Sunday, February 28, 2010

SWEEP

I'm posting from the road today so I don't have a ton of good info for you. Apparently, over the weekend Wisconsin swept Michigan Tech. Wisconsin is now all alone in second place in the conference.

If you didn't notice, Denver clinched the MacNaughton Cup last night. Wisconsin has a two point lead over St. Cloud State in the race for second with one weekend to play. The worst Wisconsin can finish is fourth, and for that to happen SCSU would have to get at least 2 points, Duluth would have to sweep, and Wisconsin would have to get swept. The best we can finish is obviously second.

The MacNaughton would have been great to win and I give Denver all the credit in the world. But our focus is on the National Championship. Our best way to get there is to finish in the top 3 in the league to avoid the Thursday game at the Final Five, and to get a number 1 seed. We've put ourselves in great position to do both so It's hard to complain right now.

It was tough to have Geoffrion out of the lineup but it was nice to see Podge and Derek Lee get a shot this weekend. I was kind of disappointed that Podge had to sit Saturday night after scoring on Friday night but I would have to assume they were told before the trip that each player was going to play in a game over the weekend.

Friday

USCHO Box
USCHO Recap
Madison.com-Andy Baggot

Saturday
USCHO Recap
Madison.com-Andy Baggot



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Friday, February 26, 2010

Pav's Is A Superstar

Yeah...you're damn right the polish prince is on the front page of ESPN.com tonight. USA! USA! USA! USA!

















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Wisconsin @ Tech: Friday Night Lineup

Here is your Friday night lineup courtesy of Andy Baggot. Blake Geoffrion did not make the trip due to a head injury suffered last weekend. Podge Turnbull replaces him in the lineup. Scott Gudmandson starts in goal for the third straight game. Check out this link for a live blog of the game tonight by Brian Lucas of UWBadgers.com.

There is no TV this weekend.

Wisconsin

John Mitchell-Aaron Bendickson-Patrick Johnson
Ben Street-Derek Stepan-Michael Davies
Jordy Murray-Andy Bohmbach-Craig Smith
Podge Turnbull-Sean Dolan-Ben Grotting

Ryan McDonagh-Jake Gardiner
Brendan Smith-John Ramage
Cody Goloubef-Justin Schultz

Scott Gudmandson

Michigan Tech

Bennett Royer-Brett Olson-Malcolm Gwilliam
Jordan Baker-Eric Kattelus-Drew Dobson
Aaron Pietila-Alex MacLeod-Ryan Bunger
Anthony Schooley-Evan Witt-Mikael Lickteig

John Kivisto-Carl Nielsen
Ricky Doriott-Steven Seigo
Tommy Brown-Mike VanWagner

Kevin Genoe

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USA Men Beat Finland, Play For Gold Sunday

Dominating performance by Team USA today. Badgers are in action tonight against Michigan Tech. Game is at 6:00 PM Central Standard Time so keep that in mind. I'm going to be gone for a few days. So there probably won't be many, (if any) posts from me until Monday.

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MacLeod, Mikkelson Win Gold With Canada

I know a lot of Badger fans that read this blog are very disappointed with the 2-0 Canada victory over the United States in the Women's Gold Medal game last night.

Keep in mind that two Badgers did come out on top last night in the game. Former Badger defensemen Carla MacLeod and Meaghan Mikkelson are proud owners of shiny new Gold Medals.

MacLeod and Mikkelson played huge minutes throughout the tournament. In the medal game MacLeod played the second most minutes of any Canadian player.

Sadly, the biggest news from the game is the celebration that ensued after the Canadian victory. As you can tell from the picture on the left, they had a good time. Personally, I don't see the big issue with it. It's their country, they won the gold, good for them. Probably should have kept it in the locker room but so be it.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thursday Afternoon Link Special

I've got some links that I wanted to get out there this afternoon before the Women's Gold medal game starts tonight. Some very good stuff out there the last couple of days.
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I'll lead off with a great article from our friend Todd Milewski. Articles like the one he wrote today for USCHO are the reason that I simply do not understand how he could be reassigned from his position as a Badger hockey beat writer. The guy simply does WORK.

Today's article talks about how the WCHA needs to step up to the plate with these suspensions for head hits and make the public aware of the situation.

"I’m a firm believer that if there is supplemental action taken in these cases, the league needs to scream it from the mountaintops. When Marvin was suspended in November, the league did not issue any news release or comment on why Marvin’s hit was being punished."

I agree 100% Mr. Milewski.
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Chris at Western College Hockey has put together a list of college prospects out of the WCHA and CCHA that he thinks will have the biggest impact at the professional level. I looked through it and I actually think it's a pretty good list. Badgers on the list: McDonagh (3), Smith (4) , Stepan (9), Geoffrion (14), Gardiner (19), Schultz (27), Smith (50).

The only real problem I would have is the omission of Cody Goloubef because I think he's going to be a very nice NHL player in a couple of years. He doesn't get the credit that Smith or Schultz get because he doesn't put up the points, and he doesn't get the credit McDonagh gets because he doesn't make the big hits and isn't a first rounder. But I think the kid is going to be a 10+ year NHL defenseman who is just SOLID.
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Jayson Moy from USCHO put out his bracketology for the week. For the first time this season mine and his matched exactly. Both have Wisconsin as a #1 seed out in Albany playing Cornell in the first round of the tournament.
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The Calgary Flames have signed former Badger forward Rene Bourque to a contract extension. The deal is reportidly worth $20 Millilon over the next 6 seasons. CHA-CHING RENE!

From the article: Bourque is in his second season with the Flames after being acquired on July 1, 2008 from Chicago for a conditional draft choice. The 6-foot-2, 207-pound forward has scored 156 points in 280 career NHL games. He has established a career high for points already this season with 41 (18 goals and 23 assists) in 53 games. During the 2008-09 season, his first with Calgary, he reached a new career high for goals with 21.
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Former Badger goalie Shane Connelly has been named the ECHL goalie of the week for his performance from Feb. 15-21.

From the article: The 22 year old stopped all 50 shots he faced for the week to earn three straight shutouts and a record of 3-0-0 with a goals-against average of 0.00 and a save percentage of 1.000 in a 4-0 win against Gwinnett on Feb. 20 and back-to-back 6-0 victories against Toledo on Feb. 21 and 22.

It's great to see Con's doing well in the pro's. Best of luck.

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USA Takes On Canada For GOLD Tonight

I'll be the first one to admit that I do not get into women's hockey. I have however really enjoyed watching the United States women at this Olympic Games and it has really piqued my interest in the women's game. I am really excited to watch the USA women take on Canada tonight for the Gold Medal.

If you are not already aware, coverage for the game starts at 5:00 PM and the actual game starts at like 5:30 I think. The game can be found on MSNBC. Nicole from the Cute Sports Blog will once again be helping us out doing a live blog of the game. She should be starting the live blog by 5:15. If I'm feeling ok, I will also be helping out when I can.

There will be 9 current or former Badgers playing in the game and obviously the United States men's coach is Mark Johnson, no introduction needed. 6 of 7 United States players are pictured to the left. First Row L to R: Erika Lawler, Jessie Vetter. Second row L to R: Hilary Knight, Meghan Duggan, Jinelle Zaugg-Siergiej, and Molly Engstrom. Missing from the photo is Kerry Weiland. Canada also features some former lady Badgers. Defensemen Meaghan Mikkelson and Carla MacLeod.

