Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Night News and Notes

John Ramage (pictured) is participating in the USA Hockey 2010 Junior Evaluation Camp. The camp opened up today with practice this morning and an inter-squad scrimmage this afternoon. The camp is being held in Lake Placid, NY. Ramage was paired up with Adam Clendening, a Boston University recruit on Team White who bested Team Blue, 4-1.

You can follow the camp through the USA Hockey World Junior Championship blog.
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I've seen some bad internet videos in my day but this one might take the cake. Apparently, Colorado College put together a video to promote season ticket sales. It's hilariously bad.

Thanks to the LetsGoDU Hockey blog for the tip.
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The USHL has released it's schedule for the 2010-2011 hockey season. With expansion franchises in Dubuque and Muskegon, the league is now at 16 teams. The USHL has split the league into two conferences, East and West. Cedar Rapids, Green Bay, Chicago, Indiana, Muskegon, Waterloo, Youngstown, and the USA NTDP will be in the East. Des Moines, Dubuque, Fargo, Lincoln, Omaha, Sioux City, Sioux Falls, and Tri-City will be in the West.

The Badgers are expected to have 8 recruits in the USHL this season. Troy Hesketh (Fargo), Nick Kerdiles (USA), Tyler Lapic (Des Moines), Jake McCabe (USA), Corbin McGuire (Fargo), Matt Pappe (Sioux City), Cody Strang (Youngstown), Brendan Woods (Muskegon).
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The Sioux City Musketeers who already have a strong Wisconsin flavor with their coaching staff and roster have added another Wisconsinite. Rice Lake high school coach Keith Paulsen has been promoted to an assistant coaching position with the Musketeers.

Paulsen spent the past 7 seasons with Rice Lake and guided them to the WIAA State Tournament in 2008-2009. Paulsen went to the same high school (Eau Claire North), as Sioux City head coach Luke Strand. Paulsen's younger sister Sis, was an original member of the Badgers women's program.
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Former Minnesota Gophers assistant coach Mike Guentzel is back in the college game. Earlier this week Guentzel accepted a job as an assistant coach with Nebraska-Omaha. Guentzel replaces Nick Fohr who will be the Director of Hockey Operations with the Mavericks. Last season Guenzel was the head coach with Des Moines of the USHL.

Don't forget, Nebraska-Omaha is now a member of the WCHA along with Bemidji State. UNO has an elite recruiting class coming to play for Dean Blais this season and I expect them to compete for home ice.
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Merrill native Alex Racino has been named to the USA Under 18 Select team that will participate in the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament August 9-14, 2010, in Breclav, Czech Republic, and Piestany, Slovakia.

Racino, who spent last season with the Madison Capitols program is a rugged 6'3 191 pound forward. Racino participated in the Saginaw Spirit (OHL) rookie camp and will be at fall training camp as well. Racino most likely will sign with the Spirit, giving up his NCAA eligibility.
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Adam Burish, captain of the 2006 Wisconsin National Championship team will be bringing the Stanley Cup to Madison. According to Andy Baggot, Burish will bring the cup back on August 18th. There will be a showing at the Kohl Center from 10 A.M. to Noon. Autographs and photos will be available. Enter the Kohl Center through gate A.

For those of you of age, Burish will be taking the cup to the KK for a little night cap celebration. The cup will be at the KK from 8:30-11 PM. There is a $10 cover charge after 10 PM.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Gudmandson's mask design contest deadline this Sunday

PRESS RELEASE

MADISON, Wis. -- The end of the "Design Scott's Mask" contest is rapidly approaching, so get your design in now. The deadline for entry submissions is this Sunday, Aug. 1.

Senior goaltender Scott Gudmandson is asking Badger fans to design his goalie mask for the 2010 College Hockey Showcase, which takes place Nov. 26-27 at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis.

There are two ways to enter. Use the online design tools at Wisconsinhockey2010.com or print out the template and submit your entry via mail.

Once the deadline passes, Scott will choose his favorites and a grand prize winner, as well as four age-group winners, will be selected.

The grand prize winner shall receive an autographed replica mask containing the grand prize finalist entry submission and an opportunity to meet Scott at a designed men's hockey game. The four age-group winners (one winner per age category) will receive a signed copy of their mask design by Scott, two tickets to a designated men's hockey home game and the opportunity to meet Scott.

John Mitchell, Mike Davies Sign AHL Contracts

Two seniors off of last seasons Wisconsin Frozen Four squad will continue their hockey careers at the next level. Michael Davies and John Mitchell have secured pro contracts for the upcoming season.

According to the St. Louis Jr. Blues website, Davies (pictured), has signed with the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League, the stepping stone league to the NHL. The Wolves are an affiliate of the Atlanta Thrashers.

Davies, a St. Louis native finished his four year career with the Badgers with 123 career points. His 52 points during his senior season placed him second on the Badgers in scoring and earned him third team All-WCHA honors.

Mitchell, a 6-5 forward from Neenah will also be playing in the AHL next season. Mitchell has signed with the Syracuse Crunch according to the teams official website. The Crunch are the AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks.

A player who started off as a bit of a project, Mitchell got better and better every season with the Badgers. He finished his career with 61 points and came up big for the Badgers in big spots. In the regional final this past season, Mitchell's two goals against St. Cloud propelled the Badgers in to the Frozen Four. Mitchell also collected a goal in the Frozen Four semi-final vs RIT.

Mitchell and Davies join *Ryan McDonagh, *Brendan Smith, Blake Geoffrion, *Derek Stepan, and *Cody Goloubef as members off of last seasons Frozen Four team who have signing pro contracts this off-season.

*Denotes underclassmen

Davies Photo courtesy of Melody Hasse

By the way, here is the classic Johnny Mitchell mustache pic. Sorry John, it's just too good not to re-post. You've lost that lovin' feeling, now it's gone...gone...gone...woooooah.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Josh Birkholz, Nick Leddy Leave Gophers

Picture off of Gopher Sports.com...I'm sorry...this is just classic.

