season, Chris Butler signed w/ the Buffalo Sabres organization, removing Denver’s best defensemen from returning. Beyond the NCAA Regional, Wisconsin played a memorial series in the mile high city in January. Like I need to remind fans, but on Friday Matt Ford scored as time expired to tie the game, only to have the goal disallowed by the hapless (and still suspended) Randy Schmidt. Instead of doing his job, he stuck his head up his ass instead, potentially costing Wisconsin at least one point, which could have yielded home ice for the WCHA playoffs. On Saturday, Wisconsin crushed Denver to gain some sort of revenge.

08/09 Thoughts: The biggest question for Denver is their defense. Peter Mannino graduated, and despite his horrible diving and poor acting (Ben Grotting grazing his helmet last season sticks out in my mind), he was a pretty decent netminder. Marc Cheverie takes over in net having started only one NCAA game. On the blue line, the loss of Chris Butler is huge because he was one of the best defensive defensemen in the WCHA. Everyone else is going to have to step up. Unfortunately for Denver, David Carle was diagnosed w/ a life threatening condition ending his career before it started. As luck would have it for Denver, the Defecticon was right there ready to back out of his verbal commitment to Wisconsin and fills Carle’s skates. If Denver can keep the puck out of their net, they should win a lot of games, because they return a great group of forwards and could be an offensive power. Between Rakhshani, Ruegsegger, Bozak, Ostrow and freshman Joe Colborne, they should be lighting the lamp often during the season. I’m picking Denver for the MacNaughton. There defense should be solid as the season progresses, and if the offense gets going right away they could be hard to beat.

Overall, it should be a good race in the WCHA again this season.

Tuesday Morning Catch-Up

(Photo from blackhawks.nhl.com)

As you know, I was out of town this weekend watching the Badger Women and Team Wisconsin, so now I'm playing catch-up with Badger Hockey News.
  • Jake Dowell was assigned to Rockford yesterday. Dowell saw 10:57 of ice time in 1 preason game before being sent down. Last season, he played 19 games in Chicago, spending the rest of the season in Rockford (47 games). Jack Skille (and of course Adam Burish) remain in Chicago.
  • DPlaya of HIW has results from Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 of the USHL Fall Classic. Future Badgers in the tourney include Chase Drake, Tyler Barnes, Craig Smith, Brock Montpetit, Aaron Crandall, Jefferson Dahl, Gavin Hartzog, and Keegan Meuer.
  • DPlaya also has BCHL results from 9/23, 9/26, and 9/27 for the Westside Warriors and the Victoria Grizzlies. As you know, future Badger Justin Schultz plays for Westside and future Badger Derek Lee plays for Victoria. Schultz was injured and missed Friday's game, but apparently the injury wasn't too serious as he played on Saturday.
  • Everybody's doing WCHA previews, and now the Western College Hockey blog is getting in the mix. WCH has predicted Wisconsin to finish 7th (yeah, I'm gonna disagree with that), but at least he gives some love to Jamie McBain, Ryan McDonagh, and Jake Gardiner, picking them for All-WCHA 1st team, 2nd team, and rookie team. WCH will be doing previews for each team starting later today.
  • The faltering College Hockey America conference will maintain its NCAA autobid this season, having received approval from the NCAA Championships and Competition Cabinet.
  • The WCHA Women and the CCHA Men are implementing the shootout this season, and CHN's Special Report has reactions from the CCHA folks.

Chase Drake traded

Apparently Chase Drake has been traded from the Green Bay Gamblers to Sioux City. No actual news as of yet on this, its on the USHL transaction list. Thanks to GB Puck Fan for the heads up on the USCHO forum.

Once there is more information, I'll edit this.

I think it was kinda stupid to trade an in-state player like Chase, who might spur a little more interest in the team. Not my team to run though.

Men's Player Previews: #30 Ryan Jeffery

Vitals:

Position: Goalie
Year in School: Senior
Catches Right
Height: 6-1
Weight: 182
Hometown: Madison, WI
Previous Team: Madison Memorial HS in 04/05

NHL Considerations: None at this time.

07/08 Stats: DNP
06/07 Stats: DNP

08/09 Role: walk-on goalie


07/08 Recap: Ryan did not play in a game last season, though he did dress as the backup in several games his freshman season.

08/09 Thoughts: Similar to yesterday's preview Jeff Henderson, I'm hoping Ryan sees a little action yet this season. The same holds true for Ryan as it did for Jeff, their role in practice is important to the team's development, and he'll leave Wisconsin w/ a top notch education while getting to play hockey w/ some of the top players in the NCAAs.

Prediction: 20 minutes of action 2 GA

Photo from uwbadgers.com


The Legend of Adam Burish continues to grow with the Blackhawks

In his blog, Todd Milewski writes "the legend of Adam Burish continues to grow with the Blackhawks". I liked the phrase, so I had to use it, but I also had to give credit to the original author.

A little over 2 years ago, Burish was leading the Badgers to their 6th national title, but I'm not sure many Badger fans thought that he'd establish himself with the Blackhawks quite so quickly. (Although we're not surprised he led the team in PIM last season.) 2 years ago he was just trying to make the NHL, and now he's making himself into a legend. Awesome!

