Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Maine Hires Gendron as Head Coach

Maine hired former assistant Dennis “Red” Gendron this week as head coach to replace the ousted Tim Whitehead. Gendron was on the staff of Maine’s first NCAA title team in 1993, and also coached in the New Jersey Devils organization. He then moved on to Massachusetts before spending the last two seasons at Yale,  garnering a second national championship ring in April with the Bulldogs.

With Mike Cavanaugh having been hired at UConn earlier this month, one of the last open head coaching positions in the Division I men’s ranks is at Alaska Anchorage, which assembled a new committee, including UAA hockey program founder Kelvin “Brush” Christiansen, to name a successor to Dave Shyiak. The former Northern Michigan skater was let go by the Seawolves after eight seasons and has been embroiled in some controversy lately involving an incident during his tenure at UAA.

Shyiak is still seeking a new coaching job along with Mark Osiecki and George Gwozdecky, who were released by Ohio State and Denver, respectively, this off-season. Osiecki spent three years at OSU after assisting at his alma mater of Wisconsin. Fellow Badgers alum Gwozdecky was not retained at Denver after 19 seasons with the Pioneers, including NCAA championships in both 2004 and 2005.

As reported tonight at, UAA athletic director Steve Cobb has been relieved of his duties. He had earlier received votes of no confidence from both the Anchorage youth hockey community and an alumni group of former Seawolf players.

The site is also reporting that the head coaching job at Alabama-Huntsville has just opened up after Kurt Kleinendorst stepped down after one season at the helm of the Chargers. UAH will join former independent foe UAA in the revamped Western Collegiate Hockey Association this fall.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Bruin Blueliner and Former Buckeye Bartkowski Going Back Home

One of the Boston Bruins will be going home in the next round. Literally.

Pittsburgh native Matt Bartkowski will be facing his hometown Penguins in the Eastern Conference final, after the Bruins dispatched the New York Rangers on Saturday, 2-1, in the fifth game of that matchup.  Bartkowski, who has played a regular role on a depleted Bruins blueline, has a goal and an assist in seven Stanley Cup Playoff outings this spring.

Prior to turning pro with Providence (AHL) in 2010-11, Bartkowski played two years at Ohio State University. The 6-1, 196-pound defenseman tallied 11 goals and 27 assists for 38 points in 79 career collegiate games, along with 145 penalty minutes. As a freshman, he put up 5-15—20 points in 41 games as OSU finished 23-15-4 overall and also earned its most recent NCAA Tournament berth. The Buckeyes fell to eventual NCAA champion Boston University in the Northeast Regional final, with Bartkowski scoring a goal in an 8-3 loss.

Bartkowski, 24, who starred in junior hockey with Lincoln (USHL) before going to Columbus, was originally drafted by the Florida in the seventh round in 2008, but wasn’t signed by the Panthers. He registered 5-18—23 points in his first 69 AHL games with Providence in 2010-11. He played in nine NHL games with the parent Bruins over the next two years, and skated in 11 contests this shortened NHL season, while playing in 106 AHL games with Providence since late 2011.

He had two assists in his call-ups to the Bruins this season, and had five assists in five Calder Cup playoff contest with Providence before being summoned to Boston, where he tallied his first career NHL goal in a 5-4 win over Toronto on May 13.

Now Bartkowski’s going back to where it all began for him—with a berth in the Stanley Cup Final resting in the balance this time.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Kreider Comes Through (Again) For Rangers

Chris Kreider, who won two NCAA national titles at Boston College and exploded onto the Stanley Cup playoff scene last spring with five goals as a rookie, made his sixth NHL playoff tally even more memorable.

The second-year pro's redirection just 7:03 into sudden-death overtime stood up as the game-winner Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, and kept the New York Rangers' season alive with a 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins. The Bruins still lead the Eastern Conference semifinal series, three games to one.

Full story is at Bleacher Report, while Game 5 is Saturday evening at TD Garden in Boston.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Totorella: Hagelin "Stinks on the Power Play"

The New York Rangers trailed their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Boston Bruins by a game after dropping the opener, 3-2, in overtime on Thursday, and had gone just 2-for-31 on the power play to that point.

