Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gardiner, Schultz honored by WCHA

Press Release from WCHA.com

Red Baron® WCHA
Defensive Player of the Week

Justin Schultz - Sophomore, Defenseman
University of Wisconsin

photoUniversity of Wisconsin defenseman Justin Schultz, who contributed five points and earned a +3 plus/minus rating while helping the host Badgers to a win and tie in the College Hockey Showcase last weekend, is the Red Baron® WCHA Defensive Player of the Week for Nov. 30, 2010.

A 6-3,185-pounder from West Kelowna, B.C., Schultz's five-point series included a three-goal hat trick and nine shots on goal.The Anaheim Ducks' (NHL) draftee opened the weekend with a goal and an assist last Friday as the Badgers overcame 2-0, 3-2 and 4-3 deficits for a 4-4 tie against then-No. 8 Michigan. Schultz scored Wisconsin's first goal of the game on a power-play to make it a 2-1 game. He then had the primary assist on UW's third goal, which made it 3-3 at the time. Then on Saturday, Schultz became just the fifth UW defenseman and the first in exactly 18 years to post a hat trick, scoring the first, third and fourth Badger goals in a 4-1 victory over Michigan State. He also fired a game-high eight shots on goal and finished +2 in the game. Schultz leads the nation's defensemen with 19 points and has nine goals on the season, four more than the next closest defenseman in the country.

Also nominated: Dan Bakala, G, BSU; David Makowski, D, DU; Alex Kangas, G, UM; Aaron Dell, G, UND.

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Red Baron® WCHA
Co-Offensive Players of the Week

Jake Gardiner - Junior, Defenseman, Wisconsin
Drew Shore - Sophomore, Forward, Denver

photoA pair of six-point producers – defenseman Jake Gardiner of the University of Wisconsin and forward Drew Shore of the University of Denver – have been tabbed Red Baron® WCHA co-Offensive Players of the Week for Nov. 30, 2010.

Gardiner, a 6-3, 193-pound junior from Minnetonka, Minn., and a draft choice of the NHL's Anaheim Ducks, collected six points as Wisconsin logged a 4-4 (ot) tie against Michigan and 4-1 victory over Michigan State in the College Hockey Showcase last weekend in Madison. He scored two power-play goals, including the game-tying goal in the third period, added an assist, recorded a game-high five shots on goal and was +1 against then-No. 8 Michigan last Friday. Last Saturday, Gardiner came back with three assists and four shots on goal while earning a +2 rating in the victory over the visiting Spartans. Gardiner, who now has a five-game scoring streak with nine points (2g, 7a), ranks second in the nation in scoring among defensemen with 18 points (4g, 14a), trailing only blueline partner Justin Schultz.

Shore, a 6-3, 190-pound sophomore from Denver, Colo., and draftee of the Florida Panthers (NHL), was named the MVP of the Denver Cup Classic tournament over Thanksgiving weekend after leading the Pioneers to their second straight Denver Cup title and 15th overall. He led the tourney with six points on four goals and two assists, including his first collegiate three-goal hat trick and a career-best four points in a 6-3 win over Lake Superior State on Nov. 26. Shore then added the game-winning goal and another assist in the championship game on Nov. 27 as Denver clinched a 3-1 win over Air Force. In addition to his six points in the two games, Shore had 10 hits, two blocked shots and a +1 rating. He currently has a four-game point streak, has at least one point in nine of the last 10 games and is tied for first in the WCHA in scoring overall with a career-best 22 points (12g, 10a).

Also nominated: Matt Bailey, F, UAA; Emil Billberg, F, BSU; Justin Jokinen, F, MSU; Jason Gregoire, F, UND.

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All-Wisconsin D-1 Hockey Team?

After putting together my list of Wisconsin born players who are playing high levels of hockey, the biggest thing that stood out was not only the quantity of Wisconsin born players playing division one hockey but the quality of the players.

I thought it would be fun to see what an All-Wisconsin Badger hockey team would look like. Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating for this, and it is never going to happen. I love the kids we get from Canada and Minnesota and from all over the country. But as the quality of the in-state product improves, the quality of the Badger hockey program improves.

Forwards:
Brett Olson (Michigan Tech)-Mike Sislo (New Hampshire)-Craig Smith (Wisconsin)
Jordan George (Bemidji)-Brock Montpetit (Nebraska-Omaha)-David Solway (Bowling Green)
Jeff Costello (Notre Dame)-Nate Condon (Minnesota)-Sean Wiles (Alaska Anchorage)
Podge Turnbull (Wisconsin)-Jefferson Dahl (Wisconsin)-Jake Drewiske (St. Lawrence)

Extras: Patrick Johnson (Wisconsin), Justin Cseter (Alabama-Huntsville), Patrick Tiesling (Miami)

Defense:
Blake Kessel (UNH)-Derrick LaPoint (North Dakota)
Craig Johnson (Wisconsin)-Eric Springer (Wisconsin)
Alex Gerke (UConn)-Ted Behrend (Colorado College)

Extras: Ross Henry (Western Michigan), Ryan Little (Wisconsin)

Goalies:
Mike Johnson (Notre Dame)
Troy Grosenick (Union)
Mitch Thompson (Wisconsin)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Projecting the United States WJC Roster

Team Canada released today their preliminary roster for the 2010 World Junior Championship which will take place this season in Buffalo, NY. As always, the Canadians will be very, very good. They have invited four college players to camp, Jaden Schwartz from Colorado College, Reilley Smith (Brendan's brother) from Miami, Riley Sheahan from Notre Dame, and Dylan Olsen from Minnesota-Duluth.

I thought now would be a good time to take a peek at who the United States may invite to their preliminary roster which will be announced on December 7th. The United States is inviting 28 players (final roster will have 22) to Albany for a training camp starting December 16th where they will prep for the tournament which starts on December 26th.

Team USA is in an interesting spot this season where they have multiple players who are eligible for the tournament that would be locks to make the USA roster but are playing professional hockey. Those players include Nick Leddy and Jeremy Morin who are Blackhawks prospects currently playing in the AHL in Rockford, Jerry D'Amigo who is a Maple Leaf prospect playing in the AHL for the Toronto Marlies, Kyle Palmieri who is a Ducks prospect currently playing in the AHL for Syracuse and Cam Fowler who is in the NHL with the Anaheim Ducks.

Using past examples for the current group of kids, I would assume that the kids playing in the AHL (Leddy, Morin, D'Amigo, and Palmieri) will probably be released to play in the tournament, especially since it's on home soil in Buffalo. Last season, defenseman John Carlson, who scored the game winner in OT to beat Canada in the gold medal game was playing in the AHL and was released to play in the tournament.

There is no way that Cam Fowler is released from the Ducks. Fowler is averaging over 22 minutes per game with the Ducks this season which is third on the team. The Ducks can't afford to release him for a 2 week tournament. The Thrashers were put in a similar situation last year with Zach Bogosian and he was not released.

Players off of last seasons gold medal squad that return include Windsor Spitfires (OHL) goaltender Jack Campbell, Wisconsin defenseman John Ramage, Quebec Remparts (QMJHL) forward Ryan Bourque, Toronto Marlies (AHL) forward Jerry D'Amigo, Boston College Forward Chris Kreider, Rockford Ice Hogs (AHL) forward Jeremy Morrin, Syracuse Crunch (AHL) forward Kyle Palmieri, and Denver forward Jason Zucker.

The final roster will include 13 forwards, 7 defensemen, and 2 goaltenders. We've already got a solid base of 6 forwards, 2 defensemen, and a goalie, so we just need to fill those last 13 spots and there are many attractive options out there.

