Monday, February 28, 2011

Oh what could have been...

This afternoon while killing some time I stumbled upon the build your own rankings website which I have used in the past and had forgot about but it got me thinking about how certain outcomes in games this season have affected Wisconsin's Pairwise ranking.

There are a couple specific games that stand out. Beginning with the start of the season, the Badgers played in the Ice Breaker tournament in St. Louis. In one of the games in St. Louis the Badgers lost to Boston University 4-3 in a very controversial game 4-3. Wisconsin had two goals in that game (One off the leg of Mark Zengerle and one shot I believe by John Ramage) that were deemed no goal by the on ice officials. For some reason the tournament organizers decided against the use of video replay even though it was clearly available in the NHL arena. Video from the TV broadcast CLEARLY showed that both goals should have counted and cost Wisconsin not only a tie but a win.

So what if Wisconsin had won that game? How would it have affected their PWR? Using the build your own rankings website and changing that game from a Wisconsin loss to a win changes everything. The Badgers would be sitting at #15 in the PWR instead of their current #21 if you simply change that outcome.

Another game that should have ended differently? How about the Friday night game when UMD was in town in overtime when Jake Gardiner was blatantly tripped by Jack Connolly which led directly to a game winning goal? Changing that result from a loss to a tie moves the Badgers up from #21 in the PWR to #18. Not enough to get them in, but anything would help at this point. If you added up the BU game and the UMD game that would have the Badgers sitting in 13th in the Pairwise and in the drivers seat for an at large bid.

The following is where the Badgers would be had their loss or tie been a win.

October 8th, 4-3 loss to BU: #15
October 22nd, 4-2 loss to Denver: #17
October 23rd, 3-3 tie to Denver: #18
November 6th, 3-3 tie to Minnesota: #18
November 12th, 1-0 loss to North Dakota: #14
November 13th, 4-2 loss to North Dakota: #14
November 19th, 6-4 OT loss to UMD: #17
November 20th, 3-2 OT loss to UMD: #17
November 26th, 4-4 tie to Michigan: #18
December 3rd, 2-1 loss to Anchorage: #19
January 14th, 2-0 loss to UMD: #17
February 11th, 4-1 loss to UNO: #19
February 12th, 4-3 loss to UNO: #19
February 18th, 5-2 loss to Minnesota: #18
February 19th, 3-3 tie to Minnesota: #18
February 25th, 4-2 loss to St. Cloud: #16
February 26th, 7-3 loss to St. Cloud: #16

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Monday Morning Bracketology: Week 16 2/28/11

Wisconsin's tournament chances took a serious hit with their oh-fer in St. Cloud. They dropped from #14 in the Pairwise to #21. The Badgers are going to need to go on a serious run here to get an at large bid. Wisconsin would like to get to at least 12 or 13 in the PWR to feel safe.

The WCHA lost a bid this week with Wisconsin dropping out but picked up a bid when Colorado College moved in to the tournament. The WCHA is sitting with 5 at large bids right now with Minnesota-Duluth, North Dakota, Denver, and UNO and Colorado College in as of right now. Minnesota (19), St Cloud (20) and Wisconsin (21) still have a shot at at large bids if they can go on a run.

Step 1: Pick the 16 tournament teams

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

Bubble Teams (in order): Maine, Dartmouth, Western Michigan, Minnesota, St. Cloud State

Step 2: Assign the seeds

No. 1 seeds: Yale, North Dakota, Boston College, Michigan
No. 2 seeds: Denver, Union, Merrimack, Nebraska-Omaha
No. 3 seeds: Notre Dame, Miami, Minnesota-Duluth, New Hampshire
No. 4 seeds: RPI, Colorado College, Boston University, RIT

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 #3 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 North Dakota is placed in the West Regional in St. Louis
No. 3 Boston College is placed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester
No. 4 Michigan is placed in the Mid-West Regional in Green Bay

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 UNO is placed in No. 1 Yale's Regional, the East Region
No. 7 Merrimack is placed in No. 2 North Dakota's Regional, the West Regional
No. 6 Union is placed in No. 3 BC's Regional, the Northeast Regional
No. 5 Denver is placed in No. 4 Merrimack's Regional, the Mid-West Regional

Number 3 seeds:

No. 9 Notre Dame is placed No. 8 UNO's Regional, the East Regional
No. 10 Miami is placed in No. 7 Merrimack's Regional, the West Regional
No. 11 UMD is placed in No. 5 Denver's Regional, the Mid-West Regional
No. 12 UNH (host) is placed in No. 6 Union's Regional, the Northeast Regional

Number 4 seeds:

No. 13 RPI is placed in No. 4 Michigan's Regional, the Mid-West Regional
No. 14 Colorado College is placed in No. 3 BC's Regional, the Northeast Regional
No. 15 Boston University is placed in No. 2 UND's Regional, the West Regional
No. 16 RIT 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 RIT
8 Nebraska-Omaha vs 9 Notre Dame

Mid-West Regional (Green Bay, Wisconsin)
4 Michigan vs 13 RPI
5 Denver vs 11 Minnesota-Duluth

Northeast Regional (Manchester, New Hampshire)
3 Boston College vs 14 Colorado College
6 Union vs 12 New Hampshire

West Regional (St. Louis, Missouri)
2 North Dakota vs 15 Boston University
7 Merrimack vs 10 Miami

Our first concern is to avoid intra-conference first round match ups. This week we have one with Minnesota-Duluth and Denver in the Mid-West Regional. We know we can't make a flip with the East regional because that would create another intra-conference match up with Nebraska-Omaha. We also can't flip UMD with UNH because UNH is a host in Manchester. Easiest move will be to flip Union and Denver and keep UMD in Green Bay.

Our bracket as we have it set up now:

East Regional (Bridgeport, Connecticut)
1 Yale vs 16 RIT
8 Nebraska-Omaha vs 9 Notre Dame

Mid-West Regional (Green Bay, Wisconsin)
4 Michigan vs 13 RPI
6 Union vs 11 Minnesota-Duluth

Northeast Regional (Manchester, New Hampshire)
3 Boston College vs 14 Colorado College
5 Denver vs 12 New Hampshire

West Regional (St. Louis, Missouri)
2 North Dakota vs 15 Boston University
7 Merrimack vs 10 Miami

Can we do anything to improve attendance? One that stands out to me is moving UNO to St. Louis and Merrimack back East. It's an easy switch.

Another move we could make would be to get RPI to Manchester by flipping them with Colorado College who would go to Green Bay.

Our bracket as we have it set up now:

East Regional (Bridgeport, Connecticut)
1 Yale vs 16 RIT
7 Merrimack vs 9 Notre Dame

Mid-West Regional (Green Bay, Wisconsin)
4 Michigan vs 14 Colorado College
6 Union vs 11 Minnesota-Duluth

Northeast Regional (Manchester, New Hampshire)
3 Boston College vs 13 RPI
5 Denver vs 12 New Hampshire

West Regional (St. Louis, Missouri)
2 North Dakota vs 15 Boston University
8 Nebraska-Omaha vs 10 Miami

Bracket integrity looks strong. Attendance looks strong. UNO and UND in St. Louis, BC, RPI and UNH in Manchester, Michigan and UMD in Green Bay, and Yale, RIT and Merrimack in Bridgeport. Not a bad bracket.

That's what I'll go with for the 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
Week 4: Stopped the bleeding, moved up to #18 in the PWR
Week 5: Still hovering in the bubble, dropped a spot to #19 in PWR
Week 6: Gaining some ground, moved up to #17 in the PWR
Week 7: Stalemate, still at #17 in the PWR on a bye week.
Week 8: Back in the game, #12 overall seed in Northeast Regional in Manchester
Week 9: Moving on up, to the east side. #9 overall seed in the East Regional.
Week 10a: All the way up to the #8 overall seed vs Maine in the East Regional.
Week 10b: With the PWR tweak we drop a spot. Now playing BC in Green Bay.
Week 11: Keep winning, keep moving up. #7 overall seed vs Western Mich in Green Bay.
Week 12: #7 overall seed once again. This week vs Merrimack in Green Bay.
Week 13: #8 overall seed, taking on #9 Union in the Mid-West Regional in GB.
Week 14: #15 overall seed, in the Northeast Regional vs Boston College.
Week 15: Moved up a spot after sliding the past 3 weeks. #14 overall seed in GB.
Week 16: Dropped out of the tournament completely. #21 in the PWR.

