Wednesday, September 30, 2009

09/10 Men's Preveiws: #33 Brett Bennett


Vitals:

Position: Goalie
Year in School: Junior
Catches Left
Height: 6-2
Weight: 187
Hometown: Williamsville, NY
Major: History
Previous Team: Indiana Ice (USHL) last season

NHL Considerations: 5th round pick of Phoenix (sorry you got stuck in that organization Brett) in the 2006 NHL Draft.

08/09 Stats: 35-17-2, 2.59 GAA, 0.910 save %
07/08 Stats: 16-10-3, 2.63 GAA, 0.888 save % @ Boston U

09/10 Role: Fighting for the starting spot in goal, and I think he’ll win it as the season goes.

08/09 Recap: After being let go by Boston U, Brett landed in the USHL w/ the Indiana Ice. Its safe to say he had a great season. He was a work horse, he lead the USHL in minutes played and wins by nine over Mike Lee, and was 4th in save %. In the post season, he was nothing short of dominate. In the finals it was a battle between the league’s best in net against Fargo and the aforementioned Mike Lee, but Brett got the better of it and helped his team to the Clark Cup. In the playoffs, he led the playoffs in GAA and wins (obviously) going 9-4-1, 2.36 GAA and .920 save %. He was All USHL 1st Team along w/ Craig Smith.

Biggest Strength: I saw him play once last season, and while the Gamblers didn’t challenge him much that night, I liked his positioning. Reminded me of Brian Elliott; the key word in that sentence is ‘reminded.’ I have a lot of hope for Brett.

Biggest Weakness: As the rumors go, he was let go by Boston U because he had a bad attitude and was not good for the team, or something along those lines. Will he bring the baggage to UW or did a year in the USHL and the second chance clear the slate? I’m all about 2nd chances.

09/10 Thoughts: Brett comes in as the new goalie on the block and should start the season fighting w/ Scott Gudmandson for the starting role. Many have hypothesized that Eaves will rotate one each night, and guessing I’d have to agree, but I think Brett will eventually take the reins and be the regular in net. He has the potential and background to be the next in the line of great Badger goalies.

On message boards, people question his past issues and I’d ask Badger fans to give him a chance before passing judgment.

Prediction: 23 games, 2.35 GAA, 0.917 save %*
*Regular season only

Photo from uwbadgers.com

09/10 Women's Previews: #30 Rebecca Ruegsegger


Vitals:

Position: Goalie
Year in School: Freshman
Catches Left
Height: 5-8
Hometown: Lakewood, CO
Major: undecided
Previous Team: Shattuck St. Mary’s last season

08/09 Stats: 31-6-2, 2.22 GAA, .913 save %

09/10 Role: Fighting for the starting spot

08/09 Recap: Becca had a dominating season leading Shattuck St. Mary’s to the 2009 National Championship, along w/ teammate Brianna Decker. In 2008, she played for Team USA in the first Women’s U18 Championship as they won gold.

09/10 Thoughts: A lot of goalies at the end of these previews. Having never seen Becca or Nikki Kaasa play, its hard to judge how they stand against Alannah McCready, who played well when she did see some PT last season. Becca did have a dominate season last year though, and everything I’ve read leads me to believe she’ll be ready to step in right away and compete for the netminding duties. The Badger Women will need someone to step up regardless and take the reins.

Her brother Tyler is a senior at Denver this season.

Prediction: 12 games, 2.00 GAA, .908 save %*
*All predictions for regular season only

Photo from uwbadgers.com

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Much needed Women's Update

The Badger Women open up their regular season this friday night against North Dakota at 7 PM at the Kohl Center. They will be raising the banner for NC #3 before the game.

The Women are picked to finish first in the league coaches poll, while collecting six of eight first place votes. In addition, two Badgers were picked for POY and ROY respectively. Sophomore Sensation Brooke Ammerman received 5 votes for POY, and freshman Brianna Decker received 6 votes for ROY.

Last night the Badger Women held their Red/White Scrimmage, w/ Team White winning 8-1. Brianna Decker had 5 goals for Team White.

Last friday, the USA Women's Select Team took on the WCHA All-Stars at the X in St. Paul, winning 6-1. Jessie Vetter was in net for Team USA. Of the Badgers playing on Team USA, Jinelle Zaugg, Kerry Weiland and Molly Engstrom all had goals, while Hilary Knight, Erika Lawler and Meghan Duggan each had an assist. Current Badgers Jasmine Giles, Mallory Deluce and Brooke Ammerman all played on the same line for the All-Stars, and according to our friend nubettle, who was at the game, they gave Team USA the most trouble, even if it didn't show up on the score sheet. Brittany Haverstock also was a defender for the All-Stars. Reminder that you can see Team USA at the Kohl Center on Tuesday January 5th at 7 PM when they face the Badger Women.

On saturday, Team USA played a game against the St. Cloud Women and crushed them 13-0. There were some pretty big stat lines for several Badgers playing on Team USA.

Hilary Knight: 3-4-7, +5
Jinelle Zaugg: 1-4-5, +5
Meghan Duggan: 2-0-2, 4 PIM, +2
Kerry Weiland: 0-3-2, +2
Angie Keseley: 1-0-1, +1

Zaugg and Knight played the wings on the 2nd line, while Keseley and Duggan played the wings on the 3rd line.

Honestly, they should just hand Hilary Knight the Patty Kaz awards for 2011 and 2012 now, there is no stopping her.

09/10 Men's Previews: #35 Mitch Thompson


Vitals:

Position: Goalie
Year in School: Freshman
Catches Left
Height: 5-11
Weight: 187
Hometown: Onalaska, WI
Major: Undeclared
Previous Team: Bozeman IceDogs (NPHL) last season

NHL Considerations: Long way to go.

08/09 Stats: 20-7, 2.93 GAA, 0.906 save %

09/10 Role: Redshirt

08/09 Recap: Played last season in the North Pacific Hockey League, and was a late addition to the Badgers as a walk on w/ the opportunity to gain a scholarship as he progresses.

Biggest Strength: Never seen him play.

Biggest Weakness: See above.

09/10 Thoughts: When he committed, it was stated that he would redshirt this season. There really wouldn’t be any PT anyway. Mitch is another home grown walk on, replacing Jeff Henderson and Ryan Jeffery who graduated last season.

Prediction: Redshirt practice goalie

Photo from uwbadgers.com

09/10 Women's Previews: #29 Nikka Kaasa


Vitals:

Position: Goalie
Year in School: Redshirt Freshman
Catches Right
Height: 5-10
Hometown: St Cloud, MN
Major: undecided
Previous Team: Technical HS in St Cloud in 07/08

08/09 Stats: Redshirted
07/08 Stats: 2.12 GAA, .934 save %, 6 shutouts

09/10 Role: Fighting for some PT in goal

08/09 Recap: Suited up for every game (at least the home games I saw), but did not see any PT and was redshirted.

09/10 Thoughts: It will be interesting to see how the goaltending situation shakes out this season. Jessie Vetter played almost every game the last four years and now she has graduated. Nikki should be fighting for playing time w/ senior Alannah McCready and freshman Rebecca Ruegsegger; the job is wide open let the competition begin.

Prediction: 6 games, 2.40 GAA, .902 save %*
*All predictions for regular season only

Photo from uwbadgers.com

Monday, September 28, 2009

Meet Justin Schultz

UWbadgers.com is running a series called "breaking the ice" w/ all the freshman on the Men's team, and this week its Justin Schultz.

Some highlights:

Favorite NHL player: Scott Niedermayer

Favorite sports team: Anaheim Ducks (you'd never know he was drafted by them)

Favorite superhero: Batman

Favorite breakfast cereal: Lucky Charms (A day started w/ marshmellowy shapes can't be beat)

Age started playing hockey: 4 years old

First job: Upholstery Shop

Before each game, I: Tape my stick

Most famous person you’ve met (where and when): Walter Gretzky when I was 10

If I could play another UW sport, it would be: golf

If you could have dinner with any two living people, who and why?
Bobby Orr (favorite NHL player of all time), Brock Lesnar (teach me some moves)

For me, playing college hockey is: A dream come true

Why did you come to Wisconsin? Play college hockey and get an education

If you could have any super power, what would it be? Invisibility (call Alex Kangas he learned how to be invisible as a goaltender, letting in shots like he wasn't even there)

Yes more Polls!!!

The USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine pre-season coaches poll is out! I know you have all been waiting for this day! The Badgers are ranked #14, a good spot to start the season. Miami (OH) is #1 even though Denver cleaned up on 1st place votes w/ 13 (2nd in the poll) & BU was right behind them w/ 12 in the 3rd spot.

Other WCHA teams are minnesota at #6 (did Woog and the Rug get extra votes?), North Dakota at #8 and St. Cloud at #13. Duluth and CC are receiving votes, not sure who voted for CC.

Two other blogs have given their stab at predicting the WCHA standings. "This is the WCHA" (don't bother reading we have more WCHA coverage here then he does) places the Badgers 6th. Over at Goon's World, he thinks the Badgers will finish 2nd.

09/10 Men's Previews: #28 Jordy Murray


Vitals:

Position: Forward
Year in School: Sophomore
Shoots left
Height: 5-9
Weight: 175 lbs
Hometown: Fairbault, MN
Major: Undeclared
Previous Team: Shattuck St. Mary’s in 07/08

NHL Considerations: His brother has played for the Kings and his dad coaches the Blues, he has a ways to go, but he’s on the right track.

