Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Evening Post

It's been about a week and a half since the last Sioux hockey update, so some of these items are a bit dated. Nonetheless...
  • The NHL trade deadline came and went today without any blockbuster transactions taking place, but two former Sioux defensemen were involved in deals that have them packing their bags for The Sunshine State. The Tampa Bay Lightning acquired Brian Lee from the Ottawa Senators for former Hobey Baker Award winner Matt Gilroy. It's interesting to note that since December 30th Ottawa was 12-0-1 with Lee in the lineup, and just 4-8-2 when he sat out. Tampa Bay also picked up defenseman Mike Commodore from Detroit for a seventh round draft pick. Commodore appeared in just 17 games this season for the Red Wings, so the trade could prove to be the best scenario for him. He wishes things would have worked out in Detroit, but at the same time he's looking forward to the opportunity in Tampa Bay.
  • Matt Frattin was recently called up by the Toronto Maple Leafs, and head coach Ron Wilson thinks the former Sioux star is a good fit for the second line.
  • Late last week New Jersey Devils' center Travis Zajac resumed light skating as he continues to work towards a return from his nagging Achilles tendon injury. He was back on the ice this morning, but there is no timetable set for his potential return.
  • Chicago Blackhawk captain Jonathan Toews has missed his last handful of games due to an upper-body injury. He was also involved in a single car accident last week, but he reportedly suffered no injuries as a result of the crash.
  • The results of the 2011-12 Hockey Night in Canada/National Hockey League Player's Association Player Poll were recently released and former Sioux Jonathan Toews, Zach Parise, and Dave Tippett all garnered some attention.
  • Matt Watkins was recently called up by the Phoenix Coyotes. He became the 15th former Sioux to skate in the NHL this season when he made his big league debut last Tuesday against Los Angeles. The Coyotes, of course, are coached by former Sioux Dave Tippett and he has his squad on a heck of a roll. Phoenix has not lost a game in regulation during the month of February and in one month's time they've climbed from 12th place in the Western Conference to sitting atop the Pacific Division.
  • Former North Dakota defenseman Aaron Schneekloth recently recorded his 300th career point as a member of the ECHL's Colorado Eagles. Schneekloth has been particularly hot during the month of February. He's played 12 games this month and has produced multiple point efforts in nine of them. During that span he has registered 19 points (6G, 13A) as he continues to lead the league's defensemen in both goals and assists. His 52 points (18G, 34A) are also 12 more than any other defenseman in the league. His Colorado teammate Michael Forney has also been putting up some nice numbers as of late. The former Sioux forward has 15 points (7G, 8A) in his last 11 games, including a five point effort Friday night in which he put up a hat trick and two assists.
  • Jason Gregoire has been out of the St. John's IceCaps' lineup recently due to a shoulder injury, but that didn't prevent the St. John's Telegram from getting to know him.
  • Concordia University of Wisconsin has parted ways with men's hockey coach Tony Hrkac.
  • Fighting Sioux junior center Corban Knight was named last week's WCHA Offensive Player of the Week after his strong performance against Michigan Tech.
  • With UND's Connor Gaarder and others making their marks on the college hockey landscape, the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament is starting to get noticed as a pipeline to the NCAA.
  • Recruit Drake Caggiula has had multi-point efforts in all three of Stouffville's (OJHL) Divisional Semifinal games. Caggiula has four goals and two assists as the Spirit leads Aurora 2-1 in their best of seven series.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

LaDue Continues to Improve

He's not the youngest sibling in one of college hockey's royal families, he's not being heavily wooed by one of the Ontario Hockey League's premier franchises, and he doesn't take the ice as a highly-regarded third round NHL draft pick. No, Lincoln Stars defenseman Paul LaDue doesn't generate the buzz and the press clippings of a Nolan Zajac, Jordan Schmaltz, or Andy Welinski. But one thing he has done this season is quickly establish himself as one of the USHL's elite defensemen, something the Lincoln Stars' staff must be extremely pleased with after having selected LaDue all the way down in the 16th Round of the 2010 USHL Entry Draft.

Through 40 games, the 19 year-old LaDue's 27 points currently rank sixth among USHL defensemen, his strong +25 rating is second among defensemen & tied for fourth among all players, and his nine goals are the third most among d-men. Impressive numbers for the USHL rookie blue liner, and they add to a growing trend of LaDue displaying the ability to not just adjust to heightened levels of competition, but to thrive while doing so.

