NCAA modifies interference rule

The NCAA has modified the rule dealing with goaltender interference to give officials more latitude to make the call.

Instead of a hard-and-fast rule that forces officials to wave off goals if any contact is made with a goaltender (initiated by the offensive player), the officials now can determine whether the contact affected the goaltender’s ability to make a save.

Here’s the release from the NCAA:

Men’s and women’s ice hockey officials will be authorized to judge whether incidental contact impacted the goalkeeper’s ability to defend the goal beginning with the upcoming 2015-16 season.

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved the modification to the rule regarding contact with the goalkeeper on Thursday.

Next season, when an offensive player makes incidental contact with a goalkeeper and the puck enters the net, the referee will use his or her judgment to determine if the contact prevented the goalkeeper from stopping the puck.

Last season in those scenarios, goals were disallowed when an offensive player initiated the contact.

The Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey Committee believed too many goals were being taken off the scoreboard and wanted to make the rule less rigid and give the on-ice officials more leeway to count the goal.

The Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey Rules Committee will prepare additional officiating guidance and education to help the hockey community understand the intent of the new rule.

This rule modification should be of huge help next season when it comes to allowing goals to stand that probably should.

The ice is in, etc.

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Yes, the ice is back in at Ralph Engelstad Arena, and it’s there to stay.

In past years, they removed the ice after the summer camps and re-installed it afterwards. But for the second year in a row, they are putting it in this summer and they’ll leave it for the season.

A few other notes of interest:

  • I called the game against Boston College in Madison Square Garden the Hall of Fame game by accident. It is not the Hall of Fame Game in 2016, just a single game in New York City. UND will, however, host the Hall of Fame Game that year. I have an idea of who the opponent is, but I’m waiting for further confirmation. I believe it is a team from the East.
  • As you will see in my updated future schedule list on the right side of the page, UND is no longer scheduled to play in the Fairbanks tournament. I believe there were some scheduling issues that made it no longer an option.
  • I’ve updated the sidebar to reflect this year’s roster. The incoming freshmen are no longer listed as committed recruits. Less than three months to go until the Brad Berry era begins.
  • I heard that there were two NHL head coaches at The Ralph this week. Not only was Dave Hakstol in town, but Arizona Coyotes bench boss Dave Tippett was also visiting his alma mater.
  • T.J. Oshie will wear No. 77 with the Washington Capitals.

 

 

Toews wins ESPY Award

Former UND standout Jonathan Toews won an ESPY Award last night as the best NHL athlete.

Toews recently captained the Chicago Blackhawks to their third Stanley Cup in the last six years. Toews joined a small list of players to have captained three Stanley Cup-winning teams.

Toews beat out Alexander Ovechkin, John Tavares, Carey Price and Duncan Keith for the honor.

It is the first ESPY Award for Toews, who has won a Conn Smythe as NHL Playoff MVP, a Selke Trophy as the league’s best defensive forward and the Mark Messier Leadership Award as the best leader in the game.

ESPY’s for best NHL athlete

2015 — Jonathan Toews
2014 — Sidney Crosby
2013 — Sidney Crosby
2012 — Jonathan Quick
2011 — Tim Thomas
2010 — Sidney Crosby
2009 — Sidney Crosby
2008 — Sidney Crosby
2007 — Sidney Crosby

UND players earn camp invites

Three current UND women’s players have been invited to Hockey Canada’s development camp this summer.

Defenseman Halli Krzyzaniak and forwards Becca Kohler and Meghan Dufault all earned invites to the camp that will be held in Calgary next month. Hockey Canada says that Dufault won’t be at the camp, though.

A total of 43 players earned invites. The camp will conclude with scrimmages between two teams of players there.

Four players who earned gold medals at the Olympics with Canada will be at the camp. Canada is expected to have a big overhaul on its roster for the next Olympic Games, and many of these players will be considered for the 2018 Games.

Three UND recruits also were invited to U18 camp.

Defenseman Abby Thiessen and forwards Ryleigh Houston and Sarah Lecavalier will all participate in Calgary next month.

