Tuesday, September 15, 2009

09/10 WCHA Previews: minnesota

School: minnesota
Mascot: a smiling rodent
National Championships: 6 > 5 sorry
Head Coach: Don Lucia, 256-126-45, 11th season

Last Season: 12-11-5, 5th Place WCHA; 17-13-7 Overall

Predicted 09/10 WCHA Finish: 5th

Key Departures:
F Ryan Stoa, 24-22-46*
F Justin Bostrom, 5-4-9
D RJ Anderson, 0-4-4
*All stats listed from 08/09

Key Returnees: (75.6% of scoring returns)
F Jordon Schroeder (So), 13-32-45
F Jay Barriball (Sr), 11-23-34
D Cade Fairchild (Jr), 9-24-33
F Mike Hoeffel (Jr), 12-8-20
F Ryan Flynn (Sr), 6-13-19

Top Sieve:
Alex Kangas, 17-11-6, 2.79 GAA, 0.901 save %

Key Additions:
D Nick Leddy (MN HS), 12-33-45
F Josh Birkholz (USHL), 21-15-36
F Zach Budish (MN HS), IR
D Seth Helgeson (USHL), 4-12-16
F Jacob Cepis (Bowling Green), 1-4-5 [transfer]

Freshman Scouting Report: A small, but good freshman class, which would have included Nate Condon and Jake Yousu had tDon not done the unthinkable and pushed a player back a season. Budish is the best player in the class, he was stellar in HS Elite League last year, but then suffered a season ending knee injury playing football. Leddy was the first American drafted this past summer, and is the 2009 Mr. Hockey. Birkholz and Helgeson both had decent seasons in the USHL last year, Helgeson is supposedly a stay at home defenseman, but as 60 always asks, is he self respecting becoming a gopher? Cepis was on the CCHA all rookie team as a freshman before deciding to trade one ugly jersey in for another; he won’t see the ice til 2010.

When Wisconsin Beats goldy: KC 11/6 & 11/7; @um 3/5 & 3/7

08/09 Recap: The gophers started out the season strong, then were a sinking ship in the 2nd half of the season, as goalie Alex Kangas slowly sucked the life out of wins w/ his incredibly bad play in net. The 2nd half included being swept by North Dakota, Mankato and CC, w/ the dagger in the heart coming when the Badgers swept them at home. The gophers went to the Final Five only to be sent home by Alex Stalock and Duluth. In typical gopher fan fashion, the Final Five was pretty empty the rest of the weekend, as gopher fans retreated to their homes to begin the long process of placing blame for another bad season on someone, having previously used Mike Guentzel as the scapegoat during the last off season. No NCAA tourney bid either.

Team’s Biggest Strength(es): minnesota always has a lot of talented players as a lot of the top in state talent stays at home, but its always a question if they will pull all that talent together in a cohesive unit.

Team’s Biggest Weakness(es): Besides the completely apathetic fan base, full of some of the biggest idiots breathing oxygen in the world, their biggest weakness is Alex “Soft Goal” Kangas. Teammates have to shoot watermelons at him in practice to build up his confidence.

09/10 Thoughts: I’m sure the gophers “could” finish higher than 5th, but nothing from the end of last season really leads me to believe this will occur. Jordan Schroeder is a bright spot returning after Vancouver drafted him in the 1st round this summer there was talk he might sign w/ them. He should be a leading candidate for WCHA POY. The glaring weakness on the team is Alex Kangas. He Wangased away so many games for them down the stretch, he might start strong but like any good gopher goalie will soon find a way to make the sieve chant seem not nearly enough of an insult about his level of play. They have talent, but a lot of the kids who were suppose to be stars haven’t turned out, and it always hurts when tDon recruits lesser in state talent and passes on kids who end up kicking butt elsewhere. They start the season @ North Dakota, then home against Denver, good luck w/ that one.

Woog and the Rug will once again sing the praises of the gopher players as they reprise their role as dumb and dumber on FSN North, along w/ Kevin Gorg who is hands down dumbest..