Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Blake Geoffrion Named Hobey Hat Trick Finalist

University of Wisconsin tri-captain Blake Geoffrion has been named a top three finalist for the 2010 Hobey Baker Memorial Award.

The two other finalists for the Hobey are Maine sophomore forward Gustav Nyquist and New Hampshire senior forward Bobby Butler. Nyquist leads the nation in scoring and Butler was named the Hockey East Player of the Year.

Geoffrion, a senior forward from Brentwood, Tennessee is in my opinion the most well rounded forward in the nation this season. Besides centering the top line for the Badgers, he's also on the first power play unit and is in the first group of penalty killers.

Geoffrion is also a tank in the face off circle winning over 60% of his draws this season. This season Geoffrion has accumulated 27 goals (2nd in the nation) and 21 assists for 48 points in 38 games. Geoffrion also leads the nation in power play goals with 14.

Geoffion has also taken his game to the next level in the playoffs which is a great sign of a leader. The MVP in the West Regional, Geoffrion had a five point weekend in leading the Badgers to the Frozen Four. Geoffrion is the only finalist who's team is in the Frozen Four. Overall in playoff action this season, Geoffrion has recorded 6 goals and 5 assists in 6 contests. Hobey Baker candidates step up in the playoffs and Blake certainly has.

In addition to his accomplishments on the ice, Blake also spends time visiting the UW Children's Hospital, has been a mentor to a cancer patient, and is a Peer Leader lending assistance to UW Students.

The Hobey Baker will be awarded Friday, April 9th, at Ford Field in Detroit. The announcement will be aired live on ESPNU starting at 6:00 PM Central Time.

Photo by Red Heat 15

Hobey Hat-Trick Announcement Today

Step one towards the Hobey Baker was finalized on March 19th when they announced the top 10 finalists for the 2010 Hobey Baker Memorial Award. Two Badgers, junior defenseman Brendan Smith and senior forward Blake Geoffrion were both picked as top 10 finalists.

The second step in the process happens today when the powers that be announce the "Hobey Hat-Trick," or the three finalists who will be in attendance in Detroit when the Hobey is awarded.

There has been great debate over which Badger candidate should be the official candidate for the Hobey. Gandalf the Red presented his case for Geoffrion. I presented my case for Smith.

Up until this past weekend I thought it was going to be impossible to have two out of the three finalists for the Hobey. To be honest, at this point, I'd be surprised if we don't end up with two. I'll literally steal the trophy if we don't end up with one player in the hat-trick. In my opinion Smith has been a lock since the Michigan game and I don't see him not making the final three. Geoffrion continues to impress me every time on the ice and with his West Region MVP, how do you leave him out?

Looking at the third spot, I think you have to eliminate all of the goalies. None of them stand out above each other and none of them had great weekends. I think you look at two players, forwards Bobby Butler from UNH, and Gustav Nyquist from Maine. Nyquist is the leading scorer in the nation but his team didn't make the NCAA tournament. Butler is leading the country in goals scored and was the Hockey East player of the year. I think in the end Butler gets the nod.

So here are my predictions for today's announcement:

Blake Geoffrion-Senior Forward, Wisconsin
Brendan Smith-Junior Defenseman, Wisconsin
Bobby Butler-Senior Forward, New Hampshire

Check in with the blog later for the results.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ford Field Construction Underway

Ford Field Layout

As most of you are probably aware, the NCAA decided that it would be a great idea to play the 2010 Frozen Four inside of an NFL stadium and selected Detroit's Ford Field.

The stadium holds 65,000 for football games, and held 80,000 when expanded for the 2009 NCAA Basketball tournament. The arena was expected to hold upwards of 70,000 fans for the Frozen Four.

With only 22,000 ticket packages accounted for in October, the NCAA made the decision to reconfigure the original placement of the rink. First plans were to place the rink in the middle of the field similar to what was done at the Culvers Camp Randall Hockey Classic. The new plan, as you can see in the picture attached, has the field now perpendicular with the regular football layout.

The new layout is expected to hold about 36,000 spectators, no word on how many tickets have been sold at this point. Risers with seating will be place on both sides of the rink. This design is even different than the layout that Wisconsin played at during the Lambeau Field game. At the Lambeau game, organizers also shrunk the playing area, but they ran the rink parallel with the football field.

In my opinion this design makes the most sense if you're not going to sell out the 70,000 seats. ALL of the seats are now much closer to the playing surface which should make the sight lines average as opposed to awful. This in turn should also make for a better atmosphere for the players on the ice and that's what really matters.

As you could have probably guessed, there are still fantastic seats available. Just to see what was available, I put in for two tickets and got tickets on the field risers in row 27 right on the blueline. I'm not sure it gets much better than that if you are going. I checked out all available price points and there are seats available in every price level except for lower bowl seats that are not on the field.

Price Points:
$189.00-Field Level Risers
$119.00-Club Level
$79.00-Upper Level
$40.00-Upper Level, wrong side of the 50 yard line

Looking at the locations, I was curious to see where the $40.00 tickets were going to be. To be honest with you, I think you would be closer to the action watching the game from Cheli's Chili bar in downtown Detroit. It's a crime that the NCAA is making $40.00 off people for those seats.

Late Night Stats










People have commented all season that they think that the Badgers are giving up too many goals blah blah blah. I've said all along that it's all about goal differential and that we're going to be fine when it all comes down to it. Anyways, thanks to USCHO poster Scooby, we've learned that the top four teams in the country in scoring margin are also the four teams that made it to the Frozen Four in Detroit.

Do I think it's a bit of a coincidence that the top four teams in scoring margin are the four teams in Detroit? A little bit, but the point remains, it's the margin that matters. Have we given up more goals this season then I would have liked? Absolutely. But it helps that we have an offense that can get them back.

In case you were wondering, in 2006, 1.53 was our scoring margin.

Monday, March 29, 2010

WE WANT MORE!!!!



Brian Elliott: He's Freakin' Awesome

Els has once again been named NHL First Star of the Week.

Like everything else, he did it simply by being freakin' awesome. 4 wins in the week with a 1.00 GAA and .966 SV% on 120 shots. Well done, Brian! We offer congratulatory Moose Calls to you.

Frozen Four Fan Bus Update

I had a few request from readers who were looking for information about a possible fan bus to Detroit for the Frozen Four. I contacted the University and they got back to be very quickly actually so I have to thank them for that.

This is the response that I got from the Athletic Department: "The Athletic Department does not have any plans to offer a fan bus to the Frozen Four. However we are working to set up fan events for those making the trip to Detroit and hope to announce those plans shortly. Any announcements will be made on UWBadgers.com."

So it doesn't look like anything is going to be set up through the University for a fan bus. If you are still interested in looking into that option, I would suggest contacting local travel agencies around the area to see if they are willing to set something up. If you do get something going, through a travel agency or on your own, feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at chuckschwartz@live.com and I would be happy to spread the word.

DETROIT ROCK CITY

WCHA Mass Exodus

Well the time has come, It's poaching season! One shoe dropped a few weeks ago because the Gophers suck and their team has been golfing at Hazeltine National Golf Club for two weeks. Since then there has been a steady stream of early departures including two headliners today in Denvers Joe Colborne and Patrick I should be playing in the Frozen Four with Wisconsin Wiercioch. Here is a breakdown of the early departures from the WCHA so far.


Patrick Wiercioch
Denver University
Defense, Sophomore

The first team WCHA performer has signed a contract with the Ottawa Senators who drafted him in the second round in 2008. Wiercioch, a one time Badger commit, has really impressive since coming to the college game. His strength is his offensive play from the blue line and he's going to have to continue to get stronger physically and in his own end to be successful at the NHL level.