Asked why he didn't use second-year speedster and Michigan alumnus Carl Hagelin on the man-advantage unit, Rangers head coach John Tortorella, himself a Maine alumnus, gave a pretty pointed answer to the New York Times and other outlets.

“Because he stinks on the power play,” said Tortorella on Saturday. “I don’t know why. I wish I could play him on the power play. Every time I put him on, he stinks.”
To be fair, Tortorella suggested that Hagelin was sort of a "jitterbug" on the ice, one who perhaps moved too fast for purposes of the power play, which is more of a stationary situation. Kind of understandable when you have speed like Hagelin, who won the Fastest Skater competition at the 2012 All-Star Game festivities in Ottawa, does.

Calling out a second-year player who's just 24 years old, when millionaires like Rick Nash and Brad Richards have done nothing on the power play throughout the playoffs so far this year, though, is surprising.

Hagelin, who played at Michigan from 2007 to 2011, recorded 152 points in that span while leading the Wolverines to four NCAA Tournament appearances, including a national runner-up finish his senior season. He had 38 points in 64 NHL games as a rookie in 2011-12, and added 24 points in 48 games in the lockout-shortened 2013 regular season. To date he has two goals and five points in eight Stanley Cup Playoff outings so far this spring.

Wonder what Hagelin's college coach, retired NHL player Red Berenson, would think about Totorella's words. Not that the oft-brusque Tortorella would care.

Hagelin played 17:02 and had four shots in Sunday's 5-2 loss in Game 2 at Boston on Sunday, which put the Rangers in an 0-2 hole for the second straight series. New York also went 0-for-5 on the power play. Game 3 at Madison Square Garden is slated for Tuesday night in Manhattan.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Krug's First NHL Goal Helps Bruins to Game One Win over Rangers

Score one for the small guy.

Former Michigan State defenseman Torey Krug, a 5’9” native of Livonia, Mich., made his Stanley Cup Playoff debut more than memorable by scoring the Bruins’ second goal in Boston’s 3-2 overtime victory over the New York Rangers on Thursday night.  His slapper from the left circle beat Henrik Lundqvist in the opener of the team’s Eastern Conference semifinal series, the first postseason meeting between the two clubs in four decades, and was also his first goal in NHL play.

It was just Krug’s fourth game overall with the Bruins, following his NHL debut at the tail end of the 2011-12 regular season in which he recorded one assist in two games. He also had one assist in his only appearance in the abbreviated 2013 NHL campaign, while recording 13 goals and 32 assists 45 points in 67 AHL contests with the AHL’s Providence Bruins.

After starring with Indiana (USHL), Krug played three years at Michigan State, from 2009 to 2012, and notched 26 -57—83 points in 114 career outings. His best season with the Spartans came as a junior in 2010-12, when he registered 12-22—34 totals in 38 games and earned both NCAA First Team All-America and CCHA Player of the Year status. He signed as a free agent with Boston shortly after MSU’ 3-1 defeat to Union College in the first round of the 2012 NCAA East Regional in Bridgeport, Conn.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

U.S. Advances to World Semifinal

Several former collegiate skaters teamed up to help the U.S. devastate Russia at the 2013 IIHF World Championships in Helsinki, Finland. Paul Stastny (Denver) scored two goals and assisted on two others, and Craig Smith (Wisconsin) set up five goals in all as the Americans won by an 8-3 count.

T.J. Oshie (North Dakota), Ryan Carter (Minnesota State), Jacob Trouba (Michigan) and David Moss (Michigan) also scored for the U.S., as did Nate Thompson and Alex Galchenyuk. Carter, Matt Hunwick (Michigan), Tim Stapleton (Minnesota-Duluth) and Chris Butler (Denver) also registered assists, while John Gibson notched 31 saves in net.

The NCAA is also well-represented behind the U.S. bench. The head coach of this year's American squad is Joe Sacco (Boston University), while his assistants include Tim Army (Providence), Danton Cole (Michigan State), and Phil Housley. 

