Saturday, January 28, 2012

Hagelin Wins NHL Fastest Skater Competition

Rookie forward Carl Hagelin of the New York Rangers, who played collegiately at the University of Michigan, won the Fastest Skater competition at the NHL All-Star Skills Challenge in Ottawa tonight. He completed the circuit in 13.218 seconds in the final against Ottawa's Colin Greening (13.303), a former Cornell University standout.

Hagelin, who played four years at Michigan (2007-2011) and helped the Wolverines to two Frozen Fours and one NCAA title game in his career, tallied 61 goals and 91 assists for 152 points in his collegiate career. A native of Sodertalje, Sweden, Hagelin made his professional debut last spring with Connecticut (AHL), where he also began the 2011-12 campaign.

Hagelin has posted 8-8—16 points in 29 NHL games with the Rangers, and will play for Team Alfreddson in Sunday's NHL All-Star Game.

Greening suited up for Cornell from 2006 to 2010, and collected 55-63—118 points in 137 career outings with the Big Red before apprenticing in Binghamton (AHL) to begin last season. He then joined Ottawa, notching 13 points in 24 games, and has 17 goals and 39 points in 52 contests so far this season with the Senators.

Greening, who hails from St. John's, Nfld. will skate for Team Chara on Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sdao Article Up at

Got to talk with Princeton University junior Michael Sdao, an Ottawa Senators draft choice, on Jan. 13 at Hobey Baker Rink. He's currently one of the top-scoring blueliners in the ECAC. Story is now up at

The first Princeton University player drafted by an NHL team since 2001, Sdao is currently leading all Tigers' defensemen in scoring. He has six goals and nine assists for 15 points, all career-highs, in his first 20 games this season.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Wolverines Back on Track

Earlier this season I wrote about what was wrong with the University of Michigan. Following a 4-3 loss at Alaska Fairbanks on Nov. 27, the Wolverines were just 7-8-2 overall less than eight months after coming within an overtime goal of a national championship.

Fast forward almost two months from that game in Fairbanks, and whatever ailed the Wolverines seems to have been cured. A 4-1 win over Ohio State outdoors at Progressive Field in Cleveland on Sunday completed a weekend sweep of the rival Buckeyes and left U-M with an overall mark of 14-9-4 overall.

Since a split at Alaska, and prior to last night's 3-1 setback at Notre Dame, Michigan had gone 7-0-2, including yet another Great Lakes Invitational title in December in Detroit when they bested both Boston College and Michigan State in back-to-back contests.

The return of defenseman Jon Merrill from a semester-long suspension has helped. So has the formation of a forward line of NHL draft choices in senior David Wohlberg, freshman Alex Guptill, and junior Chris Brown, who have 25 points apiece this season to lead all Wolverine scorers. Senior goaltender Shawn Hunwick has been steady in net, and is 14-8-3 this winter with a 2.22 goals-against average and a .926save percentage.

Michigan was also seventh in the nation in goals scored per game (3.44), and 11th in goals given up per outing (2.41). The Wolverines were also ranked seventh in NCAA Division I in the latest Pairwise Rankings, and should be in good shape to both compete for a CCHA crown and extend an NCAA Tournament streak that began back in 1991.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Goodbye to Outdoor Games

With Michigan's 4-1 win over Ohio State on Sunday in Cleveland, and Frozen Fenway finally wrapping up the day before with Boston College's 2-1 victory over Northeastern, the NCAA has seen the last of its outdoor hockey games this season.

The outdoor ice hasn't even melted yet, and talk has already started up of hosting games next year at Michigan Stadium, or Comerica Park in Detroit. The novelty of playing outside has definitely worn off, but both the NHL and NCAA keep pushing the great outdoors as if it was the greatest thing since the Zamboni.

Guess we'd all just better get used to it—and bundle up.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Princeton Routes No. 12 Colgate

Was at Baker Rink on Friday night, as Princeton used four second-period goals to break a 1-1 tie and rout No. 12 Colgate by a 6-2 count.

Freshman forward and New Jersey native Aaron Kesselman tallied two goals and an assist for the Tigers, including the game-winning goal at 6:53 of the second stanza. That goal came just 16 seconds after classmate Matt Farris scored on a semi-breakaway to give Princeton (6-10-4, 5-8-1 ECAC) a lead it wouldn't relinquish. Sophomore forward and leading scorer Jack Berger also scored twice for the Tigers, including a power-play marker and a shorthanded score, while junior Will MacDonald set up two goals. Junior goaltender Mike Condon made 26 saves in picking up the win for Princeton.

Senior wing Austin Smith scored both goals for visiting Colgate (12-7-2, 6-3-0 ECAC), which has dropped three straight contests after a seven-game unbeaten streak to end 2011. Sophomore netminder Eric Mihalik had 23 stops in defeat for the Raiders, who were outshot, 29-28, and surrendered two power-play goals and a shorthanded tally.