08/09 Stats: 40 games, 8-5-13, +1, 40 PIM
07/08 Stats: 60 games, 38-57-95

09/10 Role: 3rd line, PK

08/09 Recap: Jordy played in every game last season as a freshman. Started strong w/ two points against Boston College, and finished strong w/ two goals against North Dakota at the Final Five to earn All-Tourney honors. He was one of the hardest workers on the ice each night and rarely made any mistakes.

Biggest Strength: He’s great in his own end, played the PK the whole season.

Biggest Weakness: He needs to be more consistent, some nights he looks ready to be a bigger contributor on offense, but then disappears. He was a freshman, no big deal.

09/10 Thoughts: Jordy should be ready to take his game to the next level this season and be a bigger part of the offense. I would expect him to be a regular again on the PK, and might even see some PP time. His game suits any role he needs to play on the team. He can grind in the corner, plays great defense and can also be a playmaker. I want to see more of the playmaker this season. I’m hoping that Eaves agrees w/ Chuck and I and puts Jordy on the LW w/ Craig Smith and Derek Stepan. The “kids” line could be a good one.

Prediction: 35 games, 8-14-22*
*All predictions for regular season only

Photo from uwbadgers.com

09/10 Women's Previews: #8 Geena Prough




Vitals:

Position: Defender/Forward
Year in School: Junior
Shoots Right
Height: 5-2
Hometown: Farmington, MI
Major: English
Previous Team: Mercyhurst last season

08/09 Stats: 37 games, 3-13-16, +36, 26 PIM
07/08 Stats: 37 games, 9-12-21, 24 PIM

09/10 Role: not really sure, but she’ll be out there

08/09 Recap: Geena was part of Mercyhurst’s national championship runner-up team last season losing to Wisconsin in the title game 5-1. After the season, she decided to transfer to the victor of that game and joins the Badgers this season since Women’s Hockey only requires a redshirt season when transfer inside the same conference.

09/10 Thoughts: Geena plays both forward and defense, which will be nice this season as the Badgers could easily use her to play both. W/ the Kelter twins playing soccer until at least December, that doesn’t leave any additional blue liners, and only one forward, her transfer from Mercyhurst adds not only depth, but experience. Geena is a welcome addition to the Cardinal and White.

uwbadgers.com FINALLY updated their site, so I'm only 20 days late on this preview.

Prediction: 34 games, 7-14-21*
*All predictions for regular season only

Photo from uwbadgers.com

Sunday, September 27, 2009

09/10 Men's Previews: #27 Cody Goloubef


Vitals:

Position: Defenseman
Year in School: Junior
Shoots Right
Height: 6-1
Weight: 189 lbs
Hometown: Oakville, Ontario
Major: Undeclared
Previous Team: Oakville Blades (OPJHL) in 06/07

NHL Considerations: 2nd round pick of Columbus in the 2008 NHL Draft.

08/09 Stats: 36 games, 5-8-13, +6, 38 PIM
07/08 Stats: 40 games, 4-6-10, E, 36 PIM

09/10 Role: 2nd pairing, PP & PK

08/09 Recap: The highlight of Cody’s season was winning gold w/ Team Canada at the WJC, he didn’t put up big stats w/ the team, but was one of the better defensemen, always steady on the blue line. He was the only NCAA player on the team. As a Badger, he found himself paired most of the season w/ Ryan McDonagh and they were outstanding. Cody’s is good in all situations, and was probably the best blue liner on the PK. He was part of the 2nd PP unit, and still didn’t get a chance to show off his offensive skills behind Jamie McBain and Brendan Smith on the depth chart. Had both GWG when UAA visited the KC in December.

Biggest Strength: He is the silent backbone of the Badgers defensive core, you don’t notice him because he rarely makes a mistakes, and I think this season we’ll see what he can do on offense w/ regularity.

Biggest Weakness: None, he does everything well.

09/10 Thoughts: I think Cody is going to have a breakout season. It will be interesting to see what Eaves does w/ the pairings. I think both Cody and McDonagh are too good all around to stay together. Either way, Cody should get the chance to showcase some more offense, but one thing Badgers can count on is continued solid play in his own end and on the PK. If Cody ends up paired w/ Brendan Smith, hopefully some old chemistry can return to the former Ontario Juniors teammates. I’m really excited about Cody this season, the Badgers have four All-American candidates on the blue line this season.

By the end of the season, I think he’ll remind some Badger fans of Tom Gilbert; solid all around, but w/ much shorter hair. 60 do you think that is a fair possible comparison?

Prediction: 35 games, 8-20-8*
*All predictions for regular season only

Photo from uwbadgers.com

09/10 Women's Previews: #27 Carolyne Prevost


Vitals:

Position: Forward
Year in School: Sophomore
Shoots Left
Height: 5-4
Hometown: Sarnia, Ontario
Major: Kinesiology
Previous Team: London Junior Devilettes in 07/08

08/09 Stats: 41 games, 13-13-26, +20, 10 PIM
07/08 Stats: 26 games, 26-19-45

09/10 Role: 2nd line, PP

08/09 Recap: The Cardinal and White Ninja had a nice freshman season for the Badgers. She was a regular on the 2nd line w/ Mallory Deluce and Meghan Duggan, and saw time on the PP. She participated in Canada’s U22 selection camp.

09/10 Thoughts: I think I’m a little conservative on Carolyne’s numbers for the coming season, she’ll definitely have the chance to step up and be a bigger part of the offense. She has a nice offensive skill set and is one of the most athletic players on the team.

Prediction: 34 games, 15-15-30*
*All predictions for regular season only

Photo from uwbadgers.com

Saturday, September 26, 2009

09/10 Men's Previews: #26 Keegan Meuer

Vitals:

Position: Forward
Year in School: Freshman
Shoots Right
Height: 5-10
Weight: 175 lbs
Hometown: Madison, WI
Major: Undeclared
Previous Team: Waterloo (USHL) last season

NHL Considerations: Too early to tell.

08/09 Stats: 54 games, 8-19-27, -8, 107 PIM
07/08 Stats: 52 games, 2-22-24, +7, 49 PIM

09/10 Role: fighting for PT

08/09 Recap: Played last season w/ teammate Craig Smith and UW recruit Tyler Barnes in Waterloo. Had another good season for the Black Hawks, playing in all situations. Will be the third Madison native on the this season.

Biggest Strength: From the one game I saw him play last season, he reminded me a lot of Patrick Johnson. His offensive skills are ok, but he does well in his own zone, and leaves his best effort out on the ice.

Biggest Weakness: He had a lot of PIM last season in Waterloo, haven’t seen him play enough to offer more of an opinion.

09/10 Thoughts: W/ the depth at forward, I don’t see Keegan getting a ton of PT this season. I’d estimate that he is 16 on the depth chart, but he’s a hard worker, so if some of the regulars in Eaves’ doghouse find themselves there again this season, Keegan would be happy to make the most of the opportunity.

Overall, a good 4 year player for the Badgers. He is the nephew of Badger greats Jeff and Rob Andringa.

Prediction: 4 games, 0-1-1*
*All predictions for regular season only

Photo from uwbadgers.com

Friday, September 25, 2009

09/10 Men's Previews: #55 John Ramage


Vitals:

Position: Defenseman
Year in School: Freshman
Shoots Right
Height: 6-0
Weight: 195 lbs
Hometown: St. Louis, MO
Major: Undeclared
Previous Team: US NTDP last season

NHL Considerations: I was surprised he wasn’t drafted this summer. His dad Rob was the #1 overall pick in the 1974 NHL Draft, he has the bloodlines, and now has the best blue line coach in the NCAA’s.

08/09 Stats: 54 games, 2-10-12

09/10 Role: fighting for the 6th dman spot

08/09 Recap: Skated w/ the US National Team Development Program last season on their U-18 team after winning the Robertson Cup w/ the St. Louis Bandits the previous season in the NAHL. The U18 team won gold at the 2008 World U18 Championships.

Biggest Strength: All scouting reports say that he is a solid stay at home defenseman, something the Badger roster could really use. I heard he has a booming slap shot too.

Biggest Weakness: Having never seen John play, he’ll have a big transition to make to the WCHA especially fighting for PT against a group of future NHL blue liners.

09/10 Thoughts: W/ five top NHL draft picks in front of him, John will be battling w/ three other defensemen for playing time, and based on how well Craig Johnson was playing last season, it will be an uphill battle. I think he’ll see some PT, Eaves will want to get him out there to get experience and see what he can do, but w/ the depth on the blue line and at forward there won’t be many openings. I’m looking forward to seeing John play, I think the Badgers landed another recruiting steal as he was sitting out there uncommitted during the middle of last season.

John will be the first player in modern history to wear a non-traditional #, traditionalist need to get over it.

