Dylan Olsen to leave Duluth

Dylan Olsen is currently playing for Team Canada at the World Juniors and he won’t be returning to Minnesota-Duluth for the second half of the season.

Olsen will sign a three-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, Duluth News Tribune’s Kevin Pates reports. Olsen was a first-round pick of the Hawks.

This will probably draw some comparisons to the Kyle Okposo situation from a few years ago, when Okposo left Minnesota midway through the season to sign an NHL contract. But sources say that Olsen would have been academically ineligible for the second semester at Duluth.

The Bulldogs will get defenseman Justin Faulk back from Team USA next week, but will have to replace one of their top point-producing blue liners in Olsen.

Gameday final: UND 5, Duluth 0

TO ENTER THE LIVE CHAT, click here.

No TV tonight. Webcast is available here. Refs are Derek Shepherd and Marco Hunt. Also of note, the Sioux will be stranded on their second straight road trip. They planned to drive back after the game but will no longer do so.

First period

UND 1, Duluth 0 — Brad Malone (Chay Genoway, Danny Kristo) 10:06 (pp). Genoway skates around a couple of forecheckers in the zone and carries it low before finding Malone for a one-timer in the slot.

Second period

UND 2, Duluth 0 — Carter Rowney (Danny Kristo, Derrick LaPoint) 17:19. Kristo, holding the puck below the goal line, fed Rowney at the side of the crease. Crandall stopped Rowney’s first attempt, but he buried it on the second swing.

UND 3, Duluth 0 — Danny Kristo 17:33. Kristo got the puck on a two-on-one rush along the right wing. Kristo takes the shot as he’s falling and buries it for his second of the year.

UND 4, Duluth 0 — Matt Frattin (Evan Trupp) 18:33. Montgomery turns the puck over in the neutral zone, Trupp skates in on a breakaway and feeds Frattin instead of shooting. Frattin buries the one-timer.

Third period

UND 5, Duluth 0 — Brad Malone (Evan Trupp) 11:30 (sh). Trupp makes a brilliant play to pull two defenders his way, then makes a perfect feed to Malone in the slot. Malone hits the post with his first chance, but follows up and gets the rebound.

UND’s lines

19 Evan Trupp–22 Brad Malone–21 Matt Frattin
25 Jake Marto–10 Corban Knight–7 Danny Kristo
15 Brent Davidson–9 Mario Lamoureux–11 Derek Rodwell
8 Mike Cichy–27 Carter Rowney–13 Brett Bruneteau

24 Ben Blood–5 Chay Genoway
2 Andrew MacWilliam–3 Derrick LaPoint
18 Dillon Simpson–20 Joe Gleason

32 Aaron Dell
31 Brad Eidsness

Minnesota-Duluth’s lines

22 Mike Connolly–12 Jack Connolly–37 Justin Fontaine
23 J.T. Brown–11 Travis Oleksuk–17 Mike Seidel
27 David Grun–14 Keegan Flaherty–15 Jake Hendrickson
10 Dan DeLisle–19 Max Tardy–18 Joe Basaraba

28 Wade Bergman–2 Brady Lamb
8 Drew Olson–24 Mike Montgomery
6 Scott Kishel–26 Chad Huttel

31 Aaron Crandall
35 Kenny Reiter
30 Christian Gaffy

Governors make bet on tonight’s game

North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple and Minnesota Gov.-elect Mark Dayton have made a friendly wager on tonight’s Sioux-Bulldogs game at AmsOil Arena.

If the Sioux win, Dayton will send Dalrymple a thermos of Duluth’s famous Jitters coffee.

If the Bulldogs win, Dalrymple will send Dayton a case of North Dakota Dreamfields low-carb spaghetti.

“A UND victory in the new AmsOil Arena and having Gov.-elect Dayton hand over a thermos of Jitters coffee would be like having Christmas all over again,” Dalrymple said.

Dayton said: “I look forward to tasting North Dakota’s fresh pasta when the UMD Bulldogs win tonight!”

Jaden Schwartz may miss UND series

Colorado College star freshman forward Jaden Schwartz might not be in the lineup when UND travels to Colorado Springs in late January.

Schwartz suffered a fractured ankle at the World Junior Championship and is expected to be out for six weeks, according to the St. Louis Blues, who drafted Schwartz in the first round of June’s draft.

