Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Alum Notes and More New Jersey Pics

Husky alum Matt Cullen has now notched his first goal as a member of the Minnesota Wild. He put one in during the second period in a 2-3 OT preseason loss against the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can read more about the game at the Star Tribune and Good quote from the Trib:
"Second-liners Matt Cullen and Martin Havlat showed impressive chemistry and speed."
Also, read about the Wild's new depth at center (including Matt Cullen) here.

Husky Alum Matt Hendricks just got a 1-year, 2-way deal with the Washington Capitals. Hendricks (who arrived in training camp on a professional tryout) impressed the Capitals with a hat-trick and displayed some grit and agitator capabilities. You can read more about the deal at the Washington Post.

Also, I have some more pictures of the new St. Cloud State men's hockey sweaters. I previously reported about the new sweaters here. Below you can see some additional pictures of the red and white jerseys as well as the (previously unseen here at Husky Hockey Time) third black jerseys.

Polls are out

The WCHA preseason coaches and media polls are now out. The break down looks like this:

Coaches Poll

1. North Dakota (10) 120
2. St. Cloud State (2) 105
3. Minnesota-Duluth 100
4. Denver 88
5. Minnesota 82
6. Colorado College 67
7. Wisconsin 64
8. Nebraska-Omaha 55
9. Bemidji State 46
10. Minnesota State 31
11. Alaska-Anchorage 19
12. Michigan Tech 15

Media Poll

1. North Dakota (28) 347
2. Minnesota-Duluth 300
3. St. Cloud State (1) 295
4. Denver 242
5. Wisconsin 218
6. Minnesota 203
7. Colorado College 182
8. Bemidji State 156
9. Nebraska-Omaha 125
10. Minnesota State 97
11. Alaska-Anchorage 51
12. Michigan Tech 46

I still stick with my pick of St. Cloud at #1(you can read why here), but I can not really argue much with these polls. The Fighting Sioux will definitely be a very talented and difficult team to beat this year. I am glad to see that SCSU was the only school other than UND to get first place votes in both the polls. Go Huskies!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Best Forwards in the WCHA

Recently the blog Western College Hockey has been ranking each team on the basis of goaltending, defense, and most recently forwards. I previously mentioned their rankings of SCSU on goaltending (#1) and defense (#5) in this blog. They just released their rankings on WCHA forwards. The ranking broke down like this:

1. Minnesota-Duluth
2. St. Cloud
3. North Dakota
4. Minnesota
5. Denver
6. Nebraska-Omaha
7. Bemidji State
8. Wisconsin
9. Colorado College
10. Alaska-Anchorage
11.Michigan Tech
12. Minnesota State

Main points on the explanation of why SCSU is at #2:
  • "...the Huskies make very little changes to the group that finished tied with Denver for second in offensive output in the WCHA last year..."
  • "It's unlikely anyone will be able to fill that role as well as Lasch did, but it doesn't seem out of the question that someone could fill that role adequately in his absence".
  • "After three consecutive 40+ point seasons, Roe enters the year just 41points behind Lasch for the school's all-time scoring mark, and while unlikely, with 58 points, could reach the extremely rare, and getting rarer, 200-point club."
  • "What should separate this group from the rest of the WCHA is the depth the Huskies will have."
  • "...the Huskies have a number of forwards that, while not necessarily top line threats, are capable of scoring in the 20-30 point range such as Ben Hanowski, Jared Festler, Drew Leblanc, Tony Mosey, and Travis Novak. In a year where a lot of defensive lineups start to look shaky after the first pairing of defensemen, the Huskies are bound to give teams match-up difficulties five-on-five."
 The reason why St. Cloud is not #1... 
"The choice for the top spot was a toss-up between Minnesota-Duluth's impressive top line and St. Cloud State's depth. The talent drops off pretty significantly after the top three forwards for UMD, but it's hard to ignore what those three are capable of."

Personally, I am more than happy with having St. Cloud's offensive depth over UMD's top line. I believe because of St. Cloud's depth they should be in the number 1 position in this category. Depth is what will carry a team over the long haul than any single top-scoring line. Also, when you add our offensive recruits of MacMillian and Reid, I think our depth only gets stronger.

So now that all of these ratings are done, SCSU has the best goaltending in the WCHA and arguably the best forwards in the WCHA. Like the Western College Hockey blog states, our defense is what is lacking. However, if players like Lauridsen, Hepp, Barta, and Zabkowicz continue to improve and if recruits like Gravel and Jensen turn out as good as they are supposed to be, I don't think Husky fans have much to worry about and should be in store for another record breaking year. Go Huskies!

New Sweaters

 I previously reported that the SCSU men's hockey team will be wearing new hockey sweaters (jerseys) for the 2010-2011 season. I have been anxiously waiting to see what they look like for myself. Thanks to the KVSC hockey twitter page the wait is over. You can see the new white and red sweaters in these pictures below. Apperently, there is also a plan to have a third black jersey (have not see that one yet). In my own opinion, I really like the new home white sweaters and was thrilled to see the return of the center STC logo. However, I preferred last years red sweaters with the "St. Cloud State" script. I think the large center STC logo would have looked great on these new red jerseys. What do you think of the new sweaters? You can also see the first St. Cloud Hockey video of the season below:

Monday, September 27, 2010

SCSU #6 in USA Today Poll

The USA Today/ USA Hockey poll just came out. St. Cloud State is sitting at #6 in the nation right now. Personally, I think they at least deserve to be ahead of Yale at #5 (most likely higher than that). You can see the full poll below:
  1. Boston College
  2. North Dakota
  3. Miami
  4. Michigan
  5. Yale 
  6. St. Cloud
  7. Maine
  8. New Hampshire
  9. Minnesota Duluth
  10. Cornell
  11. Denver
  12. Alaska
  13. Wisconsin
  14. Boston University
  15. Minnesota
However, I still consider #6 to be a great spot to be in. In case you were wondering SCSU has a history of finishing above expectations. (Last year USA Today placed SCSU at #13 and they ended up at #5).