Stats for the ladies Badgers so far:

USA
Hilary Knight: 4 GP, 1 G, 7 A, +8
Molly Engstrom: 4 GP, 3 G, 4 A, +13
Meghan Duggan: 4 GP, 4 G, 0 A, +5
Erika Lawler: 3 GP, 0 G, 2 A, +6
Jinelle Zaugg-Siergiej: 4 GP, 0 G, 0A, +3
Kerry Weiland: 4 GP, 1 G, 1 A, +6
Jessie Vetter: 3 GP, 0.33 GAA, .976 Save %

Canada
Meaghan Mikkelson: 4 GP, 0 G, 0 A, +10
Carla MacLeod: 4 GP, 2 G, 3 A, +13

Image Credit: David Stluka Photography (Awesome, awesome photo)

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Recruiting: Looking Down The Line

Looking at potential forwards down the road for the classes of 2011-2012 there are many names that come up. One of those is Hudson forward Ryan Dau. Dau is a 1993 born junior forward with the Raiders. I've gotten to see Ryan play multiple times over the past two seasons between his high school schedule and with Team Wisconsin minor. I've come away impressed every time.

I made it out to Hudson's playoff game last Thursday at New Richmond where Dau had his hands on two outstanding goals. I was very excited when I saw that d-playa found video of them on youtube.

In the first goal, a short handed goal, watch the puck patience and awareness that Dau shows coming down the ice. He is #8 on white. Most high school kids coming down would try to take that to the net or get a weak shot off. Watch how Dau has his head up and baits the defesneman and the goalie to commit to him while the whole time he knows that he has a teammate wide open breaking down the slot.



The second goal is even more impressive than the first. Hudson is again short handed and a New Richmond player finds himself wide open with the goalie way out of position. Dau dives in front of the shot and makes a ridiculous save, gains control of himself, gets out to the point and blocks a second shot! Then he picks up the loose puck, shows his elite speed and beats both defensemen to give himself a break away and scores when he gets to the other end.



Granted, we're talking about high school hockey here but those are two very nice goals. Dau played on the TW minor squad that made it to nationals last season and is trying to do the same again this season. In the fall session of TW, Dau was second on the team in scoring with 28 points in 28 games but was first in points per game.

Dau will most likely play with Hudson and TW major next season and move on the USHL for the 2011 season. He should be a real nice recruit for someone in the 2012 class. He'll be a name to remember over the next couple of seasons.

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Geoffrion Out With Concussion

Well, I've been sick and didn't plan on blogging today but this news couldn't wait until tomorrow. It has been announced that Blake Geoffrion will not travel with the team this weekend when the Badgers head up Michigan Tech.

According to the Baggot article, “He couldn’t exercise without symptoms,” UW coach Mike Eaves said Wednesday after Geoffrion sat out his third straight practice."

I started to make a blog post earlier in the day to talk about the subject but it never got finished. Basically what I was going to say is that even if the training staff and Geoffrion felt fine this week that I felt the coaching staff should leave him at home this weekend regardless. I just feel that head injuries are such a serious issue that you should have to sit a week if you get a concussion, especially if it's your second this season.

Nevertheless, he won't be making the trip. I have HUGE concerns right now over this issue. I know Blake said that he was fine after the game but for him to be feeling affects 4-5 days later is not a good sign. Concussions are a very, very serious issue that people simply aren't paying enough attention too.

Geoffrion was injured on an illegal check by St. Cloud State forward Aaron Marvin. As Geoffrion picked up a pass in his skates, Marvin moved in for the hit and threw his shoulder into Geoffrion's head. In my opinion it was a very unnecessary play. He could have easily completed the hit without going at the head. This is not the first time this season that Marvin has injured an elite WCHA player with an illegal check. Chay Genoway, North Dakota's captain still hasn't returned from an extremely dirty hit by Marvin and that was only 9 games into the season. He is experiencing severe post concussion syndrome symptoms.

Here were the lines in practice today according to Baggot:

Jordy Murray-Andy Bohmbach-Craig Smith
Ben Street-Derek Stepan-Michael Davies
John Mitchell-Aaron Bendickson-Patrick Johnson
Podge Turnbull-Sean Dolan-Ben Grotting

Looks like Bohmbach is getting a huge opportunity this weekend. Same with Podge Turnbull getting back in the lineup. Both players deserve an opportunity like this and I know they can handle the duties.

Here is the hit in question.




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250,000 Visitors; THANK YOU!

I wanted to take a minute this morning to pause and just say thank you to all the viewers of the Sixty Minutes, No Alibis, No Regrets Wisconsin Hockey Blog. We reached a milestone today when we reached the 250,000 viewer mark in the history of our blog.

In my opinion that's a pretty impressive feat considering that we've only been running this thing for less than two years. 60 started this blog up in April of 2008, shortly after Wisconsin was eliminated from the NCAA tournament in an overtime game by North Dakota. 1,720 posts and 250,000 visitors later, here we are.

If you are curious where the name of our blog came from, here is an explanation from the creator in the first ever post on this site: For those of you who are less-than-familiar with the 1990 Championship Team, they had a motto that went a little bit like this: "60 Minutes. No Alibis. No Regrets." It was written on a sign, and the boys liked it, and I believe they carried the sign around on road trips. That's how I got the name of this blog. As the blog description states, this blog will talk about Badger recruits (future Badgers), current Badgers (duh!), and Badger alumni (forever Badgers).

So that's a quick background on the name and I just wanted to say thanks to 60 for keeping me around and also a BIG thanks to Gandalf and Exile and blockski as well. We're averaging over 1,100 visitors a day and I know that I'm pretty proud of that personally.

So again, thanks for stopping by everyone, as always if you have any comments, concerns, questions, or anything that you feel needs sharing, feel free to post a comment or send an e-mail to anyone of us. We're doing this out of our love for Badger hockey and not because of our generous $0 a year salaries.

Anyways, thanks again.

When you say Wisconsin, you've said it all!


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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesday Recruiting: Badgers Leaders For Woods

The forward class for the 2011 season doesn't exactly jump out at you at first glance. The Wisconsin staff has been hard at work trying to fill at least 1 or 2 more forward spots for that season.

Wisconsin may have found their man in six foot two forward Brendan Woods from the Chicago Steel. CollegeHockey247 is reporting that Woods was in for a visit in Madison over the weekend and that the Badgers are the front runners for his services.

Along with his parents, Woods toured the campus and the Kohl Center with Badger assistant coaches Kevin Patrick and Mark Osiecki on Sunday and reportedly had a great time.

Woods father isn't your typical hockey dad. His name is Bob Woods and he's an assistant coach with the Washington Capitals. Yes, the NHL team. The elder Woods spent the previous five seasons with the Hershey Bears of the AHL, the last two as the head coach.

Brendan is currently in his first season in the USHL. He only has 4 points this season though 18 games but missed the first half of the year due to a dislocated knee cap. Not exactly an easy injury to come off of, especially as a rookie in the USHL.