This season, Burish will be blogging for the Sun-Times. His blog is called "Dropping the Gloves". HA! Should be pretty entertaining, I would think. The first installment includes a 3 minute video that's fairly amusing. Jake Dowell even makes an appearance!! So check it out; I think you'll like it.

(Photo by Neil Ament)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Team Wisconsin Minor Mad City Shootout

Team Wisconsin Minor (U16), coached by Badger alum Gary Shuchuk, won the Mad City Shootout this weekend. This is Shuchuk's first season coaching TW (he had previously coached in the Wisconsin Elite Hockey League (WEHL)), and TW GM Bill McCoshen told me that Shuey is doing a great job for them and that all the kids love him. Nice to hear!

Anyway, I had a chance to make it to a couple of the games this weekend, and I gotta tell ya, it was a good time. (I wore my gameworn Shuchuk jersey. It was a big hit, lol.) TW was pretty dominant -- I looked at the standings before the last game, and TW had already wrapped up the festival. They won all 4 of their games and outscored their opponents 21-2. Nice! Here are the results from the Caps website:

EDIT - I can't explain it -- some of the numbers in the below table that I copied and pasted don't show up very well. But if you highlight the table, you'll be able to see all the numbers!

The Mad-City Shootout Scoring

The Mad-City Shootout will be scored in a festival format. Teams will be awarded points as follows.

4 points for a game win

2 points for a game tie

2 points for each period won

1 point for each period tied

1 bonus point for a game shutout


Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Game 4 Total Points
Madison Capitols 1 7 3 1 12
Russell Stover 10 0 1 2 13
Team Wisconsin 11 9 11 9 40
Affton Americans 0 0 3 8 11
Milwaukee Jr. Admirals 10 10 7 0 27

Shootout: if the score is tied at the end of regulation there will be a 5 round shootout to determine the winner. If the teams are still tied at the end 5 rounds each team is awarded 2 points for a tie. A player may only shoot once during a shootout.

US Hockey rules and penalties will apply to all games.

Games are 15-15-20 minute stop time periods, 5 minute warm-up and one resurface between the second and third periods. If a team is ahead by 6 or more goals in the third period it will be running time for the balance of the game. Each team will be allowed a single one (1) minute timeout per game.

For all games, the home team listed shall wear its home, light colored jersey and the visiting team listed shall wear its away, dark colored jersey



Mad-City Shootout 2008, U16 Division

September 26-28


Madison Capitols Milwaukee Jr. Admirals
Team Wisconsin Affton Americans
Russell Stover

Friday

Home
Visitors
7:30 PM Milwaukee Jr. Admirals 5 vs. Affton Americans 1 Rink A
9:30 PM Russell Stover 3 vs. Madison Capitols 0 Rink A

Saturday





8:30 AM Affton Americans 0 vs. Team Wisconsin 7 Rink A
10:30 AM Russell Stover 2 vs. Milwaukee Jr. Admirals 7 Rink A





2:20 PM Madison Capitols 3 vs. Affton Americans 1 Rink A
4:20 PM Team Wisconsin 5 vs. Russell Stover 1 Rink A

8:10 PM Milwaukee Jr. Admirals 3 vs. Madison Capitols 2 Rink A

Sunday





8:00 AM Affton Americans 6 vs. Russell Stover 2 Rink A
8:10 AM Team Wisconsin 5 vs. Milwaukee Jr. Admirals 0 Rink B





2:10 PM Madison Capitols 1 vs. Team Wisconsin 4 Rink A


Moving along . . . Team Wisconsin Major (U18) had a nice weekend as well, winning all 3 of their games. As you know, TW Major includes future Badgers Cody Strang and Matt Paape. Their head coach, by the way, is Badger alum Tony Scheid. Badger alumni everywhere! (Too bad I don't have a gameworn Tony Scheid jersey!)

Some more love for the Badger Women

As Gandalf so nicely pointed out, the Badger Women had a pretty nice weekend. Here are some more articles about the series:

Schultz (TCT): Badgers begin season with a rout
Storlie (Daily Cardinal): Knight leads Badgers past Bobcats in two-game series
Donahue (Badger Herald): School record of 5 goals by sophomore Hilary Knight sparks offensive outburst

Clearly Hilary Knight was fantastic -- I love this quote, though: "We have some excellent passers on our team, and fortunately enough for me, the passes got through, and I was able to put a few in." Gotta love Hilary Knight!

I'm also pretty excited about the Duggan-Deluce-Prévost line. They accounted for 5 of the Badgers' goals on Friday and 1 goal on Saturday, and I like them a lot!

I'm assuming that Coach Johnson gave a press conference today, but I didn't see anything on uwbadgers.com yet. I'll keep an eye out and try to post a link when it's available.

By the way, I didn't realize this previously, but it sounds like all of the home games will be webcast live on uwbadgers.com at no charge. So if you can't make it to the games, check out the webcast! Looks like Eric Levine of the Daily Cardinal is doing the play-by-play, with a little help from senior Kayla Hagen who currently is unable to play.

Congrats, Milwaukee Brewers!!!

Yeah its off topic, I don't care.

Been a Brewers fan my whole life, never thought I'd see this day, the Brewers are heading to October. Hopefully this is going to be a regular occurance in the Brew City for many years to come.

