Tuesday, July 22, 2014

UND Hockey: Popular anthem singer Lindquist retained full-time (Video)

This is very good news and a smart move by UND. Mark Lindquist sang a few national anthems last year and he was simply amazing.

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – UND Athletics and the Ralph Engelstad Arena are pleased to announce that Mark J. Lindquist has been retained as the full-time national anthem singer at UND men’s hockey games for the 2014-15 season. 

Lindquist’s talents were on display at multiple UND Athletics events during the 2013-14 season and his rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” has become an anticipated portion of the North Dakota hockey game experience. With a significant amount of positive feedback from fans, as well as the desire to add to the unique experience of UND men’s hockey games at “The Ralph,” the decision was made to ensure a consistent performance of the national anthem.

Lindquist is a nationally-recognized speaker and world-touring entertainer who has performed live for over a half-a-million people throughout his career. As an actor, he has appeared in ABC’s “Lost,” CBS’ “Hawaii Five-O” and the Universal Studios movie “Battleship.” 

Currently, Mark travels the country performing the national anthem for collegiate and professional sports teams, delivers keynote addresses for businesses, associations, conferences and school assemblies, as well as educational financial seminars in cities across America. 

This summer, Mark has performed at the College World Series and will be performing at Fargo Redhawks and Minnesota Twins games in July, as well as for the Los Angeles Dodgers in August.
“It's such an honor to become a consistent part of such a storied hockey program. The national anthem is my favorite song to sing and I am proud to bring my rendition to UND Athletics and the Ralph Engelstad Arena,” said Lindquist.

Lindquist makes his home in Fargo, N.D., and co-founded Breath Is Limited Motivational Speaking LLC as his way of bringing a message of hope, passion, perseverance and joy to people all over the world (www.BreathIsLimited.com). He is also a partner at The 7 Mindsets out of Atlanta, Ga. 
Lindquist is a former sergeant in the United States Air Force and an Afghanistan war veteran who grew up in Ortonville, Minn.

Vanek connected in federal gambling investigation

This story just broke this afternoon. I hoping this turns out to be nothing.
Russon's Rants --- WHEC-TV in Rochester, N.Y. is reporting (and has video) that recently-signed Wild winger and former Buffalo Sabre and Rochester Amerk Thomas Vanek was in federal court today in upstate New York as part of an ongoing gambling investigation.

According to the station, Vanek's appearance stems from the June arrest of three owners/managers of the Marina Restaurant and Bar in Charlotte, N.Y. on gambling and money laundering charges. The three men were allegedly conducting an illegal gambling business out of the bar since January 2012 (see above links and this article).

The TV station reports, "Vanek is not charged with any crime and he voluntarily came to the federal court building with his lawyer."

In a statement sent to me by Vanek's agent Steve Bartlett, Vanek said, "Representatives of the U.S. Federal Government have asked for my cooperation in an investigation. I am not the subject of any investigation or prosecution. I will fully cooperate with the U.S. Federal authorities in their investigation or in any proceedings arising out of it."

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Red Wings to get $650 million arena

If you're a Detroit Red Wings fan, you've got to be pretty happy today. They're getting a shiny new arena. They will begin constructing it this September, with the ground breaking.

Grand Forks Herald, 'UND moving gingerly toward a new nickname'

I would have commented on this story earlier, but I have been on vacation and I just finished up a project that I was working on.

So it begins. We knew that this day was coming. I am leery, and I am also worried that my favorite college teams are going to end up with a stupid nickname that none of us can really embrace. My head is going to explode "if" UND becomes the Sun Dogs.
Anna Burleson, Grand Forks Herald -- UND is allowed by law to pick a new moniker after January 2015, but after several racially charged incidents on campus, President Robert Kelley has been pressured to take concrete steps and move away from the Fighting Sioux nickname.

“In the minds of many, many people it’s still an issue, it’s still problematic, and I understand that,” Kelley said in May. “I’m not blind to it and I get it. But it is retired officially, so now we’ve got the next step.”

This next step will mean consulting with stakeholders — students, children, residents, faculty, staff and alumni — and laying out the steps the university will take in picking a new nickname.

