34 players have been named to the roster that will be at the US orientation camp, to take place from August 17th-19th. Many college players are represented. They are:
Goalies – Ryan Miller (Michigan State), Tim Thomas (Vermont), Jonathan Quick (UMass),
Defensemen – Tom Gilbert (Wisconsin), Ron Hainsey (UMass-Lowell), Erik Johnson (Minnesota), Jack Johnson (Michigan), Mike Komisarek (Michigan), Paul Martin (Minnesota), Brooks Orpik (Boston College), Brian Rafalski (Wisconsin), Rob Scuderi (Boston College), Ryan Suter (Wisconsin), Ryan Whitney (Boston University)
Forwards – David Backes (Minnesota State), David Booth (Michigan State), Chris Drury (Boston University), Ryan Kesler (Ohio State), Phil Kessel (Minnesota), Ryan Malone (St. Cloud State), Kyle Okposo (Minnesota), TJ Oshie (North Dakota), Zach Parise (North Dakota), Joe Pavelski (Wisconsin), and Paul Stastny (Denver)
Whew. Lots of college guys on the team. I’m certainly excited to see that, but this team definitely underwhelms me. I think they’ll be good at the back as Miller is a top shelf goalie, and Thomas was the Vezina winner this year, not to mention they have many solid defensemen, but I don’t see where the goals come from. I am absolutely shocked that Brian Gionta wasn’t on the list given his speed (although the fact that the olympics will be played on an NHL rink might have something to do with it) and Blake Wheeler. Wheeler had a great rookie season for the Bruins, and honestly would have been one of the better goal scorers on this team. I’m also surprised that Keith Ballard didn’t get an invite. There isn’t a terribly obvious person to take off the list, but Gilbert could go in my opinion. No Jordan Leopold or John Michael Liles, a personal favorite of mine, was mildly surprising as well.
No matter who they took, the US is going to struggle to even have a shot at medaling in Vancouver.
I was out of town over the weekend, so I didn’t get to watch any of the NHL draft coverage. Although the first day was pretty light on the NCAA action, tons of college kids, and future college kids, were taken in the later rounds.
Let’s get it started with Jordan Schroeder, the first college kid taken at 22 to Vancouver. How his stock slipped so much is beyond me. I wish the Penguins would have traded up to draft him, because those teams in the back half of the top 10 are going to be sorry they didn’t take Schroeder. That kid will be a player in the league for a long time. Vancouver doesn’t usually like developing their kids in college, so Schroeder could be in Manitoba before long.
The Minnesota Wild’s first pick of the new regime was Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey Nick Leddy. The future Gopher is one of the best skaters in this class and will add to Minnesota’s impressive stable of defensemen, including Cade Fairchild, Aaron Ness and Sam Lofquist.
One first rounder I love is Louis LeBlanc, picked by the Canadiens at 18. LeBlanc will be going to Harvard next year, although he admits he’d like it to be only a year or two, but the French Canadian has a good frame and good vision, plus is one of the best stick-handlers in the class.
I was pretty shocked that Zach Budish fell all the way to 41. Granted part of it is because of his ACL injury, but the kid has definite first round talent.
Speaking of falling too far, Mike Lee went 91st and was the 7th goalie taken. Dean Blais has said Lee could win St. Cloud a national title. At most, one goalie should have gone ahead of Lee.
Speaking of St. Cloud State, I loved the Ben Hanowski pick at 63 by the Penguins. Hanowski has a knack for finding the net, and watching him play next to Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin or Jordan Staal should be tons of fun.
The two national championship game goalies went 124 to Colorado (Kieran Millan) and 164 to Buffalo (Connor Knapp) respectively.
Former Wisconsin Badger Dany Heatley has, as you are probably aware by now, requested a trade from the Ottawa Senators. Teams have lined up, taking their best shot at acquiring the winger. According to NHLSnipers.com, here are some of the packages offered up:
Kings: Jack Johnson (Michigan), Alexander Frolov, 5th and 96th picks in 2009 draft.
