Thursday, December 31, 2009

Schmaltz, McCabe, Fiala Playing In World U17 Challenge

I was going to post about this a few days ago but things came up and I was running short on time. The USA National Team Development Program is playing in the U17 World Challenge this week in Timmins, Ontario. This tournament is obviously overshadowed by the U20 World Junior Championships but we'll try to get you as much coverage as possible.

Committed recruit Jake McCabe, who has been with the NTDP all season long is obviously playing. The surprise, is that 2012 committed recruit Jordan Schmaltz was invited for the tournament. Schmaltz, who was snubbed from the NTDP tryouts last spring has been playing midget hockey for the Chicago Mission this season. Schmaltz did spend a short two game stint with the Sioux City Musketeers who own his rights.

Joe Fiala, who like Schmaltz is from Verona, has also been invited to play in the tournament. Fiala was taken late in the OHL Priority Selection but probably will go the college route. He's currently a junior and plays for Verona's high school team along with Team Wisconsin Majors. Fiala is currently not committed to a school but you would have to assume that the Badgers would have strong interest. .Schmaltz and Fiala are only two of three players from outside of the NTDP to be invited. The other player is a forward named Austin Wuthrich who plays for Team Illinois but is from Anchorage, Alaska.

Team USA pounded the Canadian-Atlantic team in the opener of the tournament 7-0. Schmaltz had a goal right at the end of regulation. McCabe was scoreless. Yesterday the United States beat the Czech Republic 3-2.

The United States next game will be tonight at 6:00 PM against the communist Russians. You can follow team USA at the tournaments website.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Olympics: Heatley Named To Team Canada

Arguably the greatest forward to ever wear a Wisconsin sweater has once again been named to represent his native Canada at the Olympics.

Dany Heatley, who spent two outstanding seasons in Madison, will be playing in his second Olympic games. His first go round, 4 years ago in Turin ended in a disappointing non-medal finish for Team Canada. In Italy, Heatley registered 3 points in 6 games.

The Calgary, Alberta native has had one of the rockiest careers in the history of the National Hockey League. The former second overall draft pick in the 2000 draft has forced trades out of his first two cities. He asked for a trade from Atlanta after his car crash that killed teammate and friend Dan Snyder. This past season Heatley demanded a trade out of Ottawa after he became unhappy with his role and playing time under new coach Cory Clouston. He was eventually moved to San Jose for Milan Michalek, Jonathan Cheechoo, and second and fifth round draft picks in 2010.

Heatley is having a bounce back season for the Sharks and is currently seventh in the NHL in scoring with 44 points in 39 games. He also ranks fifth in the NHL in goal scoring, netting 23 goals so far at almost the half way point in the season.

A surprise to no one, Team Canada is very major junior heavy this season once again. Heatley is one of only four players to play college hockey to be named to the roster. Heatley (Wisconsin), is joined by Jonathan Toews (North Dakota), Dan Boyle (Miami) and Duncan Keith (Michigan State).

Team USA will announce their roster on Friday during the NHL Winter Classic game. Expect Former Badgers Joe Pavelski, Ryan Suter, and Brian Rafalski to be named to the roster.

Photo Credit: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Big Night For Badgers At World Juniors

Stop me if you've heard this before, Derek Stepan had a huge night. The sophomore pivot and captain of team USA had 4 points in a big 12-1 win for Team USA yesterday over Latvia. (Team USA also beat Switzerland 3-0 on Sunday)

Stepan has absolutely blown up in this tournament and is really making it less and less likely every time I see him play that he will be in a Badger uniform next season. The Hastings, MN native is not only leading Team USA in scoring so far in the tournament with eight points in three games, but he's also tied with four other players for first overall in the tournament in scoring.

Defensive partners John Ramage and Jake Gardiner (pictured) also found themselves on the score sheet in the blowout against Latvia. Both collected a pair of assists for their first points of the tournament.

Here is the lineup from the Latvia game for Team USA:

29 Jerry D'Amigo - 21 Derek Stepan (C) - 10 Tyler Johnson
16 Jason Zucker - 17 Ryan Bourque - 19 Jordan Schroeder (A)
20 Chris Kreider - 22 A.J. Jenks - 26 Jeremy Morin
23 Kyle Palmieri - 9 Philip McRae - 8 Danny Kristo
14 Luke Walker

Defense
5 David Warsofsky (A) - 11 John Carlson
4 Matt Donovan - 24 Cam Fowler
18 Brian Lashoff - 2 John Ramage
28 Jake Gardiner

Goaltenders
30 Mike Lee
1 Jack Campbell

Team USA takes on Team Canada in the (so far) biggest match up of the tournament on New Years Eve at 7 PM Central Time. Canada is also 3-0 and looks to be playing very well. You can catch the game live on the NHL Network.

By the way, hey Canada, neck guards are for douche bags.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Mid-Season Review: We Are Who I Thought We Were

It's the official mid-way point in the season so I figured it was a good time to review where we are, where I thought we would be, and where we are going.

Where I thought we would be: Like the title implicates, this is EXACTLY where I thought we would be at this point in the season. I've been telling people and posting that this Wisconsin team should not be taken lightly, and anything short of a frozen four birth and a serious run at a national title is unacceptable.

In my early season article previewing our defensemen I announced that "this is the best group of defensemen ever to be put together on one college team. EVER." I absolutely stand by that stance half way through the season.

Offensively before the season I was in love with our depth at forward. I feel the exact same way today. Losing Stepan offensively definitely hurts during the WJC, but it won't be as painful as it would have been in past seasons. We have seven players that can play the center position (Street, Geoffrion, Stepan, Thurber, Bendickson, Smith, Dolan).

Goaltending was our biggest question mark coming into the season. At this point I did figure that Brett Bennett would be the full time starter by now and we know that this is not the case, yet.

Where are we: For the first time in a few seasons we're sitting in excellent position in both the conference and in the pairwise rankings at the mid point.

Conference wise, we're sitting in third place with an 8-4-2 record through 14 conference games. We're only two points behind first place Denver. If I've said this one, I've said this 100 times, I couldn't care less where we finish in the conference because our ultimate goal every season should be a national championship. With that said, most likely the higher our finish the better position we are when the seeds come out because it means we won a lot of games. The conference race is extremely tight this season and anything could shake out in the end. Most likely I see us finishing second behind Denver when the season ends.

Pairwise-wise, we're in seventh place in the nation which isn't bad positioning right now. As you already know, with automatic qualifiers from conference tournaments, Wisconsin needs to position itself most likely in the top 12 to assure ourselves an at-large bid. This year seems to be a bit of an abnormality as five out of the six conferences in the nation are represented in the top 8 teams in the current pairwise. To be safe, let's just keep ourselves in the top 12.

I don't take a ton of stock into these numbers because it's hard to judge how much affect strength of schedule takes on it, but at the midway point Wisconsin is second in the nation in scoring, averaging 4.06 goals per game, and we're sixth in the nation in goals against per game, at 2.11 goals against. Regardless of strength of schedule, those are pretty freaking impressive numbers.

A Few Individual Notes:

Goaltending-I don't think anyone really knew what to expect coming into the season with the goaltenders. Scott Gudmandson really had not proven anything in his first two seasons as a Badger. Also, Brett Bennett was coming out of an awful situation at BU, but a great season in the USHL. Needless to say, I've been shocked as to how well these goalies have played. Individually, Gudmandson is fifth in the nation in goals against at 1.87, and Brett Bennett is tied for ninth in the nation at 2.12 which is pretty good. Save percentage wise, at .925 Gudmandson is ranked 11th in the nation, and Bennett is sitting at .904 through 9 games.

John Ramage-As a late recruit, not a ton of people knew what to expect from Ramer. I personally didn't expect him to be a regular coming into the season, and obviously I was wrong since he's played in every game for the Badgers so far. At the midway point the freshman defenseman has two goals and five helpers through his first 18 college games.