Anyways, here is my projected roster.

Forwards:
Ryan Bourque-Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)
Jerry D'Amigo-Toronto Marlies (AHL)
Chris Kreider-Boston College
Jeremy Morrin-Rockford IceHogs (AHL)
Kyle Palmieri-Syracuse Crunch (AHL)
Jason Zucker-Denver University
Nick Bjugstad-University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Rocco Grimaldi-USA NTDP U18
Charlie Coyle-Boston University
Beau Bennett-Denver University
Brandon Saad-Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
Jared Knight-London Knights (OHL)
Drew Shore-Denver University
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Shane Prince-Ottawa 67's (OHL)
Chris Brown-University of Michigan
Emerson Etem-Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)

Defensemen:
John Ramage-University of Wisconsin
Nick Leddy-Rockford IceHogs (AHL)
Derek Forbort-University of North Dakota
Jon Merrill-University of Michigan
Justin Faulk-University of Minnesota-Duluth
Adam Clendening-Boston University
Brian Dumoulin-Boston College
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Stephen Johns-Notre Dame
Austin Levi-Plymouth Whalers

Goaltenders:
Jack Campbell-Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Andy Isles-Cornell
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Brandon Maxwell-Kitchener Rangers (OHL)




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Stepan goes head to head with Crosby tonight

Rookie centerman Derek Stepan has come a long ways in the past few seasons. A mere three seasons ago he was playing midget hockey for Shattuck St. Mary's. Tonight, he's going head to head with his former schools most famous alumni, Sidney Crosby.

According to an article written by NY Post Rangers beat writer Larry Brooks, young Stepan has drawn the task of matching up lines with Sid the kid as the Penguins roll in to town on a 6 game winning streak.

Stepan, who led the Badgers in scoring last season with 54 points in 41 games is excited at the prospects of trying to shut down Crosby who has a ridiculous 25 points in his past 12 games.

"If I play well defensively, I play well offensively. And if I can disrupt Crosby, it will make my night."

Stepan has had an up and down season in his rookie affair. He started up his NHL career with a hat trick on opening night but only recorded a mere two assists through his next 15 games. Nine games ago Stepan's ice time started to increase and as one would expect, his production increased as well. He's found the net 3 times and has 9 points in his past 9 games.

Stepan's 14 points this season are good for fourth on the team but as you can expect from someone who has spent time learning under Mike Eaves, defense comes first.

"For me, it's always been that if I play well defensively, then offense is never too big of an issue," Stepan said. "It's kind of a wild card for me, but it works."

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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Monday Morning Bracketology Week 4: 11/29/10

It's time once again for our weekly installment of Bracketology. This week finds the Wisconsin Badgers sitting at home once again come tournament time for the third week in a row. However, for the first time in a couple weeks we're on the upswing. We stopped the bleeding this weekend with a tie and a win in the College Hockey Showcase and we moved up from #24 to #18 in the all important PWR.

Just like last week, five WCHA teams are projected to make the NCAA tournament with Wisconsin right on the bubble.

Step 1: Pick the 16 tournament teams

1. Yale
2. Nebraska-Omaha
3. Minnesota-Duluth
4. Boston University
5. Notre Dame
6. New Hampshire
7. North Dakota
8. Michigan
9. Denver
10. Minnesota
11. Union
12. Miami
13. Boston College
14. Dartmouth
15. RPI
16. Atlantic Hockey Champion (Robert Morris)

Bubble Teams (in order): Maine, Alaska, Wisconsin, Merrimack, Princeton

Step 2: Assign the seeds

No. 1 seeds: Yale, UNO, Minnesota-Duluth, Boston University
No. 2 seeds: Notre Dame, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Michigan
No. 3 seeds: Denver, Minnesota, Union, Miami
No. 4 seeds: Boston College, Dartmouth, RPI, Robert Morris

Step 3: Place host teams in regionals

Right now we have two host schools in the tournament. New Hampshire is hosting the Northeast Regional in Manchester, and Yale is hosting the East Regional in Bridgeport. Therefore, UNH is placed as the #2 seed in Manchester and Yale is the #1 seed in Bridgeport.

Step 4: Place number 1 seeds in regionals
Number 1 seeds are placed based on proximity to regional site.

No. 1 Yale (Host) is placed in the East Regional in Bridgeport
No. 2 Nebraska-Omaha is placed in the West Regional in St. Louis
No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in the Mid-West Regional in Green Bay
No. 4 Boston University is placed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester

Step 5: Place the other 12 teams avoiding intra-conference match ups if possible Begin by filling in each bracket by banding groups. Remember that teams are not assigned to the regional closest to their campus sites by ranking order within the banding.

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

Number 2 seeds:

No. 8 Michigan is placed in No. 1 Yale's Regional, the East Regional
No. 7 North Dakota is placed in No. 2 Nebraska-Omaha's Regional, the West Regional
No. 6 UNH (host) is placed in No. 4 Boston University's Regional, the Northeast Regional
No. 5 Notre Dame is placed in No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth's Regional, the Mid-West Regional

Number 3 seeds:

No. 9 Denver is placed No. 8 Michigan's Regional, the East Regional
No. 10 Minnesota is placed in No. 7 North Dakota's Regional, the West Regional
No. 11 Union is placed in No. 6 New Hampshire's Regional, the Northeast Regional
No. 12 Miami is placed in No. 5 Notre Dame's Regional, the Mid-West Regional

Number 4 seeds:

No. 13 Boston College is placed in No. 4 Boston University's Regional, the Northeast Regional
No. 14 Dartmouth is placed in No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth's Regional, the Mid-West Regional
No. 15 RPI is placed in No. 2 Nebraska-Omahas Regional, the West Regional
No. 16 Robert Morris is placed in No. 1 Yale's Regional, the East Regional

Our bracket as we have it set up:

East Regional (Bridgeport, Connecticut)
1 Yale vs 16 Robert Morris
8 Michigan vs 9 Denver

West Regional (St. Louis, Missouri)
2 Nebraska-Omaha vs 15 RPI
7 North Dakota vs 10 Minnesota

Northeast Regional (Manchester, New Hampshire)
4 Boston University vs 13 Boston College
6 New Hampshire vs 11 Union

Mid-West Regional (Green Bay, Wisconsin)
3 Minnesota-Duluth vs 14 Dartmouth
5 Notre Dame vs 12 Miami

Our first concern is to avoid intra-conference first round match ups. The past two weeks were easy, we had no concerns. This week there are three intra-conference match ups. Minnesota vs North Dakota, Boston University vs Boston College, and Notre Dame vs Miami.

We can only move teams within their own band. Therefore, the easy switch is between Miami and Minnesota. So Minnesota will face Notre Dame in the Mid-West and Miami will face North Dakota in the West. Again keeping teams in their own band, for bracket integrity we flip #14 Dartmouth with #13 Boston College. Moving BC out of the Northeast sucks but we can't punish the #1 overall seed Yale by sticking #13 BC against them so this is our only option.

Our NEW Bracket:

East Regional (Bridgeport, Connecticut)
1 Yale vs 16 Robert Morris
8 Michigan vs 9 Denver

West Regional (St. Louis, Missouri)
2 Nebraska-Omaha vs 15 RPI
7 North Dakota vs
12 Miami

Northeast Regional (Manchester, New Hampshire)
4 Boston University vs
14 Dartmouth
6 New Hampshire vs 11 Union

Mid-West Regional (Green Bay, Wisconsin)
3 Minnesota-Duluth vs 13 Boston College
5 Notre Dame vs 10 Minnesota


Bracket integrity looks strong.