(Yes, I saw this on GPL first)

So yeah...if you didn't year it already, Nick Leddy has signed with the Blackhawks. Also Josh Birkholz left for the WHL after being suspended from Minnesota for smoking the lettuce.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Brendan Woods in line for big USHL season

Picture courtesy of the USHL

Brendan Woods was ranked 83rd in the NHL Central Scoutings' list of North American skaters, but didn't hear his named called last month when the NHL held their 2010 entry draft. Last season Brendan played for the Chicago Steel, but didn't see any action until the 2nd half after suffering a broken league before the regular season started. This season he'll be one of the top players on the expansion Muskegon Lumberjacks, coached by former Badger assistant Kevin Patrick. I think he's in line for a BIG season.

Pennlive.com had a nice article about Brendan a few weeks back. He skated at the Washington Capitals development camp recently as an unsigned invitee. His father Bob is an assistant w/ the Caps. No doubt this was a great experience for him. The article also talks more in depth about his broken leg and his road to recovery.

I think all the pieces are in place for Brendan to have that big season w/ Muskegon. Normally in sports, expansion teams struggle for awhile before hitting their stride seasons down the road. W/ the quick player turnover in the USHL (similar to college hockey) a good draft (and expansion draft) can go a long way in a short time. For example, the Fargo Force have went to the USHL finals in both of their only two seasons. It appears Muskegon did decently in both drafts, and has a solid team ready for their first USHL campaign.

Kevin Patrick is a up and coming coach and will take Brendan under his wing. As Brendan points out form the article, "He uses all the Wisconsin systems. It will be an easy transition going from Muskegon to Wisconsin." This bodes well for the Badgers in 2011/12, but also for Brendan this season. Patrick targetted Woods picking him in the expansion draft from Chicago, because he wanted him on his team. He is one of the top players on Muskegon, and he'll continue to grow into his power forward frame, currently 6-2, 180 lbs. He should see a lot of ice time and special teams. He'll be a future Badger to watch this winter, and I'll be circling Muskegon on Dubuque or Green Bay's schedule to see him play.

A few more things from the article, the Badgers beat out minnesota & North Dakota among others for Brendan's verbal commitment. I wasn't previously aware of that.

His dad also had the following to say about the Wisconsin program, “I know he’s going into a good program in Wisconsin. I think it’s a great situation. Eaves really likes to have guys that have that in their family, the pro hockey. I was able to meet him on the visit there. I like the fact that he’s going to a program where he’s experienced and knows what pro hockey’s all about. From what I hear, he does a very good job preparing kids for pro.”

Friday, July 23, 2010

Murray back for sure, LOI's signed (so everyone calm down)

I heard this morning on 1310 WIBA's sports w/ Phil Dawson that Jordy Murray has told Coach Eaves he will be back for his junior campaign. There was talk that Murray might follow in his brother Brady's foot steps and sign a contract in Europe foregoing his eligibility. Baggot confirms this report today.

Jordy will be the Badgers top returning scorer, having netting 12 goals last season. He should have the opportunity for HUGE minutes all season. Along w/ Sean Dolan and Patrick Johnson, he is the teams only other experienced penalty killer, and a great two way forward. I'd expect him on the top PP unit as well w/ some combo of Craig Smith, Derek Lee, Podge Turnbull and Mark Zengerle.

Baggot's article also confirms what uwbadgers.com told us yesterday that Joe Faust and Gavin Hartzog have signed their LOI's and are officially joining the team next season. So the few people who have been riding Chuck (I think sarcastically) can stop biting their nails and step back from the edge of the bridge, because everything is ok.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday Links

Andy Baggot finally chimes in on the news that Joe Faust (pictured left) committed two weeks ago. And no, he doesn't address his past comments that the Faust rumors were baseless.
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USCHO is running an awesome series talking about the serious issue of head issues. I'm linking to their front page because they have multiple articles there worth reading. Check it out.
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I don't see the huge issue but multiple people are reporting on it so heres the link. 9 Notre Dame hockey players were arrested for alcohol related offenses. 8 for underage drinking and 1 for supplying alcohol to minors. Much to do about nothing if you ask me. Welcome to college.
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This is pretty old but I haven't seen it yet because well, I simply don't get to the College Hockey News site nearly enough (My own fault). Adam Wodon has an interview up with former Badger assistant and new Ohio State head coach Mark Osiecki.
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Vinny Saponari, a player who was recruited heavily by Wisconsin during his time at the NTDP looks like he'll end up in the USHL this season with Dubuque. Saponari played two seasons at BU before being dismissed from the team. He would look GREAT in cardinal and white for the 2011 hockey season. He will have two seasons of eligibility left.
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Premium scouting has a report up on the Ducks system and it's top ten prospects. Jake Gardiner checks in at #5, and the report includes a scouting report from Rich Michalowski.

2010/11 Women's Schedule coming together

Wow, we haven't had a Women's post in forever. 60 is AWOL and I haven't had time to get much of anything done around here. Anyway, I took a few minutes and pieced together the w/ the help of Beyond the Dashers the schedule so far. All WCHA games are in place besides St Cloud, and there should be at least 4 more non-conference games added.

9/24 – 9/25 Open
10/1 – 2 Rensselaer
10/8 – 9 Bemidji State
10/15 – 16 Open
10/22 – 23 Ohio State
10/30 – 31 Mankato
11/5 – 6 @ minnesota
11/12 -13
11/19 - 20
11/26 – 27 Duluth Foreign Legion
12/4 – 5 @ North Dakota
12/10 – 11 Open

New Years Open

1/7 – 8 @ Ohio State
1/14 – 15 Open (guessing St Cloud @ home)
1/21 – 22 @ Duluth Foreign Legion
1/28 – 29 minnesota
2/4 -5 @ Bemidji State
2/11-12 North Dakota
2/18-19 @ Mankato
2/25-27 WCHA First Round
3/5 – 6 WCHA Final Faceoff
3/18 & 3/20 Frozen Four

More on the Women's team in the coming weeks, there is a lot to be hopeful for the Badger Women.