As a sophomore at Grand Forks Central (ND-HS), LaDue recorded a respectable 11 points (1G, 10A) in 27 games during the 2008-09 season, but it was during the following year that his game really took off. As a junior at GFC he put together an All-Region and All-State season while helping the Knights take home the 2010 North Dakota state championship trophy. His ten goals were the most in the state among defensemen during the 2009-10 season, and his 35 points were the third most.

Having already established himself as one of the premier players in North Dakota high school hockey, last season LaDue opted to forgo his senior year at Grand Forks Central in order to join the North American Hockey League's Alexandria Blizzard. And after a slow start, he eventually settled into his new surroundings and earned NAHL All-Rookie Second Team honors with a 22 point (3G, 19A) campaign while being selected to participate in the league's Top Prospects Tournament.

LaDue's transition to the USHL's level of play has been swift, having earned Defensive Player of the Week honors just seven weeks into the season. And it was just a couple of weeks after earning those USHL weekly honors that he committed to playing college hockey for his hometown University of North Dakota. Throughout the season he has been a key component in Lincoln's run towards the top of the USHL's Western Conference standings, where the Stars currently find themselves just three points behind first place Omaha (the Stars also have two games in-hand).

Now, as the Lincoln Stars enter the stretch run of the USHL regular season, the North Dakota blue line recruit appears to be playing his best hockey of the season. Over the past month and a half LaDue has been producing at a point-per-game clip while also significantly bolstering his +/- rating. Dating back to the middle of January, LaDue has produced 13 points (6G, 7A) in 13 games while registering a nifty +13 rating. His strong play as of late certainly bodes well for Lincoln, who will be looking to make a serious run at winning their third Clark Cup championship.

Looking ahead, LaDue is expected to spend another year in Lincoln prior to taking his game to Grand Forks for the 2013-14 season, but that could change depending on North Dakota's offseason roster turnover. Arrival date notwithstanding, LaDue will eventually be counted upon to provide a steady, yet offensive presence for North Dakota's defensive corps. And if past results are any indication of what the future might hold, expect LaDue to have an early and significant impact for the University of North Dakota.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Recruit Profile: Brendan Lemieux
Current Team:  Green Bay Gamblers (United States Hockey League)
Anticipated Arrival at UND:  2014
Position:  Forward
Birthday:  March 15th, 1996
Hometown:  Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Height:  5'11"
Weight:  179
Shoots:  Left

Profiles & Press Clippings:
  • He will be playing for the Green Bay Gamblers of the Unites States Hockey League.
  • He played for the Toronto Red Wings AAA U-16 team in the Greater Toronto Hockey League, which does not track individual statistics.
  • In January of 2012 he was named to the GTHL's Top Prospects Game, featuring 40 of the GTHL's highest rated players, but was unable to play in the game.
  • In the fall of 2011 he attended a College Hockey Inc. showcase, where one coach said Lemieux "may have been the best player there." (The Hockey News Prospect Watch, Sept 2011)
  • 2010-11: Played for the Toronto Red Wing AAA Major Bantams of the GTHL.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fighting Sioux vs. Michigan Tech: Notes & Links

North Dakota vs. Michigan Tech - Series Notes & Links

  • Friday 7:37 CST/Saturday 7:07 CST
  • The games will be broadcast on a variety of media outlets across the region. Here's the standard Broadcast Information.
  • Brad Schlossman's Friday Morning Reading
  • Series Notes: North Dakota and Michigan Tech  
  • The Dakota Student: High Stakes vs. MTU
  • The Daily Mining Gazette: Tech Sees New Sioux
  • A College Hockey News feature from a couple of weeks ago details Michigan Tech's resurgence this season. 
  • The Huskies are a well-balanced bunch up front. They have nine forwards who have produced at least 12 points this season. By comparison, the Sioux have five forwards who have reached that mark. On the back-end however, just one Tech player has reached 12 points while five Sioux defensemen have done so. These numbers, by the way, include Joe Gleason as a defenseman even though he has recently been playing up front more often than on the blue line.
  • Speaking of Gleason, the junior "jack-of-all-trades" has been on a nice run lately. He has ten points (0G, 10A) in his last ten games after registering just three assists in his first 18.
  • After being held to just one point last weekend (a Brock Nelson goal Saturday night), expect UND's Knight Line of Nelson, Corban Knight, and Danny Kristo to have a big series.
  • In UND's eleven team games played since the Christmas break, nobody has more points than Carter Rowney's 12 (7G, 5A). Kristo has 11 (5G, 6A) while Nelson (6G, 4A) and Gleason (0G, 10A) each have 10.
  • Once the dust settles after this weekend's play we should see some separation in the race for playoff home-ice. Sitting in sixth place with 24 points, North Dakota currently holds a one point edge on seventh place Michigan Tech. Meanwhile, the two teams immediately ahead of UND in the standings, Colorado College and Nebraska-Omaha, are facing-off this weekend in Colorado Springs. Both the Tigers and Mavericks hold a one point edge on the Sioux. Bemidji State (at Minnesota) and St. Cloud State (vs. Alaska-Anchorage) each trail North Dakota by three points.
  • Sioux Sports says that UND's national tournament hopes would really be bolstered with a weekend sweep.
  • The UND Sports Spotlight was recently shining on freshman winger Mark MacMillan:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thursday Evening Post