Attendance this week is probably the strongest it's been in the four weeks of tracking bracketology. Green Bay attendance should be excellent with Duluth, Notre Dame, and Minneosta, same with BU and New Hampshire in Manchester. Omaha, North Dakota, and Miami in St. Louis also looks good. Bridgeport is the only concern but they do have Yale as a host school. There isn't anything we can change to make it better.

So that's what we'll go with for this week, I'm happy with it.

Week by week Wisconsin tournament tracker:
Week 1: #12 overall seed vs Michigan in Mid-West Regional in Green Bay
Week 2: First team out of the tournament, #16 in the PWR
Week 3: Falling further away from the tournament, #24 in the PWR
Week 4: Stopped the bleeding, moved up to #18 in the PWR

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Big weekend for Schultz leads to win, tie

When pondering where Wisconsin was going to replace the huge void of points that left the program after last seasons National Championship run, most of the talk centered around a heralded freshman forward class and what current forwards in the program were going to step up to the dish.

Maybe the defensemen were overlooked. Friday night vs eighth ranked Michigan junior defenseman Jake Gardiner recorded what we thought was the first hat trick by a defenseman since Barry Richter in the early 1990's. We later learned that his first tally would be awarded to senior captain Sean Dolan.

Not to be over shadowed, silky sophomore Justin Schultz (pictured) made sure the long streak of no defensemen with hat tricks came to an end on Saturday burying the biscuit three times en route to a dominating 4-1 victory over Michigan State leading Spartan coach Rick Comley to proclaim that Schultz is "dynamic."

In Andy Baggot's game article, he talked to Barry Richter who had this to say about Schultz big night: “He’s a special player,” Richter wrote of Schultz in a text message, “so I’m happy it was him.”

On the weekend, Badger defensemen recorded 7 out of the 8 goals. Like already mentioned, Gardiner was credited for 2 goals on Friday with forward Sean Dolan getting credit for a goal and Justin Schultz adding one as well. Freshman defenseman Frankie Simonelli scored the only goal not scored by Schultz on Saturday.

Currently Schultz (19 points in 16 games) and Gardiner (18 points in 16 games) are #1 and #2 respectively in points scored by defensemen in the country at this point in the season. I would expect to see them stay at or near the top of that list all season long if they continue to play the way they are on the offensive side of the puck.

Friday Night: Wisconsin 4, Michigan 4


WSJ (Baggot): Badgers tie Michigan -- and still haven't won in OT since 2007
UWBadgers.com: Badgers open College Hockey Showcase with a tie against Michigan
UWBadgers.com: Game Statistics
UWBadgers.com: Photos
UWBadgers.com: Post Game Press Conference
MGoBlue.com: Wolverines earn tie at Wisconsin in battle of power plays
USCHO.com: Wisconsin rallies to tie Michigan

Saturday Night: Wisconsin 4, Michigan State 1

WSJ (Baggot): Schultz's rare hat trick carries the day
UWBadgers.com: Badgers prevail over Michigan State, 4-1
UWBadgers.com: Game Statistics
UWBadgers.com: Quotes
UWBadgers.com: Post Game Press Conference
MSUSpartans.com: Spartans fall to Badgers, 4-1
MSUSpartans.com: Photo Gallery
USCHO.com: Schultz hat trick helps Wisconsin beat Michigan Sate, break winless streak

Photo courtesy of RedHeat15

A Eulogy for the Showcase

We gather here, on this cold November day, to mourn the loss of the College Hockey Showcase. It only recently celebrated its 17th birthday, and already it has gone the way of Fruit Brute cereal, the DeLorean Motor Company and Heath Ledger (too soon?).

It began as the brainchild of four coaches (Jeff Sauer, Doug Woog, Ron Mason and Red Berenson), who thought it would be a great idea for the former WCHA rivals and Big Ten foes to meet each other in non-conference play. The first Showcase was held 1993 as a single-venue event in Auburn Hills, MI. It moved around a bit in its infancy, but finally settled on its most recent format.

It served as a reminder of the titan-like status each of the four schools hold in the college hockey community. Currently, the four schools collectively hold 23 of the 63 official D-I NCAA hockey championships. Along with BC, BU, UND and DU- they are THE strongest programs in the country. While the games weren't necessarily memorable in themselves (certainly, the atmosphere tended to be thin, on account of it being over Thanksgiving weekend, when students and old people alike frequently had other plans), you always knew that you would be seeing a matchup of some of college hockey's finest talent.

Now, it is dead. Killed mostly by Barry Alvarez, who last year decided to opt out of the arrangement, citing the desire to include Ohio State in the mix. Of course, we all know that it isn't really gone. It's just like a villain from a slasher flick. We will all pretend like it's dead and gone, but the wise and savvy among us know better. It's only a matter of time before the Showcase's jerky corpse rises from the dead, rebrands itself as the Big Ten Hockey Conference and hobbles about, slashing the throats of the annoying teenagers who dare get in its way.

Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. Fade to the BTHC.

Post Script: A few links discussing the demise of the Showcase, and the inescapable connection to the BTHC:

Andy Baggot (Madison.com)
Roman Augustovitz (Star Tribune):
Neil Koepke (Lansing State Journal/GreenAndWhite.com)

A few articles out there (notably in Augustovitz's column linked above) are noting the WCHA's attempts to be proactive by (a) offering a non-conference scheduling agreement to Wisconsin and Minnesota and (b) hiring some consultants to help them plan out some damage control. Something to keep in mind. I'm no expert on Minnesota's Athletic Department (other than knowing that Maturi has been the one AD that has spoken out against the BTHC), so I can't say anything about how they will react to such a proposal. I've a sneaking suspicion that Alvarez will tell the WCHA to shove it, since my gut instinct says that he's probably going to want to go the same route as basketball and football- go with whatever non-conference schedule gives you the most home dates, since that's better for the bottom line. To assume that UW will have 14 non-conference games and eagerly fill most of them with ex-WCHA teams is foolish. It only happens if we get all or most of those games at home, I can promise you that.

Other, tangentially related news: The Pioneer Press has quoted Paul Kelly as hinting that the Big Ten (Twelven? Tenve?) has once again made an offer to Notre Dame. With the BTHC as a cherry on top of whatever sundae the Big Ten had offered the last time around (you know, when Notre Dame rejected it and we got Nebraska instead). WCHBlog has the most amusing reaction to it, so you can find the article through there.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Navin excited to be a Badger

Late Monday night we alerted you to the fact that in state superstar forward Brad Navin (pictured far left) had made a verbal commitment to Mike Eaves and the University of Wisconsin for 2012 or 2013 depending on his development and roster availability.

I was able to check in with big center over the Thanksgiving holiday and he was kind enough to take time away from the turkey to answer a few questions for our readers.

Chuck Schwartz: You've given a commitment to your home town Badgers. How does it feel as a Wisconsin kid to know you're going to be playing for UW in a few years?

Brad Navin: It's a great feeling! It's a dream come true! I've grown up watching and going to Badger games and have always wanted to be a Badger. Also it doesn't get any better to have my family and friends so close so they can come to watch. Nothing better than playing for your home State.

CS: I know you had other college options, can you give the fans a bit of a glimpse into your head on why you settled on Wisconsin?

