Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Heatley to Oilers: maybe, maybe not

I see that bingofuel just changed the title of his post from "Gregor Rings . . . Heatley Arrives" to "Gregor Rings . . . Heatley stays in Ottawa".

So apparently the Sens and the Oil worked out a deal, but Heatley declined to waive his no-trade clause. (IIRC, Edmonton wasn't on the list of teams that he had previously indicated he was interested in being traded to. On the other hand, he did ask to be traded, and reportedly there aren't many teams in the ballpark for what the Sens are looking for in exchange, so I don't know what Heatley was expecting.)

Oh, and apparently the Sens won't be on the hook for the $4MM July 1 payout if they trade Heatley before 12AM July 2, so we still might see a trade tomorrow.

UPDATE: In his latest post, my new best friend Jonathan references the TSN link above and shares his thoughts, which include a "good grief" that I share regarding the semantics of Heatley's failure to waive his no-trade clause (apparently he "didn't oblige" when asked to waive the clause, and that's different that an "outright refusal".) So he could still waive it. But honestly, if he were going to waive it, why wouldn't he just go ahead and do so when asked?

By the way, I'm pretty sure TSN changed the title of their article (appending "for now") as well as some of the body of the article. Unfortunately, I didn't save the original text. But I'm pretty sure the original article was more on the lines of Heately "refusing" to waive the no-trade clause.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Aw hell, you should just go to Jonathan's post and read the updates he keeps adding. Despite the fact that the Oilers and Sens both seemed to think the deadline was 12 AM July 1, Heatley's agent is saying they knew the deadline was 12AM July 2 and so they felt that a "decision does not have to come until that time... Dany is going to sleep on it." Jonathan's take is this: "Does this mean that Healtey prefers Edmonton to Ottawa but would much rather go to New York? Probably."

MORE FROM THE RUMOR MILL: I can't find a link, but here's some interesting chatter from a comment on Lowetide's blog.
Daren Millard dropping bombshells...

- heatley didn't kill it. the oilers are on the list and he confirmed it with his agent.
- still has to approve it etc
- rangers have entered the fray. package is getting better. callahan, dubinsky and del zotto and are improving it. still want mark staal.
- he believes ottawa was not aware the deadline was midnight tonight
- they were pissed that they weren't gonna be able to deal heatley by tonight. if they have to pay the bonus he will be in ottawa
- he is not against playing for the oilers. rangers are top priority
- oilers are still fully in this thing and they will improve the package to keep with the rangers.
- sens are still talking with both teams and will squeeze both teams
- penner and cogliano have been informed they were traded
- believes this is the rangers deal to lose. believes the sens want staal or nothing
- stating again heatley did NOT kill the deal.
- deal is still on the table. its tambellini vs glen sather tomorrow
- oilers still want to be involved in this deal
- rangers are his first choice
- believes that dany heatley hasn't said anything and its his representation yet

Sounds like the Sens camp probably leaked it to get the Rangers to boost their offer. Millard says Heatley likely hasn't even been asked to make a decision yet.

A couple more Dan Koch links

Earlier today, Gandalf linked Baggot's blog post announcing Koch's decision to leave Wisconsin for Shattuck St. Mary's. Baggot now has a bit more in his article for tomorrow's WSJ. Baggot mentions Tom Osiecki as a potential candidate to fill Koch's spot with the Badgers, but I don't know if that's just speculation on Baggot's part right now or if there's more to it. You might remember that Osiecki has been coaching the USA Hockey's women's residency program (aka Blaine Residency). He also spent a year as an assistant coach for the gopher women when Brad Frost took over the reins from Laura Halldorson.

Here are some quotes from the UW's official announcement:
"Leaving Wisconsin is the hardest decision I have had to make in my professional career," said Koch. "I am leaving a great program, with great staff and players. I am excited for the opportunity to be a head coach and it will be a good move for my entire family."

"Dan has an opportunity to move on and be a head coach and take his family to a prep school," said Wisconsin head coach Mark Johnson. "He has been a great asset for us the past seven years. He has played a major role in building our program and we know he will do great things at Shattuck-St. Mary’s. We wish him the best of luck and we will miss him."

"Mark has been a mentor for me the past seven years and I appreciate everything he has done for me and I have learned from him," Koch said. "He is not only one of the best hockey minds, but he has taught me so much about life as well."

Heater an Oiler? What about Gilbert?

From bingofuel at OilersNation:

Just got off the phone with Gregor:

“The Oilers have traded Dustin Penner, Ladislav Smid and Andrew Cogliano for Dany Heatley. This will add $2.1 million to the Oilers’ payroll.”

He also mentioned that Hossa talks with LA have broken off.

Finally, the handsome devil teased me with this one: the Oil aren’t done dealing yet.

OH EM GEE

Koch leaves Women's team

Assistant Coach Dan Koch is leaving the UW Women's team for a position at Shattuck St. Mary's. He has been w/ the program since 2001 and in that time was the top recruiter, bringing in class after class of star players.

This leaves a big hole for Mark Johnson as he readies to take a leave of absence and coach the US Women's Olympic team.

The plan was for Koch and assistant Tracey DeKeyser to co-coach the team in Johnson's absence, I guess now there will have to be a plan B.

Ryan McDonagh's Rights Traded to the Rangers

Not yet sure what to make of this one. Montreal was bound for a major shakeup this offseason, but I didn't expect them to trade away McD. Hard to say how well McD fits into the Rangers organization compared to Montreal since we still have no idea where half of the Habs will be after this season (or even next week). So, that said, I'll just say that I'm shocked that a team in the middle of a roster transition would trade away one of their top prospects and leave it at that.

http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=283329

Habs get Gomez from Rangers
TSN.ca Staff 6/30/2009
5:03:16 PM

Getting a jump on the free agent market, the Montreal
Canadiens moved to secure their centre ice position via trade, making
a deal with the New York Rangers Tuesday and taking on a whole lot of
salary in the process.

The Canadiens acquired centre
Scott Gomez,
winger
Tom Pyatt and defenceman Mike Busto from the New York Rangers in exchange for winger Chris Higgins and defencemen Doug Janik, Ryan McDonagh
and
Pavel Valentenko.

Gomez, 29, is coming off a down season for the Rangers, finishing with
58 points, his lowest total since 2002-2003.

"We are extremely pleased to have acquired a player of the caliber of
Scott Gomez.
He is an outstanding playmaker and an excellent skater. Having won the Stanley
Cup twice with the New Jersey Devils, he brings to our team a lot of playoff
experience. Scott is an elite player who will certainly contribute to the
success of our team for years to come" said Canadiens GM Bob Gainey.

A two-time Stanley Cup winner with the New Jersey Devils, Gomez was a
blockbuster free agent signing for the Rangers in the summer of 2007.
Gomez is signed through 2013-2014, at a salary cap hit of more than
$7.35-million, so he represents a significant investment.

In 706 career games, Gomez has 148 goals, 430 assists and 578 points,
adding 81 points in 114 career playoff games.

Higgins, a 26-year-old restricted free agent winger, also struggled in
2008-2009, scoring a career-low 23 points in 57 games as he missed a combined 25
games with hand and groin injuries.

Prior to last season, however, Higgins recorded three straight
seasons of at least 20 goals and he'll be a more economical option for the
Rangers as he earned $1.7-million last season.

McDonagh, 20, was Montreal's first-round pick in 2007 and recorded 16
points in 36 games as a 6-foot-1, 212-pound sophomore at the University of
Wisconsin in 2008-2009.

Valentenko, 22, has good size at 6-foot-2, 202 pounds, but left
the Canadiens' farm team in Hamilton early last season to play for Moscow Dynamo
in the KHL, where he finished with one assist in eight games.

Janik, a 29-year-old journeyman acquired from Dallas last season, will
be an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

The minor leaguers coming to Montreal aren't considered elite
prospects. A six-foot, 185-pound forward,
Tom Pyatt is a
22-year-old who put up 37 points in 73 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the
AHL last season and was a fourth-round pick in 2005.

23-year-old Busto is 6-foot-1, 210 pounds and registered 11 points and
a minus-7 rating in 54 games with Charlotte of the ECHL.

