Random updates

The open UND assistant coach position closed yesterday, which means we’re getting closer to the inevitable, but don’t expect the announcement of Brad Berry’s hiring to come this week.

UND’s human resources will have to screen the candidates and do background checks among other things, which slows down the process. It may be a week or two before they have the go-ahead to officially make the hire.

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College Hockey Inc., will be structured differently beginning this coming season. Instead of just the commissioners from each conference overseeing the entity, each league will also have one coach or athletic director representative.

The word is that Sioux coach Dave Hakstol will likely be the WCHA’s representative this season.

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Earlier in the week, Pat Sieloff became the 8th NTDP player to break a college commitment to go to the CHL in the last 10 month. The Miami recruit signed with Windsor of the OHL.

Miami, which has been hit as hard by CHL defections as UND, now will try to hang on to NTDP forward recruit Riley Barber.

More coming later on the NTDP defections.

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Chris Heisenberg, who runs the comprehensive college hockey recruiting database, has launched his 2013 page here. He has reorganized the lists to reflect the new conferences.

Frattin out for four months

Matt Frattin scored his AHL playoff-leading 10th goal to clinch the Toronto Marlies’ series victory over Oklahoma City in the semifinals.

But that goal will cost him the next four months.

Frattin suffered a season-ending knee injury that will force him to have surgery. Damien Cox of the Toronto Star reported that the surgery is expected to keep Frattin out for the next four months, which means he will miss training camp.

The Calder Cup Finals between Toronto and the Norfolk Admirals will begin Friday night.

Frattin played most of the season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, scoring eight goals and 15 points in 56 games for the Leafs. General manager Brian Burke moved Frattin and Jake Gardiner back to the AHL for the playoff run at the end of the season.

Frattin is a restricted free agent this summer. Look for the Leafs to lock him up, as Burke is a big fan.

Gothberg, Schmaltz named all-USHL first team

UND incoming freshmen Zane Gothberg and Jordan Schmaltz have been named first-team all-United States Hockey League. Schmaltz is the first player since 1994-95 to receive this honor in back-to-back seasons.

Gothberg, a goalie for the Fargo Force, posted a .921 save percentage and a 2.22 goals-against average. He was named co-goalie of the year in the league. Gothberg was selected by the Boston Bruins in the sixth round of the 2010 NHL Draft.

Schmaltz, a defenseman, finished second in the USHL in blue liner scoring with 41 points (10 goals, 31 assists) in 55 games. He helped the Green Bay Gamblers win the Clark Cup as USHL playoff champs.

Round 1 to Greene, Kings

Matt Greene and the Los Angeles Kings moved to 9-0 on the road this postseason and 13-2 overall in the playoffs with a 2-1 overtime win over the New Jersey Devils in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Greene led the Kings with five hits and in shorthanded time on ice.

UND’s Zach Parise and Travis Zajac were held without a point and both ended the night with a minus-2 rating, while playing more than 20 minutes.

Game 2 is at 7 p.m. Saturday in New Jersey.

Stanley Cup Finals notes and stories

We’re a few hours away from Game 1 of the all-UND battle in the Stanley Cup Finals.

For today’s paper, I wrote a story about the Zach Parise and Matt Greene connection. They were roommates as freshmen in Walsh Hall and some of their old teammates had some funny stories about that.

For Tuesday’s paper, I wrote about Travis Zajac, who has by far the best faceoff percentage of any centermen in the Stanley Cup Finals. Zajac also is tied for the lead in goals among players in the finals. That’s pretty impressive for a guy who went undrafted in his first year of draft eligibility.

It was fun talking to some old teammates of Parise, Greene and Zajac. The common thread between all of them is how hard they worked and how professional they were when it came time to practice and play.

They’ve all become leaders of their NHL teams and UND will add to its Stanley Cup winner list this summer.

College Hockey Inc., compiled a list of college hockey’s Cup champions (as players) and posted it here. One thing you realize when  you start looking at the list is that Sioux fans have been pretty spoiled with former players making deep Cup runs in recent years.

Colorado College has only had one former player win the Cup ever. And Denver hasn’t had a Cup champion in 18 years.