“We don’t have a process yet but what we’re doing is preparing to create a process,” UND spokesman Peter Johnson said.
I also don’t know if the legislature will be able to extend the deadline to 2017, that will be a story all by itself. If UND can’t be the Fighting Sioux, which they can't, I would rather have no nickname at all. The past season, having no nickname, at all, kind of grew on me. I do like the fact the alumni are going to be part of the process in picking the new nickname. Now, lets just hope the right alumni are selected.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Oshie sporting the #CAWLIDGEHAWKEY shirt

Tyler Seguin goes golfing

s/t to Puck Daddy. Don't try this at home folks. Tyler Seguin let a fan hit a golf ball off of his groin.

Score, Six players who will never win a Stanley Cup

Interesting list by the Score. Noticed Phil Kessel and Alex Ovechkin are part of this list.

Gabe Guertler leaves Minnesota for the OHL

Would be sophomore forward Gabe Guertler has left the University of Minnesota Hockey team for the Soo Greyhounds of the OHL. In 24 games with the Gophers, the Plantation, Florida native scored (2g-3a—5pts).

Last September, Guertler was arrested for driving will impaired, while operating his moped, by the University of Minnesota Police Department. Because of this incident, Guertler was suspended for by the Gophers coaching staff and didn’t play his first collegiate game until the November 8, 2014, game against Notre Dame. This is the second players in two season to leave Minnesota for the CHL.

EDIT: Per Jason Gonzalez of the Startribune, A tumultuous first year likely didn’t help in determining how Guertler fit into the Gophers’ future plans and he was given the option to take a release. That has dismissal  written all over it.

Drake Caggiula out to prove himself

Soon to be junior UND forward Drake Caggiula recently attended the Buffalo Sabres development camp. From all accounts that I have read, it appears that the diminutive forward turned some heads in Buffalo. 

Last season, Caggiula was one of the more physical players in the UND lineup. During one of the media days, I asked Caggiula how much he weighed. Caggiula told me, that he weighed about 175 pounds. Of course I was skeptical. Looking at him, Caggiula looks more like he weighs 150 pounds. Though Caggiula is a small framed player, he plays more like he weighs 190 pounds.

Joe Ray, Beyond the Boards  – Because I didn’t get drafted, it adds a little more fuel to the fire as motivation for myself. I kind of use it to prove people wrong, like, ‘Well, maybe you should have drafted me.’ At this point, it’s over and free agent life isn’t too bad. And here I am at a development camp anyway. It all works out. I’ve just got to keep working hard to get better.

Being small, you’ve got to be strong and you’ve got to be heavy on the puck and all that. Going to college, that definitely gives me a little extra time to develop physically. Being a free agent right now and being a little bit smaller gives me more time to develop and set me up for a bit of a different future.

My freshman year was kind of up-and-down, and I thought last year – my sophomore year – I kind of stepped it up and became a lot more consistent. Obviously I want to do a little bit better than that this coming year and step into a big leadership role there, whether it’s with a letter or not.
Caggiula’s comments should excited UND fan’s going into this season. I think there's a good chance that Caggiula will have a breakout season this year. There were times last year that he was one of the better players on the ice. Caggiula is one of those players that has a lot of offensive imagination and he's able to free defenders with his speed and moves. I don't think a 20-goal season is out of the realm of possibility.

Matheson to return to the Boston College Eagles

The Boston College Eagles received some good news when Michael Matheson announced that he’s returning to the Eagles for his junior season. The Pointe-Claire, Quebec native played in 38 games for the Eagles last season, scoring (3g-18a—21pts).
Alain Poupart - NHL.com --- The Fellow defenseman Michael Matheson, the Panthers' first-round pick in 2012 (No. 23), had a strong outing in the same game, although he didn't score. He won't be in training camp with the Panthers two months from now, though, because he'll be preparing for his junior season at Boston College.

For Matheson, waiting one more season is simply part of the process.

"I have to go back there and work hard and make sure I develop my game so that I can get it to this level," Matheson said. "I just felt that I could develop more at BC and that I have some more developing to do there.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Crosby "might" need wrist surgery

During the NHL Playoffs, people were asking what is wrong with Sidney Crosby. Especially, after th All-Star player underperformed during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. This revelation would explain a lot of things. Also, if Crosby is out for any amount of time this season, it could prove costly for the Penguins
Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette -- Sidney Crosby isn't having arthroscopic surgery on his injured right wrist, after all.

Not yet, anyway.

But if the injections he has decided to receive in lieu of an operation don't have the desired effect, Crosby still could undergo surgery before training camp opens in September.

"If this treatment works, you avoid surgery and move on," Pat Brisson, who is Crosby's agent, said Tuesday. "If it doesn't, he will have to go that [surgical] route."