Women’s Schedule starting to take shape

It will probably take UW a few more weeks to finalize the Women’s schedule, but most of it has come together by looking at opponents schedules that have been released. Here is the preliminary schedule:

Sept. 25-27: Open
Oct. 2&3: North Dakota
Oct. 9&10: @ Bemidji
Oct. 16-18: Open
Oct. 23&24: Ohio State
Oct. 30, Nov 1: minnesota
Nov. 6&7: Robert Morris
Nov. 13-15: Open
Nov. 20-21: @ St. Cloud
Nov. 27&28: @ Providence
Dec. 4-6: Open
Dec. 11&12: @ Mankato
Jan. 8&9: @ North Dakota
Jan. 14-16: Open
Jan. 22&23: St. Cloud
Jan. 29&30: @Ohio State
Feb. 6&7: Bemidji*
Feb. 12&13: Mankato
Feb. 19&20: @minnesota
Feb. 26-28: 1st Round WCHA Playoffs
March 5&6: WCHA Final Faceoff
March 12&13: 1st Round NCAA Playoffs
March 18&20: Frozen Four

*Saturday game part of Camp Randall Classic

One opening left on the schedule is a home (assuming home) non-conference series which could likely be during the weekend of Sept 26th. Also, the Duluth Foreign Legion has not released their schedule. They are likely waiting to see how many of their illegal, previously paid foreign players will be in the Olympics and how many (previously undeserving) North American women will have to fill their roster this season. Communism may not hold sway over the North Shore this season.

Season ticket sales for the Women will follow the official schedule release. At $30 for the entire season, I’m not sure you can find a better deal anywhere.

USA Hockey Names Olympic Camp Roster

USA Hockey's press release is available here. The roster is as follows:
Goaltenders: Ryan Miller, Jonathan Quick, Tim Thomas

Defensemen: Tom Gilbert, Tim Gleason, Ron Hainsey, Erik Johnson, Jack Johnson, Mike Komisarek, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik, Brian Rafalski, Rob Scuderi, Ryan Suter, Ryan Whitney

Forwards: David Backes, David Booth, Dustin Brown, Dustin Byfuglien, Ryan Callahan, Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, Patrick Kane, Ryan Kesler, Phil Kessel, Jamie Langenbrunner, Ryan Malone, Mike Modano, Kyle Okposo, T.J. Oshie, Zach Parise, Joe Pavelski, Bobby Ryan, Paul Stastny.
Former Badgers in red. Also, it's great to see so many ex collegians on the list.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Catching up linkorama

My apparent obsession with Troy Hesketh, coupled with my being out of town all weekend, has caused me to get a bit behind on a number of recent items, not to mention a few other items that I'd been accumulating over the past week or so but failed to get posted. So I figured I'd better do a little linkorama to get all caught up. Here goes . . .
  • Jake Dowell, who became an RFA this summer, has signed a 2-yr deal with the Chicago Blackhawks. (Props to wojo for the heads-up.) Here's what Dowell had to say:

    "Definitely makes me feel real good to have this contract done and puts me a little bit at ease, gives me something to work for, a jump during my training this summer to get into next year. They had so much success this year, I got to be part of the playoff run and hopefully part of everything coming next year and be on the team full-time."
  • UFA Brad Winchester has re-upped with St. Louis, signing a 1-year $800,000 deal.

  • Brian Elliott visited a kindergarten class as part of the Ottawa Senators' Read to Succeed program, and the Sens website has the video.
  • Over on WiscoHockey, Chris Walby shares some final thoughts on the recent TW camp. Of particular interest to us over here is his take on potential Badger recruit Jake McCabe:

    "Jake McCabe is unreal. He’s going to be a sophomore. He might be the best defensemen in the state."
  • Badger Hockey figures prominently in Andy Baggot's Saturday column "Ten UW records that won't be broken:"

    1. Mark Johnson scores 125 goals in 125 career games for the UW men’s hockey team. Rationale: First off, a sniper this prolific is in the NHL before you can say, “It’s a great day for hockey.” Then there’s the matter of needing to average 41.6 goals a season for at least three years. You can count on one hand the number of times a UW player has topped 40 goals in a season during the modern era (four, two by Johnson).

    4. Mike Eaves totals 267 points in 160 career games with the UW men’s hockey team.Rationale: Once again, if you’re good enough to challenge this mark, you’ll be in the NHL before you get a sniff of your senior season. Besides, we’re talking 67 points a season and only five UW players have done that since 1980.

    8. Jessie Vetter totals 39 career shutouts for the UW women’s hockey team, an NCAA record.Rationale: It’s exceedingly rare for a world-class talent like Vetter to intersect with four Badgers teams formidable enough to reach the NCAA title game.
  • Oilers blogger speeds offers his thoughts on Hesketh and the other Oiler picks. (Nope, I just can't get away from Hesketh, can I?)

    I actually like what I've read about Hesketh. It seems to have been a little bit early to select him, but they were worried other teams were interested and maybe they were. That said, I don't really like his projected timeline, which currently sits at one more year at Minnetonka, one year in the USHL, finally followed by starting college in 2011/12. I'd have selected F Rajala in this spot, and the THN guide had G Roy as the BPA at this point. Interesting that both players were later selected by the Oilers anyways.
  • Spector has a couple of rumors of interest to Badger fans: 1.) The Calgary Flames add Jay Bouwmeester, then flip Dion Phaneuf to Ottawa for Dany Heatley. 2.) Meanwhile, 300 km up Highway 2, rumours persist that Edmonton GM Steve Tambellini is shopping one of his four offensive defenceman in an attempt to kickstart the rebuild in Edmonton.

    The 2nd rumor involves Oilers blueliner Sheldon Souray, and if the Oil trade Souray, I gotta think that they hold onto Gilbert.
  • Speaking of Tom Gilbert, in his blog Gilbert indicates that he bought a house in Edmonton, that he'll be spending most of the summer in Madison, and that summer is a slow season for his shoe fetish. Oh, and if you missed it, and if you have about 20 minutes of your life that you don't really care if you get back, you could take a look at "A Day in the Life of Tom Gilbert": Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4. But you know, say whatever you want about Tom's apparent shoe and jeans fetishes; all-in-all he seems like the same ol' Tom, and it's nice to see him having success in the NHL and remaining a nice guy.
  • Speaking of Badgers having success is the NHL and still being nice guys, I've gotta give some love to Joe Pavelski. On Saturday, Pavs hosted a Golf Outing and Cookout fundraiser to benefit youth hockey and to establish a the Joe Pavelski Scholarship fund.Very cool of Pavs to be doing this type of thing already in his young career. Nubeetle, Chuck, and I attended, and the event seemed to be fairly successful. (Props to the boys at Northwest Sports for organizing a great event for Joe.) I'm hoping to be able to post some fundraiser results when they become available.

    Pavs also hosted his 4th annual hockey camp last week, and due to the number of registrants he added another camp this week. Here's an article (with video) from last week about Pavs' busy summer in WI. (Thanks to DPlaya for the link.)

Updates From USA Select 16's

There is plenty of Wisconsin flavor at this weeks USA Hockey Select 16 festival in Rochester, NY. As has already been mentioned here and other places, Wisconsin natives Jake McCabe (Eau Claire), Ryan Dau (Hudson), Trevor Morbeck (Jackson), Joe Fiala (Verona), Nick Szopinski (Beaver Dam), and Alex Racino (Merrill) have made the trip to represent the state. Also 2012 defensive recruit Jordan Schmaltz (Verona), and 2012 forward recruit Corbin McGuire (Taft Prep) are in attendance.

McCabe and Dau are on Team White and they have won both games they have played in so far (everyone has played two games). In game one, Dau had a power play goal which was assisted by McCabe. Dau also added a helper in the game to finish with two points, and McCabe with one. Dau was held off the score sheet in game two, but McCabe had a goal and an assist. Both players have had at least preliminary contact with the Badgers so they are kids to keep an eye on for sure. The Western Wisconsin connection of McCabe and Dau will be in action today at 3:45.

Trevor Morbeck from Jackson, won't be a Badger since he signed with the Soo Greyhounds so I won't spend much time on him. He has 1 assist through two games so far.

Nick Szopinski
from Beaver Dam is playing on Team Gold. Szopinski, who is a success story from the Wisconsin High School Elite League, has been held off the score sheet through two games so far with Team Gold. Szopinski will be in action tonight at 5:45.

Jordan Schmaltz
, a defenseman from the Chicago Mission program, and a 2012 Badger recruit, has 1 assist so far in two games for Team Grey. Team Grey has had a tough time so far as they have only scored two goals. Schmaltz will be in action this afternoon at 4:15.

