Friday, January 30, 2009

Meet Your Freshman 2008-2009: Peter Rohn

I know you have all been waiting a long time. At long last, the time has come. The Tech Hockey Blog would like you to get to know the newest addition to our Husky Hockey team.

Peter Rohn had to sit out some 17 games because the NCAA is dumb. His first NCAA game came during the Saturday night game at Minnesota-Duluth. His fellow teammates made him take the ice first for warm-ups. It was a big moment for him. Soon after Peter started playing games for the team, we swept NMU for the first time in.....forever. Peter was key!

So here's some info on Peter, followed by the interview. ENJOY! And don't forget to comment. :)


Position: Forward
Last Team: Green Mountain Glades (EJHL)
Hometown: Vettre, Norway
Birthday: 1/4/88
Height: 5'7"
Weight: 165 lbs

Tech Hockey Blog (THB): How the heck did we find you? Which coach saw you first?
Peter Rohn (PR): It started in '06, when I was first looking to come over to the US to play college hockey. Coach Mikesch was the first one I talked to and the main reason I'm here now.

THB: Why did you agree to come to Michigan Tech?
PR: Well it was between St. Lawrence and Tech for 08/09, and some other Hockey East/ECAC schools for 09/10 but I really wanted to get going with my college career so when it came down to the WCHA and the ECAC the choice was easy for me.

THB: Tell the Michigan Tech fans a little bit more about your background. Steve Vlaisavljevich mentioned how you've lived in a few places around the world and are very familiar with at least 4 cultures.
PR: Hah, Steve is the man by the way. [Yes. Yes he is.]

I was born in Oslo, Norway. My father is Norwegian and my mother South Korean. They met when my father worked in Seoul in the 80's. We lived in Nairobi, Kenya from 92-97. My father worked in a branch of the UN called the Norwegian Peoples Aid, and they worked mostly in Sudan. My mother ran her own help organization and did missionary work building schools, hospitals etc in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. They have different jobs now, but both of them are still active down there.

THB: All the websites say that you're 5'7". Tell me the truth, Peter. How tall are you actually?
PR: 170 cm tall. [Cute. Alright, I'll convert that for my readers. Let's see... 170 cm comes out to be....5.577427821517 ft... or 5' 6.9291336". No way!]

THB: What has been your greatest moment thus far in your early career as a Michigan Tech Husky?
PR: Scoring the game winner against Northern felt pretty nice.

THB: Are you starting to become a Red Wings fan yet by living in Michigan?
PR: I was a Red Wings fan before I came to the States, and I've always been one! [Wow... that caught me off guard. Peter, you're such a smart guy!!]

THB: How is Wadsworth Hall treating you? Do you enjoy the dorm food?
PR: Good! I love the dorm food... [I agree. Wads food is delicious. Wads rocks! I miss dorm food... =( ...]

THB: Who are you rooming with this season? Tell me something interesting (or embarrassing!) about your roommate.
PR: I'm rooming with Michael Meads. He is a mechanical engineer major. He has a huge tattoo of Saint Michael slaying the devil on the side of his upper body.

THB: Which of the three Husky jerseys is your favorite?
PR: The black jerseys no doubt.

THB: Who do you think is the funniest guy on the team?
PR: Tough one, there are several candidates. [What a cop out! But I'm not surprised. There are a lot of comedians on the team.]

THB: Are you any good at rubbing your tummy and patting your head at the same time?
PR: Yeah, I can even do it with my hands tied behind my back. [Okay.... that's called talent!]

THB: How many national anthems do you know the words to? Which is your favorite?
PR: I only know the Norwegian national anthem by heart, but I do know parts of the Swedish, American and Canadian anthems. The Norwegian national anthem is my favorite, but I also like the Russian one.

THB: I realize you haven't yet taken many hockey trips, but of those few that you have taken, which was your favorite and why?
PR: The Denver trip. Nice city, nice weather and nice rink. Plus one of my best friends and my neighbor from back home in Norway plays for them, so it was really great to see him!

THB: How is the female situation looking for you?
PR: Come on get's Michigan Tech. Does it look good for anyone? [Peter, you're avoiding the question. :) But yeah, it's a rough place.]

THB: If you could be any height, how tall would you want to be?
PR: 6'0" is a good height. [Don't you mean 182.88 cm? =P]

THB: How does the crowd's energy and noise level affect the way you play?
PR: It certainly fires me up and gets me going. I love it when it's loud and intense!