Joe Colborne
Denver University
Forward, Sophomore

The hits continue to keep on coming for Denver University. Already losing their top defenseman early (Wiercioch) hurts enough, but Colborne is pouring salt in the wound. Colborne started his career off slow, but the first round draft pick of the Boston Bruins has really come into his own this season. According to LetsGoDU the third team All-WCHA performer has signed a contract with the Boston Bruins. Colborne led the Pioneers in goals scored this season playing on a top line with seniors Rhett Rahkshani and Tyler Ruegsegger.


Rob Bordson
Minnesota-Duluth
Forward, Junior

Rob Bordson is the definition of earning a contract. After being held to zero points as an underachieving sophomore, Bordson broke out as a junior recording 40 points in 40 games. The Anaheim Ducks, who have been very aggressive signing college free agents over the past couple of seasons signed Bordson as soon as the Bulldogs season was over. The 6'2 forward from Duluth has the prototypical NHL size and it was really a no-brainer for him to take the best offer on the table. The Ducks offered him a max contract and as a college free agent, if you don't take that deal you should quit life.


Lee Baldwin
Alaska-Anchorage
Defense, Freshman

According to Anchorage Daily News reporter Doyle Woody, Alaska-Anchorage defenseman Lee Baldwin signed a contract with the New York Rangers last week. I didn't see Baldwin signing a deal this early but if the money is there as a college free agent you have to take it. Unlike drafted players, college free agents have to jump at the opportunity to sign when the offer is right. There are obviously a lot of factors that go into it but I don't blame kids like this one bit. If there is an opportunity you have to take it because if you have a down season or you get injured that opportunity may never be there again.

2010 NCAA Hockey Bracket Challenge Update

So the Frozen Four field has been set and I figured you guys would like an update on the leader board from the 2010 NCAA Hockey Bracket Challenge.

In our first year doing the challenge, we had 76 people sign up which I thought was pretty good for such short notice.

Right now there is a tie at the top between Joe S. and Matthew S. both with 12 points. Both of them have three out of four Frozen Four squads left (BC, Miami, Wisconsin). Both have BC and Wisconsin in the finals but Joe S. has BC winning, and Matthew S. has Wisconsin winning.

The top 5 is rounded out by three competitors tied with 11 points. Phil, Joe W., and Trevor O. all have three Frozen Four teams left as well. Phil can't win because he has the same predicted outcomes that Matthew S. has and Matthew has more points already. Joe W. and Trevor O. could tie each other for the Win if Miami beats Wisconsin in the finals. Unfortunately for Trevor, he forgot to put in a score for the championship game, which is the tie breaker. We shall see if that bites him in the ass.

Thanks for everyone who filled out a bracket. It was pretty painless overall and shouldn't have taken too long. I'm sure it took me 10x longer to set this thing up than it did to fill out. We'll hopefully be doing it again next year and maybe we'll come up with some real prizes this time. I hope whoever wins half my blogging salary isn't too disappointed.

By the way, only two people out of 76 predicted RIT to even win 1 game. C. White and Garrett B. both predicted that RIT would beat Denver. Neither had them making the Frozen Four.

In case you were wondering, I sucked on my predictions. I'm tied for 50th.

West Regional Thoughts...

I've had 24 hours to reflect on my thoughts from the West Regional and I'm still giddy as hell. Such a great feeling knowing your squad is heading to the frozen four. It's an even better feeling knowing that we have just as good of a chance as any squad there to come home from Detroit City with hardware.

First things first, Johnny Mitchell came up huge on Saturday night. I'm not going to take 100% of the credit for his two goals, but if you don't think me posting the picture comparing him to Goose from Top Gun (top left) had something to do with it your borderline retarded. Ok so it obviously had nothing to do with it, but it is great to see Johnny burying some opportunities. He's showed flashes of brilliance this season but nothing for a sustained period of time. If we can get him hot heading into the Frozen Four it's going to be scary.

I thought our defense played solid all weekend. Ryan McDonagh is just a beast. I feel bad that he doesn't get even close to enough credit. The guy flat out is a shut down defenseman. He's like the Deion Sanders of the WCHA. Smitty was solid and had some points. Gardiner stepped up and showed a little offense this weekend. Playing against other teams top lines he doesn't always have opportunities to jump up in the play offensively but when he can he's a major threat. Schultzy has really taken his game to the next level late in his freshman year. I hope we can keep him around for a while. Rammer and Goloubef were solid as well. Two more kids that don't get nearly enough credit.

Looking at the most important part of the Badger lineup, between the pipes, I thought that Gudmandson was good enough. There were a few goals that left me scratching my head but for the most part he looked assertive, confident, and ready to lead us to a title. I've said this all season, our goaltending doesn't have to go out and win us games, it just can't lose us games. If Goody puts us in a spot to win, I like our chances.

Offensively, you have to start with Mr. Geoffrion. I've got all the respect in the world for this guy. On the ice, off the ice, he is Badger hockey. He's making a serious push at the Hobey Baker and I would love nothing more than to see him and Mr. Smith in the final three with one of them winning it. Davies had another solid weekend, that snipe on Friday night was dirty. Steps continues to impress on both ends of the ice, that kid just has a gift with the puck and finding people. If you don't think Davies taking his game to an elite level has anything to do with Stepan your crazy. I thought that Podge did a nice job in both games. He didn't score but he had scoring chance after scoring chance. I wish he could have buried that break away but he wasn't the only Badger not to bury and opportunity this weekend. Andy Bohmbach was great. He was physical, assertive, and was setting up his teammates all weekend.

Overall I really liked the way the boys played this weekend. I'd like a little more consistency out of our PP but it's nice to see us scoring goals even when the PP isn't clicking. This is a Badger squad that can beat you from multiple angles and I think that's what makes us dangerous in this tournament. We're getting scoring from all four lines and there isn't many teams in the country that can say that right now.

We're a confident bunch and we should be. There are 2 other #1 seeds at the Frozen Four but we're just as good if not better than any of the other squads there. RIT is going to be a tough opponent in the opener. Say what you want about their schedule but if you saw them play Denver and UNH you know that they are the real deal. They frustrated both teams and counter attacked when presented an opportunity. We cannot get lax like we did on the PP when we gave up the goal to Festler on Saturday. RIT will make the Badgers pay if they are given an opportunity.

Would have liked to see some better attendance at the X but it was still a pretty good atmosphere. I have to give a shout out to our band and our students. You guys f'ing rock. I was sitting by a bunch of St. Cloud fans as well as Gopher fans and they could not stop talking about how awesome you guys are. Do what you have to do to get yourselves to Detroit.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Frozen Four in Detroit? It's Been Done...

As noted by both Tom Oates (in his article from Madison.com linked here two posts ago) and by an anonymous commentor in the "Welcome to Detroit City" post, we've had success in Detroit in the past.

Of the five Frozen Fours that have been in Detroit, we've been to two of them (1977 at the Olympia and 1990 at the Joe). And we won them both.

For a small variety of reasons, I'm not interested in that fact to try to claim that we're destined to win in Detroit. I'm not a superstitious man, but for the sake of any superstitious readers out there, I have no interest in jinxing our team and that's reason enough for me.

Instead, I'm interested in that fact because its a fun excuse to revisit history. Namely, this highlight reel of the 1990 championship game at the Joe. Embedding is disabled for this video, so I'm just providing the link. I swear I'm not RickRolling you guys.

And no mention of 1990 is complete without a reminder: Sixty Minutes. No Alibis. No Regrets., it's a great motto about how to approach hockey. If you wanted to live your life by that motto... well, you could do a lot worse, that's for sure.

