Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Morning Post

Here are a few quick links for your Friday morning:
  • Ben Blood has a couple of games under his belt with the AHL's Binghamton Senators, and he recently had some glowing remarks concerning why he chose to utilize all four years of his collegiate eligibility at North Dakota (click on the excerpt for the full article):
  • Jonathan Toews returned to Chicago's lineup last night for game one of their opening round playoff series against Phoenix. After missing over a quarter of the season due to a concussion, the Blackhawk captain quickly registered a goal and later added an assist in a 3-2 overtime loss to Dave Tippett's Coyotes.
  • A united New Jersey team opens its postseason tonight, and centerman Travis Zajac's return to full health makes the Devils a stronger playoff team. Zach Parise has delivered in his first year as team captain, but he knows legacies are defined by postseason success. And should the Devils make a deep postseason run, will that help ensure Parise's future in New Jersey?
  • Matt Frattin has rejoined the Toronto Marlies for their AHL playoff run, but according to Mike Brophy, the Maple Leaf rookie graded out nicely during his first full professional season.  
  • Recruit Drake Caggiula and the Stouffville Spirit are one win away from winning the Buckland Trophy as Ontario Junior Hockey League playoff champions. They lead their series against Whitby 3-2, with game 6 scheduled to take place tonight. Caggiula leads the OJHL in playoff scoring with 34 points (16G, 18A) in 22 games, including a three goal, one assist performance in Wednesday's 7-1 victory. Whitby's Devin Shore is currently second in playoff scoring, and he and Caggiula are lifelong friends turned current foes.
  • Sioux recruit Chris Wilkie has accepted an invitation to join the USA Hockey NTDP Under-17 team next season. Wilkie spent this past season with the Omaha AAA U-16 Lancers, where he led the NAPHL in scoring during both the regular season and postseason. He was also recently named to the All-NAPHL 1st Team and All-Academic Team. 
  • Recruits Nick Schmaltz and Brendan Lemieux were both selected in the 4th round of the Ontario Hockey League's Priority Selection last Saturday. Both players have committed to playing with the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers next season, but Schmaltz is at least keeping Windsor in his thoughts, and the Spitfires would surely love to lure Nick and older brother Jordan away from their USHL/NCAA commitments. Gambler head coach Derek Lalonde, however, feels that first round talents such as Schmaltz and Lemieux being selected in the fourth round is an indication they will both be in Green Bay this fall.
  • Recruits Jordan Schmaltz (#34), Drake Caggiula (#185), and Miles Koules (#201) all found their way into the NHL Central Scouting's 2012 NHL Draft Final Rankings.
  • A number of Sioux recruits will be in Fargo Saturday night when the Lincoln Stars head to Scheels Arena to take on the Fargo Force on the final day of the USHL regular season. Bryn Chyzyk and Zane Gothberg (Fargo) & Paul LaDue and Luke Johnson (Lincoln) have all committed to attending North Dakota.
  • Gothberg is making a very strong case to be named the USHL's Goaltender of the Year. He currently leads the league in shutouts (seven), Goals Against Average (2.20), and Save Percentage (.922). 
  • And for what it's worth, Boston College's Chris Kreider recently signed a professional contract with the New York Rangers. It's been 25 years since anyone has won the NCAA championship and played in the NHL playoffs during the same season. The last to do it? North Dakota's Tony Hrkac. You can read about that in this article.

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