Navin: I had two other schools in which I was considering, Ohio State and Bemidji State. I had to sit down and write down the pros and cons of each School. Ohio State was very close. Coach Oz has taken over the program and he is a great coach. Wisconsin has a great program, a great hockey tradition/reputation and is known for winning. The coaching staff there, Coach Eaves especially are top notch coaches and he is known for getting players to the next level, and I want to be apart of all that.

CS: You scored I believe something ridiculous like 52 goals last season. You had an opportunity to leave high school this year and play in the USHL. How tough was that decision to stay at Waupaca and give a run at a state championship?

Navin: Yeah this was definitely a very tough decision to make. Team Wisconsin played a big role in my decision too. We pick up play again in the Spring and as a Team we made a goal in the fall to make it to Nationals, and we believe we need every here to make that happen.

CS: Your commitment to Wisconsin means that you'll be teaming up with Team Wisconsin teammate Tim Davison (pictured top right next to Navin) who is also a 2012 or 2013 recruit. Can you give us a brief scouting report on his game and what it will be like to team up with him again in college?

Navin: Tim is a great kid and a great hockey player. He is very easy to get along with and has a great sense of humor. Tim is very good with the puck and can take control and slow the play down. He is not afraid to skate the puck up and get into the play. Being able to be teammates with Tim again in a few years will be awesome. We get along very well together as do our families. We've already talked about being roommates.

CS: NHL Central Scouting listed you as a "B" player to watch this fall. Something like that puts a target on your back especially coming back to high school hockey. Can you tell us what it's like having to deal with the expectations of living up to being put on a prestigious list like that?

Navin: Yes I agree with what you said with the target on my back. I have to come ready to compete day in and day out, I have to continue to work hard on and off the ice. Also I know many players on my team and at the younger age groups here in town look up to me and enjoy when I come out to their youth practices to help out, so I have to stay confident and be a great role model for many.

CS: I'm sure the Wisconsin fans want to know a little bit more about your game. They can see the stats you've put up at the high school level and with Team Wisconsin. Can you describe your game a little bit and what you think you can bring to the table when you get to Wisconsin?

Navin: I'm 6'2.5" so I would have to say I have size and strength in my advantage over many player, I have been told by many people that I have a high caliber shot. I've been a goal scorer a long with a play maker. I believe I have good vision on the ice to find the open man and to make plays. Coming to Wisconsin I think I can bring my size and my ability to score to the team.

Click here to view the statistics for all Wisconsin recruits.
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Editors commentary: I just wanted to thank Brad once again for his time in answering some questions. We're very appreciative of him doing this for us. As with all Wisconsin recruits, we'll be tracking his progress for the next few years until he pulls on that Wisconsin Badgers sweater.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wisconsin Born Players: Where Are They Now?

With the Thanksgiving holiday break going on right now, I thought it would be a good chance to catch up on where all the Wisconsin born kids are playing now days. The talent level that the state produces continues to improve every single season and that's evidenced in players playing high levels of hockey.

National Hockey League (NHL)

Drew Stafford-Buffalo Sabres (Milwaukee)

Jake Dowell-Chicago Blackhawks (Eau Claire)
Jack Skille-Chicago Blackhawks (Verona)
Adam Burish-Dallas Stars (Madison)
Davis Drewiske-L.A. Kings (Hudson)
Ryan Suter-Nashville Predators (Madison)
Joe Pavelski-San Jose Sharks (Stevens Point)
Brad Winchester-St. Louis Blues (Madison)
Phil Kessel-Toronto Maple Leafs (Madison)
David Steckel-Washington Capitols (Milwaukee)

American Hockey League (AHL)


Joe Piskula-Abbotsford Heat (Antigo)
Kyle Klubertanz-Hamilton Bulldogs (Sun Prairie)
Joel Rechlicz-Hershey Bears (Brookfield)
Tyler Plante-Rochester Americans (Milwaukee)
John Mitchell-Syracuse Crunch (Neenah)
Trevor Ludwig-Texas Stars (Rhinelander)
Josh Engel-Toronto Marlies (Rice Lake)

East Coast Hockey league (ECHL)

Bobby Robbins-Bakersfield Condors (Peshtigo)
Evan Stoflet-Bakersfield Condors (Madison)
Eric Lampe-Elmira Jackals (Madison)
Andy Brandt-Gwinnett Gladiators (Wausau)
Jake Hauswirth-South Carolina Stingrays (Merrill)
Andy Bohmbach-Toledo Walleye (Hudson)
Jason Fredricks-Utah Grizzlies (Eagle River)

NCAA Division 1

Stephen Caple-Air Force (Rice Lake)
Justin Cseter-Alabama Huntsville (Menomonie)
Sean Wiles-Alaska Anchorage (Beloit)
Alex McRae-Army (Mindoro)
Drew Pierson-Army (Pleasant Prairie)
Jordan George-Bemidji State (Madison)
David Solway-Bowling Green (Green Bay)
Ted Behrend-Colorado College (Oregon)
Arthur Bidwell-Colorado College (Fontana)
Alex Gerke-UConn (Tomah)
Dan Olszewski-Denver (Janesville)
Aaron Schmit-Ferris State (Grafton)
Trent Frey-Mercyhurst (River Falls)
Patrick Tiesling-Miami (Rhinelander)
A.J. Sturges-Michigan State (Verona)
Brett Olson-Michigan Tech (Superior)
Nate Condon-Minnesota (Wausau)
Josh Nelson-Minnesota State (Wisconsin Rapids)
Kyle Ensign-Nebraska Omaha (New Richmond)
Brent Gwidt-Nebraska Omaha (Minoqua)
Brock Montpetit-Nebraska Omaha (Somerset)
Blake Kessel-New Hampshire (Madison)
Scott Pavelski-New Hampshire (Stevens Point)
Mike Sislo-New Hampshire (Superior)
Derrick LaPoint-North Dakota (Eau Claire)
Nick Condon-Notre Dame (Wausau)
Jeff Costello-Notre Dame (Milwaukee)
Mike Johnson-Notre Dame (Verona)
Sam Zabkowicz-St. Cloud State (Greendale)
Jacob Drewiske-St. Lawrence (Hudson)
Troy Grosenick-Union (Brookfield)
David Donnellan-Western Michigan (Eau Claire)
Ross Henry-Western Michigan (Franklin)
Jefferson Dahl-Wisconsin (Eau Claire)
Chase Drake-Wisconsin (Mosinee)
Gavin Hartzog-Wisconsin (Milwaukee)
Patrick Johnson-Wisconsin (Madison)
Craig Johnson-Wisconsin (Waupaca)
Sean Little-Wisconsin (Fond du Lac)
Ryan Little-Wisconsin (Fond du Lac)
Keegan Meuer-Wisconsin (Madison)
Craig Smith-Wisconsin (Madison)
Eric Springer-Wisconsin (Wrightstown)
Mitch Thompson-Wisconsin (Onalaska)
Podge Turnbull-Wisconsin (Hayward)

