Bina earns UND honor

Tonight at the UND athletics banquet, defenseman Robbie Bina was named the male sports unsung hero.

Bina came back from a broken neck injury to post back-to-back great seasons. He earned all-WCHA third team honors as a senior and was named a finalist for the Lowe’s senior award.

Before the injury, Bina played 63 games and scored one goal and added 16 assists. That’s an average of 0.27 points per game.

After the injury, Bina played 86 games and had 12 goals and 45 assists. That’s an average of 0.66 points per game.

The awards:

Male athlete of the year: Weston Dressler, football.
Female athlete of the year: Kierah Kimbrough, basketball.
Male scholar-athlete of the year: Dressler.
Female scholar-athlete of the year: Casie Hanson, softball, hockey.
Male unsung hero: Bina.
Female unsung hero: Val Sannes, basketball.
Male rookie of the year: Joel Schwenzfeier, football.
Female unsung hero: Katie Girard, diving.

Playoff update

Here’s a rundown of former Sioux in the playoffs. Let me know who I left out. I’m bound to miss someone…

NHL

Dave Tippett, Rick Wilson and the Dallas Stars are on the brink of the Western Conference Finals. Dallas beat San Jose in overtime tonight to go up 3-0 in the series. Detroit is up 3-0 in the other Western Conference semifinal.

AHL

Karl Goehring and the Syracuse Crunch eliminated Brad Berry, Colby Genoway and the Manitoba Moose last night. It must have been an incredible series — five of the six games went to overtime. Goehring has been fantastic in the playoffs and was the subject of a big feature by his local paper. Read that here.

Goehring and the Crunch will play Toronto in the Calder Cup quarterfinals. One quarterfinal series has already started and Andy Schneider and the Portland Pirates are in a 2-0 hole against the Providence Bruins.

CHL

Brad Williamson, Aaron Schneekloth and the Colorado Eagles are in the President’s Cup Finals for the second straight season. The Eagles won it last season with both Williamson and Schneekloth on the roster.

Colorado won a Game 7 in the semifinals to get to the President’s Cup series this season. The Eagles will play the Arizona Sundogs in the finals.

The season in review

It’s been two weeks now since the season has ended. Last Sunday, there was a recap and look ahead in the paper. Here’s one last lookback at the season in my eyes:

Most forgettable moment of the year: Phil Lamoureux’s exhibition. Seems like it never happened. You know, the game where he played one period, saw two shots and allowed two goals? Lamoureux followed it up with three straight shutouts and wound up a Hobey finalist.

Most unforgettable moment of the year: Evan Trupp’s game-winning overtime goal against Minnesota. When ESPN.com’s David Albright, who was covering the series, called back to ESPN studios to tell them Trupp’s goal should be a top-10 play of the day, ESPN folks told Albright they were already aware of it.

Strangest moment of the year: Brad Miller’s goal from the bench. Never seen a guy score a goal and not be on the ice for it.

Funniest moment of the year: When the Michigan Tech fan took off his shirt and waved it around his head after Tech beat UND in Game 2 of the first-round series. That highlight clip was played during the Final Five banquet. The room was dead silent for all 15 minutes of the video with the exception of when that clip came on.

Most frustrating moment of the year: For me, it was standing outside of the Kohl Center in November for over an hour, unable to catch a cab after a game. The cab place had its phone off the hook and when I finally flagged one down, he drove off when I told him where I was going. If not for Capital Times writer Todd Milewski, I’d probably still be out there.

Favorite road trip: The Frozen Four in Denver. Between seeing a Rockies game, hanging out at Brooklyn’s, eating at the 16th Street Mall, having a deep late-night conversation with INCH’s Jess Myers and Lansing State Journal’s Neil Koepke, visiting Red Rocks and skiing at Keystone, Denver was quite a bit of fun.

Least favorite road trip: Duluth. Might have been more enjoyable if I wasn’t stuck in Grand Forks with the flu.

UND’s most exciting victory: The Denver comeback. Down 4-1 with 21 minutes to go, Ryan Duncan and Andrew Kozek made REA come alive.