Joey Fiala from Verona and Alex Racino from Merrill are playing together on Team Blue. So far Team Blue is 2-0 and playing very well. In game one, Racino had a goal and an assist. Fiala had an assist on Racino's goal in game one. Both players were held off the score sheet in game two. There are plenty of rumors surrounding both Fiala and Racino. It sounds as if both of them made the Indiana Ice 30 man roster but both will be playing hockey elsewhere in 2009-2010. It sounds as if Racino will be heading back to play with the Madison Capitols and Fiala could be playing anywhere from the Caps, to Midget Major in Chicago, to Verona high school and Team Wisconsin. Fiala is a very nice prospect and should be a major target for the Badgers. Racino is also a very nice player but may be more of a kid that would look at the Major Junior route. Racino and Fiala play this afternoon against Dau and McCabe at 3:45.

Corbin Mcguire
, a 2012 Badger forward recruit from Taft Prep is playing for Team Black. So far through two games he has 1 assist. McGuire is a big time forward recruit from out east who had an absolute beast of a tournament last year at Select 15's. McGuire will be in action tonight at 7:45.

Other players of possible interest:

Travis Boyd-Boyd is the best forward out of Minnesota for the class of '93. Boyd, from Hopkins, has already committed to play next season for the NTDP U-17 squad. He's a small forward, only 5'9 155 but has a great skill set. Minnesota is known to be enamored with him, but his lack of a commitment so far is a good thing for the Badgers. Boyd has a goal and two assists so far for Team Black.

Dan Carlson-Carlson is another Minnesota born forward. He played last season for Maple Grove and he too is committed to the NTDP U-17 squad for next season. Carlson has been held off the score sheet so far in camp.

Kenny Gillespie-Gillespie is a forward that plays at Shattuck St. Marys but is originally from North Carolina. He's a big boy and has been selected by Plymouth in the OHL Priority Selection in the 12th round, and by Omaha in the third round of the futures draft. Gillespie has a goal and two assists so far through two games with Team White.

Cason Hohman-Hohman is a small forward from the Detroit Compuware program. Hohman led all scorers at the minor level in the prestigious midwest elite hockey league by a wide margin. He has been drafted in the WHL and may lean towards that route. If he goes to college, he could be a BIG time player.

Garrett Sparks-Sparks is a goaltender with the Team Illinois program. Sparks is continually ranked as one of the top goaltenders for his age group in the country. Sparks is having a rough tournament so far but it's really tough to get a good judge on goaltender talent in an event like this.

Peter Traber-Traber is a goaltender from Shattuck St. Marys who is originally from Houston, Texas. Traber has only given up 1 goal so far in the tournament but like I said, it's a crap shoot in these things for goalies.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Badgers on the Move: Dany Heatley

Through a series of misfortunes (blackouts at home, etc.) Wednesday's entry on Chris Chelios only just got out. Through some blogger-related quirk with posts finished from saved drafts, you'll have to either scroll down or click here to read up on it. The long and short of it is: Cheli isn't done, but we have no idea where he'll be playing- other than that it won't be Detroit.

Dany Heatley, the other "Badger on the Move", is a more interesting story. He's made it public knowledge that he wants to be traded (always an interesting tactic...), and Sens GM Bryan Murray has been hard at work trying to orchestrate a deal that would send Heatley elsewhere and net the Senators a scoring forward and/or a puck a moving defenseman in return. Lord knows that they don't need to worry about acquiring a goaltender, they're set.

Add in to Murray's return player demands to the fact that Heatley is due for a $4 million bonus on July 1st and his $7.5 million cap hit, and you've got a tough trade to make. Essentially, the ideal suitor has either a stud scoring winger, a skilled, puck moving defenseman or some lesser combination of both, plus the ability to dish out a lot of money.

One of the more interesting rumors out there for us UW folk is the Badger-for-a-Badger trade rumor: Heatley to Edmonton for Tom Gilbert and other(s). Tom Gilbert certainly offers the Senator's biggest need, since they've been hurting for quality puck movers since Chara, Redden and Meszaros all left town. As much as I like Filip Kuba, he really shouldn't be your only defenseman capable of making a decent breakout pass. (Another curious rumor addressed in that Vancouver Sun article is the Kings, who could offer up ex-Wolverine Jack Johnson along with Dustin Brown or Alex Frolov)

Another, more local (to us) option would be the Minnesota Wild. However, I highly doubt that the Wild are terribly interested in giving up either of the two assets that Murray would covet the most: Brent Burns and Mikko Koivu are vital parts of the Wild's rebuilding efforts. If the Wild were able to get Gaborik under contract (ha!), they'd have something worth talking about it, but that just isn't going to fly. See also: Vancouver and the Sedin brothers.

Once again, we'd all love to see Chicago be in the mix for BadgerHawk reasons. Brian Campbell seems like a great fit for Ottawa (he can skate! he can move the puck! he's sort of terrible at defense!), and the cap numbers would pretty much be a wash. But the Hawks are really looking to unload a goalie more than anything else (like we said, Ottawa's covered, thank you), and dropping defensemen for nothing in return can't be too high on their priority list.

If you're willing to believe the rumors and the "what ifs" (there are as many of those as there are theories about the Kennedy Assassination), Heatley could end up in New York, St. Louis, and probably the North Pole. It's essentially Eklund's wet dream out there: tons of rumors, and probably none of them with any validity. And, of course, there's also the distinct possibility that Ottawa could decide that once the $4 million bonus kicks in that they might as well bite the bullet and do nothing. Each day that passes with no news will make this look more realistic than anything else.

Edit: With a huge assist by 60min, evidently, only one of the offers out there for Heatley is "even close" to what Murray wants. For those of you praying for a continued Elliott-Gilbert bromance, I'm sad to tell you that Edmonton is not behind that offer.

Yes and no . . .

Yeah, I'm all about Troy Hesketh tonight, and here's yet another Hesketh-related post.

I just stopped by USCHO to see their post-draft coverage, and Hesketh made the top of their Draft Notebook. And part of what they wrote is a bit misleading.
The Edmonton Oilers made one of the most interesting selections on Saturday when, in the third round, they called the name of Troy Hesketh. Hesketh is committed to attend Wisconsin but won’t do so until September of 2011. He is heading next year to play junior hockey in the U.S. Hockey League.

Hesketh was not ranked by the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau yet ended up the 71st overall selection. The move to take Hesketh was considered risky as the 18-year-old’s current timeline for junior and college hockey could make it difficult to sign him before he becomes a free agent. Teams have no more than four years to sign a player after he is drafted, so given that Hesketh will play two years in junior then arrive at Wisconsin, that could create problems.

Something similar happened with former Minnesota forward Blake Wheeler. Wayne Gretzky and the Phoenix Coyotes tabbed Wheeler as the fifth overall pick in 2004 but Wheeler then played two years of high school hockey and two years at Minnesota before becoming a free agent. Wheeler signed with the Boston Bruins last summer and played his first season for the Black and Gold this past season.
As long as the player stays in college, teams have until Aug 15 of his 4th year in college (Aug 15 after the graduation of his college class) to sign him. (I'm having trouble cutting and pasting from the CBA, but you can read it yourself if you really want the actual language.)

Blake Wheeler didn't become a free agent simply because the 4-yr window expired since his selection in the draft; he became a free agent because he chose to leave school after the 4-yr window expired. I expect Wheeler's desire to play for Boston rather than Phoenix had more than a little bit to do with his decision to leave school.

So, yes, the 4-yr window could be a problem if Hesketh doesn't want to play for the Oilers and doesn't want to stay in school. But no, unless Hesketh is planning to pull a Wheeler (and from what I can tell, that doesn't seem all that common, although I could be wrong), the Oilers don't need to sign Hesketh within the next 4 years to keep his rights.

Anyway, I just wanted to clear up any possible confusion for those of you who may have seen the uscho article but aren't all that familiar with the CBA. Hope I haven't confused anyone further.

Players who slipped through the cracks in the NHL draft

A think a bunch of us were a bit surprised to John Ramage slip through this year's draft while Craig Smith and Troy Hesketh were selected. Now, Ramage could be drafted next year, so he hasn't really slipped through the draft yet, but while I was pondering Ramage's so-far undrafted status, I coincidentally stumbled up this article about other players who slipped through the cracks in the NHL draft. And low-and-behold, there was a Badger on the list:
8. Curtis Joseph

It's no surprise that 18 games with the King City Dukes of the Ontario Junior B League wasn't enough to get Joseph drafted as an 18-year-old goalie.

In fact, it wasn't until he turned in a stellar season at the University of Wisconsin four years later that the St. Louis Blues signed him as a free agent.

Nobody could have predicted Joseph would play 943 NHL games, win 454 of them, fourth on the all-time list, post a career 2.79 goals against average and make two Olympic teams.