Official Ticket Information From UW Athletic Department

http://www.uwbadgers.com/sports/m-hockey/spec-rel/032810aac.html

March 28, 2010

MADISON, Wis.
– With a 5-3 victory over St. Cloud State on Saturday in the 2010 NCAA West Regional final, Wisconsin has advanced to the 2010 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four. The Badgers open with RIT on April 8 at Ford Field in Detroit.

The all-session ticket price, good for both Frozen Four semifinal games Thursday and Saturday’s Championship Game is $189.

Now that the Badgers have advanced to the Frozen Four, the following ticket policy for donors to athletics will be implemented. Please remember that each participating team receives a limited number of tickets from the NCAA. The UW Athletic Department will only sell and distribute tickets from our NCAA allotment.

Patrons whose 2009 donations to UW Athletics were at the Coach’s Club ($1000+) and above will be granted the opportunity to request 2010 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four tickets. Requests for tickets will be accepted for the Frozen Four in Detroit online at UWBadgers.com beginning at 9 p.m. on Sunday, March 28 and ending 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 30. Requests may also be made in person at the Wisconsin Athletic Ticket Office, located in Kellner Hall (adjacent to Gate 1 of Camp Randall Stadium) or by calling 1-800-GO BADGERS from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday. If tickets remain after 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, they will be available for purchase from all other donors and men’s hockey season ticket holders on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 31.

Please note that the University reserves the right to implement ticket limits per donor account, if demand exceeds supply.

All donors who request Frozen Four tickets will be notified by email of their ticket outcome no later than 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 30. Specific ticket pick-up information will also be released at that time.

West Regional Final Reactions

Video reaction via UW's CBS College Sports page. (Truth be told, my browser is on the rocks right now, so I can't get the video to play. Let me know if the link is any good. Or if it's relevant.)

Quotes as reported by UWBadgers.com.

Milewski: Penalty Kill Tweak Makes a Difference for Wisconsin (USCHO.com)

D. Myers: Team Effort as Wisconsin Reaches Frozen Four (College Hockey News)

Tom Oates: Stars aligning for another UW championship (Madison.com)

Baggot: Mitchell ditches monkey on his back with two goals (Madison.com) Baggot takes the same angle as the recap story from USCHO.com. Anyone want to guess which article was published first?

J. Myers: UW advances to Frozen Four (JSOnline.com... outsourced article because WSJ doesn't have much money and they'd rather cover Brandon Jennings' bowel movements than care about successful teams in Wisconsin)

Another item found courtesy of USCHO.com:

Frozen Four Matchups



Welcome To Detroit City

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Frozen Four Bound!!!! Don't Stop Believin'

UW 5
SCSU 3

Scoring:

1st Period
2:31 UW Mitchell (Bohmbach, Murray)
13:22 UW Geoffrion (McDonagh, B. Smith)
14:48 SC Festler (Lasch, Marvin)
15:21 UW Gardiner (B. Smith, Geoffrion)

2nd Period
No Scoring

3rd Period
4:16 SC Festler (Unassisted) SH
6:54 UW Mitchell (Bohmbach, Gardiner)
17:10 SC Mosey (Eddy) EA
18:52 UW Bendickson (Geoffrion) EN



Badger Press Conference Post Vermont Win

Ok, so this is flat out stolen from USCHO. But I wasn't going to make a blog post just post one link. Anyways, here is a video from USCHO's website of the post game press conference last night. Sorry USCHO guys.

EoDS's Cheers Of The Day

Remember when the Crease Creatures used to sing "Total Eclipse of the Heart" to opposing goaltenders because we wanted them to "turn around"? Thems were good times.

Some cheers/chants/songs/tidbits for today:

(to the tunne of "Oh My Darling Clementine")
Where's your trophies?
Where's your trophies?
Where's your trophies, St. Cloud State?
You don't have one,
You'll never get one,
Where's your trophies, St. Cloud State?

Would SCSU ever hang a "Regional Final Participant" banner?

You can't spell "sucks" without SCSU.

Mike Lee is probably not fully aware of how much of a seive he truly is. Repeatedly reminding him of that fact seems like its just the right thing to do.

An appropriate victory chant tonight: "We screwed the pooch!"

I once took a quiz on the back of a box or Frosted Flakes. I then thought to myself: "Did I just apply to St. Cloud State?" Sure enough, I got an acceptance letter two weeks later.

An ode to Blake Geoffrion (to the tune of "Ants Go Marching One By One")

He fills opponents' hearts with dread, Bamm Bamm! Bamm Bamm!
He's got Hobey Baker creds, Bamm Bamm! Bamm Bamm!
His hockey genes are pretty nice,
He's Captain Kickass on the ice,
He's Blake Geoffrion, Wisconsin's number five!

Justin Schultz, Mike Davies, Blake Geoffrion, I'm in Love

And if you saw last night's game, you'd know why . . .

Justin Schultz started things out right for the Badgers with the first goal of the evening, and then he had a heck of an assist on Blake Geoffrion's game-winner. And I'm honestly a bit surprised that he didn't have more points last night, as I kept expecting him to pick up another PP goal -- unfortunately, the puck never seemed to find Schultz on the number of occasions that the Catamounts allowed him to go to the net during the Badgers' PPs. Now I might be biased, as I'm sure you know that I'm a pretty big Justin Schultz fan, but I gotta tell ya I really liked his play last night.

And what can I say about Mike Davies and Blake Geoffrion? As we've come to expect of them this season, they came up big for the Badgers with timely goals. Nice work, boys!

uwbadgers: recap -- with links to box score, postgame quotes, postgame presser, and game blog
WSJ: Baggot, Oates
uscho: Buckentine, Worgull, game blog

ON WISCONSIN!

Holy Cats!

While catching the last 2 minutes of the Denver/RIT game on TV at the X before the start of the Northern/St Cloud game, I looked at Mr 60 and said "Holy Cats!". "Holy Cats!" sounds a lot better than "holy crap!" (which is what I almost said), and it's almost as much fun as saying "Holy Cross!". Give it a try . . . HOLY CATS!

I can't count how many times I said "Holy Cats!" yesterday. During 3 of yesterday's 4 games, I made that exclamation quite a bit, as the RIT Tigers picked off Denver, the UNH Wildcats picked off Cornell, and the Northern Michigan Wildcats somehow came from behind to tie things up with St. Cloud before falling in the 2nd overtime.

Of course, it goes without saying that I didn't use the expression in the 4th game last night, even when the Vermont Catamounts took the lead . . . as I remarked to the very nice Badger fan sitting next to us, we weren't really losing, we were just delayed a bit on our way to victory . . . GO BADGERS!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bring On Jan Brady State!!!!!!