What do you think of the poll? Should SCSU be placed higher? Will St. Cloud go above and beyond expectations yet again?

Stick Tap

I, as well as many other bloggers, have been posting preseason predictions for the WCHA leading up to the oncoming media and coach polls. One of the best places that I have been reading about preseason predictions is over at the blog Goon's World (UND). I really enjoy reading this blog because, despite the authors frequent disdain for everything Husky hockey (and sometimes I have to stop reading it for awhile), he does seem to have a great eye on all things hockey. Goon recently published his final preseason posting about what he believes to be the top 3 teams in the WCHA: UND, SCSU, and UMD.

His post does have some inaccuracies. For instance, he names Ravndalen as one of our new players (he is a recruit, but not starting this year). He also misses some "key recruits" in Nic Dowd, Nick Jensen, and Cam Reid. However, overall he does a good job and offers some good analysis.

Some key quotes:
"The Huskies are a scary team."
"This team SHOULD be very very good. They have a lot of talent and scoring up front."
"...on paper, the Huskies will be tight on North Dakota's heels most (if not all) of the season."
 "Predicted Finish: 2nd...barely"
Please don't just read these quotes, but also go and read the full posting in context here.

Also, read Goon's other analysis of the rest of the WCHA:
Now I still attest that St. Cloud State should be in the number one position and UND in the number two position. However, I can not really argue with much of his logic and I think all WCHA fans should check out Goon's previews for the season. Both UND and SCSU should have great years and both will be highly competitive and talented teams in the WCHA and in the nation. 

Coming soon....the WCHA coaches and media polls (basically what do the "experts" think).

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Husky with Heart

Former Husky hockey player Ryan Malone has long been known for his character on and off the ice. His strength and determination first reached national notoriety during the 2008 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs when he was with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Malone first took a hit from Detroit's Niklas Kronwell which broke his nose in game one of the finals. In game five of the finals Malone was struck again by taking a puck to the face from a slapshot, courtesy of Hal Gill, which opened a gash on his face and further damaging his nose and bruising his orbital bone. Malone (missing ONLY 2 shifts) shrugged the injury off saying: 
"It's a pretty big game. You play all your life for a chance to play in games like that, so if there's any way you can go, you play. My coach was worried about me. I told him, 'Don't worry. I'm fine.' And I really was. In hockey, it's just pride. You're supposed to be big, strong and tough anyway, and at this time of year, there's so much pride playing for the Cup. You've been hearing about it since you were 2 years old.''
Ryan Malone then went on to make more national news for his exemplary play during the 2010 Olympics putting up 5 points in 6 games in USA's route to the Gold Medal game. However, last night I learned another thing about Ryan Malone and his dedication to the sport and to his team.

Last night, watching the Blackhawks/ Lightning preseason game, I had my eye on Lightning player #12. Assuming this to be Ryan Malone, I got excited early on anytime he got close to the puck. However, I soon realized that #12 was Lightning addition Simon Gagne. My wife and I both perplexed as to why Malone was not wearing jersey #12, began to investigate immediately. I found this article over at Pro Hockey Talk that discusses the jersey number change. Essentially, the article talks about how Ryan Malone gave up the #12 and instead took #6 as a gesture to welcome Gagne to his new team and expected nothing in return. Malone had this to say:
"I said we're happy to have him on the team. He's done some great things with that number and it was time for a change for myself, I thought, so it was no problem at all. I just said with open arms, 'Come join the team.' "
Gagne's response to such a generous offer:
"It showed the class of the guy. I heard a lot of great things about him, but by giving No. 12 away that just showed the person he is. I'll try to buy him dinner on the road this year or something like that. It's a number I've been wearing since I was a kid, so it means a lot to me."
"I called him back and asked him what he wanted for it and he said nothing. I never met the guy. I never met anyone here. It showed the welcome."
Ryan Malone truly is a class act and is a great example of the high quality and high character players that have come through St. Cloud State. Go Huskies!

Cullen without goal, but Hendricks lights the lamp big time!

The NHL preseason is now underway and I have a couple of quick notes on some former Husky Hockey players. The NHL player I will be keeping my eye on this season, Matt Cullen, was held without a goal in the teams first preseason game against St. Louis. Despite an embarrassing loss for the Wild, Glen Anderson (managing editor over at had this to say:

"One of tonight's bright spots has been the play of the second line: Gui, Havlat and Cullen. They nearly pop another (goal) in as Cullen drives hard to the net and slides one on goal. Bishop makes the save and tries to cover up, but Havlat pokes it in. Unfortunately, the refs are a little trigger happy with the whistle and blow the play dead, waving off the goal."
I think that the second line (which Cullen is centering) has some potential to be a serious threat and an awesome offensive weapon once they get some chemistry going.

In other news, former Husky hockey players Matt Hendricks and Andrew Gordon both saw ice time with the Washington Capitals in their preseason game against the Blue Jackets. The Capitals won an easy victory over the Blue Jackets 6-2 with Hendricks getting a hat trick. Katie Carrera over at the Washington Post probably said it best:
"It couldn't have been a better preseason debut for Matt Hendricks as the veteran forward on a professional try-out with Washington netted a hat trick in the Capitals' 6-2 rout of the Columbus Blue Jackets Wednesday night."
Additionally, Andrew Gordon, who was playing with Matt Hendricks, got an assist and led the Caps in hits with 4 out of the 13 credited to Washington. You can read more about that game at the Washington Post or over at the Capitals website

Former Husky Tyler Arnason also has had some ice time this NHL preseason with the Florida Panthers. Arnason and the Panthers played against Carolina and won 4-1 on Tuesday this week. Arnason did not score any of the Panthers four goals but was a +1 on the night and had 15:45 time on the ice. You can read more about that game here.