Cornell, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Northeastern, and North Dakota are also in the mix according to CollegeHockey247, but Wisconsin looks like the front runner.

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UWBadgers.com Video Series

I'll check this out more when I get home from work, but I thought I'd clue you guys into a new video series about the Camp Randall Hockey Classic being produced and released on UWBadgers.com. From the website:

MADISON, Wis. -- In the first episode of the 10-part "It's a Great Day for Hockey!" series, junior Patrick Johnson takes the crew to a frozen pond where he used to play as kid.

Johnson and childhood friend and current UW student, Johnny Byce, go back to their roots to a small frozen pond in Verona, Wis., where they grew up playing hockey with each other. This serves as an introduction to outdoor hockey, which is how many of UW's men's and women's players first experienced the game.

During the seven-minute video, Badger men's coach Mike Eaves and Badger women's coach Tracey DeKeyser talk about some of the differences about playing hockey outdoors and what their players can expect during the Culver's Camp Randall Hockey Classic.

Watch the entire episode here.

"A Great Day for Hockey!"
Beginning Monday, Feb. 22, relive the magic of the Culver’s Camp Randall Hockey Classic with the start of a daily 10-part serial video feature on the men’s and women’s hockey team that will run over two weeks at UWBadgers.com.

Get an inside look at the anticipation for the game and the game itself from inside the locker rooms.

Watch the 30-second trailer for the movie by clicking here.

The Wisconsin women’s hockey team defeated Bemidji State on Feb. 6 outdoors at Camp Randall Stadium. The UW men’s team followed up the women’s victory with a dramatic 3-2 victory over Michigan in front of 55,031 fans.

The segments are expected to run between just over a minute to over eight-minutes long.
Day One - "The Outdoor Game"
Day Two - "What A Bummer"
Day Three - "Indescribable"
Day Four - "Camp Randall"
Day Five - "What If We Lose!?!"
Day Six - "Here We Go Red"
Day Seven - "Tunnel Vision"
Day Eight - ""All Tied Up"
Day Nine - " Badgers Behind"
Day Ten - "A Day I'll Never Forget"

Monday, February 22, 2010

Matt Thurber Released From Team

Andy Baggot is reporting the news that I had feared. Matt Thurber has been released from the Wisconsin Hockey team effective immediately. His scholarship will continue through the rest of this season.

Thurber, a sophomore forward from Beaver Dam has played in nine games this season for the Badgers registering three assists. Last season as a freshman, Thurber played in 33 games while putting up 8 points.

From the article: Eaves said he met last Friday with Thurber and his father, Ray. UW officials reviewed details of the case last week, but the decision to release Thurber fell to Eaves. "That was my choice,'' he said.

Thurber has generally been looked at as an undervalued player on the UW roster by many Badger fans including yours truly. A gritty centerman with skill is how I viewed him. He was considered a prospect to center one of the top three lines next season.

Before Thurber came to Wisconsin he played three productive seasons in the USHL with Omaha. In his last season he as an alternate captain for the Lancers. That season he registered 53 points in 58 games.

According to an early Andy Baggot story, "Thurber was charged with misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct after an alleged domestic dispute early Monday morning."

There have been rumors floating around about the details. I'm going to refrain from posting them due to respect for the Thurber family during this troubling time.

Thurber will have two seasons of eligibility left if he wishes to transfer to another D-1 program. He will have to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer guidelines. Best of luck in future endeavors Matt.

Sorry that I had to shut the comments section off. If you cannot make a civilized comment, please don't visit our site.

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2010 Olympics: What if we could only use amateurs?

Editors Note: This story first ran April 8, 2009 and has been updated to reflect current changes.

In 1998, the NHL allowed it's professional hockey players to play in the Olympics for the first time in Nagano, Japan. They followed suit at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, and the 2006 Olympics in Torino, Italy. In Vancouver, the NHL has once again sent it's best to represent their countries on the biggest stage.

It's been widely debated on if the NHL should continue to send it's players to the Olympics. I'm not here to add to the debate on whether or not we should be sending NHL players. What I have done, is put together a roster of Americas best amateur players who could compete at the 2010 Olympics.

Obviously, this list is flawed for a few reasons. Number one, there are players on this list that have already turned professional. For this article, I'm going to assume that these players would have kept their amateur status so that they could stay eligible for the 2010 games. All players listed below turned pro early over this past summer, or were college seniors last season. Number two, It's hard to judge if players that went pro more than a year ago would have stayed in school in order to make a run at playing for this team.

Any ways, here is the list...let the debate begin:

Forwards (13, alphabetical order) :

Blake Geoffrion-Wisconsin-WCHA
Jacques Lamoureux-Air Force-Atlantic Hockey
Ryan Lasch-St. Cloud-WCHA
James Marcou-UMASS-Hockey East
Aaron Palushaj-Michigan -CCHA
Rhett Rakhshani-Denver-WCHA
Chad Rau-Colorado College-WCHA
Jordan Schroeder-Minnesota-WCHA
Dan Sexton-Bowling Green-CCHA
Ryan Stoa-Minnesota-WCHA
Eric Tangradi-Belleville-OHL
James van Riemsdyk-University Of New Hampshire-Hockey East
Colin Wilson-Boston University-Hockey East

Alternates (alphabetical order):
Carter Camper-Miami-CCHA
Christian Hanson-Notre Dame-CCHA
Phil McRae-Plymouth-WHL
Garrett Roe-St. Cloud-WCHA
Bill Sweatt-Colorado College-WCHA
Tommy Wingels-Maimi-CCHA

Defense (7, alphabetical order) :
Jonathon Blum-Vancouver-WHL
Greg Flynn-Air Force-Atlantic Hockey
Matt Gilroy-Boston University-Hockey East
Jamie McBain-Wisconsin-WCHA
Ryan McDonagh-Wisconsin-WCHA
Kevin Shattenkirk-Boston University-Hockey East
Chris Summers-Michigan-CCHA

Alternates (alphabetical order):
Colby Cohen-Boston University-Hockey East
Ian Cole-Notre Dame-CCHA
Eddie Del Grosso-Nebraska Omaha-CCHA
Patrick Mullen-Denver-WCHA
Jeff Petry-Michigan State-CCHA
Ted Ruth-Notre Dame-CCHA

Goaltender (2, alphabetical order) :
Zane Kalemba-Princeton-ECAC
Alex Stalock-Minnesota Duluth-WCHA

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Monday Morning Bracketology

Well, considering our play in Friday nights game, salvaging a split on Saturday doesn't make me feel so bad about things. We certainly still have some question marks though. Most notable in between the pipes.

Looking at the PWR, Wisconsin wasn't affected too much, but there was a change at the top over the weekend. Top seeded Miami fell to #2 after a loss to future WCHA member Nebraska-Omaha on Saturday night. Denver, with their sweep over Michigan Tech moved into the top spot in the PWR.

Other big changes in the PWR this week include Colorado College going all the way from 7th overall to out of the tournament in the course of one weekend. They were swept by Minnesota and took a nasty fall. North Dakota took a major step forward over the weekend when they swept Minnesota Duluth and moved up from #13 to #8.

Let's get this thing started.

