Category Archives: Wild Prospects

2017 Minnesota Wild – The 17th Wild Training Camp Begins…

The 17th Minnesota Wild Season - Another Wild Training Camp Begins...

Will this be the Minnesota Wild’s greatest season?

The Minnesota Wild took to the ice for the first time today and we’re off. The 2017-18 season is here. The players had Media Day yesterday, got to throw on the new sweaters and get all of the photographs and media stuff taken care of. Then today, they went through coach Bruce Boudreau’s dreaded skate conditioning test where they have to skate 2 ½ lengths of the ice in under 40 seconds then have 2 minutes to rest before they do it again, 2 more minutes of rest and then do it one more time. If they fail, they are penalized by doing it two more times! Hey….Welcome Back, fellas. I hope the offseason training went well.

Most of the veteran players did better than the young bucks, maybe because they’ve been through it before but it is a testament to how good of a skater you have to be to play in the best hockey league in the world. It might say something about how long your shifts should be, too. Anyways, conditioning is a must to start off training camp. They may have a great offseason workout plan and program but that doesn’t mean they are in hockey shape or, at least, NHL ready hockey shape.

2017 Minnesota Wild Preseason Schedule

Monday’s game is listed on NHL Network at 8:30 pm
(which must be joined in progress because the start time is listed as 7pm)
The full game replays at 5am Tuesday morning so set those DVRs!

They now have 20 days and 7 preseason games to look at everyone on the 58-man training camp roster, find out who plays well together and set up everything for the beginning of the regular season on Thursday, October 5th at the Detroit Red Wings at 6:30 pm on NBC Sports Network.


D  R  A  F  T
*

General Manager Chuck Fletcher had some work to do to get his team ready for the 17th Minnesota Wild season. He had to prepare for the Expansion Draft, the 2017 NHL Draft, the Frenzy of Free Agency and he also had a few restricted free agents to re-sign.
*Get it? That’s an expanded draft! What? NEVERMIND!

First on his offseason hockey-do list was to figure out who to expose in the Vegas Golden Knights Expansion Draft. Fletch was basically forced to deal F Erik Haula and one of his team’s top prospects in F Alex Tuch to guarantee Vegas wouldn’t take F Eric Staal, D Matt Dumba or D Marco Scandella. The good news is he also got back a 2018 3rd-round pick from Vegas. Erik Haula most likely was not going to be re-signed anyways and they still have a lot of good prospects even after losing the promising big power forward.

2O17 NHL Draft

During the NHL Draft, most Wild fans were probably watching anticipating (or hoping) for some kind of a trade since they didn’t pick until the 3rd round. No trade came but the Minnesota Wild picked 6 players (2 wings, 3 centers & 1 defenseman) we won’t likely see for awhile. 4 of them are in Canadian Junior Leagues, 1 is a big Russian center whose already playing in the KHL and 1 is a 20-yr-old forward Nick Swaney from Burnsville, MN, who played at Lakeville South HS, just finished his career in the USHL scoring 115 points & 66 goals in 120 games player with 51 of those points (26G) coming in 47 last season with the Waterloo Blackhawks AND who’s starting his college hockey career this season with the UMD Bulldogs.

We Have a Trade to Announce!*
Jason Pominville, Marco Scandella traded to Buffalo Sabres, Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno traded to Minnesota Wild
*BOOOO!!! GET OFF THE STAGE, BETTMAN!!!

Maybe feeling like he had to cash in on his team’s defensive depth just before free agency began, on June 30th, Fletch (the Brown Fox) made a deal with the Buffalo Sabres to acquire F Tyler Ennis, F Marcus Foligno and a 2018 3rd-round draft pick for D Marco Scandella, F Jason Pominville and a 2018 4th-round draft pick. This trade freed up some salary cap room by ridding the Wild of Jason Pominville’s contract and it increased their forward depth by getting a small, speedy forward in Tyler Ennis, who just happens to be defenseman Jared Spurgeon’s best friend (Awww…), and big power forward, Marcus Foligno, who, at 6’3, will use his body physically, having ranked 5th in the NHL last season with 279 hits.* What this trade may have also done is taken away one of the few, if not only, defenseman the Wild had that would bring some physicality to the lineup.
*Ahh…some Clutter back in the Wild’s lineup. I like it!

