The US jumped out to a 5-2 lead, but ended up losing 6-5 in OT to the Swedes. John Michael Liles (Michigan State) and Jack Johnson (Michigan) scored for the US, and a trio of former Sioux (TJ Oshie, Jason Blake and Drew Stafford) each had an assist.
Although they lost, the US won the group with 6 points, while Sweden had just 5. The US takes on France (?!) on May Day. Is that some sort of April Fools joke?
Bemidji State officials were recently in Florida making their pitch to the WCHA about being let into the conference, and the result was…….a lot of nothing. The WCHA did vote to expand to 12 teams, but without a 12th team in sight, Bemidji’s chances may be slim. Now for the Beavers the job is convincing a 12th team to join the league. The names most tossed about are Nebraska-Omaha and Northern Michigan.
Northern Michigan, in my mind, makes no sense. Yes they were a member of the WCHA, but Anchorage, Denver and CC aren’t voting them in. No chance. Also, if you’re Northern Michigan, why would you leave Michigan and Michigan State, two natural rivals, not to mention Lake Superior State and Ferris State?
Nebraska-Omaha would be a much better fit. They are closer to Colorado College and Denver, but are they better at hockey than Northern? Probably not. Also, Frozen Four run aside, Bemidji isn’t exactly a Division One powerhouse. With the lowering frequency at which we see rivalry series in the WCHA already, a 12 team league will only lower it. For the WCHA’s sake I hope they stay at 10, otherwise the competition pool will be diluted.
The US moved to 2-0 at the World Championships as they blasted Austria 6-1. Robert Esche had 25 saves for the US. Drew Stafford (North Dakota) scored in his second consecutive game. Jason Blake (North Dakota), Matt Niskanen (Minnesota-Duluth) and Lee Stempniak (Dartmouth) were the other former collegians to score. The Kings Dustin Brown was named the player of the game, with a goal and two assists. Colin Wilson (Boston U) had his first point of the tournament, an assist on Stempniak’s goal, and John Michael Liles (Michigan State) also had an assist.
The United States takes on Sweden in their next game, Wednesday night.
The United States struggled, but rallied to defeat Latvia 4-2 in the opener at the World Championships. Maybe we just can’t play them well. If you remember, the US tied Latvia in their opening game of the 2006 Olympics in Torino, Italy. Jack Johnson (LA Kings,Michigan) scored two goals and Drew Stafford (Buffalo Sabres, North Dakota) put one in. Patrick O’Sullivan also scored for the Americans, who obviously struggled to find a rhythm early in the game. They next will take on Austria in another tuneup. Austria got blasted 7-1 by Olympic champion Sweden in their first game.
I did a post over at Major League Jerk that will be going up at 1 pm tomorrow where I went over my picks for the awards in the NHL. So if you don’t want to read all that and just want a cheat sheet here are my picks:
Calder: Bobby Ryan, Anaheim
Vezina: Tim Thomas, Boston
Norris: Zedeno Chara, Boston
Hart: Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh
I only did the main four, but if I had expanded it to other awards I’m not positive who I would have picked for a lot of these. I don’t know if I would have necessarily given it to him, but I would have thought long and hard about giving the Selke to Jordan Staal. That he can play so well defensively, while not being a checking forward is amazing. The guy is a goal scorer and has tons of offensive talent but is still one of the best defenders in the league. Even though he is costly, and it’s tough to pay him, Crosby and Malkin all at once, as a Penguins fan I hope they don’t trade him.
At the U18 championships in Fargo, the United States won the gold medal tonight by a score of 5-0 over Russia. The Americans outshot Russia 43-17. Cam Fowler (Notre Dame) , Matt Nieto, William Wrenn (Denver), Chris Brown (Michigan) and Ryan Bourque (New Hampshire) scored for the United States. Drew Shore (Denver) added three assists. This was the United States’s first gold medal since 2006, and it extended their medal streak to 6 years. Congrats, boys.
BU’s Colin Wilson and Matt Gilroy will be taking their show to the pros next season. Wilson signed a three year entry level deal with the Preds. Terms were not disclosed according to The Tennesseean, but it is likely that Wilson got the max allowed to an entry level player. Wilson will also play for Team USA in the World Championships, and he’ll probably need very little AHL seasoning, if any, before heading to the NHL.
