Monday, May 31, 2010

Recruiting Update Part 5: AJ Michaelson

Sunday night I started making a post of recruiting notes that I've been getting together lately. As I was working on this, the post got very, very long so I decided to break it into posts for specific players. I've got 5 updates and I've programed the site to post an update every two hours on the hour.
According to many recruitniks out there, the top 1994 born forward left uncommitted is Apple Valley, Minnesota forward AJ Michaelson. The good news for Badger fans? He lists Wisconsin as his #1 school at this stage in the game.

The Sophomore forward put up impressive numbers last season at Apple Valley helping his team to the Minnesota state tournament where they were bounced by eventual state champion Edina in the semi-finals. Michaelson put up 35 points in 24 games for the Eagles including 9 points in 3 playoff games to lead AV to state.

Michaelson, who considers himself a play maker, is considering Wisconsin, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Minnesota-Duluth according to the College Hockey 247 article.

Michaelson has plenty of options to play hockey before he enters college for the 2012 season. He was drafted in the fourth round of the WHL Bantam Draft by the Portland Winter Hawks but the chances he makes that move are slim to none.

The USA NTDP extended him an invitation to play with the national team but he turned them down to play another season with Apple Valley. He was also recently selected in the USHL Futures Draft by Waterloo in the first round, 14th overall. Most people connected to the situation say that they expect Michaelson to play 1 more year at Apple Valley and 1 year with Waterloo before heading to college.

Most likely this is going to come down to Minnesota and Wisconsin for Michaelson's services. He's supposedly visiting Minnesota this summer and it's expected he'll get an offer. He'll probably wait to commit until late in his junior year so this will be a kid to follow.

Click Here to watch a video of Michaelson from his freshman season at Apple Valley. He is number 19 and had a hat trick and an assist in this game.

Recruiting Update Part 4: Zach Stepan

Sunday night I started making a post of recruiting notes that I've been getting together lately. As I was working on this, the post got very, very long so I decided to break it into posts for specific players. I've got 5 updates and I've programed the site to post an update every two hours on the hour.
A familiar name has been popping up in the recruiting news lately. Stepan. No not Derek. I'm talking about his cousin Zach, a 1994 born forward out of the Shattuck St. Marys program.

Badger fans should familiarize themselves with Zach as from the sounds of it, it's only a matter of time before he commits to Wisconsin.

In mid-April, College Hockey 247 interviewed Zach after the NTDP tryouts. He did nothing to dispel the rumors that he favors the Badgers, mentioning that he's always been a big Badgers fan, and that he loves the Kohl Center.

Stepan is also considering North Dakota, Minnesota, Denver, and Boston College.

The 6 footer out of Balsam Lake, WI did not get an invitation to the NTDP initially, but it could happen later. Chris From Western College Hockey had this to say about Stepan last weekend:

" If I were the NTDP, I would definitely take a second look at extending an invite to Zach Stepan. He's very similar to his cousin Derek. Maybe not the most physically-gifted kid, but a very smart hockey player that knows when to speed the game up and when to slow the game down. He actually looked like he could handle playing junior hockey next season."

Stepan was also recently drafted in the USHL Futures Draft by the Waterloo Black Hawks. The Black Hawks thought highly enough of Stepan to select him 10th overall. He will go to camp with Waterloo this summer and it would not shock me to see him play there this season although the safest guess is that he will be playing next season with the Shattuck Prep team.

Recruiting Update Part 3: Morgan Zulinick

Sunday night I started making a post of recruiting notes that I've been getting together lately. As I was working on this, the post got very, very long so I decided to break it into posts for specific players. I've got 5 updates and I've programed the site to post an update every two hours on the hour.
Guy Flaming from the "Coming Down The Pipe Blog", was also kind enough to inform us that the most recent Badger recruit Morgan Zulinick, a projected 2012 recruit also was a no show this weekend at the Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL) camp. Zulinick was a third round draft pick if the Oil Kings.

Zulunick, a British Columbia native is considered a major possible flight risk to the WHL. After he committed last week, I had the chance to interview him and he didn't exactly ease the blood pressure of Badger fans when asked about the Oil Kings:

"As for right now, I am focused on the NCAA route. I am also young and need some more time to develop. My future with the Oil Kings is not over; it is just delayed right now. I am more focused on school and would like an education."

The recent news that he was a no show at Oil Kings camp this weekend is MAJOR positive news for Badger fans. NCAA kids are allowed to participate in camp so for Zulinick to not even show up sends a strong message that he is destined to play in Madison. Although he still has two full seasons of junior before he ever steps foot in a classroom on the UW Campus.

Zulinick told me last week that this upcoming season he will be playing with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks where many recent/future Badgers have played. I spoke with one of those former Silverbacks yesterday, Mark Zengerle and he had some brief thoughts on Zulinick.

"That kid is a player. He practiced with us a few times last season probably could have been one of our better players this season."

Not bad for a 15 year old kid.

Recruiting Update Part 2: Troy Hesketh

Sunday night I started making a post of recruiting notes that I've been getting together lately. As I was working on this, the post got very, very long so I decided to break it into posts for specific players. I've got 5 updates and I've programed the site to post an update every two hours on the hour.
Another player that I've been getting some questions about is 2011 defense recruit Troy Hesketh out of Minnetonka (MN) high school and what his future holds. There have been skeptics who thought that with the departure of Coach Osiecki, Hesketh may look to the WHL, where the Edmonton Oil Kings own his rights.

Those skeptics also claim that Hesketh may be getting pressure by the Edmonton Oilers (not to be confused with the Oil Kings) who selected him in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft in the third round.

Thanks to a tip from Guy Flaming, from The "Coming Down The Pipe Blog", we've learned that Hesketh was a no show this weekend at Oil Kings camp, putting to rest the rumors of him not holding his commitment to Wisconsin.

