Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thursday Evening Post

  • The men's and women's hockey teams both announced their team awards recently and the team MVP's are Brock Nelson and Jocelyne Lamoureux. Here are the full listings of the men's award winners and the women's award winners.
  • The National Collegiate Hockey Conference announced the hiring of Joe Novak as its Director of Hockey Operations earlier this week. Novak was previously the assistant athletic director for the Air Force Academy and he has an extensive background in ice hockey officiating.
  • The NCHC is also close to announcing the Target Center as the host for its postseason tournament. As the home of the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves the Target Center is a non-ice hockey venue, but with the passage of the Minnesota Viking stadium bill, the downtown arena will be receiving a facelift in the near future.
  • The College Hockey News recently published a Q& A with NCHC commissioner Jim Scherr.
  • Most of you certainly know by now that USNTDP defenseman-extraordinaire Seth Jones has opted to play in the CHL following his signing with the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League. Jones had narrowed his choices down to the WHL and North Dakota, but under the guidance of his father, did not make a commitment until he was 100% sure of his intentions. The way Jones handled the recruiting process is very admirable and I hope he has a splendid career in Portland and beyond.
  • The Litter Box Cats, a Florida Panther blog, recently profiled Ryan Johnson in its chronicling of all of the franchise's former players. 
  • Hockey's Future considers Sioux defenseman Derek Forbort to be a promising prospect for the Los Angeles Kings.
NHL Playoff Update:
  • After dispatching the St. Louis Blues with a four game sweep, Matt Greene and the Los Angeles Kings became the first team to advance out of the NHL's conference semifinals. Greene played a big role in the series, producing a point in each of his four games. His current four game point streak is the longest of his professional career, and through two playoff rounds he has an identical stat line to that of the Kings' big midseason pickup Jeff Carter (9 Games: 1G, 3A, +3 rating). Also, The Hockey Writers put together a nice feature to help you get to know the Kings a little bit better.
  • Los Angeles' opponent in the Western Conference Finals will be the Phoenix Coyotes, coached by former Sioux Dave Tippett. The Coyotes eliminated the Nashville Predators Monday night and will now take on the red-hot Kings, but facing obstacles is nothing new for Tippett and his Desert Dogs. The Coyotes and Kings begin their series Sunday in Phoenix.
  • Tuesday night the suddenly delightful New Jersey Devils defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1, advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2003 with a 4-1 series victory. Zach Parise says the Devils kept their cool against Philly, and it ultimately paid off. Parise is savoring his first opportunity to play in the conference finals, but the Devils know they are only halfway home and that there is a lot of work yet to be done. New Jersey will open the Eastern Conference Finals Monday night against either Washington or the New York Rangers.
  • Heading into the week, Parise and teammate Travis Zajac (T-5th with 10 playoff points) were among those on Puck Daddy's Conn Smythe Watch List.
AHL Playoff Update:
  • Matt Frattin and the Toronto Marlies advanced to the Western Conference Finals after winning their series against Abbotsford 4-1. Frattin scored four goals in the series and now has seven points (5G, 2A) in eight playoff games.
  • Oklahoma City leads its series with San Antonio two games to one, with game four heading to overtime as I type this post. Chris VandeVelde has a goal in each of the last two games for OKC, including the overtime game-winner in game three, while Taylor Chorney is looking for his first playoff point. Should Oklahoma City prevail, they would take on Frattin and the Marlies in the Western Conference Finals.
  • St. John's (Jason Gregoire, Jake Marto) currently leads its series with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton three games to two. Game six will take place Friday night. Gregoire and Marto have yet to play in the postseason. 
USHL Playoff Update:
  • The Lincoln Stars, featuring recruits Luke Johnson and Paul LaDue, were eliminated from the Clark Cup playoffs following a 6-2 loss to Waterloo Monday night.
  • Jordan Schmaltz is the last Sioux recruit standing this season, as he and the Green Bay Gamblers advanced to the Clark Cup Finals following their sweep of the Indiana Ice in the Eastern Conference Finals. Schmaltz had one point in each of the Gamblers' three wins over Indiana, and he is currently riding a four game point streak during which he has amassed four points (1G, 3A) and a +6 rating.

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