THB: Do you ever see a Norway flag in the crowd at your games?
PR: I do and I love it! Reminds of where I am from, and it makes me proud. I appreciate it! [I'm glad you like it, Peter! It will be at all of the remaining games this season.]

THB: How many hours in the average day do you think you spend at the MacInnes?
PR: Too many. But it's all good since that's where I prefer to be!

THB: Do you prefer cats or dogs?
PR: Dogs. I hate cats, especially wildcats! [You. Are. Amazing!]

THB: Peter, I was there for your first game at UMD on Saturday night. When you guys were heading to the ice for warmups, the team was going to make you go first. You very shy and hesitated for a while. Why was this? :)
PR: The guys wanted me to go first since it was my first game. I thought they were messing with me so I hesitated since I was sure they were going to let me skate out there all alone and embarrass myself. And sure enough...

THB: And when you finally stepped onto the ice for the first time that night, how did it feel?
PR: It felt amazing. I waited a long time for that.

THB: Lastly, what would you like to say to all of the Michigan Tech fans out there (or at least the 10-20 of them that read the Tech Hockey Blog)?
PR: Thanks for the support and loyalty, you guys are great. Hopefully we can finish the season strong, make it to the Final Five and give you guys what you deserve! It's time to make Tech a national powerhouse once again!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Saturday @ UAA; Brett Olson as WCHA co-Rookie of the Week

Here it is Wednesday and at last I will finish writing up on the weekend. Hey, I'm getting better and less lazy at this!

The WCHA basement brothers shared yet another tie last weekend. And again, UAA dominated most of the game. They of courre went up early on us, 2-0. That was a bummer, but at least they were doing something to help us out: taking penalties. Before the third had ended, we tied the game 2-2 from two power play goals by none other than BRETT OLSON. This brings Brett's point count for the weekend to 3-1--4. What a great weekend for our awesome freshman.

Those two power play goals also brought our power play to 4 for 8 on the weekend. HOW ABOUT THAT?! Good stuff right there. Not to mention our penalty kill going 100%. Those two factors definitely had a hand in our two earned points this weekend.

Michigan Tech took their first lead in the longest time during the third period thanks to our new guy in up front--Drew Dobson. We were only able to enjoy this lead for a whopping minute and a half as UAA answered back almost immediately. Bummer.

But hey, a tie may not be a win, but it's not loss. I 'm happy with the point. Putting that point with the one from Friday night is like a win. Baby steps.

Hey you know, speaking of Brett Olson, he is not surprisingly WCHA Co-Rookie of the Week, along with RWD favorite Jack Connolly from UMD. Congrats to both Brett and Jack for great wekeends and a great honor. As I have mentioned before, I look forward to each and every week when Mr. Olson is on the ice. Oh geez, I just thought of something gay... but I will share it with my readers. It'll be a last thought type of thing. Here it goes -

The future looks very nice
When Brett Olson is on the ice

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Playing Catch-Up

I apologize for my absolute laziness going on lately. What can I say? I've been busy. Let's recap the last few weekends starting with where I left off --

Saturday night in Denver... Tech played hard. It was another absolutely solid game from them in the mile high city. Number 10 was with Number 1 for the entire night. Geoff Kinrade scored his SECOND goal (of the powerplay sort, 4x3) of the weekend to tie it up, 1-1 after 1. DU's Ostrow scored in the second however and DU took the lead. The final blow came with 3.2 seconds left in the game as DU was able to put one in our empty net. The result was obviously a bummer, but man... I was so proud of the guys for how well they played. It was wonderful hockey to watch with sadly nothing to show for it... but such is the story of Michigan Tech Hockey.

The next weekend, we allowed the hostile and abusives into our ice arena as we hosted the Sioux. Friday we gave two up power play goals in the first period. Boo! It seems that UND was out to seek revenge for the defeat at the GLI. They DOMINATED that first period, 15-4 SOG. We were probably lucky to be down by only 2. Second period was rally time. The hardest working guy of the weekend, Alex Gagne, put Tech on the board within the first five minutes of the second. Four minutes later, freshman Brett Olson (who is going to be OUTSTANDING in the years to come), tied up the game. Brett Olson is quickly becoming among many Tech fans' favorite. He's definitely another hard worker for the Huskies and I'm really excited to watch him play in the upcoming years. I can definitely see him wearing the "C" in two years.