Really this post isn't completely off topic. The state of Wisconsin has some of the best fans in all of sports. Outside of the Bucks, the Packers, Badgers and Brewers have a very loyal fan base. Lambeau is always sold out and the waiting list for tickets could reach the moon. Badger fans fill Camp Randall and the Kohl Center every night for the major sports, and travel in numbers to Bowl games and post season appearances. Brewers fans came out in droves this season, but that base is always been there. Tough to fill Miller Park every night of a 81 game home schedule, but you bring in players to win (Bud and Wendy Selig still suck) and it happens.

As a Wisconsin native, I'm proud of the teams we have (besides the Bucks) and proud of the fans we have who are so loyal to those teams. We don't need a fire drill to stand up in our seats like the neighboring fans to the west.

GL to the Brewers, no reason they can't win it all.

Men's Player Previews: #29 Jeff Henderson

Vitals:

Position: Goalie
Year in School: Senior
Catches Left
Height: 6-2
Weight: 182
Hometown: Menomonie, WI
Previous Team: Menomonie HS in 04/05

NHL Considerations: None at this time.

07/08 Stats: DNP
06/07 Stats: DNP

08/09 Role: walk-on goalie

07/08 Recap: Jeff didn't see any game action again last season, after suiting up for a few games as the backup his freshman year.

08/09 Thoughts: I doubt Jeff will see any action his senior year, but you never know what might happen, prehaps during the Badger Hockey Showdown. Regardless, the role that Jeff plays is invaluable to the development of the team in practice. In the end, Jeff will leave Madison w/ an education, and some great memories being part of the greatest College Hockey program in the country.

Prediction: 20 minutes of action 1 GA

Photo from uwbadgers.com

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hilary Knight 5 Goal Free for All

The Badger Women started things off on the right foot this weekend. On friday the Badgers shutout the Bobcats of Quinnipiac 10-0. Jesse Vetter was in net for her 26th career shutout. Maria Evans, Carolyne Prevost and Brittany Haverstock all notched their first points as Badgers; Evans and Prevost notching their first goals.

On saturday, Quinnipiac brought a better effort, but they were again no match for the Badgers who won 7-3. Alannah McCready got the start in the net for the Badgers. Hilary Knight provided the fans in attendance w/ Culvers ice cream all by herself w/ an impressive 5 goal preformance. She's the bomb. A lot of that credit should go to Erika Lawler as well, she made some great passes to give Knight some easy goals. Freshman Brooke Ammerman notched her first goal as a Badger to get things rolling in the 1st period.

Overall the line of Erika Lawler-Angie Keseley-Hilary Knight was outstanding. Lawler finished the weekend w/ 7 assists, Knight w/ 7 goals and 2 assists, Keseley w/ 2 assists. If that wasn't enough trouble for Quinnipiac, the 2nd line of Malory Deluce-Meghan Duggan-Carolyne Prevost were just as good. If only the Men's team could generate offense like this...

Sure its just Quinnipiac, but the Badger Women started strong. Next weekend, they face Sryacuse who is in its first year as a program. Wisconsin will also be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Women's program. I strongly encourage fans to attend, if you are coming for the football game, stop by for a few periods before getting "ready" for the night cap against Ohio State at Camp Randall.

Men's Player Previews: #35 Shane Connelly

Vitals:

Position: Goalie
Year in School: Senior
Catches Left
Height: 5-9
Weight: 184
Hometown: Cheltenham, PA
Previous Team: Chicago (USHL) in 04/05

NHL Considerations: Never know what will happen following the season for a Howie prodigee.

07/08 Stats: 37 games, 15-16-5, 2.44 GAA
06/07 Stats: 7 games, 4-1-2, 1.11 GAA

08/09 Role: Starting Goalie

07/08 Recap: Following in the footsteps of the legend Brian Elliott, Shane took over the full time duties in net last season. I'm of the opinion that Shane had a pretty good season. His stats were middle of the pack for the WCHA, but he did his job keeping the Badgers in almost every game. What more can you ask for from your netminder? I was surprised that Shane didn't have more than one shutout, considering he had several the season before in limited action. What he lacks in size, he makes up for in athletism. The highlight of the season for Shane came earlier in the season against North Dakota where they threw the kitchen sink at him, but nothing snuck by.

08/09 Thoughts: The net duties are sitll in the hands of Shane heading into the season, and while he will be pushed by Scott Gudmandson, I think that will be good to take his game to a higher level. The big question mark looms w/ the resignation of Coach Bill Howard from the staff last month, and what effect that will have on the goalies. Shane had a full three seasons of the tuteledge, his habits should be set in stone. If Shane can do a little better than last season, Wisconsin should have no worries about making the NCAA tourney. Of course the offense needs to wake up and do their part too. I don't see All-American honors in Shane's future, but he should have a chance at All-WCHA.