NCAA Division 3

Pat Dalbec-UW Superior (Superior)
Casey Kirley-UW Stout (Hayward)
Logan Maly-UW Stout (Rio)
Kevin O'Donnell-UW Stout (Stoughton)
Jon Bockmann-UW Stevens Point (Wind Lake)
Brandon Busse-UW Stevens Point (Stevens Point)
Travis Erstad-UW Stevens Point (Stevens Point)
Nick Graves-UW Stevens Point (Hewitt)
Steve Hamilton-UW Stevens Point (Stevens Point)
Kyle Heck-UW Stevens Point (Plover)
Justin Johnson-UW Stevens Point (Eau Claire)
Tyler Krueger-UW Stevens Point (Stevens Point)
Luke Nesper-UW Stevens Point (Eagle River)
Nic Polaski-UW Stevens Point (Delafield)
Garrett Suter-UW Stevens Point (Madison)
Jeff Burke-UW River Falls (New Richmond)
Josh Calleja-UW River Falls (New Richmond)
Ryan Goodmanson-UW River Falls (Clear Lake)
Andrew Mueller-UW River Falls (New Berlin)
Isaiah Bennis-UW Eau Claire (Eau Claire)
Andrew McCabe-UW Eau Claire (Eau Claire)
Niko Kapetanovic-UW Eau Claire (North Prarie)
Tim Possehl-UW Eau Claire (Fond du Lac)
Casey Stern-UW Eau Claire (McFarland)
Nic Weight-UW Eau Claire (Eagle River)
Jay Xu-Williams (Hayward)
Tommy Westmark-St. Thomas (Appleton)
Neil Sauter-St. Scholastica (Superior)
Derek Donohue-St. Norbert (Manitowoc)
Adam Hammerbeck-St. Norbert (Superior)
Scott Pulak-St. Norbert (Green Bay)
Seth Soley-St. Norbert (Elk Mound)
Nick Roscoe-St. Johns (Eau Claire)
Jake Vande Lune-St. Johns (Monona)
Aaron Beck-Skidmore (Maribel)
Brian Horrigan-Plymouth State (Brookfield)
Mike Lennon-Northland (Reedsburg)
Zach Kohn-Nichols (Hartland)
Aaron Humphries-Milwaukee School of Engineering (Middleton)
Kyle Ostapina-Milwaukee School of Engineering (Hartland)
Ryan Peterson-Milwaukee School of Engineering (Greendale)
Ben Plocar-Milwaukee School of Engineering (Elkhart Lake)
Devin Schmitt-Milwaukee School of Engineering (Beaver Dam)
Michael Siergiej-Milwaukee School of Engineering (Eagle River)
Michael Soik-Milwaukee School of Engineering (Stevens Point)
Sean-Michael Tisdall-Milwaukee School of Engineering (Lake Geneva)
Charlie Strauss-Middlebury (Eagle River)
Thomas Speer-UMass Boston (Wausau)
Max Berger-Marian (Hartland)
Justin De Maa-Marian (Waupun)
Chris Fredrickson-Marian (North Lake)
Tom Glomski-Marian (Waupun)
Andy Kuechler-Marian (Lomira)
John O'Connell-Marian (Madison)
Jonathon Bellotti-Lawrence (Sussex)
Jacob Esch-Lawrence (Madison)
Corey Garrett-Lawrence (Wausau)
Reijo Wahlin-Lawrence (Stoughton)
Tyler Gross-Lake Forest (Fond du Lac)
Anthony Ventura-Lake Forest (Pleasant Prarie)
Sam Ward-Hamilton (Manitowoc)
Jon Vaillancourt-Framingham State (La Valle)
Charles Vaillancourt-Framingham State (La Valle)
Scott Opolka-Finlandia (Green Bay)
Brandon Beyer-Concordia WI (Milwaukee)
Michael Becker-Concordia WI (Altoona)
Josh Farnam-Concordia WI (Waukesha)
Jake Furey-Concordia WI (Cedarburg)
Dustin Le Claire-Concordia WI (Oconomowoc)
Jarred Lucas-Concordia WI (Cedar Grove)
Shawn Oelke-Concordia WI (Wausau)
Stephen Panas-Concordia WI (Cottage Grove)
Andrew Parrott-Concordia WI (Green Bay)
Ryan Roeming-Concordia WI (Madison)
Cody Ruplinger-Concordia WI (Dotyville)
Dan Schiltz-Concordia WI (New Richmond)
Robbie Billings-Concordia MN (Webster)
Karl Burns-Colby (Mequon)
Blake Jenkins-Bethel (Brookfield)
Josh Shingler-Bethel (Shawano)
Tyler Sorenson-Bethel (Madison)
Anthony Cantalupo-Becker (De Pere)
Brandon Bukowski-Augsburg (Superior)
Ted Falk-Augsburg (Mequon)
Joel Sauer-Augsburg (Madison)

Ontario Hockey League (OHL)

Sam Lofquist-Guelph Storm (Somerset)
Alex Racino-Saginaw Spirit (Merril)
Trevor Morbeck-Soo Grehounds (Jackson)

United States Hockey League (USHL)

Tyler Lundey-Dubuque Fighting Saints (Middleton)

Jakob Batcha-Fargo Force (Fredonia)
Garrett Allen-Fargo Force (Delafield)
Jordan Schmaltz-Sioux City Musketeers (Verona)
Jake Suter-Sioux City Musketeers (Lac du Flambeau)
Max McCormick-Sioux City Musketeers (De Pere)
Matt Pappe-Sioux City Musketeers (Appleton)
Jose Delgadillo-Sioux City Musketeers (Milwaukee)
Noah Nelson-Sioux City Musketeers (Oconomowoc)
Ian McCoshen-Waterloo Black Hawks (Hudson)
Ryan Belonger-Youngstown Phantoms (Green Bay)
Cody Strang-Youngstown Phantoms (Madison)
Jake McCabe-USA NTDP U18 (Eau Claire)
Joey Fiala-USA NTDP U18 (Verona)
Andrew Schmit-Lincoln Stars (Grafton)
Tim Smith-Indiana Ice (Superior)
CJ Eick-Green Bay Gamblers (Appleton)
Aaron Harstad-Green Bay Gamblers (Stevens Point)
Peter Maric-Cedar Rapids Rough Riders (Milwuakee)

North American Hockey League (NAHL)

Ross Pavek-Alaska Avalanche (Green Bay)
Casey Nelson-Alaska Avalanche (Wisconsin Rapids)
Landon Petereson-Alaska Avalanche (Oregon)
Dan Sherer-Amarillo Bulls (Nashatoa)
Luke Jenkins-Amarillo Bulls (River Falls)
Nolan Kirley-Austin Bruins (Hayward)
Alex Tesensky-Austin Bruins (Cedarburg)
Samuel Dougherty-Bismark Bobcats (Green Bay)
Brett Bower-Bismark Bobcats (Madison)
Peter Nesper-Chicago Hitmen (Eagle River)
Brian Berger-Chicago Hitmen (Hartland)
David Clark-Chicago Hitmen (Pewaukee)
Joey Haydock-Chicago Hitmen (Junction City)
Nicholas Kohn-Chicago Hitmen (Hartland)
Nathan Trannel-Coulee Region Chill (Onalaska)
Matt Millis-Fairbanks Ice Dogs (Black River Falls)
Truman Landowski-Janesville Jets (Appleton)
Ross Mauermann-Janesville Jets (Janesville)
Seth Johnson-Janesville Jets (Woodruff)
Jordan Tredinnick-Janesville Jets (Onalaska)
Derek Knetter-Janesville Jets (Wausau)
David Jacobson-Janesville Jets (Janesville)
Tony Kujava-Janesville Jets (Green Bay)
Connor McBride-Janesville Jets (Hartland)
TJ Christianson-Owatana Express (Pickerel)
Andy Singerhouse-Owatana Express (Hudson)
Nick Widing-Owatana Express (Somerset)
Tyler Jacobson-Port Huron Falcons (Cross Plains)
Logan Lemirande-Port Huron Falcons (Janesville)
Nick Drill-Port Huron Falcons (Madison)
Russell Blaser-Port Huron Falcons (Monona Grove)
Ross Anderson-Springfield Jr. Blues (River Falls)
Shayne McLaughlin-Springfield Jr. Blues (Eau Claire)
Dylan Dock-Springfield Jr. Blues (River Falls)
Ethan Nauman-Springfield Jr. Blues (Mosinee)
Andrew Martin-Springfield Jr. Blues (Stoughton)
Eric Johnson-Wenatchee Wild (Madison)
Marcus Zelzer-Wenatchee Wild (Green Bay)

McCabe Named USHL Defensive POTW

If the NTDP names a come back player of the year, 2011 Wisconsin recruit Jake McCabe is the heavy favorite to take home the hardware.