Jake Gardiner-I know he's been getting some grief from the fan base lately but I honestly don't see it being as much of a factor as a lot of you do. Gardiner has been asked to play a different role than many of us are accustomed to seeing him play. Being paired with McDonagh their first job is shutting down opposing teams first lines. I think they've done a very good job at that so far. Sure additional offense would be great out of Gardiner, but he can't leave McD out on an island against other teams top lines because they will make us pay. I like that Gardiner has been smarter at picking his spots this season.

Brendan Smith-This kid has been everything that he was advertised to be when he signed with the Badgers. He's third in the nation in scoring with 26 points in 17 games. He's also second in the nation in assists with 18 games. He's still got work to do defensively and is a very interesting case for the Hobey Baker. He gets a lot of accolades for the points he puts up offensively but he's probably our worst defenseman, defensively.

Blake Geoffrion-The guy has taken the next step in his development that's for sure. At the start of the season I would have put the percentage of him being second in the nation in goals at about zero, and that's no offense to Blake. 14 goals through the first 18 games is nothing to sneeze at. He also leads the nation in power play goals.

Michael Davies-I absolutely flipped when this kid was held out of the lineup in the opening weekend and I think I had a pretty good point. He has 16 points in 16 games and that's exactly what the kid brings to the table. He's on pace to break the 100 point mark in his college career and that's a pretty big accomplishment.

Craig Smith-This guy is having a huge freshman season on the offensive side with 15 points in 16 games. He was a big time scorer in the USHL and that has carried over to the college game. The other part that has carried over? Penalties. He's already served a two game suspension for his checking from behind in Mankato. He has 52 minutes in penalties and that's simply way too much. If he wants to help this team he needs to find the line between being aggressive and being stupid.

Where we are going: National Championship or bust in my opinion. I know that is a lofty expectation but the talent level on this team is second to none. Like I've stated many times, this is the best cast of defensemen EVER assembled at this level. Offensively Blake Geoffrion has taken it as a personal challenge to have the best season in his hockey career. Derek Stepan looks like he is going to be an absolute star and is going to have a HUGE second half after tearing up the World Junior Championship. If our goaltenders continue to play like they have been, which has been nothing short of brilliant overall, there is no reason why we cannot challenge for a title.

Photo Credit: RedHeat15

Saturday, December 26, 2009

USA Beats Slovakia; Stepan Named Captain

Last night team USA defeated Slovakia 7-3 in their opening game of the U20 World Junior Championship being held north of the border in Saskatchewan, Canada. Team USA got down early 2-0 after multiple penalties but rallied for a big win.

"I was happy with our resiliency after falling behind early," said Dean Blais, head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team. "We created a lot of scoring chances, and showed a lot of poise after those two quick goals."

Wisconsin Badger Derek Stepan had a big night. First he was named Captain and then went out and had a hand in three of the seven US goals. Stepan had an assist on Team USA's first goal by John Carlson, added a goal of his own in the second, and had a beautiful assist on a goal by Danny Kristo later in the period. He was also tied for a team best +4 on the night. John Ramage and Jake Gardiner were held scoreless in the opener but it sounds as if Ramage made a nice play on Kristo's goal (a goal Stepan had an assist), and probably should have been awarded an assist.

Here is NHL.com's description of the goals scored with Badger players involved:

Team USA's first goal-"Derek Stepan wins an offensive-zone draw back to John Carlson, and he blasts a shot from the right point through traffic at 9:34. U.S. still trails 2-1."

Team USA's third goal-"Great puck movement around the perimeter. Derek Stepan gets the pass above the circles in the middle, wires a wrister over Ciliak's glove at 5:39 to put the U.S. up 3-2."

Team USA's fifth goal-"Great play John Ramage to hold the puck in at the point. Derek Stepan grabs the puck and makes a fabulous pass to a cutting Danny Kristo and he chips the puck past Ciliak to make it 5-3."

Here were the lines from last night:

29 Jerry D'Amigo -21 Derek Stepan (C) - 8 Danny Kristo
23 Kyle Palmieri - 17 Ryan Bourque - 19 Jordan Schroeder (A)
22 A.J. Jenks - 20 Chris Kreider - 26 Jeremy Morin
16 Jason Zucker - 9 Philip McRae - 10 Tyler Johnson
14 Luke Walker

Defensemen
5 David Warsofsky - 11 John Carlson (A)
24 Cam Fowler - 18 Brian Lashoff
28 Jake Gardiner - 2 John Ramage
4 Matt Donovan

Goaltenders
30 Mike Lee
1 Jack Campbell

Team USA will take on Switzerland Sunday at 3PM Central Time. The game can be seen live on NHL network in the United States.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Recruit Corbin McGuire Nets Hat Trick At Fenway

As you are all probably aware, the NHL is continuing the tradition of having a New Years day hockey game on an outdoor sheet of ice. This season it is being held in Boston at legendary Fenway Park.

2012 Wisconsin recruit Corbin McGuire got a chance to be part of the festivities this week when his Taft Prep high school hockey team played a game against Avon Old Farms on Monday at Fenway.

It was a very special day for the boys from Taft Prep according to the schools website, "Highlights for Taft were the first puck drop by Cam Neely, Boston Bruins legend, and a hat trick of three goals scored by Taft sophomore forward, Corbin McGuire." Perhaps the biggest highlight for McGuire was being featured on ESPN's hit show "SportsCenter" on Monday night.

I've been an absolute HUGE fan of McGuire ever since I got to see him skate at the USA Hockey Select 15 festival two summers ago. I wrote about his initial commitment back in April. I got to talk with Corbin and ask him a few questions about his commitment a few days later. In May he was drafted 22nd overall in the USHL futures draft by Fargo.

This kid is going to be an absolute stud when he makes it to Wisconsin in 2012. I like the way things are shaping up for the Badgers down the road. I'll go in depth in a later post but McGuire and Schmaltz are looking like two solid pickups at this point.

Photo from Taft Preps website

USA World Junior Predictions: How'd I do?

All the way back in June I threw my hat into the ring on predictions for this seasons USA World Junior Championship roster. Now that USA Hockey has officially released the finalized roster, let's go back to my original guesses and see how I did.

Goaltender Predictions:

Mike Lee (St. Cloud State)-Correct Selection
Jack Campbell (USA NTDP U18)-Correct Selection

Analysis: At the time I made my selections this was pretty much a no brainer in my opinion. Brandon Maxwell had fallen out of flavor with USA hockey and Campbell and Lee were both coming off huge seasons. Joe Howe from Colorado College made a great late push with an outstanding first half but I think USA had these picked for a while.

Defense Predictions:

John Carlson (Hershey Bears)-Correct Selection
Cam Fowler (Windsor Spitfires)-Correct Selection
Jake Gardiner (Wisconsin)-Correct Selection
John Moore (Colorado College)-Incorrect Selection
Aaron Ness (Minnesota)-Incorrect Selection
Nick Leddy (Minnesota)-Incorrect Selection
Matt Donovan (Denver)-Correct Selection

Actual selections not included:

Brian Lashoff (Kingston Frontenacs)
John Ramage (Wisconsin)
David Warsofsky (Boston University)

Analysis-Picking four out of 7 isn't terrible but it isn't great either. At the time, I felt Fowler, Carlson, Gardiner, and Moore were absolute locks. Moores stock has continued to decline after snubbing Colorado College late in the summer (Still think he should have made the team). I expected Aaron Ness to have a much bigger season than he has had at Minneosta. I think we can all agree that he's been extremely over-rated since coming to Minnesota. Nick Leddy was doomed as soon as he broke his face early in the season. I think the big surprise here is John Ramage who wasn't even invited to camp. He has had a great freshman season and should add some much needed physicality to the US lineup.

