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There’s been buzz in hockey circles for a few years that some higher-ups in NHL organizations are high on UND coach Dave Hakstol, and now it has been brought out in public.
ESPN posted a story today, listing five highly regarded potential NHL coaching candidates — one from each rank (NHL assistants, the AHL, major juniors and college), and it listed Hakstol as the top NHL coaching candidate from the NCAA ranks.
A source told ESPN’s Craig Custance: “This guy is really intelligent. I think he’s got a pro mind.”
The article quoted Hakstol, who would consider an NHL some day if an opportunity with “a good organization” presented itself. But Hakstol said his interest lies at UND.
“I feel like our entire staff has been around the game long enough to have a real appreciation for what we have here and has a commitment to producing that longterm success and sustainability,” Hakstol told ESPN.
The article also notes that Hakstol just signed a new contract at UND through 2017-18, so if Hakstol does eventually go to the NHL, it’s unlikely that it would happen in the near future.
Since being named head coach in 2004, Hakstol has won more games than any coach in the WCHA.
Is the NCHC losing its commissioner before the puck drops?
That’s the big question after Inside the Games reported that Jim Scherr could be the chief executive officer of the European Games. Read a little about that in the Herald here.
So where does the NCHC go from here?
Well, if Scherr does take the job, he told the Colorado Springs Gazette that it would be the NCHC board of directors’ decision whether he would work both jobs. I can’t imagine the NCHC would be OK with that. If Scherr accepts the job, his priorities obviously lie elsewhere.
The NCHC would have to hire another commissioner just a few months before the league is set to kick off – not an ideal situation.
I’m assuming that director of hockey ops Joe Novak would become an even-more prominent guy in the interim if Scherr leaves. Novak has been a central figure in putting together the league.
Scherr says that he’s only had discussions about the job and nothing is final. But, even if he stays, there will no doubt be speculation about whether his heart is in the NCHC job if he’s already talking about taking another one.
UND’s Danny Kristo and T.J. Oshie have a bronze medal from the World Championships.
Team USA defeated Team Finland in a shootout Sunday morning to give the Americans their first medal at the World Championships since 2004.
Kristo now has a bronze World Championship medal to go along with a gold from the World Junior Championship. Oshie won a bronze at the World Juniors.
Kristo finished with a goal and two assists while playing all 10 games in the tournament. Oshie only played four games after his St. Louis Blues were eliminated from the NHL playoffs. He tallied one goal.
I forgot to post this last week, and partly because it was exactly as expected, but UND announced its freshman class for the 2013-14 season.
Luke Johnson, Lincoln Stars (USHL)
Wade Murphy, Penticton Vees (BCHL)
Adam Tambellini, Surrey Eagles (BCHL)
Paul LaDue, Lincoln Stars (USHL) – L.A. Kings pick, 6th round
Troy Stecher, Penticton Vees (BCHL)
Keaton Thompson, U.S. Under-18
Gage Ausmus, U.S. Under-18
Matt Hrynkiw, Humboldt Broncos (SJHL)
The release also had a note that said UND still could add rookies to this class at a later date. If they do, it will likely be a depth/walk-on type of player, as all of the top prospects are already committed.
I will later go into more detail on my thoughts of the class and the scouting reports that I get from their coaches and those who have seen them play, but here are a few quick impressions.
- There aren’t any first-round picks or guys who are getting lots of buzz in this group but it’s a pretty solid class. I don’t think we’re going to see a 30-point rookie scorer or anything, but they all have potential to contribute something right away.
- I’m thinking Tambellini will most likely have the most points of the rookies next season. He’s a big kid who knows how to score. He hasn’t completely filled out yet, but when he does, he could be hard to handle.
- The headliners of this class are the defensemen. You have the USHL defenseman of the year in LaDue, the BCHL defenseman of the year in Stecher and two guys who played a college schedule with the NTDP and will likely be drafted. That being said, it’s always a tough transition for rookie defensemen. They’ll probably have their good nights and tough nights next year. But as they grow up together, this group should be the backbone to some pretty good teams.