UND’s most bitter defeat: The Michigan Tech comeback. With the crowd standing and roaring as the final seconds ticked off the clock, Tech scored shorthanded with 5 seconds left and won it in overtime to force a Game 3.

UND’s best performance: The Denver series finale in February. UND took the lead early and smothered the Pioneers throughout.

UND’s worst performance: The Boston College game at the Frozen Four. Offense, defense and goaltending — no part of UND’s game was as good as it had been in the previous few months.

Most memorable quote: Tech coach Jamie Russell: "To be honest with you, I thought the person doing the shot chart tonight was on crack, because it was totally out to lunch. And you can print that, too."

Rookie of the year: Trupp. Anyone realize that he had the same number of WCHA goals as Kyle Turris? Trupp was flashy, hard working and he scored big goals. UND’s power-play numbers and goals-per game went down without Trupp.

Biggest surprise: Chris VandeVelde. Yeah, we all saw what he had at the end of 2006-07. But did you really think he would more than triple his production?

Most underrated: Matt Watkins. He put together a very good season and will probably be one of the best penalty killers — if not the best — in 2008-09.

MVP: Lamoureux. UND would not have been in the Frozen Four if not for Lamoureux.

Former player of the year: Jonathan Toews. He scored on his first NHL shot and is one of the league’s stars after playing 60 games.

Recruit of the year: Jason Gregoire. Very tough to choose since so many recruits had fantastic seasons. But in Lincoln’s 31 games after Christmas, Gregoire was held without a point in just three. Considering that, can you believe that Gregoire’s strong defense is what first gets the attention of his coach?

Best idea of the year: The mustaches. They were classic.

Worst idea of the year: The mustaches. Do you know how hard it was to interview some of those guys with a straight face?

Potulny’s game and more

A lot of random notes for today…

We’ll start with the AHL playoffs, where Ryan Potulny played a game that he probably won’t ever forget. Read the Herald’s story here.

Also, the Manitoba Moose tied up their series 2-2 with the Syracuse Crunch tonight in a battle of former Sioux. Colby Genoway had two assists for the Moose, who are assisted by coach Brad Berry. The Moose finally found a way to solve Karl Goehring, who had been fantastic in the series for Syracuse.

*****

In Canadian Junior A hockey, Sioux recruit Andrew MacWilliam and the Camrose Kodiaks won the Doyle Cup on Friday night. They defeated UND recruit Brett Hextall and the Penticton Vees to win the series between the AJHL and BCHL champs 4-1. MacWilliam had an assist in Game 5. Camrose advances to the Royal Bank Cup, which will be played in Ontario from May 3-11.

In other AJHL news, Sun Media is reporting that Camrose forward and Denver recruit Joe Colbourne will be named Canada’s Junior A player of the year. Hextall also was a finalist for the honor.

*****

Sioux players have worked themselves into recent issues of both Sports Illustrated and ESPN The Magazine.

There’s a great story in ESPN The Magazine about Shattuck-St. Mary’s. The article mentions several Sioux players — current, former and future. There’s also a big photo of UND recruit David Toews along with Emerson Etem and Jordy Murray. They are dressed in their school clothes with skates on, standing in the middle of the rink.

Check that story out here.

Sports Illustrated listed the five current college hockey players who will make the biggest impact in the pros. Their list: T.J. Oshie, New Hampshire’s James vanRiemsdyk, Michigan’s Max Pacioretty, Michigan’s Kevin Porter and Notre Dame’s Ian Cole.

SI’s description of Oshie: Creative and enthusiastic in the Scott Gomez mold, he makes the players around him better. At 6 feet and 192 pounds, he will most likely bypass the minors and go straight to the NHL.

*****

Ironically, just as the ESPN The Magazine story hits newsracks, it is announced that J.P. Parise is leaving the school to become the head coach at Des Moines in the USHL. There’s another attraction for those of you looking forward to the Fargo Force next season — to see Dean Blais coach against Parise.

It will be interesting to see what affect Parise’s departure will have on the Shattuck program. He was the guy that got it all started.

*****

The NHL profiled five of the biggest jumpers in the draft rankings. UND recruit Corey Fienhage is one of the five featured. See that article here.