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Wisconsin WCHA Playoff Scenarios

Despite the recent swoon over the past month Wisconsin still controls it's destiny in the fight for home ice in the first round of the WCHA playoffs. Currently the Badgers sit in 7th place in the WCHA (top 6 get home ice). Thankfully, the team sitting in 6th place, Colorado College rolls into Madison this weekend for the final regular season series of the season.

The Badgers can finish anywhere from fifth place in the league to ninth place. Two series to watch this weekend for the Badgers besides their own are the Minnesota/Bemidji series and the Denver/St. Cloud series. The more points from Denver and Bemidji the better.

Here are the scenario's for the Badgers to get home ice in the first round:

-Wisconsin can clinch the 5 seed and home ice with 4 points vs CC, AND Bemidji taking 3 points or more vs Minnesota. Wisconsin can also clinch the 5 seed with 3 points vs CC AND Bemidji taking 4 points vs Minnesota

-Wisconsin can clinch the 6 seed and last home ice spot with 4 points vs CC OR 3 points vs CC AND Denver taking 1 point or more vs SCSU

So there you have it. Win a pair of games this weekend and we've got playoff hockey in front of the best home fans in the country at the Kohl Center.

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Time to back this team, not bash them

Wisconsin's record in the month of February is anything but attractive. The Badgers are 0-5-1 since the month of cupids and hearts began. They've given up 27 goals for an average of 4.5 per game and only scored 14, for an average of 2.3 per game. Uninspired play has led to the team dropping from 4th in the conference to 7th, and from 7th in the nation in the PWR which is used to determine the 16 NCAA tournament teams to an ugly 21st.

The team team held a players only meeting last night after their latest embarrassment, a 7-3 blowout at the hands of St. Cloud State who started the weekend in 11th place in the conference.

The fans are getting restless, and many have voiced their displeasure in various forms of blog comments, message boards and twitter. I wouldn't be honest if I told you that I wasn't guilty of this as well. Frustrated from the latest slide, I too voiced my displeasure last night after the game.

Having a day to collect my thoughts and think things through, my tone has changed. This isn't a time for the fans to start pointing fingers at individual players. This isn't the time for Wisconsin fans to start pointing fingers at the coaching staff. This isn't the time to play the blame game.

This is the time that the Wisconsin fan base needs to get together and rally around the team. This is the time that Wisconsin fans need to sell out the Kohl Center for the biggest hockey series of the season. This is the time that Badger fans need to prove why they are the best fans in college hockey.

It's easy to be a fan of the team when everything is peaches and cream. It's easy to be a fan of the program when they are once again on their way to the Frozen Four. It's easy to be a fan when the team has won 12 of 13.

It takes real fans to support the team when things look like they have hit absolute rock bottom. It takes real fans to support the team when they have just haven't won in a month and have dropped from 7th to 21st in the Pairwise.

This team needs the fans to step and and support them right now. This team is practically BEGGING the fans to step up and support them right now.

I'm going to continue blogging my ass off and cheering my ass off for this program the rest of the season. Who's with me?

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

St. Cloud 7, Wisconsin 3

I got nothin'...

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Friday, February 25, 2011

St. Cloud 4, Wisconsin 2

If we're going to play like that we probably don't deserve to be a tournament team.

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Geoffrion called up by NHL's Nashville Predators

News has come to light this afternoon that former Wisconsin captain and 2010 Hobey Baker award winner Blake Geoffrion has been called up by the Nashville Predators. Nothing official has been released by a major media outlet but this tweet from Geoffrions buddy and former teammate Mike Davies all but confirms the news.

After a slow start with Milwaukee of the AHL, Geoffrion has really come on as of late. The former second round draft pick of the Predators, Geoffrion has recorded 25 points in his past 21 games for the Admirals. Geoffrion currently runs a line of 11 goals, and 26 assists for 37 points in 45 American Hockey League games. Geoffrions 37 points for Milwaukee trail only Linus Klasen for the team lead.

A four year player at Wisconsin, Geoffrion will no doubt be remembered as one of the most influential players in program history. Being the first Badger player to win the prestigious Hobey Baker Memorial award alone should forever cement his place in program history.

As a Tennessee native, Geoffrions call up has historical implications. I believe Geoffrion is not only the first Tennessee native to suit up for the Predators but the first Tennessee native ever to make an NHL appearance.

Additionally, Geoffrion will become a fourth generation NHL'er when he plays his first shift for the Predators. Blake's father Dan Geoffrion played 111 NHL games for Winnipeg and Montreal, Blake's grandfather Bernie "Boom-Boom" Geoffrion was an NHL Hall of Famer and had over 800 points in the NHL and his great grandfather Howie Morenz won 3 Stanley Cups during his Hall of Fame career.

Geoffrion's debut will make him the 20th former Badger to play in the NHL this season.

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Projected Friday night lines vs St. Cloud State

Per SCSU beat writer Mick Hatton, and WSJ's Andy Baggot

WISCONSIN

Jordy Murray-Craig Smith-Mark Zengerle
Michael Mersch-Podge Turnbull-Tyler Barnes
Ryan Little-Sean Dolan-Keegan Meuer
Patrick Johnson-Jefferson Dahl-Derek Lee

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

Brett Bennett

ST. CLOUD STATE

Ben Hanowski-Garrett Roe-David Eddy
Jared Festler-Aaron Marvin-Travis Novak
Cam Reid-Drew LaBlanc-Nic Dowd
Mitch MacMillan-Jordy Christian-Nick Oslund

Oliver Lauridsen-Nick Jensen
Kevin Gravel-Taylor Johnson
Sam Zabkowicz-Brett Barta

Mike Lee

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Badgers lose another recruit due to academics

Forward recruit Cody Strang, who had signed a letter of intent to play hockey for the Wisconsin Badgers starting in the fall of 2011 informed the Sixty Minutes blog tonight that he will not be joining the team next season as he did not meet the requirements set by the NCAA Clearinghouse.

It had been known for weeks in the inner circles around the program that Strang's eligibility was in question and tonight Strang gave us the unfortunate news. Disappointing news for Strang, the program, as well as the fans who are getting cheated out of watching a very talented player suit up for the Badgers.

Strang was very up front about the situation and he indicated to me that it was a GPA issue that caused him to not pass the clearinghouse. Looking at the NCAA Clearinghouse website, they have a sliding scale that incorporates GPA and the test scores (ACT or SAT) to determine your eligibility.

Strang also talked about his future plans, "I can't play next season. Not sure if I'm going to enroll at UW or not. I might end up playing Division 3." Strang would not be eligible to return to the USHL next season as he was born in 1990 and will be too old next season. Strang later indicated to me that he's looking at UW-Stevens Point as a possible destination next year.

Strang, who is having a bounce back season was named to the USHL All-Star team this season. The former Madison Edgewood standout is second on the Youngstown Phantoms in scoring and has developed into a great two way forward in the USHL.

Strang is the second Wisconsin recruit who was scheduled to join the program for 2011 that will not due to academics. A few months ago news broke that Troy Hesketh, a defensmean from Minnetonka, Minnesota would not be admitted to the University. Hesketh has not yet committed to another school.

The Badgers currently have three other forward recruits lined up for for next fall. Brendan Woods (Muskegon, USHL), Matt Paape (Sioux City, USHL), and Tyler Lapic (Chicago, USHL) are set to join defensemen Patrick Daly (Benilde-St. Margarets, MN HS) and Jake McCabe (NTDP), as well as goaltender Joel Rumpel (Penticton, BCHL) next season.