Take a bow, Cujo.
Another undrafted Badger, Brian Rafalski, didn't receive mention in this article. But don't worry, he's listed in another Top 10 Undrafted list, as is Rene Bourque.
2. Brian Rafalski
After being ignored in the Draft, Rafalski went to Finland and tore up the SM-liiga, eventually leading to The Sporting News calling him the best hockey player in the world not currently in he NHL. Second only to Mike Green in points by a defenseman this year so far (and leading the league in assists by a D-man), Rafalski has put up tremendous numbers the past two seasons as a member of the offensely-minded Detroit Red Wings.

8. Rene Bourque
Bourque is having a career year, scoring over 20 goals and leading the Flames in plus/minus. He's also second only to Curtis Glencross in hits by a Calgary forward, fitting beautifully into that mold of gritty but talented players that Flames fans and management seem to love.

Reactions to Hesketh at #71

As you know, the Edmonton Oilers used their 71st pick to take future Badger blueliner Troy Hesketh off-the-board (there wasn't a name card ready for him, and the next 2 picks had name cards posted before Hesketh). I'm pretty excited about Hesketh getting picked by the Oil, so I spent a little time looking to see what reactions I could find from the Oilogosphere and Edmonton's mainstream media.

Gandalf already linked the Stu MacGregor video (thanks, Gandalf!), so here's the rest of the stuff I found. I like the comments from Stu MacGregor and HF's Oilers Chick -- Hesketh seems to be a smart defenseman who has good positioning, sees the ice well, and makes good decisions.

Edmonton Sun: The skinny on the Oilers draft picks
71ST. D TROY HESKETH, SIX-FOOT-TWO, 178 POUNDS.

Last season with Minnetonka (high school): 25 GP, 7 G, 14 A, 21 PTs, 42 PIMs

MacGregor: "Pretty excited about Hesketh.He's going to play high school again next year. He already has a verbal scholarship to Wisconsin. He's a player that has some long term potential. He's a guy that Mike Peluso had extreme passion for, the way he's a solid defender and smart in his defending skills, his angles in taking away ice on the puck carrier.
Edmonton Journal: Oilers picks
TROY HESKETH - Position: defence - Selected: third round, 71st overall - Summary: Six-foot-two, 185 pounds, shoots left. Schooled in game and textbooks at Minnetonka High School this past year. The stay-at-home defenceman has another year left with the Minnetonka Skippers, but has committed to the University of Wisconsin Badgers for 2011-12. - Quotes: "Mike Peluso, who lives in Minnesota, really had some passion for him," said MacGregor. "We think he has a real upside and he will get some significant training in Wisconsin. They've done a great job with defencemen." Wisconsin is the alma mater of Tom Gilbert, another native of Minnesota.

Lowetide: Oilers pick at 71
(Lowetide is one of the most well-respected Oilers bloggers. Oilers Chick covers the Oil for Hockey's Future.)
Not a lot of info on him. High school kids, going to Wisconsin, describes himself as a stay-at-home type. Listed at 6.02, 180.

From Madison (Wisc) Capital Times: Defenseman Troy Hesketh (Minnetonka, Minn.) is a UW recruit for 2011-12 who doesn’t show up in the rankings, but a recent growth spurt has him on the radar screen of multiple NHL clubs.

UPDATE: This later on Saturday (8PM) courtesy Oilers Chick at HF:

He has good size but is very lanky. He's about 6'2 and when I saw him this year, he looked to be around 165-170 lbs. He's an excellent skating two-way defenseman. What has really impressed me about watching Hesketh this year is his really smart positional play and the way he sees the ice. He's very good at being in the right place and having his stick in the right place to take away time and space.

Now keep in mind this is at the high school level, but as he progresses to the higher levels, this aspect of his game will serve him and his future teams exceedingly well. He reads plays well and makes good decisions not only with the puck, but also in defending in his own zone. While Hesketh is very competitive, I wouldn't necessarily say that he's of the tough guy variety.

He handles the puck well, has a good shot that should continue to get better with development, but could stand to shoot a little more. If anything, at times he looked to be too selfless with the puck - you know, the ol' pass-first-shoot-second way of thinking.

Like many of the Skippers, Hesketh has got good speed. At this point, I wouldn't say that he'll blossom into an offensive defenseman because even though Hesketh has proven he can score goals, he just doesn't fit the prototypical offensive defenseman mold.

Coming Down the Pipe: Edmonton Oilers 2009 Draft Review
(This blog is written by Guy Flaming, who does the Pipeline Show and covers the Oil for Hockey's Future)
Troy Hesketh (D) - Minnetonka Skippers (MN-USHS)
Minnetonka, Minnesota USA Shoots: Left
Height: 6'2 Weight: 178 lbs

The reaction from fans online was instant and venomous as their team dared select players they, as fans, had no familiarity with:

"What an absolutely atrocious pick with guys like Rajala and Roy still on the board. Massive fail." suggested a Hockey's Future Message Board member calling himself "doulos".

"Who the [heck] is Hesketh??" was the basic sentiment from several other fans.

Despite the non-ranking by Central Scouting, Edmonton's Stu MacGregor insists that his team wasn't the only one on the hunt for Hesketh in this draft.

"He was a player that after the draft was done, other guys were coming up to us and saying 'you guys snuck one here!'" said MacGregor. "New Jersey runs their own scouting combine and we knew that they'd had him in there and a number of other teams were on the radar for him right around that area so we knew we had to step in there and get him if we wanted him."

Hesketh has good size, put up 21 points from the back end in 25 games with the Skippers but is definitely considered a long term project because he's only just wrapped up his grade 11. He's still got another year of high school hockey ahead of him but is expected to then attend Wisconsin, one of the more respected NCAA hockey programs in the United States.

"Wisconsin has been recruiting some of the finest defencemen in college hockey over the last number of years now and they are extremely excited about him as a player," said MacGregor, "His brother and father are both much taller than he is so we think there is still some physical development to come."

He's a big 6'2 right now but could conceivable sprout up two or three more inches and get into that behemoth range.

"Mike Peluso, our scout in the Minnesota area, has an extreme passion for him," MacGregor said, "He's a projection player and we're really excited that a little over a year from now he'll be playing at Wisconsin and developing under their fine coaching staff there."

I have also seen reports that suggest Hesketh isn't due to arrive at Wisconsin until the 2011-12 season which would mean an extra year at a lower level.

Some fans will wonder about the fact that Central Scouting didn't have him ranked if in fact he's such a hotly sought after prospect. According to MacGregor, there have been "many" players over the years who have been drafted without being rated by CSS and it's not something the Oilers are worried about.

The last year that Edmonton drafted anyone directly out of the ranks of US high school was 2005 when they selected Robby Dee and Chris Vande Velde from Brock and Moorhead respectively. Taylor Chorney came out of prep school Shattuck St. Mary's that same year.
Gospel of Hockey: Edmonton Oilers Draft Review
Pick #71 - Troy Hesketh

If Lander was a bit of a reach, Hesketh is a big one. Hesketh is a defenceman who just finished his junior year for Minnetonka high school and has verbally committed to playing college at the University of Wisconsin, which is a good hockey school. Unfortunately, he still has his senior year of high school left to play so he won't be seeing real competition for at least one more year. Frankly, the most important numbers on his stats sheet are his age, weight and height since those are probably the biggest reasons he was drafted - 17 years, 11 months, 6'2 and 180 lbs (it's clear that the Oilers think he has some room to fill out). It's relevant that the boxcar numbers are good of course, but it's hard to glean much from them since the league he's playing in isn't very comparable to any of the Canadian junior leagues, the USHL, the NCAA or anything in Europe as far as difficulty. Gabriel Desjardins puts the NHL equivalency at somewhere between 0.073 and 0.052 for Minnesota high school which would give Hesketh numbers along the lines of 2-3-5 in an 82 game NHL season using the higher figure. His actual numbers do include some extensive PP time which means he's being used in all situations, so at least he'll have that experience.

To be honest, I was underwhelmed by this pick, especially because he'll be in high school for another year. I was hoping that they would draft one of the forwards that was left that may still have been able to make a high level impact. The guys that immediately came to mind here are Toni Rajala (more to come on this one), Alex Hutchings, Benjamin Casavant or Ryan Howse. Still, I can see the argument for drafting a big, young defender that you feel has been overlooked because of the league he plays in.

More on the NHL Draft and other stuff

The Edmonton Oilers top scout has some thoughts on Troy Hesketh that are worth checking out. He was highly regarded by the organization, and the Oilers give Coach Osiecki some props for the work he does recruiting and developing top blue liners at UW.