Prediction: 8 games, 1-2-3*
*All predictions for regular season only

Photo from uwbadgers.com

09/10 Women's Previews: #35 Alannah McCready


Vitals:

Position: Goalie
Year in School: Senior
Catches Left
Height: 5-6
Hometown: Blaine, MN
Major: Psychology
Previous Team: Centennial HS in 05/06

08/09 Stats: 5 games, 1-0-0, 1.75 GAA, .909 save %
07/08 Stats: 3 games, 2-0-1, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 save %

09/10 Role: Should be in the lead for the starting spot

08/09 Recap: Alannah backed up the greatest goalie in the history of NCAA Women’s Hockey the last three seasons, and that goalie was Jessie Vetter. She only started one game last season. Though her career stats are from limiting PT, they are very good.

09/10 Thoughts: Alannah should be the front runner for the starting spot, but will have some stiff competition especially from Rebecca Ruegsegger who had an outstanding season last year at Shattuck St. Marys. Alannah knows the Badger system in and out, and was learning from the best (Jessie Vetter) the last three seasons. Goal is definitely one of the big question marks the Badgers need to answer this season.

Prediction: 16 games, 1.90 GAA, .910 save %*
*All predictions for regular season only

Photo from uwbadgers.com

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Robbie Earl Fighting For Spot With Wild

Minnesota Wild beat reporter/Star Tribune blogger Michael Russo made mention of Robbie Earl's chances of staying up with the big club in a blog post on Tuesday:

Right now, the last defenseman spot is between John Scott and Jaime Sifers, and if Shane Hnidy’s not healthy by Opening Night, maybe Scott and Sifers both stick temporarily.

Same goes with the forwards. Right now, dinged up are Koivu, Brunette, Sheppard, Bouchard, Boogaard, Weller and Pouliot (that we know of). The Wild so far has kept Danny Irmen, Matt Kassian, Nathan Smith, Andy Hilbert and Robbie Earl. If the regular’s are not healthy Opening Night, maybe one or two of those guys remain (Irmen being the clearcut frontrunner there).

Earl, by the way, has been cleared to finally play and will get in probably Thursday against St. Louis or Friday in Chicago.


But the Wild is keeping so many extra bodies because of the amount of injuries. The team needs guys to play the back-to-backs coming up. Afterward, you can bet many of the forwards listed above will be sent down.


Make of that what you will. It's not likely that Earl will crack the Wild's lineup any time in the near future, but its good to know that he's probably close to the top of the Wild's call-up list.

09/10 Men's Previews: #24 John Mitchell


Vitals:

Position: Forward
Year in School: Senior
Shoots Left
Height: Tall
Weight: 224
Hometown: Neenah, WI
Major: Sociology
Previous Team: Indiana Ice (USHL) in 05

NHL Considerations: Had interest last summer, didn’t hear much this summer, but he has NHL size, and you can’t teach that.

08/09 Stats: 40 games, 15-11-16, +6, 118 PIM
07/08 Stats: 40 games, 8-5-13, +4, 49 PIM

09/10 Role: 2nd line, PP

08/09 Recap: John continued his progression as a hockey player last season, tying for the team lead in goals, and doubling most of his stats from the previous season. He was productive on offense at EV and on the 2nd PP unit, but also led the team in PIM. It’s still amazing how far he has come during the past few seasons.

Biggest Strength: John has a knack to be in the right place at the right time, which led to a lot of goals last season. His size makes him a factor as well.

Biggest Weakness: His decision making still has room for improvement. While his goal and assist totals increased, so did his PIM. He was booted from several games for checking from behind. Sometimes its an accident, but when it happens w/ regularity (among other foolish penalties) that is an issue.

09/10 Thoughts: Not sure what to think of John for the coming season. There were several times last season, sitting next to 60 on a Friday night, when John would make a colossal blunder, and I’d then miss the goal he’d score making up for his blunder because I was ranting about the blunder. As I said above, he really needs to work on decision making, his skating is vastly improved, and he has a nice scoring touch, while he’s a good in his own zone as well. Offensively I’d be surprised to see him improve a ton more, but he certainly has some other parts of his game to refine in his final season, to impress NHL scouts on the way to a contract. He’ll definitely be part of the offense, where, well only Eaves can answer that, and he’ll change his mind (w/ the forward lines) often.

All in all, it has certainly been fun to watch John for the past several seasons, and watch him improve almost from game to game.

Prediction: 34 games, 12-10-22*
*All predictions for regular season only

Photo from uwbadgers.com

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Adam Burish Out For (Most Of) Season

Wasn't able to get to this until now, and I'm sure many of you are already aware, but Adam Burish (he of "Badger Alum, captain of the 2006 title team, Chicago Blackhawks, nearly getting his head chopped off in last year's playoffs, extremely popular among Hawks fans and players alike, and the likely father of about 5,000 children in the greater Chicago area" fame) has suffered a pretty serious ACL injury.

In the first period of a preseason game against the Wild, Burish went into the boards awkwardly and tore his ACL. He doesn't score a lot for Chicago, but is a huge contributor to the team in almost every other way imaginable. As such, his reputation among the Hawks is really impeccable. He will be sorely missed until his (in my opinion, very optimistic) return target date of March 1st.

The main ESPN.com story features a link to a pretty solid Q&A session between Burish and some reporters that I highly recommend listening to. In fact, if you check out none of the other links here, check out the audio link on that story. Some quotes from there (which also pop up in a lot of the links I'll provide at the end here):

"I'm kind of reminded of when I was 18 years old, I went through a pretty srious car accident and the quote that stuck with me was "Make every obstacle an opportunity", and I'm gonna try to find a way to do that." -On finding the positives in the situation.

"I'll be around... I'll make fun of them and I'll tell them when they suck and tell them when they're good." -Jokingly, about his role with the team while he's recovering.

"I know they'll be fine... it's such a good team, such a deep team." -On how the Blackhawks will do without him.

"It was fine. It was fine. It was just one of those goofy plays ... I was just doing everything I could to get the puck out of the zone, I really reached for it and I was in kind of a vulnerable position and [Minnesota winger Benoit Pouliot] gave me a little shot from the side or from the back, and I went into the boards goofy." -Responding to a question of whether the hit from Pouliot was clean.

"That's probably the most frustrating part: I work so incredibly hard earlier in the summer... ten minutes into your first preseason game and most of your season is gone... If it was Game 7 of the Cup Finals, you could take both of my knees and I wouldn't care" -On the timing of the injury.

"I knew something was wrong, something didn't feel right. They asked me 'Did you hear a pop in the knee?' and I said, 'Guys, I didn't hear anything, I crashed into the boards.' That's all I heard, was the crash. ... But, when I got into the dressing room something didn't feel right." -More details about the injury itself.


Numerous articles are mentioning that the most likely replacement for Burish on the fourth line is to have Tomas Kopecky take over at center and bring up none other than Madison's own Jack Skille to the wing on the fourth line. I can't find a quote attributed to Hawks coach Joel Quenneville to that effect (the Southtown Star article below claims Quenneville has stated this, but does not quote him). While it hasn't been written, and nothing is assured, I certainly hope that that's the route the Hawks take.

Not as popular of a thought, but just as pleasing for us in Badgerland, is the notion of the other BadgerHawk- Jake Dowell- centering the fourth line. I believe I saw one mention of Dowell somewhere, but I can't recall where at this point. And its late, damnit.

Some articles about Burish's injury:

Hawks' Burish to Undergo ACL Surgery (ESPNChicago.com)
Moral Support: Burish Will Stick Around Hawks While Rehabbing Injured Knee (ESPNChicago.com)
Hard to Replace What Burish Does (dailyherald.com)
Hawks will miss Burish more than a lot of people think (Chicago Tribune)
Hawks' Burish Out Six Months With ACL Tear (Southtown Star)
Hawks Enforcer Burish Out For Season (NBC Chicago... notable article because Burish really isn't an enforcer, and the picture shown is of ex-Blackhawk James Wisniewski)
Burish Out For Six Months, Committed Indian Writers Hang Themselves (Second City Hockey... as usual with that site, the comments are pretty amusing. And, per SCH commenter Battery, he was at the Hawks first home preseason game, signing autographs and such in the 200 level stands. That's true class, Adam!)

And, because no Adam Burish story is complete without some reference to his rumored womanizing:

Adam Burish Knows All About Hockey Groupies (NBC Chicago "Street Team")

09/10 Women's Previews: #23 Hilary Knight


Vitals:

Position: Forward
Year in School: Junior (will redshirt this season)
Shoot Right
Height: 5-11
Hometown: Hanover, NH
Major: dominating NCAA Women’s Hockey
Previous Team: Connecticut Polar Bears in 06/07

08/09 Stats: 39 games, 45-38-83, +48, 24 PIM
07/08 Stats: 41 games, 20-18-38, +24, 28 PIM

09/10 Role: US Women’s Olympic Team

08/09 Recap: I could begin to talk about all the statistical categories she led the nation in last season, but instead I’ll sum it up this way: Hilary’s da Bomb! Patty Kaz finalist, WCHA POY, Frozen Four All-Tourney and an All-American, not bad for a sophomore. She wasn’t just the best forward in Cardinal and White or the WCHA but in all of the NCAA’s last season. Culvers briefly considered renamed the Culvers 5 goal free for all, to the “Hilary Knight 5 goal free for all sponsored by Culvers” after she lit up Quinnipiac for five all by herself early in the season.