The third period on Friday -- another one dominated by the Sioux. Finley fired a rocket into the back of the net. Even if Nolan had gloved it, the sheer energyof that thing probably still would've forced Robby's glove back behind the goal line. It was THAT good. The Sioux outshot Tech 18-6 in that period, but Robby played like a champ. And everyone's favorite little Norweigan, Peter Rohn, tied up the game just a minute and a half after Finley's goal. Tech managed to hold on to the tie, despite the Sioux's utter and complete domination. The Sioux probably deserved more in this game, but oh well. They can get points in other games. The hell with them.

Saturday night versus the Sioux.... yeah.... So what if we lost 5-0? A win is a win and a loss is a loss. We're 1-1-1 against the Sioux this season. I'll take it. =)

Okay, so that brings us Anchorage! Finally. God, what an amazing city this is. I am glad to be back here. So this year, there are four other Misfits and myself that made the trip. We came prepared to take over the Sullivan. I know the five of us can easily dominate in that arena, and sure enough, we did. We started out cheering loudly at the beginning of this game. This was annoying some UAA fans. They spent more time and energy yelling at us to shut up than they did to support their team.
Dear UAA fans sitting around us:

We're not here to annoy you. We have spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars and traveled across the continent to support our team, so dammit, that is what we will do. I'm sorry if you don't like it when people cheer for their hockey teams, but it will not stop us.

Our cheering and support makes the guys want to play harder and more desperate hockey. We were rewarded for our time and money spent last night by coming back from a 3-goal deficit.

My advice is to stop directing your energy toward us and focus on your team. The Seawolves need you.
When we went down 3-0, I saw Jamie in front of me point to the net and yell at Nolan, "Robby, GO." That was during the second period, a period that the Seawolves completely dominated. The second period wasn't a total loss though as Jordan Baker was able to at least get us on the board.

It was like music to my ears to hear these high school-aged Seawolves fans saying, "3 to 1, 3 to 1" in such a taunting way... and I knew then karma would run its course. Sure enough, it did.

In the third, Brett Olson put us to within one goal. What a PLAYMAKER he is! He also assisted on Baker's goal in the previous period. The future of this team looks bright with Brett. I can't wait!

The time's ticking down... and then with 2:15 left in regulation, Baker gets a penalty... one that I believe was for retaliation, but I can't comment too much on it. According to one of the Tech fans that did see it, I guess UAA's Clark was hitting at Baker's facemask and Baker was getting sick of it, so he tried to move him over, and Clark dropped like the pansy he is. When Baker got that penalty called on him, he was SO ANGRY. I watched the look on Clark's face as he skated away and it was a look of accomplishment and pride. According to one UAA fan, whose identity will be kept secret, "Clarky is a sneaky bastard." UAA fans know what's up! I hate cheating in hockey, but hey, I guess you need to do what you need to do for you team and to get the win.

If it's one thing I believe in though, it's KARMA. Clark's little stunt didn't pay off for UAA as Tech was able to score shorthanded with about 28 seconds left in regulation...!!! Derby Kitti of all guys! Absolutely perfect. Derby works hard day in and day out... He is FINALLY rewarded and rewarded with something great.

Tonight's game is going to be an absolute battle. The Seawolves are very frustrated, understandingly so, and are in need of giving to their fans who are all on the brink of insanity. If Tech wants to win tonight, they're going to have to turn it up a few notches from their play last night.

Man, this is a long blog entry.... Sorry if you actually read this.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Big News About Big Changes

Today marks a pretty huge change in this website.

Last October, the company SportsBlogs Inc., creators of the blogging network SB Nation got a pretty nice chunk of investment money from a venture capital firm to try and expand their sports blogging network. One of the areas SB Nation has tried to jump into is hockey, and more specifically, college hockey.

I was offered the chance to move my blog to SB Nation last December and decided to accept. So from now on, WCH can be found at

Why make this move? I have received several different blogging offers of varying quality over the years and have been reluctant to change how I do things. But there were a couple different reasons I decided to make this move.

1. I get to maintain complete editorial control. This was my first question when I was approached about signing on. This is always been a hobby for me, and if it ever stopped being fun, I'm not sure how much longer it would last, so it's best that I keep writing what I enjoy. So basically, the content is going to be the exact same as it is here(except I'll probably start posting nothing but funny YouTube videos and embarrassing pictures of celebrities. Super sorry.) It's still going to be the WCHA, CCHA, recruiting, HS hockey, USA hockey, whatever I feel like. So from that aspect, nothing is really changing.