The most complete player in Lincoln history

The Lincoln Star-Journal ran a big piece today on recruit Jason Gregoire.

The paper and the Lincoln Stars organization have tabbed Gregoire as the most complete player in the 12-year history of the franchise — one that has included Hobey Baker Award finalists Phil Lamoureux, Brandon Bochenski and Ryan Potulny, as well as Bryan Lundbohm, David Backes and Danny Irmen.

The Star-Journal listed 17 reasons why No. 17 is the most complete player in team history.

An example:

4. Gregoire makes others look foolish. Regulars at the Ice Box won’t soon forget a game against Ohio. It was a 3-on-1 situation. Gregoire was the one, but he took the puck away from three Ohio players in their zone and even managed to get a shot off. "When two coaches on the other bench look at your bench and just shake their head with a grin, that showed the kid’s pretty special," longtime trainer Corey Courtney said. "They can’t get mad. It’s just like, ‘What do you do?’"

For more, read the story here.

NHL releases final draft rankings

The NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau released its final rankings for the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, which will be held in June in Ottawa.

Defenseman Corey Fienhage is the highest-rated Sioux recruit on the list. He’s ranked 36th. Danny Kristo is right behind him at 37th.

Other Sioux recruits include David Toews at No. 79, Andrew MacWilliam at No. 147 and Joe Gleason at No. 178.

Recruit Mike Fink was ranked No. 130 at mid-term but he is not ranked anymore.

Roseau defenseman Aaron Ness (Minnesota recruit) is at No. 27. He could be the first top-round pick from Section 8 since 2005, when Brian Lee and T.J. Oshie were selected at No. 9 and No. 24.

Here is the list of the top 10 plus all of the college hockey players. Let me know if I’ve missed anyone (I’m sure I have…). In parenthesis is the player’s movement since mid-term rankings.

North American skater final rankings (Complete rankings here)

1. Steven Stamkos, F, OHL
2. Zach Bogosian, D, OHL
3. Drew Doughty, D, OHL
4. Tyler Myers, D, WHL
5. Luke Schenn, D, WHL
6. Alex Pietrangelo, D, OHL
7. Kyle Beach, F, WHL
8. Zach Boychuck, WHL
9. Cody Hodgson, F, OHL
10. Colin Wilson, F, Boston University (top college player)
16. Zac Dalpe, F, Ohio State recruit
17. John Carlson, D, UMass recruit
23. Jake Gardiner, D, Wisconsin recruit (top WCHA player)
27. Aaron Ness, Roseau senior and Minnesota recruit (+8)
28. Joe Colbourne, F, Denver recruit

34. Cody Goloubef, D, Wisconsin
36. Corey Fienhage, D, UND recruit (+25)
37. Danny Kristo, UND recruit (+3)

38. Justin Schultz, D, Wisconsin recruit
41. Brandon Burlon, D, Michigan recruit
47. Daultan McMillan, F, Michigan State recruit
49. Corey Trivino, F, Boston University recruit
52. Nick Larson, F, uncommitted
54. Justin Jokinen, F, Mankato recruit
58. Derek Stepan, F, Wisconsin recruit
60. David Carle, D, Denver recruit

63. Jimmy Hayes, F, Boston College recruit
77. Patrick Weircioch, D, Wisconsin recruit
78. Nate Condon, F, Minnesota recruit and Fargo Force player
79. David Toews, F, UND recruit (-8)
81. David Warsofsky, D, Boston University recruit
84. Taylor Stefishen, F, Ohio State recruit
85. Brodie Reid, F, Northeastern recruit
87. Seth Soley, F, Michigan Tech recruit
88. Robbie Czarnik, F, Michigan recruit
90. Max Nicastro, D, Boston University recruit

100. Justin Daniels, F, Northeastern recruit
102. Drew Olson, D, Duluth recruit
103. Mark Goggin, F, Dartmouth recruit
105. Jack Downing, F, Vermont
109. Drew Daniels, F, Northeastern recruit
112. Anders Lee, F, uncommitted
113. Justin Florek, F, Northern Michigan recruit
114. Tyler Barnes, F, Wisconsin recruit
117. Marshall Everson, F, Harvard recruit