The Badgers lose 3 senior forwards, Podge Turnbull, Sean Dolan, and Patrick Johnson and there is obviously the potential to lose more due to early departures. There is no word yet on if Wisconsin will recruit another forward for 2011 or go with the bodies they have. The only other committed forward who could be brought in is Waupaca senior forward Brad Navin. Navin is currently coming off of an MCL injury and it's unlikely at this point that the Badgers would bring him in straight out of Wisconsin high school.

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Thursday afternoon reading material

-Former Badger defenseman Brendan Smith did an interview with Casey Richey from the SBNation blog Winging it in Motown. Smith talks about the Wings, being named to the AHL All-Star team, what it's like to work with Chris Chelios who is now an advisor for the Wings as well as a host of other topics. Thanks to @RicardoEfendi for the link.

-Chris Peters who runs the fantastic blog "The United States of Hockey" has a detailed post on 2012 draft eligible American hockey players. Included in his post are profiles of two future Badgers, 2011 recruit Jake McCabe and 2012 recruit Nic Kerdiles. Both players are eligible for the 2012 draft (McCabe is a late '93 birthdate).

-Wisconsin men's hockey communications guy Paul Capobiano who is in my opinion one of, if not the best communications guy in the business has posted a short video with interviews of Coach Eaves, Brett Bennett, and Craig Smith as they talk about the upcoming series at St. Cloud State. This is the first time I've seen them do this but I hope they continue.

-Andy Baggot updates us that the defense pairing changes which happened on Tuesday were changed scrapped on Wednesday. The usual pairings of Gardiner-Schultz, Johnson-Ramage, Springer-Simonelli were back.

-Baggot also noted some changes in the forward lines. Dolan is now centering Ryan Little and Keegan Meuer and Jefferson Dahl is between Patrick Johnson and Derek Lee on the smurf line. Dahl (5'9), Johnson (5'9), and Lee (5'10) could be an interesting trio to watch this weekend.

-Kyle Turris was sent down from the Phoenix Coyotes to the AHL's San Antonio Rampage. After a short 2 game stint in the AHL, Turris was recalled by the big club. Turris has 19 points this season in NHL games despite playing an average of less than 12 minutes per game. Among players for Phoenix that have played more than 30 games this year, only Paul "Biz Nasty" Bissonnett averages less time on ice and he's a fighter.

-The St. Cloud State hockey blog "Husky Hockey Time" has some interesting tidbits about the upcoming weekend series. Saturday night the Huskies will be wearing throw back jersey's that will be auctioned off.

-LA Kings insider Rich Hammond had a blog post yesterday about former Badger Davis Drewiske and his struggles to find regular ice for the Kings lately. Drewiske played 12 minutes last night in his return and didn't record a point and finished even on the night.

-Daily Cardinal sports editor Ryan Evans has a great article about the Badger men's hockey teams attitude the rest of the season. Evans, who I agree with 100% here basically says that it's time to stop focusing on moral victories and more on victories.

-Jayson Moy from USCHO.com has released his bracketology for the week. Moy has the Badgers as a #4 seed in the West Regional in St. Louis playing Merrimack in the first round. The other match up in Moy's West Regional is Denver vs Miami.

-Ryan McDonagh who has been playing great for the New York Rangers since his call up got featured on the NHL "hit of the night" in a game versus the Philadelphia Flyers. I have to be honest, I thought this was one of McDonagh's tamer hits.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Positive news for Daubenspeck

Just wanted to keep everyone updated, Jamie Spencer, who is one of Kirk's freinds and was a captain at Wisconsin when Dauber was between the pipes posted an update this afternoon in the "Please Pray for Kirk Daubenspeck" facebook group that certainly should give everyone hope.

"Your prayers and positive energy have made its way through Peggy and into Kirk. A small miracle unfolded moments ago when Dauber lifted his eyelids and raised his glove hand to greet us. There has been a positive vibe in the room all morning and things are moving in a good direction. Keep sending your energy and prayer and we'll send you updates in return. We have at least a dozen people here from all facets of Dauber's life and it was his mother-in-law who ultimately woke him (we'll ask him about this later)."-Jamie Spencer

Keep fighting Dauber.

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St. Cloud State Week

So no matter what been through, no matter what you into
No matter what you see when you look outside your window
Brown grass or green grass, picket fence or barbed wire
Never ever put them down, you just lift your arms higher
Raise 'em 'til your arms tired, let 'em know you here
That you struggling, survivin', that you gon' persevere
Ain't nobody leavin', nobody goin' home
Even if they turn the lights out, the show is goin' on
-Lupe Fiasco, "The Show Goes On"

It's been a tough two weeks for the Wisconsin men's hockey team. After winning 12 out of 13 the Badgers are winless in their past four games. A sweep at Nebraska-Omaha and a loss and a tie at the Kohl Center at the hands of the Gophers has put the Badgers on the brink of a WCHA first round road playoff series and on the NCAA tournament bubble. But the show must go on.

Wisconsin takes it's show on the road this weekend as they travel to St. Cloud to take on the 11th place Huskies. But this isn't your average 11th place team. St. Cloud was projected by the WCHA coaches and Media to be a top 3 team in the league this season. Obviously that hasn't happened for a variety of reasons but St. Cloud is 7-4-3 since the holiday break.

Last weekend saw the Badgers really struggle to get anything going on Friday night and puck luck wasn't on their side as they hit multiple posts . It's hard to say if one or two of those shots go in if it changes the final outcome of the game. Saturday night the team bounced back and played extremely well for large portions of the game but 3 mental breakdowns caused 3 goals.

I thought Patrick Johnson had a great game on Saturday night. I was critical of PJ's play last year and I said I'd be the first to credit him when he deserved it. Well here I am. I don't know if it's just extra effort but PJ has shown an extra burst recently that I didn't know he had. He showed it on his goal Saturday and also beating players to loose pucks in different spots as well. He's having a very nice bounce back season and is starting to play his best hockey in the most important time of the season. That's something I would expect out of a Johnson.

Brett Bennett got his first shot in goal in a big spot since he played against Michigan over Thanksgiving and he played really well. I thought he moved really well all night and none of the goals were really his fault. One on the power play, one break away, and the other I have no idea what the defensemen were doing letting the Minnesota forward walk right in on net. According to Andy Baggot's report last night, Eaves has already tabbed Bennett Friday nights starter. It's too early to even make a prediction on who Eaves will go to in the net on Saturday.

Defensively Eaves has also made some changes this week. No longer is the dynamic duo of Justin Schultz and Jake Gardiner in 5 on 5 action. Schultz is now paired up with John Ramage and Gardiner with freshman Frankie Siomonelli. The other pairing is Joe Faust and Craig Johnson. This is a great opportunity for Wisconsin to spread out the defensive minutes. It's seemed in recent weeks that Schutlz and Gardiner had played so many minutes early in the game that late in the game they weren't as effect as they could be.

Simonelli also deserves the more minutes. He's been paired with Eric Springer or Joe Faust almost all season and it's time for his minutes to expand. Simonelli is going to be a key cog on the Badgers blue line the next few seasons and it's time that he steps up and expands his game as at this point in the season no one is a freshman any more.

I'm surprised that we haven't heard of any changes offensively. The offense has been fairly stale and wouldn't have minded to see some changes. Derek Lee jumps out as a kid who I think could be tried with someone like Craig Smith to see if he can spark some more offense. Lee I've noticed a lot more the second half of the season playing the body and playing a lot more physical. He's working on all aspects of his game and I think it's shown.

Like I mentioned in the into St. Cloud may be in 11th place in the league but they don't have an 11th place roster. There is a reason that they were projected to finish so high and that's because they have a lot of talent on this roster. I've seen them quite a few times this season and there are some underlying issues that they are finally past.

The Huskies played the first half of the season without Sophomore forward David Eddy who was suspended due to academics. Since returning the Huskies are 7-4-3 and Eddy has 12 points including 6 goals. I talked about his play yesterday in an article and I'll reiterate it here. The kid has brought something that St. Cloud really lacks to the table and that is someone willing to get his beak dirty. St. Cloud has a ton of skilled players but not many willing to get dirty in front of the net and Eddy has that ability.

