Wednesday, June 30, 2010

McDonagh Won't Make A Decision This Week

It's a big week for Badgers defenseman Ryan McDonagh. He's currently participating in the New York Rangers prospect camp along with former Badger Derek Stepan. It was widely suspected that McDonagh would make his decision on weather or not to sign a pro contract with the Rangers shortly after prospects camp, but it sounds like that's not the case.

According to Ranger Rants, a New York Rangers blog ran by Rangers beat writer Andrew Gross, "The big defenseman said he would not make a decision this week on whether he’ll return to college or sign a pro contract with the Rangers. McDonagh said he wants to take the time to get to know the people in the organization and see how comfortable he is with them, just as he figures the Rangers want to do with him. The pluses of returning to college, McDonagh said, is the chance to finish his degree and be the team’s captain."

If McDonagh would decide to stay, he would single handily be Wisconsin's biggest recruit this season. There wasn't a person on the planet who thought the Badgers would be able to keep McDonagh for four seasons. Hell, I thought he was gone after two. The longer and longer in the summer that the Arden Hill, MN native drags this out, the better and better chances of him staying in Madison for his senior season are.

With the CBA these days the way it is, entry level contracts are very straight forward. A player with the leverage of McDonagh, at his skill level is almost guaranteed to get a max contract. So the delay in him signing or not is certainly not based on negotiations over money.

So whats holding up his decision? For one, the NHL max contract for his draft year is $875,000. Thats a solid chunk of change. But if McDonagh isn't in the NHL next season, his salary max drops to $65,000. One of the biggest hold ups for McDonagh is that he wants to really analyze the situation with the Rangers and see where he fits in. Can you blame him? That's a significant money difference if he's in the NHL or in the AHL.

There is also the added fact that if McDonagh doesn't sign this summer, he can become a free agent next summer. What does that mean exactly? Next summer McDonagh will be able to pick and chose which NHL team he wants to sign with. The advantage with that, is that he can chose an organization that can guarantee him a spot in the NHL where he will be making the max contract all season. He can also chose an organization that is run properly, not one that is run by Glen Sather. In addition, no matter when he signs, this off-season or next, McDonagh's entry level contract will still run through 2013 either way. If he signs this off-season, at age 21, he is forced to sign a 3 year ELC. If he signs next year, at 22, he will be forced to sign a 2 year ELC. So either way his ELC will run through 2013.

I've been following the thoughts and postings of Ranger fans on the internet over the past couple of months to gauge their thoughts on McDonagh. I found a few gems that I'll share with you.

"It seems like McD believes he is the next Chris Pronger or something...."

"You obviously missed the part where he said he wanted a red carpet rolled out on 7th Ave for him while he rolls in on a popemobile and hot women fan him with giant leaves and feed him fruit."

"I don't see the point of professional athletes bothering with college... not like that "business" (or what ever BS easy) degree is going to do them any good."

"step up man. or go back to school like a girlie man and play ncaa hockey for another season.... why ? to get a degree ? gimme a break."

"Anybody who would choose going back for senior year to a crappy team over becoming a professional athlete is an idiot. Take classes in the summer and grow the hell up."

"A team scouted you, and had enough interest in you to trade away a part of the team to get you here, a snobby 21 year old kid without a drop of NHL experience should be happy to say THANK YOU and sign."

"Kid's def coming across like a bit of a ****** right now. Put pen to paper and get your ass in gear. The pro game's actually available to you... idiot."

"If McD doesn't sign this year, then he's an idiot. All I can say."


Man, can't imagine why a guy wouldn't want to sign with the Rangers with classy fans like that.

Photo by Melody Hasse

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Help Design Scott Gudmandson's Mask

Design Scott's Mask Contest

LINK

Badger goaltender, Scott Gudmandson wants your help! As Scott begins his senior year, he is asking Badger hockey fans to help him design his goalie mask that will be work during the College Hockey Showcase on November 26th and 27th.

Fans are encouraged to use the online mask designer to submit their entry. Sumbissions are due by August 1, 2010.

Scott will then review all the submissions and select the design to be painted on the mask. This design will be considered the grand prize winner and receive a replica helmet with their design, two tickets to a designated men's hockey game and the opportunity to meet Scott.

Additional prizes of a signed photo of their mask designed by Scott, two tickets to a designated men's hockey home game, and the opportunity to meet Scott will be awarded in the following age groups:

-5 and under
-6-7
-8-9
-10-12

Entries will also be accepted by mail. Simple download the entry form, create your best design, and submit it to:

Wisconsin Athletics
ATTN: Design Scott's Mask Contest
Kellner Hall
1440 Monroe Street
Madison, Wisconsin 53711

All main-in entries must be received by August 1, 2010.

OFFICIAL RULES

Project The Lineup: Early 2010 Edition

I'll admit that it's way too early for this, and that the chances that this is anywhere near what will happen when the Badgers take the ice versus Boston University to take the season is slim to none. But, it's fun to take a look at the puzzle pieces that we're going to have and how they are going to fit together.

With the Badgers losing 9 forwards off last seasons roster, there are going to be a lot of new faces up front. Coach Eaves has 7 freshmen forwards lined up to come in and play this season and virtually all of them should have an opportunity for ice time with only 14 forwards on the current roster.

This is the second time in the past two weeks that I've done this. I had a post made up and the lines and d-pair projected and then 2 days later Glen Sather decided to steal junior to be Derek Stepan away from us and totally ruined my lineup. So I'll give this my best shot and you tell me what you think.

Forwards


Jordy Murray-Mark Zengerle-Craig Smith
Might be a bit of a reach to assume that we're going to put our three most talented offensive players on the same line but this is a combination that I think Eaves will have to try at some point to see how they play together. Smith can play center and did in the USHL but he plays better off the wing and Zengerle is a distributor who can feed Murray and Smith. Top line center duties usually go to a veteran but Zengerle is an 21 year old freshman who has lit up the BCHL two seasons in a row and will have high expectations right from the get go.

Derek Lee-Jason Clark-Podge Turnbull
I know that Eaves likes experience down the middle but when you lose four out of your top five centermen in one off season (Geoffrion, Stepan, Bendickson, Thurber) you're going to have to give some freshmen an opportunity. Clark is big and skilled and could really be an asset for us. Derek Lee saw minutes early last season but ended up as the odd man out. His talent is still real and a full season in the weight room should prove to be beneficial for him coming in to this year. Podge didn't get a fair shake until the playoffs last season and he was a physical force at the end of the year. Clark said in his interview after being drafted that he wants to become more physical at Wisconsin. If him and Podge can throw their bodies around they should create opportunities for a play making Derek Lee.