2010/11 Men's Roster

UWBadgers.com has the 2010/11 roster up. No background info yet on the freshman, though if you are a regular reader of the blog, you probably know a lot of about all the freshman.

Here is the roster for quick reference:

1 Scott Gudmandson
3 Craig Johnson
4 Eric Springer
5 Chase Drake
6 Justin Schultz
7 Tyler Barnes
8 Podge Turnbull
9 Mark Zengerle
10 Patrick Johnson
12 Keegan Meuer
13 Gavin Hartzog
14 Jefferson Dahl
15 Craig Smith
16 Sean Dolan
18 Sean Little
19 Jake Gardiner
20 Ryan Little
23 Derek Lee
24 Joe Faust
25 Michael Mersch
27 Frankie Simonelli
28 Jordy Murray
29 Jason Clark
33 Brett Bennett
35 Mitch Thompson
55 John Ramage

Joe Faust will sign his LOI soon, and then added to the roster. Not sure what number he'll take but #2 and #17 would be good choices since the last guys to where those jersey #'s were pretty damn good!

Edit: Gavin Hartzog does not appear yet on the roster either, assuming he will about the same time Faust does.

Edit on July 22nd: Added Hartzog and Faust to the roster now that they have signed LOI's. The roster appears complete.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

NHL Badgers: Where Will They Be In 2010-2011?

Rene Bourque-Calgary
Rene put up his best season as an NHL'er in 09-10 and was rewarded with a new 6 year contract with Calgary. The deal has a cap hit of 3.33M and runs through the 2016 season. Bourque is again expected to be a top 6 forward for Calgary this season.

Adam Burish-Dallas
The maniac from Madison has taken his services to a new NHL franchise. After winning a championship with Chicago last season, Burish was a victim of the salary cap crunch. Burish is expected to have an expanded role with Dallas. Burish signed a 2 year deal with Dallas worth 1.15M per year.

Chris Chelios-Free Agent
The 48 year old just continues to amaze us all. This past season Chelios just couldn't hang up the skates. He accepted a role in the AHL with the Chicago Wolves so he could be closer to his family. The Wolves big club, Atlanta called up the ageless wonder for 7 games towards the end of the season. It's still unknown whether or not Chelios will be back for another season. This year Cheli will have two sons playing for Michigan State so it looks like it may be it for Chris.

Jake Dowell-Chicago

Like I mentioned the other day in a post focusing on Dowell, he is expected to be an NHL regular with Chicago next season. He's got a very cap freindly contract at just over $500,000 a season and fills a role that is lacking in Chicago due to the departures of many players. Dowell is expected to be the fourth line center on opening night.

Davis Drewiske-Los Angeles
Drewiske established himself as an NHL regular in the 09-10 season. After an injury, his playing time went down but it's expected that Davis will have an impact for the Kings in 10-11. Drewiske signed a 1 way contract which should keep him in the NHL for the next three seasons. The deal averages $616,667 and runs through the 2013 season.

Robbie Earl-Minnesota
The former Frozen Four MVP played 32 games with the big club last season and put up a respectable 6 goals. Earl was never used in a role that fits his style, averaging less than 9 minutes a game when he was with the Wild. In many games I saw, Earl looked explosive and should have been given a bigger role. He recently re-signed with Minnesota on a one year, two way deal. Minnesota is deep with forwards this season but I would expect Earl to spend 20-25 games in the show next year.

Brian Elliott-Ottawa
The former Hobey Baker finalist established himself as an NHL starter last season for Ottawa starting 55 regular season games for the Senators. Elliott will be a restricted free agent after the 2011 season so I would look for a huge year from him. Pascal Leclaire will give Elliott some competition but I would expect Brian to see at least 2/3 of the action again.

Blake Geoffrion-Nashville
Geoffrion is the proud owner of a new two year entry level contract with Nashville which will pay him just over $1M/year with bonuses. Most likely, Blake will start the season in the AHL with Milwaukee but I have no doubt that he'll be with the big club at some point this season.


Tom Gilbert-Edmonton
Tommy has fully entrenched himself as an NHL regular with the Oilers and is now a top pairing defenseman with a hefty contract. The Bloomington native carries a $4M/year price tag on a contract that runs through the 2014 hockey season. Gilbert's numbers were slightly down last season but he was playing on a brutal Oilers squad. The team should be much improved with the addition of #1 overall pick Taylor Hall as well as Jordan Eberle.

Cody Goloubef-Columbus
Goloubef is sporting a nice $875,000/year entry level contract but probably won't earn that this season. Columbus is pretty thick on defensemen and it's expected that Cody will spend the entire season in the AHL. Goloubef should make a push for a roster spot on the big club in 2011 when a few contracts come off the books.

Dany Heatley-San Jose
It's no secret that Dany Heatley is an NHL superstar at this point of his career. For the fifth time in his NHL career, Dany Heatley hit the 80 point mark for the season. The big Canadian carries a huge $7.5M/year contract that runs through the 2014 season. With Joe Thornton being an UFA after this season, the window for the Sharks winning a cup may be shortening. Expect a big season from Heater.

Jamie McBain-Carolina
The former WCHA Player of the Year got a taste of the big show last season playing in 14 games for the Hurricanes. Playing in all facets, the Edina native was able to put up 10 points during his first cup of coffee. McBain has two seasons left on his $850,000 entry level contract. McBain is expected to make the Hurricanes out of camp and his career should blossom from there. This season McBain will make a big impact for Carolina at the NHL level.

Ryan McDonagh-New York
McDonagh will be given an opportunity to win a roster spot out of camp and I think he will do just that. He's already better than Matt Gilroy and probably most of the Ranger defensemen. If the Rangers are smart, McDonagh shouldn't spend any time in the minor leagues. Kid is the real deal, he's ready.

Joe Pavelski-San Jose

The Big Pavelski got a big paycheck in the offseason inking a four year contract extension averaging $4M/year. Pavelski had one of the best post seasons of any player and is expected to carry that over into the 2010-2011 regular season. No longer "little Joe," Pavelski has an opportunity to prove that he's one of the elite centermen in the league with a big campaign this year.