Step 1: Pick the 16 Tournament teams

1. Denver
2. Miami
3. Wisconsin
4. St. Cloud State
5. Bemidji State
6. Yale
7. Boston College
8. North Dakota
9. New Hampshire
10. Michigan State
11. Alaska
12. Minnesota-Duluth
13. Ferris State
14. Cornell
15. Union
16. Atlantic Hockey Winner

Bubble Teams (Maine, Colorado College, Vermont, Boston University, Northern Michigan, Nebraska-Omaha)

Step 2: Assign the Seeds

No. 1 Seeds: Denver, Miami, Wisconsin, St. Cloud
No. 2 Seeds: Bemidji, Yale, Boston College, North Dakota
No. 3 Seeds: New Hampshire, Michigan State, Alaska, Minnesota Duluth
No. 4 Seeds: Ferris State, Cornell, Union, Atlantic Hockey Winner

Step 3: Place number 1 seeds in regionals

Number 1 seeds are placed based on proximity to regional site.

No. 1 Denver is placed in the West regional in St. Paul
No. 2 Miami is placed in the Mid-West regional in Fort Wayne
No. 3 Wisconsin is placed in the East regional in Albany
No. 4 St. Cloud State is placed in Northeast regional in Worchester

Step 4: Place the other 12 teams avoiding inter-conference match ups if possible

Begin by filling in each bracket by banding groups. Remember that teams are not assigned to the regional closest to their campus sites by ranking order within the banding.

If this is the case, then the committee should seed so that the quarterfinals are seeded such that the four regional championships are played by No. 1 v. No. 8, No. 2 v. No. 7, No. 3 v. No. 6 and No. 4 v. No. 5.

Number 2 Seeds:

No. 8 North Dakota is placed in No. 1 Denver's Regional, the West Regional.
No. 7 Boston College is placed in No. 2 Miami's Regional, the Mid-West Regional.
No. 6 Yale is placed in No. 3 Wisconsin's Regional, the East Regional.
No. 5 Bemidji State is placed in No. 4 St. Cloud's Regional, the Northeast Regional.

Number 3 Seeds:

Our bracketing system has one Regional containing seeds 1, 8, 9, and 16, another with 2, 7, 10, 15, another with 3, 6, 11, 14 and another with 4, 5, 12 and 13.No. 9 New Hampshire is placed in No. 8 North Dakota's Regional, the West Regional.
No. 10 Michigan State is placed in No. 7 Boston College's Regional, the Mid-West Regional.
No. 11 Alaska is placed in No. 6 Yale's Regional, the East Regional.
No. 12 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in No. 5 Bemidji State's Regional, the Northeast Regional.

Number 4 seeds:

One more time, taking No. 16 v. No. 1, No. 15 v. No. 2, etc.

No. 16 Atlantic Hockey Winner is sent to No. 1 Denver's Regional, the West Regional.
No. 15 Union is sent to No. 2 Miami's Regional, the Mid-West Regional.
No. 14 Cornell is sent to No. 3 Wisconsin's Regional, the East Regional.
No. 13 Ferris State is sent to No. 4 St. Cloud's Regional, the Northeast Regional.

Our Bracket as we have it set up:

West Regional:

1 Denver vs 16 Atlantic Hockey Champ
8 North Dakota vs 9 New Hampshire

Midwest Regional:


2 Miami vs 15 Union
7 Boston College vs 10 Michigan State

East Regional:

3 Wisconsin vs 14 Cornell
6 Yale vs 11 Alaska

Northeast Regional:

4 St. Cloud State vs 13 Ferris State
5 Bemidji vs 12 Minnesota Duluth

Our first concern is to avoid inter-conference first round match ups. We none for the first time all season.

So how does it look? We have no inter-conference match-ups. Integrity also looks good. We do have some attendance issues. As it stands, we currently have three number 1 seeds that need to fly to their regional. By moving Denver out of St. Paul, only two number 2 seeds need to fly. Attendance would be much better if we switch out Denver's "pod" with St. Cloud's "pod."

So our FINAL tournament now is:

Northeast Regional (Worchester, MA):
1 Denver vs 16 Atlantic Hockey Champ
8 North Dakota vs 9 New Hampshire

Midwest Regional (Fort Wayne, IN):

2 Miami vs 15 Union
7 Boston College vs 10 Michigan State

East Regional (Albany, NY):
3 Wisconsin vs 14 Cornell
6 Yale vs 11 Alaska

West Regional (St. Paul, MN):
4 St. Cloud State vs 13 Ferris State
5 Bemidji vs 12 Minnesota Duluth

I like that bracket a LOT better. Now we have Miami in Fort Wayne, St. Cloud, Bemidji State and Minnesota-Duluth in St. Paul, Cornell, Yale, and Wisconsin in Albany, and North Dakota and New Hampshire in Worchester.

That's my bracket for the week. We'll see what Jayson Moy from USCHO comes up with during the week.

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Updated Olympic Hockey Televison Schedule

I've been having a tough time keeping track of what Olympic hockey teams are playing on what day and what time and on what channel so I figured I'd try and put together a list of dates, times, and channels for myself, and I might as well post it on here in case anyone else is having as much trouble as I am of keeping track.

Wisconsin is represented on both Canada and the United States men's and women's teams so I will list the TV Schedules for ALL four of those squads first.

I also plan to do some live blogging during the tournament on day games with Badger players playing. It's going to be tough for people to watch weekday-day games so I'll try and provide as much coverage online as possible to keep you updated. I'll also list the games I plan on live blogging.

All times Central Standard

Monday (2/22): Women's Semi-Finals
2:00 PM USA vs Sweden (USA Network, HD)
7:00 PM Canada vs Finland (CNBC)

Tuesday (2/23): Men's Elimination Round
2:00 PM Switzerland vs Belarus (USA Network, HD)
7:00 PM Canada vs Germany (CNBC)
9:00 PM Czech Republic vs Latvia (CNBC)
11:30 PM Slovakia vs Norway (CNBC)

Wednsday (2/24): Men's Quarter-Final Round
2:00 PM USA vs Switzerland/Belarus (NBC, HD)
6:00 PM Russia vs Canada/Germany (CNBC)
9:00 PM Finland vs Czech Republic/Lativa (CNBC)
11:30 PM Sweden vs Slovakia/Norway (CNBC)

Thursday (2/25): Women's Medal Round
1:00 PM Women's Bronze Medal Game (MSNB)
5:00 PM Women's Gold Medal Game (MSNBC)

Friday (2/26): Men's Semi-Final Round
2:00 PM Men's Semi-Final Round (NBC, HD)
8:00 PM Men's Semi-Final Round (CNBC)

Saturday (2/27):
9:00 PM Men's Bronze Medal Game (MSNBC)

Sunday (2/28):
2:00 PM Men's Gold Medal Game (NBC, HD)

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Rafalski, Suter Lead USA Past Heatley, Team Canada

Wow.

I think you could sum up the game tonight with that word along. What a contest between two great teams. Thankfully, Team USA stocked up on former Badgers for the tournament and it paid off.

Team USA defenseman, and former Badger Brian Rafalski had two huge first period goals to get the United States rolling early on.

Rafalski, who played at Wisconsin from 1991 to 1995, started things off by taking a shot on net that hit off Sidney Crosby's stick and found the back of the net. Ryan Suter, who played at Wisconsin during the 2003-2004 season assisted on the play.