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, citing a source who requested anonymity, reported last Wednesday that Crosby was going to have surgery on his injured wrist "within the next few days."

Brisson confirmed that, as of July 8, "a couple of doctors [had] recommended the surgery," but said Crosby sought another opinion the next day and received yet another -- this one, from the doctor who suggested the injections -- Monday.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fox Sports, Group of San Jose Sharks fans outraged over team's recruitment of 'Ice Girls'

Seriously? You've got to be kidding me? Now Ice Girls are offensive? Doh-kay! Here's the facebook page link.
Brent Smiley, Fox Sports -- A coalition of San Jose Sharks fans have formed the group "Say No to Sharks Ice Girls" in response to the team's proposed uniform change for its co-ed ice team.

Previously, members of the Sharks ice team wore full outfits that did not expose any skin, while this year's uniforms for the ladies "May be form fitting with some skin exposure." Males would not expose their possibly hairy midriffs.

At least 1,108 persons and counting think the proposed change for women and not men is offensive, sexist and "reinforces a negative double-standard where men are taken seriously but women are sexualized and objectified."

Stay in School part three, Louis Leblanc

I am an advocate of college hockey. According to College Hockey Inc., 31 percent of the players in the NHL came from the college ranks. Recently, I have been profiling college hockey players that have left their college teams early, for the lure of the big money in the NHL/professional ranks.

Here’s another example of a player that could have benefited from a couple more years at Harvard. Louis Leblanc was drafted in the first round, 18th overall by the Montreal Canadiens. Last week, Leblanc signed a one-year deal with the Anaheim Ducks.

In 50 NHL games with the Habs, Leblanc scored (5g-5a—10pts). In 163 AHL games, Leblanc scored (34g-34—68pts). In hind sight, I wonder if Leblanc wished he had spent a few more seasons in college? Maybe not!

Is the Big Sky moving to 14 football teams?

I am all for it. If you read this tweet, it would appear that there's a chance that it could happen.
Craig Haley (@CraigHaley) tweeted at 10:12am - 14 Jul 14: Fullerton: Idaho, New Mexico St. out there as possible 14th Big Sky football members. Only when time is right. #BigSkyKickoff
Perusing ESPN, they touched on this subject as well. Hey the more the merrier right? I am sure that our comrades to the south will find a way to malign this move. Whatever! To each his own.
Lynn DeBruin, AP Sports Writer -- The Big Sky definitely wants Idaho to become its 14th football-playing member, joining regional schools Idaho State, Eastern Washington, Montana and Montana State.

Commissioner Doug Fullerton said the Big Sky may be part of the Football Conference Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-AA -- but he argues that it wouldn't be a step down for Idaho.

He said the Idaho Vandals would become stronger in the FCS than at the bottom of the FBS "because they will become successful."

As for the WAC, Fullerton wasn't as optimistic. He said he can envision it disappearing completely in one year, or playing only basketball -- but would be surprised, "barring major help," if it remains an FBS conference.

Drake Caggiula attending Sabres Development Camp

University of North Dakota forward Drake Caggiula is currently attending the Buffalo Sabres Development camp, he's a free agent. Here’s some of the other college hockey players that are attending the Sabres development camp.



Caggiula, Drake C/LW 5’9” 180 L Pickering, Ontario June 20, 1994 North Dakota
Compher, J.T. LW 5’10” 182 L Northbrook, Illinois Oct. 12, 1993 U. of Michigan (Big 10)
Fasching, Hudson RW 6’2” 213 R Burnsville, Minnesota July 28, 1995 U. of Minnesota (Big 10) 40
Malone, Sean C 5’11” 186 L Buffalo, New York April 30, 1995 Harvard (ECAC)
Samuels-Thomas, Jordan LW 6’3” 195 L Hartford, Connecticut May 28, 1990 Quinnipiac (ECAC)


Florentino, Anthony D 6’1” 226 R Boston, Massachusetts Jan. 30, 1995 Providence (H-East)
McCabe, Jake D 6’1” 210 L Eau Claire, Wisconsin Oct. 12, 1993 U. of Wisconsin (Big 10) Buffalo (NHL)
Prochno, Andrew D 5’11” 185 L Edina, Minnesota Nov. 3, 1991 St. Cloud State (NCHC)

College Hockey in Arizona?