Prediction: 28 games, 17-7-4, 2.25 GAA

Photo from uwbadgers.com

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Men's Player Previews: #27 Cody Goloubef

Vitals:

Position: Defenseman
Year in School: Sophomore
Shoots Right
Height: 6-1
Weight: 188
Hometown: Oakville, ON
Previous Team: Oakville Blades (OPJHL) in 06/07

NHL Considerations: 2nd round pick (2008) of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

07/08 Stats: 40 games, 4-6-10, E, 36 PIM
06/07 Stats: 19 games, 7-15-22

08/09 Role: 2nd EV pairing, PP & PK

07/08 Recap: Cody had a great freshman season for Wisconsin. He started slow being paired w/ Captain Davis Drewiske, but as the season went on, he got better and better. Cody didn't get much of a chance to show what he can do on the PP, but was solid on both ends on EV. By the end of the season, he joined McBain and McDonagh as the three defensemen I was confident in on the ice. That is saying a lot for two freshman and a sophomore. Cody's draft stock soared and he landed early in the 2nd round to Columbus.

08/09 Thoughts: Cody should be ready for a great year w/ Wisconsin. W/ the McB/McD pairing likely set in stone, Cody will be looked upon to head the 2nd pairing w/ old friend Brendan Smith or freshman Jake Gardiner. I think Cody is ready for the leadership role on the blue line. He should also get a chance to show off more offense this season on the PP. Cody is solid right now in many areas and its time to being progressing to prepare for the next level, but not too quickly, I would like to see Cody back in the Fall of 09.

Prediction: 36 games, 6-14-20

Photo from uwbadgers.com

Friday, September 26, 2008

It's Friday, I'm in Love

I don't care if Monday's blue
Tuesday's grey and Wednesday too
Thursday I don't care about you
It's Friday, I'm in love

-- The Cure
Back when I wrote for HIW, I did a little thing called "It's Friday, I'm in Love" on Fridays when the Badger Men played. This year, I've decided to expand it to Fridays when the Badger Women play, because I think the Women deserve a little love, too. I'm pretty fired-up (surprise!) about going down to Madison to watch them sweep Quinnipiac this weekend.

Can't wait to see our new freshmen -- Brooke Ammerman, Brittany Haverstock, Carolyne Prévost (don't imagine we'll see Nikki Kaasa in net) -- and I can't wait see all of the returning players. What fun!

So, without further ado, here's a little game-day linkorama:

Uwbadgers.com: Official series preview

Milewski (TCT): New season, new view for Badgers
Baggot (WSJ blog): Badgers shoot for another title

Levine (Daily Cardinal): Ready, Set, Drop the Puck
Mason (Badger Herald): Ready for Redemption
Oleson (Badger Herald): Despite short prep time, women's hockey ready
Mason/Zetlin (Badger Herald): PCP - Shootouts a good idea?

Also, if you didn't get a chance to read them all yet -- check out Gandalf's previews of the players and coaching staff, as well as my more detailed profiles of the freshmen (but I'm only half done --I've done Haverstock and Prevost but still need to do Ammerman and Kaasa).

And the winner is...


<-------- HUGE SIEVE

You the fans have voted Alex "Soft Goal" Wangas as the biggest sieve among the returning starters in the WCHA. Good choice!!! Everyone hates minnesota week is coming up really quick, keep the bad feelings flowing.

There must be some anti-Jase Weslosky fans out as he made a hard charge to finish second.

I've posted a new poll, if the Badgers don't win the MacNaughton, who will? My choice is Denver.

Women's Player Previews: Coaching Staff

Well it all begins tonight for the Badger Women. I wouldn't be surprised to see National Championship banner #3 unfurled a year from now, I guess we'll find out in 6 months. I encourage all Badger Hockey fans to make a point of attending a few Women's games, it will be well worth your $5 or prehaps free if they do the Men's ticket for next day's Women's game thing.

Good luck to the Badger Women!

Figured I'd finish these previews off w/ the Badger Women's coaching staff.


Head Coach Mark Johnson

Background: I could probably blog for an hour about Mark Johnson, but I don't have that kinda time. Coach Johnson is hockey royalty in Wiscsonin. He is the son of the late great "Badger" Bob, helped Wisconsin to the 1977 NC, was a 2 time All-American and is second in points all-time in Badger history. Beyond that there was his role in the Miracle on Ice and his successful NHL career. Lets focus on his coaching career though. Coach Johnson joined Coach Sauer's staff as an assistant in 1996 and continued in that role until he became the Women's ooach for the 02/03 season. There are still some hard feelings from fans that Mike Eaves got the Men's job over Coach Johnson, but he has ton an outstanding job w/ the Women's team. I could recite all the records his teams have shattered, they are plentiful. He guided the Badger Women to the last 3 National Championship games, winning back to back titles in 2006 and 2007. Both those years he was named NCAA Coach of the Year. It would have been a three peat except for those cheaters at Duluth. Coach Johnson will be looking to make it 4 of 4 this year, and he will be leading another great group of young women onto the ice.



Assistant Coach Tracey Cornell

Background: Coach Cornell has been w/ the program since its beginning 10 years ago. She played four successful seasons for Cornell back in the 90s and one year of pro hockey over in Switzerland. She plays a big role in the recruiting of the young ladies who eventually skate in the Cardinal and White. She has competed in the Madison triathlon twice in 2006 and 2008.