The IIHF also is expected to bring in elite players from other countries to Calgary to participate in the event, which is a great step toward bringing more parity to the women’s game.

Thiessen, Lecavalier and Houston are expected to come to UND in 2016.

Stecher, others attend NHL camps

A total of 16 UND players attended NHL development camps this summer, including highly sought-after free agent Troy Stecher, who went camping with the Winnipeg Jets.

Stecher was the only UND free agent to attend a development camp. The others were all drafted or under contract.

UND at NHL development camps

Troy Stecher, Winnipeg Jets
Tucker Poolman, Winnipeg Jets
Nick Schmaltz, Chicago Blackhawks
Luke Johnson, Chicago Blackhawks
Jordan Schmaltz, St. Louis Blues
Austin Poganski, St. Louis Blues
Rocco Grimaldi, Florida Panthers
Chris Wilkie, Florida Panthers
Paul LaDue, Los Angeles Kings
Mark MacMillan, Montreal Canadiens
Keaton Thompson, Anaheim Ducks
Shane Gersich, Washington Capitals
Zane McIntyre, Boston Bruins
Brock Boeser, Vancouver Canucks
Matej Tomek, Philadelphia Flyers
Gage Ausmus, San Jose Sharks

Graduated seniors Brendan O’Donnell and Michael Parks did not attend camp with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers, which makes you think they are not going to sign with the teams that drafted them.

Former UND player Wade Murphy also did not attend camp with the Nashville Predators. Murphy hasn’t said what his next move is yet, but he won’t be back with UND for the upcoming season.

Q&A with Jackson Keane

UND received a verbal commitment this winter from Jackson Keane, a small, dynamic forward from Winnipeg. He’s the son of longtime NHLer Mike Keane, who won Stanley Cups with three different teams.

I caught up with Keane this week to chat about his commitment to UND and what’s next for him.

Q. Going back to your commitment, what was your recruiting like? Did you have other schools talking to you?

KEANE: I talked to a few schools here and there. I narrowed it down around the Junior A Challenge. I talked to UND here and there. Being from Winnipeg, it’s close. When I was 15, 16, I talked to them quite a bit. It dropped off when I was 17. I probably went six months without speaking to them. All of the sudden, one day I got a call from Brad Berry and coach (Dave) Hakstol and they offered me. UND was always my first choice, so I was happy to get the call.

Q. What other schools were you considering?

KEANE: It was UND and Duluth. My dad played with Derek Plante (with Dallas Stars) and Scott Sandelin (with Montreal Canadiens), so there are ties there. But obviously, you can’t turn down North Dakota.

Q. Did you know Brad Berry from his time coaching the Manitoba Moose (Keane’s father played for the Moose for five years)?

KEANE: Yeah, he coached my dad for a couple of years. Being around the rink as a young guy, I met him a few times. I didn’t talk to him for a while when he was gone (in Columbus), but as soon as he came back to North Dakota, I had a relationship with him. Him being the head coach now is huge. He was mainly the guy who recruited me.

Q. How would you describe your game?

KEANE: I’m smaller (5-foot-9), so I have to be quick. I think I’m a skilled offensive forward. I also have the defense. I can play defense. I do have a little edge to me when the time is right. I think of myself as a skilled goal-scorer and playmaking forward. Obviously, I need to be quick to be effective as a smaller player.

Q. Where are you playing next season?

KEANE: I’m playing in Sioux City.

Q. What are your thoughts about that opportunity?

KEANE: It will definitely be a big jump, for sure. I couldn’t go down to the camp last year. I was sick during the summer. I wasn’t training as much. I would have liked to play there last year, but playing in Winnipeg was good for my development. I think I’m ready to play there now at 18. I’m a little more experienced.

Q. What were you sick with?

KEANE: I had mono. It was for two months. I really couldn’t do much. I lost a bunch of weight.