Hesketh will play with previously mentioned Corbin McGuire this winter with the Fargo Force of the USHL. Hesketh could have played with the Force last season but chose to go back to school at Minnetonka and try to win a state championship. Minnetonka lost in the state title game to Edina.

Hesketh who is a big (6'3, 186), mobile defenseman is slated to come to Madison along with NTDP defenseman and Eau Claire native Jake McCabe in 2011. The Badgers, who will be losing seniors Ryan McDonagh and Craig Johnson after this season, may still be looking to add a defenseman or two to the 2011 class. If the Badgers lose Jake Gardiner or Justin Schultz early to the pros, look for Eaves to move quickly on either Milwaukee native Jose Delgadillo, Verona native Joey Fiala, or both. Delgadillo is taking a visit to Madison this spring and Fiala has also been in contact with the UW staff.

Recruiting Update Part 1: Corbin McGuire

Sunday night I started making a post of recruiting notes that I've been getting together lately. As I was working on this, the post got very, very long so I decided to break it into posts for specific players. I've got 5 updates and I've programed the site to post an update every two hours on the hour.
I've been getting a lot of questions about 2012 forward recruit Corbin McGuire (pictured) and where he will be playing hockey the next few seasons. He has spent the last two seasons playing prep hockey in New England. This past season he averaged a point per game for Taft Prep and recorded a hat trick in an exhibition game at Fenway Park which was held in conjunction with the NHL's Winter Classic.

I was able to reach Corbin over the holiday weekend and he confirmed to me that he is making the move to the USHL, where the Fargo Force own his rights.

"This was the hardest decision of my life as I will be leaving my best friends and a school that I loved. I have one more week left here and it's going to be hard to say goodbye, but I feel like going to Fargo will be the best for my hockey development."

Fargo drafted McGuire in the second round of the USHL Futures draft, 22nd overall last season. With multiple departures up front for the Force, McGuire is expected to be an immediate contributor offensively.

Like I've mentioned previously on this site, I got to see McGuire at the USA Hockey select 15 festival against the top players in his age group in the country and he did not disappoint. Moving to the USHL for his final two seasons of high school should be a good stepping stone for his development before he steps into the WCHA as an 18 year old freshman.

Friday, May 28, 2010

WCHA Update

There has been a lot going in the WCHA since the season ended and it is time for an update.

The most important thing that has occurred (heavy sarcasm) is that Frank Mazzocco, formerly known as “the Rug,” was let go by FSN and Badger fans (and all other WCHA fans) will no longer have to listen to his ass kissing, extremely homerific play by play of gopher hockey when the Badgers cross the border. The best part of the story is the party that occurred for him at Tom Reid’s to kick off “Frank Mazzocco Photography.” I know regular commenter Hatchet Joe will be contacting Frank to take some pictures for him very soon and giving us some feedback on his new career.

Woog will also not always be part of the game broadcasts, and Anthony LaPanties will be the new play by play voice of the gophers. Congrats to gopher fans on the broadcast upgrade! It is like gopher goaltending, no matter what the name is on the jersey they’ll still suck.


On to the serious news, North Dakota defenseman Chay Genoway will be returning for one more season in Grand Forks after receiving a medical redshirt. This is good news, not for his WCHA opponents, but because he gets to end his NCAA career on his own terms. Last season was cut short, after St Cloud’s dress wearing Aaron Marvin cheap shotted Genoway from behind, which lead to some serious problems for the young man just doing day to day activities and trying to be a student. Should he return at 100%, Genoway would have to be a front runner for the Hobey Baker to start the season.


Wisconsin wasn’t the only team to feel some early departures. Below is the list of underclassmen moving on somewhere next season; thanks to Goon’s blog for the cut and paste.

Denver -- 3
Joe Colborne, So, F, Boston Bruins
Patrick Wiercioch, So, D, Ottawa Senators
Marc Cheverie, Jr, G, Florida Panthers

Alaska-Anchorage -- 2
Lee Baldwin, Fr, D, New York Rangers
Bryce Christianson, Jr, G, Stockton (ECHL)

Wisconsin -- 2
Cody Goloubef, Jr, D, Columbus Blue Jackets
Brendan Smith, Jr, D, Detroit Red Wings

University of North Dakota -- 2
David Toews, So, F, going to the WHL
Corey Fienhage, So, D, going to the WHL

Minnesota-Duluth -- 2
Rob Bordson, Jr, F, Anaheim Ducks
Brady Hjelle, So, G, going back to the USHL

Minnesota -- 1
Jordan Schroeder, So, F, Vancouver Canucks

Minnesota State Mankato -- 1
Kevin Murdock, Fr, G, going to Lincoln Stars USHL
Tyler Pitlick, Fr, F, Medicine Hat of the WHL (WCH is reporting his departure)

North Dakota is pretty loaded, and w/ Genoway returning, Corey Fienhage is looking for more playing time in the WHL. David Toews is headed there as well, which surprises me because he was teammates w/ Stepan and Murray at Shattuck before joining the Fighting ????? and was one of the top scorers on that team, but never really translated that at this level.

Two goalies are headed back to the USHL next season after leaving their respective programs. Brady Hjelle started a good chunk of games last season for Duluth, but didn’t play well in the 2nd half and was displaced by Kenny Reiter. Kevin Murdock started a few games w/ Mankato before being demoted to the #3 goalie. Both had good stats in the USHL before heading to college, and one of them MIGHT be an option for the Badgers heading into 2011/12. W/ the graduation of both Scott Gudmandson and Brett Bennett, and only Joel Rumpel scheduled to arrive as a freshman, the Badgers will be in need of another goalie. Both Hjelle and Murdock have NCAA experience and would space out the goalies a little by graduation. It very well could be that neither of these kids are what the Badgers need, but I’d think Eaves would want to bring in a goalie w/ some NCAA experience to compliment Rumpel in case he plays more like Adam Murray of Denver did this season as a freshman (huge sieve) than Richard Bachman did for CC a few years back.