Tyler Barnes-Sean Dolan-Michael Mersch
Dolan is our only returning center and his experience should prove to be valuable with two freshmen wingers. Mersch is young and raw but has huge upside. A bit of a wild buck, he has the ability to put points on the board. Barnes is an experienced USHL veteran and should have little problems making an adjustment to the WCHA. Barnes is going to be counted upon to put up points this season. This should be a physical line that has plenty of scoring ability.

Patrick Johnson-Jefferson Dahl-Sean Little
Two more freshmen on this line. I'm convinced that Sean Little will be a regular in the lineup on the fourth line this season. He's not going to put up 25 points a season, but like Ben Grotting before him, the little things he brings to a team are worthy of him suiting up. Patrick Johnson needs to have a bounce back season. He has the ability and I'm convinced that after watching the Frozen Four last season from the stands that he'll be hungry and ready to contribute this year after being invisible for the past two seasons. Jefferson Dahl has outstanding vision and can play in all situations. Short but shifty, Dahl should put up some points this year no matter where he is playing.

Gavin Hartzog, Keegan Meuer
Hartzog and Meuer will both get opportunities to play this season. Hartzog does have a lot of upside with his size/skill package and it will be good for him to get in the weight room with the Wisconsin strength and conditioning staff. Meuer isn't on the team to be a token local kid, he can play when called upon and with so many freshmen this season, he'll see ice time and it will be up to him to prove his worth.

Defense With McDonagh

McDonagh-Gardiner
Why change what has worked in the past? These two were our top pairing last season and I see no reason why that should change. If McDonagh is back, we've certainly got four high end guys and can afford to pair two of them together on a top pairing to shut down the opposing teams top line. I would expect this pairing to see a lot of ice time.

Schultz-Simonelli
This is the season where Justin Schultz goes from an above average WCHA defenseman to an elite defenseman. Simonelli has faced tough competition with the NTDP and is more than ready to step into the UW lineup with no snags. This combination has the potential to be elite puck movers while still being solid in their own end.

Springer-Ramage
Ramage is obviously going to be a lock for the lineup and you can play him with anyone. It will be interesting to see who Eaves and Butters give the first opportunity to in the 6th defenseman spot. Like I mentioned previously, I think Simonelli will be in the lineup for sure so it's going to come down to Springer, Johnson, R. Little, and Drake to step up and take the last spot. I'm giving Springer the early nod because he brings more offensive flair to the position than the rest at this point. I still expect Johnson, Little, and Drake all to be given an opportunity at some time.

Johnson-R. Little-Drake

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hartzog Now Officially a 2010 Forward Recruit

Gavin Hartzog, who looked like he would be a 2011 recruit, had lunch with Wisconsin Head Coach Mike Eaves this week and was asked to come in this upcoming 2010-2011 hockey season instead. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has been reading our comment section on this blog over the past week or so. I also tweeted it on Wednesday, even if I can't spell words correctly.

Hartzog, a forward from the Milwaukee area committed to the Badgers about two years ago, shortly after a breakout performance in the now defunct Chicago Showcase which is an event that gave seniors from accross the country an opportunity to be seen by college and junior scouts.

I spoke with Gavin Saturday night and he was pretty excited about coming to Madison in the fall. "I am very excited for the great opportunity to play in my home state for such a prestigous hockey program while getting a fine education. To be able to play for the team I grew up watching is something special to me and I can't wait to get to work and contribute in whatever ways possible."

Hartzog told me that he was planning on playing the upcoming hockey season in the USHL with the expansion Muskegon Lumberjacks now coached by former Badger assistant Kevin Patrick. From all reports I've heard, Hartzog looked like a man amongst boys out there at the tryout in which Eaves attended and from there it was a no brainer to bring Hartzog in, especially with the lack of numbers up front for the Badgers.

With only 14 forwards currently expected to be in Madison this season, Hartzog will have an opportunity to get early ice time. Many have compared Hartzog (6'4, 215) to John Mitchell (6'5, 224), and he turned out to be a pretty solid player. I would be happy with a repeat.

Wisconsin Recruiting Class Of 2010

Forwards
Tyler Barnes-Burnsville, MN-Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)
Jason Clark-Eden Prarie, MN-Shattuck St. Marys Prep
Jefferson Dahl-Eau Claire, WI-Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)
Gavin Hartzog- Pewaukee, WI-Bismark Bobcats (NAHL)
Sean Little-Fond du Lac, WI-Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)
Michael Mersch-Park Ridge, IL-USA NTDP U-18
Mark Zengerle-Rochester, NY-Salmon Arm Silverbacks (BCHL)

Defense
Chase Drake-Mosinee, WI-Sioux City Musketeers (USHL)
Frankie Simonelli-Bensenville, IL-USA NTDP U-18

NHL Draft: Clark Taken In Third, Ramage Fourth

In a draft that provided little in the way of surprises, two Wisconsin Badgers heard their names called right around where they expected.

Jason Clark (pictured), a rangy six foot two forward from the Shattuck St. Marys program was selected in the third round of the 2010 NHL Draft being held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The incoming freshman went off the board with the #82 pick overall to the New York Islanders.

Clark, a skilled big man is expected to be an immediate contributor to the Badgers offense. After losing multiple regulars off last seasons roster, Clark will be looked upon to play big minutes next season.
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A player who may be a little more familiar to the average Badger fan, Johnny Ramage heard his name called in the fourth round. The 6'1, 184 lb defenseman from St. Louis was taken 103rd overall by the Calgary Flames.

Ramage, who was passed over in the NHL Draft last season had a breakout year for the Badgers as a freshman. Paired up with All-American and Hobey Baker finalist Brendan Smith, Ramage was one of the most consistent players on the roster. Ramage saw his stock skyrocket with a Gold Medal performance at the World Junior Championships that saw him play huge minutes in huge spots.

John's father, Rob, who played 16 seasons in the NHL spent parts of two NHL seasons with the Calgary Flames. The elder Ramage recorded 23 points in 80 games while playing in Calgary. Rob finished his NHL career with 564 points in 1044 career NHL games.
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I got this video off of UWBadgers.com and it's a nice interview with Jason Clark after he was drafted by New York. Very nice interview. Also, the UWBadgers.com article had this interesting anecdote which is pretty impressive, "The selections of Ramage and Clark extend Wisconsin's streak to 13 consecutive years during which it had at least one student-athlete selected in the NHL draft. Since Jeff Rotsch was drafted in 1970, only during 1983 and 1997 were the Badgers shutout at the draft."