2. A more interactive community for readers. This is actually something I've wanted for some time, but never had the technical acumen to pull off. Most newspapers in the country are in serious financial trouble at least in some part because they've failed at making the transition to the internet. The thing they've missed, at least in my mind, is that the internet was practically built on people being able to interact with one another. The problem with the comments section on most blogs or newspaper articles is that they get so cluttered with noise that there's little room for quality discussion. SB Nation has some tremendous opportunities for user-generated content that I outlined in the new blog's first post that should make this blog even better.

3. It's good exposure for college hockey. Even in the occasional emails I get from hockey people telling me what an a-hole I am, most are at least polite enough to thrown in a "While I appreciate what you do to promote college hockey..." before it. Being part of such a major network allows a different set of people to experience and learn about college hockey, who might not have otherwise, especially since there are many NHL blogs and blogs for other major college sports.

4. They have a pretty nice support staff with people that understand more about computers than I could hope to know. So now WCH will have, like, a logo, and a nice site design, and some colors that aren't a hideous shade of orange.

So overall, I feel like there are a ton of benefits to this move, and no real downsides. I'm pretty excited about it, and hope that the people who frequented this site will enjoy the new site even more.

Once again, you can find the new site at

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New Commits

UAA picked up a commitment from BCHL forward Chris Crowell.

AJHL forward Carter Rowney committed to North Dakota after visiting during North Dakota's series against Minnesota.

Friday, January 16, 2009

UNO Isn't Moving

Nebraska-Omaha head coach Mike Kemp spoke Alaska's hockey luncheon this afternoon, and had some interesting things to say about some future conference realignment.

Incidentally, the Mavericks lost 2-0 to Alaska tonight, and had to wear Fairbanks Ice Dogs jerseys, because United Airways lost their jerseys while rerouting the Mavericks a couple times turning their trip to Fairbanks into a 24-hour journey.

Anyway, Kemp said that Nebraska-Omaha had been approached by the WCHA about the possibility of applying to join the conference, but made it pretty clear that UNO had no interest in switching conferences.

One of the big reasons why is that even though the WCHA may have more traditional hockey powers, Nebraska is football territory and names like Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, and Ohio State are going to resonate more with local fans than a school like Denver or North Dakota. Even MAC schools like Western Michigan, Miami, and Bowling Green carry more cachet than some of the D-II football schools in Minnesota.

Kemp did mention the advantage of being able to bus to most games in the WCHA--and I'm sure avoiding the air looked especially tempting after the fiasco getting up to Fairbanks--but also said that the CCHA has been good to UNO, and they have no interest in moving.

So UNO is out in terms of a 12th WCHA team, but Kemp did mention, however, that Northern Michigan has been approached by the WCHA about potentially joining the conference as well. Would they be interested? I'm not sure.

Still, it probably has to be considered a good sign for Bemidji State that the WCHA is at least looking to add a 12th team. Twelve teams would help out with scheduling a little bit, because it would allow the league to use a "cluster" format like the CCHA has the past couple of years. Scheduling with 11 teams would still be workable though. In any case, things this summer could be very interesting as some major changes could be coming.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Step 1 for Bemidji

The ten teams in the WCHA today voted to lift the WCHA's moratorium on league expansion.

This was the first step towards getting Bemidji State out of the dying CHA and into the WCHA. Now that the expansion moratorium has been lifted, teams can apply for conference membership until March 31st of this year, and a final vote will take place during this spring at the conference coaches' meeting.

The Bemidji Pioneer ran an editorial on BSU's credentials.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Don Lucia doesn't have cancer, which is certainly good news.

A feature on Bowling Green's Dan Sexton. Sexton had actually committed to a school out east before decommitting and taking his chances at getting another offer, and eventually got one he liked from BG.

Former St. Cloud State forward George Awada is a hockey star in Ireland. There's a lot of interesting stuff in there about hockey culture in Ireland.

The OHL is instituting an automatic one-game suspension for playersthat remove their helmet prior to fights. Clearly no such rule exists in the WCHA.

Brandon Burlon looks poised for a big second half for Michigan.

Who would have guessed that getting swept by a weak Northern Michigan team would have negative consequences. It would be a funny coincidence if Northern Michigan kept Wisconsin out of the NCAA tournament this year, given that it was a weird comparison between Minnesota State and Northern Michigan somehow won by NMU that put Wisconsin into the NCAA tournament last year.