After an Eric Stall goal tied it, Rafalski stepped up again for the Americans and gave them a 2-1 lead when he stepped up in the slot and shot the puck on the ice that hit off Brodeur's pad and found it's way into the net.

The only Badger on the Canadian team, Dany Heatley who was a Badger from 1999 to 2001 got the game tied up early in the second for the Canadians when he buried a Jonathon Toews feed that beat USA goaltender Ryan Miller.

After Chris Drury scored to give the Americans a 3-2 lead, former Badgers Ryan Suter and and Brian Rafalski hooked up for another USA goal. Ryan Suter hooked Rafalski up with a one timer that he put on net that got tipped in by Jamie Langenbrunner to give the US a 4-2 lead.

Sidney Crosby would get a late goal to make things close but an absolute awesome effort by Ryan Kessler iced the game when he dove to steal the puck and bury an empty net goal.

So a 5-3 victory for the Americans over Canada who was a heavy favorite in this tournament. USA will get a bye to the quarterfinal round. I'll be sure to update you on when they play next and where you can find the game on television.



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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Geoffrion Says He's Fine, Reaches 100 Point Mark

Senior Captain Blake Geoffrion had a major scare in tonight's game when he took a dirty check from St. Cloud State goon Aaron Marvin to the head. Now, Wisconsin isn't the cleanest team in the league, that's for sure...but I have no patience for hits to the head and this was as blatant as it can get.

Luckily, Blake updated his twitter after the game to assure everyone that he is going to be all right. "Hey everyone I am doing just fine...just glad the guys got the win and glad for all the seniors!!"

In other news, Blake reached a HUGE career milestone tonight with his 100th career point in the 7-4 victory. Blake got to the milestone when he assisted on the first Wisconsin goal of the game, a Power Play goal by fellow senior Michael Davies.

The assist was Geoffrions 36th point of the season and his 33rd point in 23 league games. He currently leads the WCHA in scoring despite missing parts of two games and a full game due to head injuries. Geoffrions 1.43 points per game is heads and shoulders above anyone else in the league right now. I think it will be a long, three way discussion between Geoffrion, Brendan Smith, and Denver goalie Marc Cheverie for the WCHA Player of the Year.

Congratulations Blake



Photo by RedHeat15

Badgers Salvage Split, Win 7-4

Box Score courtesy of College Hockey Stats.net

STC 1 - 0 6x6
Garrett Roe (14) (Travis Novak) 1:10

STC (+): 9,12,24,25,27,G30 WIS (-): 5,15,28,6,27,G1

STC-1 Ben Hanowski (2-Cross-Checking) WIS 1x1 4:50

STC-2 Travis Novak (2-Hooking) WIS 1x2 6:24
WIS 1 - 1 6x4 PP
Michael Davies (14) (Blake Geoffrion, Derek Stepan) 6:36

WIS: 9,5,21,7,22,G1 STC: 7,17,4,G30

WIS-1 Blake Geoffrion (2-Interference) STC 0x1 7:52

WIS-2 Brendan Smith (2-Cross-Checking) STC 0x2 12:18

WIS-3 Aaron Bendickson (2-Cross-Checking) STC 0x3 13:37

STC-3 Ryan Lasch (2-Tripping) WIS 2x3 17:18
WIS 2 - 1 6x5 PP LL Brendan Smith (14) (Justin Schultz, Derek Stepan) 18:58

WIS: 7,6,21,9,5,G1 STC: 17,13,4,24,G30

STC-4 Oliver Lauridsen (2-Unsportsmanlike Conduct) 20:00

WIS-4 Ben Grotting (2-Unsportsmanlike Conduct) 20:00

WIS-5 Ryan McDonagh (2-CONTACT TO THE HEAD) STC 0x4 20:00

2nd Period (20:00)

STC-5 Nick Oslund (2-Tripping) WIS 2x4 3:23
WIS 3 - 1 6x6
Derek Stepan (8) (Ben Street, John Ramage) 8:12

WIS (+): 21,22,55,7,9,G1 STC (-): 18,29,27,3,25,G30

WIS-6 Cody Goloubef (2-Cross-Checking) STC 0x5 9:44

STC-6 Taylor Johnson (2-Slashing) WIS 2x5 14:55
STC 2 - 3 6x6
Oliver Lauridsen (6) (Garrett Roe, Ryan Lasch) 19:14

STC (+): 25,9,19,4,10,G30 WIS (-): 11,16,15,7,27,G1
WIS 4 - 2 6x6
Ben Street (12) (Michael Davies, Derek Stepan) 19:59

WIS (+): 22,9,21,17,19,G1 STC (-): 4,18,19,17,9,G30

3rd Period (20:00)

STC-7 Brian Volpei (2-Holding the Stick) WIS 2x6 1:46
STC 3 - 4 6x6
Aaron Marvin (5) (Ryan Lasch, Taylor Johnson) 8:15

STC (+): 17,19,24,12,25,G30 WIS (-): 9,21,22,7,55,G1

STC-8 Tony Mosey (2-Elbowing) WIS 2x7 8:39
WIS 5 - 3 6x6 GW Jordy Murray (10) (Ben Grotting, Brendan Smith) 11:35

WIS (+): 28,14,7,16,27,G1 STC (-): 20,13,16,3,4,G30
STC 4 - 5 6x6
Drew LeBlanc (5) (Ben Hanowski, Sam Zabkowicz) 11:54

STC (+): 29,10,3,4,21,G30 WIS (-): 7,14,28,16,27,G1
WIS 6 - 4 6x6
Andy Bohmbach (6) (Sean Dolan, Ben Grotting) 14:51

WIS (+): 11,16,14,17,19,G1 STC (-): 22,24,27,4,29,G30
WIS 7 - 4 6x6
Aaron Bendickson (6) (John Mitchell, Brendan Smith) 16:33

WIS (+): 13,24,7,27,10,G1 STC (-): 24,25,9,22,27,G30

WIS-7 Sean Dolan (2-Interference) STC 0x6 17:34

STC-9 Garrett Roe (2-Roughing) 18:51

STC-10 Garrett Roe (2-CONTACT TO THE HEAD) 18:51

STC-11 Garrett Roe (5-Cross-Checking) WIS 2x8 18:51

WIS-8 Brendan Smith (2-Roughing) 18:51

WIS-9 Brendan Smith (2-Roughing) 18:51

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Wisconsin vs St. Cloud State Live Blog-Saturday



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Saturday Preview: Guddy Gets Back To Back Starts!

I'm not going to say that this is an absolute must win game for the Badgers, but we've already given up two points at home and we simply cannot afford to give up any more points at home this weekend.

St. Cloud State proved last night that they are worthy of their lofty ranking and we laid an absolute stinker. One of the biggest issues for this team this season has been trying to find a level of consistency. We did nothing to dispel that trend last night.

Tonight it's senior night, and you have to assume that our seven seniors are going to want to come out, and kick some ass. With that said, I like our chances.

EDIT: When I made the original post I had not seen Wisconsin's lineup yet. I'm very happy that Eaves has decided to go back to Gudmandson tonight. It's time for him to seize the role of the starting goaltender. Good move coach.