Forward Predictions:

F-Tyler Johnson (Spokane Chiefs)-Correct Selection
F-Danny Kristo (North Dakota)-Correct Selection
F-Jordan Schroeder (Minnesota)-Correct Selection
F-Mitch Wahl (Spokane Chiefs)-Incorrect Selection
F-Phil McRae (London Knights)-Correct Selection
F-Mike Chichy (North Dakota)-Incorrect Selection
F-Jeremy Morin (Kitchener Rangers)-Correct Selection
F-Derek Stepan (Wisconsin)-Correct Selection
F-Kyle Palmieri (Notre Dame)-Correct Selection
F-Zach Budish (Minnesota)-Incorrect Selection
F-Drew Shore (Denver)-Incorrect Selection
F-Ryan Bourque (Quebec Remparts)-Correct Selection
F-Vinny Saponari (Boston University)-Incorrect Selection

Actual selections not included:

Jeremy D'Amigo (RPI)
Chris Kreider (Boston College)
Jason Zucker (USA NTDP U18)
AJ Jenks (Plymouth Whalers)
Luke Walker (Portland Winterhawks)

Analysis-Had a slightly better picking percentage on the forwards but not by much. But I'll take 8 out of 13 any day of the week. Surprised not to see Wahl back especially after he was on the team last year and is having a solid year this season. I should have known better than to pick Chichy after his falling out with USA Hockey. Budish hasn't had the start that I thought he would have had with Minnesota (I still don't think Minnesota is a good fit for a kid like Budish, he's got an NHL body and plays with a physicality that just doesn't fit in with the Gophers style). All the locks are on there like Schroeder, Stepan, and Kristo.

Overall Predictions: 14 of 22 for an accuracy rating of about 64%. Not terrible for putting this together in June.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

USA Hockey names WJC Roster

After yesterdays 2-2 tie 3-2 shootout loss in an exhibition with the Czech Republic, the final roster has been announced for the 2010 World Junior Championships. All three Badgers (Jake Gardiner, John Ramage and Derek Stepan) made the cut. Way to go, fellas! USA! USA! USA!

The full roster

The announcement on USAHockey.com

Monday, December 21, 2009

USA Hockey Trims WJC Roster

Today, USA Hockey released their latest 24-man roster for the World Junior Championships in Saskatchewan (official IIHF website here).

Of pertinent use to us Badger fans, John Ramage, Jake Gardiner and Derek Stepan have all made the cut. Gardiner and Stepan are sure bets to make the final squad, and there's hardly more to add on them, but seeing John Ramage's name on the list was a pleasant surprise. His presence has come at the expense of two U-18 defensemen (Justin Faulk and Jon Merrill) and a Major Junior blueliner (John Moore of the Kitchner Rangers). It'd be interesting to hear more about what it was that caused Moore to be cut, as he is a first round NHL pick (21st overall in 2009 to Columbus) and has had a pretty good season for the OHL Rangers (3-17-20, +4 in 20 games). However, it should be noted that this is the same John Moore who backed out on Colorado College for the OHL.

Is this USA Hockey's way of giving the finger to the CHL? Probably not, since there are still 8 current CHL players on the roster, and you can't imagine a team being run on such petty principles and making it very far in Saskatchewan. Dean Blais, Jim Johannson, Coach Oz and company may be college guys at heart, but they've got bigger fish to fry than to punish Moore for his defection. Either way, I'm secretly glad to see him off the team. What can I say? I love college hockey, and Karma is a bee-otch.

USA Hockey put together a little video with Dean Blais not really saying anything at all about the roster cuts themselves, but he does seem to hint that he's looking for strong puck security (ie, no turnovers and strong puck movement), which just might go a long way towards explaining why John Ramage is still around. Ram(p)age is having a very solid season for the Badgers, and his abilities with the puck have been one of his stronger suits, if you ask me. Seems like his talents are suiting him well.

Per the USA Hockey release, the final two cuts that will bring the team to its final 22-man roster will be made Wednesday, with an exhibition game against the Czech Republic to precede it on Tuesday. Best of luck, Badgers, and Go USA!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Morning News and Notes

The first bit of info I have for you this morning isn't even actually Badger news. Former Janesville high school star Dan Olszewski has committed to Denver for next season. I searched for a while to find an Internet confirmation on this but couldn't so you'll just have to trust me I guess.

Olszewski may be a familiar name if you follow the WIAA State Tournament. He led Janesville there a few years ago and was absolutely absurd in the playoffs. Had a string of a bunch of hat tricks and almost took Janesville to the title. Olszewski is having a very nice season for St. Louis in the NAHL. His 25 points in 27 games so far this season lead the team.

In an article from early November with the Janesville Gazzette, Olszewski said that he had offers from a few smaller eastern schools but was waiting on something better. I'd say his patience paid off.
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Denver had another player commit this week, and this one is a little bit more painful for the Badgers. Canmore (AJHL) Eagles goalie Sam Brittain has committed to the Pioneers for either next season or the year after depending on departures.

Brittain is painful because he's an outstanding goaltender and Wisconsin is in a weird situation in a few years because they currently have two junior goaltenders. Brittain could have been a kid to come in when Bennett and Goody graduate and start as a freshman.

Brittain is having a very nice season up in Canmore. In addition the offer from Denver, and obviously strong interest from Wisconsin, he was also linked to Nebraska-Omaha.

I'm not sure where this puts Wisconsin in terms of looking for goaltenders. I was really hoping things would pan out with Brittain. I don't see another Brett Bennett transfer situation falling into our lap in two seasons and there aren't a ton of goaltenders that are able to come in and star as freshmen. It will be an interesting situation to keep an eye on.
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In a bit of sad/disappointing news, Eau Claire native and current Nebraska-Omaha freshman Andrew McCabe has been cut from the team at mid-season.

McCabe is the older brother of recent Badger commit Jake McCabe who is a defenseman with the USA NTDP U17 squad. Jake, who committed to the Badgers for the 2011 season was heavily recruited by current Nebraska-Omaha head coach Dean Blais. The news of Andrews release from the team comes within weeks of his brothers decision to play for his home town Badgers over his brothers Mavericks.

This is a very interesting story because I don't think I've ever heard of a college hockey player being cut at mid season without some sort of off ice infraction leading to the dismissal. As far as I've heard, this was simply based on performance.

In DPlaya's article, he hints at Andrew being released because his younger brother chose not to go to school there. While I would assume had Jake committed, they wouldn't have cut Andrew, but I can't imagine they would cut him because his brother chose to go to school someplace else. Andrew committed when Mike Kemp was still the head coach, and before his brother blew up on the national scene so it's not like he was brought in as a recruiting chip to land Jake.

Andrew played in 5 games this season for the Mav's and did not record a point. He had a very productive junior career in the NAHL when he was healthy. It will be interesting to see where Andrew ends up. I think he's a very good player and should land on his feet somewhere at the division 1 level again.
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Derek Stepan, Jake Gardiner, and John Ramage played in an exhibition game last night with the USA Hockey World Junior preliminary roster against North Dakota in Grand Forks. The best under 20 players in the country defeated the Fighting Sioux 4-2.

Stepan was a big contributor for the red/white/and blue with two assists. Ramage and Gardiner were held off the score sheet. The current roster sits at 27 players and USA will take 22 to the World Junior Tournament in Saskatchewan. In my opinion Gardiner and Stepan are locks and thought Ramage was a long shot. but last night they paired Ramage and Gardiner together as the second pairing. Mark Osiecki is an assistant coach on the team and you have to thing that could play a factor in whether or not Ramage makes the final roster.

Here is the lineup from last night.