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Geoffrion Nominated For An ESPY-VOTE NOW

Wisconsin Badgers Tri-Captain and 2010 Hobey Baker winner Blake Geoffrion continues to accumulate accolades. Just a few months removed from the Frozen Four, Geoffrion has been nominated for an ESPN ESPY award for "Best Male College Athlete."

You can vote for Blake by going to this LINK.

Other players nominated are Mark Ingram, Alabama football Heisman Trophy winner; Evan Turner, Ohio State baskebtall player; John Wall, Kentucky basketball player, and Garrett Wittels, Florida International baseball player who has a current 56 game hitting streak going.

In addition to his ESPY nomination, yesterday Blake was named the University of Wisconsin Male Athlete of the Year. Junior simmer/diver Maggie Meyer was named the Female Athlete of the Year.

Each Big Ten school nominates a male and female Athlete of the Year, and those two student-athletes become nominees for the Big Ten Conference Athlete of the Year awards. The Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year and Suzy Favor Female Athlete of the Year awards are then voted on by a panel of conference media members. The Big Ten will announce its athlete of the year award winners on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

Photo by Melody Hasse

The Prince Gets Paid

Multiple outlets Thursday morning are reporting that former Wisconsin Badger Joe Pavelski has signed a contract extension with the San Jose Sharks. According to reports, the deal is worth 16 million over the next four years.

The 25 year old centerman tied a career high in goals with 25 despite missing 15 games with a broken foot. The Polish Prince took his game international during the Olympic break helping the United States to a Silver Medal at the Vancouver games. Pavelski was the center on the ice and got an assist on Zach Parise's game tying goal with less than a minute left in regulation in the Gold Medal game.

Coming off a great Olympics, Pavelski took his game to a whole other level in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Sharks. The Plover, WI native recorded 17 points in 15 playoff games leading the Sharks into the Western Conference Finals where they fell to eventual Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.

Pavelski was a key member of the 2006 National Championship team. The 5'11, 195 pound forward was named a second team All-American in the 2005-2006 season after recording a team high 56 points in 43 games for the Badgers.

A big player with a big heart, Pavelski can be found this weekend in his hometown where he is hosting a charity golf tournament. The NHL star will be donating all the proceeds of the tournament back to the youth hockey association that raised him, Portage County Youth On Ice.

NHL Draft Linkorama

The NHL Draft starts tomorrow night from L.A. The first round will be shown on Versus, and I believe it starts at 6 PM CDT. A few Badgers could hear their names called this weekend, but it would be shocking to hear any of their names tomorrow night.

Baggot has a post about the Badgers w/ a good chance to be picked:

Winger Jason Clark, an incoming freshman, is projected as high as the third round. Defenseman John Ramage, a sophomore-to-be at UW, is projected between the third and fifth rounds. Winger Brendan Woods, a committed recruit for 2011-12, is projected between the third and fifth rounds as well. Center Mark Zengerle, an incoming freshman, is projected to be a late-round pick.

I didn’t know that Zengerle was eligible; I thought he was too old, since he turned 21 last month already. Anyway, Saturday should be fun to see where the Badgers fall and to whom (if they get picked by the Rangers…). Baggot also comments on the WCHA’s chances in the first round and gives a good summary of the potential players who could hear their name called tomorrow night:

North Dakota (defenseman Derek Forbort and center Brock Nelson) and Denver (wingers Beau Bennett and Jason Zucker) have two, while Coloardo College (center Jaden Schwartz), Minnesota (center Nick Bjugstad) and Minnesota-Duluth (defenseman Justin Faulk) have one each in the first-round discussion.

Forbort and Bjugstad are locks, while Nelson and Bennett have seen their value rise as the draft approaches. If you want to check out more on these future WCHA opponents or a host of other kids who will be picked this weekend, Western College Hockey has a great post of links on the draft.

I haven’t really seen anything on Woods or Clark, but there are quite a few links out there to information on John Ramage. Hockey’s Future lists Ramage as their #4 NCAA prospect (incoming freshman are not included). Inside College Hockey also has him on their list. From HF:

Ramage is a defensive defenseman who plays with an edge. He thrives on the physical side of the game, and with some added size and strength, could become a more dominating player for opponents to contend with. Like the rest of Wisconsin’s defensive unit, Ramage possesses great puck-moving ability. He displays good poise, patience and makes very good outlet passes. Although he may never post many points, Ramage does have some offensive upside to his game. He has an excellent shot and can get pucks to the net. Ramage is a powerful skater with nice strides but will need to improve moving his feet more consistently, particularly in one-on-one situations. He was a key cog on the Badgers penalty-killing unit this season, displaying some terrific shot-blocking and smart defensive zone play.

From INCH:

Scout's Take: "You know what you're gonna get with John—a defensive defenseman in every sense of the word. The first time I saw him, I couldn't believe how physical he was, and he always plays hard. He was good [with the U.S. team] at the World Junior Championship. He might not make the long-bomb pass to a forward, but he'll make a good first pass out of the zone.

"The thing I worry about with John is his skating. If he can lengthen out his stride, he's got a chance to go places. I see him getting taken somewhere between the late third round and the end of the fifth round."


I also found, through WCH, a great link from an Anaheim Ducks blog about Ramage. In case you forget, two summers ago, the Ducks picked Jake Gardiner and Justin Schultz in the 1st and 2nd round of the 2008 draft. The Ducks and their fans have to be happy w/ the way their prospects are developing, and this blogger thinks the Ducks should look to grab Ramage in the 3rd round to add to the collection. It sounds like they’ve watched a few Badger games and had this to say:

Upside?

Perfect Attendance - Ramage is incredibly consistent with a high compete level. His basement value above the shoulders is very high

Movable Part - Despite being the team's rookie stay-at-home defenseman, Ramage did play in multiple situations for the Badgers, showing off an impressive shot and some puck confidence in addition to his defensive skills.

Downside?


Sizable Disadvantage - While not small, Ramage is not the prototypical big stay-at-home defenseman. Martin Madden and Bob Murray were comfortable taking a chance on a diminutive offensive defenseman (Sami Vatanen) in the 4th Round last year, and there may be defensemen with more upside, even in the 4th Round, drawing attention away from Ramage.

A Different Tune - He was still fine tuning his one-on-one skills, and he will have to finish his career at Wisconsin without Osiecki. It's hard to project how his amateur development will proceed.