A fun weekend of hockey in The Zenith City followed by being a bit under the weather during the week has led me to fall behind on disseminating Sioux hockey news. Also, due to the fact that the half-marathon and marathon training season is once again upon me, I'm going to start posting the links without as much personal commentary, as that will help utilize my time more efficiently. Continue to expect the Series Notes & Links, Recruit Profiles, etc., but I don't plan on doing the Series Recaps any longer. There are usually at least 3-4 good game stories written after every game (GF Herald,, USCHO, opponent's beat writers, etc.), so there is more than enough fodder out there for you Saturday and Sunday morning readers. I also hope to start doing more original writing, so please bear with me as the blog continues to evolve. Without further stalling, here's what's been going on in the world of Sioux hockey:
  • Aaron Schneekloth recorded his 300th point as a member of the Colorado Eagles (ECHL).
  • Rastislav Spirko and Team Slovakia recently won the BellSwiss Bank Championship. In the four-team knockout format Spirko notched a goal in two games.
  • Keaton Thompson and the Team USA Under-17 team recently swept all three of its games at the Vlad Dzurilla Tournament in Slovakia. Thompson recorded one assist during the tournament.
  • Miles Koules and the Under-18 team finished in third place at the Five Nations Tournament in Finland. The Americans won two and lost two as Koules produced one assist in four games.
  • North Dakota landed another recruit for its Class of 2014. Brendan Lemieux of the Toronto AAA Red Wings has given a verbal commitment to the Fighting Sioux. He is the son of former NHLer Claude Lemieux.
  • Recruit Zane Gothberg is keeping a level head.
  • Recruit Drake Caggiula was named to the OJHL's All-Prospect 1st Team.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fighting Sioux vs. Minnesota-Duluth: Notes & Links

North Dakota vs. Minnesota-Duluth - Series Notes & Links 
  • Friday and Saturday 7:07 CST
  • Both games will be broadcast on regional radio across the UND Radio Network. As for television, Friday night's game only will be broadcast nationally on CBS Sports Network (Directv channel 613). Each game will also be streamed by B2TV for $8.00/night.
  • Lots of good stuff in Brad Schlossman's Friday Morning Reading 
  • Kevin Pates' (Duluth News-Tribune): North Dakota Back in Duluth
  • Series Notes in PDF: North Dakota and Minnesota-Duluth
  • Specialty teams could play a big role this weekend. UMD ranks near the bottom of the league in both power play percentage (10th - 18.6%) and penalty kill (10th - 76.1%) while North Dakota is fifth in the league on the man advantage (20.7%) and first on the kill (85.5%). 
  • Danny Kristo is knocking on the door of the Fighting Sioux Century Club. The junior winger has 95 career points. Linemate Corban Knight is next in line with 83.
  • UMD's top three scorers Jack Connolly, Travis Oleksuk, and JT Brown have combined for 116 points this season, yet none of them are NHL draft picks. Brown is the reigning WCHA Offensive Player of the Week after scoring five goals, including four on Friday night, in last weekend's series against Alaska-Anchorage. Oleksuk is sitting on 99 career points, and with a strong stretch run Connolly could break the 200 point barrier. The senior center currently has 179 career points.
  • The Bulldogs will be looking to get back on track this weekend. Since their 17-game unbeaten streak came to a halt, UMD is 3-3-1 and has been outscored 20-17. They scored 4.29 goals per game and gave up 1.82 during the streak, but the Bulldogs are averaging 2.43 while allowing 2.86 since.
  • This week's UND Sports Spotlight for Men's Hockey is Andrew Panzarella:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thursday Morning Coffee