- LaDue, Stecher and Thompson are more of the offensive variety. Ausmus is more of a stay-at-home, physical type of defenseman.
- I’ve seen Luke Johnson play a number of times in past years. He’s an intelligent, two-way player. I’m not expecting huge point totals out of him next season, but I do think he’ll be a nightly contributor.
- Hrynkiw will likely start as the third goaltender, but he has a pretty solid background and should help to push the others.
UND forward recruit Adam Tambellini was named the top forward at the RBC Cup this week.
Tambellini scored two goals and had six points in four pool-play games for the Surrey Eagles of the BCHL (the RBC Cup is a collection of Canadian Junior A league champions).
Surrey lost its semifinal game in overtime on Saturday, meaning Tambellini’s season has come to an end.
Tambellini is expected to be a second- to fourth-round pick in June’s NHL draft. He will come to campus this fall.
The surprising and unbeaten Swiss knocked off Team USA 3-0 today to advance to the gold medal game at the IIHF World Championships.
That means the Danny Kristo, T.J. Oshie and the Americans will take on Finland for the bronze medal today.
It is still rare territory for the Americans, who have not won a medal in the World Championships since 2004.
T.J. Oshie scored a goal and Team USA surprisingly routed Russia 8-3 in a quarterfinal game at the World Championships.
The Americans, who also have Danny Kristo on the team, advance to a semifinal matchup against undefeated Switzerland at noon Saturday. The other semifinal is Finland vs. Sweden.
This is rare territory for the U.S. in this tournament. The Americans haven’t won a medal at the World Championship since 2004 (bronze) and they haven’t played in the championship since the 1960 Winter Olympics doubled as the IIHF World Championship.
Oshie has played in two games this tournament, registering one goal. Kristo has a goal and two assists in eight games for Team USA.
Below is a picture of Kristo matching up against NHL MVP finalist Alexander Ovechkin.
The first Chicago Blackhawk to ever win the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s best defensive forward was a guy who wore No. 19 and played at the University of North Dakota.
History may repeat itself.
Another UND product who wears No. 19 for the Blackhawks was announced as one of three finalists for the Selke Trophy this week. Chicago captain Jonathan Toews joins Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron and Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk as the three finalists.
The other UND player to earn the honor was Troy Murray in 1986. The 2013 winner will be announced during the Stanley Cup Final.
The NHL sent out bios of all the finalists.
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
Toews played a leading role in helping the runaway Presidents’ Trophy winners rank first overall in team defense (2.02 goals-against per game). He finished third in the NHL in plus-minus with a career-high +28 rating, including a League-leading +21 away from home; shared the overall lead in takeaways with fellow Selke finalist Pavel Datsyuk (56); placed second in the NHL in face-off winning percentage (59.9%, 559-374); and played an average of 1:25 per game on the NHL’s third-ranked penalty-killing unit (87.2%). The Blackhawks captain is a Selke finalist for second time, having finished runner-up to Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler in 2011.
Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
Bergeron was the NHL’s top face-off man in 2012-13, winning 62.1% of his draws, as the Bruins ranked third League-wide in team defense (2.21 goals-against per game). He ranked sixth overall and led the Bruins in plus-minus with a +24 rating and played an average of 2:12 per game with his team shorthanded, slightly more than his per-game average on the Boston power-play (2:10). Bergeron is in quest of a repeat Selke win, having claimed the trophy last season in his first appearance as a finalist.
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
Datsyuk’s all-around game helped the Red Wings place fifth in the NHL in team defense (2.29 goals-against per game) — their stingiest performance since the 2007-08 Stanley Cup championship season. Datsyuk tied for the League lead in takeaways (56), topped the Red Wings in plus-minus (+21) and posted a 55.0% face-off winning percentage (488-399). The three-time Selke winner is a finalist for the sixth consecutive year, surpassing the streaks of Montreal’s Guy Carbonneau (1986 through 1990) and Bob Gainey (1978 through 1982) as the longest since the award was introduced in 1978.
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