Most recent Cup champions per WCHA team

North Dakota, 2010, Jonathan Toews (Chicago)
Wisconsin, 2010, Adam Burish (Chicago)
Minnesota, 2009, Alex Goligoski (Pittsburgh)
Minnesota State, 2007, Ryan Carter (Anaheim)
St. Cloud State, 2007, Joe Motzko (Anaheim)
Minnesota-Duluth, 2002, Brett Hull (Detroit)
Michigan Tech, 2000, Randy McKay (New Jersey)
Alaska Anchorage, 1995, Mike Peluso (New Jersey)
Colorado College, 1994, Doug Lidster (NY Rangers)
Denver, 1994, Glenn Anderson (NY Rangers)
Bemidji State, 1989, Joel Otto (Calgary)
Nebraska Omaha none

Stanley Cup Finals quotes

Below is the transcript from Travis Zajac and Zach Parise’s press conferences on media day at the Stanley Cup Finals. I also included a quote from Devils coach Peter DeBoer on naming Parise captain.

The Cup Finals begin at 7 p.m. tomorrow.

Q. Talk about the decision when you came in to make Zach captain.
COACH DeBOER: I think his reputation preceded him with how hard he works and what a pro he is. It only took me a week being around him to see for me he exuded everything we needed out of that position. He walked the walk. He was humble. He let his play do the talking for him. He had the respect of everybody in the room. We had other candidates, obvious, Elias, Kovalchuk, all the guys wearing the As. I felt very comfortable with what Zach represented and I also felt comfortable he had a very good group around him that would help him with the position, with Elias, Brodeur, Kovalchuk, Salvador, Tallinder, those guys.

TRAVIS ZAJAC Q&A

Q. Players talk about watching games from the press box. Did you learn anything during that period?
TRAVIS ZAJAC: The game looks a lot easier from up there. That’s for sure (laughter). No, you watch, you see things. But as soon as you get on the ice, that all changes. There’s a lot less time when you get back in the games. Just watching the team, watching the guys, I knew we definitely had a special group this year.

Q. How long did it take to adjust to that?
TRAVIS ZAJAC: I wasn’t here all season. But watching the guys, you know, they were great. I think as the season went on, they started to build their confidence and play better. By the end of the season, we went on a six?game winning streak in the playoffs, which is huge at that time of year.

Q. On the Kings…
TRAVIS ZAJAC: Yeah, obviously don’t know much about them besides watching video the last few days here. They look like they got some skill up front, they got big forwards. They got D men that can jump in and play. They have Doughty who is a skilled D man who can make plays. They have a great goalie back there who has played well for them in the playoffs. It’s going to be a difficult test for us.

Q. On the support from the local fans this time of year…
TRAVIS ZAJAC: This is definitely not normal. Around here, for sure. You know, you just try and enjoy it, take it all in. In the back of your mind, you know what is important, and that’s getting ready for Game 1.

Q. Has it hit you at this point?
TRAVIS ZAJAC: It’s pretty wild. Obviously a dream come true. Growing up you want to play in the Stanley Cup Final, have that chance. Sometimes you got to pinch yourself. But for us, you know, we got some work left to do and we want to be successful.

Q. You see a team that has done so well, especially on the road, how challenging are they?
TRAVIS ZAJAC: They’re a great team. Obviously for them to be here, they deserve it. They’ve beat a lot of good teams along the way. So for us it’s going to be important to get a good start, make sure maybe we can surprise them.

Q. How much has Kovy changed as a player since he came in till now?
TRAVIS ZAJAC: He’s always been successful wherever he’s played. Coming in, he wanted to work on different parts of his game, you know what, all ends of the rink. He’s a responsible player. He back checks hard. He’s great in the D zone. He recognizes when he has to chip pucks in and when he can make a play. He’s still going to go out there and make a great play and be a dynamic player. Right now he’s responsible at both ends of the ice. He’s basically a complete player for us.

Q. Do you get a sense what this means for him?
TRAVIS ZAJAC: Yeah, I mean, for us he’s been a huge part of why we’ve been successful. I know it means a lot to him. He wants to compete hard. He wants to win. We knew that. When we first got him, we saw that, the type of teammate he was, the type of leader he was. It’s just peaking at the right time and putting everything together. Right now we have that chance.

ZACH PARISE Q&A

Q. How does this feel?
ZACH PARISE: It’s excitement really. A little nervous. Maybe today now going through all this, but I guess it hasn’t really sunk in that we’re in the Final yet. But we got a lot of work. That’s the thought process. We got a lot of work to do. We know how great a team L.A. is.