12 Chris Brown--19 Jordan Schroeder--26 Jeremy Morin
29 Jerry D'Amigo--21 Derek Stepan--8 Danny Kristo
20 Chris Kreider--10 Tyler Johnson--27 Vinny Saponari
16 Jason Zucker--22 A.J. Jenks--9 Philip McRae
25 Kenny Ryan

24 Cam Fowler--18 Brian Lashoff
28 Jake Gardiner--2 John Ramage
7 John Moore--4 Matt Donovan
5 David Warsofsky--3 Max Nicastro

30 Mike Lee
1 Jack Campbell

Friday, December 18, 2009

7 Badgers make US Women's Hockey Olympic Team

Congratulations to Hilary Knight, Meghan Duggan, Jessie Vetter, Erika Lawler, Jinelle Zaugg-Siergiej, Molly Engstrom, and Kerry Weiland!

Yesterday, USA Hockey announced the 21-player Olympic roster, cutting 2 skaters from the Qwest Tour roster. The above 7 Badgers made the final cut. Badger Angie Keseley was one of the 2 players missing the final cut. (I believe Rachel Drazan was the other.)

If you're able to road-trip this holiday season, head on over to the Excel Energy Center on Dec 30 (7 PM) to see Team USA take on Team Canada.

And don't forget to head on over to the Kohl Center on Tuesday, January 5 (7 PM) to see the Badger Women host Team USA.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Anchorman: The Legend of Adam Burish

In case anyone is wondering how Adam Burish is going to fill in his time while he's recovering from his ACL injury, here's something to chew on (props to uw14 on the USCHO forums for finding it):

http://www.uwbadgers.com/sports/m-hockey/spec-rel/121709aab.html

Big Ten Network to Debut Pre- and Post-Game Hockey Shows in January
Former Badger, current Blackhawk Adam Burish to rotate as analyst


Dec. 17, 2009

CHICAGO – The Big Ten Network is enhancing its live coverage of men’s ice hockey this season with the addition of pregame, intermission and post-game shows in conjunction with its Friday and Saturday telecasts in January, February and March.

Overall, the network is quadrupling its live men’s ice hockey coverage with the studio shows, nine telecasts and more than 20 live streamed games in 2009-10.

In addition, the network has added a pair of former WCHA stars to its lineup, including former University of Wisconsin captain and current Chicago Blackhawks winger Adam Burish and former Golden Gopher and retired NHL veteran Darby Hendrickson.

Burish and Hendrickson will rotate as studio analysts for the network’s pre- and post-game shows when they debut in January. Each will work alongside studio host Rick Pizzo, who played goaltender at the NCAA Division III level.

Burish, a native of Madison, Wis., captained the Badgers’ 2006 national championship team and assisted on both goals in the Badgers’ 2-1 victory in the national championship game against Boston College. A four-year NHL veteran, Burish is currently sidelined with a torn ACL in his knee and isn’t expected to rejoin the Blackhawks until April.

...


Now, we should probably all shout with joy. Not just for Burish (who, by the way, is PERFECTLY suited for this kind of gig), but because we're actually seeing a sign that the BTN might actually give a rip about hockey. This is the same network that in its first year of operation mysteriously cancelled its coverage of one game between the Badgers and the Gophers, then pre-empted an absurd amount of the other game in the series because of a press conference for when Indiana's basketball coach got fired. The BTN's coverage of college hockey has been lackluster at best. Despite the great quality of the Big Ten hockey programs themselves (ok... everyone but OSU), there hasn't exactly been a lot of coverage, much less quality coverage being thrown hockey's way.

Not that we shouldn't be taking this with an appropriate grain of salt (it is the BTN after all...), but you'd have to think that even just PROMOTING the games for a change would be a huge step forward. Seriously, when's the last time you saw a hockey promo on the BTN? Now, they're suddenly quadrupling the amount of games covered AND throwing together what looks to be an interesting pre and post game show? I love it. Even if it still ends up being not as good as the coverage the stupid goofs get from FSN-Mn, this is still a major improvement, and we have to appreciate that.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Recruiting: Stats Update

Updated the statistics for committed and uncommitted prospects for the Badger hockey program. You can check it out here. In addition, Wisconsin has been linked to Benilde-St. Margaret's (Minnesota) Forward Christian Horn and St. Thomas Academy (Minnesota) Defenseman Taylor Fleming.

Some brief snip-its on prospects who have been playing well lately:

Committed Players:

Tyler Lapic (Pictured)-After going scoreless in his first 5 games in the USHL, the New Prague product has recorded 7 points in his past 9 games, with 4 points in his past 4 times on the ice. Saturday night against Sioux Falls, Lapic had two assists and was a plus 4. Lapic most likely will join the Badger program next fall.

Jake McCabe-The most recent recruit to commit to the Badger program, McCabe had a productive weekend with two assists for the NTDP. The Eau Claire native doubled his point total for the season in a win and an overtime loss against Youngstown. McCabe will accelerate his studies to step onto the Wisconsin campus in 2011.

Jordan Schmaltz-The other committed 1993 born defenseman (McCabe being the other) had a nice weekend for the Chicago Mission. Schmaltz had a goal in all three games for the Mission. Schmaltz who will play for the Badgers in the fall of 2012 now has 23 points in 28 games this season for the Mission after a brief stint in the USHL with Sioux City.

Cody Strang-Last years Wisconsin Mr. Hockey award winner had a very productive weekend for Youngstown. After sitting out an entire month, Strang recorded his first three points of the season. His assist Friday night was on the game winner in overtime. Strang will come to Madison in either 2010 or 2011 depending on early departures.

Mark Zengerle-I don't think it even needs to be mentioned but I knew someone would bring him up if I didn't. Zengerle continues to absolutely dominate the BCHL. He's kept his 2.2 point per game average up so far over pretty much the whole season. The New York native now has 77 points in 35 games. He will be a welcomed addition to the Badgers lineup next fall.

Uncommitted Players:

Garrett Allen-The un-committed 1992 born forward from southern Wisconsin is having a very nice rookie season in the USHL. A surprise pick to make the Fargo roster, he has not disappointed. He chipped in another two points over the weekend to run his season line to 9-7-16 in 23 games for the Force. Allen has been linked to having strong interest in both Colorado College and Denver. Expect Wisconsin to make a push for his duties as they could use a few forwards from the 1992 born class.

Tim Davison-Davison is a very raw, young defenseman from Green Bay. He's a 94 born sophomore defenseman for Notre Dame Academy and definitely has D-1 potential. He had 6 points this weekend in two wins over teams ranked in the Wisconsin Prep Hockey Top 10. At 5 foot 11, and 160 pounds, he has time to grow into his frame and develop his game. Keep an eye out for him.

Matthew Fosdick-I've been wanting to bring this kid up for a while now. I saw him play for Team Wisconsin minor this fall and absolutely fell in love with him. Like Davison, Fosdick is a 1994 born sophomore defenseman. The major advantage he has over Davison is that as a sophomore he is already 6'1, 190 pounds, and has some very good skill. Through 5 games this winter, Fosdick leads his Brookfield team in points.

Tyler Lundey-The forward from Middleton had a slow start to the season but has come on strong. He's recorded 4 points in his past 3 games for Wichita Falls in the NAHL. Wisconsin doesn't usually dip into the NAHL for recruits but Lundey could be the exception. I expect him to move to the USHL next season and could be a target for the Badgers for 2011 where they could use a few forward recruits. Lundey, who will have been out of high school two years at that point could be a nice in-state recruit.