Glad to hear our St. Cloud State alumni playing so well in the NHL. If you hear any other news about one of our guys, please let me know!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Puck Drops- MN WILD

The first preseason game of the season for the Minnesota Wild is tonight against the St. Louis Blues. This will be St. Cloud State alum Matt Cullen's first game as a member of the Wild. The lineup can be seen here. Matt Cullen will be centering Guillaume Latendresse and Martin Havlat in the second line. This line should produce some awesome offense and I am looking forward to seeing how well the three work together.

In other news...

With St. Cloud's first preseason game against Manitoba on Oct. 2 drawing near I have run across another preseason poll. This one coming from "This is the WCHA..." blog which will be included in the WCHA media poll. His poll looks like this:

1 - St. Cloud State
2 - North Dakota
3 - Minnesota Duluth
4 - Denver
5 - Bemidji State
6 - Wisconsin
7 - Minnesota
8 - Minnesota State
9 - Colorado College
10 - Nebraska-Omaha
11- Alaska-Anchorage
12 - Michigan Tech

And has put Garrett Roe as WCHA Player of the Year.

I love seeing this poll with St. Cloud State sitting up there at number 1 and Garrett Roe as WCHA player of the year.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Husky Hockey News

Here are a few links and items going on in the Husky Hockey World that I have not been able to post about yet:
  • Former Husky defensemen Jeff Finger was recently discussed in the Toronto Star about his predicament with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Unfortunately, Finger has not been playing up to expectations and if he does not deliver during training camp may be forced down to Toronto's AHL minor league team. No doubt that Finger will be doing his best to make it on the team this year despite the difficult road that lies ahead of him.
  • Husky goaltender Mike Lee was recently featured on for his work with the Fargo Force and how it prepared him to take the next steps. The article also talks with Lee about his time with Team USA in World Juniors last year and about his transition to St. Cloud State. Mike Lee was the first American goaltender selected in the NHL 2009 draft (by the Phoenix Coyotes) and talks about his time in development camp. You can read a previous post of mine about Mike Lee in Phoenix here.
  • KVSC reported last week about rumors that the Men's Husky Hockey team would be getting new jerseys this year. Yesterday, KVSC reported seeing the new jerseys by tweeting, "Seeing the new red SCSU Men's Hockey jerseys-not a fan. Similar look to Chicago's home jersey but just not nearly as nice as old ones." I have not yet seen the new jerseys so I will hold out my judgment until then. I am really looking forward to seeing them and if any of you Husky Fans out there find a picture, please let me know about it.
Go Huskies!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

WCHA Preseason Prediction: The Perfect Storm

We are now only two weeks away from St. Cloud's first preseason game against Manitoba so I think it is time for my preseason predictions:
  1. St. Cloud State University (SCSU)
  2. University of North Dakota (UND)
  3. University of Minnesota- Duluth (UMD)
  4. Denver University (DU)
  5. University of Wisconsin (UW)
  6. University of Minnesota (UMN)
  7. Colorado College (CC)
  8. Bemidji State University (BSU)
  9. University of Nebraska- Omaha (UNO)
  10. Minnesota State University- Mankato (MSU)
  11. University of Alaska- Anchorage (UAA)
  12. Michigan Tech University (MTU)
I believe that many things have come together for St. Cloud this hockey season to form a sort of "perfect storm" where SCSU will lead the WCHA. First, SCSU had arguably its best season in SCSU history last year highlighted by the programs first NCAA win (despite a respectable 8 appearances in the 20ish years as a Div. 1 program). Despite a few key losses in scoring machine Ryan Lasch and captain extraordinaire Garrett Raboin, St. Cloud retains a majority of its team from last year including 12 of its top 14 goal scorers and both of its goaltenders. This brings me to my next point, SCSU has not only arguably the best netminding duo in the WCHA, but quite possibly the nation in Mike Lee and Dan Dunn. Both of these goalies are good enough to be starting goaltenders in the WCHA (which says a lot about their talent), so the only question SCSU now has to settle on is who will be in net. SCSU also has one of the best recruiting classes in the WCHA including four NHL draft picks. Newcomers Dowd, Reid, and MacMillian will add awesome offense to an already great line up and Gravel and Jensen will help to solidify the team on the blueline. You can see more about all eight of the incoming class here. Finally, St. Cloud has recently had a change in its coaching staff with the addition of coaching great Steve Johnson, and is arguably better for it. Each of these things (last year success, few losses, goaltending, recruiting class, Johnson) has paved the way for St. Cloud to have the best team in the WCHA and I could not be more excited to see how this year turns out for the Huskies!

So what are others saying? Here are a few other WCHA predictions I found:

The College Hockey Blog
  1. UND
  2. SCSU
  3. UMD
  4. CC
  5. BSU
  6. DU
  7. UNO
  8. UMN
  9. UW
  10. MSU
  11. MTU
  12. UAA
Goon's World
  1. UND
  2. SCSU
  3. UMD
  4. DU
  5. UW
  6. UMN
  7. UNO
  8. BSU
  9. CC
  10. MSU
  11. UAA
  12. MTU
Runnin' with the Dogs
  1. UMD
  2. UND
  3. SCSU
  4. DU
  5. UW
  6. UMN
  7. CC
  8. UNO
  9. BSU
  10. MTU
  11. MSU
  12. UAA
Inside College Hockey (Top 10 for '11- WCHA teams)

1. UND
8. UMD

College Hockey News (Preseason Top Ten- WCHA teams)

2. UND
9. UMD

So preseason predictions put St. Cloud (at least) as one of the top 3 teams in the WCHA. Where do you think they will land?

Also, let me know of any other WCHA predictions you find or share your own if you would like.