I'm very hopeful about Rumpel, but would be a fool to not expect Eaves to have a solid backup plan.


Lastly, Duluth freshman-to-be (well not anymore) Christopher Michael Stafne beat up his girlfriend and is in trouble w/ the law. True, innocent until proven guilty, but it doesn’t sound good for this young man. No word yet if Dave Hakstol has contacted him about decommitting and joining the Fighting ?????. That was a joke, I mean he doesn’t have a history of driving drunk or throwing landmowers into the street. There have been several incidents of college players getting in trouble this off season, w/ Boston College and Notre Dame players finding their names on police reports already.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Brendan Smith Makes Red Wings Signing Official

Back in late April we were able to bring you the news that Brendan Smith and Cody Goloubef had informed the coaching staff at Wisconsin that they would be signing NHL contracts.

Goloubef made it official two days later, inking a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets. With the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it took a bit longer for Smith's deal to be finalized. But it was announced today by the Red Wings that Smith has made it official.

From the Red Wings press release, “Brendan improved tremendously in each of his three seasons at Wisconsin,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland. “He was a dominant player at the collegiate level, in particular at his position, and we feel he is ready to take the next step in his career at the professional level. We look forward to having him at training camp in Traverse City in September.”

Smith enjoyed a stellar junior season at Wisconsin, leading the nation in scoring among defensemen with 15 goals and 52 points. He was one of 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the nation’s top collegiate hockey player.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound defenseman was named to the All-WCHA First Team and also took home honors as the WCHA Defensive Player of the Year. Smith became the first Badgers defenseman to record 50 points in a season since 1989-90 and the first to post at least 10 power-play goals in a season since 1979-80.

I would personally like to thank Brendan for three great seasons in the Cardinal and White. This past season was one of the best seasons for a defenseman that I've personally ever witnessed. It was truly a blessing to be able to be able to watch Brendan's offensive brilliance from the blue line.

On behalf of all Wisconsin fans, good luck with the Detroit Red Wings and may you have a long, healthy, prosperous career.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Burish & Blackhawks play for Lord Stanley's Cup

This shouldn't be news to anyone who reads this blog, but the Stanley Cup Finals are set, and another Badger has a chance to etch his name onto Lord Stanley's Cup.

Adam Burish and the Blackhawks will begin the final leg of the quest for the Cup on saturday night in Chicago against the Philadelphia Flyers. I will be cheering hard for the 'Hawks, because I like them and I hate the Flyers.

For future reference, here is the Finals schedule:

Game 1: Saturday, May 29 at Chicago, 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
Game 2: Monday, May 31 at Chicago, 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
Game 3: Wednesday, June 2 at Philadelphia, 8 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Game 4: Friday, June 4 at Philadelphia, 8 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Game 5: *Sunday, June 6 at Chicago, 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
Game 6: *Wednesday, June 9 at Philadelphia, 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
Game 7: *Friday, June 11 at Chicago, 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
* If necessary

Theoretically there is a chance for 3 Badgers to etch their name on the Cup should the 'Hawks win. Jack Skille and Jake Dowell are both on the playoff roster, but as Andy Baggot points out they'd have to play in a Finals game, which is rather unlikely. Adam Burish only played in 13 regular season games (a player needs to play in at least 41 regular season games), but should certainly be in the lineup when the Finals begin; so if the 'Hawks are winners, Burish will be immortalized on the greatest trophy in professional sports, for all time.

In case you were wondering, Baggot lists the past Badgers who are on the Cup:

Eleven UW players have have skated for a Stanley Cup winner. In addition to {Gary} Suter {Calgary 1989}, the list includes defenseman Chris Chelios (Montreal, 1986; Detroit, 2002, '08); defenseman Bruce Driver (New Jersey, 1995); defenseman Brian Engblom (Montreal, 1977, '78, '79); defenseman Sean Hill (Montreal, 1993); winger David Maley (Montreal, 1986); defenseman Brian Rafalski (New Jersey, 2000, '03; Detroit, 2008); center Steve Reinprecht (Colorado, 2001); goaltender Mike Richter (New York Rangers, 1994); defenseman Paul Stanton (Pittsburgh, 1991, '92); and goaltender Wayne Thomas (Montreal, 1973).

Photo from Chicago Sun Times

Interview With New 2012 Recruit Morgan Zulinick

Yesterday we talked about Wisconsin's latest blue chip recruit Morgan Zulinick committing for the 2012 season. Today we were fortunate enough to talk with the young man about his visit, as well as an aray of other topics. Enjoy.

Chuck Schwartz: Let’s cut right to the chase, you’ve committed to the University of Wisconsin. How long have you been in touch with them and what about Wisconsin made you want to commit to play hockey there?

Morgan Zulinick: The first time I heard from Wisconsin was during one of my league games in Kelowna. One of the recruiters from Wisconsin gave my coach a business card for me to call. I am too young for them to contact me, so he gave my coach his card. My dad later on called them and kept in touch. The second time they saw me was during a Jr. B tournament. This time they offered me the scholarship and we planned to take a trip down. The fact that Wisconsin was a big ten school, and in a great location made my decision easy. The campus was beautiful and I couldn't believe the arena. The second I stepped into the Kohl Center was when I knew I wanted to play there.

Chuck Schwartz: What other NCAA schools were you considering?

Morgan Zulinick: North Dakota and Colorado were really the only other schools I had in mind.

Chuck Schwartz: You’ve been drafted by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL. Are you still considering going to the dub or are you focused on playing in the NCAA?

Morgan Zulinick: As for right now, I am focused on the NCAA route. I am also young and need some more time to develop. My future with the Oil Kings is not over; it is just delayed right now. I am more focused on school and would like an education.

Chuck Schwartz: I’m assuming you will be playing in the BCHL next season. What franchise will you be playing with?