Joe Piskula-Free Agent
Another former Badger who is a free agent is Joe Piskula. Piskula was rewarded when he signed his contract at the end of the 2007 season with 5 games in the NHL. Since then Skoolz has played three seasons at the AHL level. I would expect another AHL season out of Piskula this season.

Brian Rafalski-Detroit
The consummate veteran defenseman continues to get the job done for the Detroit Red Wings. Rafalski looked outstanding at the Vancouver Olympics for the USA and had another great season for Detroit. Rafalski is locked up for the next two seasons in Detroit at $6/year. He should be a great mentor for another Badger, Brendan Smith who should be with Detroit before Rafalski's contract expires.

Steven Reinprecht-Florida
Reino has really flown under the radar the past few seasons, mostly because he's played for some bad hockey teams. Reinprecht will be with Florida again this season and next on a contract paying him just over $2M/year. With the trade of Nathan Hortnon to Boston, Reinprecht is expected to get more minutes this season. Don't be surprised if he bests his career high of 51 points this year with the Panthers.

Jack Skille-Chicago

Many question marks have surrounded Skille since leaving the Badgers after a poor sophomore season. Skille never was given a real opportunity at the NHL level on a stacked Chicago squad. He'll get his chance this season as he took a significant pay cut to be an NHL regular. Skille will be paid $600,000 this season on a 1 year deal. He's hoping to prove that he's worthy of a long term contract. He'll be penciled in as a third line RW for the Hawks and will be looked upon as a scoring threat from the lower lines. Huge season for Jack.

Brendan Smith-Detroit
Recent news out of Red Wings prospect camp is that Smith slightly separated his shoulder but he should be more than fine once the season starts. Smith will start the season in Grand Rapids in the AHL but it wouldn't shock me to see him in the NHL at some point. His offensive skills are certainly ready, but it's up to the Detroit brass to determine if he's a liability on the defensive end.

Derek Stepan-New York
Ranger fans are sreaming for Stepan to make the team out of camp but that's not realistic in my opinion. While at times Stepan looked great for the Badgers, at others he seemed to disappear. He needs to get used to pro hockey before Sather throws him to the wolves at the NHL level. First line center duties in the AHL sounds about right for Stepan this season.

Ryan Suter-Nashville
Suter is another player like Rafalski who looked great at the winter Olympics. He's lived up to the hype of the Suter name and has been everything that was advertised. He's got two years left on a contract that will pay him $3.5M/year. Expect big things again for Suter again this season.

Kyle Turris-Phoenix
The poster child for leaving college too early. I really wish Derek Stepan would have evaluated the case of Kyle Turris before he made the decision he did. Turris had a solid season in the AHL with San Antonio but he didn't leave Wisconsin after his freshman year so he could be in San Antonio in two years. Turris will be in the NHL this season, lets hope he's there to stay.

Brad Winchester-St. Louis
Winchester is back for another season in St. Louis on a one year deal that will pay him $700,000 in 2010-2011. The punishing forward from Madison played in 64 games for the Blues last season and I think that's a reasonable projection for him again this season.

Andy Wozniewski-Free Agent
Woz had a really nice season last year in the AHL with Providence and was rewarded with a two game callup with the Bruins. Wozniewski is currently an unrestricted free agent. Keep an eye on him this offseason to see where he lands. Most likely will spend the season in the AHL somewhere with a possible cup of coffee.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Looking at age, experience and returning scoring

Last summer, I spent some time compiling information on different Badger teams going back to the ’06 Championship team. I looked at age, NCAA games played and retuning scoring. Last summer, it told a pretty good tale, the ’10 National Runners Up looked very similar in these parameters to the ’06 Championship team, and the results were very similar.

How about this season? Here is the breakdown on age as a team over the past six years (a player’s age is based on October 1 of the given year):

2005/06: 20.97 years
2006/07: 20.81 years*
2007/08: 20.49 years
2008/09: 20.69 years
2009/10: 21.04 years
2010/11: 20.85 years**

*Includes Nigel Williams on the roster, despite his early departure to the OHL.
**Assumes no one else is leaving or coming in.

This year’s team compares well to the 06/07 team in age, but for different reasons. The 06/07 team had a large group of upperclassmen and a lot of experience, while also blending in a huge freshman class. That freshman class was younger, this season’s class is older; the oldest group of freshman in the last six years.

2005/06: 18.8 years
2006/07: 19.53 years
2007/08: 19.08 years
2008/09: 19.14 years
2009/10: 19.64 years
2010/11: 19.71 years

Mark Zengerle will be the 10th oldest player on the team, and Jefferson Dahl will be right behind him. The freshman class still has four kids under 19 (Faust, Simonelli, Mersch and Clark), the most since 2007, but a group of experienced junior league vets too.

Unlike the 06/07 team, this season’s team does not have a large group of experienced upperclassmen skaters, four of them walked for pro contracts in the past months. Only 5 Badgers have played over 70 games, and only one on the blue line.

This leads us to the # of NCAA games of experience returning for next season:

2005/06: 1,298 games
2006/07: 1,154 games
2007/08: 687 games
2008/09: 873 games
2009/10: 1,127 games
2010/11: 755 games*
* Based on the projected lineup

Amazingly the 07/08 team made the NCAA tourney, but I’d argue on pure talent that team was loaded. Not that next season’s team isn’t talented, but the ’07 freshman class has ended up w/ four 1st or 2nd round NHL picks. Comparing to the 06/07 team (which was close in age) the glaring difference in experienced returning players is obvious. The 11 players who graduated or left early from last season, all played in over 100 NCAA games, besides Brendan Smith and Derek Stepan who only would have trailed Johnson and Dolan in games played had they returned. Ryan McDonagh and Cody Goloubef would have led the Badgers in games played.

While this team will be mature in age, the lack of experience in NCAA action is obvious. What is even more obvious is the lack of scoring returning next season.