09/10 Thoughts: The only player leaving bigger shoes to fill this season for the Badgers is Jessie Vetter after her graduation from UW, but Hilary is a close second. Teammates will have to step up while she is gone chasing Olympic gold, and I think there are some good candidates to briefly take her spot as the scoring leader until she returns next season. She should be a force for Team USA as she takes her incredible game to the world stage and they bring back the gold.

I’m going to miss Hilary this season, she is the reason why I started attending Women’s game regularly last season. At the end of 07/08, I went to one Women’s game in the WCHA playoffs against Mankato. Hilary put the sickest moves on several land cows before scoring a highlight reel goal, and she never stopped last season. Easily my favorite player, Men’s or Women’s teams.

GL to her, all the Badgers and their teammates on Team USA.

Plan to come to the Kohl Center on Tuesday January 5th, when Hilary (and 7 other current and former Badgers) will be in town as Team USA squares off against the Badger Women.

Prediction: Olympic Gold & her face on a Wheaties Box

09/10 Men's Previews: #23 Derek Lee


Vitals:

Position: Forward
Year in School: Freshman
Shoots Right
Height: 5-10
Weight: 165
Hometown: North Vancouver, BC
Major: undeclared
Previous Team: Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL) last season

NHL Considerations: He’s a talented player, he’ll need some time at UW to gain some strength, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him land a contract someday.

08/09 Stats: 58 games, 12-47-59, 34 PIM
07/08 Stats: 52 games, 21-56-77, 35 PIM

09/10 Role: 2nd or 3rd line, PP

08/09 Recap: Derek had another good season in the BCHL. His stats were down a little, but he was on a better team and was more consistent as the season went on. The Victoria Grizzles were the BCHL regular season champs.

Biggest Strength: Derek was a highly sought after recruit, and a very smart kid, who has excellent playmaking skills. He’s not going to notch a ton of goals, but teammates will because of him.

Biggest Weakness: He is a smaller forward and will need gain strength, adding muscle to his frame. He’ll get plenty of time in the weight room at UW.

09/10 Thoughts: Similar to Craig Smith, Derek is a talented freshman who could contribute right away to the Badger offense. I’ve learned to temper my expectations for freshman so when they play like Derek Stepan its icing on the cake, but when they are just ok transitioning to the WCHA, I won’t be disappointed either. W/ the depth at forward, anything the Badgers get from Derek will be a bonus, though if he plays well it could be another piece in a run at #7 in Detiolet.

Prediction: 24 games, 4-12-16*
*All predictions for regular season only

Photo from uwbadgers.com

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

09/10 WCHA Previews: St. Cloud

School: St. Cloud State
Mascot: Huskies
National Championships: this requires winning an NCAA game first
Head Coach: Bob Motzko, 81-60-19, 5th season

Last Season: 13-13-2, 6th Place WCHA; 18-17-3 Overall

Predicted 09/10 WCHA Finish: 3rd

Key Departures:
F John Swanson, 9-17-26*
F Michael Olson, 5-8-13
F Brent Borgen, 4-7-11
G Jase Weslosky, 16-13-2, 2.70 GAA, 0.912 save % (couldn’t get the grades at SCSU…)
*All stats listed from 08/09

Key Returnees: (82.8% of scoring returns)
F Garrett Roe (Jr), 17-31-48
F Ryan Lasch (Sr), 18-24-42
D Garrett Raboin (Sr), 10-23-33
F Aaron Marvin (Jr), 10-17-27
F Jared Festler (So), 7-10-17

Top Sieve:
Dan Dunn, 2-4-1, 2.60 GAA, 0.904 save %

Key Additions:
G Mike Lee (USHL), 26-15-4, 2.40 GAA, 0.918 save %
F Ben Hanowski (MN HS), 57-53-110
D Taylor Johnson (USHL), 8-24-32
D David Eddy (USHL), 21-35-56

Freshman Scouting Report: A small class, but should be pretty good. Mike Lee was one of the top goalies in the USHL last season and should be a key part of Team USA WJC team this coming January. Ben Hanowski played weak competition in HS hockey last winter, so his stats are misleading, though he sounds talented, he will have a HUGE adjustment to the WCHA. Taylor Johnson led all blue liners for the Gamblers last season as they were regular season champs. David Eddy had a nice season for Sioux Falls.

When Wisconsin Beats the Huskies: @SCSU 11/20 & 11/21, KC 2/19 & 2/20

08/09 Recap: St Cloud never really got things rolling last season, and were hot and cold all season. They were building momentum at the end of the season and fighting for home ice, but came up just short in 6th. The gophers ended their season in the 1st round of the playoffs. Ryan Lasch and Garrett Roe started off slowly, which didn’t help. The Badgers only played one series at St Cloud, and were beat down on Friday only to pitch a 1-0 shutout the following night in one of Shane Connelly’s best games as a Badger. Jase Weslosky was suppose to be in the running for the WCHA’s top goalie, but was nothing special, and then promptly failed out of school.

Team’s Biggest Strength(es): Their first PP unit w/ Lasch and Roe will again be one of the best in the WCHA, and killed the Badgers in the past. Teams need to stay out of the box w/ all the quick forwards St Cloud uses.

Team’s Biggest Weakness(es): Some would say goaltending, but I won’t (I’ll explain in the 09/10 thoughts). St Cloud lacks much secondary scoring, after Lasch and Roe the offense drops off. There is a large group of sophomore forwards on the Huskies, and to succeed these kids need to step up.

09/10 Thoughts: I’m probably the only person who will have St Cloud 3rd and I have my reasons. On paper goaltending appears an issue. Weslosky is gone because he can’t get grades at a safety school, but really that clears up the goaltending situation for the Huskies. Dan Dunn will be hungry after the team, thinking Weslosky would return, told him to hit the road, and I think Mike Lee is going come in and be top notch for St Cloud right away. If this doesn’t happen, yeah 3rd place is way too high. Also, Lasch and Roe are both primed for big seasons, and additional scorers will emerge, but if they don’t, two guys can’t carry a team. I’m banking on everything going St Cloud’s way, but in the end they still won’t win a NCAA game, I’m not giving them that much credit.

2009 Single game tix on sale

Probably should have posted this yesterday, but better late than never. Single game tix for the 2009 portion of the schedule are on sale right now. Those games include matchups w/ CC, New Hampshire, minnesota, UAA & Michigan Tech.

Tickets for the 2010 portion of the schedule are on sale November 10th.

09/10 Men's Previews: #22 Ben Street


Vitals:

Position: Forward
Year in School: 5th Year Senior
Shoots Left
Height: 5-11
Weight: 197
Hometown: Coquitlam, BC
Major: Real Estate
Previous Team: Salmon Arm in 04/05

NHL Considerations: He’ll play at some level of the pros (ECHL or AHL) next season if he chooses that direction.

08/09 Stats: 4 games, 1-0-1, E, 8 PIM
07/08 Stats: 40 games, 13-17-30, -3, 36 PIM

09/10 Role: 2nd line, PP, PK

08/09 Recap: Came into the season as a co-Captain w/ Blake Geoffrion, but saw his season end early when he tore up his knee in the fourth game of the season. Was granted a medical redshirt.

Biggest Strength: Ben is one of the best two way forwards on the team, he gives the Badgers everything he has in both ends.

Biggest Weakness: Since he missed most of the season I can’t really remember, which either means he doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses or I just have a faulty memory tonight.

09/10 Thoughts: There should be no player on the Badgers hungrier for the season to start than Ben. Having to sit and watch all those games in street clothes is only fun when you are a fan, not a player. The beginning of the season should be fun, I would expect Ben to go all out and set a great explain for the team to follow. It might have been something they were missing, his leadership, as he returns as a tri-Captain. His leadership style appears to be completely different than Geoffrion’s. Michael Davies is the only other Badger on the team to score 10 or more goals in their first three seasons. As I mentioned, he is a great two-way player, and will fit in there somewhere in the pantheon of Badger PKers.

Ben is also the last remaining link to the ’06 Championship team.

Prediction: 35 games, 12-18-30*
*All predictions for regular season only

Photo from uwbadgers.com

09/10 Women's Previews: #22 Malee Windmeier


Vitals:

Position: Defender
Year in School: Junior
Shoots Right
Height: 5-9
Hometown: Champlin, MN
Major: Engineering
Previous Team: Coon Rapids HS in 06/07

08/09 Stats: 40 games, 2-11-13, +28, 36 PIM
07/08 Stats: 41 games, 2-12-14, +13, 22 PIM

09/10 Role: top pairing, PP & PK

08/09 Recap: Malee spent the season on the top pairing w/ Alycia Matthews and they were solid on the blue line every night. She was named to the Frozen Four All Tourney team and had a goal in the 5-1 win over Mercyhurst to bring home NC #3.

09/10 Thoughts: Along w/ Olivia Jakiel, Malee is the only other upperclassmen defender this season, though Geena Prough has transferred and plays either position. Malee will need to be a leader on the blue line regardless and should have a big role on special teams. I wonder if the blue liners will provide more offense this season w/ less forward firepower?

Now I remember why I was a fan of her going into last season, she is an engineering major, I remember those days.

Prediction: 34 games, 3-14-17*
*All predictions for regular season only

Photo from uwbadgers.com

Monday, September 21, 2009

1st Star is BCHL Player of the Week

Thanks to the anon comment for the heads up. Here is the BCHL article.