Morgan Zulinick: I will be playing with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. I committed to them mid way through last season.

Chuck Schwartz: When you see elite players coming out of the BCHL like Kyle Turris, Ben Street, Derek Lee, and Mark Zengerle going to a school like Wisconsin, does that have an effect on a Canadian player like yourself considering going the NCAA route?

Morgan Zulinick: Knowing that other players from the BCHL makes me feel more comfortable about coming to Wisconsin. If a team was full of just American players, it is sometimes hard for a Canadian born player to fit in.

Chuck Schwartz: You’ve got two seasons of junior hockey before you come to Wisconsin, what do you need to improve to be ready to contribute as a freshman in such an intense league as the WCHA?

Morgan Zulinick: I need to continue to become stronger and faster. Off- Ice training is so critical nowadays with hockey. I know that if I continue my routines, by the time I’m 18, I will be ready to play.

Chuck Schwartz: ISS compared your game to Joe Thorntons before the WHL Draft. Do you feel that is a fair assessment and how would you describe your game?

Morgan Zulinick: I don’t think I play like Joe Thornton any more. That would have been a few years ago. I am a smaller faster type of player than a Joe Thornton. My game is based around making plays. I would probably consider myself as a play maker.

Editors Note: I can't thank Morgan enough for taking time out of his busy schedule to do this interview with us. Should be fun following this young man in Salmon Arm the next two seasons.

Photo Credit: Freeze Frame Photography

Monday, May 24, 2010

Badgers Land 2012 Blue Chipper Morgan Zulinick

With respect to 2007, the Wisconsin recruiting class of 2012 continues to look like one of the best classes ever put together by head coach Mike Eaves. According to Gregg Drinnan the sports editor of the Kamloops Daily News, the Badgers took another step in solidifying that fact by landing elite forward Morgan Zulinick out of Kamloops, British Columbia.

Zulinick will spend next season honing his skills in the British Columbia Hockey Junior Hockey League where many former Badgers have performed including most recently, 2010 scoring champion Mark Zengerle.

This past season, Zulinick played with the Thompson Blazers and led the team in scoring with a point per game.

Zulinick has already been drafted into the Western Hockey League which could prove to be a challenge. The Edmonton Oil Kings selected Zulinick in the third round, 52nd overall. He lasted longer in the draft than his talent dictated due to his desire to play college hockey. International Scouting Services had him 40th overall and I've seen independent rankings that had him in the top 15.

ISS had this to say about Zulinick before the WHL draft, "Plays like a big man, similar in mold to a Joe Thornton type player. Zulinick is an excellent passer who loves to set up the play, but can also score when called upon. Zulinick is very smooth with the puck and can dazzle with his quick hands and great body control. Turned many scouts heads when he was selected to the KIBIHT all star game last season as a first year bantam player, a feat that isn’t very common."

Zulinick (British Columbia) joins USA NTDP U17 Forward Nick Kerdiles (California), Taft Prep Forward Corbin McGuire (Connecticut), and Sioux City (USHL) defenseman Jordan Schmaltz (Wisconsin) as current Wisconsin commitments for the class of 2012.

Derek Stepan's cousin Zach is most likely next in line to commit for the class of 2012. The Sophomore at Shattuck St. Marys prep school is expected to follow Derek's path to the University of Wisconsin. In addition to Wisconsin, Stepan is considering North Dakota, Denver, and Boston College according to College Hockey 247. A forward class of Stepan, Kerdiles, Zulinick, and McGuire would have the potential to do some really special things.

Photo Credit: Freeze Frame Photography

Friday, May 21, 2010

Shuchuk, Butters are new assistants

Mike Eaves has hired two assistants to replace Kevin Patrick and Mark Osiecki, and they are Gary Shuchuk and Bill Butters.

Shuchuk led the Badgers to the 1990 NCAA Championship and played part of 5 seasons in the NHL. His most recent work includes coaching Team Wisconsin's U16 team which he guided to a runner up finish in the Tier II National Championship this past Spring. He has strong connections to WI and western Canada, which should help for recruiting.

Butters is a gopher, but we won't hold that against him while he coaches the Badger blue liners. After college, Butters played a few NHL games and a solid minor league career. Under Doug Woog he returned as an assistant from 1985 to 1995, and helped produce a solid group of future NHLers. He has coached in a few places since then, and has a strong recruiting connection to minnesota. Hopefully he can talk some sense into those young dmen over there in realizing Wisconsin is the place to be (if Tom Gilbert, Jamie McBain, Ryan McDonagh and Jake Gardiner aren't good enough examples). He served as recruiting coordinator under Woog, so he has a lot of experience in that area.

Eaves seems to know what he is doing, so we'll see how these additions to the staff shake out.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The schedule is out!!!

Here is the story and schedule from If you are in a hurry:

10/08 – Icebreaker vs Boston, 10/10 against Notre Dame or Holy Cross
10/15 & 17 – Alabama Huntsville
10/22-23 - @ Denver
10/29-30 – Michigan Tech
11/05-06 - @ minnesota
11/12-13 – North Dakota
11/19-20 – Duluth
11/26-27 – College Hockey Showcase
12/03-04 – @ UAA
12/10-11 – Bemidji
12/17-18 – Open
12-30 – 31 – UMASS
01/07-08 – Canisius
01/14-15 - @ Duluth (first full series at the new DECC)
01/21-22 - Mankato
01/28-29 – @ Tech
02/04-05 – Open
2/11-12 - @ Nebraska-Omaha
2/18-19 – minnesota
2/25-26 – @ St Cloud
3/04-05 – CC
3/11-13 - WCHA Playoffs
3/17-19 - WCHA Final Five
3/25-27 - NCAA Regionals
4/07 & 09 - Frozen Four @ the X

Special note that the first two weekends of the season (Icebreaker and home opener) are friday/sunday series. The Badgers draw Boston U to start the Icebreaker, should be a great matchup, then play Notre Lame or Holy Cross the following sunday. The Badger host Huntsville to start the home games and play on sunday to avoid the night football game against Ohio State.