Not So WILD Free Agency
2017 Wild Free Agency

So…with Scandella traded and all but maybe 2 forward spots filled, the Minnesota Wild set out to sign some free agents. They weren’t going to go get any of the big boys available but they did a good thing by grabbing a lot of players who are very close to taking that last step to making it in the NHL. Players like F Kyle Rau, F Landon Ferraro, D Ryan Murphy, F Cal O’Reilly, G Niklas Svedberg and D Kyle Quincey. This means whoever gets those last few available roster spots will have had to compete their butts off and earn it, and that includes Joel Eriksson-Ek or Luke Kunin. Competition makes everyone better. Even G Alex Stalock will have to compete to hold the backup goaltender spot.

Could You Sign This Again, Please?

So, one of the last things Fletch had on his offseason hockey-do list was to get his restricted free agents re-signed and, of course, keep his team under the $75M salary cap in the process. Both F Nino Niederreiter and F Mikael Granlund filed for arbitration so they knew they’d be signed before training camp started but they did not need arbitration as Fletch and the Minnesota Wild signed both Niederreiter and Granlund to contracts during the week of July 30th. Nino Niederreiter agreed to a 5-year/$26.25M ($5.25 AAV) contract on July 30th and Mikael Granlund agreed to a 3-year/$17.25M ($5.75M) contract 2 days later on August 1st.

Anyone Else?

The Wild still had some room under the salary cap and a veteran player would fit in very well, and most likely be preferred over a young player who has yet to figure out how it works in the NHL. They were talking to a bunch of free agents, trying to gauge what the best fit could be but, all along they had a player in mind they wanted to add to this team, a certain former Wild player (also, one of us Minnesotans.) The Minnesota Wild had to wait to see if he would consider coming back for another year of pro hockey after just finishing his 19th NHL season and winning his 2nd consecutive Stanley Cup.

Then, on August 16th, F Matt Cullen made the decision to come back for another season of NHL Hockey and to put the #7 Wild jersey back on* and help his home team get over the hump and show them how to get to the promised land. How ‘bout that for a feel-good story, huh? Cully’s back, baby!!!
*Chris Stewart gave Cullen the #7 back and will wear #10 this season.

The Wild also signed a couple of other veterans to player tryout (PTO) contracts in F Ryan Malone, who hasn’t played since 2014-15 and F Daniel Winnik, a 10-year vet who played with the Washington Capitals last season. He has also played for Bruce Boudreau for 2 season in Anaheim.

Yesterday, the Minnesota Wild and GM Chuck Fletcher took care of the last thing on their list and that was to get restricted free agent F Marcus Foligno re-signed. He signed a 4-year/$11.5M ($2.875 AAV) deal and he was able to take part in today’s first skate.

StoryLines

You are all caught up and ready for Wild Training Camp. What are some of the storylines for Training Camp and this season. Zach Parise missed today’s ice time because he tweaked his back the other day but it’s apparently not serious.

There aren’t a lot of big storylines other than the usual stay healthy, who’s playing together, can they come together as a team things. There are only really 4 spots available on the roster and they aren’t really that available considering players who have 1-way contracts and already have NHL experience.

Who will grab those last 2 forward and the last 2 defenseman spots available? Can F Joel Eriksson-Ek grab one of those spots and be the 3rd line center? Will either player, Ryan Malone and/or Daniel Winnik, grab one or two forward spots? What about young Luke Kunin?

Can Gustav Olofsson grab one of the available spots on defense? Will it come down picking 2 of Gustav, Mike Reilly and Kyle Quincey? Does Kyle Quincey’s experience give him the automatic lead? Will D Ryan Murphy start to realize his potential and make this team?

Can Eric Staal improve on his huge comeback season? Will Tyler Ennis have a comeback season like Eric Staal did in 2016-17? Will playing on a winning team allow Marcus Foligno to produce more?

How will the Wild’s defense be this season? Can they bring a physical element?

Will we still see increased point production from Jason Zucker, Charlie Coyle, Nino Niederreiter, Mikael Granlund? How will the lines play out? Will the Mikael Granlund, Mikko Koivu and Jason Zucker be together again? Who will be on the top line with Eric Staal? Zach? Nino? Ennis?

We’ll see over the next 20 days how this team evolves in training camp. We can only hope they stay healthy throughout the whole preseason but, Bruce Boudreau believes they have the depth to make up for anything.  

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Did the Minnesota Wild make a Scandellous Trade?

Jason Pominville, Marco Scandella traded to Buffalo Sabres, Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno traded to Minnesota Wild

The Minnesota Wild’s Salary Cap might have been a little too tight after trading F prospect Alex Tuch to the Vegas Golden Knights so they would take Erik Haula in the expansion draft instead of any of their available defenseman. They still had to sign Restricted Free Agent forwards Nino Niederreiter & Mikael Granlund with only about $15.2M available under the cap.