Schwartz, who was playing for Team Canada and will miss the rest of the World Juniors, currently has more points than anyone in the WCHA with 26 in 17 games played. He has 11 goals and 15 assists.

Schwartz has to be the front-runner for the WCHA rookie of the year award right now. The other contender, Denver’s Jason Zucker, also was injured at the World Junior Championship on Tuesday against Slovakia and he will miss tonight’s game against Germany. There have been no details released about Zucker’s injury, which occurred when he was cheap-shotted by a Slovakian player who has since been suspended for four games.

Zucker has 14 goals and 21 points in 20 games for the Pioneers.

USA Hockey has not said whether UND’s Brock Nelson will play in tonight’s game. He was injured during Sunday’s opener and did not play Tuesday.

It hasn’t been a kind World Juniors for the WCHA players.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Reply

Thursday afternoon reading

The grand opening of AmsOil Arena is only a few hours away and there’s definitely a buzz about it in Duluth. The Duluth News Tribune published a special section with loads of good info about the arena. Here are some of the interesting stories:

Photo gallery of the new arena.

Facts and figures about all 12 WCHA arenas.

Breakdown of the arena food/drinks.

Overall arena preview.

For UND, this seems like a re-run. Driving down U.S. Highway 2. Opening a new arena on the shores of a lake. Pregame ceremonial puck drops. Introduction of past greats during the intermission (Duluth will have an amazing list of former captains on hand). The Sioux ran through this drill with Bemidji State earlier this season.

My game day story and preview centers on that.

Minnesota-Duluth is expected to wear new home jerseys tonight. UND will likely wear its road greens.

That’s it for the abbreviated game day blog entry. Come back and join us for the live chat tonight. We’ll get it fired up at about 7 p.m. The game is not televised, so we’re expecting to have a lot of people logging on. We had more than 1,000 for both nights in Mankato.

Danny Mattson to Bemidji State

Chicago Steel forward Danny Mattson has changed his commitment from UND to Bemidji State.

Mattson confirmed the change on Thursday morning.

“It just didn’t work out with North Dakota,” he said.

Chicago Steel coach Jon Waibel said that Bemidji State presented a better opportunity for playing time for Mattson.

Mattson originally committed to UND in August 2007 while he was playing for Holy Angels in the Twin Cities. He was a top prospect who was projected to go as high as the second round in the 2009 NHL Draft. When the draft came around, however, Mattson went undrafted. He is a magician with the puck, but there were concerns about his grinding abilities.

Last year, he was traded from Omaha to Chicago in the USHL and his point production has started to take off this year. He has 11 points in 14 games.

Mattson’s playing time at UND may have been a question mark with several other high-end forwards committed for next season, like possible first-round picks Rocco Grimaldi and J.T. Miller. UND also has the ability to bring in high school graduates Colten St. Clair, Mark MacMillan, Brendan O’Donnell and Mike Parks.

The Sioux will graduate four senior forwards and could lose others to the pros.

The 1990-born Mattson is expected to join the Beavers next season. Mattson should immediately add some skill to the Bemidji State lineup.

USA 6, Slovakia 1, and more…

As expected the U.S. cruised past Slovakia today in the World Junior Championship, outshooting the Slovaks 22-1 in the first period en route to a 6-1 victory.

UND’s Brock Nelson did not play after suffering an injury against the Finns on Sunday. He is listed as day-to-day by USA Hockey. For more on USA’s win, see the recap in the Herald.

*****

I’ve been asking many, many times about TV for Thursday’s game against Duluth. It is being televised locally on My9TV, but won’t be available for those who don’t get that.

The game is scheduled to be webcasted on B2. If you want to check it out through that, go here.

Otherwise, we’ll be here with the live blog as always. You can chime in and offer some big ups to UND SID Jayson Hajdu, who made his girlfriend sweat it out for a few years, but finally popped the question last weekend (she said yes).

*****

Minnesota Gov.-elect Mark Dayton will drop the first puck at AmsOil Arena. Dayton is a former Yale goalie.

*****

Taylor Dickin has been added to the UND roster. He will wear No. 14 but won’t play this weekend.