Princeton now hosts Cornell on Saturday, while Colgate travels to Quinnipiac.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Minnesota-Duluth Remains at No. 1

New year, same standings.

Defending NCAA Division I men's champion Minnesota-Duluth, unbeaten in its last 16 outings, remains atop the poll. UMD (14-3-3 overall) garnered all 50 first-place votes in the Jan. 9 poll, putting it ahead of Ohio State, Notre Dame, Boston College and Minnesota. It's the fifth straight week that the Bulldogs have been ranked first in the nation.

The Bulldogs, who defeated Michigan in April to win their first-ever national title, haven't lost since a 5-4 setback to rival Minnesota on Oct. 15. Since then they've gone 13-0-3, and senior center Jack Connolly is tied for the national scoring lead with 12 goals and 21 assists for 33 points. UMD is also leading Division I with an average of 4.1 goals scored per game.

Boston University, Merrimack, Colorado College, Cornell and Western Michigan round out this week's USCHO top ten. UMD will attempt to keep its No. 1 streak going this weekend in a pair of games at Nebraska-Omaha.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Former Badger Bourque Suspended for Elbow on Backstrom

Former University of Wisconsin Badger forward Rene Bourque, now of the Calgary Flames, is watching his next several NHL games from the stands.

Bourque was suspended for five games after elbowing Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom in the head on Jan. 3. Backstrom later left the game with a head injury and did not return.

The decision was handed down by NHL discipline czar and career 500-goal scorer Brendan Shanahan, who took into account the fact that Bourque was a repeat offender. He had actually been suspended just 16 days before, for his hit from behind on Chicago's Brent Seabrook.

Bourque will forfeit over $203,000 in salary for his suspension for the Backstrom hit, according to He will be eligible to return to action on Jan. 17 at San Jose.

Looking at the replays, Bourque could have put a shoulder into Backstrom, but instead conked him with an elbow as Backstrom skated by. Bourque claimed it was a reflex reaction—but the league has been coming down harder on players who target the head, intentionally or not.

It's the same with players who get beat by a puck-carrier and then stick out a knee to stop him, which can also cause serious injury. That stuff has to be taken out of the game.

Bourque can play the game, as he has tallied over 100 goals and 200 points in his NHL career. He collected 57 goals and 97 points in 152 NCAA games with Wisconsin from 2000 to 2004, including 10 game-winning goals.

He also led the Badgers in scoring as both a junior and a senior, and finished his college career with a goal in a 2-1 overtime loss to Maine in the 2004 NCAA East Regional final in Albany, N.Y.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Fighting Sioux No More

It's game over in Grand Forks. They still have hockey, but the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux are no more.

After years of wrangling, arguing and suing both for and against the longtime nickname and iconic logo, the change was mandated for Jan. 1 by the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education.

The change was made in compliance with a settlement agreement with the NCAA, after UND couldn't get the approval of both the Standing Rock and the Spirit Lake Sioux tribes to keep using the name and image. The NCAA had previously ruled that North Dakota had to retire both the Fighting Sioux logo and nickname if it wanted to have the ability to host any NCAA Championships

All UND teams, which compete at the NCAA Division I level, will now be known simply and solely as "North Dakota", and will feature an interlocking ND as their primary logo. The women's hockey team debuted their new uniforms in a 14-0 win over Lindenwood on Jan. 4.

As part of the rebranding effort, affiliate organizations such as the Fighting Sioux Sports Network and the Fighting Sioux Club have also been renamed with "North Dakota" in their monikers. Not all the Sioux logos at Ralph Engelstad Arena, however, such as those embedded in the floors, will have to be removed. There will also be no strictures against fans wearing Sioux apparel or cheering for the Sioux at future contests.

The Sioux's last official hockey series was on Dec. 30-31 against visiting Harvard, while a new athletic nickname and identity is expected to be chosen by 2015. UND won seven men's hockey national championships and 15 WCHA Association titles while it skated as the Fighting Sioux.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Former Sioux Skaters Key in Devils Playoff Hopes

If the NHL's New Jersey Devils are to get back into the Stanley Cup Playoffs this spring, former North Dakota stars Zach Parise and Travis Zajac will be two of the skaters they'll be counting on down the stretch.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2011 Holiday Tournament Champions Crowned

Back to business this weekend for most schools, but here are the winners of the 2011 D-I men's holiday tournaments that recently wrapped up...

Catamount Cup: RIT
Florida College Classic: Maine
Great Lakes Invitational: Michigan
Ledyard Bank Tournament: St. Lawrence
Mariucci Classic: Northeastern
UConn Hockey Classic: Mass-Lowell