123. Julien Cayer, F, Clarkson recruit
126. Antoine Laganiere, F, uncommitted
131. Steve Quailer, F, Northeastern recruit
132. Nik Pokulok, D, Clarkson recruit
133. Jord Samuels-Thomas, F, Bowling Green recruit
135. Vinny Saponari, F, Boston University recruit
136. Chase Drake, D, uncommitted
138. Patrick Mullane, F, Boston College recruit
140. Greg Burke, F, New Hampshire recruit
141. Danny New, D, Providence recruit
143. Joseph Campanelli, F, Yale recruit
145. Paul Lee, F, Dartmouth recruit
146. Greg Pateryn, D, Michigan recruit
147. Andrew MacWilliam, D, UND recruit (-88)
148. Cam Atkinson, F, Boston College recruit
150. Jared Festler, F, St. Cloud State recruit

152. Jake Youso, F, Minnesota recruit
155. Eric Filiou, F, UMass recruit
157. Bryce Aneloski, D, Providence recruit
158. Tyler Gron, F, Northern Michigan recruit
159. Alexander Fallstrom, F, uncommitted
160. Russell Goodman, F, Colorado College recruit
161. Luke McManus, D, Duluth recruit
163. Richard Manley, F, uncommitted
165. Kurtis Bartliff, F, Colgate recruit
167. Derrick Pallis, D, Princeton recruit
170. Brett Berlini, F, Michigan State recruit
172. David Wohlberg, F, Michigan recruit
173. Jordy Murray, F, Wisconsin recruit
174. Jake Hendrickson, F, Duluth recruit
176. Scott Winkler, F, Colorado College recruit
178. Joe Gleason, D, UND recruit (+10)

181. Lee Moffie, D, Michigan recruit
183. Tyler Thompson, F, Mankato recruit
184. Ben Smith, F, Boston College
185. Peter Starrett, D, Harvard recruit
186. Ryan Hegarty, D, Maine recruit
189. Steven Spinell, D, Miami recruit
190. Max Cook, F, Miami recruit
191. Sam Lofquist, D, Minnesota recruit
192. Austin Handley, D, Michigan State recruit
194. John O’Neill, F, Duluth recruit
195. Nick Oddo, F, Nebraska-Omaha recruit
196. Nick Tremblay, F, Clarkson recruit
199. Brock Montpetit, F, Wisconsin recruit
201. Nick Prockow, F, Colgate recruit
203. Sean Lorenz, D, Notre Dame recruit
204. Drew LeBlanc, F, St. Cloud State recruit
205. Ryan Grimshaw, D, Harvard recruit
207. Mark Olver, F, Northern Michigan
208. Nick Pryor, D, Wisconsin recruit
209. Erik Gustafsson, D, Northern Michigan
210. Jeff Ryan, F, uncommitted
211. Robert Shea, D, Bowling Green recruit
217. Ben Albertson, F, Vermont recruit

Calder Q&A

Former Sioux forward Jonathan Toews was on an NHL conference call yesterday along with Pat Kane and Nicklas Backstrom to discuss the Calder Trophy. They are the three finalists for the rookie of the year award. Here is the transcript courtesy NHL media relations:

Q. For Patrick and Jonathan, going after the same award, how do the two of you feel about that?

PATRICK KANE: I think it’s special. I mean, especially for both of us to come in together and have a lot of pressure on us, and you know, kind of be the face of the franchise, come in and have pretty good years, and it’s nice to be nominated.

I mean we’ve been together pretty much the whole year through everything. We’ve roomed together and it’s nice to be together again and be nominated with each other.

Q. Jonathan, if you could talk about it, as well.

JONATHAN TOEWS: I think Patrick said it. It’s special, and we did so many things together on and off the ice: We were linemates, we were roommates on the road, a lot of professional stuff in Chicago that we were always included in. So a lot of the things we had to face as rookies and young players in the National Hockey League, we dealt with together.