Hendricks and Parrish to skate at NHL training camps

Former SCSU Huskies Mark Parrish and Matt Hendricks have been invited to participate in NHL tryout camps. Mark Parrish, who played for SCSU '95-'97, has been invited to Buffalo to tryout for the Sabers. Parrish has previously played in the NHL for the Panthers, Islanders, Kings, Wild, Stars, and Lightning. Matt Hendricks, who played for SCSU '00-'04, has been invited to the Washington Capitols training camp. Hendricks spent last season with the Colorado Avalanche and was nominated for the Bill Masterson Trophy, which goes to the player who best exemplify the qualities of perseverence, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey. This is great news for some great hockey players. Good Luck!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Matt Cullen Story

Not much to post here, but I just read a couple good articles from the Star Tribune on former Husky Hockey player and new Wild member Matt Cullen. The articles talk about Cullen's time back home in Moorehead during the off-season, his time growing up as a hockey player in Minnesota, his Cullen Children (Cully's Kids) Foundation, and his decision to attend St. Cloud State with former Husky and Wild player Mark Parrish. The articles are both good reads and all Husky and Wild fans should check them out.

The Time is Here- USHL

The hockey season (for me) officially begins tonight when the Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL) have their first preseason game. As previously mentioned, the Herd will begin the preseason by playing tonight against the Sioux City Musketeers in Brookings, SD. They will play again tomorrow against the Des Moines Buccaneers in Luverne, MN. I love the idea of playing some preseason games outside of USHL cities because it exposes this wonderful game to a broader audience. With both Brookings, SD and Luverne, MN being less than an hour away from Sioux Falls it is reasonable to believe that some hockey fans from these cities may come into Sioux Falls to see some games in the future after being exposed to them during these preseason games. You can read more about this weekends preseason games here.

Also, here are a couple of additional links relating to the Sioux Falls Stampede:
  • You can find a list of all the 15 former Sioux Falls Stampede players participating in NHL training camp here. Most notable on this list include: T.J. Oshie (STL), Thomas Vanek (BUF), Alex Goligoski (PIT), Chad LaRose (CAR), Dan Sexton (ANA), Nate Prosser (MIN), and SCSU's own Andreas Nodl (PHI).
  • Former Stampede player Joe Finley was recently featured in an article in the Washington Post. Finley will be participating in training camp with the Washington Capitols as he seeks a position with the Capitols AHL affiliate the Hershey Bears.
  • Former Stampede player Nate Prosser recently helped the Wild prospects win the championship in the Traverse City Prospects Tournament. Wild Assistant GM Brent Flahr gave Nate Prosser (along with Tyler Cuma) the award for the "Best Defensive Player". This is great for Prosser as the number 1 question coming into Wild training camp is who will be the seventh defensemen. Nate Prosser is definitely a viable option for the position.
  • Finally, here is a link to an article by the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls about the Stampede's preparation for the 2010-2011 season. Interesting pieces include that Coach Hartzell has again put his players through Navy Seal training and that 13 Sioux Falls Stampede alums are currently captains of the Division 1 hockey teams.
Good Luck Tonight Stampede!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Husky News and Notes

Okay, so again I am having a tough time keeping up with all the great Husky Hockey stories out there. So, here are some important Husky Hockey items:
  • Inside College Hockey has reported via Twitter that "Gopher hockey game at TCF Bank Stadium in 2011-12 season to be announced soon. Don Lucia tells INCH the date and opponent are set." I have also heard speculation that the game will coincide with Hockey Day Minnesota. What do you suppose the chances are that St. Cloud State is the Gophers opponent? After all, St. Cloud State is the best collegiate hockey team in the state of hockey. St. Cloud State is also the second largest university in Minnesota. I would LOVE for St. Cloud State to play in this outdoor game. You can check out a previous post of mine where I discussed this possibility if the MN Wild got a Winter Classic. I will keep you posted as more information comes.
  • The St. Cloud Times is reporting that former Husky John Swanson will play a second season for the Idaho Steelheads. Swanson was an ECHL All-Star last season during his rookie year. John Swanson was a fan favorite during his time at St. Cloud because of his local connection (played HS hockey at St. Cloud Tech). You can also read a separate blog post here about Swanson's experiences with new assistant coach Steve Johnson and his time working with other former Husky (and former Sioux Falls Stampede player) Andreas Nodl during the off-season in Sartell.
  • Great blog post coming today from former Sioux Falls Stampede player, former St. Cloud State player, current commentator for Husky Productions, and fellow Husky Hockey blogger Mike Doyle over at The Hockey Hair-All. The blog is titled "Fans should take ownership of online GRIPE" and deals with the often negative (and anonymous) comments that find their way onto otherwise great blog articles. Husky Hockey fans have seen this most recently (and unfortunately very prominently) with anything mentioning Husky captain Aaron Marvin. Please visit Doyle's website to read his post. It is definitely worth your time to read it. I would especially encourage anyone who wishes to say anything negative about Marvin (or really anyone else) on a blog to first read Doyle's article and to think before posting.

Former Stampede Player Prosser Stands Out at Prospects Tourney

If you have not been following the Traverse City Prospects Tournament, the Wild prospects have been doing a phenomenal job. In day one of the tournament, the Wild prospects beat the Hurricanes prospects 2-1. In day two of the tournament, the Wild prospects dominated the Blue Jackets prospects 5-1. And finally, in day three of the tournament, the Wild prospects beat the Rangers prospects 5-4. Tonight, the Wild prospects will play the Red Wing prospects in the championship game.

After each game, Wild Assistant GM Brent Flahr has named his 3 stars of the game. His stars are as followed:

Game 1: Hackett, Wellman, and Palmer
Game 2: Wellman, Kuemper, and Prosser
Game 3: Palmer, Prosser, and Cuma

What to take away from this? Well looking at the names of players that appear more than once, we see Wellman, Palmer, and Prosser. This leads me to the conclusion that these players are likely the best prospects that Minnesota has. The one I am most excited to see: Nate Prosser!

