Random updates

We had our season wrap-up press conference yesterday at Ralph Engelstad Arena. Coach Dave Hakstol said he’s had time to reflect a little bit on the season and he gave his thoughts. They will be relayed in a story in Sunday’s paper.

As we all know, there are several non-seniors who will face tough decisions in the next month or so. Should they stay or should they sign a pro contract? Hakstol said that it will be important for them to take the emotion from Thursday’s game out of their decision process.

I doubt if there’s any specific timetable for these decisions.

The players are taking a couple of weeks off to get away from the rink, relax and re-charge the batteries. Then, in late April, they will be back in the gym getting ready for the 2011-12 season.

Speaking of the 2011-12 season, the composite WCHA schedule has been posted around the interweb, but I can fill in a few blanks. The schedule has not been finalized yet. I know that they are still working on confirming a new opponent for the Winnipeg game. Omaha backed out due to a scheduling conflict. Word is that an ECAC team is most likely for that game.

Here’s what I’ve got for now (keep in mind, this is tentative and not finalized):

Oct. 7-8 — ICE BREAKER; Oct. 14-15 — MAINE; Oct. 21-22 — @Wisconsin; Oct. 28-29 — ST. CLOUD

Nov. 4-5 — @Minn; Nov. 18-19 — @Bemidji; Nov. 25-26 — COLO. COLLEGE

Dec. 2-3 — @Anchorage; Dec. 9-10 — OMAHA; Dec. 16-17 — FERRIS; Dec. 30-31 — HARVARD

Jan. 7 — Tentative Winnipeg game; Jan. 13-14 — MINN; Jan. 20-21 — @St. Cloud; Jan. 27-28 — WISCONSIN

Feb. 10-11 — @Duluth; Feb. 17-18 — MICH. TECH; Feb. 24-25 — @Denver

March 2-3 — MINN STATE-MANKATO

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Pat Miller has an interesting analysis on the UND-Michigan game.

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Big news for area hockey fans: The NHL appears close to returning to Winnipeg. Read Story No. 1 and Story No. 2 from the Winnipeg Free Press.

For us in Grand Forks, it would be wonderful to cut travel time in half to see NHL games.

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Earlier in the week, I posted the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau’s rankings. Andy Baggot of the Wisconsin State Journal posted Red Line Report’s rankings, which have Rocco Grimaldi, J.T. Miller and Dillon Simpson considerably higher.

RLR has Grimaldi going No. 10 overall, Miller No. 11 and Simpson No. 69. It also has Colten St. Clair a lot lower. Read those rankings here.

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Speaking of prospects, this area has two very good defensemen coming up. East Grand Forks sophomore Gage Ausmus and Devils Lake freshman Keaton Thompson both have accepted invites to the NTDP. They will join the U.S. Under-17 team next year.

Read the Herald’s story on that here.

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Former UND defenseman Corey Fienhage has joined the Portland Pirates for the AHL playoffs. Fienhage left UND after two years to go to Kamloops in the WHL. He saw significantly more playing time there.

Read a feature on Fienhage in the Maine paper here.

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Former Sioux captain Ryan Duncan led Salzburg to a second straight Austrian league championship. He had two assists in Salzburg’s 3-2 win over Klagenfurt in Game 7 of the championship final.

Duncan, who also was on last year’s championship team, finished the season with 53 points in 49 games.

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David Lundbohm will play in the Swedish Elite League.

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Baggot discusses UND’s consistency in this article.

17 thoughts on “Random updates

  1. Brad – a bit off the topic, but is there any way for you to move your recent posts list from way down on the right – just below the list of committed recruits – to just below the news feed and above the wcha standings? It would be a lot easier to not forget to check it if I have been off for awhile. The archives can stay down there or move them just above Mankato Free Press.

  2. Interesting article by Baggot; I have to say I agree. I would rather have a strong, consistent team that comes (this close) than one that wins a championship one year and then drops off the radar for a couple years.

    • I beg the question: why not both? The strongest programs (North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Denver) should be able to be consistently good, with a National Title mixed in every 5-10 years. But for some reason, that’s not the way it works in the real world. Denver’s title drought was 35 years before back-to-back titles. Minnesota’s title drought was 23 years, and after back-to-back titles is now at 8 years. Wisconsin’s title drought was 16 years. Michigan won in ’96 and ’98, but the drought is 13 years now. North Dakota’s drought has reached 11 years, the longest since pre-Gasparini. Title droughts happen to even the most storied programs. On the other hand, first-time winners (like Minnesota-Duluth) are the best thing that can happen to sport overall, IMO. I’d love to see some other programs break through, just not at the cost of the Sioux :)

  3. I had heard rumors that the WCHA is seriously considering adding Moorehead if they were to build a D1 hockey team. Is this likely to happen? If so, would schools like UND and Denver consider breaking away and starting a new conference?

    • Isn’t missing out on home ice in the playoffs and not qualifying for the NCAA’s heartbreak? There haven’t been any national titles won since 2000, but we’ve witnessed a couple title games and four other national semi’s since then. Sure, the heartbreak players, coaches, and fans experience when their team comes up just short often leaves a bitter taste, but what this program has accomplished since it’s last national title is still pretty damn admirable. North Dakota has been the most consistent program in the country for the past decade and a half, save for the University of Michigan. Sustained national relevance is very hard to develop, and it’s something this program should be very proud of. I think sometimes we lose sight of the big picture:
      Past 15 Seasons:
      14 NCAA Playoff Appearances
      8 Frozen Four Appearances
      4 National Championship Game Appearances
      2 National Championships
      Show me someone who is unhappy with those results, and I’ll show you someone with wildly unreasonable expectations…

  4. I am really hoping we get Gage Ausmus down the road. It would be great to have more hometown heart on the ice… he’s a good athlete now and will become even a better one after his with with the 17U team. Do you think he could be a potential prospect down the road?

  5. Missing out on home ice and missing the NCAA tournament just means you are not good enough and really should have no expectations, therefore should have no heartbreak. I remember people giving Gopher fans a lot of heat because they had not won a title in 23 years. I believe this is where the term golden chokers came from. Well, don’t look now, but North Dakota is nearly half ways to that 23 years without winning an NCAA title. North Dakota used to have the reputation that if they got to the frozen four, they were going to win it. This is not a complaint, just a different point of view. Some people are satisfied with frozen four appearances and some people are only happy with National Titles. That just speaks to the expectations and greatness of the program. If somebody told me after the title in 2000 that we would go 11 years or more without another title, I would have laughed and said not possible with these current facilities and coaches. Maybe I’m the one with flawed expectations?

    • I know where you’re coming from, and like you said, we’re just kind of taking different points-of-view: ultimate success within a program like UND is indeed defined by winning national championships from year to year, but defining overall program success over the course of a couple decades is a different animal.

      I agree with you that in 2000 I could not have imagined going 11 years without winning another national title. Let’s just hope that we don’t end up having to endure what some of the other bigtime, historical progams have been through. Michigan: 1964 to 1996, BC: 1949 to 2001, Denver: 1969 to 2004, and as you mentioned, Minnesota: 1979-2002…

  6. I think Iowa and Iowa State are real possibilities to go D1, If this happens I wouldn’t be surprised if Drake did as well.

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