So for us to be sitting here today and have the honor of being recognized and having the chance to win this award, I think it’s special for us and a lot of this we owe to our teammates, our coaches; but I think that we helped each other get here, too.

Q. Just a thought on how many rookies guys have pretty good years and maybe how special it is to be singled out, certainly the Edmonton guys came hard at the end, Price in Montréal, your thoughts on a lot of first-year players who made this race interesting.

NICKLAS BACKSTROM: I think there’s a lot of good players, I mean, I think a whole bunch of young players have stepped up this season, I mean, I think it’s special for us. I think there are many good, young players.

PATRICK KANE: It was a good race. As far as us three, I think we were kind of, you know, with each other the whole year as far as points went and Mueller was up there and you’ve even got the Edmonton kid, and Price came on strong at the end, too.

I think it’s a special year for rookies. There’s a lot of good players out there and there really wasn’t one that controlled everything over the other one. We were all pretty even, and us three being nominated is pretty special and it’s nice to be part of it.

JONATHAN TOEWS: I think Patrick and Nicklas both said, there’s no denying how many good young players there are around the league this year. So congratulations to all those players still playing and making a huge difference for their teams in the playoffs right now.

I think it’s an honor for us to be the last three and be nominated for this award and have a chance to join the club of all those players who have won it in previous years and gone on to have great years in the National Hockey League.

So I think we all know, if the other guy wins it, that, you know, I think Patrick and Nicklas are both going to be superstars in this league. I think it will be exciting to see how all three of us do down the road. I think we are going to have a great time in June at the NHL banquet.

Q. For Patrick and Jonathan, is this another indicator of the resurgence this year of the Blackhawks with having the two Rookie of the Year candidates?

JONATHAN TOEWS: I guess so. I think to a certain extent, there’s quite a few exciting games, especially halfway and near the end of the year where we are trying to make playoffs, and a lot of those games were team efforts.

But I think a lot of the time, you know, Patrick and I got a lot of the credit for some of those games. Although there was a lot of hype and a lot of pressure, I think we played well enough through those games and throughout the season just to kind of dragging out that whole situation of everything kind of being… I guess a rebirth you could say in Chicago. I guess you could say it’s the best time possible for us to start our career in a situation like that and regardless of what’s going to happen the next month or so with the Calder Award, I think we are excited about our situation in Chicago and the opportunities.

PATRICK KANE: I think if you look back at it, I don’t think we could have went into a better situation in our rookie year. We got a lot of ice time. Hardy and Savy played us a lot and never really got down on us too hard. That was nice, too. He gave us a lot of confidence to kind of do our thing on the ice and keep playing.

But there are so many good players on the team that kind of, you know, like Jonathan said, didn’t really get a lot of the credit because we were there, and I think that was unfair. But at the same time, it’s nice that the Blackhawks are back and it’s nice that we are winning games again. And we were only three points out of the playoffs.

But at the same time, I mean, next year we have to make sure we’re not in that situation where we’re playing for our lives the last two months of the season. We know we have to win every game.

It’s a tough season and it’s too tough of a league to do that. So I think next year will be better and hopefully we’ll get there and make the playoffs and do some damage in the playoffs.

Q. If you could offer the best tip you received for the upcoming entry draft in June, what might that be; the best tip that you received in the NHL this year whether be from a coach or player that you might be able to offer a player in the upcoming entry draft that’s going to be drafted, what might that tip be?

NICKLAS BACKSTROM: I think there’s a lot of young players out there… I don’t have a good answer, sorry.

PATRICK KANE: I guess just have fun with it. You know, you come into the NHL and you’re so worried about playing good that you realize that you get away from hockey and you realize that it’s just a game once the season goes on, and you know, sometimes you get caught up in it. Obviously it’s the NHL and it’s the best league in the world, but you know, at the same time, you’ve really got to realize that it’s just hockey and you have to go out and have fun and do those things and play hard.

JONATHAN TOEWS: Yeah, I think so. I think Patrick is right. There are a lot of things that you can’t control in our game. You never know what you’re going to run into, whether it’s politics or anything like that. That’s just the way it goes.

Pretty much all you can do is just work hard and have fun and enjoy the game and if you’re a good player and you have a work ethic and that dream, I highly doubt there’s anyone that can stop from you doing it.