Wisconsin Badgers

Jordy Murray-Blake Geoffrion-Craig Smith
Ben Street-Derek Stepan-Michael Davies
John Mitchell-Aaron Bendickson-Patrick Johnson
Andy Bohmbach-Sean Dolan-Ben Grotting

Ryan McDonagh-Jake Gardiner
John Ramage-Brendan Smith
Cody Goulobef-Justin Schultz

Scott Gudmandson

St. Cloud State Huskies

David Eddy-Aaron Marvin-Ryan Lasch
Tony Mosey-Garrett Roe-Travis Novak
Ben Hanowski-Drew LeBlanc-Brian Volpei
Jordy Christian-Nick Oslund-Ryan Peckskamp


Chris Hepp-Garrett Raboin
Oliver Lauridsen-Taylor Johnson
Sam Zabkowicz-Craig Gaudet

Mike Lee

The game is being televised on the Time Warner Sports Channel if you have Time Warner. It's on Chanel 14 in Madison, and Chanel 9 in the western part of the state.

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Someone Explain What Pat Johnson Brings This Team?

Besides a famous family, can someone explain to me what Patrick Johnson brings the Wisconsin lineup? It seems to be getting worse, and worse as the season goes along.

Has anyone seen Podge Turnbull or Derek Lee lately? I mean I honestly think the only possible explanation to why Pat Johnson is still in the lineup every night is that Podge Turnbull has gone missing right? I just can't believe the University hasn't put out a press release and put out an Amber Alert or something.

I thought that one of the biggest strengths of this team was supposed to be the depth of our forwards. Yet we continue to put up with lackluster efforts by Patrick Johnson on an every weekend basis.

I just cannot find a reason why he deserves to be in the lineup no matter what, and Podge Turnbull is up in the crowd wearing a suit.

At least when Podge is in the lineup he brings an edge, a physical edge that could be paired with Grotting to give our fourth line some more grit and a physical presence. That's a lot better than Johnson floating around with his pretty clear Itech Concept II mask, afraid of getting hit.

I just find it hilarious that Eaves would sit Michael Davies the first weekend of the season, Brendan Smith the second game of the season, and John Mitchell during the CHS, all established players, but for some reason refuses to sit Patrick Johnson.

I'm baffled, can someone help me?

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Lineup

Wisconsin

Jorday Murray-Blake Geoffrion-Craig Smith
Ben Street-Derek Stepan-Michael Davies
John Mitchell-Aaron Bendickson-Andy Bohmbach
Ben Grotting-Sean Dolan-Patrick Johnson

Ryan McDonagh-Jake Gardiner
Brendan Smith-John Ramage
Justin Schultz-Cody Goloubef

Scott Gudmandson

St. Cloud

Jared Festler-Aaron Marvin-Ryan Lasch
Tony Mosey-Garrett Roe-David Eddy
Ben Hanowski-Drew LeBlanc-Travis Novak
Jordy Christian-Nick Oslund-Brian Volpei

Craig Gaudet-Garrett Raboin
Oliver Lauridsen-Taylor Johnson
Sam Zabkowicz-Brett Barta

Dan Dunn

There is no television for tonight. What a travesty.

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Friday Recruiting News: Max McCormick, Michael Vilardo

As the Wisconsin high school hockey action picks up with the playoffs starting this week, one name keeps coming to the forefront, Max McCormick (pictured left) from Notre Dame Academy.

McCormick has really had a good year of hockey. He started things off last spring by being a key member of the Team Wisconsin U-16 squad that made it all the way to USA Hockey nationals and fared very well for themselves once they got there.

He continued that play this fall with with Team Wisconsin Major program, leading the team in scoring in the fall with 10 goals and 14 assists in 24 games, good enough for 10th in the league in overall scoring.

McCormick didn't slow down once he started his high school season. He took the bull by the horns this year with (in my opinion) the best team in the state Notre Dame Academy, leading them to a remarkable 23-1 record heading into the playoffs.

McCormicks stock has continued to grow after his impressive performance in the Elite league in the fall. Minnesota State has been on him hard, recently bringing him in for a visit where he toured the campus and met with the coaching staff. According to his high school coach, Cory McCracken, Wisconsin has also been showing interest and was in attendance to watch him play recently.

McCracken had very nice things to say about McCormick. "Max, in my opinion, is the best forward in the state. We played a top 5 schedule and Max finished 5th in overall scoring. We have a handful of game changers at the high school level and Max is one of those."

He also had a lot of praise for his senior goalie Tony Kujava, who like McCormick is up for the WHCA Player of the Year award. "Tony is certainly among the elite goaltenders in our state. Based on the entire regular season, Kujo led the state in Wins, save percentage, and Goals against average. When you play a tough schedule and post good numbers it speaks to why he is a finalist. I do think goaltenders have traditionally taken a back seat during the POTY consideration. I hope our coaches give Tony fair consideration. I do think it's time to give a goaltender of the year award out in Wisconsin and recognize our state's best.

According to McCracken, Kujava has signed a tender with Janesville for the NAHL.
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It looks like Michael Vilardo has left the NTDP and will not be returning. Vilardo has battled shoulder injuries and has recently decided to take the rest of the season off to recover. He injured the shoulder when he was playing with the USA NTDP U-18 squad against Maine.

Vilardo tried battling through the injury and kept aggravating it. He recently traveled with the USA U-17's to Slovakia to compete where he further injured the shoulder to the point where it was recommended he receive an MRI.

According to Vilardo, his left shoulder has never fully healed from a previous injury and is sore, and he has a grade 2 separation and deep muscle bruising in the right shoulder.

Vilardo is an uncommitted forward who will spend at least next season in the USHL. He was scheduled to visit Denver, Harvard, and Notre Dame and has also talked with a few other schools.

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Face Time Babay

Ok, I know we're supposed to hate North Dakota, but I almost pissed my pants laughing watching this video this morning. If you're not already aware, North Dakota forwards Mario Lamoureux and Brett Hextal host a weekly 10 minute internet show that was started last year by Brad Miller. I've been slacking on watching it over the past couple of months so when I checked it out this morning, needless to say, I wasn't disappointed.

Face time babay.



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College Hockey 247 Releases Top 50 Recruits

As we talked about yesterday, the new Rivals.com recruiting site College Hockey 247 was in the process of revealing its top 50 recruits for the upcoming 2010 hockey season.

First, they released the top 10 list which featured Badger incoming forward recruit Mark Zengerle at #6 overall, who was very honored to be included.

Recently they released the full list of 50 which includes another Badger, incoming forward recruit Michael Mersch from the USA NTDP U-18 squad. Mersch checks in at #40 overall.

Overall looking at the list that they put together, it's not a bad list. I can't say that I could put together a better one by any means. They polled college, and junior coaches as well as pro scouts to come up with the list, along with their staff.

The biggest problem with looking at a list like this is that this is a list of the best players coming into school, not a list of who will be the best while they are IN school. Using NHL scouts is fine but they are evaluating players to play at the professional level, and we're looking for opinions on how these players are going to do at the college level.