34-year-old F Jason Pominville had 2 more years & $12.2M left on his contract ($5.6M Cap Hit) and Marco Scandella had 3 years & 12M left ($4M Cap Hit) so it was going to be difficult to sign both Niederreiter & Granlund and try to do anything in free agency. The Minnesota Wild have had depth at the back end for a while now and they dealt Marco Scandella from that depth in order to free up some cap room.

It was good to get rid of Jason Pominville’s contract. He’s been underperforming for a few seasons. He came to the wild in the strike shortened season of 2012 known as a goal scorer because he had scored 20+ goals for 6 consecutive season in Buffalo scoring 157 goals in 483 games (a 26.7/season average.) The majority of Minnesota Wild fans were excited to get a goal-scorer on their team. He scored 30 goals his first full season in Minnesota in 2013-14 but since then he’s only scored 42 goals in 317 games. That’s an average of only 10.8 per season.

Now, Marco Scandella is a different story and, of course, the principle player in this trade for the Buffalo Sabres. Marco probably deserved to play a larger role in Minnesota including spending more time on the power play so he could unleash that heavy slap shot more often and drive up those goal totals. He may have also been their best defensive defenseman because he would be physical along with being able to skate with most forwards in the National Hockey League. He was the Minnesota Wild’s best defenseman in the playoffs.

At the time of the expansion draft, I felt the Wild could somewhat afford to lose any of the defenseman they had to expose to the Vegas Golden Knights. If they lost Jonas Brodin, Gustav Olofsson could fill in or step into that spot. If they lost Matt Dumba, Mike Reilly could step up and if they lost Marco Scandella, I felt Christian Folin could replace the physicality that was one of the better parts of Scandella’s game. The Wild failed to re-sign Christian Folin so he ended up signing with the Los Angeles Kings as a free agent.

So, the Minnesota Wild have Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon, Jonas Brodin, Matt Dumba, Mike Reilly, Gustav Olofsson, Kyle Quincey, Ryan Murphy, Carson Soucy and, maybe, Nick Seeler vying for the 6 or 7 defense spots available. The only players that can or will be someone to count on bringing some sort of a physical element on the back end are Matt Dumba, Kyle Quincey, Carson Soucy and Nick Seeler. 2 of those 4 players most likely will have a pretty difficult time making the roster out of training camp and I don’t believe Olofsson, Reilly or Murphy bring much of a physical element at all.

That exposes the Wild’s defense to a physical forecheck. They can all skate very well so they may be able to evade that kind of a forecheck but they also have to be physical to clear the front of the net and protect their goalie. Most of them have decent size but size doesn’t always matter (careful!)

They did add Marcus Foligno, though. The big power forward acquired from Buffalo, 6’3″ and 228 lbs. was 5th in hits last season with 279. They still have some big bodies up front in Nino Niederreiter, Charlie Coyle, and Chris Stewart. Charlie Coyle is a beast of a man but he really doesn’t play all that physical. Hopefully, he’ll start to realize how good of a player he can be if he plays physical and shoots the puck more, A LOT MORE.

So, keep an eye on the defense when Minnesota Wild players report for training camp next Thursday, September 14th.

THAT IS JUST 6 DAYS AWAY!!! SIX DAYS!!!

Thanks for reading and hey…
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The 2017-18 Minnesota Wild – Expansion Clutter

Who will the Minnesota Wild protect in the 2017 Expansion Drafat?

To protect or not to protect? That is the question.

For the Minnesota Wild, the expansion draft offers a bit of a dilemma as they have to leave some good players available when the expansion draft begins for the NHL’s newest franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights, on Sunday morning.

Every NHL team has to submit a protected list of either 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, and 1 goalie or any 8 players regardless of position & 1 goaltender.* The Minnesota Wild are likely choosing the former of protecting 7 Fs, 3 D-men and 1 G. This allows them to protect more forwards but only 3 defensemen. This is where the dilemma begins.
*To see all the expansion key times, dates and rules, click 
HERE

Any player with no-movement clauses must be protected unless they agreed to waive that right by Friday at 4:00 pm CST. That means the Wild have to protect Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, Jason Pominville, and Ryan Suter taking up 3 forward spots and 1 defenseman spot. Jason Pominville would be an obvious choice to leave unprotected so they could protect another forward but, as of Friday night, we had not heard yet if Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher had asked Mr. Pominville if he would waive his no-move clause. We may not find out until the lists are released to the teams on Sunday morning at 9:00 am CST.