New Commits

The next stop on the Mike Dorr WCHA Tour will be Minnesota State.

Jacob Cepis decided on Minnesota after also taking a visit to Boston University.

North Dakota picked up commitments from AJHL forward Corbin Knight and Winnipeg Midget forward Brendan O'Donnell.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bad Call 2: Electric Siouxgaloo

Or...Dude, where's Zach Jones' suspension?

Eleven months ago, some North Dakota player dropped his gloves and got into a fight with a guy from Denver. Referee Marco Hunt gave said North Dakota player a double minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct.

Later that week, WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod decided Hunt "under-called" the fight and gave suspensions to the players.

That brings us to Saturday night. Same team. Same official. Zach Jones clearly drops his gloves and takes off his helmet with the intention of fighting Tony Lucia. The referee's intervene before Jones can reach his target(something the referees were reprimanded for not doing last year in another, different North Dakota fight, BTW), but it's pretty clear that Jones wasn't trying to shake Lucia's hand.

And for that, Jones received a two-minute minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct. Incidentally, that marked the fourth time in Jones' career that he got two minutes for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct rather than getting tossed for fighting. But the question is: why? If you're going to give a guy a penalty for whatever he intends to do after he drops his gloves and takes off his helmet--and then wrestles with the officials to break away, but that's a different discussion--how can you give him anything other than a fighting major?

Last time, that mistake got corrected. This one probably should be too.

CSB Mid-Term Rankings

NHL Central Scouting released their mid-term rankings, which is the first list they put out that ranks each North American player.

You can view the list for North American skaters here, and North American goalies here.

As always, some very interesting choices from the NHL CSB, but overall, they seem to like the American players this year, especially as you move down the list, you start to see a lot of American players eligible last season that weren't selected.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Vote for Hobey

The online fan vote for the Hobey Baker Award began last week without a lot of fanfare. The past few years, the fan vote has been plagued by automated voting giving certain players a bazillion votes. This year, the Hobey committee offers this stern warning:
"Automated or programmed voting is not allowed. In the spirit of Hobey Baker himself, all voting should be conducted in an honest and ethical manner. If further automated voting is evidenced, then the fan vote will not be included in this year’s selection process. We thank all college hockey fans for participating in this year’s Vote For Hobey."
OK, first the spirit of Hobey Baker himself? Back before the delightful Fire Joe Morgan gave up blogging to focus on a new TV show starring Amy Poehler (*shudder*), they had an interesting observation on the evolution of video technology in baseball:
"If you could go back in time and take Nap Lajoie into a room after Rube Waddell K'd him on three pitches and show him a glowing box with a video replay of the at bat, he would call you a demon, slit your throat, tear out his eyes, and generally freak the f--- out."
I feel pretty much the same way re: Hobey Baker and computer voting fraud.

Second, is there an emptier threat than saying you're going to cut the fan vote out of the award? The fan vote counts for 1% of the final vote total, making it essentially meaningless already. Has the fan vote ever made a difference in the voting? It seems that most years, the recipient of the fan vote doesn't even make the top ten. Would anything really change if they stopped bothering with the fan vote?

Of course one thing that amuses me in all this is that they supposedly picked the 50 top players in college hockey this year. The most notable omission from that list of 50 is the guy that was allegedly the best player in college hockey two years ago. Either college hockey has come a long way over the past two years, or the committee's mistake in 2007 is becoming more apparent. Maybe they would be better off giving the fans more power.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Denver - Night One


That was rough. Very rough. First and foremost, I must say that I am ABSOLUTELY SO PROUD of my team. Michigan Tech played SO WELL in the Magness. I know I've said this before, but I will say it again because it applies here: the Huskies deserved better.

There is pretty much one picture that can sum up the game -

It was up... then it was down... then up again, then down and down further. Then it was the top... The top is the point where one's FAVORITE player scores to tie the game with less than one minute left. Then with 16.8 seconds left, the roller coaster went down down down. Down to China! Ugh. This is probably the most depressed I've been this season... or at least close. It's tough for a game to end like that though. So heartbreaking. It was like the oxygen was just removed right from my lungs.. and that's a huge bummer because being up here in the mile high city, there's not much there to begin with.

I'm sure the team is heartbroken tonight... but let that be a reason for them to come out and play hard tomorrow... throughout the entire game. They're going to steal one somewhere if they keep playing like they did Friday night in Denver.