*****

Duluth is expecting to get defenseman Wade Bergman back. That’s big considering the Bulldogs are already down Justin Faulk and Dylan Olsen. For the latest on the injuries on both sides, check out this story.

*****

The UND women are going up to Winnipeg on Thursday and Friday to play a couple of exhibitions. They will again be without the Lamoureux twins, who are with USA Hockey (they’ll be back for the next regular-season game, though).

Speaking of the Lamoureux twins, they were voted the third biggest sports story in the state of North Dakota this year by the media, behind the Sioux nickname retirement and the Bison making the FCS playoff quarterfinals. Yes, apparently making the quarterfinals is a bigger story than being the state’s two first female Olympic medalists.

*****

Revisiting the World Juniors that was in Grand Forks. It’s interesting to note that six players who were on Canada’s team are currently NHL captains. That’s amazing.

*****

SCSU forward David Eddy has regained his eligibility and is expected to be in the lineup today for the Huskies, according to the St. Cloud Times. Eddy is a speedy forward who should immediately add offense.

*****

Former Sioux Jonathan Toews left the Blackhawks game tonight with an injury. Hopefully it is not serious, but it has been that kind of year for former Sioux now in the NHL.

Weekly Wednesday update (on Tuesday)

UND will head to Duluth tomorrow for a showdown between two top-five teams in the country in the brand new AmsOil Arena.

The Sioux will be bringing a shorthanded lineup. UND will play its fifth straight game without forwards Brett Hextall and Jason Gregoire, both of whom are recovering from upper-body injuries. The Sioux also are without forward Brock Nelson and defenseman Derek Forbort, who are playing in the World Juniors.

That means we may see a lineup similar to the one that UND used against the U.S. Under-18 team (UND coach Dave Hakstol said there was one unnamed player who was injured in the U18 game, but he should be available for this weekend).

There may be some adjustments as well. Jake Marto started the week practicing at forward, but has moved back to defense now. Joe Gleason also is back at defense. Hakstol said he was impressed with the way Gleason played on the blue line against the U18s.

Taylor Dickin will not be available to play in this game.

Duluth will be a little thin on the blue line for this game, playing without Justin Faulk and Dylan Olsen — the team’s top two point-producing blue liners. Both are at the World Juniors.

This game is a nonconference tilt. We always talk about the importance of nonconference in the Pairwise. This one will be a little different, though.

One of the components in the Pairwise is “record against common opponents.” Because UND and non-WCHA teams have so few common opponents throughout the year, it magnifies the importance of those games.

Well, in this one, there’s no shortage of common opponents for UND and Duluth. But this game will determine which team gets one point for the “head-to-head record” portion of the Pairwise. That could help flip a comparison with Duluth. Also, there are obvious benefits to beating any top 5 team in the RPI portion of the Pairwise.

So, this one won’t have the same effects on the Pairwise that other nonconference games will, but it will still make it’s impact.

Parise may be done for year; Oshie skating

Zach Parise spent his Christmas break in Fargo this year.

But the holiday might not have been so great for the former UND forward. Upon returning to New Jersey he revealed that he will not start skating until March at the earliest. And while he’s still hoping to play a few games at the end of the season, it is possible that he won’t play again in 2010-11.

Parise had knee surgery in early November and hoped to be back on skates in late January or early February.

The Devils have gone in the tank without Parise, posting a 9-24-2 record — the worst mark in the NHL. They are 1-9 in their last 10 games, had a coaching change and reaching the playoffs is pretty much unattainable at this point.

Meanwhile, things appear to be going much better for T.J. Oshie.

The former Sioux forward, who suffered a fractured ankle, has resumed skating. There is still no timetable on a possible return, but the St. Louis Blues surely hope it is soon.

Oshie was the leading scorer of the Blues when he was injured on Nov. 10. The Blues currently are eighth in the Western Conference, very much in the playoff hunt.

Matt Greene on Food Network

Former UND defenseman Matt Greene is getting some more face time, baby.

Greene, an alternate captain for the Los Angeles Kings, was recently a celebrity judge on the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars.

Greene devoured a lot of cupcakes and helped some expert judges decide who gets to make and present cupcakes at a Los Angeles Kings game. I can’t embed NHL.com clips on the new blog, but you can view it here.