Gilroy, the 2009 Hobey winner, signed a 2 year deal with the New York Rangers worth $3.5 million. Gilroy is not eligible to play in this year’s postseason, but will be in the NHL next season for the Rangers. This seems like a good situation to go into. The Rangers are a competitive NHL team and Gilroy will probably be the Rangers 1st or 2nd best offensive defenseman next season.
When we did our preseason rankings, we had a few that were a bit, shall we say, out there. But we showed our work and gave our reasoning. Some of them worked out, some of them didn’t. One of the teams we pegged was Boston University. We had some questions about Freshman Kieran Millan but loved Colin Wilson and the deep forwards of Nick Bonino, Jason Lawrence, etc. The Terriers stayed atop or near the top of our rankings for almost the entire season, and entered the NCAA tournament as the favorites to win the title. Although it wasn’t the smoothest of rides, the Terriers came through and took the 2009 title. They are rewarded with perhaps the biggest prize of all: The #1 spot in our final rankings. Read more…
Wow. What a championship game. Hell, if Bemidji had shown up at all in their semifinal game I could have looked like a real jackass for my post wondering whether this would be the worst Frozen ever. Instead, Bemidji played like, well Bemidji. Even though BU needed great escapes in both of their games, and the regional final against UNH, in my mind they are one of the great teams ever. The talent up and down their roster was just ridiculous. Colin Wilson is going to be a multiple all-star in the NHL, Matt Gilroy is a potential all-star defenseman, and plenty of other players (Bonino, Lawrence, Shattenkirk) could have significant NHL careers.
So who will be at Ford Field next year? Out of this year’s Frozen participants, Miami is the only one who seems to be an above average bet at this point. BU should have a talented team, but losing Wilson (probably) and Gilroy will hurt them immensely. If Viktor Stalberg comes back to Vermont they could be in the hunt again, but at this point I have to think he signs with Toronto. Bemidji has next to no shot. Not just because they aren’t any good, but they probably won’t have an auto-bid next year.
With all of the presumed early departures, college hockey will be turned upside down next season. The losses of Alex Stalock and Richard Bachman in the WCHA turn Duluth and Colorado College from NCAA teams to conference also rans. North Dakota and Wisconsin have to be the two favorites because they will return the most talent, and should have much improved goaltending.
In the CCHA, Miami looks to be the frontrunner with the return of both goalies and presumably Carter Camper, among other key contributors, but my darkhorse for the CCHA title is Ohio State. The Buckeyes lose leading Corey Elkins, but the youngest roster in college hockey will return presumably mostly intact ready to make a run. They got their NCAA tournament baptizing this year getting blown out by BU, and will try to use that next year to win a game.
Next year in Hockey East I think the return of Boston College will be the story. An added year of experience for John Muse will help the Eagles, although they will be hurt by the loss of Brock Bradford. A key thing for them will be for players like Brian Gibbons to get their numbers back to the level they were at 2 years ago.
In ECAC Hockey Princeton and Cornell should once again be the co-favorites to win the conference. With the return of Zane Kalemba and Ben Scrivens, Princeton and Cornell will be able to shut out their opponent on any given night. Riley Nash will give Cornell a dynamic forward to build a team around, and Princeton will return 7 of their top 9 scorers.
So what’s next for us? Well coming later this week will be the season ending top 16 and we’ll compare it to the preseason version. Then there will be a break, except for analysis of early departures and maybe an NHL playoffs post or two, and this summer we’ll start rolling out preseason rankings for 2009-10. Thanks for a great first year everyone, hope you all enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing.
Gilroy, soon to be a very rich man and perhaps a national champion, won the 2009 Hobey Baker Award last night, besting teammate Colin Wilson and Northeastern Goalie Brad Thiessen. Gilroy had 8 goals and 28 assists on the season and his .82 points per game ranked 11th among defensemen this year. Gilroy also played very well in his defensive end this year for the Terriers, who were the 3rd best defensive team in the country this year.Gilroy is the first defenseman to win the Hobey since Denver’s Matt Carle.
Although I had Gilroy 2nd on my personal ballot behind his teammate Colin Wilson there is no doubt he is a deserving Hobey winner.
One final note, remember to watch the national championship game tonight (as if you guys didn’t know). My prediction: BU wins a tight 3-2 battle.