Team USA, which is now 6-2 in tournament play, moves on to the semifinals on Saturday in Stockholm, Sweden, against Switzerland, a 2-1 winner over the Czech Republic earlier today. The victor of that contest will then face off against the survivor of Finland, Slovakia, Canada and Sweden on Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. for the world title.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Cavanaugh Takes Over at UConn

Longtime Boston College assistant/associate coach Mike Cavanaugh is now the head man at the University of Connecticut.

He replaces interim coach David Berard, who took over the Huskies last season after 25-year UConn head coach Bruce Marshall stepped down for personal reasons during the campaign.

"I would like to thank President Susan Herbst and Director of Athletics Warde Manuel for showing confidence in my abilities and giving me the opportunity to lead UConn into its era of Hockey East," said Cavanaugh at

In 18 years at BC, the last nine as associate head coach, Cavanaugh, 44, was part of four NCAA championships (2001, 2008, 2010, 2012). His tenure with the Eagles also produced 27 NHL players, 22 All-American selections, nine Hockey East tournament championships, seven Beanpot Tournament trophies, six Hockey East regular-season titles, and a Hobey Baker Award recipient in Mike Mottau (2000).

A North Andover, Mass. native and a 1990 graduate of Bowdoin College, where he captained the hockey team and also played football for the Polar Bears, Cavanaugh was an assistant to Jerry York at Bowling Green State University in 1992-93 and then spent two years at Dartmouth College before joining York in Chestnut Hill, Mass. in 1995. He helped the Eagles to 14 seasons of 20 or more wins, 13 NCAA Tournament appearances, 10 Frozen Four berths, and more than 400 victories in all.

"Mike has enjoyed an accomplished career at Boston College and has a great knowledge of what it takes to win on a national level," remarked Manuel. "He also brings to UConn an understanding and appreciation for what it means to be a complete student-athlete."

This year, Cavanaugh was named the winner of the 2013 Terry Flanagan Award by the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA). The award is presented annually to honor an assistant coach's career body of work in the college ranks.

UConn will play one final season in the Atlantic Hockey league before shifting to Hockey East in 2014-15.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Collegians Coming Through in NHL First Round

Former NCAA players were certainly in the news over the weekend and into Monday in the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs—particularly a plethora of previous Wisconsin Badgers.

Western Conference
Joe Pavelski (Wisconsin) scored twice in San Jose's 5-2 win over Vancouver on Sunday, which gave the Sharks a 3-0 lead in the series. Pavelski has two goals and four assists for six points so far in three games. Dan Boyle (Miami) has a goal and two assists to date for San Jose, while Tommy Wingels (Miami) has two assists.Cory Schneider (Boston College) returned in net for the Canucks on Sunday following time off for an undisclosed injury, but surrendered five goals on 28 shots to take the loss.

Brian Elliott (Wisconsin) won his first two games for St. Louis in the Blues' series with defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles, stopping 56 of 58 shots. The Kings got back into contention with a 1-0 win on Saturday at home, as 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick (Massachusetts) finished with 30 stops. T.J. Oshie (North Dakota) scored twice for St. Louis in Monday night's 4-3 loss in California, and David Backes (Minnesota State) also lit the lamp for the Blues in a losing effort. Quick made 19 saves as the Kings tied the series at two games apiece.

Justin Abdelkader (Michigan State) scored Detroit's first goal in the Red Wings' 5-4 overtime victory Thursday at Anaheim to tie that series, but was ejected and then suspended for two games for his hit on Tony Lydman in Game Three, which Anaheim won, 4-0, in Michigan on Saturday. Nick Bonino (Boston University) had two goals and an assist through three games for Anaheim, while Kyle Palmieri (Notre Dame) scored one goal and set up another for the Ducks, who fell by a 3-2 count in overtime on Monday in Detroit.
Gustav Nyquist (Maine) had the OT winner for Detroit last week, and assisted on the winner on Monday. Brendan Smith (Wisconsin) scored for Detroit on Monday, as did David Steckel (Ohio State) for Anaheim. Jimmy Howard (Maine) stopped 77 of 87 shots in the first three games for the Wings, and had 31 stops in Game Four at Joe Louis Arena in the win that tied the series again. 
Minnesota's Jason Zucker (Denver) made his first career Stanley Cup playoff goal even more memorable when it came in overtime in the Wild's 2-1 win on Sunday against the visiting Blackhawks. Chicago now leads the series, two games to one, as Patrick Sharp (Vermont) has provided two goals and an assist in the three games so far. Duncan Keith (Michigan State) has a goal and two

assists for the Blackhawks.