On a side note, Denver fans are amazing... amongst the best in college hockey.

That is all.

EDIT: No wait. That's not at all. Michigan Tech beat UND in the third place game at UND! Okay, now that's all.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Vilardo to OSU

Team Illinois U16 center Michael Vilardo committed to Ohio State. Vilardo is a late '92 birthdate that would likely join the Buckeyes in 2011. Vilardo had visited Ohio State with teammate Chris Joyaux, who also committed to the Buckeyes.


UNO's Mike Phillippi missed the first half of the season due to academic ineligibility, and was going to skip the second half and take a redshirt year, but coach Mike Kemp decided to let Phillippi play in the second half. That gives UNO a little more blueline depth after losing Alain Goulet over the break. Also, UNO freshman forward Jake Skjodt is out with mono. Luckily for UNO, he was most contagious while at home over break.

Meanwhile, UNO has been traveling quite a bit lately.

Michigan Tech has won 3 out of their last 4 games, despite only scoring 5 goals over that four-game stretch.

Matt Overman is out this weekend for Colorado College.

Eden Prairie's Nick Leddy is drawing praise as a potential first or second round NHL draft pick.

The WCHA only went 11-10-4 over the holiday break, which should have some pretty dire PWR consequences.

A feature on BG's Kyle Page.

Alaska will try to prove themselves this weekend when they face No. 1 Notre Dame. The match-up features the league's two top goalies.

Michigan/Miami Game Postponed

Tonight was supposed to be the start of a pretty big important series in the CCHA between Michigan and Miami, but the first game of that series has been postponed until Sunday due to structural problems at Yost Arena. Apparently the old barn suffered some weather-related damage over the holidays and needs some repairs.

Yost Fieldhouse was opened in 1923 and was the first indoor multi-purpose athletic facility in the country. It was converted to an ice arena in 1973.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

2010 US World Junior Team

Nate Fournier over at The World of Junior Hockey had an interesting post on next year's US World Junior team.

Even though this week, everyone seems more obsessed with re-picking this year's World Junior team, I figured I'd take my own stab at what next year's team will look like.

Mike Lee and Brandon Maxwell are pretty much gimmes(unless of course one of them struggles in the tournament, in which case, everyone will have totally known they should have picked someone else). Thank goodness you only need two goalies. If one of those guys was injured, who would be the next choice? Joe Cannata? Kevin Murdock? Adam Murray? Decent choices, but nothing that blows you away.

Zach Bogosian will still be eligible to play, but almost definitely won't be available. John Carlson has already signed a contract with the Washington Capitals, so his availability will likely depend on if he makes it past the 10-game cutoff in the NHL.

After those two, I think Cam Fowler is the next obvious choice. Like Jordan Schroeder this year, he'll be jockeying for a shot in the top 10, possibly top 5 of the NHL Draft with this tournament.

Aaron Ness and Jake Gardiner are going to be tough calls in my opinion because they're very good, but also very raw. Ness only had six assists in the first half of this year, but Don Lucia predicted he would take off in the second half of the season, and lo and behold, he scored his first goal, and added two assists last weekend, so he may just take off from there. Each will have a year and a half of college experience by that point, which is more than some of the other candidates, so I'd give them each a spot on the team.

Same goes for David Warsofsky of Boston University. He's got international experience and has played fairly well at the college level so far.

My next pick would be one of either Max Nicastro or Matt Donovan, or Sam Lofquist. All three are good skaters that can bring a little bit of everything to the mix. I'd imagine USA Hockey would lean towards Lofquist since he's got more experience both internationally and in college.

Next, I'd go with either John Moore or Nick Leddy. Both are excellent skaters that should make for very high draft picks this year. I wouldn't be surprised if Leddy was added to the US roster for the U18s this summer, and a good showing there may give USA Hockey more confidence in him.

That makes seven defensemen, if you count Carlson. If Carlson isn't available, I'd look for somebody that offered a little size and physicality to go along with a mostly finesse bunch, like a Collin Bowman.


Things will obviously start at the top with Jordan Schroeder. There's a very outside chance of someone drafting him really high, signing him, and him not being available next year. He might be good enough to handle it skill-wise, but I think he'll stick around for one more season at Minnesota.

You'd have to believe that Mitch Wahl, Tyler Johnson, and Danny Kristo will all be back after playing on the team this year.

I like the idea of giving Schroeder two skilled finishers in Jeremy Morin and Phil McRae to work with.