Max McCormick-McCormick, a senior and the second player from Green Bay Notre Dame to be featured in this post is having a break out season. It started in the fall when he led Team Wisconsin Majors in scoring in the Elite League and finished 10 overall in the league in scoring. He has continued his scoring into the winter with 19 points in his first 6 games.

chuckschwartz@live.com

Sunday, December 13, 2009

MHKY G18: Badgers 4 - Sioux 3

“After the first period, we as a coaching staff addressed some issues that we felt were imperative and gave them some of our passion. They went out and played much better. In the third period, the leadership had ownership of the team at that point.” - Mike Eaves

“He's not going to crack under pressure, that's for sure. These last two nights have been some pretty high-pressure games and he's come up big and that's huge to show your teammates that.” - Ben Street, talking about Scott Gudmandson

“It's great for his confidence, great for our team's confidence in him. We always knew he had it in him, but it's good that he had to show that this early in the season.” - Blake Geoffrion, talking about Scott Gudmandson
Box: uwbadgers, collegehockeystats
Recaps:
- uwbadgers: UW edges UND, 4-3
- fightingsioux: Dominant first period not enough as Sioux fall to Badgers
- Baggot (WSJ): Gudmandson responds, helps Badgers dump Fightin Sioux
- Miller (USCHO): Gudmandson stops 31 as Wisconsin edges North Dakota
- Schlossman (GF Herald): Sioux men fall to Badgers
Blogs: Capobianco (uwbadgers), Schlossman (GF Herald blog)


Schlossman tells us that Sioux senior Darcy Zajac will miss the next 4-6 weeks due to an undisclosed injury.

I had to listen to the 1st period on the radio, but dang, the 1st period sounded brutal for the Badgers -- 3 SOG the whole period? 17 Sioux SOG? -- but hey, I'm willing to overlook that because Gudmandson was outstanding during the 5-on-3 PK and made a definite statement that the team can rely on him in net. Not that I think the team didn't feel that way before, Goody has played well all year, but I think his play during that 5-on-3 put a bit of an exclamation point on things, and that makes me happy.

Besides, it was also nice to see how the Badgers responded in the 2nd and 3rd after a less-than-stellar 1st period. Good stuff.

And it was nice to see the Badgers score 3 PP goals. It's one thing for the Badgers to hang a gazillion PP goals on Michigan Tech (whose PK is brutal), but it's something else entirely for the Badgers to go 3-for-7 on the PP v. North Dakota. Eidsness didn't play all that well last night, but nonetheless it was good to see the Badgers' PP clicking.

Oh, and being who I am, I can't neglect to post this excerpt from Baggot's game story:

They don't appear on the stat sheet, but the fourth line of senior left winger Andy Bohmbach, sophomore center Matt Thurber and junior right winger Patrick Johnson were major contributors. Their energy and effort in all three zones kept the Badgers in a rhythm all night.

"They gave us great minutes," UW coach Mike Eaves said after his club improved to 6-1-1 at The Ralph since 2005-06.

I suppose I may as well add that the officiating this weekend was terrible. You might think that it goes without saying, we've come to expect less-than-stellar officiating, but it seemed to me that Todd Anderson and Peter Friesema were especially inconsistent this weekend. I have pretty low standards -- officiating is never perfect, and there will be poor calls that your team just has to play past -- but wow . . .

Saturday, December 12, 2009

MHKY G17: Badgers 3 - Sioux 3

"We were definitely fortunate and a little disappointed. At the same time, we're excited because we play again (tonight) and can redeem ourselves a little bit." - Michael Davies
Box: uwbadgers, collegehockeystats
Recaps: uwbadgers, fightingsioux, Baggot (WSJ), Miller (USCHO), Schlossman (GF Herald), Schlossman (GF Herald blog)
Game blogs: Capobianco (uwbadgers), Schlossman (GF Herald blog)

Well, I guess we can't reset the OT futility clock yet, but this is one situation I think in which I'll settle for the tie. UND's PP just looked too good, and so we might consider ourselves fortunate not to have lost this one during the overtime PK. (Although, dang, it would've been nice to not let them tie it up in the first place, I'll bet Gandalf is all fired-up.) I was a little bit in love with Scott Gudmandson last night (hey, it was FRIDAY, what do you expect?) -- he came up big a number of times in the 3rd/OT.

Your Badger goals were scored by Craig Smith (Geoffrion, Ramage), Blake Geoffrion (C Smith, Goloubef), and Andy Bohmbach (McDonagh, Thurber.) Brad Eidsness was pulled after the 3rd Badger goal, and the Sioux played much better in front of Aaron Dell.

As usual, Mike Eaves mixed up the Badger lines a bit during the 3rd period. I saw Bohmbach on a line with Aaron Bendickson and Ben Grotting -- not sure what the other lines were at that point. I gotta take another look.

Friday, December 11, 2009

CCRHC Jerseys

Not sure when this was decided, but evidently UW is wearing different alternate jerseys from what was worn during the College Hockey Showcase over Thanksgiving weekend. You can see the hideous College Hockey Showcase jerseys in the photo gallery on Michigan's website here. You can't find pictures of them anywhere on uwbadgers.com... probably because the hockey team doesn't play football or basketball. You know how Barry works. There are days when I doubt that he'd even seen a hockey game until 2006.

Back on track: if you get the UW Hockey Insider's e-mail from Paul Capobianco (which I highly recommend), you were informed that you can now buy the Culver's Camp Randall Hockey Classic jerseys at Bucky's Locker Room, or online. You can see them here.

Two alternate jerseys in a year? Someone wants to get more money from jersey sales...

Overall, I think the CCRHC jerseys are EASILY the best third jerseys we've had since the ones we used from about 2004-2006. Classic sort of look, with better looking shoulder patches instead of that childish looking "hockey logo" that the UW AD seems to prefer. The front of the jersey probably looks a little too much like our current road jerseys, with that fancy block font for the "BADGERS" instead of the usual "WISCONSIN" font, and the elbow stripes. But, it's not bad. And that's saying a lot, given our recent history with third jerseys.

It's Friday, And I Hate The Sue

Manifest Destiny!

It's Friday, I'm in Love

Saturday, wait
And Sunday always comes too late
But Friday, never hesitate...





BADGER MEN @ North Dakota: FRI 7:30 PM / SAT 7 PM
“The thing that can fall apart is our work ethic. Last week, we went into the week and we worked out hard and battled in practice because we were going to come in demanding two wins from ourselves, and given how many goals we scored, we need to be careful and make sure to do the same thing we did last week this week.” - John Mitchell

“We just want to prove that we’re [better] than what we are ranked. We think we’re a lot better — we want to prove that to everybody.” - Brendan Smith [Henson]
UW: 10-5-1 overall, 7-4-1 WCHA (last weekend 8-2 and 6-0 sweep of MTU)
UND: 9-5-2 overall, 6-5-1 WCHA (last weekend 4-2 win and 2-3 OT loss @ UMD)

Gameday Links
TV: Fox College Sports Central (both nights), NHL Network (Friday only)
Radio: WIBA 1310
Audio webstream: insideBADGERSPORTS ($9.95/mo), fightingsioux (free)
Video webstream: fightingsioux ($5.95/24-hour pass or $9.95/mo)
Live stats: fightingsioux
Live blog: Capobianco*, Worgull (BN)*

* I don't have the direct blog links, but they should be linked on the front page of their respective sites at game time.

Weekly Shooutout Winner
This week, BLAKE GEOFFRION won the shootout over Cody Goloubef. Geoffrion is the 1st repeat winner this year.

Here are the previous winners and how they did that weekend:
Wk 8: Brendan Smith (2-5-7, 8 SOG, +3)
Wk 7: Jordy Murray (0-1-1, E, 1 SOG, injured midway through 1st period on Sat)
Wk 6: Derek Stepan (0-1-1, E)
Wk 5: Jake Gardiner (0-0-0, +4, 3 SOG)
Wk 4: Blake Geoffrion (2-1-3, 10 SOG, +1)
Wk 3: Justin Schultz (0-0-0, E, 1 SOG, looked solid on D to me)
Wk 2: Mike Davies (0-2-0, 6 SOG, and sounds like he played really well)
Wk 1: Podge Turnbull (0-0-0, 5 SOG, and despite being held off the scoresheet I thought he looked really good)

Badger Lines
Mitchell - Geoffrion - C Smith
Lee - Street - Grotting
Bendickson - Stepan - Davies
Bohmbach - Thurber - P Johnson

McDonagh - Gardiner
B. Smith - Ramage
Goloubef - Schultz

Gudmandson
Thompson

The top 3 lines remain the same, as Jordy Murray is still out (shoulder). Sean Dolan is also out this weekend (foot), and so we'll get to see Matt Thurber for just the 2nd time this season. Looking forward to seeing Thurber on the ice. (Baggot had initially indicated on Wednesday that we'd see Podge Turnbull in the lineup and that Matt Thurber would be along as the extra skater, but that seems to have changed. Eric Springer is also along on the trip as an extra skater.)