I was looking for something similar from the Nashville Predators about Craig Smith, but no luck. They mention Craig in this draft recap, and from their draft blog the Preds say the following about Craig:

"Decent size, good speed, high energy guy. Tremendous work ethic. We’ve always appreciated his speed and his work ethic and then this past year he was able to provide some offense for his team; that has really come along. We think he has a bright future. "

Congrats to Troy and Craig on being drafted in the NHL and having a dream come true.

On to the other stuff, Baggot mentions that all six new Badgers are on campus and getting ahead of the curve. The Men's Basketball team has had a successful summer program of having incoming players take summer classes to get use to school, the campus and the City, and Coach Eaves is following suit for the Hockey team. Justin Schultz and Derek Lee, as Canadians, need the classes to be allowed to come to campus to praticipate in the off season strength and conditions which is also occuring.

Over at HIW, Dplaya has the following snipet:

The incoming Freshmen are on campus practicing with the veterans from the UW Men's Hockey Team. I heard from a source today that Ryan McDonagh has an absolutely great work ethic and has returned to school at about 225 pounds and chiseled. I also hear that Craig Smith and John Ramage have looked great at practice thus far and have really stood out.

I love good news! Dplaya also mentions that Wes Wauters has made the Gamblers 30 man roster, and that another recruit and Gambler Sean Little has again broken his hand during a fight during the tryout camp. I'm excited to see Sean play again this season, to see how his role w/ the team expands. Last season he was a 4th line grinder, energy player, but he definately showed some skill too.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

NHL Draft Day 2

I'm shocked by this, at #71 the Edmonton Oilers have selected Badger recruit Troy Hesketh from Minnetonka HS who committed during the past season. I think the Badgers got another steal here on the blue line. Baggot had mentioned he had a growth spurt recently which increased his draft stock, but now he's an Oilers prospect. Troy was not ranked in the final Central Scouting rankings.

Now add Madison's own Craig Smith to the list of drafted players. He is now a Nashville prospect going #98 in the 4th round. A couple Predators' prospect at forward for the Badgers this season, joining Blake Geoffrion.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Ramage ready for the Draft

The Draft is underway in Montreal. John Tavares went #1 to the Islanders.

Tomorrow, likely the highest Badger to be drafted will be John Ramage and a St Louis paper caught up w/ him (thanks to Dplaya for the link). John is a talented stay at home defenseman w/ a booming slap shot, who has a lot of room to grow under coach Oz.

My favorite part of the article: The physical defenseman said he'll be watching the draft at his new home in Madison, Wisc., and would be honored to be selected by any of the league's 30 franchises. But for now, he plans on staying at Wisconsin for four years, and taking it "step-by-step".

Always nice to see that. John should be a nice compliment to the corp of offensive dmen on the blue line this coming season. It will be interesting to see how much PT he gets as competition should be stiff at all positions this coming season. I think the blue line will only have one spot open, w/ four young men looking to fill that role.

Men's Hockey Video Series: Part 2

The second installment is up today, with Eaves discussing the upcoming season's schedule.

What stands out about next year's schedule?
Is there a strategy to designing your schedule?
So you are hosting an exhibition game this year? (NTDP)
How do you handle scheduling with regards to the World Junior Championships?
What are your thoughts about the final stretch next season?

The schedule has a very different layout this season, with the Badgers playing 6 or the 1st 8 games at home, but Eaves reminds us that we'll still have a similar strength of schedule overall. Eaves hopes we'll have the opposite results from last year, winning 6 of the 1st 8 rather than the other way around. Me too, coach!

10 + 2 = 12

USCHO is reporting (through a source in Duluth) that the WCHA is expected to vote on and admit Nebraska Omaha and Bemidji State today. Existing school reps will be voting by teleconference this afternoon, and there is a press conference scheduled for 5 PM.

It appears expansion will take place starting in 2010/11 so Bemidji avoids a season as an independent. So enjoy the last 10 team WCHA season coming up. Afterward, the Badgers will only see 3 teams twice a season, I'd assume one of them will continue to be the gophers.

Edit: Well it is official, the vote is in and BSU and UNO will start play in the WCHA during the 2010/11 season. Damn, the list of opposing arenas to visit only gets bigger. Here is a link to the official release.

As gbpuckfan mentioned in the comments, this is for the GOOD of college hockey, and that is important IMO. Huntsville is the only piece left, and the CCHA has an opening, buck up and let them in.

Today in Badger Hockey History: Dave Tanabe / Matt Doman

6/26/1999


Sophomore hockey players Dave Tanabe and Matt Doman were drafted by the NHL.

Tanabe was taken by the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round, the 16th pick overall. Doman was selected in the fifth round by the Calgary Flames, the 135th pick overall.

-- uwbadgers.com

Dave Tanabe, a defenseman from White Bear Lake, MN, played just 1 season with the Badgers (88-99) during which he led Badger defensemen in scoring (10-12-22 in 35 GP). Tanabe went on to play 9 seasons in the NHL. I haven't followed his career, but it looks like his last season was the 2007-08 season. Anyone know what he's doing now?

Matt Doman, a forward from Sartell, MN, played 4 seasons with the Badgers (98-02, 26-39-65, 135 GP). He served as an alternate captain as a junior and senior, was named Most Competitive Player as a senior, and won the W-Club Community Service Award as a senior. Doman went on to play just 1 season in the AHL/ECHL. He's now head coach (I wish I could get a bigger copy of that picture of him as a Badger!) of the the Stillwater Bantam A program.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Team Wisconsin Linkorama

This is where I steal links from WSN! (If you already read their hockey blogs, which of course I highly recommend, you can skip this entire post.)
  • First, before I steal links from the WSN blogs, I should mention that WSN (home of DPlaya's HIW blog and Scanlon's/DPlaya's Girls Hockey blog) has added another hockey blog: WiscoHockey written by Chris Walby. Walby, who is GM and Head Coach of the Wiscohockey.com program, says he does "scouting, evaluations, tournament coverage, and a little bit of everything else". I've added a link under our Recruiting Links on the left.
  • DPlaya shares his thoughts on last weekend's Team Wisconsin Performance Camp.I'm especially happy to hear that he thinks TW Minor "has the potential to be really good". I'm sure DPlaya and/or Walby will post TW rosters when they're available, so stay tuned.
  • For hockey players who don't make the TW rosters, Walby offers encouragement and recommends the Wisconsin Elite Hockey League (WEHL), which is where I believe Gary Shuchuk coached before accepting the TW Minor head coach position.
  • DPlaya mentions that Badger recruit Jordan Schmaltz and fellow Wisconsinites Jake McCabe, Ryan Dau, Joe Fiala, Alex Racino, Nick Szopinski, and Trevor Morbeck will be participating in the Select 16 National Tournament. DPlaya also says he heard that both Mark Osiecki and Kevin Patrick plan on attending the camp. Who wants to be a Badger?
  • DPlaya has information on the U16 and U19 rosters (to date) for the Girls Hockey Tier I Championship.
  • I'm a bit late on this (sorry!), but Scanlon reports that the WEHL is expanding this year to include a girls league.
Thanks to DPlaya, Walby, and Scanlon for their work!

Badgers @ the NHL Draft

With the NHL draft coming up this weekend, there have been various articles about Badgers at the NHL draft.
  • Uwbadgers.com discusses three Badgers who may be drafted this year: sophomore forward Jordy Murray, incoming freshman defenseman John Ramage, and incoming freshman forward Craig Smith. Two other incoming freshman have already been drafted (defenseman Justin Schultz and goaltender Brett Bennett). In addition, the Badgers have 9 other players who have already been drafted (Geoffrion, Hickey, McDonagh, B. Smith, Turnbull, Gardiner, Gouloubef, Stepan, and P. Johnson).
  • Andy Baggot talks specifically about Craig Smith's potential in this year's draft. He additionally mentions Murray, C. Smith, 2010-11 recruit Tyler Lapic, and 2011-12 recruit Troy Hesketh. Baggot also has a post comprised of various Badger/WCHA-related NHL draft items.
  • If you're interested in other WCHA players who might be drafted, take a look at the WCHA's official release regarding this year's draft.
  • This last item isn't really draft-related, but I figure I might as well post it here. Uwbadgers.com takes a look at the Badgers' top-5 NHL scorers: Chris Chelios, Gary Suter, Scott Mellanby, Brian Mullen, and Dany Heatley.
No Badgers are expected to go in the 1st round this year, but I'm all right with that. I'm sure that Gandalf/Chuck/EoDS will keep all of us informed on Badger draft selections this weekend. (It's always fun to volunteer others to do all the work for you, isn't it? Thanks, boys!)

