Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wednesday night reading material

-2011 Wisconsin forward recruit Brendan Woods may finally be hitting his stride in the United States Hockey League. The Muskegon Lumberjacks forward has recorded 5 goals in the past 5 games and 7 points in his last 7. Woods is sporting a lucky mustache over his streak. If he keeps scoring I hope he never shaves when he arrives in Madison.

-Sports Illustrated's Pierre Mcguire says that Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves is a top NHL coaching prospect. Mcguire, also an analysis for TSN and the NHL on NBC calls Eaves "An excellent communicator and a shrewd tactician." I wouldn't read much into this. Eaves has been a so called "Top NHL coaching prospect" for years. That comes with the territory of developing NHL talent like he has while he's been in Madison. Wisconsin had placed 20 former Badgers in the NHL this season alone.

-USA Hockey has released the names of players invited to try out for the USA NTDP for next season. This years group is made up of players born in 1995. One Wisconsin born player was invited, Will Butcher from Sun Prairie. I've talked up Butcher on this site for a few years now and It's no surprise that he's been invited to camp. It's been rumored that he's already been offered a spot on the team next season and is expected to accept. Butcher has visited North Dakota and presumably has been on unofficial visits to Wisconsin as well.

I'm a bit surprised that Butcher was the only Wisconsin born player invited to camp. Two players from Hudson, Ian McCoshen who is playing with the Waterloo Black Hawks in the USHL and Travis Wood who is playing high school hockey for Hill Murray high school are also considered to be big time prospects. Expect all three players to be on the radar of the Wisconsin coaching staff.

-On the topic of the NTDP tryout, Chris Peters from the United States of Hockey blog profiles some of the bigger names expected to be in camp including Butcher. Peters says of Butcher, "he is considered an elite puck mover and may be one of the best blueliners in this class." With no current verbal commitments for 2013, Butcher would sure get the ball rolling towards a big time class. Additionally, if you're not reading the United States of Hockey blog regularly, you're missing out dearly.

-USA Hockey puts together some nice features on players from the NTDP and they released a nice one about 2011 Wisconsin defense recruit Jake McCabe recently. McCabe, who is from Eau Claire is playing key minutes for the USA U18 team this season and expected to be a key contributor when Team USA plays in the U18 World Championships. The 6'0, 195 defenseman is expected to immediately step into the Wisconsin lineup next season and be an immediate contributor.

-Jason Karnosky from Madison.com does a nice job recapping Badgers in the NHL including a feature piece on Blake Geoffrion scoring his first NHL goal. Karnosky also talks about Brad Winchester getting traded to Anaheim, Elliott going to the Avalanche, Skille moving to Florida, and Jake Gardiner being traded while still in college.

-Minnesota Hockey Hub has a nice article featuring recent Badger commit Joseph LaBate. In the article LaBate mentions that he held offers from Maine, RPI, Nebraska-Omaha, Minnesota State and Bemidji State and cancelled visits he had set up to North Dakota and Minnesota. In the article Benilde-St. Margaret’s coach Ken Pauly calls LaBate the best forward he's seen this season.

-In his weekly presser Badger coach Mike Eaves compares the match up with CC to a 5 game series with it currently tied 1-1. He doesn't tip his hand as to what he's going to do about the goaltending situation for the weekend. At this point I honestly have no idea what they are going to do.

-Ryan McDonagh returned to the lineup with the Rangers after injuring his knee last Friday night. Accoring to the Rangers blog "Canyon of Blueshirts" McDonagh had his best game of the season on Sunday. Pierre Mcguire also had this to say about McDonagh's trade last year that brought him to New York. "Somebody call Glen Sather for his grand larceny of getting Ryan McDonagh in the Scott Gomez deal".

chuckschwartz(at)live.com
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