After an incident that happened in Florida, St. Cloud dismissed forward Tony Mosey and defenseman Chris Hepp from the team. Hepp was a solid defenseman for the Huskies and Mosey had a huge junior season in 09-10. But for whatever reason Mosey was having a terrible senior season (5 points in 16 games) and with his off ice habits (Florida incident, and an arrest earlier in the season), it's led to much speculation that his dismissal was the best thing that could have happened for the Huskies.

The Huskies have also found some consistency in the net lately. Sophomore Mike Lee, a member of the gold medal winning USA World Junior Championship team last year has started every game since early December and has been respectable. Nothing spectacular but not bad by any means.

The Huskies have a few nice forwards besides Eddy. Obviously the first name that comes to every ones mind is Garrett Roe. While Roe doesn't seem to be having the same type of season that he's put up in the past, he's still a threat any time he's on the ice.

Junior Drew LaBlanc has taken his game to the next level this season. One of the true goal scorers in the league, LaBlanc is slippery and can really make a team pay. Jare Festler, Ben Hanowski, and a pair of freshmen, Nic Dowd and Cam Reid all have shown the ability to find the net.

The Huskies problems come on the back end. Their top pairing of freshman Nick Jensen and 6'5 Oliver Lauridsen isn't bad but after that they don't have a ton of talent back there. Jensen is a great puck mover and you'll find him rushing the puck up the ice and making plays. Lauridsen is a monster but is prone to taking penalties because he's not quick enough to keep up with some of the more skilled forwards in the league.

Wisconsin should be able to take advantage of St. Cloud's weak defensive core and I think should put some points up on the board this weekend. Besides Jensen and Lauridsen there isn't a defenseman on their roster who would crack the lineup for the Badgers. Getting pucks in deep and banging bodies and creating turnovers should put the Badgers in prime position to put some goals on the board.

COVERAGE

Both games are being televised this weekend by Husky Productions and will be broadcast on the "Charter Extra" channel. So if you get Charter you're in luck.

POLLS

Wisconsin dropped from #12 to #13 in the USCHO.com poll and #13 to #14 in the USA Hockey Magazine/USA Today poll. St. Cloud is un-ranked.

INJURIES

People are banged up but it looks like everyone should be a go for this weekend including Joe Faust who had a shoulder issue but looks to be fine.

PREDICTIONS

The Badgers are fighting for their NCAA tournament lives right and they know it. Wisconsin is the better team but you know in this league that anything can happen. I think Wisconsin comes out firing on Friday night and get the win and St. Cloud manages a split on Saturday night which is senior night for the Huskies.

Friday Night: Wisconsin 5, St. Cloud 3
Saturday Night: Wisconsin 3, St. Cloud 3




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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tuesday night news and notes

-It was nice to see tonight that most of the current Wisconsin hockey players who are on twitter and facebook updated their statuses wishing Kirk Daubenspeck a speedy recovery. It's amazing how the Wisconsin hockey community has rallied around Dauber.

-Speaking of rallying around Dauber, Andy Baggot has in my opinion his best article that I've ever read from him today about the former Wisconsin players showing their support for Kirk. A must read article.

-In what I think is an awesome gesture the Wisconsin hockey players will be wearing a "#1" in honor of Kirk Daubenspeck on their helmets starting today presumably throughout the rest of the season.

-More from Baggot today as he says the Badgers will start Brett Bennett Friday night at St. Cloud. Bennett turned in a phenomenal performance on Saturday night versus Minnesota. Friday will be the first time Bennett has started two games in a row for Wisconsin since October of 2009.

-Baggot also indicates that Wisconsin will change up the d-pairings. All three pairs have changes so that means Schultz and Gardiner have been split up. New pairings have Schultz and Ramage, Gardiner and Simonelli, and Craig Johnson with Joe Faust who has been out of the lineup since January 21st when he hurt his shoulder vs Minnesota State.

-Jake Gardiner was on The Pipeline Show Tuesday night and you can download the show online. The clip isn't up as of 9PM but it should be up later tonight or tomorrow. He talks about finding out about the trade to Toronto and the current season with the Badgers.

-That reminds me that Blake Geoffrion was also on The Pipeline Show last week as well. You can hear his interview here.

-Not sure if you caught it over the weekend but there was another NHL outdoor game in Canada that featured the Calgary Flames and the Montreal Canadiens. Former Badger Rene Bourque had a huge night with two goals. Bourque now has 6 points in his past 6 games.

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What if you could trade players in college hockey?

Obviously this is unrealistic since there is no possibility of something like this happening, but for the sake of argument, think about this hypothetically. If you were running the Wisconsin program, and had the ability to make trades, what would you like to see done and more specifically, WHO would you want to see in the cardinal and white?

Even though this is a hypothetical, some players are just un-touchable. You're not going to be able to trade for a Matt Frattin or Jason Zucker type player because they are franchise players. So realistically, who would you add at the trade deadline to improve the Badgers for the stretch run?

Personally, I think Wisconsin needs a forward or two. Specifically a goal scorer or two. There are a lot of great forwards for the Badgers this season but not a lot of great goal scorers. Most of the teams at the top of the WCHA standings won't be willing to part with scorers because they too are looking to make a push for the NCAA tournament.

So who do you target? Matt Read from Bemidji State would be an immediate impact player but the price would most likely be too steep since he's the Beavers best player and it's not worth it for only one season since he's a senior.

Tommy Grant from Alaska-Anchorage is having a nice season, but he too is a senior, and if you're going to make a move, you'd like to receive more than a rental.

The player I would target is Sophomore forward David Eddy from St. Cloud State. Sure, Eddy may be a little rough around the edges. He missed the first half of the season due to grades, and was a healthy scratch for a few weekends early in the second half after the incident in Florida. But Eddy brings things that this Wisconsin team could use.

Since stepping into the St. Cloud lineup as a freshman Eddy has proven that he has the ability to put points on the board. Eddy had 12 goals last season as a freshman and has 6 already this season even though he's only played 12 games. He's a potential 20 goal scorer in a full college hockey season.

He also puts himself in a position to be successful. He's not afraid to go hard to the net and he's been rewarded this year. Goal scorers have a knack for finding themselves in the right places and Eddy can find those places.

If you were in the Wisconsin "front office" who would you go after?

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Twitter Update

A few months ago I posted a list of current and former Wisconsin hockey players on twitter as well as media that cover the team as well as the WCHA. I figured I'd give it an update as the list of active players in the twitter game has doubled since the time of my last post.

Twitter has become one of the best hockey and more specifically WCHA hockey resources on the Internet. Virtually every WCHA team beat writer has an account, as do most WCHA fan bloggers. It's become a great source to communicate with writers from around the league and NCAA hockey even if you are just a fan.

I (obviously) have an account that I link to on every one of my posts. If you started following me last year, check to make sure you still are because I deleted my account the last time I pulled a Favre and retired over the summer and had to start a new one and lost all my followers. You can find my twitter account here.

Here is a list of people to start following if you aren't already:

Current Wisconsin Men's Players
@jgardiner272
@zengerle9
@eSprings4

@SeanDolan16
@BJBennett88
@ScottGudmandson
@6Schultz6

Current Wisconsin Women's Players
@Hilary_Knight
@MalloryDeluce
@laurenunser

Former Wisconsin Men's and Women's Players
@bssmith7
@cgoloubef27
@JohnMitchell24

@RyanCJeffery
@MikeGDavies
@ShaneConnelly
@zbearson
@BlakeGeoffrion
@BradWinchester
@kyleturris
@skoolz43
@KylaSandersNY

Wisconsin Hockey Media
@BadgerWHockey (official twitter)
@BadgerMHockey (official twitter)
@AndyBaggotWSJ (Wisconsin State Journal)
@RyanEvans19 (Daily Cardinal)
@maxhenson (Badger Herald)
@AdamJSHolt (Badger Herald)
@RobbVogel (WPT Play by play)
@TheBadgerNation (Badgernation.com)
@B5Q (Bucky's fifth quarter)
@TexWestern (Sixty Minutes Blog)
@ToddMilewski (madison.com and USCHO.com)