Returning Goal Scoring (% of pts returning)

2005/06: 124/127 = 97.6% (97.7%)
2006/07: 64/145 = 42.8% (43.9%)
2007/08: 47/93 = 50.5% (52.5%)
2008/09: 90/114 = 78.9% (70.5%)
2009/10: 112/131 = 85.5% (80.6%)
2010/11: 44/171=25.7% (27.2%)

I don’t think there is any reason to comment on this further.

Based on these parameters, this is my prediction for this year’s team. The lack of NCAA experience, scoring and a huge freshman class will lead to a lot of headaches and inconsistency early in the season. The one thing the team does have is two experienced veteran goalies, and while we can debate how they will perform this year, it is impossible to dismiss that experience. By the second half of the season, this team should gel, and make a run for WCHA home ice and an NCAA berth. The non-conference schedule is favorable. 8 games are at home, and the IceBreaker will be some great experience for the team to open the season.

I think this team has a lot of talent, Eaves needs to figure out how to put them together right, and get this team to click, but I think by March they will surprise a lot of people.

Go Badgers!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Who will be the Badger’s Captains?

Jake Gardiner? Jordy Murry? Sean Dolan?

Badger fans who voted on the poll I posted last week think Jake Gardiner is the best candidate for Captain. I can’t say I disagree. He returns as the most experienced blue liner on the team having played in 80 games the last 2 seasons (Craig Johnson & Justin Schultz both have 43 games of experience). He is also the team’s best player (arguably) and will be a key component in the team’s success this season, as he gets a chance to flex some of his offensive ability that was hidden last season playing the hard minutes w/ Ryan McDonagh, and having Brendan Smith and Blake Geoffrion lighting the lamp often on the PP before he could even get out there w/ the second unit.

In the last week, another player has grown on me as a possible Captain: Sean Dolan. I’ve been a fan of Dolan since his freshman year, he is a hardworker who in his three seasons has done a lot of the little things on the 3rd and 4th line to help the team succeed. Along w/ Patrick Johnson, Dolan is the only other Badger player to have played in over 100 NCAA games coming into this season, at 102, Ratty has played in 112. Last season, the Badgers had 7 forwards very close to or well over 100 games played. Experience matters, and even if Sean doesn’t get the “C” I think an “A” would look good on his #16 jersey.

The other large vote getter in the poll was Jordy Murray. Another hard worker and goal scorer who after the above mentioned senior forwards, sits 3rd on the Badger forward list w/ 79 games played. The scouting report on Murray is that he is a kind of a goof ball, but its impossible to ignore his hard work and dedication on the ice. If Eaves is going to assemble a trio or so of players to lead this year’s squad, having someone lighten the moment(s) might be good for an inexperienced team. Of course there is the rumor that Murray might leave for a contract in Europe. I sure hope he doesn’t, he will get HUGE minutes this season in all situations, and will help a young team that could surprise some people by the end of the season.

If I were Eaves, I’d have to agree w/ the readers of our blog, and put some letters on these guy’s chests, and give them a chance to lead the Badgers next season. I also think Patrick Johnson and Craig Smith would be good choices too as an alternate captain. Johnson has played in more games than any returning Badger, and Craig Smith will need to step up this season and be a key part of the inexperienced forward group for the team to succeed. Smith was also the captain of the Waterloo Black Hawks before joining the Badgers last season.

I’d guess this decision would come one of these days, and I’m sure Eaves has people watching how the above mentioned players are interacting and leading during summer practices and workouts.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Geoffrion Up For ESPY Tonight

I just wanted to take the time out here to remind everyone that 2010 Hobey Baker winner Blake Geoffrion will be on ESPN tonight.

The former Badger has been nominated for an 2010 ESPY award which is being held at the Nokia Theater in downtown Los Angeles.

Geoffrion is up for the Best Male College Athlete ESPY. Others nominated were Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram from Alabama (football), Evan Turner from Ohio State (baskeball), John Wall from Kentucky (basketball), and Garrett Wittels from Florda International (baseball).

Geoffrion is in attendance in LA right now and has been tweeting his experiences so far, including meeting NFL stars Tim Tebow, and Adrian Peterson as well as New Orleans Saints HC Sean Payton and ESPN's Chris Berman.

The show will be airing live tonight on ESPN (HD) starting at 8PM Central time. It will be hosted by Saturday Night Live's Seth Meyers.

Wednesday Links

North Dakota lands the most sought after uncommitted player left in the class of 2011, National Team forward Rocco Grimaldi (pictured left). The California native picked the Sioux over Denver and Notre Dame.
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The Wisconsin hockey staff is gearing up for a few hockey camps this summer.

According to UW Badgers.com, the High School Development Camp runs July 25-31 and includes team practice, positional practices, off-ice conditioning, post-game recovery instruction and a round-robin tournament.

The Youth Development Camps run August 2-6 and are divided up by age group. Mites (2002-03 birth year), Squirts (2000-01 birth year) and Pee Wee (1998-99 birth year) are welcome to attend. In addition, a skating development camp with U.S. Olympic women’s and Wisconsin women’s head coach Mark Johnson for those aged 8-16 will take place.
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The NCAA has announced the future sites of the 2013 and 2014 Frozen Fours. Pittsburgh and It's brand new Consol Energy Center will host in 2013, and Philly and the Wells Fargo Center will host in 2014.

St. Paul is scheduled to host next season and Tampa, Florida will host in 2012.
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Alabama-Huntsville head coach Danton Cole left the program to take a job with the National Team Development program. UAH announced last week that they have hired assistant coach Chris Luongo to replace Cole.
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Found a pretty cool article from Jim Diamond who covers the Nashville Predators. Diamond talks about Nashville drafting pairs of players from the same school, Geoffrion and Craig Smith from Wisconsin, and Ryan Flynn and Zach Budish from Minnesota.
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Former Hobey top 10 finalist Brendan Smith participated in Red Wings prospect camp last week. Unfortunately, Smith was forced to leave camp after he injured his left shoulder. Detroit GM Ken Holland classified the injury as a slight shoulder separation. Smith should be fine for the season.
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Smith wasn't the only player injured at Red Wings prospects camp. Committed Minnesota defenseman Ben Marshall, a 7th round selection by Detroit this summer suffered an apparent broken wrist.
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The Davis Drewiske charity 3 on 3 hockey tournament received positive reviews. 156 kids paid $100 to participate in the tournament. Former Badgers and current NHL'ers Jake Dowell, Tom Gilbert, Brian Elliott, and Robbie Earl were all in attendance.