Salmon Arm SilverBacks forward Mark Zengerle has been named the British Columbia Hockey League's Player of the Week for the week ending September 20th, the league announced Monday.

Zengerle, who is the reigning Interior Conference MVP, scored four goals and added five assists in three weekend road games -- all wins -- for the SilverBacks.

On Friday, the 20-year old scored twice and added a pair of helpers in a 9-5 win over the Williams Lake Timberwolves. One night later, he netted a power-play goal and assisted on the tying and winning goals in a 3-2 overtime victory in Quesnel. And on Sunday, Zengerle wrapped the weekend with a goal and an assist in a 7-6 win at Prince George.

The Rochester, New York native now has five goals and six assists to show for his first five games of the 2009/10 regular season. Zengerle totalled 31 goals and 62 assists in just 54 games in his first season in the BCHL.

The SilverBacks return to the ice on Friday when they visit the Penticton Vees, who boast league-leading scorers Denver Manderson (15 points) and Beau Bennett (14). Gametime is 7:00 PM from the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Recruit Stat Sheet Updated

First of all, I just wanted to apologize to Gandalf for posting this after his awesome preview for today. Especially since It's Derek Stepan day. Anyways, I just wanted to make everyone aware that I've updated the recruit stat sheet website to reflect the changes for the upcoming hockey season.

For reference, here are the updates on committed recruits: Tyler Barnes is now a 2010 recruit, not a 2009 recruit. Michael Mersch is now a 2010 recruit, not a 2011 recruit. Tyler Lapic has moved on from New Prague (HS), to Omaha (USHL). Michael Mersch and Frankie Simonelli have moved up from the NTDP U17 squad to the U18 squad. Matt Paape has moved on from Appleton (HS) to Sioux City (USHL). Cody Strang has moved on from Madison Edgewood (HS) to Youngstown (USHL). Jefferson Dahl was selected in the expansion draft by Youngstown (USHL). Jordan Schmaltz has moved from the Chicago Mission minors to the major squad.

Potential recruits that have been added to the database are: Russell Blaser (Monona Grove), Tim Davison (Green Bay Notre Dame), Matthew Fosdick (Brookfield), Barrett Kaib (US NTDP), Nick Szopinski (Beaver Dam).

If all goes well, the statistics will hopefully be updated weekly.

If you have any corrections, comments, or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment on the blog or e-mail me at chuckschwartz@live.com anytime.

09/10 Men's Previews: #21 Derek Stepan


Vitals:

Position: Forward
Year in School: Sophomore
Shoots Right
Height: 6-0
Weight: 180
Hometown: Hastings, MN
Major: making bags of $$$ w/ McDonagh in the Rangers organization in the near future
Previous Team: Shattuck St. Mary’s in 07/08

NHL Considerations: 2nd round pick of the NY Rangers in 2008 Draft, and was praises excessively during prospect camp this summer.

08/09 Stats: 40 games, 9-24-33, +4, 6 PIM
07/08 Stats: 60 games, 42-62-104, 16 PIM

09/10 Role: 3rd line, 1st PP, PK

08/09 Recap: Derek started off the season slow, but as the season progressed, he was like a wave building and building and building and then all of a sudden he was crashing down on the WCHA. He worked his way into all situations and did well in all situations. He was the most effective forward on the team in the last 20 games, scoring 20 points. By the end of the season he was one of the top PKers after not even participating on the PK to start the season. Derek and the Bohmber did an exceptional job, especially on the same PK against North Dakota on Senior Night, scoring two SH goals on the same PP. Derek should have been on the WCHA All Rookie team.

Biggest Strength: Derek is a talented playmaker, and he is only going to get better this season.

Biggest Weakness: I don’t think he has an obvious weakness, he is good at most things and outstanding at everything else.

09/10 Thoughts: Derek is ready for a breakout year; I think he is ready to go Joe Pavelski on the WCHA. Do I really need to say anything else? He will be key in all situations, continuing where he left off last season. He will be joining Jake Gardiner on the WJC at mid-season, and should be one of the top forwards on that team. I’m very anxious to see Derek on the ice again, he was playing so well at the end of last season, he does that for a whole season and the WCHA will quake in their skates.

Prediction: 32 games, 14-28-42* (go big or go home)
*All predictions for regular season only

Photo from uwbadgers.com

09/10 Women's Previews: #21 Lauren Unser


Vitals:

Position: Forward
Year in School: Freshman
Shoots Right
Height: 5-4
Hometown: West Salem, WI
Major: undeclared
Previous Team: Madison Capitols last season

08/09 Stats: ???

09/10 Role: 4th line

08/09 Recap: Lauren played the last few seasons w/ the Madison Capitols winning three state championships. She also competed in cross-country and track and field at West Salem. In the Spring she helped West Salem to a 2nd place team finish in DII w/ the fastest time in all divisions on her way to winning the 400m, and was a part of the team that won the 4x800 title and was 3rd in the 200m.

09/10 Thoughts: Lauren joins the team as a walk on, but should see some PT this season as the team is a little short handed to start the season. Beyond that I don’t know much about Lauren, but glad to have another WI native in the Cardinal and White.

Prediction: 10 games, 1-2-3*
*All predictions for regular season only

Photo from uwbadgers.com

Sunday, September 20, 2009

1st Star...Zengerle

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks played three games this weekend, and Mark Zengerle helped his team go 3-0 while scoring 4 goals and notching 5 assists. He is up to 11 pts now in 5 games.

On friday, no "stars" were named, but Zengerle had 2 goals and 2 assists as the Silverbacks won 9-6. On saturday he was named 1st Star after being part of all three Silverback goals w/ a goal and 2 assists in a 3-2 victory. This afternoon, he finished off his nine point weekend w/ another goal and assist as Salmon Arm held off Prince George to win 7-6.

We will be following 1st Star Zengerle throughout the season as he chasing the BCHL scoring title.

09/10 Women's Previews: #20 Brooke Ammerman


Vitals:

Position: Forward
Year in School: Sophomore
Shoots Right
Height: 5-8
Hometown: River Vale, NJ
Major: undeclared
Previous Team: North American Hockey Academy in 07/08

08/09 Stats: 40 games, 27-27-54, +30, 20 PIM
07/08 Stats: 74 games, 62-56-118

09/10 Role: 1st line, PP & PK

08/09 Recap: Brooke was one of the top freshman in the WCHA last season, earning her a spot on the WCHA All-Rookie Team and 3rd Team All-WCHA. She was nothing short of stellar while spending a good chunk of the season on the 3rd line w/ Jasmine Giles and Kyla Sanders, and contributing to the 2nd PP unit.

09/10 Thoughts: As Winter turns to Spring, so does the Freshman Sensation become the Sophomore Sensation. Brooke is the top returning scorer w/ Hilary Knight and Meghan Duggan looking for Olympic gold. Her role on the team this season will definitely increase, instead of facing lesser competition on the 3rd line, she’ll be playing the opponents best all season as she becomes one of the go to players. I have no doubts she’ll succeed and help the Badgers to another successful season.

Prediction: 34 games, 25-35-60*
*All predictions for regular season only

Photo from uwbadgers.com

09/10 Men's Previews: #20 Ryan Little


Vitals:

Position: Defenseman
Year in School: Sophomore
Shoots Left
Height: 5-11
Weight: 185
Hometown: Fond du Lac, WI
Major: Undecided
Previous Team: Green Bay (USHL) in 07/08

NHL Considerations: He has a ways to go, but he has the right coach to get him to the pros.

08/09 Stats: 22 games, 0-3-2, -1, 12 PIM
07/08 Stats: 58 games, 2-11-13, 100 PIM

09/10 Role: Fighting for PT

08/09 Recap: Ryan was a regular in the lineup during the first half of the season, sometimes in street clothes when Eric Springer played. In the 2nd half, as the calendar turned to February, he never saw the ice again, at least in a game, as Craig Johnson became the regular 6th defenseman.

Biggest Strength: I’m not sure if this is a strength, but I sure enjoy it. Ryan is the little biggest hitter on the team, often going after opponents w/ some reckless abandon. He owned a lot of people, and his hit during the minnesota series in October led to Patricia “Whitey” White getting beat down by Ben Grotting in the ensuing extra curriculars.

Biggest Weakness: His decision making at times is suspect, but he was a freshman and he needs to get better to see more PT on a crowded blue line.

09/10 Thoughts: The blue line is crowded this season. Its going to be tough for several defensemen to crack the lineup, even occasionally, and I think Ryan will be one of them. One thing I love about speculation and predictions is that there are always surprises, both the good kind (Derek Stepan last season) and the bad kind (Ben Street’s injury). The blue line could be like that this season, or it could easily be like everyone thinks, w/ Ryan, Eric Springer and John Ramage as the odd men out fighting for PT. In the past, Eaves has used 7 dmen, but w/ 16 forwards and the depth there, I don’t see that happening either. I like Ryan, I like his gritty play and the big hits, but I might have to wait until 10/11 to see them regularly.

Prediction: 8 games, 1-1-2*
*All predictions for regular season only

Photo from uwbadgers.com

Saturday, September 19, 2009

09/10 Men's Previews: #19 Jake Gardiner


Vitals:

Position: Defenseman
Year in School: Sophomore
Shoots Left
Height: 6-2
Weight: 184
Hometown: Minnetonka, MN
Major: Business
Previous Team: Minnetonka (MN HS) in 07/08

NHL Considerations: 1st round pick of Anaheim (17th overall) in the 2008 draft.