Q. And how important was the GM, Dale Tallon, in making the transition to the NHL?

PATRICK KANE: He’s great. He’s definitely a players’ GM, a lot of jokes going around the room and he’s a fun guy to be around. I think any time you talk to him, he shows you the confidence that he has in you and shows why he drafted you. He keeps telling you the right things to do and make sure you’re working hard.

I know he pulled me aside one time in the season to make sure I was doing the right things to my body and make sure I was doing the right things in practice, working hard. And it just shows; he’s a great guy, but he really cares about the team. And as far as he is funny, he just cares about winning games and I think he’s a lot of fun around the room, but he’s a great GM I think.

JONATHAN TOEWS: I agree. I think he has that ability to lighten things up in the locker room and guys enjoy being around him. He doesn’t make you feel like everything is business all the time.

But I think he’s got the players’ respect and everybody in the locker room, so when he comes in and tells you something, you’re going to listen to him. So I think just the way he goes about things, especially around us, the players, and you know, what he does goes a long way with us.

Q. Growing up in Winnipeg what has the ride been like and what have you learned in those earlier years that have stuck with you along the way?

JONATHAN TOEWS: I don’t know. I guess you learn so much over the years. I was fortunate to be a part of some great teams in minor hockey and then played for some coaches who cared about me and cared about their players and taught me a heck of a lot.

And I owe a lot to my parents, growing up, just learning and knowing what a work ethic is and what it takes to have success. So I think that starts when you’re young and when you have a dream.

I think even early on, I knew and believed in myself that I would be able to play in the National Hockey League, but sometimes when it does happen, you’ve got to pinch yourself. It’s kind of weird at first, but it’s been exciting, and after all those years, I can definitely say I have no regrets.

Q. You guys assisted on each other’s goals so much and played on the same line. If one of you wins it, does it kind of feel like if one of you wins it, that it’s an award for both of you?

PATRICK KANE: Yeah, I think so. Like I said, we’ve been together so much throughout the year. There’s probably only a handful of games that we really weren’t on the same line, and if one of us doesn’t really win, it it’s just a tribute to the other what they have done. It’s pretty much an award for the Blackhawks either way. If one of us wins, it’s just another thing to kind of top off the season and realize that the buzz is back with the Blackhawks. That’s all that really matters I think.

Obviously I think we would both give it up for a chance to be in the playoffs right now and be playing for a Stanley Cup, but it’s nice to be recognized and it’s nice to at least be nominated for the award. Just that in itself is an honor.

JONATHAN TOEWS: Yeah, I agree, in a lot of ways we owe the nomination and the attention we have got to everyone we played with and our coaching staff for giving us the opportunity to go out and play our game.

Like you said, I think not only on the ice, not only as far as goals and assists that we produced, I think we went through a lot of things together on and off the ice. We roomed together and we did a lot of things away from the rink, and I think every step of the way, I think we’ve always been there. It’s kind of like having Patrick around is kind of like having a shoulder to lean on almost.

So I think we’ve helped each other get through that, and I think it’s been much more enjoyable having a guy like Patrick around all the time. So for us it’s an honor to be in this boat together and to represent our team like this.

Q. How did the coaching change affect your season specifically?

NICKLAS BACKSTROM: It’s tough to go over there and it was a lot different but he changed a lot of things, he changed the system and I got more ice time and I feel more comfortable out there. Having more ice time gives me more confidence and everything like that. So he helped the team a lot and he turned around everything. I mean, he’s been a good help for me. I’m glad that he took over, and so that’s why we made the playoffs and that’s pretty good.

Q. I know it’s soon, but has anybody contacted you about playing in the World Championship yet?

NICKLAS BACKSTROM: I haven’t talked to coach. We’ll see what happens. I’ll just wait and see.

Q. Patrick and Jonathan, you guys accomplished a lot together this year, but in a couple of weeks you’ll be going head-to-head at the World Championship in Halifax. What’s that going to be like, and any predictions on who is going to come out object top?