The Showcase is still on, and the other non-conference games are against UMASS and Canisius. No road games against Boston College and New Hampshire, maybe in 2011/12. Other than the Icebreaker, the Badgers play all non-conference games at home.

11 home series next season, should be fun! The team also ends at home, which is rare.

The Badgers play two series against minnesota, Duluth and Tech. Fans will see CC, Bemidji, Mankato and North Dakota at home, and will have to travel to see Denver, UAA, St Cloud and Omaha. Some good road trips in there, the Badgers are the first FULL WCHA series at the new DECC as well in Duluth.

At first blush, I don't see any really tough stretches like in seasons past. Should be fun, I love summer, but can't wait for October.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

USHL Draft: McCormick Goes #5 Overall To Sioux City

2010 USHL Entry Draft Players With Wisconsin Ties

First Round
#5. Max McCormick-(Notre Dame Academy)-Sioux City (De Pere, WI; Ohio State Commit)

Third Round
#35. Jake Suter-(Owatana NAHL)-Sioux City (Oregon, WI)

Fourth Round
#50. Noah Nelson-(Milwaukee Jr. Admirals)-Sioux Falls (Oconomowoc, WI)

Fifth Round
#72. Peter Maric-(Milwaukee Jr. Admirals)-Cedar Rapids (Milwaukee, WI)

Eighth Round
#110. Will Butcher-(Madison Capitols minors)-Sioux City (Sun Prarie, WI)
#112. Tyler Lundey-(Wichita NAHL)-Dubuque (Middleton, WI)

Bit of a surprise in the 8th round as Sioux City takes a shot on 1995 born Will Butcher from the Madison Capitols. I've mentioned MULTIPLE times on this website that Butcher has the tools to be an absolute star and apparently head coach and GM Luke Strand feels the same way.

Round Eleven
#156. Garret Clemment-(Wausau West)-Muskegon (Wasau, WI)

Found Fifteen
#223. Jakob Batcha-(Milwaukee Jr. Admirals)-Fargo (Fredonia, WI)

Also of note in the 15th round is that Boston University forward Vinny Saponari, was drafted by Dubuque. Saponari was recently kicked off of BU for conduct detrimental to the program. He was recruited hard by Wisconsin who finished second in the race for his services.

Round Seventeen
#242. Ryan Belonger-(St. Louis Bandits NAHL)-Youngstown (Green Bay, WI)
#245. Cliff Watson-(Appleton United)-Sioux City (Appleton, WI)

Round Eighteen
#270. CJ Eick-(St. Louis Bandits NAHL)-Green Bay (Appleton, WI)

Round Nineteen
#280. Tim Smith-(Owatana NAHL)-Indiana (Superior, WI)

Round Twenty
#290. Danny Sherer-(Milwaukee Jr. Admirals)-Sioux City (Nashotah, WI)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Futures Draft: First Round Is Good to Potential Badgers

Tuesday morning the USHL held it's annual Futures Draft. According to the USHL website, "The USHL Futures Draft consists of six rounds as 15 Member Clubs, including expansion teams Dubuque and Muskegon, will each select six players from the 1994 birth year ago group. The 90 players selected in the USHL Futures Draft will then be placed on the affiliate list of their respective team for the 2010-11 season. Teams retain the rights to selected players for three years and can add these players to the active roster at any time during the season."

Dubuque had the honor of holding the first pick of the draft and selected Riley Barber from the Compuware program out of Michigan. Barber is an uncommitted forward who is listed at 5'10, 170 pounds. Muskegon, the other expansion franchise who is being coached by former Wisconsin assistant Kevin Patrick snagged Garret Cockerill, a defenseman also from the dominant Compuware program.

2010 USHL Futures Draft (1994's) Players With Wisconsin Ties

First Round
#8. Justin Wade (Chicago Mission U16)-Fargo (potential recruit)
#10. Zach Stepan (Shattuck St. Marys)-Waterloo (Derek's cousin, potential recruit)
#12. Tim Davison (Green Bay Notre Dame Academy)-Youngstown (Wisconsin native, potential recruit)
#14. AJ Michaelson (Apple Valley HS, MN)-Waterloo (potential recruit)

Second Round
#16. Alex Roos (Team Illinois U16)-Cedar Rapids (potential recruit)
#25. Ray Pigozzi (Chicago Mission U16)-Des Moines (potential recruit)

Fourth Round
#58. John Feemster (Wausau West HS)-Sioux Falls (Wisconsin native, potential recruit)

Fifth Round
#63. Brendan Vetter (Madison Capitols U16)-Fond du Lac (Wisconsin native, potential recruit)

Keep in mind that all players drafted today could be potential recruits. Don't feel slighted if you, or your son isn't listed as a potential recruit. The players that I have listed are just the ones that I have confirmation that Wisconsin has on the radar. There are many, many more that I'm not aware of, that's for sure.

Pictured: Notre Dame Academy's Tim Davison

2011 Recruit Woods Selected In USHL Expansion Draft

The USHL has just announced the results from Mondays Expansion Draft featuring new franchises from Muskegon and Dubuque. In a surprise to me, 2011 Wisconsin forward recruit Brendan Woods was selected by Muskegon (The USHL does not release round info on the expansion draft).

According to the USHL, member clubs were able to protect up to 8 veteran players (players who had played in at least 10 games).

Woods, a 17 year old winger out of Virginia just finished up his first season in the USHL with the Chicago Steel. The 6'2, 180 pound forward battled serious leg injuries in the early part of the season but was able to rebound and finish the season strong. Woods finished the season with 10 points in 34 games but had 6 points in his final 10 games. Woods is expected to be selected in this summers NHL Draft.