Minnesota Wild Forwards from CapFriendly.com

Minnesota Wild Forwards from CapFriendly.com

They can only protect 4 more forwards from the above list excluding Martin Hanzal and Ryan White as they are going to be Unrestricted Free Agents as of July 1st.* There are no-brainers like Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund, and Nino Niederreiter who are all just 24-25 years old. Of the rest, the players you’d think the Wild would want to protect are Erik Staal and Jason Zucker. *Players with 2 or fewer years of NHL/AHL experience are exempt so they don’t have to protect Joel Eriksson-Ek.

So they either have to expose rising star Jason Zucker or their #1 center Eric Staal. Jason Zucker had a career year last season scoring 22 goals while dishing 25 assists in 79 games. He also took a big step defensively, leading the league in plus/minus (in a tie with teammate Ryan Suter) with a +34. So, he’s now a responsible player who Bruce Boudreau can count on in all situations.

Eric Staal could easily be the comeback player of the year as he helped the Minnesota Wild solidify the center position while scoring 65 points (28 goals, 37 assists.) He regained his love for the game in the State of Hockey after winning the Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in his 2nd NHL season in 2006 then making the playoffs in only 1 of the next 10 seasons before being traded to the New York Rangers near the trade deadline in 2016.

So, do the Wild protect the up-and-coming sniper who is a threat with his speed any time he’s on the ice in Jason Zucker or the steely veteran who was a big reason why they were the 2nd-best team in the Western Conference last season? It’s a tough decision. It sounds like they are leaning toward protecting Jason Zucker.

It all may be a moot point since the Wild can only protect 3 of their defenseman and, one would think, the Vegas Golden Knights would want to build from the net out and be able to defend well right out of the gate.

Minnesota Wild Defensemen and Goalies from CapFriendly.com

Minnesota Wild Defensemen and Goalies from CapFriendly.com

They have to protect Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon is a no-brainer so they’re left with the impossible decision of which one defenseman to protect from Jonas Brodin, Marco Scandella, and Matt Dumba. That’s 2 up-and-coming young defensemen in Brodin & Dumba and Marco Scandella, who was their best defenseman in the playoffs and plays with some physicality, has great skating ability to be a shutdown defenseman and has a rocket for a shot. He is 27 but that’s not old for a defenseman by any means.

Jonas Brodin is the hot name in trade rumors but the Wild have had teams call about the availability of Matt Dumba & Marco Scandella as well. If the Wild were only choosing for right now, Marco Scandella might very well be the guy but they have to look at the future and they have two players that could fit very well together as a 2nd defensive pair. Jonas Brodin is better defensively and Matt Dumba is better offensively. They are opposite-handed shots with Brodin shooting left & Dumba shooting right.

A lot of fans are frustrated with Dumba as he makes some bad decisions defensively. That being said, he’s just 22 and can certainly get better in that area and he put up 34 points (11 goals & 23 assists) with 6 goals (and 6 assists) coming on the power play. Jonas Brodin probably should have more points over the last 3 seasons, especially since he jumped from 2 goals in his rookie season to 8 in his 2nd season. Some of that can be from the Wild struggling to score goals for most of their existence and from the coaches taking him off the power play in favor of Jared Spurgeon, Scandella, and even Dumba.

The good news is no matter who they lose from their defense, they should be able to fill that spot with a current player and/or a prospect who looks ready to take the next step to a full-time role on the big club. If they lose Jonas Brodin, they have Gustav Olofsson, who patterns his game after his fellow Swede and got a chance to show what he can do for the Wild last season, impressing his coach along the way. If they lose Matt Dumba, Mike Reilly might very well be able to step in as an offensive defenseman who’s finding his defensive game after 2 seasons going back and forth between the AHL to the NHL. If they lose Marco Scandella, Christian Folin could step in as he plays physical and is a good defensive defenseman. They also have Nick Seeler, who Chuck Fletcher said was the “most improved player” in the organization last year. They still have Carson Soucy, who just turned pro after 4 years playing college hockey at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, too.

Chuck Fletcher is listening to any and all offers he’s getting for his players and had a lot of interest in recently traded F Jonathan Drouin. He was supposedly their #1 target:

Unfortunately, Fletch was handcuffed since he really couldn’t deal one of his 3 defensemen to get Drouin and then still risk losing another one of those 3 defensemen and also find a way to protect Jonathan Drouin.* Now, we wait to see if the Wild make a move to try to solve their Expansion Clutter.
*Remember when Tampa Bay was supposedly asking for Matt Dumba to get Jonathan Drouin when he wanted to be traded last season? They might have the same problem trying to figure out who to protect right now, though, not to mention how to fit Drouin in with their other current restricted free agents.