Jackie MacMillan named 1st head coach of CSS Women's Hockey

"I was extremely blessed to be a part of the inaugural team at the University of Wisconsin. What I remember are many of the first moments: the first practice, game, road trip and all of my teammates who were a part of those first four years. I hope to help the first women's hockey players at St. Scholastica realize how truly unique they will be in the first years of the program."

-- Jackie MacMillan


A big thanks to BTD for pointing this out: Badger alum Jackie MacMillan was named head coach of St. Scholastica's new DIII Women's Hockey program. St. Scholastica, which previously had a successful club team, is elevating to the DIII level for the 2010-11 season and will be joining the NCHA. Current NCHA teams include UW-Eau Claire, UW-River Falls, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Superior, Concordia, Finlandia, and Lake Forest College. Also joining the NCHA will be current independent Adrian College (2009-10) and new programs at Marian University (2009-10) and St. Norbert College (2010-11).

About her new position, MacMillan says the following:
"I am extremely honored to be a part of building a program at such a great institution as St. Scholastica. Duluth is such a great hockey community and I am excited to be a part of something special. The kind of team we will hope to put together in these first few years is one that is determined, disciplined, unified, and out-works their opponents. I strongly believe if we can find student-athletes with those qualities, we will see success quickly in our program."
CSS AD Don Olson is highly complimentary about MacMillan:
The College of St. Scholastica is very excited to be initiating a women's intercollegiate hockey program.To be able to embark on this venture with a coach of Jackie MacMillan's experience, knowledge, energy, and leadership qualities only add to our enthusiasm. Jackie has a thorough understanding of the balance between academics and athletics at the Division III level and will be an excellent role model for her athletes.
MacMillan, who played in goal for the Badgers for 4 seasons, was part of the Badger Women's inaugural team and made 50 saves in the Badgers' 1st-ever game. She was named 1st-Team All-WCHA in 2000 and 2nd-Team All-WCHA in 2002, and her name is prominent in the Badgers' record book.

Congratulations, Jackie, and best of luck!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Badgers on the Move: Chris Chelios

First of all, I want to thank 60min and the rest of the No Alibis crew from
bringing me on. I look forward to contributing here, and I can only hope
to be half as interesting as Minnesota
Sucks
week.

With free agency set to begin July 1st, and the NHL Draft around the
corner, we're more than likely to see a lot of player movement in the NHL over
the coming weeks. As has been reported here
and elsewhere, Chris Chelios is going to be one of those players. His deal is up in
Detroit, and Ken Holland will not be looking to resign him.

The question of what Chelios wants to do now didn't go unanswered
long
. Cheli held a press conference last week at his chili bar in Detroit to announce his intentions:

[Chelios] and his agent will start contacting teams July 1, when he officially becomes a free agent. "I just want to see if I can get the opportunity with another team and if I can contribute," he said, adding that he would prefer to play with a team in the Eastern Conference because travel would be easier than in the far-flung Western Conference. But Chelios also said if things aren't going well and he's not playing a month or two into next season, he would retire.

The sentimentalist (or the rabid BadgerHawk fan... one of the two) secretly hopes that he'll head back to his hometown Chicago Blackhawks. His radio interview with ESPN 1000 Wednesday (linked via espn.com above) certainly gave the impression that his preference for the Eastern Conference is just that, a preference: "I'm not ruling out any of the Western Teams, either". He openly stated that he'll probably be giving Dale Tallon of the Blackhawks a call, and that "[he has] a soft spot in [his] heart for Chicago".

There were some moments last season where Chelios looked his age, but considering how sparingly he played, one can hardly blame him for being out of rythym. And although he is certainly slower than he was in his prime, we live in a day and age where Hal freakin' Gill can be the main shut down defender on a Stanley Cup winning team. As long as his positional play is solid (I think it still is), and his icetime demands are consistent but low (they are), I think he can find that third pairing role he's been talking about. But that doesn't solve the million dollar question: Who will be in the market for Cheli?

Teams looking for Chelios will probably have to satisfy several, if not all, of the following characteristics in their defensive corps: youth (see also: inexperienced), lack of experienced leaders, lack of stay-at-home defensemen, lack of depth beyond their top four.

Who fits that bill? Atlanta, Toronto, New York Islanders and Tampa Bay stand out, if only because they had the worst GA in 2008-09- but they all fit at least three of those four virtues. Chicago would certainly be a sexy option (there's a phrase you don't see often) if not for the valuable experience that Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook got during this spring's playoff run.

LA certainly has an interesting hodge podge of defensemen in their system, including a lot of ex-college players (such as UW's own Davis Drewiske), but it might be a challenge for Cheli to crack that lineup consistently, even if very few of the Kings are head and shoulders above him.

There are numerous other teams that simply just don't have the depth at defense and are teetering on the edge of having a decent playoff run/appearance in them (Columbus, St. Louis, Buffalo, etc.). But the truth with Cheli is this: starting July 1st, he's got a lot of calls to start making, and this probably won't be settled quickly, unless Chicago actually (for some reason) makes an agressive offer. Just about all we know for sure is that he's not playing for Detroit.

Drama In Gopher Nation

In what's becoming an increasingly alarming trend, there is more drama in the Gopher Nation. In case you haven't heard, Minnesota assistant coach Mike Hastings has stepped down to take a lateral position at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Hastings will be the top assistant for the Mavericks. Former North Dakota head coach Dean Blais was recently hired as head coach. Hastings was one of a handful of finalists for the head coaching job. Prior to his one year stint at Minnesota, Hastings was the head coach for the Omaha Lancers for 14 seasons.

The stability in the twin cities has been less than stellar over the past few seasons. Minnesota will be on their 4th assistant coach in the past 6 seasons. There are rumors on the WCH Blog that John Hill might be next, taking the Sioux City coaching job in the USHL. Gopher Nation is in full spin control right now.

Anyone else in favor of having a reality TV show on the Gopher hockey team? Watching them over the past 6 seasons has been better drama than whats been on TV lately any ways.

Didn't Jamie already win . . . ?

Whoever puts together the weekly polls for uwbadgers.com seems to be a bit behind this week. Jamie McBain has already received the Badgers Male Athlete of the Year Award. But that very award is the subject of this week's poll. I think the poll would've been more interesting and more relevant (I won't say meaningful, because we know these things aren't) if done before the actual award was given. But hey, I got nothin' better to do (for the next few minutes, anyway), so I figure I might as well vote.

Speaking of polls, the current poll on the men's hockey homepage is "How far do you see the Badgers going in the postseason?".

Today in Badger Hockey History: Dany Heatley

6/24/2000

Freshman Dany Heatley is selected second overall by the Atlanta Thrashers in the NHL Entry Draft.

Heatley is the highest drafted Badger hockey player in Wisconsin history.

-- uwbadgers.com

No Alibis No Regrets presents . . . EoDS!

Exile on Dayton Street, whose name you'll recognize from his caption contest win and from his comments for various posts here, has agreed to join us here on No Alibis No Regrets. You may have noticed that EoDs has a tendency to scoop us on alumni links from tsn/espn/nhl, and I think he's hilarious, so I'm happy to welcome EoDS onboard.

Welcome, EoDS!

Monday, June 22, 2009

More Cheli news: no longer a Red Wing

The article we posted earlier today about Chris Chelios' role with the 2010 US Olympic Team mentioned that Chelios would like to play another year in the NHL. But apparently it won't be with the Red Wings. Nicole from cutesports was kind enough to forward to me this blurb:
Chelios free to seek new deal elsewhere

Associated Press
DETROIT -- Chris Chelios won't be with the Detroit Red Wings next season.

Wings general manager Ken Holland tells The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press he met with the 47-year-old and Chelios wouldn't be offered another contract.

The Associated Press left a message for Holland Monday evening seeking comment.

Holland tells the News it was "kind of understood last summer" when Chelios signed a one-year deal that it would be his last.

Holland says Chelios wants to play another season and believes the veteran player can still play.

Detroit signed Chelios in 1999, and Holland calls him "just a perfect role model for young players."

He had no points and a plus-1 rating in 28 games this season.

Deluce, Prévost win championship at Prospects Super Series

I'm a little late on this, as the Prospects Super Series took place June 5-7, but honestly until today I had no idea what this event was, and it wasn't posted on the uscho fan forum until a few days ago. (Thanks to those who posted on the uscho thread.)

The Prospects site isn't the most the straightfoward site for those who aren't familiar with the Prospects events, but from what I can tell there were two tournaments -- the Showcase Camp and the Super Series -- with the former being younger players and the latter being older players from DI, DIII, CIS, CWHL, etc. If I can count (and sometimes I can't), 9 teams competed in the Super Series.