Here's an interesting story, it could be noting more than conjecture at this point. I suppose the NCHC would be a logical location for the Arizona State Sun Devils.
Justin Emerson, House of Sparky -- "He said ‘Mr. Anderson, if you provided varsity-level hockey at ASU ... you would be able to attract so many students from the East and from the North and even from Canada to want to come to Tempe, Arizona to play the sport at a high level,'" Anderson said. "He said ‘I guarantee you, there would be so many prospects for you.' And you know what, I believe that."

Arizona State hockey and coach Greg Powers have done a superb job bringing in high-level talent. Six players next year will be alumni of the United States Hockey League, one of the top junior hockey leagues in North America. That number is by far the highest in the ACHA.

Current USHL veterans include current NHL players like St. Louis forward Paul Stasny, Montreal forward Max Pacioretty, San Jose forward Joe Pavelski, and Olympic hero T.J. Oshie of St. Louis.

There are 11 members of next year's Sun Devil hockey team chose Arizona State over NCAA Division I schools, and one- defenseman Connor Schmidt- played NCAA last season.
I will believe it when I see it. Also, it’s not as easy to start a Division I Hockey team as the author suggests. That being said, it w would be a nice road trip for fans during the cold winter months. Allegiant Air flies from Grand Forks, ND to Phoenix.

Bruins to Focus on Team Toughness

With the loss of tough guy Shawn Thornton, the Boston Bruins are going to focus more on team toughness.
Joe Haggerty , CSNNE.COM – “I believe [the team toughness] is already there, I do. We have a couple of candidates that played in Providence that surely could fit in if we need them. But I really think it’s already there, I do,” said Chiarelli. “You’re going to see Adam [McQuaid] back, whoever’s playing D, so we’ve got some tough guys there that can hold up their own. So I believe it’s already there.”

On any given night the Bruins will feature multiple players capable of dropping the gloves if the team needs an emotional spark, or if there’s an opponent taking liberties with members of the Black and Gold tribe. Clearly Milan Lucic would be the most intimidating name at the top of that list, but defensemen Kevan Miller and Adam McQuaid are no slouches in that category either.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Miami RedHawks: Riley Barber Returning, Lot of Unfinished Business

Miami RedHawk forward Riley Barber is returning to Miami for his Junior Season.
“There’s a lot of unfinished business that I have at Miami that I definitely want to take care of,” he said. “That’s the main thing that brought me back.” (CSNWashington)

Last season, there was a rumbling that a lot of the top players at Miami were going to sign with their professional teams, after the season was over. Then a funny thing happened. The RedHawks went on a run and almost qualified for the NCAA  tourney, but fell just one game short, losing in the NCHC Championship Game. Maybe that had a hand in their decisions?

Anti-Fighting Cabal Applauds AHL's New fighting Rules

I don’t think any of us should be shocked that the Anti-Fighting Cabal at the Hockey News is applauding the AHL’s new Fighting Rules. They've never saw a fight that they liked. Looking at the number of fights in the AHL, the NHL's minor league definitely has more fighting majors than the NHL. It's a proven fact. Moreover, I have never seen a fan get up and leave their seat during a hockey fight.

The AHL is a development league for the NHL and has been used to try out new rules. That being said, I don’t think this rule is as bad as some have suggested. First, even in the AHL, it’s going to take some time to accumulate three misconducts penalties via the fight. So with the new rule in place, players are going to learn to pick their fights. That being said, the AHL guys are going to have to pay a little more attention to their stats if they don't want to be sitting out hockey games for suspensions.
Ken Campbell, The Hockey News -- First, let’s look at fighting. AHL president Dave Andrews put forward a motion to give a game misconduct to any player who is involved in more than one fight in a game. And what’s more important, that misconduct will count against the players’ accumulated total when it comes to suspensions. With the exception of the egregious fouls, the AHL gives a one-game suspension to a player when he accumulates three game misconducts in the same season and a game suspension for each subsequent game misconduct.

The intention of the rule is clear. The AHL is trying to basically get the message-sending baloney out of its game. You see, the AHL plays a lot of back-to-back games to save on travel costs, so there are often times when this kind of ridiculousness breaks out near the end of the first game. If a player has already been involved in a fight, he’ll be far less likely to get into another one once the game is out of hand. And who knows? It might deter a player from getting into a fight in the first period, knowing he might have to “save” his fight for later.
I did a little digging around, and I looked at both the NHL and the AHL. Of the top fighters at hockey fights, Chris Neil is one of the few NHL tough guys that got into two fights during the same game. Krys Barch is another one of the top fighters to have two fights in one game.