Assistant Coach Daniel Koch

Background: Coach Koch has been w/ the program for 8 years, and also plays a big role in the team's recruitment. He has a long list of places he coached at before arriving in Madison including several stops at the high school level around the state. He has been coaching hockey in some capacity since 1986.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

WCHA Previews: Colorado College

School: Colorado College
Mascot: Tigers
Head Coach: Scott Owens, 10th year, 223-121-25

Last Season: 21-6-1, 1st Place WCHA; 28-12-1 Overall

Predicted 08/09 WCHA Finish: 2nd

Key Departures:
D Jack Hillen, 6-31-37*
F Jimmy Kilpatrick, 15-16-31
F Scott McCulloch, 13-8-21
F Scott Thauwald, 5-10-15
*All stats listed from 07/08

Key Returnees:
F Chad Rau (Sr), 28-14-42
F Andreas Vlassopoulos (Jr), 8-23-31
F Bill Sweatt (Jr), 10-17-27
F Mike Testwuide (Jr), 11-10-21
D Nate Prosser (Jr), 3-17-20

Top Sieve (not much of a sieve last season):
Richard Bachman (So), 25-9-1, 1.85 GAA

Key Additions:
F David Civitarese (AJHL) 31-45-76
F Nick Dineen (USHL) 27-29-56
F Tim Hall (USHL) 18-26-44
D Gabe Guentzel (USHL) 5-23-28
D Ted Behrend (WI HS) 18-15-33, played for Oregon HS

When Wisconsin Beats CC: KC 1/16 & 1/17

07/08 Recap: Colorado College was the king of the hill during the WCHA regular season. They were almost unbeatable all season at home, at least until the NCAA Regional. The biggest part of CC’s success was their defense led by WCHA’s top defender Jack Hillen and WCHA’s top goalie Richard Bachman. As a freshman adjusting to the rigors of the WCHA, Bachman was nothing short of outstanding (and I rarely give any respect to opposing goalies), though the Hobey Baker folks had their heads in the sand (imagine that) giving him on respect. On offense, Chad Rau led the way including leading the nation in short handed goals, including the four he tallied against Wisconsin. There was a controversy during the season where two players were suspended for their parts in some sexual misconduct and lying, which also involved an unnamed CC recruit. Despite this, CC held off North Dakota’s late charge for the MacNaughton. CC ran up against a hot minnesota team at the Final Five, and later lost to North Dakota in the 3rd place game. The losing continued the next weekend at home in the NCAA Regional to Notre Dame. In between all that, Wisconsin had no luck against CC last year. The Badgers blew a lead on Friday night at CC, before getting blown away on Saturday night in a game I stupidly paid $6 to watch on B2Live. CC came to the Kohl Center in early January when Geoffrion, McBain and Turris were gone for the WJC. Wisconsin had as much offense that weekend (thank you Sean Dolan) as a normal Mighty Mite game during the 2nd intermission. Another successful regular season ended w/ another disappointing post season for the Tigers.

08/09 Thoughts: I’ve seen a lot of places that have CC repeating as WCHA Champs (well not the letsgodu blog); I think it will be a close contest between the Front Range teams in Colorado. While Richard Bachman dominated last year, will he have a sophomore slump in the Springs? I doubt it, but the defense will have to be strong again to carry CC back to the top. Compared to Denver or North Dakota, CC is not an offensive machine, though not horrible either. Take the series at the Kohl Center last year, they didn’t score many goals that weekend, and really didn’t impress on offense compared to their defense and goaltending. Chad Rau and Bill Sweatt will probably be the top offensive options coming back, though w/ Kyle Klubertanz’s graduation, short handed goals against Wisconsin will be in short supply. They add a solid recruiting class, no top NHL Draft picks on that list, but a good group of young players.

This is the WCHA...previews Wisconsin

One of the newer WCHA blogs posted their Wisconsin preview yesterday. Its worth a read, I agree w/ his assessment of our forward and blue line situation. We definately need to find some guys to step up and score goals, and I think that will happen this season w/ the juniors leading the way. The blue line is solid, and Smith, Goloubef and Gardiner will easily replace what we lost at defenseman to graduation.

I don't agree w/ his takes on our goaltending situation.

IN GOAL: One of this season's more intriguing stories (one that will likely get mentioned during the season, especially if Badger goaltender struggle) is the departure of legendary goalie coach Bill Howard. The 36-year veteran was a part of all six of Wisconsin's national championship teams, and helped develop the likes of Mike Richter, Curtis Joseph, Jim Carey and Brian Elliott.After being spoiled by Elliott for two seasons, Wisconsin goalie Shane Connelly was a step or two back last season. Although his statistics aren't terrible, Connelly was just not on the same level as other goaltenders around the conference. His 2.44 goals against isn't bad in historical terms, but it ranked ninth among his conference counterparts last season. And Wisconsin, despite its lack of a top-flight goal scorer, finished fourth in the conference in scoring offense. Scott Gudmandson, like Connelly, lacks ideal size but is quick. He played in parts of six different games last season, going 1-1-2 in those efforts. His goals against of 2.63 and save percentage of .880 were both substantially worse than Connelly's. Because he will be counted on more next season, Gudmandson will likely see a few more starts this season, but Connelly will again see a bulk of the time.