Badgers Mallory Deluce and Carolyne Prévost played for the Summer Storm. The Prospects site doesn't have scores for the round-robin play (schedule only as far as I can tell), but the Summer Storm defeated Total1 6-0 in the quarterfinals, defeated the Blue Streak 12-0 in the semifinals, and defeated the Slashers 3-2 in the championship game.

Here are the rosters for the 2 teams in the championship game. As you can see, the Summer Storm was almost entirely comprised of DI players, whereas the Slashers was comprised of more players from DIII and other leagues.

Slashers
First Last 08-09 Team Division
Danielle Beattie SUNY Plattsburgh NCAA D3
Jenna Sosnoski Kitchener Int AA
Jennifer Hitchcock ZSC Lions Swiss A league
Leah Craig
Nicole Goguen
Martine Garland
Shannon Clement
Stephanie Holmes Cornell University NCAA D1
Maggie Joyce University of New Hampshire NCAA D1
Lindsey Brown SUNY Plattsburgh NCAA D3
Danielle Blanchard SUNY Plattsburgh NCAA D3
Jordan Pyers St. Lawrence University NCAA D1
Alex Blackwell Manhattanville College NCAA D3
Ellie Seedhouse U of Western Ontario CIS
Ainsley Brien SUNY Plattsburgh NCAA D3
Katy Walker Elmira College NCAA D3

Summer Storm
First Last 08-09 Team Division
Lauren Dahm Clarkson University NCAA D1
Carlee Eusepi Clarkson University NCAA D1
Mallory Johnston Burlington CWHL
Britni Smith St. Lawrence University NCAA D1
Tara Gray U of Minnesota Duluth NCAA D1
Lori Antlick Northeastern University NCAA D1
Vicki Bendus Mercyhurst College NCAA D1
Mallory Deluce Wisconsin University NCAA D1
Katie Stewart Colgate University NCAA D1
Carolyne Prevost Wisconsin University NCAA D1
Jacquie Colborne Colgate University NCAA D1
Melissa Waldie Clarkson University NCAA D1
Britney Selina Clarkson University NCAA D1
Elin Brown Colgate University NCAA D1

Men's Hockey Video Series: Part 1

History tells us to a degree that when you're an upperclassman team you have an excellent chance of doing something special.
-- Mike Eaves
Not quite sure how I missed this; the date on the release is dated 6/19, but I just noticed it today. [Hangs head] Anyway, Mike Eaves is featured in a 3-part video series previewing the 2009-10 Badger Men's Hockey season. In Part 1, he discusses the makeup of the team, including returning players and incoming freshman. Here are the questions he addresses:

- What are your thoughts on having a largely upperclassman team?
- How do your defensemen look this year?
- Who do you see stepping up offensively this year?
- What can fans expect to see from the goaltenders?

So, is anyone besides me starting to get a little bit fired-up yet? (Gandalf, of course, doesn't have to "start" getting fired-up, because he's already there. I, of course, have been dormant lately, so I'm just waking up and getting started.)

A bit about this month's US Women's evaluation camp

(Kerry Weiland takes her turn on the treadmill during a fitness test. Photo from usahockey.com.)

We previously posted that 9 players with Badger ties (Engstrom, Weiland, Zaugg, Lawler, Duggan, Vetter, Knight, Decker, Gunn) participated in the USA Hockey Women's National Performance Camp earlier this month (June 8-13). But I neglected to link a couple of articles about the camp.

The first article is the official announcement for the camp which briefly describes the camp. The second article, which is pretty interesting, talks about the intense competition at the camp.

The next upcoming event is the August 18-23 Olympic Tryout Camp in Blaine Minnesota. Approximately 32-36 players will be invited to the camp, and the 23-player 2009-10 US Women's National Team roster will be named at the end of the camp. The roster will be pared down to 21 players for the Olympic roster in early January.

Shortly after the Tryout Camp,the team will play in the National Women's Invitational Tournament (Aug 26 - Sept 6, Vancouver), a test event for the 2010 Olympic Games. The Qwest Tour starts Sept 25 and runs through Feb 4.

In addition to the National Women's Invitational and the Qwest Tour, the team will also play in the Four Nations Cup (Nov 2 -8) in Finland.

Chelios joining Olympic Team in off-ice role

The greatest warrior of all was Chelly. All I know is, I want him involved. - Team USA GM Brian Burke

Burke admits the role isn't yet clearly defined, but he's adamant on wanting Chelios involved.

Burke says that next week he'll announce more coaching staff members, as well as the approximately 30 players who will be invited to the August 17-19 orientation camp. Regarding the camp invitees, Burke says, "Some people are going to be shocked at the names that are not included."

(Thanks to EoDS for the link!)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Alev Kelter named ADN Female Athlete of the Year again

Because she "dominated statewide in all three of her sports and achieved national-class status in two of them", incoming Badger freshman Alev Kelter was named Female Athlete of the Year by the Anchorage Daily News last week. Kelter played boys hockey, girls soccer, and girls flag football for Chugiak High. She also represented the US internationally in hockey and soccer. You may remember that in January she captained the US U18 team that won gold at the IIHF WW U18 Championship. While winning gold, Kelter led all defensemen in scoring, led all skaters in +/-, and was named top defenseman of the tourney.

Kelter also was also named ADN Female Athlete of the Year last year.

Photo by Dan Shepard, ADN (12/11/08): Chugiak senior defender Alev Kelter spreads a South Anchorage opponent along the dasher boards of the McDonald Center. It was the Wolverines, however, with the last word, winning 3-0 Saturday.

How much scoring is coming back?

Thursday it was age, yesterday was NCAA games played, today its goal/pts as a % returning next season compared to the last four Badger teams. I was surprised by a few of these numbers.

Returning Goal Scoring (% of pts returning)

2005/06: 124/127 = 97.6% (97.7%)
2006/07: 64/145 = 42.8% (43.9%)
2007/08: 47/93 = 50.5% (52.5%)
2008/09: 90/114 = 78.9% (70.5%)
2009/10: 112/131 = 85.5% (80.6%)

When I started this, I didn’t think I’d learn so much about the past several seasons. I really wanted to compare next year’s team w/ the 2006 Champions, w/ everything else just being filler.

The 2006 Championship team only lost 3 goals scored from the previous season! That is amazing! Nothing like having all your best players back from a team that was pretty good the season before.

W/ all the data now in play, I’ll draw a conclusion about the 06/07 team. The team was older and had a ton of NCAA games under their belt, but the deathblow they couldn’t overcome was the stat above, the team returned less than half of their scoring from the previous season. Had Pavelski OR Earl returned roughly 16% more of the goal scoring would have came back w/ them. This has been hashed over in many places, but their early departures could not easily be cured. That freshman class that will be seniors next season, didn’t really contribute much offensively, (Davies the exception) even Geoffrion was a frosh bust. Mitchell and Bohmbach have turned into offensive threats now, but were nothing to replace Pavs and Earl when they departed for the pros.

The 06/07 team was one spot away from the NCAA tourney in the PWR and would have made it had they not changed the formula and this while scoring a pathetic 2.27 goals/game. The greatness that is Brian Elliott is that much more obvious.

The 07/08 team started at a disadvantage as well. There wasn’t much scoring the previous season and those that did score (Dowell, Joudrey & Skille) were gone. Couple that w/ how young that team was and the lack of experience they had, and I almost think they overachieved by making the NCAA Tourney. All the #1 picks in the world don’t do much when on paper there wasn’t much returning to help them. McBain, Mitchell and Geoffrion all come into there own which was the difference. If only Skille had stayed one more season; I often wonder what the line Geoffrion/Turris/Skille could have done.

Last season the cards were lined up for a successful season…and we see where that went.

Looking at these indicators, next season’s team has a lot going for it. They are the oldest team since the Championship team, they have a lot of experience in games played and they return 85.5% of the goal scoring from last season. McBain is a big loss on the blue line, but there are four guys ready to step up into that role.

The indicators didn’t look bad last season either, so I don’t know what to say. It’s obvious the team lacked something which does not have any statistical value to it. What caused all the 3rd period meltdowns? Lack of leadership? Poor coaching at critical times? The Hockey gods being pissed about something and taking it out on the Cardinal and White? Global Warming? Whatever it is, heading into next season, I’m not worried about this team scoring goals (3.28 goals/game last season, 3rd in the WCHA), nor the defense and goaltending. All the indications are that the pieces are in place for a highly successful season, w/ a run at the MacNaughton Cup and an NCAA berth as givens. Givens if the talented team last season hadn’t been missing that “something” important that separated them from a berth in the NCAA tourney by the slimmest of margins.