Q. Was the WHL ever in play for you?

KEANE: There was a time when I was 15, when there’s the whole draft and the hype. But playing four years at North Dakota is going to be the biggest thing and best thing for my development. It’s also nice to have something to fall back on if hockey doesn’t work out. My dad played in the WHL. He only has his 11th-grade schooling. It wasn’t as big of a deal back then, but if he wouldn’t have made it, it would have been a different story.

Q. I’ve heard you go to as many games at The Ralph as you can during the season. What are your impressions?

KEANE: The first time I went down there was a couple years ago. They were playing Duluth. UND won in OT. Mark MacMillan scored on a two-on-one. I was sitting right on the glass with my dad. That was probably the first real experience I had there. Ever since, I wanted to get down there every chance I have. The atmosphere and the fans and stuff is out of this world. Ralph Engelstad is one of the nicest arenas in the world. It’s somewhere kids dream of playing.

Q. Have you seen the locker room renovations yet?

KEANE: Yeah, I’d go down and talk to Brad every once in a while after games. It’s unbelievable.

Q. Is your UND arrival date still up in the air?

KEANE: Yeah. I think it depends on my season in Sioux City. Even if I play a couple years in Sioux City, that wouldn’t be a bad thing. Tucker Poolman did that in the USHL and it was great for his development.

Kristo to compete for NHL spot

Danny Kristo has been knocking on the door of the NHL since turning pro in 2013, but he hasn’t been able to crack a roster yet.

He’s hoping that all changes with the St. Louis Blues.

Kristo became an unrestricted free agent this summer and signed a one-year deal with the Blues on July 2, capping a couple of stressful days of waiting for his next home.

He previously played for the Hartford Wolfpack, the top minor-league affiliate of the New York Rangers.

“I had the top five teams that I had been talking to in my head,” Kristo said. “Starting at 11 a.m. (on July 1, when free agency opened), I was looking at my phone and waiting. Stuff starts taking off. You start seeing guys getting signed and guys getting traded to teams you thought you were going to go to.”

Kristo said three teams showed really strong interest in him, but St. Louis was the most interested. He looked at the Blues’ depth chart, talked with a few people and decided it would be the best fit for him.

“I had a great time in Hartford,” he said. “I had two really strong seasons that set me up well for this year. The New York Rangers are one of the top contenders every year in the league. They are deep. They didn’t have much room for me. I’m going to St. Louis to be able to compete for a spot right out of training camp.”

Kristo is living in the Twin Cities in a condo with Evan Trupp (who could be Kristo’s teammate in the AHL – Trupp sign with the Blues’ AHL affiliate, Chicago) and Derek Forbort. Brad Malone lives a half mile up the road.

Kristo did say that he’s disappointed that T.J. Oshie won’t be with the Blues anymore. Kristo, who will be a groomsman in Oshie’s wedding this summer, called Oshie with excitement to tell him about the Blues signing, only to receive a call a few hours later from Oshie saying he’s on his way to Washington.

Random updates

Want to put a UND hockey road trip on the calendar? Here’s one for you.

UND is going to play Boston College in New York City at the famed Madison Square Garden in December 2016. It will be a single game.

Read more about it here.

Also of note in that story: UND will host several Hall of Fame Games in a row. We all know UND loves getting exempt games, and that will be key. It also gives UND an opportunity to bring in an interesting opponent and gives the fans one more home game to see.

*****

Andrew MacWilliam has signed a new NHL deal with the Winnipeg Jets.

It’s a one-year contract worth $700,000 if he’s in the NHL. It’s a nice signing for the Jets, who will either have a top defenseman and possible captain for the Manitoba Moose and/or a guy who they can call up if there are injuries on the blue line and they want a physical presence.

The Jets frequently saw MacWilliam while he was at UND.

*****

Evan Trupp has a new home in the AHL after putting together a fantastic season with the Worcester Sharks.

Trupp has signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Wolves, the top minor-league affiliate of the St. Louis Blues. He could wind up playing with Danny Kristo again if Kristo is not up with the Blues.

Trupp finished second on the Sharks in scoring last season.

*****

Corban Knight has re-signed with the Florida Panthers, the team he was traded to last season.