All teams have to submit their protected lists by 4:00 pm CST on Saturday afternoon. There will be a trade, waiver and signing freeze beginning at 2:00 pm CST on Saturday as well. This will leave Vegas as the only team allowed to make trades, place players on waivers, or sign players to contracts.

Starting on Sunday at 9:00 am CST, every team’s protected list will be approved and distributed to teams and the NHL Players’ Association (& supposedly made public, too.) At the same time of 9:00 am CST, an exclusive window for free agent negotiation will begin for the Knights.

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Minnesota Wild Roster at the Beginning of Free Agent Frenzy

 

Cap Space for the Minnesota Wild from GeneralFanager.com

Cap Space for the Minnesota Wild from GeneralFanager.com

The Minnesota Wild’s 2014-15 season ended with a sweep from the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. A lot of people reacted saying the Wild had a long way to go to become contenders in the NHL and need to make big changes to get there.

The 2014-15 Minnesota Wild was the best in the NHL in the 2nd half of the season, a team that was 18-19-5, written off by fans, critics and all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. Then on January 14th, 2014, the Wild was reborn when GM Chuck Fletcher made a little trade for a goalie named Devan Dubnyk from the Arizona Coyotes for a 2015 3rd-round draft pick.

Of course, pretty much nobody thought this would change much for the Wild. Devan Dubnyk wasn’t a big name goalie by any stretch of the imagination. He had never been a part of a winning team in his 6 seasons in the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers (5 seasons, 171 games played(GP)), the Nashville Predators* (1 season, 2 GP) and the Arizona Coyotes (1 season, 19 GP).

*The 2013-14 Nashville Predators did end the seasons with a winning record but Dubnyk was only there for 50 days before being traded to the Montreal Canadiens. The day he was traded to NSH, they were 20-21-7 and they were 26-26-10 when he was traded away.

Interesting that the day Devan Dubnyk arrived with the Wild, they were not a winning team either at 1 game under .500. Then the Minnesota Wild A.D. (After Dubnyk) began. Devan Dubnyk would start 38 consecutive games, not getting a day off until after the Wild had clinched a playoff spot. The Wild would go 28-9-3 AD and make the playoffs, upset the St. Louis Blues in the 1st round but be eliminated by Chicago in the 2nd round.

So, do they really need to make big changes to their roster or should they keep the core group and tweak the roster and give this team a chance to see what they can do in a full season with Devan Dubnyk in the cage?

Could they even make big changes to the roster? They don’t have a lot of room under the salary cap so the only way they could make changes is via trade. That would be difficult as well with a lot of players having No Move or No Trade clauses and a lot of money left on their contracts.

Yes, there’s some young guys that could be traded like a Jared Spurgeon and maybe some prospects but that probably wouldn’t be enough to make “big” changes. I’m sure Chuck Fletcher isn’t interested in going that route anyways. He’s been pretty adamant about keeping his young prospects in the fold.

The Minnesota Wild have just under $8 million to spend on free agents according to GeneralFanager.com and that’s without the eventual signings of Mikael Granlund, Erik Haula and Christian Folin. The Brown Fox always leaves some under the cap for injuries and trades too so don’t get too excited about the 1st day of the Frenzy.

Here’s a look at the Minnesota Wild’s Depth Chart, who might battle for spots and who might be options in free agency.

Depth Chart for 2015-16
Left Wing – Center – Right Wing
Zach Parise – Mikael Granlund – Jason Pominville
Jason Zucker – Mikko Koivu – Thomas Vanek
Nino Niederreiter – Charlie Coyle – Justin Fontaine
Jordan Schroeder? – Erik Haula – Brent Sutter?

In the battle: Tyler Graovac, Michael Keranen, Brett Bulmer, Raphael Bussieres, Grayson Downing, Jared Knight, Kurtis Gabriel, Zack Mitchell, Brady Brassart, Pavel Jenys, Christoph Bertschy

Free Agency Options: Ryan Carter, Kyle Brodziak, Chris Stewart, Curtis Glencross, Devin Setoguchi, Blair Jones, Eric Fehr

Defense
Ryan Suter – Jonas Brodin
Marco Scandella – Jared Spurgeon
Christian Folin? – Matt Dumba

In the battle: Mike Reilly, Jon Blum, Gustav Olofsson, Guillaume Gelinas, Dylan Labbe, Zach Palmquist, Alex Gudbranson, Hunter Warner

Free Agent Options: Jordan Leopold, Nate Prosser, Tim Gleason, Matt Irwin…

Goalie
Dubnyk
Kuemper
Backstrom

In the battle: Brady Hoffman, Stephen Michalek

THANKS for reading some Clutter today! Let us know your thoughts on the Minnesota Wild, the current roster, what they can or will do in free agency and anything else going on in hockey!