I left a comment on his post refuting the bolded parts, because I think his evaluation of Shane Connelly is just plain bullsh*t. When you compare Shane to the rest of the WCHA during conference games he is 6th in GAA and 7th in save %. Sure not great, but basically outside of Richard Bachman, Shane is in the same class as Weslosky, Wangas, Zacharias and Stalock in returning goalies. They are all quite close in GAA and save %. Wangas had a better GAA than the rest, while Weslosky's save % was better. Stalock's GAA was worse than all of them in conference games. So to say that Connelly wasn't on the same level w/ the rest of the goaltenders in the WCHA is absurd. The only returning goalie who was significantly better is Bachman, the rest are all about equal statisically. Shane wasn't the reason we did poorly last year, it was our horrible PP and lack of timely goal scoring.

Step or two back indeed. Brian Elliott was something special no doubt about it, but Shane was far from a step or two back for Wisconsin goaltenders last season, and as the stats present themselves he was just as good as every other returning goalie in the WCHA except Bachman.

Men's Player Previews: #25 Chris Hickey

Vitals:

Position: Forward
Year in School: Freshman
Shoots Right
Height: 6-1
Weight: 202
Hometown: St. Paul, MN
Previous Team: Tri-City (USHL) last season

NHL Considerations: 7th round pick (2006) of the Minnesota Wild.

07/08 Stats: 55 games, 15-16-31, -24, 34 PIM
05/06 Stats: ? games, 37-26-63

08/09 Role: 4th line EV

07/08 Recap: Chris skated w/ the Tri-City Storm last season in the USHL after playing 4 years at Cretim-Durham Hall w/ Ryan McDonagh winning a state title in 2006. Chris had a pretty good season w/ the Storm as he adjusted to the USHL's higher level of play. If you recall, Chris was a late addition to the freshman class after issues arose w/ his draft rights. If Chris wouldn't have started school this fall, the Wild either would have had to sign him to a contract, or give up his draft rights.

08/09 Thoughts: I'm not really sure how much playing time Chris will get on the team this season, my prediction is pretty low, but he could easily surpass that. I don't think he is as ready for the WCHA as his fellow freshman forwards. He'll probably be fighting for playing time on the 4th line w/ a bunch of other guys. Overall, I'm pretty happy Chris has joined the team. He is a solid two way player who has the potential to be a top scorer for Wisconsin in the future.

Prediction: 14 games, 2-4-6

Photo from uwbadgers.com

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Meet the Freshmen: #27 Carolyne Prévost

Gandalf posted a nice little profile of Carolyne Prévost today. And that got me all fired-up about Badger Women's Hockey, which as you know starts in JUST TWO DAYS!!

As I did with Brittany Haverstock, I thought I'd do a more detailed profile of Prévost. And the easiest way to do that is to update and expand a little linkorama that I did earlier this summer, so here goes . . .


Prévost is a pretty good all-around athlete, as she's a 7-time Canadian national champion in 3 sports (2 hockey, 1 soccer, 4 tae kwon do).

When Prévost committed to the Badgers, Mark Johnson said the following:
“Carolyne is just a very gifted athlete, which you can see by the fact that she’s a fourth-degree black belt and a Canadian tae kwon do national champion. She is dedicated, disciplined, hard-working and unbelievably quick. She’ll bring a lot of energy to our team.”

Prévost played the last 2 seasons with the London Devilettes of the PWHL, where she led the team in scoring both seasons. During the 2007-08 season, she scored 26 goals and 19 assists for 45 points in 26 regular season games, which placed her 6th in league scoring. She also scored 5 goals and 1 assists in 5 playoff games. During the 2006-07 season, she scored 19 goals and 14 assists for 33 points in 24 regular season games, which placed her 11th in league scoring. She also scored 3 goals and 4 assists in 6 playoff games.

Prévost has quite a bit of national and international experience. Here are some highlights from the past few seasons:

Summer 2008
Prévost was one of 51 players who attended Team Canada's U22 Strength and Conditioning/Skating Camp in May. She was also one of 40 players at Team Canada's U22 Selection Camp in July. Unfortunately, she did not make the final roster for the August U22 Series v. Team USA.

2007-08 season
She won a silver medal (with future Badger Brittany Haverstock) with Team Canada in the 2008 IIHF World Women's U18 Championships (Jan 2008). In 5 games, she had 6 goals and 3 assists and finished +8. (Future Badger Brooke Ammerman won the gold with Team USA.)

She also won a gold medal with Ontario Red in Canada's 2007 U18 National Championships (Nov 2007).

2006-07 season
Prévost won a gold medal (along with Badger Mallory Deluce) with Team Ontario in the 2007 Canada Winter Games (Mar 2007). The 2007 CWG website has a really nice profile of Prevost.

2005-06 season
Prévost won a silver medal with Ontario Blue in Canada's 2005 U18 National Championships (Nov 2005). She was named Most Sportsmanlike Player for Ontario Blue.


In case you didn't feel like clicking on all the above links, I'd just like to emphasize her CWG profile. I think you'll like it. And if anyone has any more info about Prévost to share, please email me at sixtymin@gmail.com.

Tom Gilbert

Yeah, I probably should've included this in the below linkorama, but I (gasp) forgot (sorry Tom!). Besides, I never mind giving Tom his own post. (Especially since I keep finding things to edit into this post.)