Knight’s contract is for one year. It’s a two-way deal.

Knight had 24 points in 36 games for San Antonio last season. He’s expected to start this year with the Portland Pirates, but could contend for a center spot with the Panthers.

*****

The NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau released its watch list for the 2016 NHL Draft this week.

UND commit Mitchell Mattson, a forward from Grand Rapids, Minn., is on the list as a potential high-round draft pick.

UND recruiting targets Tyson Jost and Dante Fabbro of the Penticton Vees in the BCHL also are on the list.

Read the full list here.

*****

A couple of high-end prospects have left college hockey after a single season.

In an obvious move, BU’s Jack Eichel signed with the Buffalo Sabres. In other news, Boston College defenseman Noah Hanifin signed with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Everyone knew it was a possibility that the Eagles would lose Hanifin, but it wasn’t a foregone conclusion like Eichel.

Eichel went No. 2 overall in the NHL Draft. Hanifin went No. 5.

The No. 8 overall pick, Michigan defenseman Zach Werenski hasn’t declared his intentions for next season yet.

*****

The youngest player ever to commit to a college hockey team, 13-year-old Oliver Wahlstrom, has de-committed by age 15.

Wahlstrom, who gave a verbal to Maine, recently re-opened his recruitment. Wahlstrom is from Maine.

It continues a trend of those committing at age 14 or younger never showing up on the campus that they originally committed to. Two of those players are UND guys — Colten St. Clair (Colorado College) and Jordan Schmaltz (Wisconsin).

*****

It appears that first-round QMJHL pick Shane Bowers is going to keep his college options open for now. Bowers, who played with the son of former UND tough guy Dean Dachyshyn, Barrett, is on track to play for the Waterloo Blackhawks in the USHL this season.

It’s a big get for Waterloo, and if he maintains his college eligibility, he’s a name to look for on the recruiting scene in the future.

*****

MSU-Mankato signed coach Mike Hastings to an eight-year contract last week. Crowd-sourcing here, but is anyone aware of a longer contract given to a college hockey coach than that, outside of George Gwozdecky’s 12-year deal with DU?

*****

Nebraska Omaha is off to a good start with the new arena — season tickets are already sold out. Read about that here.

Jost high on UND

Tyson Jost, a potential first-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, told The Pipeline Show in Edmonton that he “really, really likes North Dakota right now.”

Jost, a 6-foot, 194-pound forward, said his decision is coming down to UND or Denver.

“Denver and North Dakota are my two schools right now,” Jost told The Pipeline Show. “I really, really like North Dakota right now. I think that’s somewhere that… those two schools are definitely on my mind right now. I think that’s a place I want to go to. I am set on the college route right now. I think it’s a great development route. And those two schools, whichever one I pick, will help me with my development path and, hopefully, one day get me to the NHL.”

Jost is a first-round pick in the WHL, but has opted to keep his college eligibility alive by playing in the BCHL instead of signing in the WHL.

Jost plays for the Penticton Vees, alongside UND commit Gabe Bast and underneath assistant coach Nick Fuher, a former Grand Forks Central and UND player.

Last season, as a young player in the league, Jost had 45 points in 46 games for the Vees. He was named captain this season alongside fellow high-end recruit, defenseman Dante Fabbro, who is also believed to be interested in UND.

To listen to the full interview with Jost, go here.

Jackson promoted to associate coach

Dane Jackson, who decided to stay at UND rather than join Dave Hakstol in Philadelphia, has been promoted to associate head coach by Brad Berry.

UND announced the move on Friday morning.

Jackson is entering his 10th season at UND. He has primarily worked with the forwards, the penalty kill and individual skill development in addition to recruiting while at UND.

“Dane has been an important part of the success of the UND men’s hockey program over the past decade,” Berry said. “He brings passion and energy to our group on a daily basis and plays a vital role in the development process for our student-athletes.”

UND hired Matt Shaw last month as the program’s other full-time assistant coach. Karl Goehring is the volunteer goalie coach.