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2014 Hockey City Classic Notes – Minnesota Gophers vs Ohio State Buckeyes – January 17th, 2014

The 2014 Hockey City Classic once again includes Minnesota Gopher Hockey but this time the outdoor college hockey event has the Minnesota Gophers on home ice or, at least, ice at their home. Of course, being outdoors, I’m not sure if there is a home ice advantage as both the Gophers and their opponent, the Ohio State Buckeyes, probably received the same amount of ice time on the outdoor ice at TCF Bank stadium. There should be more Gopher Hockey fans there though so hopefully that will give the Gophers some “home ice” advantage.

I heard earlier this week that this is the first time in 80 years (1922) that the Minnesota Gophers have had a hockey game at home in the fabulous outdoor weather of a Minnesota winter. Now, it seems there’s outdoor hockey games once a week during the season of Winter. The Winter Classic didn’t start it all but it certainly brought the idea of the outdoor hockey game back to the forefront and got people enthusiastic about outdoor hockey again. I just hope they haven’t overdone it with the Stadium Series but I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

So, heading into the Hockey City Classic, Gopher hockey is still ranked #1 with an overall record of  15-2-3 with losses at Notre Dame and vs Minnesota-Duluth. Their Big Ten record is 5-0-1 with a tie (shootout loss) to Michigan State back on December 6th.

Ohio State comes in with an overall record of 11-6-1 and a conference record of 1-2-1 but their losses have both been by one goal losing in overtime to Michigan 4-3 and losing in a shootout to Michigan State in a 1-1 game. So they look like a team that should not be overlooked.

Here’s your line charts:

Line Chart – Minnesota Golden Gophers

Left Wing – Center – Right Wing
Taylor Cammarata – 13 – Kyle Rau-7 – Hudson Fasching-24
Sam Warning-11 – Nate Condon-16 – Justin Kloos-25
Tom Serratore-14 – Travis Boyd-22 – Seth Ambroz-17
Connor Reilly-21 – Vinni Lettieri-19 – Christian Isackson-26
Left Defenseman – Right Defenseman
Brady Skjei-2 – Justin Holl-12
Mike Reilly-5 – Michael Brodzinski-20
Jake Bischoff-28 – Ben Marshall-10
Goalie
Adam Wilcox-32
Mike Shibrowski-1

Scratches: G-Ryan Coyne-31, D-Jake Parenteau-6, F-Ryan Reilly-9, F-AJ Michaelson-15, F-Christian Horn-18, F-Gabe Guertler-27
Injured:

Line Chart – Ohio State Buckeyes

Left Wing – Center – Right Wing
Anthony Greco-14 – Tanner Fritz-16 – Alex Szczechura-28
Ryan Dzingel-18 – Nick Oddo-15 – Nick Schilkey-37
Max McCormick-17 – Tyler Lundey-23 – Darik Angeli-10
Alex Lippincott-11 – Chad Niddery-19 – Matt Johnson-26
Left Defenseman – Right Defenseman
Curtis Gedig-8 – Josh Healey-47
Sam Jardine-21 – Craig Dalrymple-24
Justin Dasilva-25 – Drew Brevig-4
Goalie
Matt Tomkins-31
Christian Frey-30

Scratches/Injured: G-Logan Davis-1, G-Aaron Kahn-34, D-Clark Cristifoli-6, D-Al McLean-7, D-Blake Doerring-27, F-David Gust-9, F-Travis Statchuk-12

Alright, let’s DROP THE CLUTTERPUCK and get to the game!!!