The Edmonton Journal has a really nice article on Gilbert's upcoming sophomore season, and it has some nice quotes from Gilbert and head coach Craig MacTavish.

OilersTV has a video interview with Gilbert from the 1st day of training camp (Sept 19). Gilbert is excited for the upcoming season and feels more confident after playing a full season in the NHL. He says some nice things about Wisconsin and says he sees himself coming back to Madison each summer.

Gilbert didn't play in Monday's pre-season game, but he logged a ton of ice time (26:57) in last night's game. (Unfortunately, it sounds like he had a few pretty rough shifts. But hey, it's the preseason, and I'm sure he'll get the rust worked off before the season starts.)

Lowetide has a nice little write-up of the Joey Moss Game (Blue/White Game) last weekend. Gilbert was on the losing end with team white but apparently played pretty well:
Gilbert: He had a nice game even on the losing side. His D partner sent him a few grenades and he battled to at least a standoff most of the time. I know it might sound empty but Gilbert's efforts (to me) in a losing cause were almost more impressive because he was on the wrong end of a slanted playing field all afternoon. He was Archie Manning in New Orleans today.

Wednesday afternoon link-o-rama: Badger Men

  • Ryan MacMurchy, who was in Edmonton for training camp, has been reassigned to Springfield. Springfield's training camp starts today. In a post last week, Todd had a bit more on MacMurchy (who apparently suffered a concussion at the end of last season), as well as a list of Badgers at training camps.
  • Todd Milewski is running a little contest where readers can pick the WCHA final standings and award winners.

  • WCH has a scouting report for the U17 NTDP team at the NAHL showcase, and it includes a bit about a couple of future Badgers, Michael Mersch and Frankie Simonelli:
  • Line 3: Stuart Higgins-Matt Rust-Michael Mersch
    A very high energy line featuring two sparkplugs in Higgins and Rust. Mersch gives the line a bit of a scoring threat, as demonstrated by the wicked shot he scored with on Wednesday, but most of the team's scoring will likely come from elsewhere.

    The Defense: Kevin Clare, Adam Clendening, Stephen Johns, Frankie Simonelli, Justin Faulk, Jarred Tinordi
    Clare was pretty obviously the leader of this group. Having played junior hockey last year, he looked most comfortable against the older competition. I was a little skeptical of Simonelli being on the team after seeing him last fall, but he really took a big step forward over the past year and should be one of the team's better defensemen. Clendening is a pretty exciting offensive defenseman. On Friday, when they lost both Simonelli and Clendening, the quality of the defense definitely went down.
  • I've added a couple of links in the recruiting section on the left of the blog -- No Sleep Til Madison (thanks Allan!) and Wiscohockey, both of which cover high school hockey in Wisconsin.

Wednesday afternoon link-o-rama: Badger Women

  • The Badger Women have been ranked 2nd (behind UMD) in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine preseason poll. In the WCHA coaches poll, the Badger Women tied for 2nd with Minnesota (again behind UMD). Badgers who recieved votes for post-season awards include Meghan Duggan and Erika Lawler for league MVP and Carolyne Prevost for league rookie of the year.

  • The fine folks at BTD have done their own national poll. The Badgers placed 2nd behind Harvard, followed by Minnesota in 3rd and UMD in 4th.
  • Mark Johnson addressed the media on Monday, and here's the transcript.
  • Hockey Canada's September evaluation camp for the Women's National Team is over, but you can find game results here. Participating in the camp were Carla MacLeod, Meaghan Mikkelson, and Bobbie Jo Slusar. HC indicates that they'll name the 2008-09 roster "in the coming days".

More Nick Pryor, Matt Paape

(It looks like Gandalf and I were posting at the same time, except I write slower!)

I've gotta admit, I'm pretty bummed about this whole Nick Pryor situation about which Chuck previously reported. Here are some more links:

Milewski: Pryor out, Paape in among UW recruits
Milewski: More from Pryor
Baggot: Badgers add one, lose one



Obviously Pryor is not telling everyone the same story about his reasons for de-committing (and he's not even talking to Baggot), but so be it. Maybe it was academics (hey, would you want to admit to everyone that you couldn't get into school?) or maybe it was something else, but regardless Pryor is gone.

I was looking forward to his joining the Badgers. Seemed liked a nice kid and a good enough hockey player who would've been a nice addition to the Badgers. Sure, he wasn't a top-end guy like Goloubef, Smith, Gardiner, etc, but I figure he would've been a solid guy that we could've counted on for 4 years.

I'm sure Eaves has something in the works, but next year on D is looking a bit scary. And not in a good way. You gotta figure that McBain won't stay his senior year, and you gotta have doubts about Goloubef, Smith, and McDonagh sticking around for their junior years. I'm waiting to hear who Eaves will now bring in on D in 2009, but I'm afraid I won't be waiting patiently as the D is looking pretty thin for that year.

On the other hand, the offense certainly isn't looking thin. The Badgers recently picked up a commitment from Appleton winger Matt Paape for 2010 or 2011. All the idiots will be screaming over-recruiting, but the huge class of Geoffrion/Davies/Mitchell/Bendickson/Grotting/Bohmbach will be gone after the 2009-10 season, and you've gotta allow for a couple of early departures. Still not a lot of room for Strang and Paape to come in 2010 season, but they committed for either 2010 or 2011, so I'm ok with that.