After missing basically 8-10 weeks to start the season with a stress fracture in his L-5 vertabrae in his lower back, McCabe has come back to the USA U18 squad and is playing like he never missed a beat.

McCabe by all accounts played well over in Sweden in the recent Four Nations tournament in which the United States took home the gold medal. He's continued his play back on US soil recording a goal and assist on Saturday night in a 5-2 victory over the Indiana Ice.

McCabes play over the weekend in a pair of USA victories was good enough to net him the USHL defensive player of the week award sponsored by CCM.

According to the release on the USHL website, "McCabe tallied two points (1g, 1a) and a plus-three rating in two victories for Team USA's Under-18 squad. The defenseman scored the team's first goal and assisted on another in the 5-2 win over Indiana on Friday. It was his first career USHL goal which came on his first shot on goal this season. McCabe also posted a game high plus-three rating in the contest. The 17-year-old from Eau Claire, Wisconsin has played three USHL games this season after competing in 35 games in 2009-10 for Team USA's Under-17 squad.

This weekend McCabe and his U18 teammates head to Maine where they will play a pair of games against D-3 schools Bowdoin College and Colby College.

chuckschwartz@live.com
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(Last Ever) College Hockey Showcase Week

Reminder: Saturday game time vs Michigan State has been changed from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM due to the football game time switch.

Coming in to the 2010-2011 hockey season, Wisconsin hockey fans prepared themselves for a roller coaster ride. So with the highs (6-0 drubbing of Minnesota), come the lows (back to back home sweeps at the hands of UND and UMD).

This weekend is a chance for redemption for the Wisconsin Badgers who despite losing the last four games, have played tough, including taking the near unanimous number one team in the country to overtime on back to back nights.

This holiday weekend brings to town Michigan and Michigan State for the College Hockey Showcase. This event which has been held annually for the past 17 years will be the final one.

Last weekend the Badgers despite being swept showed a lot of moxie. It was the first time this season that the goaltending wasn't top notch but the team battled through it and showed some poise including scoring a goal with an extra attacker to force overtime on Friday night.

Freshman forward Tyler Barnes found the back of the net a few times over the weekend and is looking more and more conferable every time on the ice. Looked upon by the coaching staff as a point producer coming into the season, Barnes success with the Badgers the rest of the season will go a long ways in determining how far they can go.

Mark Zengerle continues to rack up assists compiling three more last weekend. The New York native is now third in the country in assists and fifth in the country in total points. Zengerle leads the country in points scored by a freshman.

Junior forward Jordy Murray buried two goals over the weekend and is now in an elite group of only 4 other players in the country so far to have reached double digits in goals. The hard nosed winger out of Shattuck St. Marys has found a home out in front of the net and isn't afraid to get his beak dirty.

Michigan rolls in to town on Friday night ranked #8 in the country by both national polls and sports an 8-3-3 record so far. The Wolverines swept Lake Superior State last weekend 7-2, 3-2.

A veteran team, the Wolverines are led up front by a pair of seniors in Louie Caporusso and Carl Hagelin. Caporusso has recorded 40 points the past two seasons and Hagelin hit the 50 point mark a season ago.

Defensively watch out for electrifying freshman Jon Merrill who was drafted #38 overall in this past seasons NHL draft by the New Jersey Devils. Merrill, who committed to Michigan at fourteen years old has put up a solid 8 points through his first 14 college hockey games.

In net, Shawn Hunwick and Bryan Hogan have each played seven games for the maize and blue. The tandem has been rotation for the most part of the season but Hogan seems to have the better statistics early in the this young season. It looks like Hunwick has been starting on most Friday nights including the past two, so odds are that trend continues.

Saturday night Michigan State will take the four hour bus ride from the twin cities down 94 East to face the Badgers in the second night of the College Hockey Showcase. The Spartans haven't had the success they are accustomed to this season with only a 4-6-3 record. Sparty was swept over the weekend by Notre Dame and lost a rare Tuesday game against Ferris State last night.

Junior forward Brett Perlini is the leading scorer for State so far in the season. The Ontario native has 8 goals so far in 13 games, doubling any other player on the team. Perlini's 13 points already eclipse his 12 points last year as a sophomore.

Don't be surprised if you see a familiar face in the crowd this weekend. Former Badger Chris Chelios has two sons that now play for Michigan State. Jake, a freshman is second on the team in goals with 4 and has 6 points. Dean, a sophomore has two points.

Drew Palmisano has handled the bulk of the goaltending duties for the boys out of East Lancing so far this season. Palmisano has played 12 out of the 13 games for Sparty and sports a respectable .908 save percentage.

COVERAGE


Friday night there is no TV coverage. The game will be on bigtennetwork.com but I think they charge a small fee. The same is true for the Saturday game. My TV guide lists the Saturday game on television so you can check on Charter Extra, but I'm not holding my breath.

POLLS


Wisconsin dropped from #15 to #16 in the USCHO.com poll and from #15 to the "also receiving votes" category in the USA Hockey/USA Today poll. Wisconsin's Friday opponent, Michigan comes in ranked #8 in both polls. Michigan State is "also receiving votes" in the USCHO poll and is un-ranked by USA Hockey/USA Today.

INJURIES


The only injury I'm aware of right now is the ankle injury of Gavin Hartzog. I haven't heard an update on his status in quite some time. Even if he is healthy, there is a lot of competition for the last one or two spots in the lineup.

PREDICTIONS


Wisconsin needs victories in the worst way. Wisconsin has hung in with every team in the country so far and they have played some pretty good teams. There isn't a team out there right now that is going to come into a game with our Badgers and blow us away. Hungry, energized, and focused I think the Badgers come away from this weekend with a pair of victories.

Friday: Wisconsin 3, Michigan 2
Saturday: Wisconsin 6, Michigan State 2

chuckschwartz@live.com
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Monday, November 22, 2010

Badgers Land Top In-State Recruit Brad Navin

The list of in-state high school players to receive scholarship offers from Mike Eaves is pretty short. It takes a big time talent to be an land a UW offer before your senior hockey season begins without playing junior hockey.

That is the case with Waupaca senior forward Brad Navin who sources tell me has accepted an offer Mike Eaves and the Badgers. (Ed. Note: Wisconsin Prep Hockey is also speculating a Navin commitment)

Navin has been a hot name in recruiting circles this fall after tearing up the Upper Midwest High School Elite League with Team Wisconsin.

The 6'2 183 pound center has a nack for finding the net. While in the Elite League this fall, Navin led TW in scoring and finished tied for third in league scoring. Last year as a junior with Waupaca, Navin led the state of Wisconsin in scoring with an astounding 92 points (53 goals) in only 25 games.

This fall he was also rated a "B" player by NHL Central Scouting which means they view him before his draft year as a player projected to be drafted between the third and fifth round.

According to an article written by Chris Walby from Wisco Hockey in mid-October, Navin was considering Wisconsin, Ohio State, Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota and Bemidji State for his college destination.

