Thursday, March 26, 2009

McLinkorama

So, McBain's gone; just waiting for an official announcement. Yesterday's Raleigh News & Observer blog post indicates that McBain will join the AHL's Albany River Rats for the rest of the season.

On Tuesday, Chuck chastised me a bit (and understandably so) for not posting McBain's making the Hobey Top 10. And so I thought I'd better try to make amends (I'm sorry, Jamie!) by linking things up. By the way, McBain is the 8th Badger to be named a Hobey Top 10 finalist, and he's the only WCHA player among this year's Hobey Top 10.

hobeybaker: Hobey Baker Award Announces Top Ten Finalists
uwbadgers: McBain WCHA Player of the Year, Hobey Finalist; Gardiner honored
Baggot (WSJ): McBain named WCHA's best, Hobey finalist

And of course uwbadgers still has their McBain for the Hobey page, which includes a pdf flyer, a couple of video interviews, and some other features, but inexplicably doesn't include his highlight video.

Just last week, McBain was profiled on a couple of sites. I think you'll enjoy this player profile on the Carolina Hurricane's site, as it's quite complimentary. Here are some quotes.

“He skates very well and he shoots the puck very well, and we don’t think he’s too far away from being able to step in and certainly play at the American League level, if not the NHL level, in the very near future,” said MacDonald. “He’s a junior now, and whether or not he needs another year of competition at the college level is debatable. He might be ready to make the next step now, and he probably is.”

“He’s probably what you’d consider a man among boys at this point in college,” said Jason Karmanos, the Hurricanes’ vice president and assistant general manager. “He’s got an extremely high skill level as evidenced by his production this year, and we don’t think he’s too far off. He’s a guy that plays in all situations, he’s got good size, skates well and handles the puck very well. He has all the tools he needs and just needs to concentrate on getting his body better conditioned for the NHL level.”

“He’ll be no less than a solid two-way guy, if not an offensive contributor, in the NHL,” said MacDonald. “I think he’ll be able to play on the power play at the National Hockey League level.”

“We have high hopes for him,” said Karmanos. “As far as a guy with the tools and the physical package to be a player at this level, he’s right at the top of the list.”

Bruce Ciskie also profiled McBain over on Fanhouse.
There isn't much McBain doesn't do well. He moves the puck exceptionally well, anchoring a power play ranked fourth in the WCHA and tied for twelfth in the nation. He has a big shot, and he is greatly improved as a defensive player from even earlier this season.
And at the beginning of this month, Hockey's Future's Hurricanes Top 20 Prospects (Spring 2009) listed McBain at #4.
4. (4) Jamie McBain, D, 21, 7.5B
Acquired 2nd round, 63rd overall, 2006

McBain has taken his game to new levels in his junior season at the University of Wisconsin. The Badgers defenseman is college hockey’s top scoring blueliner and a Hobey Baker award candidate. His 34 points through 34 games leads all Wisconsin players in scoring, and his 27 assists are tied for 10th in the NCAA. The 6’2, 197-pound defenseman showed a mix of size and skill during Carolina’s summer rookie camp, and his maturation into a point-producer at the college level bodes well for him and the Hurricanes. McBain — who is coached by Mike Eaves, the father of current Canes forward Patrick Eaves — could skip his final year of eligibility with the Badgers, but a logjam at defense means his arrival in Raleigh could come in 2010-11 unless the organization makes room for him.
Good luck in the Hobey hunt, Jamie, and best of luck as well with the 'Canes.

(Photo from uwbadgers.com)