Recruit Pipeline at Even this week

We lose one recruit, we gain another this week. I'll cover Matt Paape first. The Appleton United forward will join the Badgers in 2010 or 2011 after spending a year or two in the USHL following this season. Matt is playing w/ Team Wisconsin in the High School Hockey Elite League, and is teammates w/ recent verbal Cody Strang. Matt was receiving initial interest from CC and North Dakota.

You can read more about Matt here, and more about Nick Pryor as well. Todd of TCT talked w/ Nick about his decommitment and some new information has come to light. Here are some quotes:

said he made the decision in the last week that Wisconsin "wasn't a good fit for me anymore."

Asked why, he said: "I don't really know. I don't really have anything to say about that."

"It's kind of hard for me to explain, still, right now," Pryor continued. "It's hard for me to explain to my parents. They understand where I'm coming from. But it was just a decision I made. It didn't seem to be a good place for me."

He denied rumors that his decommitment had something to do with academics. "I could have gotten in if I wanted to," he said.

He said he liked everything about Wisconsin, including the hockey coaching staff. "It had nothing to do with them because they're all first class and a first-class program," he said.

This contradicts what Nick told Chuck earlier about academics being the main reason why he couldn't get in. Todd did a followup w/ Nick and here is the whole post.

** On whether he's looking to play somewhere else: "Now I'm just playing whatever I can get and wherever I can go. I'm keeping everything open right now."
** On whether he's heard interest from other schools: "I've gotten calls. I'm keeping my options open right now. I don't have my mind set on anywhere right now. I'm just going to play - I've got a tournament coming up this weekend, the USHL Fall Classic, and see how everything goes after that. Nothing too serious at all right now."
** On how he made the decision not to play for UW: "I don't know where it came from, but it was a choice that I made and it's over with now as far as I'm concerned, and I've got to move on."
** More on the decision: "It was a tough decision, but I'm going to be able to play hockey somewhere. I just want to play hockey. It doesn't really matter where I play hockey. As long as I have a good fit for me and I'm enjoying myself there and having fun, that's fine with me."


The interesting thing for me was that when I asked Pryor what made him now think that UW wouldn't be a good fit for him, he paused for a few seconds before basically saying he didn't have an answer. Fair enough, but it keeps you wondering.

I wonder too Todd, no doubt. This doesn't all add up to me. He's still a kid so I cut him slack, but I have to wonder how you can make a big decision like this and don't know why. If its an issue w/ playing time, well the chances of McDonagh and McBain being back in Madison a year from now are pretty slim. That doesn't even account for some part of Brendan Smith, Cody Goloubef or Jake Gardiner making an unexpected though possible jump to the pros. Obviously as a fan, I'm not owed anything by the players, especially recruits, but I'm not overly happy when you say academics is a reason and then you tell Todd at TCT that you just changed your mind. Tell the truth right away, people might not be happy w/ you, but at least they know you were up front about things. Down the road in life that is important, whether you are an NHL prospect or a janitor.

Women's Player Previews: #27 Carolyne Prevost

Vitals:

Position: Forward
Year in School: Freshman
Shoots Left
Height: 5-4
Hometown: Sarina, ON
Previous Team: London Junior Devilettes
Major: Kinesiology

07/08 Stats: ?

Thoughts: Another great addition to the Badger Women's Carolyne brings a wealth of national team experience w/ Team Canada. When she isn't kicking ass on the ice, she is doing in different arenas. Carolyne has a 4th degree black belt in taekwondo including 4 national championships in Canada, and a silver medal at the 2005 junior PanAm games.

Photo from uwbadgers.com

Men's Player Previews: #24 John MItchell

Vitals:

Position: Forward
Year in School: Junior
Shoots Left
Height: 6-5
Weight: 222
Hometown: Neenah, WI
Previous Team: Indiana (USHL) in 05/06

NHL Considerations: John received interest from a few teams in the off season to sign as a free agent. He attended the Minnesota Wild prospect camp over the summer.

07/08 Stats: 40 games, 8-5-13, +4, 49 PIM
06/07 Stats: 18 games, 1-2-3, E, 21 PIM

08/09 Role: Grind Line, PP

07/08 Recap: John was by far the most improved player on the team last season, and was voted so by the team following the season. He went from a awkward looking forward lost on the ice, to an important part of the "grind line" and scorer for the Badgers. You can't teach size, the one thing John definately has, but he definately make huge progress learning the things the coaching taught him. John's best highlight was the out of no where breakaway speed he showed against Denver in the regional when he used his long strides to pull away and score on Mannino. One season a part time player, the next season he is receiving interest from NHL franchises.

08/09 Thoughts: Where can John take his game this season? I'm still hoping Eaves leaves the "grind line" of Mitchell/Dolan/Grotting together. Depsite their obvious ability to play as a checking/disruption line, I think they can notch more goals this season too. Leading the way in that effort could be Big John. John needs to use his body a little more too this season. One article labeled his as a wrecking ball, while I haven't seen that yet, I would like to.

Prediction: 34 games, 10-4-14

Photo from uwbadgers.com