Nate Prosser played for the Sioux Falls Stampede from 2003-2006 (and CC from '06-'10) and once served as our team captain. Prosser's excellent performance at this tournament could do nothing but increase his chances of playing for the MN Wild at some point this season. It would be GREAT to have both a former Husky (Matt Cullen) and a former Stampede player (Nate Prosser) on the roster this year. You can read an earlier post of mine about Prosser and his acceptance to the Wild here.

Great Job Prosser! Glad to see another Sioux Falls Stampede player making news in the NHL.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Gross Oversight- 5 Title-Less Teams in 2011 Hunt

I recently read an article over at titled "Looking for No. 1: Watch These 5 Title-Less Teams in 2011 Hunt". In this article the author talks about how only 17 Division I schools have won a national championship and it might be time for a new hockey program to get a national title. The article goes on to mention 5 teams (without a national championship) that may be able to get one in 2011. Their list is below:
  1. Miami
  2. Vermont
  3. Yale
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Minnesota-Duluth
Notice anything wrong with this list?

How about that St. Cloud State is a "title-less team" that is easily better than 3 (or more) of the teams on this list. The only team that I can say has a very reasonable chance at being better than SCSU this season is Miami. The rest of these teams are not likely to be better than St. Cloud this season. Don't take my word for it? Check out the Inside College Hockey 10 teams for '11 or the College Hockey News Preseason top 10.

Simply said, this was a RIDICULOUS oversight by the USCHO team and honestly they should feel embarrassed.


Best Defence in the WCHA

Recently, Western College Hockey Blog rated each WCHA team based on the skills of their defense. (You can see one of my previous post on their rankings of the WCHA goalies.) The list is as follows:
  1. North Dakota
  2. Denver
  3. Minnesota-Duluth
  4. Wisconsin
  5. St. Cloud
  6. Minnesota State
  7. Minnesota
  8. Colorado College
  9. Bemidji State
  10. Nebraska-Omaha
  11. Alaska-Anchorage
  12. Michigan Tech
The explanation they gave for placing SCSU at number 5:

"There will be a significant changing of the guard on the Husky blue line this season. On one hand, the team lost the heart and soul of their defense in Garrett Raboin, who practically carried a shaky group for the past two seasons, but on the other hand, the Huskies welcome in a significant upgrade in talent on defense with promising NHL draft picks Kevin Gravel and Nick Jensen.

Meanwhile, gigantic Danish defender Oliver Lauridsen was one of the WCHA's most improved players last season and could be a legitimate top pairing defenseman."

While I agree with most of this, and the logic is sound, I do believe that SCSU is underrated at #5. The reason I believe #5 is underrated is because of our impressive incoming class. If players like Kevin Gravel, Nick Jensen, and Brandon Burrell are even half as good as their reputation, I suspect that SCSU's defense will be no lower than #3 in the WCHA. What do you think?


Monday, September 13, 2010

Former Husky Matt Cullen meets the Wild Press

Recently the new members of the Wild were introduced to the Wild press to talk about the upcoming season. The Wild start with a preseason game against the St. Louis Blues at the Xcel Energy Center on Wednesday, September 22 (only a little more than a week away). Below you can see former St. Cloud State Husky Matt Cullen being interviewed as one of the newest members to the Minnesota Wild!

Go Wild and Go HUSKIES!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Best Goalies in the WCHA

Recently, Western College Hockey Blog rated each WCHA team based on the skills of their goalies. The list is as follows:
  1. St. Cloud State
  2. North Dakota
  3. Bemidji State
  4. Minnesota
  5. Wisconsin
  6. Colorado College
  7. Denver
  8. Minnesota-Duluth
  9. Nebraska-Omaha
  10. Michigan Tech
  11. Minnesota State
  12. Alaska-Anchorage
Glad to see that SCSU is right there on top. I honestly think that the Huskies have no doubt the best goaltending duo in the WCHA and quite possibly in the nation. I know there has been some doubts about Mike Lee, but that seems to always happen when someone comes in with extremely high expectations. Despite being pulled during the most important games last year (World Junior gold medal game, Final Five championship, and NCAA regional final) Lee had some incredible games (World Junior quarterfinals and semifinals, shutting out UW one of the most talented teams last year in the WCHA playoffs, and his win in the NCAA against Northern Michigan). Overall, Lee did show some "freshmen moments" last season where the stress of the game got to him but he will continue to improve each year and will likely be the best goalie in the WCHA some day. Dean Blais predicted that Mike Lee will lead St. Cloud State to their first national championship and I believe that he still will.

Even if there may be some arguments that there is a better goalie than Dunn or Lee in the WCHA, I think there is no way that you could make the argument that any WCHA team has a goalie duo as good as Dunn and Lee.

Here is what the Western College Hockey Blog said about SCSU:

The Huskies return one of the most talented goaltending duos in the country in senior Dan Dunn and sophomore Mike Lee. The biggest concern for St. Cloud in goal will be deciding how to rotate the two goalies.

Dunn seemed destined to fade out of the picture in favor of the highly-touted Lee last season, but while Lee battled inconsistency at times, Dunn was a much more consistent goalie than he had been in his two previous seasons, and the Huskies seemed to play better with him in net at times. He'll earn his fair share of playing time, but Lee will likely be the starter in big games.