Woods joins former Wisconsin assistant coach Kevin Patrick in Muskegon who no doubt had a large hand in selecting Woods. Patrick left the Wisconsin program at the completion of the 2009-2010 hockey season.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Walters Chooses Nebraska-Omaha

Running insanely short on time but just wanted to let you guys know that It's official that Ryan Walters has committed to Nebraska-Omaha. Would have been a nice fit for us but I hope it works out for the kid.

According to the Star Tribunes Roman Augustoviz, his final three came down to UNO, Colorado College, and Wisconsin. Augustoviz also mentions 16 schools were in contact with Walters for the upcoming season and five more for 2011.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sean Little’s GWG = Clark Cup for GB Gamblers

I see EoDS already posted something, but I'll post my thoughts as well since I was in attendance.

Wow, what a great championship game last night in Green Bay to determine the USHL playoff champs. This was one of the best games I’ve ever been to, back and forth w/ 4 lead changes and the game came down to the final moments before it was ever in hand for either team. Hats off to both the Gamblers and the Fargo Force on a great game, great series, great season.

For those not following the USHL at all, the Fargo Force won the first two games of the series on the road against an Anderson Cup (regular season champ) Gamblers team that was tough to beat at home. The Force held the lead into the final minute of Game 3, only to see it tied up and the game go almost an entire other game before GB won in 3OTs. The Gamblers won Game 4, which set up this epic Game 5.

There is a TON of future WCHA talent between these two teams. Wisconsin native Garrett Allen (Denver) started the scoring on a fluke goal as he just threw the puck at the net, and the Gambler goalie never saw it go over his shoulder. Allen is a wicked fast skater, which would have been a nice addition to the Badgers, but he does have a penchant to dive, as twice in the game he attempted to embellish to draw penalties.

GB scored the next two goals by Robert Francis and Ryan Furne (Mich Tech). In between those goals, Stevens Point native Aaron Harstad (CC) took on Joe Finley Jr, a Russian blue liner named Oleg Yevenko, who is about as talent less and slow skating as the original Joe Finley. Harstad got the worse of that encounter.

Fargo scored the next pair, Joe Rehkamp tied it up late in the 2nd, and Matt Leitner (Mankato) scored his 10th of the playoffs to give Fargo the lead early in the 3rd.

After that it was ALL Gamblers. Halfway through the 3rd Anders Lee (Notre Dame) redirected a shot by Nick Jensen (St Cloud) to tie it up. David Makowski (Denver) also assisted and had three assists on the night. Makowski was named USHL Defenseman of the Year and is an absolute beast. He reminds me of a combo of Ryan McDonagh and Jamie McBain, just not quite as talented as either. Anders Lee is also a beast, and I’m glad he’s heading to college next season since it is bittersweet to watch him succeed, knowing he “might” have been a Badger if Eaves hadn’t given him a decision ultimatum before Lee was ready to make his college commitment. Anders Lee was named the Playoff MVP.

The game winning goal though went to none other than Fond du Lac native and 2010 Badger recruit Sean Little. Little scored w/ about 6:30 left and the Gamblers never looked back. It was Sean’s first goal of the playoffs, and he picked the right time to push one past the Fargo goalie. Sean had two REALLY nice chances earlier in the game as well. More thoughts on Sean at the end.

The Gamblers added an ENG by Robert Francis (had two on the night) and raised the Clark Cup for the first time in a decade. The Resch Center was full and the roughly 8,500 person crowd was LOUD and set a Gambler and a USHL Clark Cup attendance record. Final score: 5-3.

The Gamblers were the better team all night, except for a few lapses and a stretch late 2nd thru early 3rd where Fargo was the better team. They controlled play at EV and finally late in the game took advantage of the PP. Coach Jon Copper really has done an amazing thing in GB. In 2007/08 the Gamblers were the worst team in the USHL; the last two seasons they won the Anderson Cup as regular season champ both seasons and took the Clark Cup this season. The USHL is similar to college hockey; the staff only gets the players for a short time (1 to 3 years) but the draft structure limits loading up on top talent like a team “could” at the college level. Congrats to Coach Cooper and his staff on turning a proud program around and getting people in Northeastern WI excited about hockey again on a larger scale.

Lastly a few thoughts on 2010 recruit Sean Little. I’ve seen Sean played 7 or 8 times the past two seasons with the Gamblers, and I’m really excited to see what he can do as a Badger. Every time I see him play he is so close to scoring in every game (reminds me of Michael Davies throughout his career {because he doesn't finish some nice chances [had to add for the whiny anon]}). I don’t know if it is completely random when I’m in attendance or what, but if Sean can start burying those chances (like his GW), I think he could be a very nice two way forward for the Badgers down the road. Sure he isn’t the most talented forward coming in, but this kid gives a great effort each shift on the ice, and is a responsible player in his own end, which any Badger fan can appreciate. The last three seasons, my favorite Badger (Andy Bohmbach) wasn’t my favorite because he scored the most or was the flashiest player, but because he did whatever was tasked him on the ice and he gave it his all each shift. I think Sean Little could be a player like that. Some other recent grinder/defenders like Aaron Bendickson, Nick Licari and Ben Grotting will never be spoke of because of their abundant talent (like Blake Geoffrion or Derek Stepan or Joe Pavelski), but because of the little things they did for the team each night and the effort they gave. Sean might never be a first line forward at Wisconsin, but I for one am looking forward to his Badger career. There will be a lot of ice time available at forward next season, no reason Sean can’t snag some of that and get on the Kohl Center ice regularly.

Congrats again to Sean and all his Gamblers teammates on an OUTSTANDING USHL season!

GB Gamblers win Clark Cup, Sean Little Scores GWG

The Green Bay Gamblers have won the USHL championship, and incoming freshman Sean Little scored the game winner in the final game of the best-of-5 championship series.

