Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saturday Morning Link Roundup

-The best Wisconsin high school seniors are across the border in Minnesota this weekend playing in the Minnesota National Invitational Tournament with the best seniors in the country. Badger recruit Brad Navin (pictured) led Team Wisconsin to a 5-3 victory over Minnesota in the tourney opener Thursday night.

TW took one on the chin Friday night at the hands of Michigan 5-4. Navin chipped in another goal and assist. With 5 points in his first two games back, Navin is showing no ill affects from the MCL injury that cost him the majority of his senior season.

-The WCHA early departures continue to mount and NCAA champion Minnesota-Duluth took two major blows this week as Mike Connolly signed a free agent deal with the San Jose Sharks and Justin Faulk signed with the Carolina Hurricanes who had drafted him in the second round. Connolly and Faulk are the fifth and sixth early departures for the WCHA this off-season.

-One team that has yet to be hit with departures but most definitely will is North Dakota. UND beat writer Brad Elliott Schlossman notes that defenseman Ben Blood (Ottawa), and forwards Jason Gregoire (New York Islanders) and Brett Hextall (Phoenix) are all being pursued by their respective NHL clubs.

-USCHO.com has been releasing their post season awards this week and named their All-USCHO teams today. Wisconsin junior defenseman Jake Gardiner was named to the first team and in an absolutely ridiculous decision Justin Schultz was only named to the second team.

-There is a ton of buzz on the interwebs today that Michigan assistant coach Mel Pearson will be named the head coach at Michigan Tech soon. I don't personally understand the move as many have speculated that Pearson would step in at Michigan when Red Berenson retires but I guess the allure of being the head man now was too much to pass up.

-Paul Capobianco from UWBadgers.com talks about the success former Badgers had the first two days of the NHL Playoffs. Capobiano notes former Badgers account for 14.8 percent of the goals, 20 percent of the first goals and 20 percent of the game-winning goals so far in the early going.

-Andy Baggot has a breakdown of all WCHA players or recruits listed in the top 200 players for the upcoming NHL by the Red Line Report. RLR ranks Michael Mersch (50), Joseph LaBate (64), and Frankie Simonelli (127). Eddie Wittchow, an emerging recruit from Burnsville who is said to favor the Badgers is ranked #72 according to Baggot.

-WAHA has released the names of the players that it has chosen to represent the state at the Central District tryouts. You can find the names of the 1994's, 1995's, 1996's, and 1997's at their respective links. The 94's, 95's, and 96's will tryout in Fond du Lac May 6-8 and the 97's in Ames, Iowa June 19-24.

-Gary Peterson from the Bay Area News Group has a fantastic article up about Joe Pavelski and his success in the playoffs for the San Jose Sharks. I'm not a big fan of using the word clutch when it comes to athletics but the Polish Prince sure seems to come up big in important spots. With championships in high school, junior, and college, it's only a matter of time before he's hoisting the cup with the Sharks.

-It looks like North Dakota will continue to use the Fighting Sioux nickname for another year. The UND Chancellor announced that they will renew merchandising licenses for another year and keep the nickname through 2012. The biggest issue next season may be that UND would have to use different jerseys during the NCAA tournament that don't have Fighting Sioux logo's.

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