Lee had an enigmatic first year of college hockey. He's perhaps best remembered for being pulled before the midway point of the three biggest games he played last year: the World Junior gold medal game, Final Five championship, and NCAA regional final, but what often gets lost is how brilliantly he played in the World Junior quarterfinals, and semifinals, the three great playoff games he played to get St. Cloud into the Final Five championship, and perhaps most importantly, the amazing game he played against Northern Michigan to get St. Cloud their first NCAA tournament win. One can only imagine how long and uncomfortable Bob Motzko's rant about St. Cloud's tournament record would have been this year if Lee hadn't made a sprawling breakaway save in overtime of that game.

With a year of experience in college hockey, and likely a stronger defense in front of him, Lee seems poised to take the next step in his game and produce those stellar shutdown performances on a more regular basis.

What do you think about these rankings?


P.S. Who do you think will play in goal for SCSU for the majority of the games this year?

Video: Meet the Captains

Here are a couple videos by the Huskies new captains. ENJOY!

Aaron Marvin:

Garrett Roe:

Chris Hepp:

The New Kids on the Block

As previously promised, here is some information about the incoming class of Husky freshmen to the team. I will preface this post by saying that SCSU definitely has one of the best incoming freshmen classes in the WCHA. Coach Bob Motzko said it best, "We are really excited about this group of freshmen". So without further ado, I introduce to you the freshmen class of 2010-2011:

Brandon Burrell

Brandon Burrell most recently played in the NAHL with the Wenatchee Wild. In 2008-2009 his defensive capabilities helped him be named to the NAHL All-Rookie team. Last year he continued to be one of the top defensemen in the league scoring 4 goals and 24 assists for 28 points and ended the year a +9.

Nic Dowd

Nic Dowd was a seventh round draft pick for the Los Angeles Kings in the 2009 draft. He made history there by becoming the first NHL draft pick from Huntsville, AL. Dowd most recently played for the Indianapolis Ice in the USHL, but played the year before with the Wenatchee Wild alongside incoming recruit Brandon Burrell. While in Indianapolis, Dowd scored 48 points in 46 games and 6 points in 9 playoff games.

Kevin Gravel

Kevin's father, Jim Gravel, played for the Huskies from 1977-1981. He was a fifth round draft pick of the Los Angeles Kings in the 2010 NHL draft. Gravel is a "defensive first" style of defensemen. He most recently played for the Sioux City Musketeers in the USHL. He still has some developing to do, but his size (6' 4"/ 190 lbs. ) should help play against other collegians. You can read an early blog post of mine about Kevin Gravel here.

Nick Jensen

Nick Jensen was a fifth round draft pick by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2009 NHL draft. Jensen led the USHL in +/- at +34 in the 2008-2009 season. During the 2009-2010 season he had another great season scoring 6 goals and 21 assists with a +36 rating while playing for the Green Bay Gamblers. Jensen went on to score 8 goals in 12 games during the post season with the Gamblers on their way to a Clark Cup Championship. Nick was also in the USHL All-Star game and was apart of the Gold medal winning USA team at the 2010 World Junior Challenge team. Nick Jensen will likely be one of the best first-year defensemen in the WCHA.

Bryce Johnson

Bryce Johnson spent last season with the Topeka RoadRunners in the NAHL. While playing for the RoadRunners, Johnson became one of their offensive leaders scoring 19g. -35a. -54pts. He may also be a contender for special teams as he lead the team with 5 power play goals and 2 short handed goals. Interestingly, he was tied for 13th in points in the NAHL with fellow freshmen Cory Thorson.

Mitch MacMillian

Mitch MacMillian was originally slated to go to Northeastern University for the 2010-2011 season when some paperwork and scholarship issues prevented him from attending there. The Huskies were eager to pick him up as he is a very prolific scorer and as Coach Motzko said, "Numbers don't lie". MacMillian most recently played for the Alberni Valley Bulldogs in the BCHL. In the 2009-2010 season, Mitch led the BCHL in goals with 61 goals and also notched in 32 assists for a total of 93 points. Additionally, he had 33 power play goals and 13 game winning goals. As a result of his magnificent scoring abilities, he was named the 2009-2010 Coastal Conference MVP. Despite his scoring touch, Mitch is also able to get physical. He had over 200 PIM in the last two years, with 94 PIM last year alone. You can read an early blog post of mine about Mitch MacMillian here.

Cam Reid

Cam Reid was a 4th round pick in the 2009 NHL draft for the Nashville Predators. Reid was originally headed to the University of New Hampshire when some transcript issues for some courses he had taken restricted him from attending there. However, he was more than happy to be recruited by the Huskies to come and play in St. Cloud. Cam Reid is a high scoring center who most recently played for the Westside Warriors in the BCHL where he scored 27 goals and 45 assists for 72 points as well as notching 8 more points in the playoffs. You can read an early blog post of mine about Cam Reid here.

Cory Thorson

Cory Thorson comes to St. Cloud as a proven scorer. He most recently played for the Owatonna Express in the NAHL. While there, he set the franchise record for all-time points and goals and was 13th in the NAHL in the 2009-2010 season in scoring.

Click here to see what head coach Bob Motzko said about the class and each individual player from the St. Cloud Times.

Click here to read the compilation of information that the Center-Ice-Club put together about the incoming freshmen class.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Get Linked In

The last couple of days this blog has been pretty much devoted to talking about the hiring of new assistant coach Steve Johnson. However, other things in the hockey world did not stop revolving when he was announced as assistant coach so I have some "catching up" to do. So below is a sampling of links and information that has come out the last few days that I have woefully have not been able to post about:

St. Cloud State Huskies
  • Recently, the Huskies have been ranked as the #6 team in the nation for this upcoming season in the College Hockey News Preseason Top 10. Personally, (and I recognize some bias may be involved) I believe that the Inside College Hockey's Top 10 for '11 was much closer to being accurate when they placed St. Cloud as the #4 team in the nation for next season. With SCSU's current class and awesome incoming class (more on that coming soon) the Huskies should (at least) be a top 5 team in the nation. What do you think?
  • Despite the TON of info and links I have previously given on the hiring of new assistant coach Steve Johnson, somehow I managed to leave out the main article from the St. Cloud Times. You can find that here.
  • SCSU recently received a verbal commitment from defenseman Jarrod Rabey. Rabey currently plays for the USHL's Indiana Ice and hopes to join SCSU for the 2011-2012 season. He is a large (6' 1''/ 245 lbs.) offensive- defensemen who has some serious skating abilities and ability to move the puck.
  • Kind of cool side note, Garrett Raboin and Bobby Goepfert are on the NHL 11 video game which recently came out (in addition to all the other Huskies playing in the NHL). Raboin on TPS and Goepfert still on his old team in Hamburg.
Sioux Falls Stampede
  • Recently the Herd began their training camp. The team currently has 27 players fighting for 23 positions. The Stampede retained 9 of their players from last season. Their first preseason game is coming on Friday, Sept. 17th against Sioux City. They will be bringing the game to Brookings. Then on Saturday, Sept. 18th they will play against Des Moines in Luverene. I love that they are playing some games outside of USHL towns to promote the game.
Minnesota Wild
  • Everyone's favorite Wild player, James Sheppard, looks to be out of the roster for at least 3-4 months because of an ATV accident. With centers Mikko Koivu, Matt Cullen, John Madden and Kyle Brodziak already on the roster and with youngsters Casey Wellman and Cody Almond fighting for a spot to play it was likely that Sheppard already was going to have a tough hill to climb in order to play this season. You can read about the indecent over at the Star Tribune or at Puck Daddy.
  • It sounds as if Pierre-Marc Bouchard is making progress. You can read about his time in "pre-training camp" here.
  • Lastly, you have to check out this video of the Minnesota Wild new 10 year anniversary logo being laid at center ice in the Xcel Energy Center:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Old Rivals

Today, I read an excellent blog by Mick Hatten (who has taken Kevin Allenspach's position as Husky Hockey writer for the St. Cloud Times) about our new assistant coach Steve Johnson. The title of the article is "More on new SCSU men's hockey assistant Steve Johnson" and talks about Johnson's few years "away" from coaching , his old rivalry with head coach Bob Motzko, and the phenomenon of coaches going from USHL positions to college positions. Growing up in Sioux Falls, I am a huge Sioux Falls Stampede fan so I was naturally most interested in the quotes about Motzko being a former USHL coaching rival with Johnson. Coach Johnson was coaching for the Lincoln Stars while Coach Motzko was the head coach of the Sioux Falls Stampede. Below is a quote from Coach Motzko about their USHL rivalry:
"We both had some great teams and if I had a head (college) coaching job and there was an opening (for an assistant), I wouldn't have hired him back then because we were rivals," Motzko said. "When I got back into college hockey, I had to recruit some of his players and we became friends and I have a lot of respect for him as a coach and what he's been able to accomplish."
And a quote from Coach Johnson about their USHL past:
"We both had good teams and high-end players and we were real competitive," he said. "I didn't have a friendship with him back in the United States Hockey League, but we've become friends and I've had many players play for him (since)."
Despite Coach Johnson being a former rival of the Sioux Falls Stampede and Coach Motzko, I am glad to have him on board with the Huskies now.

*Additionally the article talks about the new roles of coaches in St. Cloud. Coach Mike Gibbons will now be working closely with defense (his original area of expertise). Coach Steve Johnson will be working closely with forwards (a position he had excellent experience with while playing for UND.)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

More on Assistant Coach Steve Johnson

Below is the release from St. Cloud about assistant coach Steve Johnson:
Contact: Tom Nelson (320-308-2141)

Steve Johnson Named New Assistant Coach at St. Cloud State

St. Cloud, Minn. -- St. Cloud State University Director of Athletics Dr. Morris Kurtz announced today that Steve Johnson has been named as an assistant coach for the men’s hockey team at the University.

Johnson will replace Eric Rud, who was recently named the new head coach for the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL. Rud had served as an assistant coach at SCSU since the 2005-06 season.

“Steve (Johnson) has been one of the most successful coaches in the history of the USHL and he is one of the great players in the history of the WCHA. His experiences as a player and a coach will be a huge asset for our program,” said SCSU head coach Bob Motzko.

Johnson brings a wealth of hockey experience to St. Cloud State, both as a player and as a coach. He most recently served as the head coach of the Fargo Force of the USHL during the 2009-10 season.

“I am very excited to be coming to St. Cloud State and getting back into the WCHA,” Johnson said. “I’ve gotten to know Coach Motzko and Coach (Mike) Gibbons very well over THE years, and I am looking forward to becoming a part of the program at St. Cloud State.”

At Fargo, Johnson’s team charted a 45-22 overall record and a second place finish in the 2010 Clark Cup finals after replacing former Fargo coach Dean Blais in 2009.

Johnson began coaching in the USHL with a stop at Fargo-Moorhead in 1995-96. He was then named the head coach of the Lincoln Stars the next season.

In his first season at Lincoln, Johnson guided his club to a 40-13-1 record and a Clark Cup championship. This would mark the start of a decade long run at Lincoln, which saw Johnson’s teams win 30-plus games nine times during his tenure.

He was named the USHL Coach of the Year in 1996, 2000 and 2001, and he led the Stars to a second Clark Cup title (USHL postseason championship) in 2003. Johnson also guided Lincoln to Anderson Cups (USHL regular season champions) in 2003, 2001 and 2000.

Johnson’s USHL coaching record stands at 470-223-54, and his 470 victories ranks fourth in the league records for most career wins. Johnson’s career win percentage of .665 ranks fifth in league records.

A Grand Forks, N.D. native, Johnson skated for the University of North Dakota from 1984 to 1988. He earned All-WCHA and All-America status during his collegiate career, and also helped guide UND to a national title in 1987. In his senior season, Johnson was a Hobey Baker Award finalist and was named the WCHA Student-Athlete of the Year in 1988.