The defensive pairings remain the same. As you might know, Brett Bennett is out (shoulder), so we'll see Scott Gudmandson both nights.

Sioux lines
Trupp- Malone - Toews
Gregoire - VandeVelde - Hextall
Lamoureux - Zajac - Kristo
Cichy - Knight - Bruneteau

LaPoint - Marto
Gleason - Fienhage
MacWilliam - Blood

Eidness

Baggot has VandeVelde listed in the lineup but also says that he's questionable. Genoway is out for the weekend (concussion).

Series Previews
uwbadgers: preview, game notes
fighting sioux: preview, game notes
Baggot (WSJ): UW Men's Hockey at North Dakota, Badgers have been thieves in Fighting Sioux palace
Baggot (WSJ blog): Health issues for UW, Fighting Sioux
Henson (Badger Herald): No. 3 UND up next for Wisconsin
Gabriel (Daily Cardinal): Road series with Sioux poses unique challenge
BN: No. 11 UW vs. No. 3 N. Dakota

Other Articles/Links
uwbadgers: Brendan Smith earns WCHA award
Baggot (WSJ blog): Five good minutes with Blake Geoffrion
Baggot (WSJ blog): Stat of the week
uwbadgers: Mike Eaves' weekly presser
fightingsioux: Hakstol's weekly presser

The Usual Suspects
CHN: Tale of the Tape
USCHO: This Week in the WCHA (Spisak), What I Think (Milewski), Tuesday Morning Quarterback (Milewski/Connelly, USCHO Extra)
INCH: First Shift (national notebook)
Goon's World: Weekend Match-ups (Sioux7)

HatchetJoe says . . .
"me'skwak msuguk gipkInage' mIshkode'kwe' neshnabe'k ......nishwik "........Potawatomi for "Red Badger beat bunch of Prairie Indians.....twice".


BADGER WOMEN @ Mankato: FRI 7 PM / SAT 3 PM

UW: 10-5-3 overall, 7-4-1 WCHA (last weekend 4-1 win and 2-2 tie (OT loss) v. UMD)
MSU: 4-6-4 overall, 2-6-4 WCHA (last weekend 4-4 tie (OT win) and 1-0 loss v. SCSU)

Gameday Links
TV: none
Radio: none
Audio webstream: msumavericks
Video webstream: none
Live stats: msumavericks
Live blog: Boscacci*

* I don't have the direct blog link, but it should be linked on the front page at game time.

Series Previews
uwbadgers: preview, game notes
msu mavericks: preview, game notes
Hughes (Badger Herald): Hockey looking for consistency with MSU next

Other Articles/Links
uwbadgers: Decker named WCHA Rookie of the Week

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bennett injured in practice

Baggot reports that Brett Bennett injured his shoulder during practice after a big collision during a drill.

At this time the severity is unknown, we'll update when more in known. It looks like Scott Gudmandson could be the go to guy for awhile, w/ Mitch Thompson suiting up as the back up.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

MHKY G 16: Badgers 6 - Huskies 0

Hmm . . . the last time Gudmandson faced Tech, the Badgers shut 'em out 6-0, just like last night . . .

Box: uwbadgers, collegehockeystats
Recaps:
- uwbadgers: UW blanks Huskies, 6-0
- mtu: Badgers early lead too much for Huskies
- Milweski (USCHO): Red-hot Smith scores twice, Wisconsin thumps Michigan Tech again
- Baggot (WSJ): Badgers blank Tech in 2nd straight rout
- Wodon (CHN): Game-gab
Postgame: quotes (uwbadgers), press conference video (uwbadgers)
Video Highlights: uwbadgers

Subway Sub of the Game (per Cerniglia/Posick):
I'm having a bit of trouble accessing CBS College Sports tonight -- I'll try to add this in Monday.

3 Stars of the Game (per Cerniglia/Posick):
I'm having a bit of trouble accessing CBS College Sports tonight -- I'll try to add this in Monday.

It seems that Aaron Bendickson got banged up during the game, but to be honest, I don't know much about it. Anyone got any details?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

MHKY G15: Badgers 8 - Huskies 2


Yeah, Gandalf's headline was better, and so I was going to just link things up for you at the end of his post, but I *really* wanted to use this picture that uwbadgers.com had on their men's hockey front page, as I think it really captures the tenor of much of the game last night . . .

Box: uwbadgers, collegehockeystats
Recaps:
- uwbadgers: Badgers too much for Michigan Tech
- Milewski (USCHO): Geoffrion's hat trick powers Badgers' rout of Michigan Tech
- Baggot (WSJ): Badgers rout huskies behind Geoffrion's first career hat trick
- Bleach (BN): Progressive production
- Worgull (BN): Hat's off! (premium content)
- Wodon (CHN): Friday game-gab
Blog: Bleach (BN)
Postgame quotes: uwbadgers

(Nice to see a game story from Todd, isn't it?)

Subway Sub of the Game (per Posick/Cerniglia): Sean Dolan (consistent play, 1 assist off a face-off)

3 Stars (per Posick/Cerniglia):

1. Blake Geoffrion (hat trick)
2. Brendan Smith (strong PP play, 4 assists)
3. entire 4th line - Bohmbach-Dolan-P Johnson (consistent play, 2G, 3A)

Since I picked a picture to capture the tenor of last night's game, I thought I might also pick some quotes that do the same. Blake Geoffrion worked hard, put himself in the right place at the right time, and showed his talent. And the Badgers, despite some sloppy lackadaisical play in the 1st period, clearly dominated the game - there were times where it almost seemed silly to keep playing. (To be fair to the Huskies, they've been bitten badly by the injury bug - I gotta hope that they'd have showed better if they were healthier.)

“Blake’s goals were right where he is supposed to be and he did some things and things happened for him. It kind of set the table for us.” - Mike Eaves

“Yes we had some puck luck in terms of Blake’s first goal going off his skate. Derek Lee’s goal kind of hit two skates and a stick before it went to him. But we scored some goals where we went to the hard areas and manufactured goals.” - Mike Eaves

“Our fourth line could not play tonight. They went out two times and got scored on two times.” - Tech Head Coach Jamie Russell

“[Josh Robinson] was awful. He did not have a good night.” - Tech Head Coach Jamie Russell

"Well, we walked into our locker room up 4-1 and the coaching staff has to be the level there. It didn't seem like we should have been up 4-1. I think sloppy is a good word: we didn't take care of the puck as well as we would have liked to. I thought we tightened things up in the second period and we did a much better job and that carried us through." - Mike Eaves
My favorite quote, though, is this (although I don't think Blake really needed any help from above):
"Paps came down and tapped my skates tonight." - Blake Geoffrion

You know, I haven't been following Tech hockey much this year, but I can't figure out what happened to Josh Robinson (I thought he was Tech's better goalie last year) or why Tech has continued to start him lately. When he was yanked after the 4th goal last night, I think it was the 3rd time in the last 4 games that he's been pulled. Mr 60 pointed out that both Tech goalies let in 4 goals apiece, but I subsequently pointed out that Genoe took 2 periods to do it, whereas Robinson did it in 1, and I thought overall Genoe looked much better than Robinson.