All proceeds from Saturday's hockey benefit will go directly to the Huntington's Disease Society of America
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The NCAA has pulled the proposal of the shorthanded icing rule which was causing a major concern from basically anyone involved in college hockey. Thank God.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dowell Expected To Be An NHL Regular This Season

With the proximity of Chicago to southern Wisconsin, numerous Badger fans double as Blackhawks fans as well. While the salary cap crunch has forced many players off last seasons Stanley Cup championship roster, it should provide some opportunities for younger players.

One of those players expecting to benefit from Chicago's cap issues is none other than Eau Claire native and former Badger Jake Dowell. According to Hawks GM Stan Bowman, Dowell is expected to be a player to help replace some of the grit lost by losing Adam Burish, Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien and Ben Eager.

"I expect a guy like Jake Dowell to have a really good chance to be on our team next year," Bowman said. "He brings a lot of that tenacity and aggressiveness to his game."

Currently the Blackhawks have 8 forwards under contract for next season on one way contracts. With how close Chicago is to the salary cap, and Dowell's cap friendly $525,000 salary, you should expect Jake to settle into the fourth line center role right out of training camp in the fall.

Another Wisconsin native and former Badger is in an interesting spot. Verona native Jack Skille is a restricted free agent this summer. Bowman is expected to clear some cap space by figuring something out with backup goaltender Christobal Huet. According to Tim Sassone that should leave the Hawks with about 9.18M to resign restricted free agents Niklas Hjalmarsson, Antti Niemi, Bryan Bickell, and Jack Skille.

Being a RFA, Skille can be offered a contract by other teams around the league with Chicago having an opportunity to match the offer. It should be interesting to see if someone takes a shot on offering Skille a contract knowing that Chicago doesn't have much room to operate financially. San Jose is exploiting this by offering a contract to Niklas Hjalmarsson. Either way, if Skille is with the Blackhawks or not, he is expected to be an NHL regular next season.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Davis Drewiske 3 on 3 Tournament

I feel awful that I haven't posted this earlier. I knew about it a while ago and forgot about it until this morning and saw it posted again on the Buckyville message boards.

Like the picture says, Davis Drewiske is holding a 3 on 3 hockey tournament Saturday and ALL proceeds go to benefit the Huntington's Disease Society of America. If your not familiar with Huntington's, it's a very serious illness that former Badger Jake Dowell's father has. Here is an article done by the CBS National News on the Dowell family back from 2004 on Jake getting tested for Huntington's.

I think it takes a pretty awesome friend of Jake's like Davis Drewiske to put an event on like this to help raise money for Huntingtons. I don't know if it's too late or not to get your kid into the 3 on 3 tournament but it sounds sweet. Each 3 on 3 team will get to play with an NHL hockey player. Players scheduled to attend: Jake Dowell (Chicago Blackhawks), Scott Parse (LA Kings), Robbie Earl (Minnesota Wild), Tom Gilbert (Edmonton Oilers), Adam Burish (Dallas Stars), Brian Elliott (Ottawa Senators), Matt Greene (LA Kings), Peter Herald (LA Kings), as well as obviously Davis Drewiske of the LA Kings.

Even if registration is closed for the tournament, there is still going to be a live band, an auction, a raffle, as well as a food and beer tent. I would encourage anyone that can make it over to Hudson on Saturday to do so. Obviously in addition to meeting some NHL stars and former Badger National Champions, raising money for Huntington's which is a disease that hits so close to home with one of our own former Badger parents should really be cool.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Recruiting Spreadsheet Updated

Well, I haven't updated the committed recruit section in a while. Since my last update at the end of May we've received commitments from Morgan Zulinick and Joe Faust. We've also had a de-commitment from Jordan Schmaltz. So check it out, with full season statistics for every committed player. I'm sure you guys will find a mistake or two, so post a comment and I'll fix it.

I also had not updated the potential recruit page since March. I spent over two hours tonight updating it and adding a number of players. This is by far our most extensive list and I'm very happy with where it is at. I've added a new feature to help people kind of gauge how good the prospects that we are recruiting are. Obviously it's not perfect but it will give you some sort of an idea.

I also finally got sick of reading the comment section on this blog and the guy (or girl) who after every recruiting post was begging for me to update the recruiting spreadsheets. So this is for you, I hope you're happy!

COMMITTED RECRUITS STATISTICS
POTENTIAL RECRUITS LIST

Pair Of Wisconsinites Make Under-17 Select Team

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Twenty players who participated at USA Hockey's Boys' Select 16 Player Development Camp have been selected for the 2010 U.S. Under-17 Select Team that will compete at the 2010 Under-17 Five Nations Tournament Aug. 18-22, in Huttwil, Switzerland.

DePere, WI native Tim Davison (pictured), and Balsam Lake, WI native Zach Stepan were the two from the Badger state to be named to the USA squad. Davison, a defenseman recently turned down an offer to play with the USHL's Youngstown Phantoms to return to his high school team, Notre Dame Academy for his Junior season. Stepan, the cousin of former Badger Derek played last season with the Shattuck St. Mary's U16 squad. I haven't heard where he will play next season but he's a draft pick of the Waterloo Black Hawks. If he isn't in the USHL, he would presumably be with the Shattuck Prep squad for 2010-2011.

Both players are currently uncommitted but are most certainly on the radar of the Wisconsin coaching staff. In an interview with College Hockey 247 in April, Stepan had this to say about the Badgers, "I've talked to a few schools, but I've always been a huge Wisconsin fan."