PATRICK KANE: We’ll see what happens. It will be fun to play against him. I’ve been playing with him the whole year and it will be nice to be on the other side. Obviously you don’t want to play against him but it will be a little different. We’ll see what happens. We have some other teammates with Duncan Keith and Patrick Sharp, so it will be interesting to play against them guys, too.

JONATHAN TOEWS: Yeah, I think it will be fun, have a different look at it, see him on the other side, and so I think it will be fun for all of us to be in that together.

But regardless, you know, I think business is business. The fact that he’s going to be on the other side of the rink will only I guess add to the fact that we want to play hard in that game. So we’re looking forward to it and I think the U.S. and Canada will be two strong teams. So we’ll probably run into each other more than once.

Q. Who would you vote for for the Calder Trophy if you had the chance?

JONATHAN TOEWS: I don’t know, that’s a tough thing. With Nicklas on the line, I think we have to go right ahead and give him credit for everything he’s accomplished this year. He’s an incredible player and proved that in the playoff series, and congratulations to him for doing so well and everything that he did.

I think we are a little biased on this. I would go right ahead and if I couldn’t vote for myself, I’d have to go ahead and say Patrick I guess, just because I’ve seen him firsthand all year and he’s proved to me what kind of player and person he is.

PATRICK KANE: I think he said it pretty good. I know with Nicklas, we were kind of playing for the scoring race right up to the end there. And I know I would be watching games, watching his games and be marveling at some of the plays he was making. He’s a great passer and really sets up plays good.

It’s tough. I mean, I’ve played with him the whole year and he’s a great two?way player and he’s easy to get on with on and off the ice. It would be tough not to vote for Jonathan. I think if he had a couple more games under his belt and not get injured, there might be a different story and we would probably know who would win this award.

Two arrested in Fargo vandalism

The Associated Press is reporting that two men are in custody following the vandalism of the construction site at the Urban Plains Center — the future home of the Fargo Force.

The report says the men are 24 years old and that the vandalism was "just a random drunken act of criminal mischief."

It is expected to cost $500,000. Police are saying that they believe the evidence is very good in this case, according to the report.

Kristo, Ness win bronze

The Americans bounced back from the semifinal loss to Russia to win the bronze medal at the World Under-18 tournament.

Sioux recruit Danny Kristo capped an outstanding tournament with a goal and an assist, while Roseau defenseman Aaron Ness had two assists in a 6-3 win over Sweden. The tournament likely solidified Kristo and Ness as top-two round picks in the draft this summer.

Kristo’s goal came on a wrist shot from the right circle. The team captain beat the Swedish goalie on the short side.

Under-17 team star Jet Morin and Michigan recruit Robbie Czarnik also had a pair of goals for the Americans.

Box score:

USA 6, SWE 3

First period — 1. SWE, Hedman (Lander) 14:23 (pp); 2. USA, Bourque (McRae) 19:10; 3. USA, Czarnik (Kristo) 19:26
Second period — 4. USA, Czarnik (Ness, Palmieri) 5:12; 5. USA, Morin (Grimshaw, Saponari) 7:34; 6. SWE, Bjorklund 10:39; 7. SWE, Lundberg (Karlsson) 14:22; 8. USA, Kristo (Ness, Czarnik) 19:20
Third period — 9. USA, Morin (Schroeder, Warsofsky) 15:37
Goalie saves — USA: Maxwell 42; SWE: Markstrom 17

Toews named Calder finalist

Former Sioux player Jonathan Toews is a finalist for the Calder Trophy, which goes to the NHL’s rookie of the year.

Toews is bidding to become UND’s second Calder winner. The first was Ed Belfour, who was a Chicago Blackhawk like Toews. Belfour won the trophy in 1991.

Toews will be going against teammate Pat Kane and Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom for the award.

Toews finished third in rookie scoring with 24 goals, 30 assists and 54 points. If not for an injury that held him out of 18 games, Toews would probably be a strong favorite to win it. Toews still scored more goals than any NHL rookie.

Kane had 21 goals, 51 assists and 72 points. Backstrom had 14 goals, 55 assists and 69 points.

The NHL awards will be given out June 12 in Toronto.

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