Last week was a busy one in the NHL.
For starters, the NHL confirmed its participation in the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. This is good for the fans, who have come to love watching NHLers play in the Olympics.
It’s not out of the question that UND could have the captain of both the U.S. and Canadian teams. Zach Parise is believed to be the front-runner to be captain of the American squad. Sidney Crosby is probably the front-runner to be captain of Canada, but Jonathan Toews could be second in line and should wear a letter at the event, regardless.
Former UND and Warroad standout T.J. Oshie also is a candidate to make the U.S. team.
A full breakdown of the potential roster is available at CBSSports.com.
The NHL schedule also was released and there are a few games of note for UND fans.
UND is tentatively scheduled to play exhibition games in suburban Vancouver on Jan. 2-3. These games are not finalized yet, but it sounds like it’s pretty close to being a done deal. I’ll pass along info once it is.
Anyway, for any fans looking to make the trip, the Vancouver Canucks are home on Jan. 1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning and Brian Lee. And if you are flying out of Winnipeg, the Jets are home on Dec. 31 against the Buffalo Sabres and Drew Stafford.
For those who are going to Boston for UND’s series against Boston University on Nov. 22-23, you also can catch an NHL game. The Bruins are home on Nov. 21 against T.J. Oshie, Chris Porter and the St. Louis Blues.
Also of note, there will be an NHL game at Xcel Energy Center the weekend of the Big Ten/NCHC tournaments. Zach Parise and the Minnesota Wild are hosting the Detroit Red Wings at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon, the day of the championship games for both tournaments.
Toews had the Stanley Cup in Winnipeg on Friday and found a pretty cool way to spend the afternoon.
Former UND standouts and linemates Danny Kristo and Brock Nelson are scheduled to play in the Defending the Blue Line on Aug. 3 at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis. The game begins at 1 p.m. and proceeds will benefit the troops. For more info and confirmed players, go to this site.
There was a good story in the Duluth News Tribune about Drew LeBlanc’s experience at the ESPY Awards. Read it here.
Rosters for the Elite League have been posted. There are a lot of local names on it as usual. Check it out here. Over the last few months there has been a lot of good buzz about EGF defenseman Colton Poolman, the younger brother of UND commit Tucker Poolman. Colton seems to have a Division I career in front of him and will be one to watch at the Elite League. He’ll be a senior this year.
North Dakota state champion Red River lost five of its top seven scorers to graduation, and it will lose be losing the other two in that category.
Its top player, St. Cloud State commit Jacob Benson, is going to play his senior season with Dubuque in the USHL, while sophomore-to-be Matt Christian (who had 12 goals and 24 points as a freshman), will be going to play for Omaha AAA U16 team.
Word is that Christian isn’t the only young, talented North Dakota player that will be suiting up for Omaha’s AAA program this season, which will only fuel the debate about whether Grand Forks should have a midget program. The Hockey Academy is in favor of it. The high school coaches, obviously, are not.