That's a major reason why I feel that Zengerle is going to be an absolute star at Wisconsin because he's most likely to be a 3-4 year player for the Badgers with his size/age combination, where as players like Zucker, Bjugstad, and Bennett (who are all excellent players) will only be in college for a year or two before they turn professional. But it's not like the guys who are putting together can penalize Zucker because what if he ends up staying 4 years? Nothing is guaranteed.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is, the guys who put together the list did a nice job, but don't take this for gospel on who is going to be the best team because they have the most players on the list. You need to have a good mix of high end 1-2 year players and solid players who are going to be there for four seasons.

If I had a few suggestions for the list? I have a REAL tough time believing that Brock Montpetit is not one of the top 50 recruits in the country. The kid is having an absolute MONSTER season for Waterloo with 56 points through the first 43 games of the season. That is very impressive in the USHL no matter how old you are. Montpetit is only 3 months older than Notre Dame recruit Anders Lee, has out performed him this season, yet Lee is ranked #21 overall, and Brock is left off the list. I'm scratching my head at that one.

I think the same can be said for Brock's teammate at Waterloo, Badger forward Tyler Barnes. Barnes is having a very nice bounce back year in the USHL averaging over a point a game for the Black Hawks. Barnes is going to be one of those 4 year players that could be a very good point producer for the Badgers in a year or two.

I think North Dakota recruit Nick Mattson is listed a bit high on the list. His stock has fallen quite a bit since he originally committed to North Dakota while with the NTDP. He's going to be a good college player but I think his ranking might be a bit inflated. Overall I think the NTDP as a while is a bit inflated in these rankings.

I am a bit surprised to see them list North Dakota recruit Dillon Simpson on the list. Simpson is a very, very, very good 1993 born defenseman that when he committed recently, admitted that he had accelerated his studies in hopes of playing college hockey next season. It still has not been confirmed that he will be a 2010 recruit but apparently College Hockey 247 didn't care as the included him at #20 on the list. If Simpson goes to North Dakota next season, they have the potential of rostering 11 defensemen if Genoway gets a red-shirt.

I also think that Minnesota recruit Max Gardiner is too high on this list. I'm not saying this because he's going to Minnesota and his brother is a Badger. I've seen him on a few occasions and I think he's a very good player but I'm not even sure he's going to crack the lineup at Minnesota next year and College Hockey 247 has him listed as the 14th overall recruit in the country. I think that ranking is inflated because of Gardiners pro stock being a projected first round pick, not because of what he's going to do at the college level.

On the flip side as far as Minnesota is concerned, I think Mark Alt should be higher. I think he could be a key defenseman for Minnesota right off the bat. He's extremely talented and if it wasn't for talk of possibly playing football in college I would have to assume he would have been higher on this list.

I'll wrap this up with one more forward who I think is getting the shaft a bit and that is BU recruit Sahir Gill. I don't know a ton about the kid but from every account I've heard, the kid is a very impressive forward and probably should be ranked higher than 39th in the country.

Thats all I have for now. It's 5:00 AM and I haven't had my coffee yet. I'm sure I'll come up with more later.

Photo by RedHeat15


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Rafalski's Two Goals Seal US Win

Being one of only three previous Olympians on the United States men's hockey roster, Brian Rafalski was looked upon as a leader in this years games in Vancouver. Rafalski proved his on-ice leadership by blasting two third period goals behind Norwegian goaltender Pal Grotnes.

The United States got on the board early when Plover, Wisconsin native, and former Badger, Joe Pavelski found streaking Madison native Phil Kessel up the middle of the ice who would not be denied. Chris Drury would add a goal before the period was over.

In the second, Pat Kane would get his first of the tournament with an assist from North Dakota forward Zach Parise. After the US and Norway traded goals to make it 4-1, The USA put it away when Parise found Rafalski streaking to the net who burried the puck behind Grotnes. For good measure, Team USA made it 6-1 on a play that featured three badgers getting in on the scoring. Joe Pavelski won the offensive zone faceoff back to defensman Ryan Suter. Suter, made a nice crisp pass over to defensive parter Rafalski who blasted home a one timer in the upper corner to ice the game.
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The United States women's team had already clinched a spot in the semi-finals set for Monday before they even stepped on the ice for this afternoons tilt with Finland. What was on the line was the prospects of avoiding Canada in that semi-final game. Win and they get Sweden, lose, and they get the home team Canada.

The USA never gave it a thought winning the game 6-0. Former Badger goaltender Jessie Vetter was credited with her second shutout of the tournament, also her only two starts. Former Badger defenseman Molly Engstrom continued her stellar play on Thursday netting a goal and assist. Forward Hilary Knight, who has two seasons left of eligibility after the game are over recorded her first ever Olympic goal yesterday afternoon. Meghan Duggan, continued her hot pace with another goal for the United States.

One good piece of news for Team USA is that forward Erika Lawler was able to play after sitting out a game and a half with an ankle injury. She was able to skate 12 shifts for over 11 minutes of ice time. I'm assuming coach Johnson is easing her into it and she should be pretty close to full go on Monday vs Sweden.
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Dany Heatley and the Canadian men's team got a major scare on Thursday night from the Swiss team. I was away and couldn't see the game but from the sounds of it, it was epic. Heatley, the only former Badger on the Canadian team got things started for the home team with a goal in the first period, his third of this Olympic games. NHL teammate Patrick Marleau and former North Dakota star Jonathon Toews got assists on the play.

Heatley would return the favor to Marleau in the second period, assisting on Marleau's goal that gave Canada a 2-0 lead. But the Swiss team would battle back, scoring two second period goals to tie the game at 2-0 and eventually force overtime.

There was no scoring in the OT and the game went to a shoot-out. I don't think it take a genius to figure out who has the advantage in a shoot-out between Canada and Switzerland. Especially when international rules let Sidney Crosby go more than once in the contest. So Canada got the win in a SO and will play the United States on Sunday. Should be an epic match up.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

USA Women Vs Finland Olympics Game 3 Live Blog

USA Men vs Norway Olympics Game 2 Live Blog

Zengerle Named A 2010 Top 10 Recruit

Mark Zengerle, a 2010 forward recruit from the Badgers who should not be a secret to anyone around here, has been named as the 6th best recruit in the country for 2010 by the new Rivals.com website College Hockey 247.

Zengerle, originally from New York, has been playing his junior hockey with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks of the BCHL. Badger senior captain Ben Street, and goalie Scott Gudmandson also played for Salmon Arm and freshman Derek Lee spent time there before he was traded.

Here are the comments on College Hockey 247 that his head coach in Salmon Arm Matt Hughes had about him, "His vision on the ice, I haven't seen too many guys at this level that see the ice like he does and then can distribute the puck like he can. He's more of a passer than a shooter right now and probably will be in college, at least at first. Mark is a guy that along with his talent, has a great work ethic, and he can come in right away and play some valuable minutes for Wisconsin. He should see time on the power play right away. Few guys slow the game down as much as he does. But he does need to get bigger and stronger."

The 5'11, 178 pound forward had a ridiculously good season last year recording 93 points in 54 games for the Silverbacks. He's taken it to the next level this season and is currently leading the league in scoring with 114 points through 57 games.

I talked with Mark last night and he was very excited as you could imagine. "Considering how many people are moving on to college next year, I am very happy about that (referencing being recognized for the list). It's quite an honor for me."