08/09 Stats: 39 games, 3-18-21, +4, 16 PIM
07/08 Stats: 25 games, 20-28-48

09/10 Role: 2nd Pairing, PP & PK

08/09 Recap: Jake burst on to the scene in the Cardinal and White and never looked back. He had a few issues on defense at times, but overall he looked more like a returning player instead of a freshman. He made an impact on offense early in the season and saw that role expand when Brendan Smith went down w/ injury and he stepped up to the top pairing w/ Jamie McBain and they barely missed a beat. I was worried he'd struggle on defense like Smith did as a freshman, but he blew me away at times at how quickly he transitioned from HS to the WCHA. For his outstanding freshman season, he was named to the WCHA All-Rookie Team.

Biggest Strength: He is the best skater on the ice regardless of position. Sometimes the wind stops to applaud he is moving so fast, yet it looks effortless. His offensive skills from all those years at forward don’t hurt either.

Biggest Weakness: Still a little rough around the edges on defense, but for a kid who played forward 3 seasons ago, he is improving by leaps and bounds.

09/10 Thoughts: Jake should be given every opportunity to step up and contribute in all situations this season as a sophomore. It will be interesting to see how he progressed over the summer, defenseman has a bigger learning curve at the NCAA level, and other blue liners on the roster were noticeably improved their sophomore years. McBain really took off, while Cody Goloubef and Ryan McDonagh really asserted themselves on the Badger blue line. If Jake follows this progression, he could be in for a stellar year. He’ll likely miss a few games at mid-season as he should be part of Team USA at the WJC’s along w/ Derek Stepan.

Prediction: 33 games, 5-25-30*
*All predictions for regular season only

Photo from uwbadgers.com

09/10 Women's Previews: #19 Breann Frykas


Vitals:

Position: Forward
Year in School: Freshman
Shoots Right
Height: 5-4
Hometown: East St. Paul, Manitoba
Major: undeclared
Previous Team: Little Caesars & Team Canada’s U18 last season

08/09 Stats: 1-2-3 @ WJC, couldn’t find much for Little Caesars

09/10 Role: 2nd or 3rd line, PP

08/09 Recap: The third member of Team Canada’s U18 team that won silver at the 2009 WJC who will wear the Cardinal and White this year. She is friends and lived w/ future Badger Madison Packer while she played w/ Little Caesars over in Michigan.

09/10 Thoughts: Similar to Brianna Decker, Breann should have a chance to step right in and contribute offensively for the Badgers this season. I don’t know a lot about her game, but she has had some success on the international stage and is another fine addition to the Badgers’ group of forwards for the future.

Prediction: 32 games, 10-15-25*
*All predictions for regular season only

Photo from usahockey.com

Friday, September 18, 2009

09/10 Women's Previews: #18 Brianna Decker


Vitals:

Position: Forward
Year in School: Freshman
Shoots Right
Height: 5-4
Hometown: Dousman, WI
Major: undeclared
Previous Team: Shattuck St. Mary’s & Team USA U18 last season

08/09 Stats: 80-46-126 @ Shattuck

09/10 Role: 1st or 2nd line, PP

08/09 Recap: As team captain last year at Shattuck St. Mary’s, Brianna cleared dominated. Her domination continued as alternate captain of the USA Women’s U18 team that won gold at the 2009 Women’s WJC, coaching by Mark Johnson. Have you seen reference to this before? Almost every freshman played in that championship game.

09/10 Thoughts: Brianna is arguably the best freshman in the country this season, and I think there are a lot of followers of girl’s hockey in the state who are anxious to see her play this season. I have high hopes for Brianna this season, and honestly I wouldn’t have been totally surprised to have seen her on the Olympic team. Glad to have her in the Cardinal and White though. W/ losses to graduation and the Olympic team, the chance will be there for her to star right away. If Hilary Knight is da bomb, what will that make Brianna Decker?

Prediction: 34 games, 25-25-50*
*All predictions for regular season only

Photo from www.gmtoday.com

We're going to Houghton, everybody!


Yeah, that's right, I'm quoting either Wooger or The Rug (can't remember who exclaimed it, perhaps Imaginary Dave will stop by and remind me), but hey, it works.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

This Weekend for Team Wisconsin






TW Minor is in Blaine, MN this weekend -- starting today, actually -- for the NAHL's Future Prospects Tourney. Here's their schedule:
9/17 @ 2 PM -- Chicago Fury -- L 4-3 (SO)
9/18 @ 10 AM -- Chicago Young Americans
9/18 @ 8 PM -- Alaska All-Stars
9/20 TBA
(Thanks to DPlaya, of course, for the links.)


TW Major is in New Hope, MN this weekend. Here's their schedule:
9/19 @ 1 PM -- Great Plains
9/19 @ 8:30 PM -- NE
9/20 @ 12 PM -- NW
Go TW!

MacMurchy assigned to Springfield & other items

  • I made a bit of an error this morning. In my TG/RM post, I wrote that Ryan MacMurchy was no longer @ TC in Edmonton. Which is true now, but I wrote my post before the Oilers' officially sent him (and 12 others) down. Since I didn't see his name on the Oilers' roster and since he didn't play in either preseason game, I just assumed that he had already been assigned but that I had missed it. Oops.
    Anyway, Mac has been assigned to Springfield Falcons (AHL), and hopefully he'll stick. From limited comments by Gregor and Lowetide (included in my earlier post), it sounds like Mac had a decent camp and might earn an AHL job.

    Here's what Lowetide had to say today after the 13 cuts were made:
    L Ryan MacMurchy: I had him 35/36 but he impressed with a couple of nice plays in scrimmage on the weekend. An ECHL player who might make the leap to AHL this season.
  • An anonymous poster commented that Josh Engel is at the Toronto Maple Leafs' TC. I thought I should post it here for those who don't read the comments.
  • Another anonymous poster commented that Scott McConnell, one of Badger Bob Johnson's grandsons, has been named video coach for the WBS Penguins (AHL). And thanks to dggodard, here's the link.
  • For those of you (like me) who have a hard time keeping track of these things, here's a list of NHL/AHL/ECHL affiliations, courtesy of HF. And hey, lookie, the K-Wings have been reincarnated in Kalamazoo, this time as an ECHL team. Most of you probably don't care, but as I have a really cool K-Wings jersey from their IHL days, this caught my interest.

09/10 WCHA Previews: North Dakota

School: North Dakota
Mascot: Fighting Sioux (for awhile yet)
National Championships: 7 (’59, ’63, ’80, ’82, ’87, ’97 & ’00)
Head Coach: Dave Hakstol, 130-71-19, 6th season

Last Season: 17-7-4, 1st Place WCHA; 24-15-4 Overall

Predicted 09/10 WCHA Finish: 4th

Key Departures:
F Ryan Duncan, 20-19-39*
D Brad Miller, 6-29-35
F Matt Frattin, 13-12-25 (booted for drunken escapades)
F Ryan Martens, 10-12-22
F Andrew Kozek, 8-12-20
*All stats listed from 08/09

Key Returnees: (54.1% of scoring returns)
F Chris VandeVelde (Sr), 18-17-35
D Chay Genoway (Sr), 3-29-32
F Jason Gregorie (So), 12-17-29
F Brett Hextall (So), 12-14-26
F Evan Trupp (Jr), 7-13-20

Top Sieve:
Brad Eidsness, 24-12-4, 2.56 GAA, 0.906 save %

Key Additions:
F Michael Cichy (USHL), 34-42-76
F Carter Rowney (AJHL), 35-43-78
D Andrew MacWilliam (AJHL), 8-21-29
G Aaron Dell (AJHL), 25-17-8, 2.53 GAA, 0.924 Save %
F Corbin Knight (AJHL), 34-38-72
F Danny Kristo (USHL), 22-35-57

Freshman Scouting Report: Wow are all the best players in the AJHL going to NoDak? Carter Rowney was the AJHL playoff MVP leading his team to the title last season. His new teammate Michael Cichy did the same thing w/ the Indiana Ice in the USHL; he is a good looking player. Corban Knight is a late addition to the roster after Matt Frattin threw a landmower in the road and a few weeks later drove drunk and was AJHL Rookie of the Year. Andrew MacWilliam was a AJHL All-Star and Aaron Dell was one of the top goalies in the same league last season. I’d have to give NoDak the nod on the best class in the WCHA.

When Wisconsin Beats the Sioux: @lgm 12/11 & 12/12

08/09 Recap: In typical recent Sioux fashion, the team struggled in the 1st half of the season and then in the 2nd half went on a tear on their way to winning another MacNaughton Cup. Note to WCHA teams, request all games against NoDak before Christmas. The Sioux arrived at the Final Five as the favorite, only to fall flat on their face losing in the 3rd place game to Wisconsin. In the 1st round of the NCAA tourney, they had the game firmly in hand only to watch New Hampshire mount an epic comeback to end their season. Brad Eidsness was solid all season, but really fell apart when it mattered the most. Brett Hextall firmly established himself as every opposing fan’s new most hated player (hey Denver fans you guys are first in line), while Joe Finley had his mom write a note to Coach Hakstol that he had an injury and missed most of the season. And can a Sioux fan tell me what happened to David Toews?