Friday Regional Updates

RIT 2, Denver 1-FINAL

First Period Scoring:

RIT-Chris Tanev, unassisted
Second Period Scoring:
None
Third Period Scoring:
RIT-Cameron Burt from Ringwald and Favot
Denver-Joe Colborne from Ruegsegger and Wiercoich

St. Cloud 4, Northern Michigan 3-FINAL 2OT

First Period Scoring:
SCSU-Travis Novac from Leblanc
SCSU-Ryan Lasch from Roe and Raboin
NMU-Ryan Florek
Second Period Scoring:
SCSU-Garrett Roe from Lasch and Marvin
NMU-Ray Kaunisto
unassisted
Third Period Scoring:
NMU-Erik Spardy from Olver and Florek
Overtime Scoring:
SCSU-Tony Mosey

Cornell 2, New Hampshire 6-FINAL


First Period Scoring:
Cornell-Tyler Roeszler from Joe Devin
Second Period Scoring:
UNH-Bobby Butler
UNH-Mike Sislo (Superior, WI)
Third Period Scoring:
UNH-Paul Thompson from Butler
UNH-Bobby Butler (2)
UNH-Mike Sislo (2)
Cornell-Nichols from Nash and Ross
UNH-Paul Thompson (2)

Wisconsin 3, Vermont 2-FINAL


First Period Scoring:

Wisconsin Area TV Schedule This Weekend

All Times Central Standard

FRIDAY

2:00-Denver vs RIT (LIVE) ESPNU
5:30-Cornell vs New Hampshire (LIVE) ESPNU
8:00-Wisconsin vs Vermont (LIVE) ESPNU
10:30-St. Cloud vs Northern Michigan (Tape Delay) ESPNU

Saturday

3:00-Miami vs Alabama-Huntsville (LIVE) ESPNU
4:00-North Dakota vs Yale (LIVE) FSN NORTH
5:30-East Region Final (LIVE) ESPNU
6:30-Michigan vs Bemidji State (LIVE) FSN NORTH
8:00-West Region Final (LIVE) ESPNU
10:30-Michigan vs Bemidji (Tape Delay) ESPNU

Sunday

4:30-Northeast Region Final (LIVE) ESPNU
7:00-Mid-West Region Final (LIVE) ESPNU

NCAA First Round: Friday Line Chart vs Vermont

Well the time has finally come. You win, you move on. You lose, you go home. The first one to win 4 straight games wins a glorious wood trophy and individual rings for all it's members. Does Wisconsin have what it takes to go on a run? I think they do, but the time is now for them to prove it to the rest of the nation.

Tonight we open with the Catamounts from Vermont. What is a Catamount you ask? I have no freaking clue. I'm not worried about these tree hugers. The best thing about Vermont is that it isn't in Canada. Or is it?

We're going to need to be firing on all cylinders right from the get go tonight. All four lines need to be rolling, the power play needs to be clicking, and we need to stay out of the box. Most importantly, Goody needs to be sharp.

BTW, Podge broke a piece of glass in practice at the X with a slapper already this weekend. Hopefully he's ready to play.

Projected lines courtesy of Andy Baggot

WISCONSIN

Andy Bohmbach-Blake Geoffrion(C)-Craig Smith
Jordy Murray-Derek Stepan-Michael Davies
Ben Street(C)-Aaron Bendickson-Ben Grotting
John Mitchell-Sean Dolan-Podge Turnbull

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

Scott Gudmandson

VERMONT

Colin Vock-Brayden Irwin-Sebastian Stalberg
Josh Burrows-Brian Roloff-Chris McCarthy
Brett Leonard-Jay Anctil-Tobias Nilsson Roos
Jack Downing-Jonathan Higgins-David Pacan

Drew MacKenzie-Kyle Medvec
Dan Lawson-Kevan Miller
Patrick Cullity-Anders Franzon

Rob Madore

I'm on Vacation, I'm in Love

I don't care if Monday's blue
Tuesday's gray and Wednesday too
Thursday I don't care about you
It's Friday, I'm in love

Monday you can fall apart
Tuesday, Wednesday break my heart
Oh, Thursday doesn't even start
It's Friday I'm in love

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


Gotta go get breakfast, Mr 60 is hungry, and you don't want to mess with a hungry Mr 60. So you're not going to get an It's Friday I'm in Love (not that you've gotten one in the last month anyway, but bygones, etc, and Chuck has been keeping you updated, luv you Chuck! Which reminds me, Chuck, I'm doubling your salary, so that when you give half of it to the contest winner, you won't lose anything. Oh, wait . . . ) But I just wanted to share a few quick thoughts . . .

  1. CAPTAIN ASS-KICKER FOR HOBEY! I'm not gonna lie, I'm more than a little bit in love, here. Blake Geoffrion, I'm in Love.
  2. BOHMBER!! A well-deserved promotion to one of the top lines. Andy Bohmbach, I'm in Love.
  3. JUSTIN SCHULTZ, congrats on the much-deserved naming to the WCHA all-rookie team. the WCHA can be rough on freshmen defenseman, and he's never looked like a freshman out there to me. Justin Schultz, I'm in Love.
  4. JORDY MURRAY, I was supposed to tell you that 11-year old Anna from Rockford says "hi", which she asked me to do after hearing that I had talked to you Friday of 1st-round WCHA playoffs in Madison, but alas, I didn't run into you on Saturday. (Which is really to bad on Sat, as I "was" you on Sat, lol.) Anna and I expect great things from you this weekend! Jorday Murray, We're in Love.
  5. AARON BENDICKSON, BEN GROTTING are two players I really enjoy watching. Gotta love a couple of seniors who play hard every night, especially when their hard work directly contributes to some pretty good results. Dang, aren't they fun to watch play? Aaron Bendickson, Ben Grotting, I'm in Love.
  6. No disrespect to Patrick Johnson (I still luv ya, Patrick), but it was nice to see PODGE TURNBULL get back in the lineup, as I think he's been Gorowsky'd a bit this season. As Chuck would say, it's nice to see him get a fair shake. Podge Turnbull, I'm in Love.
  7. EXILE, I'm in Love. Love you're cheers for this weekend! I knew there was a reason I "hired" you!

EoDS's cheers of the day

I cannot be in St. Paul with our beloved Badgers, but for those who are, here are a few cheers and songs to sing that I'll recommend for tonight:



Any cheers that describe how much Ben and Jerry's suck get bonus points.

Vermont's goalie, Rob Madore, is a great big sieve. Be sure to remind him at every passing opportunity. His mother's name is Lisa.

"New Hampshire rejects"

NMU or SCSU themed taunts to follow for tomorrow. Okay, let's be serious, we all know that Jan Brady won't be winning this afternoon. It's just destiny.

And if any annoying gopher fans give you lip (a distinct possibility... you are in St. Paul), sing this to the tune of "Oh My Darling, Clementine":

Are you watching?
Are you watching?
Are you watching, Gopher fans?
Are you watching?
Are you watching?
Are you watching, Gopher fans?

Where'd your team go?
I can't find them!
Where'd your team go, Gopher fans?
Are they missing?
Are they golfing?
Where'd your team go, Gopher fans?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wisconsin vs Vermont, 8:00 PM Friday On ESPNU

2010 NCAA Hockey Bracket Challenge

I've put together a little bracket challenge for you all on the Bracket Maker website.

It's pretty simple to sign up and fill out your bracket. Compete against all the other degenerate college hockey fans that visit this site.

I realize that this is last minute but it seriously only takes like 2 minutes to do.

When you get to the Championship, make sure you enter a score for the title game. Ties will be broken by total goals scored in the championship.

Winner gets half of my salary from this blog. So...it's a pretty big deal.

Brackets will only be accepted until 11:00 AM CST tomorrow monring. Anything after will be noted as a late bracket on the site.

CLICK HERE TO START

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Thursday Morning Links

Andy Baggot has a real nice interview up from last night with Wisconsin Hockey play by play announcer Brian Posick (pictured left). Posick, besides his play by play duties is also the sports director at WIBA Radio in Madison.