  • Brad Schlossman of the GF Herald wrote an article last weekend featuring Fighting Sioux head coach Dave Hakstol's thoughts on the CHL-NCAA recruiting battle, and yesterday Rogers Sportsnet's Patrick King issued a rebuttal. King's response is noticeably one-sided, and Chris Peters of The United States of Hockey does a great job of breaking it all down.
  • Yesterday it was announced that freshman Brendan O'Donnell will soon undergo season-ending surgery, relegating North Dakota to 18 available skaters, just enough to field a full lineup. If anyone else is forced to miss time from here on out, the Sioux will be forced to skate with a short bench. O'Donnell joins Derek Rodwell and Rocco Grimaldi on UND's season-ending surgery list.
  • Evan Trupp had his first career three point game as a professional last night, popping in a goal to go along with two assists as the Bakersfield Condors (ECHL) knocked off Utah 4-0. He now has seven points (1G, 6A) in 10 games since being traded from Cincinnati. His former Pony Express linemates Brad Malone and Matt Frattin also contributed to their teams' wins yesterday. Malone had a goal and an assist in helping Lake Erie (AHL) to a 4-3 win over Rockford while Frattin scored the game-winner in a 4-3 Toronto Marlie (AHL) victory over Rochester.
  • Portland's (AHL) UND connection of Matt Watkins and Brett Hextall produced a goal and two assists Tuesday night as the Pirates defeated Manchester 4-2. Ryan Duncan has been out of Portland's lineup recently.
  • In infirmary news, Kyle Radke is on Rio Grande Valley's (CHL) 30-day IR while Joe Finley has been out of Rochester's (AHL) lineup with a lower body injury that head coach Ron Rolston terms as being "somewhat long-term."
  • Finley and fellow Rochester American Corey Fienhage were recently a part of HF's Buffalo Sabre prospect breakdown.
  • Darcy Zajac is the most recent Albany Devil (AHL) to be featured on Devils Insider.
  • Travis Zajac had his Achilles tendon re-evaluated in Winnipeg yesterday. The Devils are not expected to release details of the evaluation and Zajac's status until later today, but leading up to the doctor visit New Jersey's staff was optimistic that the news would be favorable and that their top center would be able to resume hockey activities soon.
  • Former Sioux Ryan Johnson was recently featured at
  • Recruit Jordan Schmaltz came in at #34 in TSN's 2012 NHL Draft Midseason Rankings.
  • Yesterday Jordan's younger brother and fellow Sioux recruit Nick Schmaltz committed to rejoining the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers for next season, effectively turning down an offer to join the USNTDP Under-17 team. Nick, who is currently with the Chicago Mission U-16 team, played 11 games with Green Bay earlier this season, thus they retain his future USHL rights. Sioux recruit Chris Wilkie is also a potential invitee to USA Hockey's 40-player U-17 selection camp.
  • Sioux recruit Keaton Thompson and the Team USA U-17 squad opened the Vlad Dzurilla Tournament today in Piestany, Slovakia by knocking off Switzerland 6-1. Their next action will come bright and early tomorrow morning when they take on Germany at 6:30 AM CST.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Recruit Profile: Colten St. Clair
Previous Team:  Fargo Force (USHL)
Anticipated Arrival at UND:  2011-12 (Redshirted)
Position:  Forward
Birthday:  November 22, 1992
Hometown:  Gilbert, AZ  
Height:  5' 11"
Weight:  183
Shoots:  Right

Profiles & Press Clippings:
  • He was enrolled at UND but sat out the season as a redshirt after questions concerning online high school course certifications led to him being ruled ineligible by the NCAA Clearinghouse.
  • He spent the season with the Fargo Force of the USHL, producing 25 points (11G, 14A) in 42 games while serving as an assistant captain. In five playoff games he recorded a goal and an assist.
  • In November of 2010 he played in the World Junior A Challenge, notching three assists in four games in helping Team USA take home the gold medal.
  • He played for the Fargo Force and issued a 33 point (15G, 18A) campaign in 54 games. He added two goals and an assist in 13 playoff games.
  • In November of 2009 he took part in the World Junior A Challenge where he scored two goals and had three assists in five games for the gold medal-winning Team USA squad.
  • In August of 2009 he played for Team USA at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, producing a goal and two assists in four games.
  • He took part in USA Hockey's Select 17 Development Camp where, according to US Hockey Report, he was the camp's top ranked forward and "outstanding in every game."
  • Playing for the Fargo Force, he produced 26 points (17G, 9A) in 55 games as a USHL rookie. He also had two goals and three assists in ten playoff games.
  • He was the second leading scorer at the 2007 USA Hockey Select 15 Development Camp, producing nine points (5G, 4A) in five games.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tuesday Evening Post