WCHA Media
@patesonskates (Kevin Pates, Minnesota-Duluth)
@cpurcellOWH (Chad Purcell, Nebraska-Omaha)
@UNDSID (Jayson Hajdu, North Dakota SID)
@csgazzettehockey (Joe Paisley, Colorado College)
@WCHAHockey
@estromgren (Eric Stromgren, Bemidji State)
@eyeonupuk (Roman Augustoviz, Minnesota)
@bruceciske (Bruce Ciske, Minnesota-Duluth)
@SchlossmanGF (Brad Elliott Schlossman, North Dakota)
@Puckato (Shane Frederick, Minnesota State)
@MickHatten (Mick Hatten, St. Cloud State)
@USCHO_Semisch (Matthew Semisch, Nebraska-Omaha)
@KVSCHockey (St. Cloud Radio)
@GoldenGopherHky (Minnesota official)
@UNDMHockey (North Dakota official)

WCHA Bloggers
@unomavmania (Nebraska-Omaha)
@goon48 (North Dakota)
@MavPuck (Nebraska-Omaha)
@uaafanblog (Alaska Anchorage)
@hammyhockey (Minnesota)
@chrisdilks (Western College Hockey)
@GopherPuckLive (Minnesota)
@runwiththedogs (Minnesota-Duluth)
@HuskyHockey (St. Cloud State)

National Media
@chnews
@USCHO

@INCH
@ChrisDilks (Western College Hockey Blog)
@Fetch9 (The College Hockey Blog)
@CHNDanMeyers (Dan Meyers, College Hockey News)
@INCH_Gladdy (Joe Gladziszewski, Inside College Hockey)
@_collegehockey (College Hockey Inc)


If I've missed any that you think I should add to this list, please leave a comment. I probably missed a few on accident.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

UW Recruiting: Strang named USHL All-Star

The United States Hockey League has announced it's mid-season All-Stars and it features a future Badger. 2011 Wisconsin forward recruit Cody Strang has been honored by the league as one of the top forwards in the Eastern Conference.

Strang, a native of Madison, Wisconsin is in his second season in the USHL with the Youngstown Phantoms. Injured most of his rookie season, Strang has bounced back with the Phantoms this season to post a solid 13-18-31 line through 42 games this season. Strang's 31 points this season leave him second on the team in scoring.

According to the release: "The USHL's CCM All-Star Awards represent one of the most prestigious midseason honors a junior-age player in North America can receive," said USHL Commissioner Skip Prince. "These rising stars exemplify what's special about the USHL and USA Hockey's development model."

The former Wisconsin Mr. Hockey Award winner looks like he'll be a two way threat in a Badger sweater. Despite playing on an under .500 Youngstown squad, Strang has managed to be a plus/minus +18 this season. Normally I don't think much about the stat due to it's flaws, but the next highest plus/minus on Youngstown is a +6 and only six of the Phantoms players even own a positive plus/minus. Strang's +18 rating ranks him fifth in the USHL in the category.

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Monday Night Bracketology: Week 15 2/21/2011

Despite only coming up with 1 point in a key home series against Minnesota, the Badgers actually found a way to move up in the PWR to #14 with some timely losses by the teams around them. Remember that 16 teams make the tournament, and Atlantic Hockey will take away one of the at large bids since they don't have a team in the top 16. For every team that's not in the top 15 of the PWR that wins a conference tournament, that number of at large bids goes down. Wisconsin would like to get to at least 12 or 13 in the PWR to feel safe.

The WCHA still holds 5 at large bids by my count right now with Minnesota-Duluth, North Dakota, Denver, Wisconsin, and UNO. Colorado College (19), and Minnesota (18) still have a shot at at large bids if they can go on a run throughout he last few weeks of the season.

Step 1: Pick the 16 tournament teams

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

Bubble Teams (in order): Boston University, Dartmouth, Minnesota, Colorado College, Maine

Step 2: Assign the seeds

No. 1 seeds: Yale, North Dakota, Boston College, Merrimack
No. 2 seeds: Denver, Michigan, Minnesota-Duluth, Union
No. 3 seeds: Nebraska-Omaha, Notre Dame, New Hampshire, Miami
No. 4 seeds: RPI, Wisconsin, Western Michigan, RIT

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 #3 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 North Dakota is placed in the Mid-West Regional in Green Bay
No. 3 Boston College is placed in the Northeast Regional in Manchester
No. 4 Merrimack is placed in the West Regional in St. Louis

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 Union is placed in No. 1 Yale's Regional, the East Region
No. 7 UMD is placed in No. 2 North Dakota's Regional, the Mid-West Regional
No. 6 Michigan is placed in No. 3 BC's Regional, the Northeast Regional
No. 5 Denver is placed in No. 4 Merrimack's Regional, the West Regional

Number 3 seeds:

No. 9 Nebraska Omaha is placed No. 8 Union's Regional, the East Regional
No. 10 Notre Dame is placed in No. 7 UMD's Regional, the Mid-West Regional
No. 11 UNH (host) is placed in No. 6 Michigan's Regional, the Northeast Regional
No. 12 Miami is placed in No. 5 Denver's Regional, the West Regional

Number 4 seeds:

No. 13 RPI is placed in No. 4 Merrimack's Regional, the West Regional
No. 14 Wisconsin is placed in No. 3 BC's Regional, the Northeast Regional
No. 15 Western Michigan is placed in No. 2 UND's Regional, the Mid-West Regional
No. 16 RIT 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 RIT
8 Union vs 9 Nebraska-Omaha

Mid-West Regional (Green Bay, Wisconsin)
2 North Dakota vs 15 Western Michigan
7 Minnesota-Duluth vs 10 Notre Dame

Northeast Regional (Manchester, New Hampshire)
3 Boston College vs 14 Wisconsin
6 Michigan vs 11 New Hampshire

West Regional (St. Louis, Missouri)
4 Merrimack vs 13 RPI
5 Denver vs 12 Miami

Our first concern is to avoid intra-conference first round match ups. This week we have none so that's a positive.

Can we do anything to improve attendance? Wisconsin can't be moved to Green Bay the way we have it set up because it will cause an intra-conference match up. The one option that stands out to me involves North Dakota.

I've placed UND in Green Bay as it's technically the closest location to Grand Forks. But it's still 9 hours away and they have to fly no matter what. So what if we have UND as the #1 in the West Regional in St. Louis and have Merrimack as the #1 seed in Green Bay instead? That would open up the move for Wisconsin to Green Bay.

If we move the whole match up between UND and Western Michigan to St. Louis, things look a lot better. We then can flip RPI and Wisconsin bringing UW to Green Bay and RPI to Manchester, improving attendance in both regionals in the process.

Our bracket as we have it set up now:

East Regional (Bridgeport, Connecticut)
1 Yale vs 16 RIT
8 Union vs 9 Nebraska-Omaha

Mid-West Regional (Green Bay, Wisconsin)
4 Merrimack vs 14 Wisconsin
7 Minnesota-Duluth vs 10 Notre Dame

Northeast Regional (Manchester, New Hampshire)
3 Boston College vs 13 RPI
6 Michigan vs 11 New Hampshire

West Regional (St. Louis, Missouri)
2 North Dakota vs 15 Western Michigan
5 Denver vs 12 Miami

That's one of the best brackets we've had this season. Attendance looks great with Yale, RIT, and Union in Bridgeport, Wisconsin, UMD, and Notre Dame in Green Bay, BC, RPI, and UNH in Manchester, and UND in St. Louis.

That's my bracket for the 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
Week 4: Stopped the bleeding, moved up to #18 in the PWR
Week 5: Still hovering in the bubble, dropped a spot to #19 in PWR
Week 6: Gaining some ground, moved up to #17 in the PWR
Week 7: Stalemate, still at #17 in the PWR on a bye week.
Week 8: Back in the game, #12 overall seed in Northeast Regional in Manchester
Week 9: Moving on up, to the east side. #9 overall seed in the East Regional.
Week 10a: All the way up to the #8 overall seed vs Maine in the East Regional.
Week 10b: With the PWR tweak we drop a spot. Now playing BC in Green Bay.
Week 11: Keep winning, keep moving up. #7 overall seed vs Western Mich in Green Bay.
Week 12: #7 overall seed once again. This week vs Merrimack in Green Bay.
Week 13: #8 overall seed, taking on #9 Union in the Mid-West Regional in GB.
Week 14: #15 overall seed, in the Northeast Regional vs Boston College.
Week 15: Moved up a spot after sliding the past 3 weeks. #14 overall seed in GB.