Lastly, INCH actually has a cool article about the NHL's best and worst NCAA picks since 2003. No surprise, several Badgers net honors as the best for their respective teams:

Carolina: Jamie McBain, D, Wisconsin (2/63, 2006)
Based on a terrific AHL rookie year and a fantastic 14-game stint in the NHL, it looks like the 'Canes got a steal late in Round 2.

Nashville: Ryan Suter, D, Wisconsin (1/7, 2003)
The Preds guaranteed themselves a dozen years of steady play on the blue line by taking Suter and Shea Weber in '03.

Ottawa: Brian Elliott, G, Wisconsin (9/291, 2003)
The second-to-last pick in the 2003 draft has a 46-26-7 record for the Sens, including a 29-18-4 mark this past season.

San Jose: Joe Pavelski, F, Wisconsin (7/205, 2003)
The Polish Prince could never score another NHL goal and still rank as one of the biggest draft steals over the past seven seasons.


One player is listed as worst:

Chicago: Jack Skille, F, Wisconsin (1/7, 2005)
Solid AHL performer can't crack the big club. He went one pick before Devin Setoguchi, who has 51 goals in his last two seasons in San Jose.

To be fair to Jack, the salary cap has been what has been holding him back from cracking the ‘Hawks roster, which INCH obviously doesn’t point out. W/ Buff and others getting traded to Atlanta the other day, I think Skille’s time will start in Chicago next season, he better be ready!

INCH also lists a few other Badgers who recently signed including Brendan Smith and Blake Geoffrion. I think both will acquit themselves well at the next level. INCH must not have gotten the news last summer, since they still list Ryan McDonagh as a Montreal prospect. Newsflash INCH, he was traded to the Rangers a year ago and there has been hoopla about him signing for the past month!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Schmaltz Decommits From Wisconsin

Things in the Wisconsin hockey program continue to go from bad to worse personnel wise. Just heard from Jordan Schmaltz that he has decommitted from Wisconsin and is opening up his recruitment.

Schmaltz, a Verona, Wisconsin native committed to Wisconsin at 14 years old and before even entering high school. He most recently played with the Chicago Mission Midget program and is expected to play next season in the USHL with Sioux City. Schmaltz was committed for 2012.

When asked about reasons for the decommitment, Schmaltz had this to say, "Personal reasons, things have come up lately and obviously the leaving of OZ, but that's no disrespect to the UW coaching staff. I appreciate all coach Eaves did for me and my family at such a young age. I want to visit a few schools before I make up my mind, to make sure it's the right fit."

This is a pretty solid blow to the gut of Wisconsin fans. I think this is the first big blow recruiting wise that we've seen because of Osiecki taking the Ohio State job. I pray that this is the exception and not the rule in the future. The positive is that we've still got plenty of time to fill the hole created by Schmaltz backing out and there will be some very solid options available including a player that I've really liked, and another Verona native Joey Fiala. Fiala could be a 2011 but may wait to play for the Badgers in 2012.

I guess the biggest disappointment in the Schmaltz situation is that he and his family approached the Wisconsin staff about playing there, not the other way around. And they did this all before he was even in high school. I think the lesson to be learned here, one that I've preached over, and over again to young players, is to take your time before committing to a school. There is absolutely no need to make a commitment when your 15, or 14 or whatever.

Before committing to Wisconsin, Schmaltz took an unofficial visit to North Dakota and was planning on visiting Notre Dame as well. In addition, Schmaltz has been drafted in the OHL Draft by the Windsor Spitfires in the 7th round. Windsor is an aggressive franchise with a lot of cash so I would expect them to make a push even though it seems like he still wants to play college hockey. But the favorite here still has to be Osiecki at Ohio State. He obviously THE reason why Schmaltz decommitted, it only makes sense that he would follow him to OSU now.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday Recruiting Notes

Just spoke with Notre Dame Academy (Green Bay) defenseman Tim Davison (pictured) about his future plans. The junior to be was recently selected in the USHL Futures draft in the first round, 12th overall by the Youngstown Phantoms.

The Phantoms love Wisconsin players. They selected Jefferson Dahl and David Donnellan, both from Eau Claire in the 2009 expansion draft. Then they took Madison native Cody Strang in the 6th round of the 2009 USHL Draft.

Davison finished up camp with the Phantoms and was offered a spot on the team, a rarity for a player of his age. "It was a great experience being at the tryout camp. They treated everyone well. It seems like a great organization. I am very honored with the opportunity they have given me."

However Davison won't be in Youngstown this season. After talking it over with his parents, he has decided to go back to Notre Dame Academy for at least one more season. He said he also plans on (hopefully) playing with Team Wisconsin U18's. (Um, heres a secret, he'll make the team)
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Another Wisconsinite who recently made a USHL team was Milwaukee Jr. Admirals defenseman Jarrod Rabey. Rabey, who was a 15th round selection by the Indiana Ice in the 2009 USHL Draft has made the Ice for the 2010-2011 season. Rabey was instrumental in helping the Jr. Admirals to capture the WAHA Midget Major State Championship this season.

Rabey, who is currently listed at 6'2, 223 played in five games last season for Indiana. In those 5 contests, he was held off the score sheet. Don't expect him to stay off the USHL score sheets for long. Rabey recorded 53 points in 63 games for the Jr. Admirals last season.

For a kid that I initially criticized when he was drafted for being over weight, it looks like the future is bright for this blue liner. Reports I've heard indicate that he's gotten serious about hockey and has lost some weight. He's generated interest from some D-1 programs so keep an eye on his progress.
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In addition to the original two that I found out had made USHL rosters, I just found out that Green Bay Native Ryan Belonger has made the Youngstown Phantoms. Unlike Davison, Belonger is expected to play in Youngstown next season.

Belonger spent last season (his high school senior season) playing for the St. Louis Bandits of the NAHL and had a successful season. The 5'10, 180 pounder put up a 14-21-35 line in 60 games for the Bandits. The 1992 born forward really came on at the end of the season recording 7 points in 10 playoff games including four goals.

Belonger has been on a visit at Wisconsin and I know he's been in contact with a number of schools including (but not limited to) UW, UMD, MI Tech, MI State, Quinnipiac, and Yale.
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Another interesting kid to keep an eye on is Michael Vilardo. I've spoke of him on this site many times and he's still uncommitted. He originally committed to Ohio State when he was way too young and quickly decided that it wasn't the right place for him. He's taken his time in the process on this go round and is still evaluating his options.