  • Chris Porter played two games in Peoria (AHL) over the NHL All-Star break and Blues' head coach Ken Hitchcock's analysis was that the former Sioux captain needed to get after the puck a bit more. Porter listened, and Hitchcock said he was "by far" St. Louis' best player Saturday against Nashville. He is slated to skate on the third line tonight with Chris Stewart and Vladimir Sobotka when St. Louis visits Ottawa. Porter, by the way, will become an unrestricted free agent this summer unless St. Louis extends him. In other Blues news, there has been some speculation that St. Louis could be looking to add some offensive punch prior to the trade deadline, but one observer says the Blues should not mortgage the future. That future certainly includes TJ Oshie, who along with David Backes, was called the heart and soul of the team.
  • Michael Forney was called up to the AHL's St. John's IceCaps yesterday, and he is in the lineup tonight against Providence. Forney has had a strong season with the Colorado Eagles (ECHL) as he is tied for fourth on the team with 37 points (13G, 24A) in 44 games. Forney has two assists in 12 career games in the AHL, all with the Chicago Wolves. In some bad news out of St. John's, Jason Gregoire reportedly suffered what is considered to be a long-term shoulder injury.
  • Jonathan Toews was the third overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, but according to Doug McIntyre of ESPN, he would go number one overall if teams had it to do over again. The full version of the article is only available to ESPN Insider subscribers. Toews and the Blackhawks will look to end their recent swoon tonight when they resume their lengthy road trip against Colorado.
  • Travis Zajac is scheduled to have his ailing Achilles tendon evaluated in Winnipeg Wednesday. Zajac has appeared in just eight games this season for New Jersey after suffering the Achilles injury during the offseason.
  • recently published a feature on UND's leading goal scorer Brock Nelson, saying the big winger is excelling at North Dakota.
  • Highly regarded 1995-born defenseman Ian McCoshen of the Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL) has narrowed his collegiate choices down to four schools, one of which is North Dakota. The Hudson, WI native is also considering Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha, and his homestate Wisconsin Badgers.
  • Recruit Jordan Schmaltz and the Green By Gamblers will be entertaining Waterloo in a Tuesday evening USHL tilt. Schmaltz is second among USHL defensemen in scoring this season with 25 points, trailing Omaha's Nolan Zajac by just one point despite having played seven fewer games. has also updated it's three 2012 mock drafts, and Schmaltz checks in at #23 on Steve Hoffner's and #28 on Adam Kimelman's.
  • A pair of Sioux recruits are currently overseas, preparing to take part in some international competition. Miles Koules and the Team USA Under-18ers are in Finland for the Under-18 Five Nations Tournament, while Keaton Thompson and the U-17ers are in Slovakia for the Vlad Dzurilla Tournament. The Under-17 team opens play Thursday morning against Switzerland, while the Under-18 team opens the Five Nations Tournament against the Czech Republic Thursday afternoon. Both squads will be looking to defend titles as Team USA went undefeated in each of these events last year.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Recruit Profile: Zane Gothberg
Previous Team:  Fargo Force (USHL)
Anticipated Arrival at UND:  2012
Position:  Goaltender
Birthday:  August 20th, 1992  
Hometown:  Thief River Falls, MN
Height:  6'2"
Weight:  190
Shoots:  Left

Profiles & Press Clippings:
  • He played for the USHL's Fargo Force, posting a regular season record of 26-16-4. He led all league goaltenders in shutouts (7) and Save % (.921), while his 2.22 GAA was second in the league. He was named the USHL Goaltender of the Week for Week 16, Week 17, and Week 26, and due to his outstanding regular season play he was named Co-Goaltender of the Year, an honor he shared with Green Bay's Ryan McKay, and First Team All-USHL. His strong play carried over into the postseason, where he posted a league leading 1.79 GAA and .942 Save %.
  • In November of 2011 he participated in the World Junior A Challenge, helping Team USA win the bronze medal. He played in two games and posted a 0.50 GAA and a .979 Save Percentage, including a 4-0 shutout of Sweden in the bronze medal game.
  • He spent the season with the Fargo Force of the United States Hockey League, playing in 23 games with a 2.23 GAA and .908 Save Percentage.
  • He was a member of the undefeated, gold medal-winning Team USA entry in the 2010 World Jr. A Challenge, posting a 2.05 GAA and .929 Save Percentage in four tournament games.
  • As a high school senior he played for the Thief River Falls Prowlers (MN-HS), posting a 1.81 GAA, .925 Save Percentage, and three shutouts in 27 games on his way to winning the Frank Brimsek Award as the top senior goaltender in Minnesota high school hockey. He also earned 1st Team All-State honors.
  • In August of 2009 he was named to the USA Hockey Select Under-18 team that played at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. He saw action in three games and posted a 4.96 GAA and .865 Save Percentage.
  • He attended the USA Hockey Select 17 Development Camp in July of 2009, posting a 3.60 GAA and .893 Save Percentage in five games on his way to being named one of the camp's top five goalies by the US Hockey Report.
  • In his junior year at Thief River Falls he played in 27 games, recording a 1.49 GAA to go along with four shutouts in earning Honorable Mention All-State recognition.
  • As a high school sophomore at Thief River Falls he played in 26 games and posted a 2.15 GAA.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Sunday Evening Post