Team’s Biggest Strength(es): Hakstol coaches an intimidating style of play, which I’d have to say has been very affective. Teams hate to play NoDak and opposing fans love to hate their players.

Team’s Biggest Weakness(es): Youth, the team is young, but talented. They have a huge freshman class, and huge freshman classes don’t regularly take the WCHA by storm. I’m not convinced that Brad Eidsness is a superstar goalie either.

09/10 Thoughts: I’ve seen North Dakota regularly in the top 3 in other WCHA pre-season rankings (1st by Western College). I think youth puts them behind to start the season to facilitate their normal poor start, strong finish model, but this season I think that start will put them too far behind to catch up. North Dakota will be a tough team by the end of the season, they always are. They lost a lot of offense and that takes time to overcome. Ryan Duncan has signed a lifetime contract w/ Travelocity to be their roaming gnome, and Joe Finley is now a janitor w/ the Washington Caps ECHL team; they will be missed. The leadership and play of seniors Chris VandeVelde and Chay Genoway will go a long way to determining the success for the Sioux. Again, Brad Eidsness does not impress me like he has others; I guess his soft play against Duluth at the Final Five is burned into my mind.

Yes, CHN's Pre-Season Poll!!!!

College Hockey News is the first to bust out a pre-season poll, isn't that just wonderful! Thanks to Goon for the link. Here is the top 10:

1. Denver
2. Miami
3. Boston University
4. Cornell
5. Michigan
6. minnesota
7. Princeton
8. Notre Dame
9. UMass-Lowell
10. Yale

None of this really matters, its just fun for discussion's sake. Reading the comments over at CHN and on Goon's blog, no one really sees the ECAC worthy of three teams in the top 10. I'd have to agree, simply because the PWR favors three good teams from the same bad conference doesn't mean they belong in the top 10 of any poll or in the NCAA tourney. Does an ECAC fan really want to debate that Cornell, Yale and Princeton all belonged in the NCAA tourney last year over Wisconsin and minnesota? See when you play a panzy ass schedule like the ECAC (or the CCHA) the PWR favors you because you can rack up wins against bad teams, only facing tough competition on occasion. In the WCHA, where are the bad teams? Oh sure Tech and UAA and Mankato are regularly at the bottom, but while they are bad by WCHA standards they are still better than any team outside of the top 3 in the ECAC, and probably just as good as those. Last season Wisconsin had something like 30+ games against TUC's in the PWR, I think Yale or Princeton had just enough (10) to use the criteria in the ranking. So they skate in w/ just enough TUC's, meaning that 2/3 of their games were against teams not in the PWR top 25, and that is suppose to be impressive?

This doesn't even bring in the KRACH rankings from last season. Yale ranks 10th, Cornell 17th and Princton 20th. Wisconsin was 11th, BC was 12th, the gophers 13th and UMASS Lowell 14th. So you really want to tell me that these ECAC teams are better than those four teams and Cornell and Princeton deserved spots in the tourney over them?

I wasn't even planning on going on that tangent until I started in and realized once again the facts are there, and the ECAC has no business getting the respect it does, playing the weak ass schedules they do.

What I really wanted to point out was CHN's reason for putting the gophers at #6.

6. minnesota: A usual NCAA postseason staple, the gophers fell short of expectations last season, but if their late-season run showed anything, it was that they'd be back with a vengeance in 2009-10. They lose top scorer Ryan Stoa to the pro ranks, but return Jordan Schroeder, who excelled as a freshman, and Jay Bariball on a deep offense that will be complemented by a defense led by Cade Fairchild and Aaron Ness, both of whom matured nicely as the roller coaster season continued. The biggest piece of the puzzle will be seeing which Alex Kangas shows up in net -- the one who gave up 42 goals in a 12 game mid-season stretch, or the one who allowed just 19 over the final nine matches of the season.

I was unaware that INCH fired all their idiots and CHN gave them jobs. Late season run? You mean the three games in a row they won before losing to Duluth at the Final Five play-in game? I guess they forgot about them going 2-7-2 in the 11 games before that; quite the late season surge. They almost blew home ice by losing to Tech on the last friday of the regular season and they were making a run? That was Tech's second win in WCHA play.

I don't really care who is in any top 10, the only rankings that matters is first the WCHA standings, and second the PWR after the last buzzer sounds to end conference tourneys, but I expect a little more out of CHN, since someone is paying this writer to put this together (edit: I'm assuming this is true), they at least should qualify an absurd statement like "late season run," especially when one didn't happen. They are spot on about Kangas though, like poison in a well.

I'm glad Wisconsin is under the radar, good place to be to start the season.

09/10 Men's Previews: #17 Ryan McDonagh


Vitals:

Position: Defenseman
Year in School: Junior
Shoots Left
Height: 6-1
Weight: 216
Hometown: Arden Hills, MN
Major: making $$$ in the NHL after the season
Previous Team: Cretin-Derham Hall (MN HS) in 06/07

NHL Considerations: 1st round pick of Montreal (12th overall) in the 2007 draft, but had his rights traded to the NY Ranger during the off season.

08/09 Stats: 36 games, 5-11-16, -2, 59 PIM
07/08 Stats: 40 games, 5-7-12, +7, 42 PIM

09/10 Role: 1st Pairing, PP & PK

08/09 Recap: Not long after the season started, Ryan found himself as an alternate captain. Eaves broke up the wildly successful pairing of McD/McB early in the season only to find Ryan as successfully paired w/ Cody Goloubef. While the McBain/Smith or McBain/Gardiner pairing was #1, the McDonagh/Goloubef pairing was the most consistent and the guys to bring out when a defensive presence was required. Ryan found himself on Team USA for the WJC, and though they didn’t medal he played well. Overall, he had another stellar season and established himself as a leader.

Biggest Strength: Ryan is great in all areas, but the thing I like about him the most is his physical presence on the ice. The other top defensemen have similar skill sets and are talented, but none of them lay down the big hit like McD.

Biggest Weakness: Is there really any weaknesses in Ryan’s game?

09/10 Thoughts: If you aren’t excited about Ryan McDonagh yet (first what the hell is your problem!) you will be by the end of the first period on Friday October 16th. His return to the Cardinal and White was never guaranteed this off season, but his return spells great things for the Badgers this season. He is clearly the leader on the blue line and should wear his tri-captain “C” w/ pride this season. What makes Ryan great doesn’t always show up in the boxscore, but you’ll know when he’s out there this season. W/ McBain gone to the pros, Ryan should see an expanded role in the offensive, which will be fun to see. I heard he showed up at the first captain’s practice ripped and ready to kick the WCHA’s ass, only 4 weeks til the domination begins.

Prediction: 35 games, 5-20-25*
*All predictions for regular season only

Photo from uwbadgers.com

09/10 Women's Previews: #17 Emily Kranz


Vitals:

Position: Forward
Year in School: Senior
Shoots Left
Height: 5-7
Hometown: Waukesha, WI
Major: uwbadgers.com needs to update the info
Previous Team: Shattuck St. Mary’s in 05/06

08/09 Stats: 41 games, 1-1-2, +2, 8 PIM
07/08 Stats: 41 games, 3-2-5, +7, 16 PIM

09/10 Role: 3rd or 4th line

08/09 Recap: Emily spent the season as a regular on the Badgers’ 4th line. As one might expect of the 4th line, they didn’t see nearly as much ice time as the top three lines, and for some reason tonight I’m really drawing a loss at their play last season.

09/10 Thoughts: Emily has played in every game during her Badger career and this year should be no different. She is one of four seniors (by eligibility) on the team and has been named an alternate captain. I’m not sure what Emily’s role will be on the team, though in a captain’s role and having 123 games of NCAA experience, her leadership and experience on the ice will needed to help the Badgers succeed this season.

Prediction: 34 games, 3-5-8*
*All predictions for regular season only

Photo from uwbadgers.com

Tom Gilbert / Ryan MacMurchy @ Oilers TC

Tom Gilbert obviously plays for the Oil, and Ryan MacMurchy spent last season with their ECHL affiliate in Stockton and is fighting for an AHL job in Springfield. And so both were at the TC that began earlier this month.
  • At the 1st day of TC, Jason Gregor was stunned to see that Gilbert had cut his hair. I'm not nearly as stunned, because although Gilbert does love his locks, lol, it's not really out of character for him to cut 'em off from time to time.
    Stortini and Gilbert are sporting trimmed locks, and to be honest it’s not a good look for either of them. Stortini’s shaggy look suits him and his on-ice persona much better. I’m betting he grows it out as the year progresses. Gilbert looks 15 with the short hair, and I’m stunned he trimmed it because he loved his locks last season. You wonder if both wanted to come in looking sharp for their new coach???
  • Gregor also reports that MacMurchy had a great Day 2 at TC, scoring a couple of goals.

    9:47…Penalty shot…MacMurchy comes in across the blueline and snaps one five hole and team blue leads 2-0.

    9:56…MacMurchy rips his second of the day, a nice snap shot from the slot over Roy’s glove. MacMurchy had nine goals and 26 points in 33 games for Stockton last year. He is hoping to make the jump to the AHL this year. He isn’t that big, but if he can finish he might have a chance to play for Daum. 4-0 team blue.