Q. Did you envision the Stanley Cup at all at the end of this series?
ZACH PARISE: I try not to think about that. Like I said, there’s so much that has to be done before you even start to think about that.

Q. How do you try to keep it as normal as possible as crazy as it is?
ZACH PARISE: I’m sure once the games start that it’s going to be normal for everybody. This is all the stuff that comes around with it. It’s fun, being on the big stage. But I think once warmup starts, everyone understands where we are, what we have to do.

Q. Did you think you’d be here at the beginning of the season?
ZACH PARISE: I mean, you always believe that you do and you always hope right from the beginning that you’ve got a good enough team. But it was hard for us just because we didn’t have Travis right out of training camp. Jake got hurt. Right away the guys they penciled in as one and two centers were gone. Once Travis got back, really gave our team a lot of depth. Once he got comfortable playing again, we strung together I think six or seven in a row at the end of the season. It’s about peaking at the right time. I think the way we played against Philadelphia really, really made everyone believe that we had a really good chance, just as good a chance as everybody.

Q. Where were you this time last year?
ZACH PARISE: I think I was on a fishing trip in Canada this time last year.

Q. Did you watch Game 7 of the Cup Final last year?
ZACH PARISE: I didn’t watch Game 7. We had an option whether we wanted to come back in and watch the game or keep fishing. We decided to keep fishing. I didn’t get a chance to watch the seventh game, but we watched them all leading up to that.

Q. On playing L.A.…
ZACH PARISE: I mean, yeah. Seems like during the season you play the Rangers or Flyers every other week. We played L.A. twice, but it was in October, early games. They’ve had a lot of changes with coaches and trades. You try to be as prepared as you can. We watched a lot of video, what they’ve done throughout the whole playoffs, made us prepared. We know what to expect.

Q. On Quick…
ZACH PARISE: He’s playing with confidence. We ran into the same thing with last series with Lundqvist, with how well he was playing. Lundqvist had been playing great all the way up to the series. It’s the same. Every goalie in this league is very good. More often than not, if they see the puck, they’re going to stop it. You’re always saying the same things: get traffic around them, get rebounds, make it hard for them, stay deep. Looks like he’s playing confident. You can tell how aggressive he is with shots, how he’s challenging the plays. You can tell he feels really good about the way he’s playing.

Parise, Zajac join Greene in Stanley Cup Finals

A former Sioux player will add his name to the Stanley Cup this year.

Zach Parise, Travis Zajac and the New Jersey Devils clinched their spot in the Stanley Cup Finals on Friday night, knocking out the New York Rangers in overtime of Game 6.

Parise and Zajac will play against former teammate Matt Greene and the Los Angeles Kings in the finals. That series begins Wednesday in New Jersey.

If the Devils win, it will mark the second time in three years that a former Sioux captained a team to a Stanley Cup.

The Herald will have much more coming up on the Cup Finals between now and Wednesday.

Frattin leads Marlies to Calder Cup Finals

Matt Frattin’s Beast Mode has hit the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Frattin scored two goals to give the Toronto Marlies a 3-1 victory over the Oklahoma City Barons to clinch a spot in the Calder Cup Finals (Chris VandeVelde scored the lone goal for the Barons).

Frattin leads the AHL playoffs in goals with 10, and he was trending on Twitter in all of Canada after his two-goal performance in Game 3.

The Marlies will take on the Norfolk Admirals, who I believe are 39-3 in the last 42 games and big favorites to win the Calder Cup.

But the Maple Leafs put Frattin and Jake Gardiner, who are NHL players, in with the Marlies for the playoff run and they are 11-2 in the playoffs.

Frattin is being talked about as a leading candidate for MVP honors at this point.

Parise, Zajac leading New Jersey

Since the New Jersey Devils went down 2-1 in the series against the New York Rangers, former Sioux forwards Zach Parise and Travis Zajac have taken over.

Parise and Zajac have outscored the entire Rangers team (5-4) in the last two games as the Devils have grabbed a 3-2 series lead.

The Toronto Globe and Mail says that Parise is one of the top candidates for the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, and that Zajac is an honorable mention.

Both have seven goals in the playoffs, which is just one off the NHL lead. They also rank in the top eight in playoff points. Here’s what they’ve done to get the Devils back in the series: