Thursday, December 8, 2011

Travis Zajac's Return On Schedule, Malone Called Up, Etc.

There's been a lot of activity in the world of Fighting Sioux hockey recently. Enjoy the nuggets:
  • Travis Zajac returned to practice with the New Jersey Devils Wednesday, and he appears on track to return to game action in two weeks. Zajac, who has yet to play this year due to an offseason Achilles tendon injury, said he is pain free and that his legs feel good. The Devils will surely welcome him back to the lineup with open arms as they currently hover near the .500 mark. Zajac was unable to play in his hometown of Winnipeg during the Devils' recent road trip, but teammate Zach Parise was in action against his hometown team, the Minnesota Wild. And due to Parise's impending free agency status, speculation has begun on whether Parise might return to the Twin Cities for good.
  • Brad Malone had an impressive training camp this fall with the Colorado Avalanche and has been streaking for the Lake Erie Monsters (AHL) as of late. This afternoon his solid play was rewarded as he was called up by the Avs. He is expected to meet the team in Edmonton Friday, where he could be making his NHL debut. If he does crack the lineup, he will be the 13th Fighting Sioux alumni to see NHL action this season.
  • The most recent Fighting Sioux alum to make his NHL debut was the Buffalo Sabres' Joe Finley, who debuted last Friday. Finley has appeared in three games, going scoreless with a -1 rating. His ice time was limited in the two games he played last weekend, but Wednesday night against Philadelphia his shifts came more regularly and he played a solid game.
  • Matt Frattin had what was probably his best game as a Maple Leaf this week against New Jersey, scoring a goal on a powerful drive to the net during a game in which he was a force all over the ice. He recently discussed his collegiate and Frozen Four experiences and made a radio appearance with 590 The Fan.
  • Jake Marto started the year in the ECHL with the Colorado Eagles prior to being called up by St. John's (AHL). He began as the IceCaps' number 6/7 defenseman, but has since worked his way onto the team's top pairing.
  • TJ Oshie continues his outstanding play. In a recent game St. Louis Blues color analyst Darren Pang named Oshie the player of the game and stated that even if Oshie hadn't scored a goal, he still would have been the best player on the ice. He's been all over the ice and has been an integral part of the Blues surge under new head coach Ken Hitchcock.
  • Jonathan Toews' tremendous November recently earned him the NHL's Second Star of the Month, and it has pushed him to the forefront of the early Hart Trophy speculation. Toews, who might very well become the greatest captain in Blackhawk history, was recently named a finalist for Manitoba's Male Athlete of the Year. Steve Yzerman, one of hockey's all-time greatest captains, recently profiled Toews as a part of Chicago's 85 Years of Blood, Sweat, and Cheers series. Former Sioux goaltender and recent Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Ed Belfour was also featured in the series.
  • David Toews, meanwhile, is making his own mark in the professional ranks. He has been a consistent presence for the ECHL's Toledo Walleye.
  • Brock Nelson has been on quite a tear recently, earning back-to-back WCHA Offensive Player of the Week honors. The New York Islander draft pick's productivity was recently analyzed by the Isles' statistician, while Nelson and a host of other collegians are faring well in Copper and Blue's NHL Equivalency ratings.
  • Sioux recruit Drake Caggiula was named to Team North, which will compete in the Central Canada Cup Challenge.
  • Recruit Zane Gothberg says he is enjoying being the Fargo Force's number one goaltender.
  • One note on the Recruit Profiles: They are being posted in reverse order of the commitments, but they will also be updated as the recruits' pre-Sioux careers progress. Any individual honors, achievements, scouting reports, etc. will be added throughout their time as recruits. So if you're interested, check The Recruits page from time to time to see how things are developing for the future of Fighting Sioux hockey. Also, if anyone has additional information on any of the recruits, pass it along and I will include it in the profiles.

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