In his four years at UND, Johnson recorded 191 points (70g/121a) over 153 career games. As a senior, Johnson posted 85 points (34g/51a) for UND.

A 1987 draft pick of the Vancouver Canucks, Johnson played professionally for two seasons in the IHL with the Milwaukee Admirals and the Phoenix Roadrunners.

Additionally, you should check out the St. Cloud State article, "Steve Johnson Joins Coaching Staff at SCSU".

Below is a video:

No Longer Rumor- Steve Johnson will be SCSU's new assistant coach

Wow! I knew SCSU would move fast, but I can not hardly keep up with how quickly filling the assistant coach position has been. Coach Steve Johnson has been hired as the new assistant coach. You can read about him in my previous post. In the meantime, here are some links about the move:
More may be coming as I learn more. However, all signs point to this being a positive move for the Huskies and should only help us become more competitive in the WCHA. Before hiring Coach Johnson the Huskies were looking like the #1 or #2 team in the WCHA. I think hiring Coach Johnson has only solidified SCSU's position as a top contender this year in the WCHA and in the nation. Welcome Coach Johnson and good luck to what promises to be an extraordinary year!

Rumor gains ground!

Yesterday I wrote about a rumor that Fargo Force (USHL) head coach Steve Johnson may take the position as assistant coach for the SCSU Huskies. Today, Inforum: The Forum for Fargo-Moorhead published an article titled "Johnson to Leave Force for St. Cloud State". The article essentially mentions all things from my previous post, but also says that "a St. Cloud State spokesperson said this morning an announcement regarding Fargo Force head coach Steve Johnson should be coming in the next few days". I guess this means that the rumor has definitely gained a little validity today. I will keep you posted as more develops! GO HUSKIES!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Rumor Alert! Possible New Assistant Coach

This week I learned of a rumor about who may join the Huskies to replace assistant coach Eric Rud. Let me preface this blog by saying this is still ONLY a rumor. I recently received an e-mail from a blogger who writes a prominent USHL blog. This blogger let me know about an e-mail he received that suggested that Steve Johnson may be applying for the open SCSU assistant coach position. So, again, I say this is ONLY a rumor:

Steve Johnson may be applying for the SCSU open assistant coach position. Johnson currently serves as the head coach/ general manager of the USHL's Fargo Force. Steve Johnson began his coaching career as head coach of the Fargo-Moorhead Bears for the 1995-1996 season. That year he was recognized as the USHL coach of the year. The Bears then disbanded and was hired as the head coach/ general manager of the USHL Lincoln Stars. Johnson went on to a very successful career with the Stars. In his first year (1996-1997 season) he lead the Stars to a Clark Cup Championship. He also took the Stars to a Clark Cup Championship in 2002-2003 and to Anderson Cup Championships in 1999-2000, 2000-2001, and 2002-2003. Coach Johnson was recognized as USHL coach of the year three times (1995-1996, 1999-2000, and 2000-2001). He began his position as head coach/ general manager of the Fargo Force in June 2009.

Steve Johnson played college hockey for the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux (1984-1988). He helped the Sioux win the National Championship in 1987. Johnson was a Hobey Baker Finalist in his senior season (1987-1988). He went on to spend three seasons with the Vancouver Canucks (in the minor league system).

From what I have read about him, Steve Johnson sounds like an excellent candidate for the assistant coach position. However, all of this is still speculation. The kind person who let me know about this rumor also told me that Johnson is happy in Fargo (he is a Grand Forks native) and that he may not be willing to forgo a head coaching position for an assistant position. I will let you know as more progresses!

*P.S. Would hiring a former UND player intensify the current UND/ SCSU rivalry?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Don't Worry...The Hunt is On!

With much being said of the budget crisis at SCSU and the soon coming athletic cuts, some of you Husky faithful may have worried if St. Cloud State would be able to afford to replace former assistant coach Eric Rud. However, it has recently been confirmed by the University that SCSU President Earl Potter III has given the approval for St. Cloud State to fill the vacant assistant coach position. It is expected that much of the paperwork will be completed sometime within the week and that Coach Bob Motzko will soon be making progress on hiring a new assistant. According to Coach Motzko there has been no shortage of people interested in the position and he was reciving phone calls and e-mails even before Rud had been hired by the Green Bay Gamblers. With the Huskies likely to be (at the very least) one of the top 3 teams in the WCHA and (at the very least) a top 5 team in the nation, it is likely that Motzko will have a long line of highly qualified coaches fighting for this position. Husky Hockey Time will try to stay on top of any progress that is being made in filling the assistant coach position. GO HUSKIES!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Video Rewind pt. 5: The NCAA Tournament

For the next couple of days (or weeks) I will be showing some of the best Husky Hockey YouTube videos from last year as a part of my 2009-2010 year in review. Most of these videos will come from either Husky Mag Productions or the SCSU Athletics YouTube channels. I was especially impressed with Husky Mag's videos. These YouTube videos were definitely a treat for those of us outside the MN area who seldom get to see the Husky's play. (This is the final Video Rewind for the summer)

*Also see:
Video 1: Lauridsen big hit against NMU

Video 2: West Regional Semifinal against Northern Michigan University

Video 3: Tony Mosey scores goal in 2 OT to give SCSU first NCAA win

Video 4: Coach Bob Motzko post-game interview

Video 5: SCSU player post-game interview

Video 6: NCAA West Regional Final against the University of Wisconsin

Video 7: Coach Bob Motzko post-game interview

Well, I hope you enjoyed the Video Rewind look at last season. Despite the 2009-2010 season being highly successful, I sure hope that this year is even better. Coming soon to Husky Hockey Time will be a 2010-2011 season preview and 2010-2011 preseason predictions.