Baggot talks with Posick about his duties as a voter for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award. Posick is also a voter for the Heisman Trophy and the John Wooden Award. Posick didn't tip his hand in the interview, but I could sense he was leaning towards Brendan Smith. Just my opinion though.
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Joe from the Gross Misconduct Hockey Blog has a primer for the NCAA Hockey Tournament up on his blog. In the article he talks about how since the tournament has grown from 12 to 16 teams, the number of upsets has continued to grow. He's got a great point. Last season we saw two number 4 seeds, a number 3 seed, and a number 1 seed in the Frozen Four. You can't expect that to happen this year but with the way things are going, you just never know.
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United States College Hockey Online is doing a live chat tomorrow with a bunch of their writers at noon central time. It doesn't say exactly who will be there to do the live chat, but I would assume that former Wisconsin beat writer Todd Milewski will be involved in there and probably Jayson Moy, bracketologist extraordinaire as well.
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Another good link from USCHO is an article written by Dave Starman talking about the 16 reasons to cheer this season. Basically Starman has written a paragraph about each team. When talking about Wisconsin he notes that he feels Johnny Ramage is probably our unsung hero this season. I think I would have to agree with him.

I also loved this quote, "Wisconsin winning a national title in hockey is like Alabama winning a national title in college football. It might ruffle a feather or two but it’s good for the business."
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Keeping with the USCHO trend, Jim Connelly has put together a preview for the West Regional in St. Paul. Connelly does a pretty spot on job assessing the Badgers if you ask me. He mentions that they offense and defense are dynamic but it's the goaltending that is going to determine how far the Badgers can ultimately go.

Connelly also has quotes from Eaves and the familiarity of playing at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, "We’re excited to be going back to St. Paul; there’s a certain familiarity [and] we’ve been there two out of the past three weekends so hopefully that’ll be a plus and everybody’s very excited to go,” said coach Mike Eaves. “We have a little familiarity with the Xcel [Energy] Center because we hold the Final Five there and secondly, is because of the big fan base; our fans will be able to travel.”
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Andy Baggot has a nice article up on Freshman winger Craig Smith from Madison. He talks about how much the freshman has grown up in his first year on campus. Smith has always had a bit of a penchant for taking too many penalties but he's toned it down as the season has worn on. Baggot points out that in his first 16 games he took 21 penalties. In the 21 games since, he's only taken 7.

Smith has had a very nice freshman season which led to him being named to the All-WCHA freshman team. The Nashville product has exceeded my expectations this season and has really developed into an elite forward early in his career.

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My Vote For The Hobey: Brendan Smith

First of all, my apologies to Blake Geoffrion. A very deserving player and a great Badger captain.

With that said, in my opinion, Brendan Smith is the choice for this seasons Hobey Baker Memorial Award. The Junior defenseman has put together one of the best years for any defenseman in recent memory. Smith is the first Badger defenseman since Barry Richter in 1993 to eclipse the 40 point plateau.

The Mimico, Ontario native has put together a line of 15 goals and 30 assists for 45 points in 38 games. That's 1.18 points per game from the blueline. He's first in scoring among all defensemen in the country and 10th in the country in assists. His over-all point totals are good enough for 19th in the nation among all skaters.

There can be a case made for a lot of the other 9 finalist for this years Hobey, and that's the problem. All the players are great, but other than Smith, no one stands out at their position.

Looking at the goalies, there is a strong case for all three goaltenders Marc Cheverie from Denver, Ben Scrivens from Cornell, and Cody Reichard from Miami. But you can't honestly tell me that one of them is hands down better than the other. So you can basically eliminate the goalies from consideration.

When you look at the forwards, how do you differentiate between Bobby Butler from UNH, Blake Geoffrion from Wisconsin, Gustav Nyquist from Maine, Mark Olver from Northern Michigan, Chase Polacek from RPI, and Rhett Rahkshani from Denver? You really can't. It's a pretty blah group overall.

Looking at the defensemen, you have a clear cut, hands down favorite in Brendan Smith. There isn't even a defenseman in consideration this season. Currently there isn't even another defenseman in the top 50 in scoring in the country. Smith's next closest competitor nationally is 10 ponits back. In the WCHA, the next closest defenseman is an insaine 17 points back of Smith. Last year, when Boston University defenseman Matt Gilroy won the Hobey, he finished the season with 37 points, only .822 per game. And here sits Smith with 45 points, 1.18 per game.

You want another incredible statistic? No defenseman besides Smith has scored more than 42 points since Matt Carle had 53 in 2006. And yes, Carle won the Hobey that season, over Wisconsin goaltender Brian Elliott.

Smith has taken great strides in his defensive game as well. When he came to Wisconsin he was a flat out liability in his own end. He's worked his ass off and he plays considerable minutes, including time on the penalty kill. The unit of Smith and freshman John Ramage has actually been one of our most consistent units all season long.

On the power play Smith has become an absolute assassin. His 11 power play goals are good enough for sixth overall in the country. The WCHA defenseman of the year has found a niche spotting up on the the top of the circles and unleashing one of the best cannons around. His two power play goals in the last 5 minutes of the game against Michigan in the Camp Randall Hockey Classic clinched a clutch, must needed victory for the Badgers.

In my honest opinion there isn't a clear cut decision for the Hobey or even a clear cut top 3 besides Smith. Nyquist is the leading scorer in the country but his team didn't even make the NCAA tournament and the Hobey voters tend to favor players in the tournament. So that's my two cents. Commence the ripping in the comment section.

Photo by RedHeat15

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

No, boys. There's two "O"s in Goose.



Updated Recruiting Statistics

Wisconsin Committed Recruits


















Wisconsin Potential Recruits


Mustache March-Bring Yours To St. Paul!

So if you haven't heard already, the boys are all rocking cheesy mustaches for the playoffs this year. Blake Geoffrion has provided us with a few pictures of Aaron Bendickson and Cody Goloubef. Last weekend in St. Paul me and my crew all went fake mustaches. I'm challenging all you Badger fans out there to go to your local party store and get yourself some fake mustaches for the weekend for good luck. If you have a real one or can cut your facial hair into one, that would be awesome. The dirtier the better. I'll be there with mine on you can guarantee that.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

NHL Badgers Update

Seventeen former University of Wisconsin Badger hockey players have played in the National Hockey League this season. I've put together a brief update on each of the players, regardless of their current NHL status.

By the way, I wrote this article before/during the early NHL games tonight so the stats listed only reflect the games played prior to Tuesday. For reference, Joe Pavelski, Dany Heatley, Rene Bourque, and Tommy Gilbert have all scored as of the time of this update. Brian Elliott also had a shutout.

Rene Bourque-Calgary Flames
Rene is the proud owner of a big fat new contract. The deal is worth 19.8 million over the next six seasons. The 28 year old winger from Alberta is having the best season of his NHL career. Only 63 games into the season, he's already set career highs in both goals and assists. Bourque is currently the second leading scorer on the Calgary Flames behind Jerome Iginla with a line of 22-28-50. Not bad for a college free agent.

Adam Burish-Chicago Blackhawks
Burish has been the heart and soul of the Blackhawks over the past couple of seasons and he was truly missed when he missed most of the season with a knee injury that happened in the pre-season. He's recently returned and had an assist and got into a fight in his first two shifts back in the NHL. Still trying to get his legs back, Burish has played in 6 games so far in his return from injury. Burish will be an unrestricted free agent at seasons end.

Chris Chelios-Atlanta Thrashers
The 48 year old continues to amaze doesn't he? If you read the blog you know I'm a huge fan of this old dog and his return to the National Hockey League. Cheli was called up from the Chicago Wolves of the AHL a few weeks ago and has played in three games for the Thrashers. He's yet to record a point but is averaging over 13 minutes a game and is a valuable resource for a young defenseman like 19 year old Zach Bogosian.