Last season he started off playing midget hockey with the Chicago Mission program but was extended an invite to the NTDP after a few injuries mid-season. He himself ran into some shoulder injuries and was shut down in mid-February. Vilardo is now healthy but has aged out of the NTDP program and will be playing for the Indiana Ice this season with Rabey.

Vilardo is still keeping his options open but told me recently that Harvard, Yale, and Princeton are likely possible destinations. He did say that he still has strong interest in Wisconsin and Michigan as well. Last season he had also mentioned Notre Dame and Denver.
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I almost forgot about this but I'm glad I caught myself because this is pretty important news as well. Thanks to USCHO poster Ralph Baer, we've learned that Wisconsin is in on Canadian recruit Steven Beyers.

Beyers did an interview with a Toronto sports radio station The Fan 590 with David Grossman. In the interview, Beyers reveals that Wisconsin and RPI are on the top of his list. By the way if you listen to the interview, it's kind of awkward if you ask me.

He was drafted in the OHL Draft by Sudburry with the first pick in the third round but just listening to Beyers thoughts on Sudbury in the interview I don't think we need to worry about him ending up there. Chris Dilks from Western College Hockey projected him as a first round OHL pick in his draft year.

Beyers spent last season with Orangeville in the CCHL in Ontario. He was recently drafted in the USHL Draft by Fargo and it would make a ton of sense for him to play there next season. Beyers continues to grow and currently stands 5'11, 185 pounds.

It should be interesting to see if Beyers is drafted by an NHL club this summer. He was ranked #199 by NHL Central Scouting at the year end rankings. That means that it's probably a toss up as to him getting drafted. But all it takes is one team to like you.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ramage Invited To USA National Junior Eval Camp

Yesterday USA Hockey announced the names of 44 players who will be participating in the 2010 USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, NY. The evaluation camp is the major tool that USA Hockey uses to evaluate players for the selection of the 2010 World Junior Championship team. Although USA Hockey does make exceptions for players who stand out during the early part of the college season.

One of those exceptions last season was Wisconsin defenseman John Ramage. Rammer wasn't invited to the eval camp but had an outstanding first half of the season and was named to last years Gold Medal winning squad. USA Hockey didn't make the same mistake this season and invited him to camp.

Ramage, one of fourteen defenseman at camp should be looked at as a virtual lock to make this years team. There are exceptions obviously, but for the most part, returning players usually locks to make the team the next season.

Ramage is the only Badger to be invited this season. He continues in a long line of players to wear a Badger sweater to compete in the prestigious World Junior Championship. Former Badger player and asssitant coach Mark Osiecki is back for his second season as assistant coach. Former Badger player Jim Johannson is the General Manager.

Badgers who have played in the World Junior Championship:
2010: USA-Derek Stepan, John Ramage, Jake Gardiner, Mark Osiecki (Ass. Coach) (GOLD)
2009: USA-Ryan McDonagh; Canada-Cody Goloubef (GOLD)
2008: USA-Jamie McBain, Blake Geoffrion; Canada-Kyle Turris (GOLD)
2007: USA-Jack Skille, Jamie McBain, Blake Geoffrion (BRONZE)
2006: USA-Jack Skille
2005: USA-Jake Dowell, Jeff Likens, Ryan Suter
2004: USA-Jake Dowell, Jeff Likens, Ryan Suter, Mike Eaves (Head Coach), Jim Johannson (Team Leader) (GOLD)
2003: USA-Ryan Suter, Jeff Sauer (Ass. Coach) Jim Johannson (Team Leader)
2002: USA-Jim Johannson (Team Manager)
2001: Canada-Dany Heatley (BRONZE)
2000: USA-Brad Winchester; Canada-Dany Heatley (BRONZE)
1999: USA-Matt Doman, David Tanabe
1998: USA-Dustin Kuk
1995: USA-Dan Thompkins
1993: USA-Jim Carey, Brian Rafalski, Mark Strobel
1992: USA-Brian Rafalski, Chris Tucker (BRONZE)
1990: USA-Barry Richter, Sean Hill, Jason Zent
1989: USA-Barry Richter, Rodger Sykes
1988: USA-Rob Mendel
1986: USA-Paul Ranheim, Mike Richter (BRONZE); Canada-Scott Mellanby (SILVER)
1985: USA-Mike Richter
1984: USA-Tony Granato, Jim Johannson, Gary Suter, Marty Wiitala
1983: USA-Tony Granato, Jim Johannson, Tim Thomas, Ernie Vargas; Canada-Pat Flatley (BRONZE)
1982: USA-Chris Chelios, Charlie Lundeen, Tim Thomas
1981: USA-Pat Ethier, John Johannson, Brian Mullen
1980: USA-Pat Ethier, Lexi Doner, Todd Lecy, Brian Mullen
1979: USA-Peter Johnson
1978: USA-Ron Griffin, Scott Lecy

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What's Eaves to do?

W/ the recent departure of Derek Stepan to the pros, the question is: what is Eaves going to do? The roster for next season is currently down to 13 forwards, which is certainly not enough; he has to bring a couple guys in. I think he has three options or a combination of these options.

Before I continue this analysis, I don’t think McDonagh's leaving or not impacts how many players to add to next season’s roster. If he leaves, the team still has 8 defensemen. At this point, I’m assuming he’ll sign at/after the Rangers prospect camp. The only hope I hold for his return is that he doesn’t want to be a Ranger, they won’t trade him, and he decides to return to college for a year and then wait until next summer after his rights expire w/ the Rangers, and he signs w/ a different organization. I’d imagine he’d have his pick, though financially I’m not sure if he’d get more money that way since I’m not familiar w/ free agent contract vs draftee contract maximums. And who could blame him if he didn’t want to be a Ranger? Never liked them, and won’t be changing my mind any time this century.

Anyway, I got side tracked there.

Option #1: Bring in 2 or 3 of the 2011 recruits.

No one is going to replace Derek Stepan no matter what happens, and I think all five of these recruits need another season in Juniors before joining the Badgers next season. Here are last season’s stats for each player (not that stats tell the whole story):

Brendan Woods: 34 games, 6-4-10
Matt Paape: 55 games, 11-12-23
Cody Strang: 48 games, 9-10-19
Tyler Lapic: 45 games, 5-8-13
Gavin Hartzog: 15 games, 1-3-4 in the USHL, 31 games, 5-8-13 in NAHL (also 5 pts in playoffs helping Bismarck to the Robertson Cup)

Of the group, Woods is the best talent, but w/ his injury last season and a chance to be one of the go to guys in Muskegon, it would be wise to leave him in the USHL. The rest of the group is a crap shoot. If I were Eaves, I’d bring in Strang and Hartzog as older players (both will be over 20 years old when the season starts) who could fight for checking line time, and maybe Lapic and leave Paape in the USHL, if this was his only option.