  • Dillon Simpson recently came in at #17 on Copper and Blue's list of the top 25 Edmonton Oiler prospects under the age of 25. Simpson was drafted by Edmonton in the fourth round (92nd overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. 
  • The latest Sioux recruits, Adam Tambellini and Bryn Chyzyk, had big weekends on the ice. Chyzyk recorded one goal and three assists to help the Fargo Force (USHL) earn three out of four league points, while Tambellini produced two goals and three assists in two Vernon Viper (BCHL) wins. Tambellini was also the subject of a Dan Sallows profile, who had a number of nice things to say about the Viper forward, including, "Fighting Sioux fans are in for a treat come the 2013-2014 season, because the kid is going to be an absolute stud." Here is a nice highlight/interview video of Tambellini:
  • Recruit Drake Caggiula returned from injury Thursday night and had two goals and an assist in three weekend games that saw his Stouffville Spirit (OJHL) take four out of a possible six points.
  • The Grand Forks Herald's Brad Schlossman wrote a column for today's paper that examines the possible solutions to the NCAA losing committed recruits to the CHL.
  • Matt Frattin scored two goals last night in the Toronto Marlies' 5-2 win over Abbotsford. Last season's NCAA goal scoring leader now has five goals in his last five games.
  • Zach Parise had a goal and an assist today to extend his point streak to five games (5G, 2A) as New Jersey defeated Pittsburgh 5-2. The Devils have now won four straight and are well within striking distance of a top four finish in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, The Minneapolis Star Tribune offers up their take on the scenarios that could lead to Parise playing for the Wild. Another feature on New Jersey's captain cuts right to the chase: He just wants to win.
  • Jonathan Toews is currently second in the NHL in Faceoff Percentage, trailing former Wisconsin Badger and current San Jose Shark Joe Pavelski by just 0.5%. He's also taken over the league lead in Takeaways, and it's how well he does the little things all over the ice that make him one of the best all-around players in the world. He's also advanced to the final round of Real GM's Be the GM contest, where he is matched up against Sidney Crosby. So go ahead and cast your vote.
  • Brandon Bochenski continues to have a superb year for Barys Astana (KHL). The former Sioux All-American currently leads the league in goals with 23 and is tied for third in points with 52 (23G, 29A). While he is tempted to take another shot at sticking with an NHL team, he has found himself a comfortable life overseas.
  • Kyle Radke continues to be sidelined by injury for the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (CHL).
  • The Dallas Stars inducted former Sioux goaltender Ed Belfour into their Walk of Fame last night, and the Dallas crowd welcomed him with the classic "Eddie! Eddie!" chant. Here's a video of the pregame ceremony:
  • Belfour says he is enjoying the retired life, but doesn't rule out the possibility of returning to the game as a coach.
  • For those of you who read Swedish, Lee Goren recently stated he'd like to stay in Sweden to finish up his career. For those of you as fluent in Swedish as I, here's the article text translated via Google Translate and then edited by yours truly:
Goren Would Like To End His Career in Sweden
Kana Dicken talks to Lee Goren about playing time, his thoughts on the sport, and what the rest of his career holds.

     He had to skip practice on Wednesday, but expect Lee Goren, who would happily play out the remainder of his career with Skellefteå, to be on the ice tonight. After all, the more playing time he gets, the better. He logged a significant amount of ice time against Färjestad, 22:56 to be exact, so it's no wonder that Goren was not on the ice Wednesday.

     "It was Anders (Forsberg) who told me that I was cycling today. And I couldn't argue," says a smiling Goren. "There has nevertheless been a lot of minutes on the ice recently." But does he enjoy it that way? "Absolutely. All players want to play as much as possible. They want to be involved and contribute, make a difference on the ice."