Jake Dowell-Chicago Blackhawks (not active)
Jake is currently playing with Rockford in the American League (Blackhawks affiliate). He's spent most of the season with the IceHogs but has been called up to the big club twice this season. The Eau Claire, Wisconsin native was called up for two games in October. After going back to Rockford for a few months, he was called up to play in one game with the Hawks right before the Olympic break and had a goal and and assist vs Columbus.

Davis Drewiske-LA Kings
Davis has been rostered by the Kings all season long and signed a new contract extension at the start of the season that will keep him in LA until the end of the 2013 season. The Hudson, Wisconsin native was really starting to come into his own before an injury in January put him on the shelf. Since coming back from the injury, he's had a tough time cracking the lineup. The 25 year old has put together a line of 1-7-8 through 40 games.

Robbie Earl-Minnesota Wild (not active)
Robbie has been up and down with the Wild all season long. I'm having a tough time figuring out what the Wild are trying to do with him. He's already cleared waivers twice and I can't figure out why. When he's been up with the big club, the Chicago native has been solid. He's gotten virtually no ice tie when suiting up for the Wild, yet he's scored six goals in 29 games. Robbie will be a Restricted Free Agent next season, hopefully he can find himself a full time NHL gig somewhere. He deserves it.

Brian Elliott-Ottawa Senators
Brian has taken over the starting role for the Sens this season and has thrived in his native Canada. Even a recent losing streak has not affected Elliott's numbers too bad. He currently has a .908 save percentage and a 2.58 GAA. The Ontario native is grossly underpaid at 850,000 a season. You can bet that if he keeps up this play, the Senators are going to do everything they can to lock down the 24 year old former Hobey Finalist.

Tommy Gilbert-Edmonton Oilers
Tom stepped out of his Wisconsin uniform, straight into his Edmonton uniform and never skipped a beat. The Bloomington, Minnesota defenseman is having a bit of a down season from a points perspective, but the Oilers are pathetic. They are the worst team in the league and it's not even close right now. They trail the next worst team by 11 points. They need some changes in Edmonton. Gilbert is locked up until the end of the 2014 season. For his sake, lets hope the infuse some talent in there. He's currently running a line of 2-14-16 through 72 games.

Dany Heatley-San Jose Sharks
The ****ing all star is back to his career norms and he's averaging over a point per game again. When not driving around on Eugene's lake on his $4 million he stole from the Senators, Heatley is having a great offensive season. Heatley recently won a gold medal with the Canadians at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. The former Badger All-American has 37 goals and 37 assists through 72 games this season. Heatley is owed 7.5 mil until the end of the 2014 hockey season. Heres to hoping he can send a little bit of that for a new practice facility on campus.

Jamie McBain-Carolina Hurricanes
The latest of the Badgers to make their NHL debuts, McBain has made an immediate impact for the Hurricanes. He scored his first NHL goal on Saturday in overtime to defeat the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins. McBain is playing gobs of minutes and already has 5 points in his first 4 NHL games. It kind of makes you wonder what the hell took Carolina so long to call him up.

Joe Pavelski-San Jose Sharks
The Polish Prince is doing it once again. One of the most under-rated players in the league won a silver medal with the United States at the Olympics. The Plover, Wisconsin native is carrying a line of 21-25-46 through 57 games this season with the Sharks. Pavelski has been banged up at times this season but when healthy he's been a beast. Pav's is a restricted free agent at seasons end and should be in line for a nice little pay raise.

Brian Rafalski-Detroit Redwings

Man did this guy ever have a great Olymics. Rafalski really showed how valuable he is to the wings by stepping out of Lidstroms shadow and carrying the United States defensively. The veteran rear guard is once again having a great season for Detroit with a 7-30-37 line through 68 games. Rafalski is under contract for the next two seasons. We shall see if the wings have another run or two left in them with Rafalski.

Steve Reinprecht-Florida Panthers
First of all, Reinprecht got robbed of the Hobey. Now that we have that out of the way, Rhino has gone to a place where players go to die, Florida. Reinprecht is actually having a nice little season down there though. He's third on the Panthers in scoring with a line of 15-22-37 through 71 games. The Panthers have a lot of money tied up already next season so I would expect some players to get moved. Let's hope for Rhino's sake that it's him.

Jack Skille-Chicago Blackhawks (not active)

Skille is his own worst nightmare right now. He has the talent to play in the NHL and should be playing at that level. The problem is, that Dale Talon screwed up the Blackhawks cap wise, and they simply cannot afford his NHL contract right now. The Verona, Wisconsin native has been up for 6 random games for the Hawks this season and has a goal and an assist. He's going to be a restricted free agent at seasons end. At this point, I don't see the Hawks matching any contract that he is given. It will be good for Skille to get out of the Chicago system.

Ryan Suter-Nashville Predators
Another Badger Olympian, Suter has been an absolute rock for the Predators this season. A top 10 draft pick out of Madison, Suter has lived up to the hype and showed his talent on the worlds biggest stage at the Olympics. Suter has put together a line so far this season of 3-30-33 through 73 games. Suter has two years left on his current contract with the Preds. He will be 27 and in his prime when that deal is done. Can you say...cha-ching!

Brad Winchester-St. Louis Blues

Winchester is your typical grind it out forward. He's had a much better NHL career than I thought he would have. The 29 year old out of Madison has only recorded a line of 2-4-6 through 58 games, but he's been a physical force for the blues racking up over 100 penalty minutes this season. He'll be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Andy Wozniewski-Boston Bruins (not active)
First of all, I need to apologize for skipping Woz when I was talking about NHL Badgers last week when Mcbain got called up. Woz has spent most of his time in the American Hockey League with Providence where he's actually played really well recording 41 points in 65 games. He was called up in October and played two games with the Bruins where he didn't record a point. He will be an unrestricted free agent at seasons end.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Current Wisconsin Lineup Analysis

After rolling out the exact same 20 players for 12 straight games, including the exact same lineup for 10 straight contests, Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves changed things up on Saturday afternoon during the third place game of the WCHA Final Five vs Denver.

Under performing winger Junior Patrick Johnson, who has managed a meager 1 assist over his past 19 games and hasn't scored a goal since December 4th was benched in favor of Junior Podge Turnbull. While Turnbull didn't show up on the scoresheet Saturday, his presence was immediately felt. #8 was flying around all afternoon and generated some shots and threw his body around as well.

Not only did Eaves swap Turnbull and Johnson, but he made a change to every single forward line. Andy Bohmbach was promoted to a familiar role as a wing with Blake Geoffrion, Jordy Muray was paired up with old Shattuck teammate Derek Stepan, and Ben Street hooked onto a line with fellow seniors Aaron Bendickson and Ben Grotting.

Eaves spoke to the media on Sunday afternoon and told reporters that he just felt his squad needed a shakeup. "What we did was coming because of the staleness that we had been seeing kind of creep in,'' he said. "We changed at the right time, got some good jump. So we'll start the week with the lineup that we had.''

The last part of the quote about keeping the same lineup heading in to this week is music to the ears of many Badger fans who have been calling for a change to be made for weeks. At this point in the season you need to be firing on all cylinders and this was a move that needed to be made.

Andy Bohmbach-Blake Geoffrion-Craig Smith
My favorite part about this line is that it gives you a player in Bohmbach that can step in and take an important faceoff in a crucial time in case Blake Geoffrion gets kicked out of the circle. Blake is obviously great and Smith has been phenomenal. Blake and Bohmber spent a lot of time playing together last season and hopefully they can pick up where they left off. This is going to be an important line also on the defensive side of things.