Option #2: Are there any uncommitted players ready for NCAA Hockey who could contribute immediately as a Badger?

To be honest, I have no idea. I follow the USHL a decent amount, but no one comes to mind who could immediately contribute to the Badgers next season, and if Eaves brings in an uncommitted player, they should be better than the five 2011 recruits, otherwise why not just bring them in? I’m not really sure this is a viable Option simply because there might not be anyone worthwhile out there.

Option #3: Someone decommits from another school and joins the Badgers.

I suppose this could be multiple players, especially if McDonagh does leave and there are bags of scholarship money sitting on Eaves’ desk. Like Option #2, is there anyone out there to even fit this position at this point? Two years ago, DU found out they had an extra schollie and Patrick Wiercioch opted out of his verbal to UW to go there. This is a similar situation, but is there a player looking to play in 2010 instead of 2011 interested in decommitting? I have no idea. This would be the team’s best option to get another higher end talent who could contribute immediately. Had Stepan signed w/ the Rangers a month ago, I wonder if Ryan Walters would be a Badger right now and we’d be singing his praises. Is there another Ryan Walters type talent out there?

I’m being hopeful that Option #2 or #3 turns up another player of higher end talent for the Badgers. Let’s be honest, there is going to be immense minutes at forward next season, if someone decommits and joins the Badgers, they will get to play a lot. So let’s assume this takes up one more roster spot, Eaves still has to figure out which 2011 recruit(s) to bring in next season to give the team at least 15 forwards.

In the grand scheme of things, this might open up another spot in 2011 for a late blooming talent depending how many 2011 recruits are brought in, in 2010. Vinny Saponari also becomes a real nice possibility to transfer in as a Junior for the 2011/12 season, which would make the 2011/12 version of Badger Hockey look nicer having another experienced talent joining the team. The team isn’t flush w/ upperclassmen this coming season at forward (4) or next season (4) if no one leaves early. Sure he had problems at Boston U, so did Bennett, but he didn’t show any signs of that last season.

I can’t think of any other scenarios, feel free to comment if you can think of something else.

McDonagh Update: Has NOT Signed With New York

Last night Corey Pronman from Puck Prospectus tweeted that Ryan McDonagh had joined Derek Stepan in signing entry level contracts with the New York Rangers. Finally got a hold of Pronman this morning and he regrettably admitted that he had made a mistake and that McDonagh had NOT yet signed with the Rangers.

"I apologize for the tweet about McDonagh, it was a false alarm from someone I knew in Wisconsin. Sincere apologies. I do feel incredibly bad for that."

So McDonagh is safe at least for now. I wouldn't expect to hear any more updates until after Rangers prospects camp this summer. We'll keep you updated if there is any news of course.

10:10 AM-Update from New York Post Rangers Beat Writer Larry Brooks:

"An fyi in case it has been reported otherwise: No progress at all in talks between Rangers and Badgers' senior D Ryan McDonagh."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Geoffrion Signs With Predators

2010 Hobey Baker winner and Wisconsin tri-captain Blake Geoffrion is now officially a member of the Nashville Predators. Geoffrion inked a two year entry level deal Tuesday with the Predators at his old elementary school in Tennessee.

Geoffrion, 22 (2/3/88), won the Hobey Baker, award given to college hockey’s most outstanding player, after tying for second in the nation in goals (28) and finishing first in Division I hockey in power-play tallies (15). A tri-captain of the University of Wisconsin Badgers in 2009-10, Geoffrion posted 50 points (28g-22a) in 40 games, helping the school reach the NCAA National Championship Game. In addition to recently being named USA Hockey’s College Player of the Year, the 6-1, 196-pound right wing was a First-Team West All-American, and a First-Team WCHA selection in his senior season. Geoffrion was also the Most Valuable Player of the West Regional after leading UW to victories over Vermont and St. Cloud State with five points (2g-3a) in the two games.

During his four-season collegiate career, Geoffrion amassed 114 points (55g-59a) and 243 penalty minutes in 146 games. The Nashville Youth Hockey League product is a fourth generation player – his grandfather, Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion is a Hockey Hall-of-Famer and was an 11-time All-Star, and great grandfather, Howie Morenz, was part of the Hall of Fame’s first induction class, and was a three-time Hart Trophy winner. The two won a combined nine Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens. His father, Danny, was drafted eighth overall by the Canadiens in the 1978 Draft, and played for both Montreal and Winnipeg during his NHL career, as well as Quebec in the World Hockey Association. His two younger brothers, Brice and Sebastien, both worked their way through the Nashville youth hockey system, and now play for the University of Alabama-Huntsville.

Proposed NCAA Rule Changes

The NCAA has some great ideas…but some of the proposed rule changes for Hockey aren’t among them.

Let us take a look at each of the five rule changes. These changes go to the Rules Oversight Committee in July for approval, and hopefully they are wise enough to can some of these.

* Enhancement to the contact to the head rule to include a minimum of a five-minute major penalty and either a game misconduct or game disqualification penalty

A minimum? I definitely think that hits to the head need to be taken more seriously, but this classifies someone whose elbow comes up at the last minute as an equal crime to cheap shot artists like “Erin” Marvin who are looking to take a player out by aiming for their head. The opponent should get a 5 minute PP in all cases? I think this is a judgment call, which is really scary in the WCHA where the refs barely know the rule book, let alone have the capacity to make a sound judgment between a 2 minute and 5 minute (w/ misconduct or disqualification) contact to the head penalty. This also penalizes taller players. John Mitchell was called for several bogus contact to the head penalties merely because he is taller and a guy like Garrett Roe is short, so a lot of hits between two contrasting body heights could put the elbow at head level when that player is obviously not trying to hit them in the head.

A minimum of five minutes will lead to a lot of PP time early in the season, and could also lead to less hitting in the games as players don’t want to get called for a five minute major and 10 minute misconduct because they grazed an opponent’s helmet. Aggressive play is part of hockey, and one of the things that make it great. I’m all for cleaning up cheap hits, but let’s be realistic in realizing not every contact to the head deserves a 5 minute major.

This is similar to checking from behind. There is a time to call a major and a time to just send a player to the box for 2 minutes. Emphasize the penalty and call it early and often next season instead.