I gotta tell ya, though, I like Wisconsinite Brett Olson, a sophomore forward for the Huskies. He's definitely a bright spot for the Huskies.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Blake Geoffrion 3 Michigan Tech 2

5 other Badgers scored as well, including Derek Lee who notched his first goal as a Badger!

Brendan Smith had 4 assists.

While Brett Bennett didn't play bad, the best goaltending occurred during the 2nd intermission by the goalies of the SW Eagles youth hockey program, Josh Robinson of Tech was taking notes of the youngsters fine play.

Bring the brooms tomorrow!

It's Friday, I'm in Love


Monday you can fall apart
Tuesday, Wednesday break my heart

Oh, Thursday doesn't even start

It's Friday I'm in love






BADGER MEN v. Michigan Tech: FRI / SAT 7 PM (Kohl Center)
“You can ask all 28 guys in our locker room. We’re all excited to get back on the ice. We feel like we came up a little bit short against Michigan, and we’re chomping at the bit to get back into game action.” - Derek Stepan [Gabriel]
UW: 8-5-1 overall, 5-4-1 WCHA (last weekend won 7-3 @ MSU, lost 2-3 @ Michigan)
MTU: 3-9-0 overall, 2-8-0 WCHA (last weekend lost 2-5, 2-3 @ Mankato)

Tech's PP is even worse than ours (MTU 11.7%, UW 15.8%), and their PK is downright terrible (64.9%).

Featured on this week's tickets are a couple of players who have been "on the bubble" this year.

Junior forward Podge Turbull saw action in 6 of the first 8 games of the season, but we haven't seen him since. Which I think is a bit of a shame. I'll admit I wasn't a huge fan last year - I thought he could do better than he did. But in the games he's played this season, I think he's shown that he can. Despite registering just 1 point (1G @ Mankato), I though he was solid and provided a lot of energy on the ice whenever he played. And so it appears I'm on the Podge Turbull bandwagon this season, and I sure would like to see him get another shot in the lineup. Unfortunately, it won't be tonight.

Sophomore forward Sean Dolan played in 4 of the first 5 games of the season. He was slated to play last Saturday, but the Badgers opted to go with 11 F and 7 D. And so tonight will be the first time we'll have seen him play in a while, as he's slated to center the 4th line. Dolan has 2 pts this season (1G, 1A), both coming in the Saturday game v. UNH.

Prior to this season, Dolan had been a regular in the Badgers' lineup, playing in 35 game (4-7-11) as a sophomore and 40 games (4-4-8) as a freshman.

Gameday Links
TV:
- Live - Friday TVW, Charter Extra Channel 87, Time Warner; Saturday FSN North
- Tape delay - both nights on The Wisconsin Channel (10 PM game day and 6 PM next day)
Radio: Friday WIBA 1310; Saturday WTSO 1070
Audio webstream: insideBADGERSPORTS ($9.95/mo), WSUM (free), www.pasty.net (free)
Video webstream:
- Live - Saturday only - insideBADGERSPORTS ($9.95/mo)
- Tape delay - both nights - The Wisconsin Channel's live stream (10 PM game day and 6 PM next day)
Live stats: CBS gametracker - Friday, Saturday
Live blog: Worgull (BN)*

* I don't have the direct blog link, but it should be linked on BN's front page at game time.

Weekly Shooutout Winner
This week, BRENDAN SMITH won the shootout over Podge Turbull.

Here are the previous winners and how they did that weekend:
Wk 7: Jordy Murray (0-1-1, E, 1 SOG, injured midway through 1st period on Sat)
Wk 6: Derek Stepan (0-1-1, E)
Wk 5: Jake Gardiner (0-0-0, +4, 3 SOG)
Wk 4: Blake Geoffrion (2-1-3, 10 SOG, +1)
Wk 3: Justin Schultz (0-0-0, E, 1 SOG, looked solid on D to me)
Wk 2: Mike Davies (0-2-0, 6 SOG, and sounds like he played really well)
Wk 1: Podge Turnbull (0-0-0, 5 SOG, and despite being held off the scoresheet I thought he looked really good)

Badger Lines
Mitchell - Geoffrion - C Smith
Lee - Street - Grotting
Bendickson - Stepan - Davies
Bohmbach - Dolan - P Johnson

McDonagh - Gardiner
Smith - Ramage
Goloubef - Schultz

Bennett
Gudmandson

John Mitchell is back in the linuep, and he'll start tonight on the top line. Aaron Bendickson, who started Saturday on the top line, will be taking Jordy Murray's spot on the Stepan-Davies line, as Murray is out with a shoulder injury. Sean Dolan has worked his way back into the lineup to center the 4th line.

The defensive pairings remain the same. Brett Bennett gets the nod in goal on Friday. As usual, I expect Gudmandson on Saturday night but we'll have to wait until Saturday afternoon to hear.

Husky/Huskey lines
Gwilliam -Olson - MacLeod
Schooley- Pietlila - Dobson
Soley - Vlaisavljevich - Bunger
Brown - Witt - Reddick

Kivisto - Nielsen
Cousens- Seigo
Dorlott - Van Wagner

Robinson
Genoe


Or at least that's how Baggot had the lines listed. I'm a bit confused, though, because Dobson, Vlaisavljevich, and Bunger are all defensemen. *shrug*

(I can't remember who originally posted the above photo or which school it was from (not UW).)

Fellow Tech alum Imaginary Dave tells me nice things about Wisconsite Brett Olson, but he has neglected to tell me that Olson is currently leading the Huskies in scoring (6-8-14). D'OH!

We'll also get to see Wisconsite Seth Soley play tonight, but Imaginary Dave doesn't say much about him.

Captain Malcolm Gwilliam is in the lineup tonight after not skating Monday or Tuesday in practice. Gwilliam was granted a rare sixth year of eligibility after suffering a stroke last year caused by a blood clot originating in a small hole in his heart. You can read about it here and here. (Thanks to crazypotoatoes for the links.)

Bennett Royer and Jordan Baker are out due to injury, as is Milos Gordic, who suffered a season-ending injury.

Eric Kattelus is out indefinitely after being suspended by the team at the beginning of the season for violating team rules. I'm sure Imaginary Dave told me something about this, but I sure can't remember.

Series Previews
uwbadgers: preview, game notes
mtu: preview, game notes
Baggot (WSJ): UW Men's Hockey vs. Michigan Tech
Baggot (WSJ blog): Murray's injury prompts Eaves to make changes
Warvie (Mining Gazette): Injury bug is back for Huskies
Henson (Badger Herald): Hockey to take on Tech at Kohl Center
Gabriel (Daily Cardinal): Badgers return home with a chance to pick up points

Other Articles/Links
uwbadgers: Stepan and Smith earn WCHA laurels
uwbadgers: Stepan, Gardiner, Ramage on preliminary 2o10 US Junior Team roster
Baggot (WSJ): Stepan steps us his assertiveness
Baggot (WSJ blog): Five good minutes with Scott Gudmandson
Baggot (WSJ blog): Stat of the week
uwbadgers: Mike Eaves' weekly presser
Holt (Badger Herald): Wisconsin working on manufacturing goals
Savidge (Badger Herald): Wisconsin Hockey: Celebrating 40 years in the WCHA
Baggot (WSJ): The Weekend that Was in the WCHA

A couple of interesting quotes from the Holt article:

“As a matter of fact, we’ve played pretty well. The challenge has been for us to finish, to score goals,” Eaves said. “If we were to take that whole spectrum of boom or bust, I don’t think that’s an honest perspective of how we’ve played.”

“I look at the difference between some of the games where we scored seven goals, and some of the games where we only scored two and lost by a goal — I think the biggest difference was we were shooting a lot more from the outside in those [losses],” he said. “We’ll still be generating a lot of shots, but we’re making it a little bit easier on the goalies.


