Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wednesday Evening Wind-down

Here are some updates from the world of Fighting Sioux hockey:
  • Team USA ended play at the World Junior Championship today, defeating Switzerland 2-1 in the 7th Place game. Derek Forbort has not played since the preliminary round game against the Czech Republic, and he is doubtful to play Saturday against Clarkson. Forbort played in three games and had two assists prior to his injury.
  • The World Under-17 Hockey Challenge concludes tonight, and Sioux recruits Luke Voltin and Keaton Thompson are part of the USA squad that will be playing for the gold. Team USA will be looking for payback in the rematch with Russia, which served the Americans with the only blemish on their record, a 3-2 loss in preliminary play. Gametime is 6:00 CST. For the tournament, Thompson has three assists while Voltin has a goal and an assist in five games.
  • Sioux recruit Jordan Schmaltz, whose season is really beginning to take off with Green Bay, was named the USHL's Defensive Player of the Week yesterday. It is the second time he's received the honor this year, and the seventh time in his one and a half-year USHL career. He was also recently featured in a very nice prospect Q&A done by McKeen's Hockey.
  • Sioux recruit Luke Johnson and his Lincoln teammate Jared Hanson each finished the Stars' 7-6 win (SO) over Des Moines Friday with a +5 rating. It ties the highest +/- rating in the league this season.
  • For a brief, one-minute scouting report on recruit Stefan Matteau, go to the 48:55 mark of Sports Radio NY's January 1st clip.
  • UND freshman forward Connor Gaarder continued his breakout season by being named the WCHA Rookie of the Week today. Gaarder had two goals and two assists in last weekend's series against Harvard, and it is the fourth consecutive regular season weekend of action that a UND player has earned weekly conference honors.
  • The Fighting Sioux will have to deal with the injury bug yet again this weekend, as both Rocco Grimaldi and Derek Rodwell have been ruled out for the Clarkson game. Corban Knight and Derek Forbort are also unlikely to play, while Mario Lamoureux is questionable.
  • The New Jersey Devils and Travis Zajac were prepared to deal with his comeback from an achilles tendon injury throughout the season, and they are holding him out of the lineup tonight against Boston to help him recover. Zajac's teammate Zach Parise, meanwhile, cracked a list of the Ten Best Players in Devils History.
  • Because several members of the Colorado Avalanche have recently returned from injury, Brad Malone has been a healthy scratch over the past few games. They've therefore decided to send him down to Lake Erie (AHL) so he can get more playing time, but he "did plenty of good things during his stay with the Avalanche."
  • Matt Greene recently had some New Year's Resolution suggestions for his teammates.
  • Jason Blake, who has been itching to return to game action, will be in the lineup tonight when the Anaheim Ducks take on the San Jose Sharks. It will be the first action for Blake since October 14 when he suffered a lacerated wrist tendon when he was stepped on by Shark's defenseman Brent Burns in the third game of the season. Duck teammate Matt Smaby is also nearing his return from injury. Smaby, who has not played this season after suffering a torn thumb ligament in a preseason game, has begun practicing with the team and should be available to play soon.
  • Mike Commodore said he is "starting to actually feel like a hockey player again" after appearing in several consecutive games for the Detroit Red Wings.
  • Drew Stafford has been mired in a season-long slump, but he took a big step toward busting out with a one goal, two assist performance last night against Edmonton.
  • Matt Frattin celebrated his birthday in style last night by producing a goal and an assist in Toronto's 7-3 win over Tampa Bay.

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