1st Period

  • I really like those Gopher Hockey jerseys. They look “Classic!” I wonder if the Gophers will wear them again any time soon OR add them to their other options of jersey to wear at home games from now on.
  • The weather to start the game is at a temperature of 6 degrees with humidity at 60%, winds coming from the southwest at 5 miles per hour with a forecast of mostly clear and brisk wind gusts!
    • That sounds like outdoor hockey weather to me! Let’s do this, boys!
  • LET’S PLAY….HOCKEY!!!!
  • The starters are:
    • Gopher Hockey – #14 Tom Serratore at Left Wing, #22 Travis Boyd at Center, #17 Seth Ambroz at Right Wing, #2 Brady Skjei at Left Defense, #12 Justin Holl at Right Defense AND starting in goal, #32 Adam Wilcox!
    • Ohio State Buckeyes – #18 RyanDzingel at Left Wing, #15 NickOddo at Center, #37 NickSchilkey at Right Wing, #47 Josh Healey at Left Defense, #8 CurtisGedig at Right Defense and #31 Matt Tomkins starting in the cage.
      • Do you think the coaches struggle with who to start in these outdoor games or just do it like any other game?
      • It looks like both coaches went with the senior lineup to me, getting those guys something they can look back on as starters in the Hockey City Classic.
  • Travis Boyd wins the opening face-off back to Justin Holl who gets to the red line and dumps the puck in and we are underway!
  • Nice toe save by Mike Tomkins on a chance by Hudson Fasching at 10:05 of the 1st period!
  • PENALTY – Justin Kloos for Cross-Checking Max McCormick at 15:04 of the 1st period –  Justin Kloos takes a dumb penalty in the offensive zone by cross-checking Max McCormick instead of trying to get in a better position to defend and/or steal the puck.
  • PENALTY – Darek Angeli for Tripping Ben Marshall at 17:05 of the 1st period – As Ben Marshall clears the zone on the penalty kill, Darik Angeli tries to poke check the puck away from him and ends up tripping him and NOW, he’ll get some time alone in the penalty box to think about what he’s done!
  • BIG SAVE by Adam Wilcox on Ryan Dzingel at 18:40 of the 1st period – A bouncing puck gets through about 3 players as the Gophers try to enter the Buckeye zone and a clearing attempt gets through Michael Brodzinski giving RyanDzingel a breakaway on the PK. Comingin to Adam Wilcox’s right,Dzingel makes a few stick fakes and shoots low blocker but Wilcox is up to the task and keeps the game scoreless!
    • Tough to fault much on that play as a bouncing puck could go either way.
      • Should Michael Brodzinski or Ben Marshall get back a little more sinceDzingel is playing so high near the blue linein between them?
        • I would say probably and especially on a loose puck. Brodzinski was on the strong side so the weak side player should get back in my opinion.
  • The first period ends with no goals being scored but both teams getting a few solid chances.
    • Probably takes a period to get used to the ice and the elements and the opponent since they haven’t faced each other since 2007!

2nd Period

  • Sam Warning gets a scoring chance on a great pass by Mike Reilly and he does a turnaround shot to his backhand. You don’t see that very often!
    • You see the turnaround shot to the forehand all the time because players love their snap or wrist shots.
      • I really think it shows a weakness of a bad backhand shot.
      • A turnaround shot to a forehand is rarely going to fool anyone and it gives the defense and goalie time to prepare for the shot but if you learn how to shoot a quick backhand shot and get something on it, it will change your game AND help you get more space to shoot on your forehand because they opponent has to look for either shot!
  • GOAL – Taylor Cammarata from Kyle Rau and Justin Holl at 4:20 of the 2nd period – A simple little pass up the right boards by Justin Holl gets Kyle Rau the puck coming in the right side of the Buckeye zone with Taylor Cammarata coming up the middle. Hudson Fasching actually goes for a change so it’s really just a 2-on-2 with no back pressure from Ohio State. Rau has some space so brings the puck to his forehand for a shot through Ohio State d-man Josh Healey but Healey gets his stick in front of the shot deflecting the puck through his legs where Taylor Cammarata just tries to deflect it towards the net. Those quick deflections makes the puck barely get through the legs of goalie Mike Tomkins and the puck trickles towards the goal line. Rau cuts behind the net, sees the puck lying there and quickly gets around the net to poke it in so the goal will probably change to Kyle Rau from Taylor Cammarata and Justin Holl! 1-0 GOPHERS!!!
    • Defenseman CurtisGedig gave way too much space to Taylor Cammarata coming down the middle.
      • Hudson Fasching changed on the play so there’s no reason and no Gopher to cover in any other part of the zone.
      • Tanner Fritz didn’t apply any back pressure on the play either and that would’ve changed that play.
        • Playersshould be aware of what’s going on and when they can take advantage of situations offensively AND defensively.
          • Everybody on the ice and the bench can help with that by talking to each other and yelling when to go to the player with the puck and countless other things going on during the game.
    • Kyle Rau makes that play with his compete level! He sees the loose puck on the goal line and dives around the net lunging at it with his stick!