They are going to be matched up with top lines from other schools and Bohmbach and Geoffrion are arguably our best two defensive forwards. The most amazing thing about Bohmbach this season is that he was still producing even though he's been in a limited roll on the fourth line. I challenge someone to find me another fourth liner in the country with over 20 points. It just simply does not happen.

Jordy Murray-Derek Stepan-Michael Davies
I have a hard time believing that there is a higher second line scoring combination in the entire country. 117 points out of three players matched up on a second unit is un-real. Especially with 98 of those points coming from two players. Stepan and Davies has been an absolutely dynamic unit all season so I was glad that they were kept together. Davies is a threat to score anytime he is on the ice and Stepan knows how to feed him the rock. Hell those two even combined to score a goal by Stepan shooting it off Davies. Murray is a guy who has played a lot with Stepan in the past at Wisconsin and in high school at Shattuck St. Marys. The two are comfortable with each other and should immediately make an impact.

Ben Street-Aaron Bendickson-Ben Grotting
Interesting line here as I can't recall Street ever playing with either of these two. We've got three seniors locked in an a very important line. One of the Badgers advantages is the depth they roll out offensively. Most teams are happy to be a plus/minus even when it comes to the bottom two lines, the Badgers are looking to take advantage of that and score with this line. Street is sitting just below the 30 point mark and Bendickson has been hot as of late notching his 9th, 10th and 11th goals of the season two weeks ago against Alaska Anchorage. Bendickson and Street didn't take much time to get rolling as they notched the Badgers first goal on Saturday on their first shift together.

Grotting is an undervalued player that this team needs more of right now. Physically he's a beast and he'll run through a brick wall for his team. Not many players had great weekends when the Badgers split a series with Minnesota a few weeks ago but I felt Grotting really played well. He didn't score that weekend but he took the puck hard to the net multiple times and created opportunities for teammates.

John Mitchell-Sean Dolan-Podge Turnbull
A bit of a hodge podge (no pun intended) from this line here. Couldn't be more excited to see Turnbull finally get a fair shake at a lineup spot. Dolan picked up a goal with this line on Saturday and has been a fairly consistent pivot on the fourth line. Mitchell and Dolan have played a great deal together during their careers at Wisconsin and that seems to be a common trend in the new lines. Mitchell has proven that he can score goals in bunches and hopefully this move wakes him from his season long slumber.

Recruiting: Badgers Focusing On Chicago Talent

When USA Hockey released the names of the 47 players invited to the NTDP Tryout Camp a little over a week ago, there was one obvious trend. Chicago looks absolutely loaded at the 1994 level (2012 recruits).

Overall 11 players from the state of Illinois have been invited to the tryout which starts Friday and runs through Tuesday. 9 of those players are currently playing midget hockey in Chicago including 6 from the Chicago Mission program alone (2 from CYA, 1 from Fury).

With the proximity of the Wisconsin campus, the lack of a Division 1 program in the state of Illinois, and the tradition and prestige of the Wisconsin hockey, it's only natural for many of these players to have a strong interest in the Badger program. Looking through Rivals new site, CollegeHockey247.com, it becomes very apparent that Eaves and company are taking a good hard look at the boys from the windy City.

The first player is an interesting prospect. Alex Galchenyuk (pictured) from the Chicago Young Americans program was born in the states but his family is from Russia. Besides living in the states, he's also spent time living in Russia and Italy. He's an absolute stud but is a serious flight risk to the OHL. Galchenyuk absolutely obliterated the Tier 1 U-16 league in scoring this season. He recorded 87 points in 38 games, 33 points more than the second place finisher.

Galchenyuk, a 6'1, 184 pound forward has heard from Yale and Wisconsin and has been invited to the NTDP camp next weekend, but he's still undecided on his next team. I've seen projections that have Galchenyuk as high as a top 5 pick in the upcoming OHL draft. His coach mentions in the article linked above that it's going to depend on how high and what team drafts him. In the end this is a kid who is probably going to end up hearing "Oh Canada" before the start of his games next season.

The Chicago Mission program, which I mentioned earlier got 6 invites to the USA tryout, houses two potential Badger recruits at the U-16 level. Forward Ray Pigozzi, and defenseman Justin Wade.

Pigozzi is a smaller forward, but a very dynamic forward. He's listed at 5'11, 165 but has two and a half years before he would ever even step onto a college campus. In the CollegeHockey247.com article that I linked above, his coach talks about how strong his lower body is and how skilled he is with the puck. Pigozzi has already visited the campus according to CollegeHockey247.com during the football season. From the sounds of the article, Pigozzi loved everything about his visit. He is also currently considering New Hampshire, Michigan, and Minnesota-Duluth. I've seen projections as high as the second round in the upcoming OHL Priority Selection for Pigozzi. I think in the end Pigozzi ends up in college.

Chris from Western College Hockey has had some nice things to say about Pigozzi. He saw him this fall at the NAHL Showcase and said this, "Really impressive. Great offensive instincts, and isn't the biggest guy, but isn't afraid to throw his weight around."

Justin Wade is a shutdown defender in the Johnny Ramage mold. He's also not short on confidence, which I love in a player. In the article listed above his coach also talks about his high hockey IQ. Wade is already listed at 6'2, 197 pounds as a 15 year old. CollegeHockey247 says that he may be a high pick in the upcoming OHL Priority Selection, but from every indication, it sounds like he's committed to the college game. According to the article he's been getting a ton of interest but at this time he only lists Wisconsin as a possible destination.

I also wanted to remind you that 2012 committed forward recruit Nick Kerdiles who I interviewed after he committed in February will also be at the tryout camp. If you remember from the interview, he has already been offered and has accepted a spot in Ann Arbor with the USA NTDP U17's for next season. With Kerdiles, Corbin McGuire, and Jordan Schmaltz already lined up for 2012, adding 1 or 2 of the guys listed above would make this an absolutely sick class.

Let's Bring The Best Fans In The Country To St. Paul

We need to bring the noise like it's a home game this weekend in St. Paul. Get your tickets!





All-WCHA Academic Teams

Saw this earlier but it got lost in the posting shuffle. March 12th the WCHA announced the All-Academic teams.

According to the release, "To earn recognition as a member of the All-WCHA Academic Team, member team student-athletes must meet the following criteria: 1) have completed one year of residency at present institution, prior to the current academic year; and 2) have a grade point average of at least 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) for the previous two semesters or three quarters, or may qualify if his overall GPA is at least 3.00 for all terms at his present institution."

Five Badgers were honored by the WCHA this season. The list is led by second time honoree Ryan McDonagh (Arden Hills, MN) and the only four time winner in the league (due to his extra season with the medical redshirt) Ben Street (Coquitlam, BC). Senior Aaron Bendickson (Thief River Falls, MN), Sophomore Ryan Little (Fond du Lac, WI), and Sophomore Eric Springer (Wrightstown, WI) were awarded recognition by the WCHA for the first time.

Congratulations by all Five Badgers awarded, and to all 119 athletes honored by the WCHA.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hey Hey What-a-ya Say Jamie McBain!

ITT Tech Wins Intense College Hockey NIT

What a great weekend of hockey at the Bloomington Ice Gardens. Third seeded ITT Tech was crowned champions this afternoon when they defeated the Chef's of Le Cordon Bleu 2-1 in an epic battle.

ITT Tech got to the title game after they knocked off Normandale Community College in a semi-final on Saturday afternoon. Normandale was the sexy pick of the tournament by hockey experts. Normandale's premier player, forward John Cooper was shut down for the most part this weekend.

Le Cordon Bleu, who is led by goaltender and All-Culinary Conference MVP Chef Johan Svendson knocked off top seeded Minnesota in the other semi-final. Many experts felt Minnesota was a bit over-rated and was only given the #1 overall seed to help attendance on Saturday night in Bloomington to compete with the WCHA Final Five championship game in St. Paul.