* Enforcement of icing at all times, including while a team is shorthanded

Name the other league that uses this rule? So the NCAA wants to promote scoring and skill. How about an emphasis on consistently calling penalties like interference and holding early each season, and watch the talented players score more goals? This is an artificial attempt to increase scoring, while hurting the role of the PK. The PKers are already at a disadvantage, now they can’t send the puck all the way down the ice? And if they do, the attackers at full strength are further rewarded w/ an offensive zone face off after the icing (assuming that rule applies the same)? So the attackers are barely penalized for not being able to maintain possession of the puck while on the advantage (if they can't skate to the blue line)? DUMB.

There are many who agree w/ me. Brad Schlossman over at the Grand Forks Herald had a nice piece the other day about this. Earlier in April: WCHA coaches voted 12-0 against it. Atlantic Hockey coaches voted 12-0 against it. And Central Collegiate Hockey Association coaches voted 11-0 against it. That is 60% of college hockey right there, and I could only guess that Hockey East and ECAC wouldn’t be much different.

More from the article: “I think it’s just a crime,” Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore said. “I’ve been in college hockey for 18 years and I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. It was almost unanimous for the entire coaching body. How can the committee overturn the entire coaching body? I think it’s sad, the lack of respect that the committee had for the coaching body.

“We didn’t spend any time even talking about it because it was so radical. We just voted 12-0 and moved on.”


“It’s quite a shock,” [Dave]Hakstol said. “I haven’t said much, but I’m going to speak my mind on this. I’m upset about us not having a say in it as a Division I coaching body. On a national basis, we were very strongly against it, if not unanimously against it.”

The best are these comments from Fairbanks AD Forrest Carr:

“In keeping with the committee’s philosophy to encourage skill and create scoring chances, this will enhance power-play opportunities,” Karr said. “After lengthy discussion, the committee concluded that the previous rule inappropriately provided relief for a team that committed an infraction.”

Being down one man is not appropriate punishment for a penalty? How long has hockey been played? The current rule is good enough for the NHL and international competition, and has been for a LONG TIME. It is good enough for the NCAA too, and time for them to pull their head out of their ass and put this rule change in the garbage where it belongs.

* Modification of the no-touch icing rule to wave off icing if an official determines that an attacking player would reach the puck before a defending player

I like this idea. They use it in the USHL and it works pretty well, and gives the icing team a change to hustle to negate it, especially if the defense is being lazy getting back.

* Alteration of the delayed penalty rule to provide the offensive team with a power play even if a goal was scored during the delay

What other league uses this rule? Again when the NHL uses this, then maybe it is time for the NCAA to install it in the rule book.

* Changing which end each team defends during an overtime period (goaltenders would now switch ends after the third period)

Haven’t been to too many WCHA or NCAA arenas, but the one’s I have (Kohl Center, DECC & Magness) the student section is right behind the opposing goal in the 3rd period. Maybe in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter (aka won’t impact any games and some student sections are pathetic), but home ice advantage is nice when a crazy student section is yelling during OT in the opposing team’s end.

Monday, June 14, 2010

NHL Mock Draft (Woods, Clark, Ramage)

Just saw my first full 7 round NHL mock draft of the off season and it included a few incoming/current Wisconsin Badgers. While the 2010 Draft isn't expected to be significant in terms of high end draft picks for the Badgers, it is expected that Brendan Woods (Muskegon, USHL), Jason Clark (Incoming Freshman), and John Ramage (Current Badger) will be drafted anywhere from rounds three through seven.

The guy putting together the mock draft in this case used some mathematical calculations to try and determine his selections. I'm not going to go out and tell you to use this mock draft as gospel because Taylor Hall will not be drafted third, and Cam Fowler at 20 is an absolute joke. However, it does give us a pretty good idea of where our Badgers will be selected.

First off the board according to this guy is going to be Brendan Woods. Woods is an interesting case because he missed half of his draft year with a pretty severe leg injury. Once Woods came back to his Chicago (USHL) squad, it took him a while to get used to the pace of play in the USHL as it was his rookie year. Woods turned it on at the end of the season recording 6 of his 10 points this season in the last 10 games. This guy has Woods going in the fourth round to Montreal. Woods was selected in the USHL Expansion Draft and will spend next season with Muskegon before coming to Wisconsin in 2011.

The next Badger off the board in this Mock Draft comes just 20 picks later when the Sharks use their 5th round pick to take Shattuck St. Mary's forward and incoming Badger recruit Jason Clark. Clark's size/skill package is going to be intriguing to a lot of NHL teams and it would not surprise me at all to see Clark go higher than the fifth round.

The last Badger player taken in this mock is sophomore to be defenseman John Ramage. Rammer really burst on to the scene with his performance at the World Junior Championships where team USA won gold. Ramage also had a great freshman season for the Badgers playing rock solid defense being paired up with Brendan Smith and also chipping in a few points. This mock draft has him going in the 6th round to Calgary, but I personally think that there will be a team that will step up and draft him higher. Ramage proved at the WJC that he can be a shut down defender against the top players in the world in his age group.

As a point of reference, keep in mind that incoming recruits Frankie Simonelli and Michael Mersch are NOT eligible for the 2010 draft. A player needs to turn 18 by September 15th and neither one of them will turn 18 until October so they will be in the 2011 Draft next summer. Also, incoming recruit Mark Zengerle is not eligible for the Draft because he already turned 21.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Blackhawks Parade Pictures

Thanks to blog reader Chris for the pictures.



































Adam Burish Interview with CBC

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Burish, Blackhawks Win Cup






















Photos by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Stepan Update: Official Signed

According to New York Post Rangers beat writer Larry Brooks, the New York Rangers have officially signed an NHL contract.

The report indicates that the deal cannot be registered with the NHL until July 1st, but that the deal is expected to be at or near the NHL rookie max contract of $875,000.

The part of the article from Brooks that really pisses me off, and I mean REALLY pisses me off, is that it sounds as if Stepan does not make the Rangers out of camp, that he will be spending time with the WHL's Calgary Hitmen, not playing in the AHL. At this point in his development, that is the stupidest thing ever. He's going to leave the WCHA so he play against 16 year olds again? Really?

This little nugget at the bottom of the article is awesome too, "Sather is continuing to make an effort to sign Stepan's Wisconsin teammate, senior defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who also will be at the Rangers' prospect camp."

Chuck Update: Officially about to jump off a bridge

Reports: Derek Stepan to sign w/ NY Rangers

I was all excited this morning looking at line combinations for next season, but it appears there will be one less Badger forward returning next season. It is being reporting (though nothing is official yet) that the NY Rangers will sign Derek Stepan. This would be a HUGE blow to the team.