3rd Period

  • Rough start to the 3rd period as the Gophers are having some trouble getting out of their zone and making passes through the neutral zone.
  • PENALTY – Nick Schilkey for Tripping Same Warning at 2:18 of the 3rd period – Sam Warning gets to a loose puck in the Buckeye zone and Nick Schilkey tries to reach Warning’s stick with his stick coming down over the top but he misses and hit’s Warning’s feet tripping him and gets a free ticket to the penalty box!
  • PENALTIES – Coincidental Minors – Derek Angeli for Tripping Kyle Rau and Kyle Rau for Unsportsmanlike Conduct Embellishment at 6:07 of the 3rd period – Behind the Gopher net, Kyle Rau, JakeBischoff, Derek Angeli & Max McCormick battle for a loose puck. The puck comes off the wall and Kyle Rau is the first to go to it but Derek Angeli hooks Rau by his left glove. Kyle Rau falls but apparently appears to the official that he tried to embellish being tripped to get the call.
    • I disagree with the call on Kyle Rau and here’s why. He’s getting hooked on the glove and my guess is that, from the way we see Kyle Rau battle, he not assuming the official is calling the hook (or trip since that’s what the official called) so he’s trying to battle out of it and once his hand comes loose, he loses his balance.
      • I’m sure people would see that as me being a biased Gopher fan. That’s not it at all. That’s how I see that play.
    • Many people get annoyed when an official will call a trip and a dive on the same play thinking it can’t be both. Their argument is, if the playerwas tripped then how can it be a dive/embellishment? Or if the player dove/embellished then how can it be a trip?
      • Why would you try to fool the official? As if you have some idea when they are going to or not going to call a penalty!
    • I like when the official calls a penalty but calls the wrong penalty. Like this case for instance. That should a hooking penalty because Derek Angeli hooked Kyle Rau. He didn’t trip him.
      • Should we be happy the official at least knew there was a penalty and not care that he got the call right?
        • “Hey, he knew something didn’t look right there so he just figured he’d call it a trip and be done with it.”
          • “#10 for breaking the rules! I don’t know what specific rule but it was one of them. It was an illegal play! Yeah, that’s it! 2 minutes for Illegal Play!”…”What’s the signal for that?”…”Uhhh….the shame on you sign!”
    • I will say this. I respect what linesman and officials do. It’s not an easy job and not something I want to do.
    • I do love how announcers or color analysts always say how they “understand trying to draw penalties” because I don’t understand it.
      • Battle through everything because you don’t know what the official will or won’t call and it’s stupid to give up a chance to score on the off-chance that the official will call the penalty!
      • Plus…You’re a hockey player, not an actor!!!
    • Sorry! I rambled a little there!
  • The Buckeyes pulled their goalie but never really got a real good chance to tie the game as this one ends at 1-0 in favor of the home team Minnesota Golden Gopher Hockey team!
  • Adam Wilcox gets the shutout stopping all 21 Ohio State Buckeye shots for his second shutout of the season!

Final Score
Minnesota Gophers 1, Ohio State Buckeyes 0

It was an interesting game. Outdoor games often are more spectacle than excitement as it takes the teams involved a while to figure out the ice and if the weather will cause the game to change. So teams play a more defensive style until they’ve gotten used to the ice and/or the opponent. They’re definitely still fun for the players and the fans but it’ll be interesting if the outdoor hockey phenomenon stays as big as it has been.

Well, same two teams tomorrow night at Mariucci for Hockey Day Minnesota 2014!

Links to the Box Score, Recaps from both schools and a Photo Gallery of the 2014 Hockey City Classic
Gopher Hockey Box Score from GopherSports.comHockey City Classic Box Score
Gopher Hockey Recap from GopherSports.comGophers Blank OSU in Hockey City Classic
Gopher Hockey Recap from OhioStateBuckeyes.comBuckeyes Drop 1-0 Game to No. 1 Minnesota in Hockey City Classic
Photo Gallery from GopherSports.comGopher Hockey vs Ohio State – 1/17/2014

In other B1G TEN College Hockey action tonight,
Home=”vs”, Away=”@”
Michigan State won vs Penn State 3-0

In other College Hockey action,
Home=”vs”, Away=”@”
Boston College won vs Boston University 6-4 – 2012 Minnesota Wild 4th round pick Adam Gilmour had a goal and an assist for Boston College in this game.
Notre Dame won vs Lake Superior 6-3 – 2011 Minnesota Wild 2nd-round pick Mario Lucia had a goal and an assist for Notre Dame in this game.

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