Team USA 2010 Under-17 Five Nations Tournament Schedule
August 18-22 • Huttwil, Switzerland

DateOpponent

Time (Local/EDT)

Tues., Aug. 18Czech Republic4:30 p.m. (10:30 a.m.)
Thurs., Aug. 20Slovakia3:30 p.m. (9:30 a.m.)
Fri., Aug. 21Switzerland7:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m.)
Sat., Aug. 22Germany11:30 a.m. (5:30 a.m.)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bloomington D-Man Faust Commits To Badgers

An Internet rumor that Joe Faust might be headed for UW after decommitting from Princeton is baseless.-Andy Baggot (6/21/10)

In my best Lee Corso voice, not so fast my friend.

Chris Heisenberg's college hockey recruiting website is now listing Bloomington Jefferson defenseman Joe Faust as a Wisconsin commitment. In addition, College Hockey Recruit Exchange has also mentioned the Faust commitment.

I spoke with Faust early this morning who confirmed the commitment. "Yes I have committed to Wisconsin for this season and I am very excited to soon be a Badger."

Faust, a 5'11, 190 pound defenseman was recently selected in the NHL Draft. The New Jersey Devils selected Faust in the fourth round, 114th overall.

Minnesota Hockey Prospects website had this to say about Faust, "Has the patience to control the puck and wait for a developing play rather than forcing it. Makes great outlet passes that generate odd man rushes and has demonstrated the ability to pass in traffic. Has a hard, accurate shot. Faust does a good job tying up defenders while keeping his attention on the puck, a skill that hinders many of his peers. Skating is just ok, needs to improve his footwork."


UPDATE (3:00 PM Thursday)-So, I wrote this article originally before talking to Faust. I waited to hear back from him before I posted it. I didn't hear back from him until this morning. I had assumed that this committment was for 2011 and I guess at 5:30 AM I didn't realize in his comment that he said "this season." I have a message into Faust and I'm waiting to hear back. Moral of the story is, don't post at 5:30 AM.

UPDATE (6:30 PM Thursday)-Faust is coming in this season. Thanks to CHRE in the comments section and this article from MN Hockey Hub.

"They have a full defensive corps and I’m a young guy coming in," he said. "I’m going to have to work hard and prove myself." -Joe Faust

Sounds like my kind of player.

NHL Prospect Camp Attendees

Wonder what your favorite Badgers or former Badgers are doing over the summer? Well quite a few of them are attending NHL prospect camps. Prospect camps are usually held the last week of June or the first couple weeks of July. NHL teams hold these prospect camps to get an up close and personal look with players that they have drafted and some top prospects in their system. They also sometimes bring in free agent players for camp who the organization is considering for a minor league contract. Here is a list of players with Badger ties who I've found to be participating. There were a few teams, including Detroit where I couldn't find a roster.


Anaheim Ducks
Jake Gardiner
Justin Schultz


Chicago Blackhawks
Andy Bohmbach
John Mitchell


Columbus Blue Jackets
Cody Goloubef



Edmonton Oilers
Troy Hesketh



LA Kings
Podge Turnbull



Montreal Canadiens
Kyle Klubertanz



Nashville Predators
Blake Geoffrion
Craig Smith


New York Islanders
Jason Clark



New York Rangers
Ryan McDonagh
Derek Stepan

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

McDonagh Makes It Official, Signs With Rangers

No real news here other than I just wanted to update you all that the Rangers have announced that they have OFFICIALLY signed Ryan McDonagh to an entry level contract.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to thank Ryan for the time he has spent at Wisconsin. Through the many players that have left Wisconsin before they ran out of eligibility, I'm not sure that I've seen anyone, with the possible exception of Dany Heatley who was truly as NHL ready when they left Madison as Ryan McDonagh.

While Brendan Smith stole the headlines defensively last season, it was McDonagh who led Wisconsin's top pairing, routinely matching up against the oppositions top line. The quiet captain was no doubt the unsung hero of the 2009-2010 Wisconsin Frozen Four squad.

The article put together by the New York Rangers website that I linked above is very well done and had some EXCELLENT quotes from Ryan.

"In my situation, being from Minnesota and growing up playing high school hockey, it was always my dream to play college hockey, and I couldn't have been at a better place than Wisconsin," he said. "I wouldn't trade my three years there for anything. It has been unbelievable.

"The coaching staff has helped me so much and all the players have made it such a fun place to play. It's a great school academically, and you always have a chance to win the national championship, which was one of the main reasons I chose them. Unfortunately, I didn't get that goal accomplished, but the fact of the matter is that I was there and had an opportunity. Looking back on it, I wouldn't have changed that decision to choose Wisconsin, for sure. It definitely was the greatest place for me."

You may have been born in Minnesota Ryan, but you will forever be a Badger. We wish you continued success in the NHL, and may you have a long, healthy career.

Photo by Melody Hasse

Monday, July 5, 2010

Hesketh To Be In Studio With The Pipeline Show

2011 Wisconsin defense recruit Troy Hesketh from Minnetonka, MN is scheduled to be in studio live with the Pipeline Show tomorrow night from 8-9 PM Pacific time. Guy Flaming from the show was kind enough to e-mail me this afternoon to ask if Wisconsin fans had any questions for Hesketh who is a 2009 third round draft pick of the Edmonton Oilers.

Corey from the Unofficial Fargo Force Blog tipped us off earlier in the offseason that Hesketh may have torn a labrum in his shoulder. A blog commenter denied the report so we'll obviously try to have them ask to clear that up and what is going on. But what else do you guys want to know about Hesketh?

Leave a comment in the comment section or e-mail it to me, chuckschwartz@live.com if you wish.

Numerous Wisconsinites Make USHL Rosters

Thanks to help from the guys at the Unnoficial USHL Hockey Blog, we've been able to track down rosters for multiple USHL teams so far, which is usually a big hassle at this point in the summer.

So far 8 out of the 13 teams (9 out of 14 if you include the NTDP) have released rosters publicly.