Knowing that Coach Eaves demands nothing but the best from his players, Mark has really focused this season on improving in other areas than on the score sheet. "The season has gone really well this year. From a statistical standpoint things have gone really good, but I've also improved in other aspects of the game which I think is going to help me the most. I think I've become more responsible in all areas of the ice and take pride in doing the little things more than I did in the past."

I hope coach Eaves is smiling if he's reading that quote.

The regular season is wrapping up in the BCHL and Mark is starting to focus on the playoff stretch run. "Playoffs are coming up soon for our team and hopefully we can gear up and win. From a personal stand point this year has been a success, but I'd love to win with the team."


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Thursday Morning Links

Wisconsin senior captain Blake Geiffrion (pictured, far left) has been named the WCHA Offensive Player of the Week.

Geoffrion had a four point game on Friday night in a Badger victory figuring into all four Wisconsin goals with three assists and a goal of his own. On Saturday night he helped Wisconsin finish off the sweep with two goals and an assist in the 8-4 victory.

Geoffrion currently leads the WCHA in scoring with 32 points in 21 games for the Badgers.

Another important item of note, the captain currently sits with 99 career points. It's a great honor to score 100 points in your college career. Wisconsin senior forward Michael Davies passed the 100 point mark a few weeks ago.
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Hockey In Wisconsin blogger D-Playa had a few thoughts on who he thinks can possibly win some upset games in the WIAA Hockey State Playoffs tomorrow and Friday. The tournament opened on Tuesday.

I like his Hudson pick. They have one of the most talented forwards in the state with Ryan Dau and sometimes that's all you need to carry you come playoff time. They also beat New Richmond once this season. Hard to win in New Richmond's barn though.
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Speaking of the Wisconsin high school tournament, make sure you go over to Wisconsin Prep hockey and check out the previews they have for every team in the tournament.

It's amazing the coverage that they will have throughout the tournament so make sure you make frequent stops over there. During the state tournament they do free web-radio of all the games.
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In Andy Baggot's weekly "5 good minutes" piece, he features Badger senior forward John Mitchell. It's one of the funnier ones that I've read talking about the 2006 National Championship season and having a "stomach issue" during his first practice as a Badger.

Mitchell had a rather disappointing start to his senior campaign but I was very impressed with him this past weekend. He had some really nice passes but I was more impressed wit his puck poise. He really showed some confidence this weekend and I think he's starting to get back into his grove. He'll could be a huge addition if he can start putting up points on the board from that third line.


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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Olympic Live Blogs Tomorrow (Thursday)

We've had some pretty good success live blogging on this site so we're going to try and live blog as much of the Olympic hockey competition as physically possible. (For the, we're 6-2 overall, 2-0 during the Olympics)

As it stands right now, tomorrow I will be live blogging the Men's USA game vs Norway at 2 PM. After the men's game, guest blogger Nicole from Cute Sports will be live blogging the USA women's game vs Finland at 4:30.

Feel free to stop on by if your at work and can't watch the game or if you just want to talk hockey or whatever you want. I'm going to take the blog live at about 1:30 tomorrow afternoon.

Keep in mind that the men's game is on the USA Network, as well as USA Network HD starting at 2:00 PM, and the women's game coverage starts at 4:30 on MSNBC.

Badger Men on USA Olympic Hockey Team
Joe Pavelski-San Jose Sharks
Ryan Suter-Nashville Predators
Brian Rafalski-Detroit Redwings

Badger Women on USA Olympic Hockey Team
Hilary Knight-Current Badger
Meghan Duggan-Current Badger
Jessie Vetter -Former Badger
Erika Lawler-Former Badger
Jinelle Zaugg-Siergiej-Former Badger
Molly Engstrom-Former Badger
Kerry Weiland-Former Badger

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Over-Recruiting Not Just A Wisconsin Problem

Fair, or unfair, the Wisconsin coaching staff has taken an absolute beating over the past few years about over recruiting players to fill their classes. People look at the de-commitments of Patrick Wiercoich, Brock Montpetit, Nick Pryor and Travis Erstad and immediately cry foul without knowing the situation.

Wiercoich took an opportunity to go to college a year earlier when Carle was forced to give up hockey. Pryor could not get himself admitted to school, and Erstad decided to go home and play D-3 at his hometown school. Realistically, only Montpetit was lost because of the numbers at Wisconsin, and he found a better situation for himself with UNO.

But this isn't just a Wisconsin problem. A month ago, North Dakota lost forward Mike Fink (pictured left) due to over-recruiting. Fink committed to North Dakota from Hopkins high school as a sophomore, back in May of 2007 for either 2009 or 2010. (Edit: I guess the Grand Forks Herald reported this in Mid-January)

Fink left high school early to be ready to come to North Dakota as a seasoned USHL forward. When it came time to bring in the 2009 recruiting class, Fink was told to stay that extra year in the USHL. That's fine, he committed for either 2009 or 2010. Recently, when North Dakota was finalizing their 2010 class, they realized they have over-recruited the position and they told Fink they wanted him to stay ANOTHER year in the USHL, which would be his fourth year.

Kids simply do not stay in the USHL for four seasons. Obviously Fink told North Dakota that he was de-committing. "I committed when I was a sophomore and I was so excited but when they told me they thought I needed another year ? I don't want to wait another year," Fink said. "I turn 20 this summer and I'm just ready to start college and move on to the next chapter of my life."

The sad thing is, North Dakota has the same problem on the defensive side of things. They are currently rostering 8 defenseman with Chay Genoway being the only senior. Although it looks like Genoway will be applying for a medical redshirt to play next season and would most likely be granted the redshirt.

Add in two players that have signed letters of intent for next season, Nick Mattson who is playing in Indiana this season after two years with the NTDP, and Derek Forbort, a projected first round pick out of the NTDP, and you have 10 defensemen on your roster. Also, blue chip recruit Dillon Simpson has accelerated his studies to graduate this year and possibly come to North Dakota this season to make it a possible 11 defensemen on the roster. Something just doesn't add up, even if Simpson doesn't come to Grand Forks this season.

The problem doesn't end there in the WCHA. Minnesota has 9 forwards committed for 2010. 9 forwards! That wouldn't be an issue if they were losing a lot, but they only have 4 senior forwards and are only projected to lose Jordan Schroeder and possibly if the Devils make the right offer, Mike Hoeffel early to the pro's.

That means if Schroeder and Hoeffel stay at Minnesota, they will have 20 rostered forwards. I'm not math genius but that's 6 lines and 2 extra forwards. With the types of players Minnesota recruits, I have a tough time believing that anyone is going to be happy playing left wing on the 7th line in Minneapolis when only 4 lines can suit up every night. Recruits are catching on and it has at least one forward, Christian Isackson from St. Thomas Academy considering an offer from the WHL.

So I'm not trying to point fingers or throw anyone under the bus, but I'm sick and tired of Wisconsin recruiting getting ragged on consistently without people taking a look at their own situation.

With the way recruiting is now days, schools are forced to take chances on players younger, and younger every year. People have brought up different ideas to improve on these issues but the realistic issue is that if Mike Eaves, And Dave Hakstol, and Don Lucia can't recruit the elite 15 year olds, then those kids are going to end up playing in Canada. It's a catch 22 that I don't have an answer to.