     And it's not just playing time that drives Goren. The Tunge forward radiates energy off the ice. He simply likes the hockey life. "It has reached a certain point, where you are getting a little bit older and you realize that you need to enjoy it. You have no idea how many years you have left as a hockey player. Plus, there's a good group of guys here and a good team of leaders that I enjoy."

     Goren has also enjoyed some of his better seasons with Skellefteå, including this season, as he is not far off from matching his career-best numbers. "I feel really good here. Last time I left Skellefteå was to win a championship, and I did. Now I have come back to win one here." And the Canadian definitely wants to stay in Skelleftea for additional seasons. "This is where I want to finish my career," he observes. "I feel I have a few more years to play."

     Have you started to talk with Skelleftea about your future plans? "I don't know what my agent has done. But the team knows that I want to come back for another season, so it's up to them."

     But let's not jump the gun just yet, as it is time to think about tonight's game against Stockholm.
"They are difficult to play against and they have a really good goalie. It becomes even more challenging for us now that we are the league leaders, we are always the team to beat. It is important that we are ready to play."

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Recruit Profile: Jack Rowe
Current Team:  Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (USHL)
Anticipated Arrival at UND:  2014/15
Position:  Forward
Birthday:  April 7th, 1994 
Hometown:  Cary, IL
Height:  5'11"
Weight:  178
Shoots:  Left

Profiles & Press Clippings:
  • He will be playing with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (USHL).
  • Playing with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (USHL) he registered 29 points (16G, 13A) in 55 games. His 16 goals were the most among RoughRiders.
  • During an injury-plagued campaign the Cedar Rapids RoughRider played in 32 games while producing 18 points (2G, 16A) and a +2 rating.
  • Played for the Team Illinois Under-18 team, producing 13 points (9G, 4A) in 19 games. 
  • In August of 2010 he was a member of the USA Hockey Select 16 team that played in the Under-17 Five Nations Tournament in Huttwil, Switzerland. He produced four goals and two assists in four games, leading Team USA in both goals and points.
  • He participated in USA Hockey's Select 16 Development Camp, producing five points (4G, 1A) in six games. US Hockey Report ranked him as the #16 forward at the camp: Played pretty well considering he had banged-up ribs. Smooth skater who doesn't shy away from physical game. From Team Illinois.
  • While playing for the Team Illinois U-16 team he registered 31 points (19G, 12A) in 38 games.
  • He took part in the USA Hockey Select 15 Development Camp, producing four points (3G, 1A) in five games.
  • He played for the Chicago Mission Bantam Majors, recording 34 points (23 G, 11A) in 31 games, leading the team in both points and goals.
  • At the USA Hockey Select 14 Development Camp he registered two assists in five games.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday Morning Coffee

  • The Detroit Red Wing's Mike Commodore will be looking to claim the team's sixth defenseman spot down the stretch.
  • Matt Smaby, who has missed the majority of the season recovering from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament, is in Syracuse (AHL) working his way back into game condition in the hope of making his Anaheim debut as soon as possible. In personal news, Smaby and his wife had their first child last week.
  • In what seems like the daily Zach Parise update, the New Jersey star says his contract negotiations will not be affected by the Devils' financial situation, but he does admit that the entire process has been harder than he had anticipated. On the ice Parise continues to play well, picking up two goals (including the game-winner) in last night's 5-3 win over Montreal. After a slow start statistically, he has put up 32 points over his last 29 games to help keep New Jersey in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
  • Jason Blake has missed the first two games coming out of the All-Star break due to a lingering foot injury, but he appears close to returning to the Anaheim lineup. The Ottawa Senators' Brian Lee has also been on the shelf due to injury, having missed the last eight games due to a lower body ailment. He resumed practicing this week and could be in the lineup this weekend.
  • While every other team has returned to action since the NHL resumed play following All-Star Weekend, TJ Oshie, Chris Porter, and the St. Louis Blues finally get back at it tonight against Los Angeles. After a strong run that saw them climb towards the top of the Western Conference, head coach Ken Hitchcock says they have to take it up another level to become an elite team.
  • Ed Belfour and Jonathan Toews each have one of the 15 Best Individual Seasons in the history of the Chicago Blackhawks, one of the NHL's Original Six.
  • A few weeks ago Fighting Sioux head coach Dave Hakstol had some comments on the CHL vs. NCAA debate, and The Hockey News says the rivalry will only intensify. Expect recruit Nick Schmaltz to be a player that the CHL pursues very hard. He is one of the top 1996 birth year players in North America and is a highly-coveted prospect by the Ontario Hockey League. In related news, the WHL's Everett Silvertips fired their longtime general manager yesterday. Everett holds the CHL rights to USNTDP U-18 star defenseman Seth Jones, who reportedly has narrowed down next year's playing options to Everett or North Dakota. What this means in the grand scheme of Jones' decision is anyone's guess, but it certainly adds another level of intrigue.
  • This morning the Vernon Morning Star published a very nice feature on UND's newest recruit, Adam Tambellini. One teammate says about the UND commit, “It’s not that often you see guys his age doing what he does. The poise he plays with is pretty awesome for the age he is right now." Tambellini also states that after his campus visit, the decision to commit to UND was "kind of a no-brainer."
  • Keaton Thompson and the USNTDP Under-17 team will be off this weekend as they prepare for the Vlad Dzurilla Under-18 Tournament in Slovakia. The tournament will run from February 9-11 as Team USA looks to defend its title. Miles Koules and the Under-18ers return to play tonight against Lake Superior State after having last weekend off. The Under-18 team is a respectable 5-7-2 against collegiate teams this season.
  • Recruit Drake Caggiula returned to the Stouffville Spirit (OJHL) lineup last night after missing a couple weeks due to injury. He notched an assist on the only Spirit goal of the night in a 2-1 OT loss. 
  • After their performances against Wisconsin, North Dakota's Danny Kristo was named first star of the week among Montreal Canadien prospects, while Brock Nelson earned second star status among New York Islanders prospects. 
  • Here is Through These Doors, Episode 13:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Recruit Profile: Adam Tambellini
Previous Team:  Surrey Eagles (BCHL)
Arrival at UND:  Fall 2013
Position:  Forward
Birthday:  November 1st, 1994
Hometown:  Port Moody, BC, Canada
Height:  6'2"
Weight:  171
Shoots:  Left