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Daubenspeck gives nurses "thumbs up" today

I know most of you are still keeping Kirk Daubenspeck and his family in your thoughts and prayers and just wanted to give an update from what has been updated with his situation. There is now a facebook group called, "Please pray for Kirk Daubenspeck" and there was an update posted about an hour ago that Kirk gave a "thumbs up" to the nurses today.

I'm not a doctor or anything but that sure seems like a positive sign to me.

Remember that you can make donations to help with medical costs at any State Bank of Cross Plains locations around Madison. You can also send donations to the address below. Make sure you address it to the Kirk Daubenspeck Medical Fund.

The Kirk Daubenspeck Medical Fund
State Bank of Cross Plains- Madison
455 S. Junction Road
Suite #100
Madison, WI. 53719

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Badgers bounce back, grab a point

Thought the team really battled on Saturday and probably deserved more than a point but that's hockey. Freshman Jefferson Dahl got his first career goal and many players had great games including Patrick Johnson. It's been a nice bounce back season for PJ.

WSJ (Baggot): Badgers salvage a tie against Minnesota
DailyCardinal.com (Evans): Badgers salvage a point from border battle series
BadgerHerald.com (Holt): Series feels familiar as Badgers earn 1 point
Star Tribune (Augustoviz): Badgers rally to salvage a tie with Gophers
UWBadgers.com: Badgers battle Gophers to a 3-3 tie
UWBadgers.com: Game Highlights
UWBadgers.com: Photos
UWBadgers.com: Post Game Quotes
UWBadgers.com: Post Game Presser
GopherSports.com: Gophers, Badgers skate to 3-3 tie
GopherPuckLive.com: Gophers earn tie, 3 point weekend
USCHO.com: Dahl's first collegiate goal helps Wisconsin tie Minnesota

BOX SCORE (Courtesy of USCHO.com)

First Period
Minnesota-1 Nate Condon (Nick Bjugstad, Aaron Ness) PPG 13:06
Wisconsin-1 Justin Schultz (Michael Mersch, Podge Turnbull) 13:23

Second Period
Wisconsin-2 Patrick Johnson (Jake Gardiner, Frankie Simonelli) 3:25
Minnesota-2 Jake Hansen (Jacob Cepis, Cade Fairchild) 12:37

Third Period
Minnesota-3 Jacob Cepis (Cade Fairchild) 0:44
Wisconsin-3 Jefferson Dahl (Mark Zengerle, John Ramage) 3:06

Goaltenders
Minnesota-1 Kent Patterson (65:00 T) 7 9 15 1 = 32 (3 GA)
Wisconsin-1 Brett Bennett (65:00 T) 3 15 10 0 = 28 (3 GA)

Scores from around the WCHA Saturday:

North Dakota 3, St. Cloud 2
Bemidji State 2, Colorado College 1
Denver 5, Michigan Tech 1
Minnesota-Duluth 6, Minnesota State 2
Nebraska-Omaha 4, Alaska-Anchorage 1

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Should Eaves give Bennett the nod tonight?

Sometimes when things aren't going your way you can either keep banging your head against the wall and hope it breaks through or you can try something else. Call me crazy but if I had any say, I'd give Brett Bennett the start tonight.

Now I know what your thinking. Panic move. Not at all. I, along with everyone else in the country knows that Gudmandson is our starter and he's going to need to be our starter down the stretch.

But Scotty has had 3 games in a row where he just doesn't seem to have "it." I'm not quite sure if it's fatigue or what it is. Gudmandson has started 15 out of the past 17 games for Wisconsin.

Giving Gudmandson a night off and throwing B-twice between the pipes in a big rivalry game might energize the team and could provide the spark that the Badgers need in a crucial game for league standings and for Wisconsin's NCAA tournament chances.

Don't forget that Bennett is good. He's taken unwarranted heat from Wisconsin fans who have very short memories and don't understand that playing the puck out of the goal crease is actually a good thing. Remember back on Saturday night at Mariucci earlier this season Bennett was in the net and his puck handling skills directly lead to a goal which helped the Badgers earn a hard fought road tie.

Like I said, we know that Gudmanson is the guy, and we're going to need him down the stretch but it makes a lot of sense to me to give Bennett the nod tonight. Remember the last time Gudmanson got pulled from a game he rattled off a streak of 13 straight games allowing 2 goals or less.

Photo of Bennett courtesy of Melody Hasse

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Medical fund set up for Daubenspeck

WSJ reporter Andy Baggot has an update today on former Wisconsin All-American goaltender Kirk Daubenspeck who was seriously injured in a car accident on Thursday.

Baggot reports that according to former teammate and friend Mark Strobel, Daubenspeck's condition remains the same. He's in critical condition in a medically induced coma.

In the report Strobel indicates that a medical fund is being set up at the State Bank of Cross Plains. Donations will be accepted at any of the bank's area locations.

Daubenspeck, who is 36 has a 1 year old son and his wife Peggy is currently pregnant.

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Minnesota hangs one on Bucky

You're never as good as you think you are, and you're never as bad as you think you are.

WSJ (Baggot): Badgers' home win streak is halted with loss to Minnesota
Star Tribune (Augustoviz): Scoring outburst continues as Gophers whip Badgers
UWBadgers.com: Badgers fall to rival Gophers 5-2
UWBadgers.com: Final Stats
UWBadgers.com: Highlights
UWBadgers.com: Post Game Press Conference
UWBadgers.com: Post Game Quotes
GopherSports.com: Gophers overwhelm Badgers, win in Madison
Gopher Puck Live: Gophers school Badgers 5-2 in Madison
USCHO.com: Gophers overwhelm Badgers

BOX SCORE (courtesy of USCHO)

First Period
Minnesota-1 Mike Hoeffel (Jacob Cepis, Aaron Ness) PPG 15:22

Second Period
Wisconsin-1 Jake Gardiner (Craig Smith, Justin Schultz) PPG 0:32
Minnesota-2 Jacob Cepis (Kevin Wehrs, Patrick White) 4x4 1:42
Minnesota-3 Taylor Matson (Mike Hoeffel, Aaron Ness) GWG PPG 3:31
Minnesota-4 Taylor Matson (Mark Alt, Max Gardiner) 18:40

Third Period
Minnesota-5 Patrick White (Erik Haula, Cade Fairchild) PPG 11:08
Wisconsin-2 Jordy Murray (Jake Gardiner, Justin Schultz) PPG 5x3 19:29

Goalies
Minnesota-1 Kent Patterson (60:00 W) 10 7 19 = 36 (2 GA)
Wisconsin-1 Scott Gudmandson (59:58 L) 7 9 11 = 27 (5 GA)

Scores from around the WCHA:
North Dakota 3, St. Cloud State 3
Colorado College 5, Bemidji State 5
Michigan Tech 3, Denver 2
Minnesota State 3, Minnesota Duluth 1
Alaska-Anchorage 3, Nebraska-Omaha 2

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday night lineups vs Minnesota

WISCONSIN (Tentative)

Jordy Murray-Craig Smith-Mark Zengerle
Michael Mersch-Podge Turnbull-Tyler Barnes
Patrick Johnson-Sean Dolan-Derek Lee
Ryan Little-Jefferson Dahl-Keegan Meuer

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

Scott Gudmandson

MINNESOTA

Mike Hoeffel-Nick Bjugstad-Nick Larson
Jacob Cepis-Erik Haula-Pat White
Max Gardiner-Nate Condon-Taylor Matson
Tom Serratore-Nico Sacchetti-Joe Miller

Cade Fairchild-Seth Helgeson
Aaron Ness-Mark Alt
Kevin Wehrs-Justin Holl


Kent Patterson

Minnesota Sucks Week

Let's keep that goal scoring theme going all day...