When it comes to fighting in AHL games, it was pretty obvious right away, that fighting is more frequent in the AHL. Again, being a development league might actually promote that, if you're a pugilist, you might want to get your name out there.

Looking at the numbers: Norfolk Admirals tough guy Zach Stortini had one multi-fight game during the 2013-14 season when he fought Joe Finley twice during the same game on October 6, 2014. Milwaukee’s Admirals tough guy Michael Liambas had multi-fights games, twice during the 2013-14 season. Providence Bruins resident tough guy Bobby Robins had multiple two-fight games during the 2013-14 season. Bridgeport Sound Tigers tough guy Brett Gallant actually was in four fights in three games.

I am not anti-fighting by any stretch of the imagination. In my humble opinion, Fighting still has a place in the game. You're welcome to disagree if you like. What I am more offended by are these gutless pukes that run around the ice smoking their opponents from behind or in the head with dangerous, dirty hits. I would like to see these types of plays punished more severely.

Chicago Blackhawks: name Kevin Dineen assistant coach

For those keeping track at home. Former Denver Pioneer hockey player and Team Canada women's national ice hockey team head coach Kevin Dineen has been hired as an assistant hockey coach by the Chicago Blackhawks.
NHL.COM -- Kevin Dineen coached the Canadian women's national team to a gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and most recently coached Canada's men's under-18 national team to a bronze medal at the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship in April.

He coached the Panthers for two-plus seasons before being fired on Nov. 8, 2013. Under Dineen, the Panthers won the Southeast Division title in 2011-12 and went 56-62-28 in 146 games. Dineen also coached the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League from 2005-11. He was the AHL's coach of the year in 2005-06.

"I am thrilled to join Joel Quenneville, a future hall of fame coach, and Mike Kitchen, as we strive to reach the ultimate goal in professional hockey," Dineen said. "After spending time speaking with [president and CEO] John McDonough, Stan Bowman and [vice president of hockey operations] Al MacIsaac it is easy to understand why the Chicago Blackhawks are considered one of the top franchises in all of professional sports. Starting with [chairman] Rocky Wirtz and continuing through the rest of the organization, the measure of success is very high in Chicago. I look forward to supporting the coaching staff and working with some of the best players in the National Hockey League."

Another reason to stay in school, Da Costa to play in the KHL

Former Merrimack star St├ęphane Da Costa is going to the KHL after failing to sign to a new contract  with the Ottawa Sentors. Da Costa played two season at Merrimack College and then signed a professional contract with the Senators. In two season with Merrimack (2009-11), Da Costa scored (30g-60a—90pts). I sometimes wonder if another season in college would have helped him. Moral of the story... Stay in school.
The Mack Report -- Former Merrimack College center Stephane Da Costa has signed a one-year contract with CSKA Moskva in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, after failing to agree to terms with the Ottawa Senators.

Reports earlier this offseason indicated that Da Costa and the Senators were at odds over the type of contract offered to the restricted free agent. Da Costa was looking for a one-way contract, which would guarantee his salary regardless of whether or not he played at the NHL or AHL level. The Senators were offering a two-way contract, meaning the player would have taken a significant cut in pay if he played in the AHL.

It has often been speculated that as teams make their final cuts, they are sometimes influenced by contract types. Players on two-way deals are more likely to be sent to the minors, if the players are comparable and it saves the club money.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

CBC: Wayne Gretzky's agent denies link to Seattle group interested in NHL

Interesting story, but from an expansion perspective, Seattle would be a nice place to put an NHL team. They "could" become an instant rival with the Vancouver Canucks.
CBC.CA -- Wayne Gretzky's agent is denying a report that the Great One is trying to bring an NHL team to Seattle.

The New York Post reported Friday that Gretzky is part of a group of investors working on a deal to bring either a new or existing franchise to the city.

Darren Blake, Gretzky's agent, told The Canadian Press in an email that the 53-year-old Hall of Famer isn't involved in any bid."As you can imagine prospective team owners from various franchises call frequently to gauge his interest in coming on board. Seattle is no different," said Blake.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly declined to comment on the report.

There would be significant hurdles to clear if Seattle were to host an NHL franchise, starting with the lack of an arena.

Wild sign Jordan Schroeder to a two year contract

The Minnesota Wild have signed first round bust and former Golden Gopher Jordan Schroeder to a two-way contract. Based on who the Wild have in their current lineup, I don't see Schroeder playing in Minnesota all of that much.