Sean's role on the Gamblers has been mostly as a defensive forward- a role he's likely to take on in Madison when he earns his ice time- so its a pleasant surprise to see him turn up on the score sheet at such a vital time.

Also a pleasant surprise, the Resch Center had an abnormally large crowd of nearly 8,500 for the game. It's nice to see junior hockey get that kind of support in Wisconsin, especially considering how prevalant the "Packers and nothing else" mentality is in the Fox River valley.

Congratulations, Sean, here's hoping its the first a few titles for you in the coming years.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Eleven Wisconsinites Chosen For USA Select Festivals

The Central District has released the names of all the players selected to participate in this summers upcoming USA Hockey Select Festivals. Overall, 11 players from the Badger state have been chosen to attend.

Some solid players here but like I've talked about in the past, the real gem here is 95' born Will Butcher.

1993's (Select 17)

Cliff Watson-Appleton United, Team Wisconsin minors
Todd Koritzinsky-Middleton, Team Wisconsin minors
Jakob Batcha-Grafton, Milwaukee Jr. Admirals

1994's (Select 16)

Tim Davison-Green Bay Notre Dame, Team Wisconsin minors
Matthew Fosdick-Brookfield, Team Wisconsin minors
Jason Ford-Waunakee, Team Wisconsin minors
Ashton Wackym-University School of Milwaukee, Team Wisconsin minors

1995's (Select 15)

Will Butcher-Madison, Madison Capitols minors
Ian McCoshen-Hudson, Shattuck St. Mary's Bantam Tier 1
Travis Wood-Appleton?
Jason Reynolds-Green Bay Notre Dame

Walters To Visit Wisconsin Soon...

Just a quick note for those of you not following me on twitter. I've confirmed that potential recruit Ryan Walters has officially set up a visit to Wisconsin with Coach Eaves. The visit is expected to come in the near future and may be the last visit Walters makes.

If you are unfamiliar with Walters, click on the Ryan Walters tag at the bottom of this post and it will explain the entire situation.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Recruit News Linkorama

Congratulations are in order to Gavin Hartzog and the Bismarck Bobcats on capturing the 2010 Robertson Cup and North American Hockey League championship! Gavin is a 2011 recruit who had a rough year in juniors after a solid rookie campaign. He began the season where he finished his last one, w/ the Fargo Force of the USHL, but was demoted to the NAHL early in the season and ended up in Bismarck. Gavin didn’t factoring into the scoring in the championship game, but he did register 5 SOG. While he did struggle this season, Gavin still has one thing that cannot be taught (similar to John Mitchell): Size.

Speaking of his old team in Fargo, they are headed to a concluding Game 5 against the Green Bay Gamblers to decide the USHL Clark Cup on Wednesday night in GB. Green Bay features 2010 Badger recruit Sean Little. After winning Games 1 & 2 on the road, Fargo went home looking to clinch, but lost a heart breaker in Game 3 where the game was decided in 3OT’s. Green Bay won Game 4 the next night to send the series back to Titletown and Game 5. Tickets for Wednesday’s game are only $5. I’m thinking of going myself, since it is not often you get to see a champion crowded at any level w/ in such a short drive.

Good luck to Sean as he tries to keep the streak of Badger recruits winning the Clark Cup alive. In 2008, Matt Thurber and the Omaha Lancers were winners, last year Brett Bennett and the Indiana Ice took home the title. Green Bay won the Anderson Cup earlier in the year as the USHL regular season championship.

Over at the Hockey in Wisconsin Blog, Dplaya continues to do an outstanding job w/ his series interviewing former Wisconsin High School hockey players. Last week’s interview was w/ 2011 Badger recruit Cody Strang. Cody is a 2009 graduate of Edgewood HS and as a senior won Wisconsin’s Mr. Hockey award. Last season, he played for Youngstown of the USHL. He talks about all of that and more in his interview; definitely a good read. I pulled out two questions to cut and paste.

Dplaya: Can you fill us in on how your college recruitment progressed (when it happened, what teams were involved, which you liked, who you visited, why you chose UW)?

Cody: As far as recruiting went I had only talked to Wisconsin, Bowling green, St. Cloud and UMD. Wisconsin was the first scholarship offer I got and that was my dream growing up so when that offer came I knew there was nothing else that could top that. I had over ten offers to play golf to schools down south and some big ten schools, but all my life playing hockey for the Badgers has been a dream so there is no way I could pass that up.

Dplaya: You played with Wisconsin natives David Donnellan and Jefferson Dahl this season in Youngstown. Could you briefly describe their style of play (strengths, weaknesses, etc.)?

Cody: Playing with David and Jefferson was a great experience and a ton of fun. They are both great players and friends I will have for the rest of my life. David was our captain and did a great job handling the leadership role while also being our top defenseman all season. He is a physical player and moves the puck up the ice well. He blocked more shots than anyone on our team and was our best defensive player we had. Jefferson was an assistant captain for us this year and had a great year as well. I got to play on his line for a good portion of the second half of the season and it was a lot of fun. He is definitely an excellent playmaker and can find you with the puck no matter where you are on the ice. In addition to contributing offensively he was one of our top penalty kill guys and probably our best defensive forward.

The second question doesn’t relate directly to Cody (though he did say he spent the entire season on the PK), but I liked what he had to say about Jefferson Dahl and wanted Badger fans to see that. I didn’t get to see Jefferson play this past season (he played for GB in 2008/09) and I think this is a nice summary of his talents. The penalty kill will really be hurting next season since the majority of the best PKers were seniors (especially Captain Asskicker and the Bohmber) and hopefully Jefferson can step into that role. One thing is for sure, there will be opportunities at forward next season in all situations. A hard working, motivated freshman could see a lot of playing time.

A defensive forward who comes to play each night won’t take long to become one of my favorite players.

Got off track, but good luck to Cody next season in the USHL and looking forward to seeing him in the Cardinal and White not long after.