In the championship game, forward Michaela Powers took over. Le Cordon Bleu's goaltender Svendson was great but Powers had two goals and the Chef's couldn't muster enough offense to take the title.

Powers got ITT Tech on the board early in the second when she took a feed from Jeff Holloway and beat Svendson glove side. Le Cordon Bleu would tie the game late in the second on a tip in by Timmy Smith. Powers netted the game winner with 6:35 left in the third on the Power Play when she picked up a rebound and snuck it by a sprawling Svendson.

All-NIT Tournament Team

F-Michaela Powers-ITT Tech
F-Jeff Holloway-ITT Tech
F-Calvin Yount-Normandale CC
D-Matthew Swisher-LeCordon Bleu
D-Houston Sampson-Hennepin County CC
G-Johan Svendson-LeCordon Bleu

Badgers Nab #1 Seed In St. Paul






















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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Geoffrion, Smith Named Hobey Baker Finalists


The Hobey Baker Memorial Award Foundation have announced their top ten finalists for the 2010 Hobey Baker. I'm happy to let you guys know that Blake Geoffrion (aka Bamm Bamm, aka Captain Kickass, aka Captain Asskicker) and Brendan Smith (aka Smitty, aka I Don't Have Blake's Cool Nicknames) are among the ten. Both are absolutely deserving of the honor, and I could picture either one of them taking it home. For all the intangibles he's brought to UW this year, I'd have to side with my fellow bloggers and say that my vote would be for Geoffrion.

Either way, a huge congratulations to both Badgers, as they have represented themselves, their school and their fans with pride this season. Way to go, fellas!

The Hobey Top Ten (alphabetically):

Bobby Butler (New Hampshire, F, Sr)
Marc Cheverie (Denver, G, Jr)
Blake Geoffrion (Wisconsin, F, Sr)
Gustav Nyquist (Maine, F, So)
Mark Olver (Northern Michigan, F, Jr)
Chase Polacek (RPI, F, Jr)
Rhett Rakhshani (Denver, F, Sr)
Cody Reichard (Miami, G, So)
Ben Scrivens (Cornell, G, Sr)
Brendan Smith (Wisconsin, D, Jr)

The blurbs on the Badgers from the official release:

Blake Geoffrion – University of Wisconsin, Senior, Forward, Brentwood, Tennessee
The second-year captain has been especially strong in WCHA play. Geoffrion leads the conference in goals with 19, power play goals with 11 and is second in points with 34, all good enough to garner First Team all-star honors. He has an amazing 23% shooting percentage and is a great penalty killer. He’s a Consumer Science major.
• His dad Danny, granddad Bernie “Boom Boom” and great grandpa Howie Morenz all played for Montreal Canadiens – Boomer and Howie are enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame and have 9 Stanley Cups between them
• Has 23 goals and 18 assists for 41 points in 34 games – Nashville draft pick

Brendan Smith – University of Wisconsin, Junior, Defenseman, Mimico, Ontario
The lone defenseman in the top ten happens to be 19th overall in the nation in scoring while topping all defensemen in college hockey. He helped lead the high-scoring Badgers to number two in the nation in offense and earned Smith First Team WCHA and Defensive Player of the Year honors.
• Has 15 goals and 29 assists for 44 points in 36 games – 11 power play goals
• Detroit draft pick – Sociology major
• Topped the WCHA in points, goals and assists by a defensemen

WCHA All-Conference Teams Announced

The WCHA held their awards ceremony this afternoon before the Thursday night play in game between North Dakota and Minnesota-Duluth. Wisconsin as expected was well represented today. Blake Geoffrion and Brendan Smith were named to the first team. Ryan McDonagh named to the second team. Michael Davies named to the third team. Craig Smith and Justin Schultz named to the All-Rookie team.

In a shock to pretty much everyone I would assume, North Dakota defenseman Chay Genoway was named to the third team. If you aren't familiar with Genoway, he only played in nine games this season due to injury. Crazy.

Thanks to Grand Forks Herald beat writer Brad Elliott Schlossman for posting the picks.

Player of the year -- Marc Cheverie, G, Denver
Rookie of the year -- Danny Kristo, F, UND
Coach of the year -- George Gwozdecky, Denver
Defensive player of the year -- Brendan Smith, Wisconsin
Student-athlete of the year -- Eli Vlaisavljevich, Michigan Tech

First team

F -- Blake Geoffrion, Wisconsin
F -- Rhett Rakhshani, Denver
F -- Jack Connolly, Duluth
D -- Brendan Smith, Wisconsin
D -- Patrick Wiercioch, Denver
G -- Marc Cheverie, Denver

Second team

F -- Justin Fontaine, Duluth
F -- Ryan Lasch, St. Cloud State
F -- Tyler Ruegsegger, Denver
D -- Ryan McDonagh, Wisconsin
D -- Nate Prosser, Colorado College
G -- Brad Eidsness, UND

Third team

F -- Michael Davies, Wisconsin
F -- Joe Colborne, Denver
F -- Garrett Roe, St. Cloud State
D -- Chay Genoway, UND
D -- Garrett Raboin, St. Cloud State
G -- Dan Dunn, St. Cloud State

Rookie team

F -- Danny Kristo, UND
F -- Craig Smith, Wisconsin
F -- Rylan Schwartz, Colorado College
D -- Matt Donovan, Denver
D -- Justin Schultz, Wisconsin
G -- Joe Howe, Colorado College

Geoffrion wins the Hobey or it shouldn't be awarded

Props to HockeyFan for the great pic!

The time for unbiased news on Badger Hockey is over (ok so we’ve called out Patrick Johnson most of the season, so maybe that isn’t true already). I’m throwing my 1/5 of the blog’s support behind Blake Geoffrion for the Hobey Baker! I’m just going to safely assume 60 is w/ me on this one, so we are up to a 40% endorsement here. Anyone else want to join us?

Sorry Brendan Smith, you might be the favorite, as far as Badgers go, right now for the Hobey, but I have to go w/ Captain Asskicker for Hobey!

The Kick Ass Captain is having by far his best season in the Cardinal and White, and looking at the long list of potential candidates for the Hobey, he has something that most of the others don’t (Rhett Rahkshani of Denver being an exception) and that is leadership. His stats are right up there w/ forwards across the country, and this is despite missing a chance to rake it up against Tech a few weeks back due to a concussion caused by the cowardly head shot from dress wearing Aaron Marvin.

Leadership is not something one can quantify on a stat sheet, but even to the casual fan it is obvious that Blake Geoffrion is the heart and soul of the Badgers this season. He is a presence on the ice and long will the exploits of #5 be remembered in the Kohl Center. He is the warrior king who fights hard for his teammates in the corner and in front of the net, but is also the diplomat with the officials to ask them why they are such morons and blow so many obvious calls. The skates he has to fill are of titanic proportions, but he never shies away from the challenges, and he accepts his responsibilities with pride, and his hard work shines through as he honors the jersey worn by the greats who have come before him, whose company he is now and forever will be a part of.

Captain Asskicker’s senior year was a blessing to Badger fans everywhere, as most could not believe that he’d return. Thank you Blake Geoffrion for four years of service to Wisconsin Hockey: the team and its fans. It is time for you to guide this team home, home to the Kohl Center on April 11th with National Championship #7 in your hands after weathering six of the toughest games you and your teammates will have endured all season.

Grandfather Boom Boom has to be beaming with pride for his grandson as he watches his success between games of pick up hockey in Heaven.