Doubt has been lodged in the hearts of all Badger fans now; the team needs to come out early and remove it from the vocabulary.

Coming up, one last comparison of returning offense w/ the Badgers WCHA foes.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Congratulations, Jinelle and Mike!

Jinelle Zaugg, one of my favorite Badgers, and MSOE defenseman Mike Siergiej got married on June 6th. Congratulations, Jinelle and Mike!

Mike will be a junior at MSOE this year. He also staffs Jinelle's Crazy 8's Hockey Camp (along with Jessie Baker (Jinelle's sister) and Jessie Vetter.)

Speaking of Crazy 8's, it sounds like a pretty cool camp, so if you're a parent and have a girl who plays hockey, you might want to check it out.

Badger Hockey sweeps UW Athletes of the Year Awards


Congratulations to defenseman Jamie McBain and goaltender Jessie Vetter on being named UW Athletes of the Year! This is the first time that hockey players have captured both the male and female awards in the same year. McBain is the 3rd Badger Men's Hockey player to win the award (previously won by goaltender Marc Behrend in '83 and forward Gary Shuchuk in '90), and Vetter is the 2nd Badger Women's Hockey player to win the award (previously won by Sara Bauer in '06 and 'o7).

Reinprecht traded to Florida

The Phoenix Coyotes have traded Steve Reinprecht to the Florida Panthers in exchange for minor-league forward Stefan Meyer. The Panthers have signed Reinprecht, who would've been become a UFA if not signed before July 1, to a 3-year deal.

From the Panthers website: Official release, more on the trade
Panthers Assistant GM Randy Sexton: Steve is a smart, high character, hard working player who fits our club’s need for a second line center. We are constantly looking to upgrade our team speed and he brings this to our club as part of his skill set. He also possesses an ability to win face-offs, another area our team looked to improve on this off-season.

Reinprecht: It doesn’t matter where I play, who I play with, what the situation is, I make sure I go out there, work my hardest, try to provide some offense, and I take care of our defensive zone. I always want to play the best I can.

For schmucks like Gandalf (kidding!) who didn't get much of a chance to see Reino as a Badger, here's a bit of a refresher: A forward from Edmonton, AB, Reinprecht wore the Cardinal & White for 4 seasons (1996-2000). In 154 games, he recorded 72 goals and 90 assists for 162 points. During his All-American season, he recorded 26 goals and 40 assists for 66 points to lead the nation in scoring.

In addition to his All-American honors, he was 1st-Team All-WCHA and WCHA Player of the Year in 2000, Hobey Baker Finalist in 2000, and 2nd-Team All-WCHA in 1998. And in addition to leading the Badgers in both total points and assists during the 1999-00 season (Dany Heatley had more goals, but Reino had more points), he also led the Badgers in goals and and total points during the 1998-99 (16-17-33) and 1997-98 (19-24-43) seasons.

And, of course, he wore the "C" during his junior and senior seasons. He was named Team MVP during his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons, sharing the honor with Graham Melanson in 1998-99 and Joe Bianchi in 1997-99.

Reino sounds like a really nice guy, and he sure was a heck of a player for the Badgers. His line with Dany Heatley and David Hukalo was a major reason why the Badgers did as well as they did in ’99-’00, accounting for 43% of the teams goals that year. As far as the Hobey goes, he probably should’ve won, but he didn’t, and there’s nothing that we can do about it now.

After leaving Wisconsin, Reinprecht played part of a season with the LA Kings, 2 & 1/2 seasons with the Colorado Avalanche (where he won a Stanley Cup in 2001), 2 seasons with the Calgary Flames (with a year in France sandwiched in-between due to the NHL lock-out), and 4 seasons with Phoenix (where he served as an alternate captain).

WCHA Expansion Vote coming

The vote to expand the WCHA and who those teams will be could come as early as next week. It appears an informal vote will come first, which makes sense. The obvious frontrunners are Bemidji State and w/ the hiring of Dean Blais, Nebraska Omaha, though rumblings of Alaska Fairbanks being the 12th team exist if UNO is rejected or stays in the CCHA.

Bruce McLeod, WCHA Commish, actually made some sane statements about Bemidji.

"If the league had their druthers, we might stay at 10," McLeod said. "We're making money on the tournament, there's record attendances every year, and things are good.

"But when you throw in the obligations of college hockey in the big picture and the demise of the College Hockey Association, we've gotta try to do something. We can't let (Bemidji) fold the tent."

Lastly, Andy Baggot should read the following:

Driving the expansion is Bemidji State, which will have to play next season as an independent -- never an easy thing in the relatively small world of NCAA Division I hockey, where there are 58 teams. Independents historically have a difficult time putting together a quality schedule and winning bids to the NCAA tournament.

It will be interesting to see how this all pans out, but I think we'll know soon who Wisconsin's new WCHA foes will be, and when they will join the conference.

Analysis: NCAA games returning

Yesterday it was the average age of the last four teams and next season’s projected lineup; today let’s take a look at the number of NCAA games played by the returning players for those same teams. I wish the Badgers would keep track of ice time, but games are what are available.

2005/06: 1,298 games
2006/07: 1,154 games
2007/08: 687 games
2008/09: 873 games
2009/10: 1,127 games*
* Based on the projected lineup and includes Brett Bennett’s games at BU.

Standing by itself, this correlates well w/ the age comparison yesterday, which makes sense.

I’m going to leave this by itself until tomorrow when I add in the % of scoring returning and hopefully I can draw some conclusions.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

2009/10 Badgers will be old

When the Badgers take the ice this October, they will be the oldest Badger team in the past five seasons. Age obviously doesn’t equal experience, or success, but at this transitional stage of life, there will be more men on the ice for the Badgers than boys.

I’m looking for something to analyze as the summer begins, (I’m bored) so I’m going to take a look at a few indicators that should shed a positive light on the upcoming season. After teetering on the line between distress and elation the last three seasons, Badger fans need more positives to look forward to.

In my analysis I used October 1 as the start of the season to determine the team’s age. I believe that is usually the first day of practice for the teams by NCAA rules, and overall it’s a good baseline for comparison.

Below is the average age of the teams:

2005/06: 20.97 years
2006/07: 20.81 years*
2007/08: 20.49 years
2008/09: 20.69 years
2009/10: 21.04 years**

*Includes Nigel Williams on the roster, despite his early departure to the OHL.
**Assumes no one else is leaving or coming in.

There isn’t a HUGE difference in age, but when you add up 25+ players’ ages and divide, a half a year is a big amount. The 2006 Championship team was old, and similar in some ways to next season’s team. They had a core group of older players, w/ a talented sophomore forward, and unproven goaltending. Next season’s team has that old group of players, a talented sophomore forward in Derek Stepan and some questions in goal. Maybe the stars are all lined up for another highly successful season, just w/ a better blue line.

I forgot how old the 2006/07 team was. That wasn’t a bad team, and beating a nearly dead horse, if Skille, Carlson and Klubertanz don’t all go out w/ injury (along w/ Nigel Williams’ defection) at the same time early in that season that team coasts into the NCAA tourney. After all they were the first team on the wrong side of the fence much like last season.

The 2007/08 team was YOUNG. The difference doesn’t seem like much, but looking at that team that freshman class was just learning to walk. Five players started the season under 19 years of age, more than any other team in this comparison. If any team was inexperienced that was the one, which should show when I take a look at games played tomorrow.

A few months back I broke down the last few freshman classes by age, and the 2007 class were the youngest by far, w/ the incoming class being the oldest. Even w/ the change in players (Barnes back to the USHL, Bennett replacing Crandall and Thompson walking on in net), they’ll still be the oldest.

Last season…I don’t want to talk about last season.

I’m expecting some great things from next season’s team. The experience on this team is deep, and if some leadership that was lacking IMO last season develops (maybe Street’s return will facilitate this) the Badgers should be looking at a great season. The freshman class coming in doesn’t have 1st round draft pick names like the last few, but it makes up for that in older, arguable WCHA ready young men. Justin Schultz is a two time BCHL top defenseman (and 2nd round pick to boot), and Craig Smith was the best forward in the USHL last season. Derek Lee will be an immediate contributor as well, and I think John Ramage is a wild card because FINALLY there will be a talented stay at home defenseman on the team.

In the next couple days, I’m going to look at the amount of NCAA games played and goals/points returning for the same five year period, and compare the scoring returns to our WCHA foes. Maybe this will shed some light on the deficiencies of the last three Badger campaigns or just leave more question marks