Two weeks before, Dplaya interviewed defenseman Joe Fiala, a Verona native, who is currently w/ the US NTDP. Wisconsin has shown interest in his services, and it would be a very nice recruit to add to the blue line pantheon w/ McCabe, Hesketh and Schmatlz.

Lastly, I stumbled across a newer blog last week: An Unofficial USHL Prospect Blog. The blog is constructed by a high schooler who loves hockey and wants to be a college scout, and reading through several of his player reports, he is doing a hell of a job. Keep up the good work! Of particular interest to Badger fans is a write up he did on 2011 recruit and Chicago Steel forward Brendan Woods. I’m going to have to make a point of seeing Brendan play next season, which shouldn’t be too hard between Dubuque and Green Bay.

Of possible other interest to Badger fans wanting to get to know future opponents, this blog covers several 2010 recruits Kevin Gravel (St Cloud), Seth Ambroz (minnesota), Jaden Schwartz (CC) and Derek Forbort (North Dakota), and one 2011 recruit Scott Mayfield (Denver). There might be some other future WCHA kids in there, but those jumped out at me.

He also is previewing kids who will be drafted in the upcoming USHL draft; these are kids whose names will be seen on the recruiting radar in the coming year(s). Chuck, not sure if you have any insight on any of these kids, if you do, pass it on, if you want to stay retired that is. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Jason Clark (Officially) On Board

Official Press Release on

We've kept our eye on him (okay... Chuck kept his eye on him) for a while, and his verbal commitment to come to Madison next year has now been made official.

Welcome to the fold, Jason!

Walters Update; Wisconsin In "Serious Consideration"

As many of you are aware, I reported back on April 17th that Des Moines Buccaneers forward Ryan Walters was de-committing from the University of Minnesota.

Minnesota, his original choice, told him that he was going to be a 2010 recruit from the time he committed. It became readily apparent that he was going to be pushed back a year when the Gophers accelerated high school juniors Nick Bjugstad and Seth Amrboz and added a few older forwards in Tom Serratore and Jared Larson. At this point it looks like the Gophers will be rostering about 17-18 forwards next season (remember only 12 can play).

I spoke with Ryan at the time about why he made the decision and he talked about wanting to play college hockey this season, "My family felt that I am ready to play college hockey this upcoming season so I'm going to try and find a school that will allow me to do that."

I've spoken to anonymous sources familiar with the situation and they have said that they believe Walters has spoken with up to 18 college hockey teams since his de-commitment. They also mentioned that it sounds as if Walters will be taking some visits to see these schools as soon as today.

I've been told that Wisconsin is a "strong consideration" for Walters services. Wisconsin issued a press release today announcing their 2010 recruiting class. That recruiting class includes 6 incoming freshman forwards to replace 8 out going forwards (7 seniors, and Thurber). That would leave us at 14 forwards, or about 1 forward short. Eaves has played it pretty coy as to the number of forwards we will roster this season. I'm fairly certain that he's making a strong push to get a commitment out of Walters to fill out the roster.

And trust me, this would be one HUGE commitment.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Badgers In The Pros: NHL Playoff Update

The University Of Wisconsin has a long history of producing NHL level talent. The 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs are doing nothing to dispel that fact.

Joe Pavelski continued on his historic pace Sunday night by netting his 8th and 9th goals of the playoffs. It's Pavelski's third straight multi-goal game of the playoffs. The last player to do the same was Mario Lemieux.

Pavelski is having one of the best playoffs in San Jose history. His 9 goals tie him with Patrick Marleau for the clubs playoff record. Marleau set the mark during the 2006 playoffs. Pavelski is currently first in goals scored and his 14 points are second to only Sidney Crosby's 16.

Dany Heatley had a breakout performance on Sunday. His three assists were huge in the Sharks taking a 2-0 series lead heading into game three in Detroit. Heatley is having quietly solid playoffs. The former Badger All-American has 9 points in 7 games. His 8 assists are tied for second behind Crosby.

Brian Rafalski, the third former Badger All-American in the Detroit/San Jose series also had a big Sunday game. The Red Wings blue liner picked up a pair of assists in the loss on Sunday. He now has 8 points through 9 playoff games, good enough for fourth on the Wings in scoring.

Pavelski, Heatley and the Sharks next play Tuesday against Rafalski in Detroit at 6:30 CST on Versus (HD).

Wisconsin Badgers NHL Playoff Statistics

Player Team Pos GP G A P
1 Joe Pavelski
SJS C 8 9 5
2 Dany Heatley
SJS RW 7 1 8
3 Brian Rafalski
9 1
4 Ryan Suter
5 Adam Burish
R 3

Player Team GP GS W L OT SA GA GAA Sv Sv%
1 Brian Elliott
1 2
0 95 14 4.14 81 .853

Pavelski, Heatley, Rafalski, and Burish are still active and playing in round number two. Suter and Elliott have been eliminated. Davis Drewiske was on the Kings roster for the playoffs but was a healthy scratch thought the first round and they have been eliminated. Also, Jack Skille and Jake Dowell are on the playoff roster for the Hawks but they have not seen time as of yet.

Weekly playoff schedule

Mon-8 PM CST: Van at Chi (Burish, Dowell, Skille)-Versus (HD)
Tue-6:30 PM CST: San Jose (Pavs, Heatley) at Det (Rafalski)-Versus (HD)
Wed-8:30 PM CST: Chi (Burish, Dowell, Skille) at Van-Versus (HD)
Thu-6:30 PM CST: San Jose (Pavs, Heatley) at Det (Rafalski)-Versus (HD)
Fri-8:30 PM CST: Chi (Burish, Dowell, Skille) at Van-Versus (HD)
Sat-9 PM CST: Det (Rafalski) at San Jose (Pav's, Heatley)-Versus (HD)
Sun-7 PM CST: Van at Chi (Burish, Dowell, Skille)-Versus (HD)