Joining Morin off of this year's U18 team, I'd take Kyle Palmieri, who was invited to the tryout camp for this year's World Juniors, and Drew Shore.

David Wohlberg and Derek Stepan have both had outstanding freshman seasons, and should be locks to make the team. Wohlberg is especially valuable since he's excellent defensively as well.

That would make 10 forwards. USA Hockey has shown in the past that they like to choose more defensive-minded players for those last couple rosters rather than guys with a lot of flash. Justin Florek is a big guy that is starting to put things together at Northern Michigan, and he might be a nice choice. A.J. Jenks is another big player that could play a nice role as a center on a lower line. That just leaves the 13th roster spot. Chris Brown would be another great energy player. USA Hockey may go with an NTDP veteran that some aren't as familiar with, like Colin Moore, similar to when they took Jimmy Fraser a couple years ago, or if they wanted to really young, they could take a strong two-way player off the U18 team like Jason Zucker.

Overall, it probably won't be the strongest US team. Like most years, they should be in contention for a medal, and if they get hot goaltending at the right time, or a couple bounces go their way, who knows what could happen.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

MN HS Linkorama

Before Christmas, I mentioned The Breakdown's listing of top forward lines in the state of Minnesota, and now they have a listing of top defensive units, led by Duluth East, and followed by Bloomington Jefferson, St. Cloud Cathedral, Edina, and Hill-Murray. I think it does a really nice job of picking out some kids who may not receive much hype, but are excellent players.

A look around the Big 9 conference, which covers most of southern Minnesota.

Hermantown and Duluth Marshall played on Fox Sports North last night, and though I missed it, it sounded like a great game. Marshall is playing without Zach Mausolf, who was one of the more talented players in Class A.

Blaine beat Duluth East in Blaine last night in a match-up of two top ten teams, by a score of 5-3, with an empty net goal. The game attracted quite a bit of attention from NHL scouts.

Edina's Anders Lee committed to Notre Dame for the 2010-2011 season. Lee had considered Notre Dame for a long time, but was a bit reluctant because they wanted him to play a year in the USHL after graduation, but apparently those worries of a post-graduate year of juniors were quelled.

Woodbury made their first state tournament in 2007 with a surprising upset over Cretin-Derham Hall. Last year, it was less surprising when they made the tournament. This year, they're probably the Section 3AA favorite and have become a power in the eastern suburbs. There must be something in the water out there.


There's not much to update on Minnesota head coach Don Lucia. "Dark Star" turned out to be wrong--and a bit of a douche--about the Bell's Palsy rumor. He'll miss this weekend's series against North Dakota. Apparently they're still running tests in hopes of finding out what is ailing him. This sounds like a House case.

Jase Weslosky is ready to play for St. Cloud this weekend. He missed St. Cloud's trip to Florida due to academic problems, and there were rumors that he'd be done for the year. It's a huge break for the Huskies, because I'm not sure Dan Dunn could have carried them for the second half of the year. Also, Jared Festler will likely miss this weekend's game with an ankle injury.

Nick Eno has been cleared to play for Bowling Green. The Falcons are currently tied for last place in the league, but have games in hand on just about everybody, and Eno's presence in goal could improve their defense and give them a big shot in the arm.

The article also has more on the Jacob Cepis situation:
"Jacob Cepis, a sophomore center who quit the Falcons Dec. 18, has been granted his release by BG which allows him to transfer to another school.
The release, however, does not allow him to transfer to another CCHA school.
Third-ranked Boston University, No. 5 Denver and Massachusetts remain the most popular schools on the rumor mill for where Cepis will end up. But No. 4 Minnesota and No. 14 Wisconsin still remain on the rumor mill.
Cepis is expected to be enrolled at his new school for the upcoming semester, allowing him to play the second half of next season.
If he’s not enrolled for the upcoming semester, he’ll have to sit out all of next season under NCAA rules."

Mark Mitera skated in practice this week after undergoing knee surgery in November. Red Berenson was skeptical about him playing in a game this year though.

Monday, January 5, 2009

US Fifth at World Juniors

The United States took a disappointing 5th place finish in this year's World Juniors, and as usual, there's a lot of noise about why the US didn't take home the gold. People can say whatever they want, but there's really only one thing you need to know:

Thomas McCollum vs. Canada: 5 goals allowed on 28 shots
Thomas McCollum vs. Slovakia: 5 goals allowed on 19 shots

Say whatever you will about coaching, or how the team is selected, or any other complaint you can come up with. You can't coach the puck out of your net, and when your goalie only stops 37 out of 47 shots over two games, and forces your team to score 6 goals win, you're going to lose 99 times out of 100. In a short tournament, hot goaltending can take your team a long way, and poor goaltending can kill you. This year, it killed the US.