Kirk Daubenspeck critically injured in car crash

News has broke this morning thanks to Andy Baggot of the WSJ that former Wisconsin goalie Kirk Daubenspeck is in critical condition after a car accident on Thursday.

According to the report, Daubenspeck and collided with a semi-truck while driving through heavy fog near Dodgeville. The report indicates that Daubenspeck is in a coma with a severe brain injury and is on a ventilator.

Daubenspeck, who was a second team All-American in 1997 had planned along with several other former Wisconsin teammates to come to Madison this weekend to attend this weekends series against Minnesota.

Thoughts and prayers from everyone at the Sixty Minutes crew go out to Kirk and his family.

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Minnesota Sucks Week

Last time Minnesota and Wisconsin played each other for a National Championship...Boom.

Brian Elliott traded to Colorado

More to come...

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Minnesota Sucks Week

Let's get that goal scoring vibe going early on game day...

Gardiner not a sure thing to sign after the season?

Wednesday afternoon reports started to surface that Wisconsin junior defenseman Jake Gardiner had told the Badger coaching staff that he planned to sign a pro contract at the outset of the 2010-2011 season.

Gardiner, an original first round draft pick of the Anaheim Ducks was traded last week to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Toronto GM Brian Burke was on the local radio station 590 The Fan and made the claim about Gardiner signing after the season.

The exact quote from Burke was, "His plan I think is, what he's told the coaches at Wisconsin would be to come out after the season, and then we think he'd need, ya know our hope is a half a year in the American league or a Keith Aulie progression and then he'd be ready to play."

WSJ reporter Andy Baggot was able to speak with Gardiner Thursday afternoon and Gardiner refuted the reports saying simply, "I never said that." According to Baggot's report, Eaves also confirmed that no conversation ever took place.

It would have been no surprise to anyone if Gardiner did intend to turn pro after the season. An elite player like himself would certainly be given the max rookie contract or close to it by the Maple Leafs.

What is interesting is that Burke would make such a claim with the media if in fact Gardiner had not indicated to the coaches at Wisconsin that he planned to leave. In Baggots piece he asked Gardiner why Burke would make such a statement and Gardiner said, "I'm sure he just wants me to sign."

Does this leave an opening for Gardiner, who is an alternate captain this season for the Badgers to return for his senior season? Absolutely it does.

For now, let's just enjoy his talents while he's in cardinal and white.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Minnesota Sucks Week

Minnesota Sucks Week Preview

Two weeks ago the Badgers felt pretty good about themselves. Home ice in the WCHA playoffs looked like a solid bet, and barring an epic collapse, it looked like an NCAA tournament bid was going to be in the cards.

What a difference a week makes. After being swept by Nebraska-Omaha the Badgers are 3 points away from going on the road in the first round of the WCHA playoffs and are hanging on by a thread for NCAA tournament contention.

From here on out, every weekend needs to be treated like a playoff series. As if Wisconsin didn't need any more motivation, their biggest rival, the Minnesota Gophers are set to roll into town this weekend.

The Badgers seemingly couldn't catch a break last weekend in Omaha. Playing a defensive style of hockey that looked like some past Wisconsin teams UNO took advantage of Wisconsin turnovers and converted on what seemed like every opportunity that they had.

Taking another page out of the Badger playbook, the Mavericks were shot blocking machines last weekend. There was one power play where UNO had to have set a record for blocked shots in one shift.

Not all bad came out of last weekend though. Despite trailing 4-1 in the third period on Saturday night, the Badgers battled back scoring two late goals to make it a game. They out shot the Mavericks 12-4 and looked more like the team that had won 12 out of the last 13 rather than the one that showed up the previous 5 periods.

Junior forward Jordy Murray had a big weekend for the Badgers scoring goals in both games over the weekend. Murray's 15th and 16th goals of the season put him in a tie for the team lead with Craig Smith.

The Gophers roll into Madison after playing their most complete game of the season on Saturday night versus Denver. After an early Denver goal was inexplicably waived off, Minnesota exploded for 7 goals en route to a 7-3 victory.

Unfortunately for Minnesota, it looks like they will be without the services of leading scorer and senior captain Jay Bariball. Lucia said he is not expected to play due to a lower body injury.

You're familiar with the rest of the crew. Mike Hoeffel and Jacob Cepis are always threats and freshman Eric Haula has found his scoring touch after a lengthy drought.

Junior Kent Patterson is the full time man in between the pipes after Alex Kangas was lost for the season when he had hip surgery. Patterson has been arguably the Gophers best player this season and is in serious contention for end of the season award consideration. His .925 save percentage is second to only Wisconsin's Scott Gudmandson in league play.

The Badgers continue to lead the WCHA in team defense and on the penalty kill. While the Wisconsin power play has struggled the past few weeks they came to life in the third period last Saturday night scoring twice. The Gophers have the worst penalty kill in the conference so taking advantage while on the man advantage will be the difference between winning and losing this weekend.

COVERAGE

The Friday night game is being broadcast by the Big Ten Network and the Saturday night game will be on Fox Sports North. Note the Saturday game time is 8 PM not the normal 7.

POLLS

The Badgers dropped from 7 to 12 in the USCHO.com poll and from 7 to 13 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll. Minnesota is receiving votes in the USCHO.com poll.

INJURIES

Joe Faust hasn't' been heard from since he injured his shoulder a few weeks back but it's unconfirmed if he hasn't played because of the injury or because of his play. Minnesota will be without senior Jay Bariball

PREDICTIONS


Traditionally the Badgers have taken the Friday night game at the Kohl Center and Minnesota usually bounces back on Saturday. The Badgers are pissed about not bringing home any points last weekend and I can assure you that won't happen again.

Friday: Wisconsin 4, Minnesota 2
Saturday: Wisconsin 3, Minnesota 3

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

UW Recruiting: Davison prepares for playoffs

The Wisconsin high school hockey playoffs officially kicked off on Tuesday but for most of the top seeds, Thursday is opening night. That includes Wisconsin defense recruit Tim Davison, who's Notre Dame Academy Tritons open up regional play at home against the Oshkosh Ice Hawks at Cornerstone Arena.

I had an opportunity to talk with Davison, who is a projected 2012 or 2013 recruit about the playoffs tonight.

Notre Dame Academy, winners of their last eight games including three against top 10 teams are just coming into their own. "We had some ups and downs in the middle of our season, and as of late we have been playing well."

Davison was a part of the Tritons squad who made it to the State tournament last season and he gave us little insight on what his team needs to do to make a return trip to the coliseum. "The only way we will be able to make it to Madison this year is if our entire team buys into what our coaches have been teaching us all season. It's a team effort."

Davison, who tied for the team lead in scoring in the regular season with 17 goals and 21 assists for 38 points in 23 games wasn't shy about singling out the favorites this season. "Eau Claire Memorial is the team to beat."

Memorial got the best of Notre Dame Academy 3-2 about a month ago at the Resch center but Davison notes things could change in the playoffs. "If we are fortunate enough to make it to state, I believe anything could happen there."

Notre Dame Academy and Eau Claire Memorial are on opposite sides of the bracket and would only meet should the two teams reach the State Championship game. A rematch between the two would certainly be must see TV.

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WIAA Hockey Tournament Bracket Challenge

We put something similar to this together for the NCAA hockey tournament last year so I thought it would be fun to have the regular readers of this site pick the winners for the WIAA hockey tournament.

Full disclosure, the first round actually started last night but it's rare that there are many upsets in that round so I waited until it was down to 64 to publish.

You have until tomorrow night (Thursday 2/17) at 6:00 PM to submit your picks.

2011 WIAA HS Hockey Tourney

I also just wanted to state that hosting the tournament at the Coliseum these days is a joke. I understand with facility constraints that the Kohl Center might not be available, but there is no reason that the tournament cannot be moved to the Resch Center. The Coliseum is not even close to being a suitable host for the state tournament.

No shock, Gardiner expects to sign after season

Word has broke today that University of Wisconsin defenseman Jake Gardiner, who was recently traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs from the Anaheim Ducks has informed the coaching staff at Wisconsin that he intends to sign a pro contract at the end of the Badgers season.

