Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday Morning News and Notes

-The University of Wisconsin Men's hockey program announced it's 2010-2011 award winners at a banquet on Monday afternoon at the Kohl Center. Top honors went to Sophomore defenseman Justin Schultz who was named the Spike Carlson Most Valuable Player as voted on by his teammates.

Other award winners included: Podge Turnbull-Jim Santulli 7th Man Award (Voted on by the fans); Patrick Johnson-Fenton Kelsey Jr. Most Competitive Player; Ryan Little and Jefferson Dahl-Otto Breitenbach Most Improved Player Award; Scott Gudmandson-Ivan B. Williamson Scholastic Award and Unsung Hero Award; Michael Mersch-Dr. Joseph Coyne Memorial Award for the most consistent player; and Captain Sean Dolan-W Club Community Service Award.

-As this site first reported on Monday night, Badger forward Jordy Murray plans to forgo his final season of eligibility at Wisconsin to sign a pro contract in Switzerland. Wisconsin State Journal beat writer Andy Baggot chimed in on Tuesday morning with some quotes from Murray.

-This is for all the knuckleheads who every year want to fire Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves if he doesn't win an NCAA title. New Jersey Devils forward Zach Parise was asked if he could bring in any coach for the Devils who would it be. His response (courtesy of @maxhenson)...

"Another coach that has coached in the NHL before and I had him for a few international tournaments is Mike Eaves. He is now at Wisconsin and I’ve never been so prepared to face an opponent as when I was playing for him. It may be a little different in an 82-game schedule, but he did a great job of having players understand their role on the team and got them to do that to the best of their ability."

-@thenyrangers, the official twitter account for the NHL's New York Rangers tweeted Monday afternoon that former Badgers and current NHL'ers Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh will both be taking college courses this summer in pursuit of their degrees. It's nice to see both players maturity in making the decision to keep working towards graduating.

-Although both players plan to take classes this summer, McDonagh and Stepan might not be done playing hockey for the year. Aaron Gross from New Jersey Record the is reporting that both players are considering invitations from USA Hockey to join Team USA for the World Championships. Former Badgers Jake Gardiner and Jack Skille as well as current Badger Craig Smith have already accepted invitations from USA hockey to play in the tournament.

Update: Kevin Allen from the USA Today is reporting that Stepan has accepted a spot on team USA making him the fourth player with Badger ties on the roster. No word on McDonagh.

Update #2: Allen just chimed in with another tweet saying that like Stepan, McDonagh is also joining team USA for the World Championships. That's FIVE players with Badger ties on the roster. With five players with Badger ties representing the United States at the Women's World Championships, the Badgers have had a strong presence lately with USA hockey.

-I posted yesterday on the USA Women's hockey team winning the gold medal at the World Championships but I wanted to link you to the UWBadgers.com release because they really do a phenomenal job of recapping the gold medal game and the tournament from a UW perspective. I've never been confused with Badger Women's hockey enthusiast but Knight and Decker really make me want to catch more of their games next season.

-Ryan S. Clark, the beat writer for the Fargo Force (USHL) has been a news breaking machine lately. Of note to Wisconsin hockey recruitnik's is that Vinny Saponari, the former Boston University forward has committed to Northeastern. After two season's at BU, Saponari was kicked off the team for some off ice issues. When he originally selected BU, it was believed by most that Wisconsin was the runner up for his services so many wondered if Madison would be an option this time around. But it looks like he's headed back to the land where chowder reigns supreme.

-Andy Baggot had a blog update yesterday talking about the uncertainty ahead in the college hockey landscape. The annual coaches convention in Florida that will take place this Wednesday through Sunday will provide an opportunity for many issues to be put on the table. Baggot notes that Wisconsin is sending a large contingency to Florida including both the men's and women's coaching staffs and support staffs as well as UW senior associate athletic director Sean Frazier, athletic board chair Walter Dickey and athletic board member Sheila McGuirk.

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