Profiles & Press Clippings:
  • He began the season playing for the BCHL's Vernon Vipers, producing 39 points (22G, 17A) in 32 games until a mid-season trade sent him to the Surrey Eagles, where he registered 26 points (14G, 12A) in 16 games. His regular season efforts, including finishing tied for 3rd in the BCHL with 36 goals, were enough to earn 2nd Team All-BCHL Coastal Conference honors.
  • He helped Surrey earn the Fred Page Cup as BCHL playoff champions by recording 18 points (10G, 8A) in 17 postseason games.
  • He helped Surrey advance to the RBC Cup playoffs by producing three goals and an assist in five games at the inaugural Western Canada Cup.
  • He recorded two goals and four assists in five games as Surrey advanced to the RBC Cup semifinals. His performance was enough to garner recognition as the RBC Cup's Top Forward.
  • He twice earned BCHL Player of the Week honors.
  • Put forth a strong showing at the BCHL Showcase, where USHR ranked him as the fourth best forward: "Listed at 6’4”, but we think he's probably closer to 6’2.5” or so. The North Dakota recruit, the son of Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini and the younger brother of former Michigan forward Jeff Tambellini, is a pro prospect who should hear his name called in the first half of the NHL draft in June. For a big kid he can really skate and is strong in scoring areas. Is Vernon’s first line center and the Vipers will be leaning on him this season as he looks to improve on his 56 points from a year ago."
  • Playing for the Vernon Vipers (BCHL), he produced 56 points (27G, 29A) in 55 regular season games on his way to earning Vernon's Rookie of the Year award.
  • Took part in the 2011 CJHL Prospects Event in Langley, BC. Playing for the President's Cup-winning Team West, he recorded a goal and an assist in two games. Both of his points came on game-winning goals, including scoring the overtime game-winner in the first game of the two game event.
  • Participated in Canada West's 2011 World Junior A Challenge Evaluation Camp.
  • Played for the Edmonton SSAC Midget AAA of the Alberta Midget Hockey League, producing 54 points (29G, 25A) in 34 games. In the AMHL playoffs he recorded six points (4G, 2A) in five games. He also played three games for the Sherwood Park Crusaders of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, scoring one goal.
  • He played in the 2011 AMHL All-Star Game, picking up an assist for Team South in a 5-4 loss to fellow Sioux recruit Geoff Crisfield's Team North.
  • He scored all three goals for the Edmonton SSAC Athletics in a 3-2 championship game victory over the Sakatoon Contacts at the prestigious 2010 Mac's Midget AAA Hockey Tournament in Calgary.
  • Played for the Edmonton SSAC Midget Minor team of the Alberta Midget Minor Hockey League, producing 51 points (27G, 24A) in 34 games, which was good enough for eighth best in the league. He also played in six playoff games, producing ten points (6G, 4A).