According to Ryan Cardinal, a writer for the Gopher Puck Live website, Toronto general manager Brian Burke was on the Toronto radio station the FAN 590 today and said that Gardiner has told the coaching staff that he won't be back.

The news is hardly shocking to anyone who has followed the program. Gardiner has had 2 solid seasons in cardinal and white and is having an All-American type season in his junior campaign.

It's also rare that a first round draft pick, and a player of Gardiners caliber use all four years of eligibility. Gardiner will fall in line with what has seemed to be a trend for high end Wisconsin defenseman signing after their junior seasons. Jamie McBain (Carolina Hurricanes), Brendan Smith (Grand Rapids Griffins, AHL), Cody Goloubef (Springfield Falcons, AHL), and Ryan McDonagh (New York Rangers) all singed pro contracts with a year of eligibility remaining.

Whenever the Badgers finish up their run in the NCAA tournament, it's expected that Gardiner will turn pro immediately to get in some pro games with either Toronto's AHL team, the Toronto Marlies or even possibly with the big club.

A native of Minnetonaka, Minnesota, Gardiner is having his best statistical season as a Badger. The former 17th overall pick has 8 goals and 24 assists for 32 points in 32 games for Wisconsin. Gardiner's brother Max, who plays for Minnesota will be in town this weekend to face Jake and the Badgers.

Photo courtesy of BHockey10

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Minnesota Sucks Week

Minnesota Sucks Week

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

No playoffs for Navin

Dplaya over at HIW talked w/ Brad Navin a few days ago, and Brad will NOT be back for the WIAA Hockey playoffs which started this evening across the state.  He is hoping to be back to compete w/ Team Wisconsin in their upcoming post season.

Best Wishes to Brad on his continued recovery!  That leaves Tim Davison as the only current UW recruit in the State Tourney.  The State Tourney comes to Madison March 3rd - 5th at the Colesium.  W/ CC in town taking on the Badgers that weekend, I plan to make it a full hockey weekend by catching all four quarterfinal games.  Should be fun.

Inside the PWR: Don’t burst the bubble

Right on time w/ Chuck posting his bracketology.

Things have changed significantly in the past two weeks. The first time I posted about the PWR, the Badgers were 8th and solidly in the field, last week they were 9th after a bye week moved them down one spot. Today, after being swept by the UNO Mavericks, our Badgers are just hanging on at the bottom of the bubble in 15th. Things are certainly worse, but it is far too early for panic. Solid results on the ice the next five weeks send the Badgers to the NCAA tourney, more stumbles against opponents fighting for WCHA home ice and trying to get into the NCAA picture, and the Badgers could sit home. W/ the changes, let’s take a look at how the Badgers can claw their way back up the PWR and get some breathing room.

The Badgers win 14 and lose 14 comparisons this week. In addition, this week’s TUC number is 29. Ohio State and Michigan State dropped off the cliff, for now, while St Cloud is back in after a strong weekend in Duluth.

Lost barring miracles: Yale, BC, DU, UND & UMD. These haven’t changed, but I’d add Nebraska Omaha to this column. The ONLY way for UW to flip this comparison would be to face them in the Final Five (which is certainly possible) and win, along w/ raising their RPI above UNO’s by Selection Sunday. While possible, if they don’t meet head to head again, I don’t see this comparison being won. UNO has a large lead in vs TUC, and while they have a tough road to finish the season, UW has to go 5-0-1 to finish just getting to .500 in that category. Bemidji becoming a TUC would help UW; they are currently at 0.4999 in RPI. UW went 2-0 against BSU; UNO went 0-3-1.

Of the other 8 comparisons lost, the Badgers “could” win all of them, but I find that unlikely w/ out UW finishing around 9-2, or a team or two tanking completely. The Badgers are really hurting in the TUC, currently sitting at 5-10-3 or 0.3611. They are losing this part to all but SIX teams. BSU and Michigan State as TUC’s help, but the Badgers need a strong finish, plain and simple. Bucky’s RPI dropped, merely improving it flips most of these. W/ only 5 weekends left, I’m going to break out what Bucky needs to do against each of these teams (in alphabetical order).

Dartmouth: Flip the RPI. W/ no common opponents, RPI is the tie-breaker if the overall comparison is tied 1-1 (or 2-2, 3-3, etc in a different comparison). Just keep winning.

Merrimack: UW needs Merrimack to blow this one. Merrimack has a good lead in RPI, and the TUC part is all but decided. Merrimack still has two games left against UMASS this weekend, if they lose one of those, UW wins that comparison (for now) giving them life to flip this comparison headed into conference tournaments. I might add this to LOST in the next few weeks.

Miami (OH): Miami is not too far ahead of UW in the RPI, and right now they are tied in the COP. In two weeks, the games against St Cloud count for Miami, dropping their COP record to 4-2-1. The Badgers taking three points from St Cloud makes this green, anything less makes it red. It is possible Miami faces Michigan or Michigan State in the CCHA playoffs or UW faces St Cloud adding more data into that part of the equation. Miami has a solid lead in the TUC, w/ currently no games remaining in that department until the CCHA tourney.

Michigan: Similar story to Miami (OH). Ahead in RPI, TUC flip is doubtful and the Badgers lead in COP. The Badgers have four games remaining in the COP (gophers & CC), where even a 2-2 record should lock that piece down for the regular season. Flip the RPI, win the comparison.

New Hampshire: This one is tough; UNH has a larger lead in the RPI and again a strong lead in the TUC. UW is currently winning the COP and there are no more games there left in the regular season, but if UNH faces BU or UMASS in the Hockey East post season and wins, UNH flips that part. Even if the Badgers catch them in RPI, they could still lose depending upon the Hockey East playoffs.

Notre Dame: The Badgers should be able to flip this one. Notre Dame has a decent lead in the RPI, but not much of an advantage in the TUC. UW is winning the COP, but this could change depending upon WCHA and CCHA playoff games for both schools with several common opponents.

RPI: Their lead in the RPI over UW is small, if UW flips that and takes at least 3 pts when CC visits town in three weeks to flip the COP, they can win this comparison. RPI only has one TUC game left in the regular season, and has a decent lead there right now.

Union: They have a strong lead in the RPI, and in the TUC. UW is currently winning the COP, and that will become clearer this weekend as minnesota is a common opponent. A split maintains that component of the comparison until the playoffs for UW.

All in all, if UW plays well, I think they can flip up to six of these comparisons back, but in my amateur PWR analysis opinion, Union and Merrimack could be tough. Five of the above teams were in my “could lose” part last week, and that list has gained a few members from the PWR lockbox (a dumb idea).

That Badgers could lose the following comparisons: Maine, Alaska, BU and W. Michigan. BU and W. Michigan have been added to the list from last week, and are only a threat if UW tanks in the RPI further.

The teams I’m really worried about are the Badgers next three opponents. UW can’t afford to lose any of these. In all three cases, UW has a solid RPI lead and is winning the COP, but losing the TUC. None of these teams have a strong TUC winning %, but what is most critical right now is getting the head to head PWR points. The Badgers have one point extra against the gophers from the 3 pt weekend early in the WCHA season. A sweep or 3 pts against any of these teams puts the comparison away for the regular season. A split against any of these teams, should maintain the Badgers advantage. A 1 pt weekend puts the comparison as a toss up, being swept puts UW on the wrong side of another comparison, for now. Unlike UNO, should the Badgers stumble, none of these teams have strong numbers in other categories that couldn’t be overcome, as things currently stand.

This leaves 8 teams that I’m not worried about right now, and I hope this numbers grows instead of shrinks next week.

One last note, Yale would really have to blow the ECAC tourney to NOT be the #1 in the PWR come March 20th. Their winning % in the TUC and COP over BC and North Dakota (the only teams currently close in the RPI) can only be hurt by their bad play. I don’t think there is enough TUC games left for either BC or UND to ever flip that, even if they won out. Goon, not sure if you read my posts about the PWR, but w/ your disdain of Yale being #1, I hope your head doesn’t explode.