Here are the Wisconsin natives that have made rosters that I can tell. If I have omitted someone, please leave a comment or e-mail me at chuckschwartz@live.com

Lincoln Stars
Andrew Schmit-Grafton

Des Moines Buccaneers
Tyler Lapic-New Prague, MN (2011 Badger recruit)
Ray Pigozzi-Illinois (Potential Badger recruit)
David Jacobson-Janesville, WI (Affiliate list?)

Sioux City Musketeers
Max McCormick-DePere, WI
Matt Paape-Appleton, WI (2011 Badger recruit)
Noah Nelson-Oconomowoc, WI
Jake Suter-Oregon, WI
Will Butcher-Sun Prarie, WI
Jose Delgadillo-Milwaukee, WI
Jordan Schmaltz-Verona, WI
Cliff Watson-Appleton, WI (Affiliate List)

Youngstown Phantoms
Cody Strang-Madison, WI (2011 Badger recruit)
Ryan Belonger-Green Bay, WI

Muskegon Lumberjacks
Brendan Woods-Pennsylvania (2011 Badger recruit)
Garrett Clemment-Wausau, WI (Affiliate list?)

Cedar Rapids Rough Riders
Peter Maric-Milwaukee, WI (Affiliate List?)

Dubuque Fighting Saints
Tyler Lundey-Middleton, WI

Fargo, Green Bay, Indiana, Sioux Falls, Tri-City, and Waterloo have yet to publicly release rosters, but I know that Waukesha native, Jarrod Rabey has made the Indiana roster. I'll let you know more WI players as the other teams release rosters.

Players with (Affiliate List?) after their name were listed on teams that announced their 35 man roster which includes the affiliate list and they didn't differentiate between the two.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

McDonagh Set To Sign With Rangers

What little hope Badger fans still had that Ryan McDonagh would don a Wisconsin uniform for the 2010-2011 season is now gone. New York Post Rangers beat writer Larry Brooks is reporting that McDonagh and his advisers will enter into contract negotiations with the Rangers this week.

The 21 year old defenseman becomes the fourth player off last seasons Frozen Four team to turn pro early. Seniors to be Cody Goloubef and Brendan Smith got the ball rolling by signing early with Columbus and Detroit respectively. Junior to be Derek Stepan continued the trend signing with the New York Rangers. McDonagh is expected to be the last departure this offseason.

According to the article by Larry Brooks, McDonagh is expected to sign for the rookie max of $875,000. He'll receive a signing bonus of $87,500 for each of the next three seasons.

The Post has been told that McDonagh, who had been undecided between turning pro and returning to Madison for his senior season, was won over by the environment at last week's Rangers' prospect camp during which he mixed with fellow hopefuls and the team's front-office personnel, notably general manager Glen Sather, coach John Tortorella and special assistants Mark Messier and Adam Graves.

Wisconsin is well prepared to handle the losses defensively. Last season the team carried an extra defenseman and red-shirted Fond du Lac native Ryan Little. This season they recruited two defensemen, USA NTDP U18 defenseman Frankie Simonelli and Sioux City (USHL) defenseman Chase Drake to help cover for potential losses. Wisconsin will roster 8 defensemen for the 2010-2011 season, a standard number.

2010-2011 Wisconsin Defense

Seniors
Craig Johnson

Juniors
Jake Gardiner
Eric Springer

Sophomores
Ryan Little (Red-shirt)
Justin Schultz
John Ramage

Freshmen
Chase Drake
Frankie Simonelli

Photo by Melody Hasse

Friday, July 2, 2010

Burish Signs With Stars; Stepan Makes It Official

The flamboyant, energetic, quotable pest that every Badger fan loves, Adam Burish, has signed a free agent contract with the Dallas Stars. The deal is set to pay the former Wisconsin captain $1 million in 2010-2011 and $1.3 million in 2011-2012.

"There was a bunch of teams interested," Burish said. "It was a little overwhelming. I've never gone through this before. I was in the gym kind of working out and by 11:20 [a.m. CT] teams had been calling my agent. There were like five or six."

Burish would have loved to stay with Stanley Cup Champion Chicago but became a victim of the the salary cap crunch. The expected 59 million dollar salary cap is actually 55 million for Chicago next season who is penalized for going over the cap with bonuses from last seasons playoffs. With the expensive deals of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Marian Hossa, and Brian Campbell already on the books, the Hawks have been forced to trade away, or let go in free agency a lot of mid level players who will be replaced with players expected to make around the league minimum so that they can sneak in under the cap and still keep their high end players like Patrick Sharp.

"He's a hard-nosed kid and very hard to play against," Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk said. "He plays with a lot of energy and pulls people into the fight with him. He skates really well and works hard. The games I watched in the playoffs, he was the first guy in on the forecheck and finished with authority." Nieuwendyk sees Burish as a third-line winger or a fourth-line winger or center.
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Wisconsin's leading scorer last season Derek Stepan has officially signed with the New York Rangers. Per NHL rules, the Rangers were forced to wait until July 1st to officially announce the signing even though they had a deal in place weeks ago.

According to the website CapGeek.com, Stepan will have a cap hit of $820,333 for the three years on his entry level contract. Officially he will receive $712,500 if he is in the NHL this season, and $875,000 if he is in the NHL for the next two seasons. Additionally, per the terms of the CBA, he will receive a signing bonus of $87,500 each of the next three seasons weather is in the NHL or not. Stepans salary in the AHL next season will be $65,000.

Stepan, 20, served as captain of Team USA at the 2010 World Junior Championships, leading the United States to a gold medal. He led all skaters in assists (10) and points (14) in seven games en route to being named to the tournament All-Star Team, as selected by the media.

This season, Stepan scored 12 goals and 42 assists and had 8 penalty minutes in 41 games with the University of Wisconsin. He established career-highs in games played, goals, assists, points and penalty minutes. Stepan ranked among the NCAA leaders in several scoring categories, finishing tied for first in the nation in assists and ranked second in points. He also led the WCHA in points, assists and power play assists (22), and tied for fifth in power play points (23). The second-year player led his team in assists and points, tied for third in game-winning goals (3) and seventh in goals while surpassing the 40-assist and 50-point marks for the first time in his collegiate career.