Once he signs we'll bring you the links and information.

Three questions I have:

1) How long will it be before Ryan McDonagh signs?
2) Who is possibly going to replace D-Step? None of the 2011 recruits are really ready (IMHO) to be more than filler at the bottom of the line chart at this point. Feels like Joe Pavelski type situation, just not as late in the summer.
3) Had this happened 2 weeks ago, would Ryan Walters being coming to UW instead of UNO?

Assuming all these reports are true, best of luck of Derek in the future. It was a great 2 seasons in the Cardinal and White that I won't soon forget.

Wisconsin Hockey 2010.com

The Wisconsin athletic department behind (I'm assuming) the direction of Men's Hockey Athletic Communications Director Paul Capobianco has created a new web site for the hockey program.

From what I can tell by just looking at the site briefly, the main purpose of the new site is to help assist fans in the purchase of tickets. And they certainly do a nice job of that.

There are sections devoted to informing fans on how to renew season tickets, how to start a new season ticket package, how to get student tickets, as well as information on different types of ticket packages.

There is also a section devoted to informing fans about the women's game facility that will also be used by the men for practice. I'm not sure if they have done this in the past but this season they are including a spot for you to donate money for the project on your season ticket order form. They currently project the facility opening prior to the 2012-2013 hockey season.

Other features on the site include information on parking, the teams upcoming schedule for the 2010-2011 season, a news ticker on the bottom with recent relevant news, information on how to purchase women's hockey tickets, and it looks like there will be a feature in the future where the fans will be given an opportunity to design Senior goalie Scott Gudmandson's paint job for the upcoming season, as well as a letter from head coach Mike Eaves.

Monday, June 7, 2010

2011 Recruit Hesketh Has Torn Shoulder Labrum **UPDATE** NOT TRUE

UPDATE: REPORT WAS NOT TRUE

Thanks to a report by @FargoForceBlog, it's come to light that 2011 Wisconsin defense recruit Troy Hesketh has a torn labrum in his shoulder. The report indicates that if he chooses to have surgery, he will be out 4-5 months.

To be honest, I have not gone to medical school so I am not qualified to make a real assessment, but in the past from what I've heard about this type of injury, surgery is not required. That said, if he doesn't get this fixed, it could become an issue down the road. As a defenseman, and playing in a physical sport like hockey, the shoulder is very important.

The best thing going forward for Hesketh is that he is going to receive great medical advice. Having already been drafted by the Oilers, there is absolutely no way that they will let just any joe schmo doctor off the street handle Hesketh. They want to protect their prospects and they will make sure that this situation is handled correctly. You can also assume that the staffs at Wisconsin and Fargo (USHL) will be involved in the process as well to make sure everything goes smooth.

Assuming he takes about 5 months to rehab and get back, Hesketh should be back and playing for Fargo sometime in November. With the USHL season starting in early October, Hesketh will only miss about 8-10 games. With a 60 game USHL schedule not including playoffs, Hesketh should get plenty of time on the ice for the Force this upcoming season before heading to Wisconsin in 2011.

Friday, June 4, 2010

2010 Hobey Baker Winner, 1st Team All American & 1st Team WCHAer named USA Hockey College POY

One more National Award for Blake Geoffrion, he has been named USA Hockey College Player of the Year.

If you are in Colorado Springs on June 10th, you can see him accept the award in person at a "night of tribute."

It should also be mentioned that Blake graduated the other weekend w/ a degree in Consumer Science, and this was a proud accomplishment on top of everything he did on the ice. This article is a little old, but Andy Baggot had an outstanding write up about the KickAss Captain's graduation.

I think the end of the USA Hockey piece explains why Blake was such a great player (bold emphasis mine):

Geoffrion was also a prominent presence on the one of the nation’s top power-play killing teams. The senior did all the little things that helped the Badgers succeed, including serving as the team’s top faceoff artist by winning nearly 60 percent of faceoffs in the season.

As a senior, Geoffrion also led off the ice. As one of the team’s three captains, he was consistently the team’s vocal motivator in and out of the rink.


Captain Asskicker will be missed next season, but the memories of his magical season will never be forgotten by Badger fans who witnessed it. He brought home the first Hobey in team history and led his teammates to the National Championship game. #7 would have been icing on the cake, but it does nothing to take away from the accomplishments of #5, on AND off the ice.

I'm not sure where Blake will be next season (either Milwaukee or Nashville), but it sure would be cool if his schedule worked to have a little tribute night at the Kohl Center when Alabama Huntsville comes to town early in the season. Blake's brothers will be suiting up for the Chargers, and his family will be in attendance; it sure would be fun!

Outstanding picture by HockeyFan.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Former Badger Mellanby Named Blues Assistant

Scott Mellanby, a veteran of 21 NHL seasons as a player, has been named an assistant coach of the St. Louis Blues according to team President John Davidson.

Mellanby, who was the 27th overall pick by the Philladelphia Flyers in the 1984 draft played two seasons with Wisconsin before going to the NHL, recording seasons of 38 and 44 points.

Mellanby is one of Wisconsin's most tenured NHL Alumni. He is second in NHL games played only behind Chris Chelios. Mellanby leads all former Badgers in goals scored in the NHL with 388, over 100 goals more than second place. Mellanby's 893 career points are third overall for Badger alumni, behind only Gary Suter (917), and Chris Chelios (1092).

Mellanby spent time in the NHL with five franchises, but made his name during an 8 year stint with the Florida Panthers where he helped lead them to the Stanley Cup Finals before falling to the Colorado Avalanche. Mellanby holds Panther records in games played, goals, and total points.

Mellanby may be best known for his role as a rat killer. As urban legend has it, Mellanby killed a rat in the locker room while he was playing with the Panthers with his hockey stick. As Panther fans found out about it, they started throwing plastic rats out on to the ice after a Panther player would score a hat trick. In Florida it was know as a "rat-trick".

Since retiring from the NHL in 1997, Mellanby has worked in an advising role for the Vancouver Canucks. Mellanby has a month left on his contract with Vancouver and then he will assume assistant coaching duties soon there after. Mellanby, will be one of three assisting Blues head coach Denis Payne this season, along with Brad Shaw and Ray Bennett.

In a statement, Payne said: “I’m excited to add a quality person like Scott to our staff, who was highly respected as a player on and off the ice. He has great knowledge of the game and will be a valuable addition on our staff.”