I'll give the rest of my thoughts in bullet form, since it's easier...

-Some people are also blaming the US defense for playing poorly. They didn't look good against Canada, and I didn't see the Slovakia game, but how bad could they have been if they only gave up 19 shots and McCollum gave up a couple soft goals? That's more than good enough to win.

-Should McCollum have been pulled? In hindsight, yes, because they couldn't have done any worse. I'm not sure I would have pulled him at any point in the Canada game, because bringing a cold goalie into a close game probably wouldn't be wise. Maybe I would have started Unice against Slovakia, but again, that's using hindsight. I can see the argument for starting McCollum again as well.

-Why is it that the people screaming loudest about how not winning the gold is an absolute failure for the US, and the whole system needs to be torn down are the same people that talk about Canada being the greatest hockey nation in the world? Sorry, you can't have both ways. It only proves that these people don't have enough objectivity to make their opinion worthwhile.

-I still don't see how the NTDP-bashing is valid in any way. This year's team took way more CHL players than in the past and look where it got them. Adding a few more plugs like Eric Tangradi, whose biggest contribution to the team was putting his stick in some guys face and getting one of the good players jacked in the face, or Tyler Johnson, who didn't do much of anything, wouldn't have made things any better. One of the big omissions from the roster was John Carlson, and again, using hindsight, he would have been a better choice on D because he couldn't have been any worse, but the seventh defenseman on the US was Blake Kessel, who is not an NTDP alum, so I don't see how that decision is political.

-When trying to wow me with the OHL's goaltending, it's probably not best to cite some kid who needed a career game just to bring his tournament save percentage up to .901. As a general rule, goaltenders peak much later, and it's just hard to be a very good goalie in that age group. That's why you see so many talented young goalies struggle at the college level. I'm not saying some of those CHL goalies might not be great some day, but at 18 or 19, most aren't providing much of a challenge.

-Congrats to Canada on winning another gold medal. I hope the Queen doesn't decide to take it for England when she makes the call on reinstating your parliament later this month.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Lucia Ill

Minnesota head coach Don Lucia missed last night's game against Brown with an undisclosed illness. Lucia has undergone a series of tests to find out what is wrong, and so far, nothing has been released, though athletic director Joel Maturi said that major problems have been ruled out.

On WCCO radio last night, Dark Star reported that Lucia had Bell's Palsy, though two things should be kept in mind. First, he's like a 90-year-old man calls himself 'Dark Star' with a straight face, and second, he's a Twin Cities media personality, meaning he's probably wrong.

In any case, hopefully Lucia will have a speedy recovery to whatever is ailing him.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Goulet Leaves UNO

Nebraska-Omaha took a big hit this week when it was announced that defenseman Alain Goulet had signed with the Gatineau Olympiques of the QMJHL.

In November, Gatineau hired Jerome Dupont as head coach. Dupont had formerly coached for the Aurora Tigers, the junior team Goulet played for.

Goulet started off hot this year, with 4 points in his first six games, but only had one assist in his final 11 games.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

World Juniors

The US lost to Canada 6-4 last night in a pretty entertaining game. The US now gets Slovakia in the quarterfinals, Sweden if they win, and a potential final game against Canada.

A couple thoughts on the game last night...

1. I think I figured out how somebody scores like 250 points every year in the OHL. Tom McCollum was absolutely brutal for the US. Through the first two periods, every Canadian shot had one of three results, listed in order of frequency.

a. Missed the net
b. Goal
c. Save, with McCollum immediately looking over his shoulder and surprised not to see the puck in the net.

2. The US team must be pretty ugly to look at because a lot of those tough guys in red wouldn't touch them if they could see the US player's face.

3. Was this game played in Canada? That was not readily apparent to me.

4. The US had a terrible game defensively. Maybe one or two out of their seven defensemen played well last night.

5. I wouldn't be optimistic about a rematch in the final with Canada--though getting a win over Sweden would be an accomplishment in itself. Even if the US plays equally with them, the crowd could play a huge role, as well as the usual BS that comes with playing on the hosts' soil, like top players getting sucker-punched with no recourse and so on.