Navin, the odds on favorite to win the Wisconsin Mr. Hockey award this season was briefly listed on the roster of the Sioux City Musketeers (USHL) at the end of the Team Wisconsin season. He has since been removed and it should be assumed that he will finish his high school career with Waupaca.

Mr. Navin will spend at least a year in the USHL after this high school season and come in for the 2012 or 2013 season depending on his development and roster availability.

Committed forward recruits:

2011
Brendan Woods-Muskegon (USHL)
Matt Pappe-Sioux City (USHL)
Tyler Lapic-Chicago (USHL)
Cody Strang-Youngstown (USHL)

2012
Morgan Zulinick-Salmon Arm (BCHL)
Nic Kerdiles-US NTDP U17
Corbin McGuire-Fargo (USHL)
Brad Navin-Waupaca (WI HS)-or 2013

Updated committed recruits statistics

chuckschwartz@live.com
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Monday Afternoon Bracketology Week 3: 11/22/10

It's time once again for our weekly installment of Bracketology. This week finds the Wisconsin Badgers sitting at home once again come tournament time for the second week in a row. The Badgers fell from #12 to #16 in the pairwise after a sweep at the hands of North Dakota. They have fallen even further this week with the sweep at the hands of Minnesota-Duluth. We now sit at #24 in the PWR, not even sniffing the tournament bubble.

Niagara is now the projected Atlantic Hockey winner due to them having the highest PWR. (When there are more conference games later in the year we'll use the first place team in Atlantic Hockey for the projected auto bid, but for now we'll go with the highest in the PWR.)

As an additional note, five WCHA teams are now projected to make the tournament, up from 3 last week. That is more like it.

Step 1: Pick the 16 tournament teams

1. Nebraska-Omaha
2. Yale
3. Minnesota-Duluth
4. Notre Dame
5. Michigan
6. Boston University
7. New Hampshire
8. Boston College
9. North Dakota
10. Miami
11. Denver
12. Union
13. Minnesota
14. Maine
15. Alaska
16. Atlantic Hockey Champion (Niagara)

Bubble Teams (in order): RPI, Merrimack, Western Michigan, Quinnipiac, Dartmouth

Step 2: Assign the seeds

No. 1 seeds: UNO, Yale, Minnesota-Duluth, Notre Dame
No. 2 seeds: Michigan, BU, UNH, BC
No. 3 seeds: North Dakota, Miami, Denver, Union
No. 4 seeds: Minnesota, Maine, Alaska, Niagara

Step 3: Place host teams in regionals

Right now we have two host schools in the tournament. New Hampshire is hosting the Northeast Regional in Manchester, and Yale is hosting the East Regional in Bridgeport. Therefore, UNH is placed as the #2 seed in Manchester and Yale is the #1 seed in Bridgeport.

Step 4: Place number 1 seeds in regionals
Number 1 seeds are placed based on proximity to regional site.

No. 1 Nebraska-Omaha is placed in the West Regional in St. Louis
No. 2 Yale (Host) is placed in the East Regional in Bridgeport
No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth is placed in the Mid-West Regional in Green Bay
No. 4 Notre Dame is placed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester

Step 5: Place the other 12 teams avoiding intra-conference match ups if possible Begin by filling in each bracket by banding groups. Remember that teams are not assigned to the regional closest to their campus sites by ranking order within the banding.

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

Number 2 seeds:

No. 8 Boston College is placed in No. 1 Nebraska-Omaha's Regional, the West Regional
No. 7 New Hampshire (host) is placed in No. 4 Notre Dame's Regional, the Northeast Regional
No. 6 BU is placed in No. 2 Yale's Regional, the East Regional
No. 5 Michigan is placed in No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth's Regional, the Mid-West Regional

Number 3 seeds:

No. 9 North Dakota is placed No. 8 BC's Regional, the West Regional
No. 10 Miami is placed in No. 7 New Hampshire's Regional, the Northeast Regional
No. 11 Denver is placed in No. 6 BU's Regional, the East Regional
No. 12 Union is placed in No. 5 Michigan's Regional, the Mid-West Regional

Number 4 seeds:

No. 13 Minnesota is placed in No. 4 Notre Dame's Regional, the Northeast Regional
No. 14 Maine is placed in No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth's Regional, the Mid-West Regional
No. 15 Alaska is placed in No. 2 Yale's Regional, the East Regional
No. 16 Niagara is placed in No. 1 Nebraska-Omahas Regional, the West Regional

Our bracket as we have it set up:

East Regional (Bridgeport, Connecticut)
2 Yale vs 15 Alaska
6 Boston University vs 11 Denver

West Regional (St. Louis, Missouri)
1 Nebraska-Omaha vs 16 Niagara
8 Boston College vs 9 North Dakota

Northeast Regional (Manchester, New Hampshire)
4 Notre Dame vs 13 Minnesota
7 New Hampshire vs 10 Miami

Mid-West Regional (Green Bay, Wisconsin)
3 Minnesota-Duluth vs 14 Maine
5 Michigan vs 12 Union

Our first concern is to avoid intra-conference first round match ups. We have none which is great.

Bracket integrity looks strong.

Attendance is better this week and there are no changes to be made that wouldn't either ruin bracket integrity or create and intra-conference match up. So this is my bracket for the week. Pretty easy week.

Week by week Wisconsin tournament tracker:
Week 1: #12 overall seed vs Michigan in Mid-West Regional in Green Bay
Week 2: First team out of the tournament, #16 in the PWR
Week 3: Falling further away from the tournament, #24 in the PWR

chuckschwartz@live.com
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WCHA apologize for Friday screw up

The 60 Minutes, No Alibis, No Regrets blog was able to obtain a draft of the new apology letter to the Wisconsin Men’s Hockey team being written by the WCHA “leadership” of Bruce McLeod and Greg Sheppard.


Dear Coach Eaves;

 It is with sincere regret that Friday’s WCHA contest between the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs and the Wisconsin Badgers ended in the manner that it did at the Kohl Center. An obvious tripping call on the Badger Jake Gardiner was not called, allowing the Bulldogs to score late in the overtime session.

Greg Sheppard and I have discussed Friday’s game with both on ice referees Tim Walsh and Brian Thul. I assure you that we are reviewing their performance this weekend and will issue an appropriate punishment to them in accordance with WCHA policy. I’m sure you were puzzled by their review of the overtime goal on Friday night. They assured me that they looked for every conceivable reason to disallow the goal to make up for their incompetence, but were unable to find a legitimate reason.

In the past, WCHA officials have regularly blown their whistle too soon when the puck was clearly not controlled by the goaltender, having to wave off legitimate goals, but unfortunately we couldn’t play that card this weekend to help your team out. And we all remember how Randy Schmidt totally blew that last second goal against Denver back in 2008; again sorry about that one Mike.

Here at the WCHA we strive to make the best conference in Men’s DI Hockey into a weekly clown show through horrible and inconsistent officiating (we spread the wealth around on bad calls, you know that) and pathetic conference administration and leadership. Our officials meet the highest standard of excellence completing the required workshops on “the NCAA rulebook, who needs that shit,” “making the right call is the wrong decision” and “letting the game get out of hand, oh what fun!”

While Wisconsin has certainly had its share of missed calls, which may or may not have cost your team an NCAA berth or conference home ice in the past few seasons, every team in the WCHA (except for my beloved Denver Pioneers) have consistently been screwed over by our WCHA crews.