Blues: Patrik Berglund, Barret Jackman, Aaron Palushaj (Michigan)
Sharks: Milan Michalek, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Riley Armstrong
Oilers: Dustin Penner (Maine), Tom Gilbert (Wisconsin), Riley Nash (Cornell), 10th overall pick of 2009 draft
Penguins: Chris Kunitz (Ferris State), Max Talbot, Alex Grant, 30th overall pick in 2009
Rangers: Scott Gomez, Ryan Callahan, Dan Girardi, 19th and 80th overall picks.
Those are some pretty strong packages. My two questions: For a team that isn’t a piece away from contention, what are the Kings doing offering one of the best young defensemen in the game and a forward with tons of potential, plus a top 5 pick, for Heatley? And secondly, why haven’t the Sens accepted? That has to be a bogus rumor.
Also, the Oilers clearly hate collegians.
First off, congrats to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Granted I am a bit biased being a Pens fan, but this was one of the most enjoyable playoffs in recent memory. While Evgeni Malkin won the Conn Smythe and Marc Andre Fleury made the biggest save of his life in the waning seconds of game 7, this is about the former collegians who play for the Pens. What follows is a list of the Pens who played college hockey and appeared for the Penguins in their playoff run.
Craig Adams (Harvard, ECAC Hockey)
Bill Guerin (Boston College, Hockey East)
Chris Kunitz (Ferris State, CCHA)
Mark Eaton (Notre Dame, CCHA)
Hal Gill (Providence, Hockey East)
Alex Goligoski (Minnesota, WCHA)
Ben Lovejoy (Boston College, Hockey East and Dartmouth, ECAC Hockey)
Brooks Orpik (Boston College, Hockey East)
Rob Scuderi (Boston College, Hockey East)
Thoughts: There are some academic powers on this list (Dartmouth, Harvard, Notre Dame) but you might as well call them the Boston College Penguins with all the former Eagles on the roster. And what’s more, current BC defenseman Carl Sneep is a Pens draftee. John Curry must feel out of place on that team.
This week’s SI Players Poll:
BEST NHL HOCKEY PLAYER
This poll was taken from 324 NHL players:
1. Alex Ovechklin, Capitals LW-51%
2. Nicklas Lidstrom-Red Wings D-11%
3. Evgeni Malkin, Penguins C-7%
4. Pavel Datsyuk, Red Wings C-7%
5. Jarome Iginla, Flames RW-5%
6. Henrik Zetterberg, Red Wings C-5%
Poll was completed just before the playoffs, and players could not vote for a teammate. Penguins C Sidney Crosby tied for eighth (1.9), Devils G Martin Brodeur also at 1.9% was the only goalie among the 13 players who got multiple votes.
Where to start. First off, the best player in the world tied for 8th. The Sidney Crosby haters are just ridiculous. Does the guy whine and talk to the refs? Of course. Guess what. He’s the captain. That’s his job. And people act like no one else complains to the refs. Watch a penalty get called one time, it’s ridiculous. The best players across all sports all complain because they want whatever edge they can get. Crosby is the best skater in the league, close to the best stickhandler, he’s a great passer, excellent in his own end, and as you have seen these playoffs, can put the puck in the net. Crosby also has probably the best hockey IQ on Earth. If you watch a Pens game he is just playing a different game out there than everyone else. He frequently is a step ahead of everyone else, it’s amazing.
Listen: Is Ovechkin the best scorer? Yes of course he is. But there are two halves to a hockey rink. If you don’t contribute on one end you don’t get to be called the best player in the world* (which is why I wouldn’t have Nick Lidstrom up there either). Calling Ovechkin a better hockey player than Crosby is akin to calling Ryan Howard a better baseball player than Albert Pujols. And no one on Earth would do that.
Also, personally I think Henrik Zetterberg is better than Datsyuk, but I understand I am in the minority there, and I can see the argument. Datsyuk is a flashier player than Z and thus gets noticed more. He’s very talented in his own right so no major qualms there.
Lastly, Zach Parise absolutely should be on this list. He was second in goals in the regular season, and he passes better than Ovechkin and is much much much better in his own end.
And Marty Brodeur as the only goalie? He is good, that’s for sure, but if he wouldn’t have had hall of fame defensemen in front of him, plus the playing style that killed hockey, I’d love to see where he’d be on the all-time wins list. He is no way, no how the best goalie in hockey right now.
I think we can mark this under “Hockey Player Fail”
*other than goalies of course
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.