  • Lowetide made the following comments about Gilbert/MacMurchy.
    Predicting the TC roster
    :
    D Tom Gilbert: He had a beauty season in 2008-09.
    Commenting on the official TC roster:
    Tom Gilbert, 26: Despite the quality seasons I think he's a tad underrated in some quarters. Gilbert has impressive numbers and is also a bigger body (6.03, 206) and is the ideal defender for the new NHL: mobile, confident and intelligent.

    R Ryan MacMurchy, 26: Former St. Louis draft pick, he's been in Stockton for the last two seasons.
    Thoughts while watching the TC:
    Team B D/G
    Tom Gilbert: I think he's so smooth people don't notice how very good he is at all kinds of difficult things: moving the puck, changing the shooting lane at the blueline before firing one, skating backwards, forwards and laterally and he also has an impressive wingspan. He's a wonderful player, looks ready to me.
    Team A Forwards
    Ryan MacMurchy: Scored a nice goal on a nice quick release.
MacMurchy is no longer in Edmonton, but Gilbert scored a goal and an assist in the Oilers' 1st preseason game a couple days ago, a 4-1 win over Calgary. He had 24:34 of ice time, including a bunch of time on the PP and PK. He had 2 SOG and finished +2. (He didn't play in the Oilers' 2nd preseason game, a 3-2 win over NYI.)

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention -- Capobianco has a list of other Badgers at NHL training camps.

"First practice", Derek Lee, Ben Street, Kelters and more . . .

  • Yesterday, The Badgers took the ice @ the KC with the coaching staff for the 1st time this season. Per Andy Baggot's blog post, practices officially start 1 week before the season opener, but the NCAA allows 2 hrs/wk of instruction by the coaching staff starting Sept 15.

    Baggot tells us that Derek Lee can't skate with the coaches until a paperwork snafu is resolved, and he also gives us a preliminary look at line combinations.
    P. Johnson-Street-Davies
    Bohmbach-Geoffrion-Turnbull
    Murray-Stepan-Smith
    Mitchell-Dolan-Grotting
    Meuer-Thurber-Bendickson
  • I've been waiting for quite sometime for Madison Newspapers to have an article about any random Badger and what they've been doing in the offseason / their outlook on the upcoming season, and yesterday Andy Baggot obliged with an article on Ben Street.

    About his summer and rehabbing his knee:
    Earlier this summer, Street spent four weeks working out with other college and pro players in Vancouver, looking to measure his rehabilitation.

    "The (athletic) trainers basically said, 'We're going to beat the hell out of your knee and then you'll start to trust it,'" he said. "After the first two weeks there, I felt like I was pretty much back."
    About the upcoming season:
    "On paper, I think we look pretty good and stack up as good as anyone else, probably," Street said.
    About the first look at line combinations:

    "There's a competitive air kind of laying over everything," Street said. "(Eaves) put some lines up (in the dressing room) so guys could sort of see where they're fitting in.

    "I'm guessing he'll change (the combinations) about 94 more times before the season starts, but it helps guys (see) where they're starting off and who they might be playing with and who's ahead of them."

  • And while I'm stealing from DPlaya, let me refer you to his coverage of Wisconsities in the NAHL Showcase, the NAHL's Future Prospects Tournament, and the USHL preseason. TW Minor is playing in the Future Prospects Tourney.
  • Jonathan Willis calls San Jose a winner, Dany Heatley a winner for now, and Ottawa a loser in the blessed end of the Dany Heatley Saga. (Hey, congrats on the new gig, Jonathan!)
  • BadgersWHockey tells us that Mark Johnson competed in the Ironman again this year.
  • NCAA president Myles Brand has passed away from pancreatic cancer. You can find more articles about Brand here.
  • Patick Kane traded Badgers Adam Burish and Jack Skille for almost-Badger Sam Gagner in NHL '10. Hmmm. [Thanks, IC.]

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

09/10 Women's Previews: #16 Saige Pacholok


Vitals:

Position: Defense
Year in School: Freshman
Shoots Right
Height: 5-5
Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta
Major: Undeclared
Previous Team: Edmonton Chimos & Canada’s U18 Team last season

08/09 Stats: 0-8-8 @ Women’s WJC

09/10 Role: 2nd or 3rd pairing

08/09 Recap: Saige had a wealth of international experience from last season w/ Team Canada including a silver medal at the Women’s U18 Championships. She was joined on that team by current teammates Breann Frykas and Stepanie McKeough and faced the Mark Johnson coached Team USA which included Brianna Decker and Alev Kelter. Beyond Team Canada, she played the last three years w/ the Edmonton Chimos and I have to wonder living in Edmonton if she is a huge Tom Gilbert fan. It would only be logical.

09/10 Thoughts: Similar to Stepanie McKeough, I would expect Saige to step right into some significant PT on the blue line for the Badger Women. Both young women showed off some offensive talent during the U18’s last season, and that will be needed from the back end to keep the powerful Badger offense going this season. I’m excited to see Saige play, hoping for another Brittany Haverstock.

Prediction: 28 games, 2-12-14*
*All predictions for regular season only

Photo from www.quantumspeed.ca

09/10 Men's Previews: #16 Sean Dolan


Vitals:

Position: Forward
Year in School: Junior
Shoots Right
Height: 6-3
Weight: 196
Hometown: Chesterfield, MO (why do they list St. Louis?)
Major: Consumer Science
Previous Team: Chicago (USHL) in 06/07

NHL Considerations: See how the next two seasons go.

08/09 Stats: 35 games, 4-7-11, +2, 42 PIM
07/08 Stats: 40 games, 4-4-8, +1, 28 PIM

09/10 Role: 4th line while fighting for PT

08/09 Recap: After a nice freshman season, Sean, while he didn’t take a step back, didn’t really take a step forward either. He was a successful member of the grind line w/ Ben Grotting and John Mitchell, but that line was broken up last season. He was a regular on the 4th line and that line provided consistent energy throughout the season.

Biggest Strength: Very good defensively and a nice addition to the PK.

Biggest Weakness: I think there is more to Sean Dolan than Badger fans have seen so far. His offensive game shows flashes of progressing, but he never quite takes that next step. Could be a function of his role on the team as well.

09/10 Thoughts: I see Sean in a group w/ a few other players (Josh Turnbull, Ratty Johnson and Matt Thurber) who will be fighting hard for playing time this season. It will be very interesting to see who busts it in practice to start this season and who improved over the summer, because it could go a long way to determining who plays a lot. Sean has the advantage of size, and his consistent play in his own zone. He is a good centerman as well, though he could be fighting Aaron Bendickson and Thurber for that spot on the 4th line.

Prediction: 12 games, 3-3-6*
*All predictions for regular season only

Photo from uwbadgers.com

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Catching up linkorama

While Gandalf has been doing all of the heavy lifting here on the blog, I've been passively collecting some odds and ends . . .
  • I've been quite delinquent in posting TW scores, but if you follow HIW, DPlaya has kept you informed (follow the links for his game posts, as there's some good info there).

    9/12-9/13
    TW Minor
    7-2 win over Team Metro Southwest
    3-5 loss to Team Northeast (including an empty net goal for NE)
    9-0 win over Norway (Omaha had 12 players with N1H1 flu, so Norway filled in)

    TW Major
    2-4 loss to Team Southeast
    0-4 loss to Team Southwest
    0-4 loss to Team Northwest

    9/5-9/6
    TW Minor
    2-5 loss to Chicago Mission Minor
    1-2 loss to Chicago Mission Minor

    TW Major
    6-2 win over Duluth Northwings
    5-2 win over Minnesota Blades
    6-4 win over Milwaukee Junior Admirals
  • Andy Brandt is a Salmon King. He had spent 2 years in Gwinnett, but apparently they sent him to Victoria in a 3-way trade w/ Carolina. About Brandt, Victoria's GM/Head Coach Mark Morrison says:
    "Andy is a great addition to our team. He is an aggressive player who finishes checks and can put the puck in the net."
  • As you know, Badger alum Pat Flatley resigned from the NHLPA when Paul Kelly was axed. I was interested to read that fellow Badger alums Chris Chelios and Adam Burish were on the executive committee. (Aw hell, I lost the links. I'll try to add 'em back in later if I can find them.)
  • Adam Augustine is previewing the Badger Women, and here's his Forwards preview. And of course, his previews include videos!
  • Andy Baggot has a nice article how Mike Valley got his new job with Stars via word-of-mouth. It's not surprising that Valley is well-liked and respected by goaltenders that he worked with. Once again, I'd like to congratulate Mike on his well-deserved new job.
  • The LA Times had a nice piece on the US Men's and Women's National Teams last week.
  • Four Badgers will be on the WCHA All-Star Team that will face the US National Team on Sept 25 at the X -- Sophomore Sensation Brooke Ammerman, The Pride of Novia Scotia Brittany Haverstock, Captain Jasmine Giles (my pick for this year, I think), and Mallory Deluce (another fav). And of course, 1/3 of the US Team are Badgers, so if you make the trip to St. Paul, you'll get to see plenty o' Badgers . . .
I have some more stuff to post, but I just don't have the time right now, so for now you'll have to settle for what's above. Perhaps tomorrow evening I'll get to the rest . . .