The Usual Suspects
CHN: Tale of the Tape
USCHO: This Week in the WCHA (Spisak), What I Think (Milewski), Tuesday Morning Quarterback (Milewski/Connelly, USCHO Extra)
INCH: Friday Four-cast (national notebook), First Shift (national notebook), Minnesota not fazed by Mariucci (WCHA notebook)
Goon's World: Weekend Match-ups (Sioux7)

HatchetJoe says . . .
"Numoshuk me'shak konkiwin e' shegtukwok nwepugna shishi".......Potawatomi for "Dog that come from Land of Large Lake with much snow on frozen ground gonna git ass kicked".


BADGER WOMEN v. Duluth Foreign Legion: FRI / SUN 2 PM (Kohl Center)

UW: 9-5-2 overall, 6-4-0 WCHA (last weekend 2-2, 4-1 @ Providence)
DFL: 12-6-0 overall, 8-4-0 WCHA (last weekend 3-0, 5-1 @ BC)

Gameday Links
TV: none
Radio: none
Audio webstream: WSUM (free) - no confirmation
Video webstream: bigtennetwork ($2.99/game)
Live stats: CBSSports gametracker - Friday, Sunday
Live blog: none (away games only)

Series Previews
uwbadgers: preview, game notes
umdbulldogs: preview
Erickson (Badger Herald): UMD welcome in Kohl Center


Other Articles/Links
uwbadgers: DeKeyser's weekly presser
Jakiel (uwbadgers blog): Rhode Island
Baggot (WSJ): Steady as she goes in air or on ice
Hager (Badger Herald): Ammerman playing steady during rocky season
umdbulldogs: Wilson nets her second WCHA Rookie of the Week honor

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Last Weekend

Last weekend may have been the final College Hockey Showcase. We've alluded to it here, but I don't know that the college hockey saavy readers of this blog really view this as much of a secret. Thanksgiving weekend is an awkward draw (the Kohl Center atmosphere is never the same), and it's a poorly kept secret that the Big Ten would like to see some more developments in seeing the B10 schools play each other more. That means Ohio State gets to join the party. That means looking at new formats.

Fear not, oh loyal readers. This isn't the precursor for the dreaded BTHC. Among other issues, it can't happen with only five schools. It just means that the Big Ten schools are probably going to be re-evaluating how they use their non-conference games to play each other. It'll be interesting to see how this all plays out on two fronts:

1) Will this cause more than 4,000 people to actually give a rip about OSU hockey?
2) What the heck do the hockey teams have to do to get some BTN exposure around here?

On that second note, let's take a look at this gem from Mike Eave's press conference before last weekend's games:

QUESTION #3: Could you tell us the future of this, I know you’ve spoken about this a little bit, but the future of the College Hockey Showcase and where it stands right now, Mike?

EAVES: Well, I think some changes are in the future. I think that, we’ve talked about this before, the evolution of the Big Ten Network has put things in a different perspective, and we’re looking out to different scenarios that might become part of that. The next revenue sport, once basketball and football are up and running, is hockey. And they need some airtime that could be filled by hockey, and so I think we’re taking a look at different scenarios. But I think there’s a metamorphosis that’s going on right now as to what it is or what it will become, it’s tough to say.

QUESTION #4: And yet neither one of the games this weekend are on the Big Ten Network.

EAVES: Well, that is out of my control.


Pretty amusing to read. I can only imagine how awkward it was for him to navigate around the ugly truth: the BTN wants more hockey games... they just don't want to actually have them on TV. Logical, right? There are a litany of games featuring Big Ten schools that can go on airwaves, yet we rarely see it. Fridays, like Eaves said, are a dead zone for them, so why not do it? Are we supposed to think that this is better than in 2007-08, when a game against Minnesota was pre-empted by a basketball press conference?

The ideal solution for the Big Ten schools is for the WCHA and CCHA to reduce the number of conference games to 20 or 22 (I know blockski has championed this for quite some time). That would free up more dates for non-conference dates with Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State. Not sure what the "smaller" schools would think of that, but I would imagine that the Big Televen schools have enough clout to make it happen if they wanted.

On another note:

When I was a Crease Creature ('03-'04 through '07-'08), I occassionally thought of new songs and cheers to try. 99% of them never caught on (you wouldn't believe me if I told you which one of my ideas did catch on). One idea I always had that I never tried was to sing this song when Tech came to town (to the tune of "If You're Happy And You Know It"):

If you want a sausage fest, go to Tech *clap*clap*
If you want a sausage fest, go to Tech *clap*clap*
Where the women aren't worth mention
Like a comic book convention
If you want a sausage fest, go to Tech *clap*clap*

Another lame cheer of mine that would have never caught on? Probably. But it amused me when I thought of it and now I'm kind of ticked that I never gave it a test run.

Three Badgers On Preliminary USA World Junior Roster

There were two familiar names and one surprise when looking at the recently released USA Hockey World Junior preliminary roster from a Badger prospective. The two names that you expect to show up on the 29 man roster, Derek Stepan and Jake Gardiner. The one you didn't expect to see, freshman defenseman John Ramage.

Ramage, a 6'0, 195 pounder out of St. Louis, MO has been a pleasant surprise for the Badger coaching staff this season. A late commitment, Ramage was expected to compete with Craig Johnson, Ryan Little, and Eric Springer for the last spot open in a loaded Badger defensive corps. So far all Ramage has done is suit up for all fourteen Badger games and chip in 5 points along with playing solid in his own end. I don't expect Ramage to make the final roster when they narrow the D-corps down from 11 to 7, but he's made great strides and has definitely exceeded my expectations so far this season.

Derek Stepan and Jake Gardiner appear to be virtual locks for the USA roster. Stepan is averaging a point per game so far this season and is starting to come into his own. He's a dynamic forward and there is no doubt he'll be in Saskatchewan when the tournament kicks off.

Gardiner has not put up the numbers this season that most expected, but he's taken a more proactive role in his own end. Being paired with Ryan McDonagh means that you're going to spend the majority of your time on the ice playing against top lines from opposing teams. Gardiner has taken to the challenge and should see some ice time when the US squad crosses the Canadian border.

McCabe Commits To Wisconsin

Wisconsin landed a big time prospect Tuesday night. Eau Claire native Jake McCabe has made a verbal commitment to attend the University of Wisconsin for the 2011-20012 season according to Andy Baggot.

McCabe, a sound defenseman who currently plays with the USA National Team Development Program U17 squad would have to accelerate his schooling to enroll in 2011 if Baggot's info is correct. McCabe is currently a sophomore in high school and normally would have to play a year in the USHL after aging out of the NTDP.

McCabe considered a number of schools not only in the Midwest but on the east coast as well. He was known to have made unofficial visits to Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Notre Dame. He may have made others as well.

McCabe is the third 1993 born prospect with a verbal commitment to Wisconsin. The others are Verona native and Chicago Mission defenseman Jordan Schmaltz, and Taft Prep forward Corbin McGuire. All three are elite prospects who have been recognized by USA Hockey as being top players for their class.

McCabe, a 6'0, 170 pound defensman would be the second defenseman to commit for the 2011 season. Minnetonka senior Troy Hesketh is also slated for that season but could come to Wisconsin if there are an excessive amount of departures on the defensive side of the puck. Most likely, Hesketh will be a 2011.

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Saw this the other day on DPlayas blog but forgot about it. Wisconsin commit Gavin Hartzog who is still slated to come to Wisconsin next year has been sent to the NAHL. Hartzog burst onto the scene late in his senior season with a huge performance at the Chicago Showcase. I think it's safe to say at this point the Hartzog commitment has been a mistake.

Edit, re: Hartzog-After thinking about it, it's a bit early to call him a mistake. He's a big bodied kid who has some offensive skills. Once he fills into his body and puts things together he could be a similar story to John Mitchell.

chuckschwartz@live.com