If there is one thing you can count on in the WCHA, when our officials do screw up, I will be prompt with an insincere apology letter expressing my deepest regrets for continuing to let our officials do a bad job each weekend across WCHA arenas. We are good at writing letters, and at making players write apology letters to mascots when they assault them. Making the right call on the ice, we’ll leave that to professionals.

In closing, again Greg Sheppard and I express our sincere regret that our on ice officials again cost you points in the WCHA standings. We’d like to assure you that it won’t happen again, but we both know that is an empty promise. The only guarantee that we can extend is that the next time the WCHA officiates a contest for Wisconsin the officiating will be inconsistent and frustrating. It is likely the game will get out of hand or a call on a goal will be blown, but we assure you that our next apology letter will not only be thoughtful and sent quickly, but that it won’t be a duplicate of the one you are reading right now.

Sincerely,

Bruce McLeod
WCHA Commissioner and Clown Shoes in Chief

Can This Team Score a $@!&%# Goal in OT!!!

When will the misery end! That really isn’t a question for a Badger fan at this point, it might have been two seasons ago when we shook our heads during three OT defeats and four ties, but at this point it is an old storyline that needs some concrete shoes and a river to be thrown into.

Taking a step back for a second, at 6-6-2, the team isn’t that far off from where I thought they would be at this point in the season. To be honest, I thought around 7-5-2 would be a great start for this freshman laden team; I just didn’t expect the Badgers to arrive at 6-6-2 in the manner they did. They’ve had a tough schedule, @ Denver and minnesota, while hosting two of the best teams in the country in Duluth and North Dakota. A combined 1-5-2 against those four is not good enough though, and “being right in the games” w/ the top dogs is great, but when a team gets swept at home on consecutive weekends that is little consolation. Losing a bunch of one goal games still count as losses in the PWR and the WCHA standings, there is no such thing yet as a “quality loss.”

This is re-hashing history, but the last OT winner was off of Ben Street’s stick in the 3rd place game of the Final Five on March 17, 2007. That was Brian Elliott’s last game as a Badger to put things in perspective. For some more perspective, there is not a single player on this team who has won an OT game as a Badger. This really doesn’t seem so complicated to me, in 25 games in 3+ seasons, not ONCE can the Badgers come out on top in the extra 5 minutes?

As Chuck pointed out, the Badgers are 0-8-17 during that time span, which is 1,346 days by my count. Though to be fair, they didn’t play another OT game until November 24, 2007 when they tied at Michigan State during the College Hockey Showcase. Either way you look at it OT Futility has been rocking out in Madison for at least 1,094 days. Think of all the things that have happened during that 3 year time span, just in Badger hockey history, but no OT victory to speak of.

On top of that, of the Badgers eight losses in OT, SEVEN of them have occurred at the Kohl Center. This isn’t a team losing on the road in OT to good opponents, this is a team losing at home in front of the supporting crowd. I should qualify that, one OT loss was in the Regional Final against North Dakota in 2008, while at the Kohl Center it theoretically wasn’t a home game. Six is bad enough. In 2008-09, the Badgers blew big leads against North Michigan and Denver at home to lose in OT. If you recall that was the season the Badgers were the first team out by 0.0006 (or something close to that) pts behind Ohio State. Blowing big leads was bad enough, but turn one of those games into a tie even, and the Badgers make the post season.

I did a little research this morning, and looked up the rest of the WCHA during the same 3+ season time span of Badger OT Futility. The next longest streak is minnesota who last won a game in OT on January 3, 2009. That is “approaching” two years, but goldy has a lot of futility to do to catch up, though tDon has them pointed in the right direction these days. The following is the breakdown of each team’s OT record from 2007/08 thru today, w/ this year’s record in ( ). I included UNO and Bemidji even though they were in different (lesser) conferences, but they still found a way to win in OT.

UAA 3-4-16 (1-1-2) 0.478

Bemidji 7-3-9 (1-1-1) 0.605

CC 5-7-15 (0-0-1) 0.463

Denver 4-2-12 (0-0-2) 0.556

Tech 4-3-15 (1-0-2) 0.523

minnesota 4-6-19 (0-0-1) 0.466

Duluth 13-2-17 (5-0-2) 0.672

Mankato 5-8-17 (0-0-4) 0.450

Nebraska-Omaha 5-5-20 (0-0-1) 0.500

North Dakota 7-4-13 (0-1-1) 0.563

St Cloud 4-5-16 (0-2-2) 0.480

Wisconsin 0-8-17 (0-2-2) 0.340

Those stats are just AMAZING to me. The dregs of the WCHA have found ways to win a few in OT in the past 3+ seasons. The Badgers record is so far behind everyone else. Duluth’s 13 OT wins is impressive, they have played the most games in OT during this time span, and won the most and lost the least.

To some this post might be rubbing salt into the wound, but the Badgers have a serious problem. If your friend had an addiction to smoking crack, would you just ignore it because it wasn’t enjoyable to think about or confront? Last season, this wasn’t much of a concern, because the Hobey Baker led Badgers didn’t need OT to win games, they handled opponents all but four times in regulation (w/ a few L’s thrown in there). But this year’s Badger picked up where they left off in 2008/09. Someone left a comment saying this team’s problem might be that they don’t play to win in OT, and I’d further say that this happens in regulation at times, not so much this season, but I’ve seen it in the past. The Badgers might not be the most gifted offensive team this season, but they are far from talentless. They have a strong top line, and then two lines that pitch in some offense to help the team succeed. Some of the freshmen are developing into guys who are going to make the WCHA weep in coming seasons.

Right now this is a huge monkey on the team’s back. They’ve been close in several games, having some nice chances on Friday night to win early in OT (not to mention being f***ed by the refs), but they just need to find a way to win; not play to settle for a tie and one point in the standings. This team is better than that, the teams the last three seasons were better than this. The next time I write about OT Futility, I want it to be a celebration of its much needed death.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Saturday's game against MSU delayed to 8:00 pm

Saturday's game against Michigan State delayed to 8:00 Saturday.

Evidently this is sparked by the 2:30 kickoff time for the football team's Big Ten season finale against Northwestern at Camp Randall. Adjust your schedules accordingly.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

0-8-17

Saturday Night Lineup vs #1 Minnesota-Duluth

I've got a bad taste in my mouth from the past three Wisconsin hockey games and I KNOW that the players do as well. Let's freight train the puppies from north shore and put it so far out of reach that the incompetent WCHA officials can't take points away from us.

Brett Bennett gets the start in goal tonight for Wisconsin and former Badger recruit Aaron Crandall get's the nod for UMD. Eaves trots out the lines that he ran most of the night last night after the experimental lines that started the game didn't have much success.

WISCONSIN LINEUP

Jordy Murray-Craig Smith-Mark Zengerle
Michael Mersch-Derek Lee-Tyler Barnes
Patrick Johnson-Sean Dolan-Ryan Little
Jason Clark-Jefferson Dahl-Sean Little

Jake Gardiner-Justin Schultz
Craig Johnson-John Ramage
Frankie Simonelli-Eric Springer

Brett Bennett
Scott Gudmandson

MINNESOTA-DULUTH LINEUP

MikeConnolly-Jack Connolly-Justin Fontaine
Kyle Schmidt-Travis Oleksuk-J.T. Brown
Dan DeLisle-Keegan Flaherty-Mike Seidel
Joe Basaraba-Jake Hendrickson-David Grun

Drew Olson-Mike Montgomery
Wade Bergman-Brady Lamb
Dylan Olsen-Justin Faulk

Aaron Crandall
Kenny Reiter

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