Eastern Conference

Ryan McDonagh (Wisconsin) unfortunately lifted the puck into the crowd in overtime in Game 2 at Washington on Saturday, resulting in a power play that the Capitals' Mike Green converted for the game's only goal and a 2-0 series lead over the New York Rangers. Carl Hagelin (Michigan) had New York's only goal through the first two games—but Derek Stepan (Wisconsin) tipped home the game-winner late in the third period on Monday night to get New York back into the series with a 4-3 triumph at Madson Square Garden in Game Three. The Rangers' Brian Boyle (Boston College) and the Caps' Jay Beagle (Alaska Anchorage) also scored on Monday.

Phil Kessel (Minnesota) and James van Riemsdyk (New Hampshire) both scored a goal in Toronto's 4-2 win at Boston on Saturday, which enabled the Maple Leafs to knot their series with the Bruins at one win apiece. Boston, however, responded with a 5-2 win at Air Canada Centre on Monday night to regain the lead, as Rich Peverley (St. Lawrence) scored his first goal of the playoffs for the Bruins.

Kyle Okposo (Minnesota) scored the game-winning goal shorthanded for the New York Islanders on Friday in Game Two at Pittsburgh to tie that series. He added another man-down marker on Sunday on Long Island as the Isles fell to the Penguins, 5-4, in sudden death. Chris Kunitz (Ferris State) notched the game-winner in the extra session for Pittsburgh, to go with an earlier goal and assist on the afternoon.

Ottawa downed visiting Montreal, 6-1, on Sunday as the Senators took a 2-1 lead in that series. Rene Bourque (Wisconsin) leads the Canadiens with two goals and an assist so far, while Kyle Turris (Wisconsin) has a goal and an assist to date for the Senators.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Former Laker Rolston Retires from NHL

Former Lake Superior State University forward Brian Rolston, who led the Lakers to the 1992 NCAA Championship, has retired from the National Hockey League.

Rolston, who played 17 years in the NHL, won a Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils in 1995. The Devils drafted Rolston in the first round, 11th overall, in 1991 from the Compuware junior "A" club in the North American Hockey League.

A native of Flint, Mich., Rolston also played for the Colorado Avalanche, Boston Bruins, Minnesota Wild and New York Islanders in his career, in which he amassed 342 goals and 419 assists for 761 points in 1,256 regular-season games, according to A fast skater with a hard shot, he added 20-14—34 points in 77 Stanley Cup playoff outings.

A three-time U.S. Olympian, Rolston won a silver medal in the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. He was also a member of the American squad that won the first-ever hockey World Cup in 1996, and is now the last player from that team to retire.

“Getting the chance to play the game I love for 17 years has truly been a dream come true,” Rolston said through the NHL Players’ Association in announcing his retirement. “My career has taken me to many great places where I had the privilege to play with some exceptional teammates and in the best league in the world. The memories of all my experiences will certainly stick with me for the rest of my life. I am grateful for the overwhelming support of my friends, family and fans throughout my career.”

Rolston played in a combined 70 games with the Islanders and Boston in 2011-12, his last NHL season, and picked up 7-17—24 points before adding a goal and two assists in seven playoff contests with the Bruins, who were eliminated in the first round last year by the Washington Capitals. He played his final NHL game on April 25, 2012, in Boston's 2-1 overtime loss to Washington at TD Garden in Boston.

He turned pro in 1993-94 with Albany (AHL), and had 5-5—10 points in 17 games after playing for the 1994 U.S National/Olympic Team that season. He then recorded 9-11—20 points in 18 games with Albany the following year during the first NHL lockout to conclude the minor-league league portion of his professional career.

In two seasons at LSSU, Rolston tallied 51-59—110 points in just 80 games. He scored the national championship-winning goal against Wisconsin as a freshman in 1992 at Knickerbocker Arena in Albany, and then scored 33 goals a year later as a sophomore in his final NCAA action.