Monday reading: Labosky, UMass, Howe, Carle, Cullen, Tech, UVM

Please, Tiger fans, do not make a “Big Lebowski” reference when you first meet 2013/14 CC commit Dan Labosky. He’s nice about it, but he is getting tired of hearing it. Here is a feature and Q&A on the Benilde-St. Margaret’s standout.

The fourth time is the charm: Vermont associate head coach John Micheletto accepted the UMass head coaching job on Sunday and may be announced officially as early as today. Three previous offers were made, reported by various media, and subsequently turned down.

CC goalie Joe Howe participated in the Wild’s prospect development camp, where DU’s Jason Zucker has performed well.

Former SCSU standout Matt Cullen, brother of former Tigers Mark and Joe, had a foundation that recently donated $1 million to help children.

Former Denver player David Carle starts up his assistant coaching career in Green Bay.

Michigan Tech picked up a BCHL commit. Good news for the Fairbanks tournament. Bemidji State added a volunteer assistant coach.

Vermont signee Zemgus Girgensons decided to sign with Buffalo before donning the Catamounts uniform. The Riga, Latvia native was the 14th pick in the 2012 draft and put up 104 points in 100 games at USHL Dubuque.

Fargo Force defenseman Butrus Ghafari, a Western Michigan signee, turned down chance  to play for the U.S. NTDP, per Force assistant Jesse Davis via Ryan S. Clark of the Fargo Forum. He is on the USA U-17 Team that will compete in the Five Nations tournament next month.

NHL free agency: Bachman re-signs with Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars announced today that the club has signed restricted free agent goaltender Richard Bachman to a one-year, one-way contract for the 2012-13 season worth $625,000.

Bachman, 24, posted an 8-5-1 record with a 2.77 goals against average and a .910 save percentage in 18 games with Dallas last season. Bachman earned a win in his NHL debut on Dec. 10, 2011 at Los Angeles, and recorded his first career NHL shutout on Dec. 12, 2011 against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Bachman became the first rookie goaltender in Dallas Stars history to win his first three NHL starts, and the first to start seven consecutive games. He was also the first goaltender in Dallas Stars history, and the third in franchise history, to shutout the Rangers (also Gilles Meloche and Gump Worsley).

Bachman represented the United States for the first time in his career at the 2012 IIHF World Championships, stopping 17 of 19 shots en-route to a win over Kazakhstan in his only appearance at the tournament.

Originally drafted in the fourth round (No. 120 overall) by Dallas in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Bachman spent two seasons at Colorado College before making his professional debut with the Idaho Steelheads, Dallas Stars’ ECHL affiliate, during the 2009-10 season. Bachman was named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team in 2009-10 and finished as runner-up for the ECHL Goaltender of the Year award.

Prior to his tenure as backup goaltender last season for the Stars, Bachman spent two partial seasons and one full season (2010-11) with the Texas Stars, Dallas’ affiliate in the American Hockey League. In 78 career games with Texas, Bachman posted a 39-29-6 record with a 2.37 GAA and nine shutouts.

Here are the remaining available free agents (all unrestricted) as of 2 p.m. Mountain on Thursday: They are (name, 2011-12 team): Mark Cullen (Florida); Kris Fredheim (Wild); Trevor Frischmon, (Islanders); Richard Petiot (Tampa Bay);  and Colin Stuart (Sabres).

NHL free agency: Wild ink Connelly to two-year, two-way deal

The Wild brass continue to make smart moves including this very good depth signing. This was a smart move by former Tiger Brian Connelly, pictured in foreground, who reportedly did not seem a good fit for the Flames organization.

Tiger fans can expect Connelly to make his NHL debut and  spend a little time in St. Paul this season depending on the big club’s health.

He joins Nate Prosser and Chad Rau at the Minnesota training camp later this summer/fall.

Here is the updated list of former Tigers testing the waters of free agency as of 9a.m. MT this July 7.

They are (name, 2011-12 team):  Richard Bachman, (Dallas): Mark Cullen (Florida); Kris Fredheim (Wild); Trevor Frischmon, (Islanders); Richard Petiot (Tampa Bay);  Brett Sterling (Blues), and Colin Stuart (Sabres).

From NHL.com …

The Minnesota Wild bolstered its defensive depth late Friday night by inking defenseman Brian Connelly to a two-year, two-way deal. The move gives the Wild an added weapon from the blue line capable of contributing at the offensive end and displaying outstanding puck moving ability and skating.

The Bloomington native split time between the Abbotsford Heat and Rockford IceHogs last season of the American Hockey League. His 52 points (6-46=52) ranked second amongst defensemen in the AHL.

Connelly has played in the AHL All-Star Game the last two seasons. At last year’s AHL Skills Competition, he represented the Western Conference in the Fastest Skater Competition.

The 26-year-old has played professionally. For three seasons, all in the AHL. Before turning pro, the blueliner was a three-year standout at Colorado College. With the Tigers, he amassed 63 points (8-55=63) and was a teammate of Nate Prosser and Chad Rau.

A left-handed shot, Connelly is listed at 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds.

Friday reading: Duluth, SCSU, UMass, outdoor games, CC free agents

Three former Minnesota-Duluth defensemen signed NHL contracts.

St. Cloud State is bringing in a Finnish forward this fall along with other updates on the Huskies.

UMass is turned down for the second time this week. The search committee for a new head coach is now regrouping. This story suggests why the job may not be all that attractive. Here is more from the UMass fan blog wondering what the deal is.

Some outdoor hockey games will be played in a 2,000-year-old Roman amphitheatre in Croatia, pictured, by some European leagues this Sept. 14 and 16. The facility has hosted a number of big-time music acts over the years and seats 5,000.

Here is the updated list of former CC Tigers testing the waters of free agency as of 11 a.m. MT this July 6th.

They are (name, 2011-12 team):  Richard Bachman, (Dallas): Brian Connelly (Calgary); Mark Cullen (Florida); Kris Fredheim (Wild); Trevor Frischmon, (Islanders); Richard Petiot (Tampa Bay);  Brett Sterling (Blues), and Colin Stuart (Sabres).

From the GF Herald Twitter feed: Brendan O’Donnell, who missed the second half of the season after shoulder surgery, is playing at Tampa’s development camp.

NHL free agency: Available Tigers update

Here is the updated list of former CC Tigers testing the waters of free agency as of 11 a.m. MT this July 4th.

They are (name, 2011-12 team):  Richard Bachman, pictured, (Dallas): Brian Connelly (Calgary); Mark Cullen (Florida); Kris Fredheim (Wild); Trevor Frischmon, (Islanders); Richard Petiot (Tampa Bay);  Brett Sterling (Blues), and Colin Stuart (Sabres).

Of those listed, Bachman has the best chance of an NHL-only contract while the others are looking for two-way deals.

In the pros: ECHL, AHL playoffs update

San Antonio's Mark Cullen had a big game against Chicago in the AHL playoffs on Saturday night.

In the AHL, Mark Cullen picked up two assists, including the first assist on the game-winner in San Antonio’s 4-3 win over Chicago, which plays Bill Sweatt.

Gabe Guentzel played his second playoff game for Syracuse and finished plus-2. David Civitarese has yet to appear for Hershey in the postseason.

Today is a busy day for former Tigers with Bridgeport’s Trevor Frischmon trying to avoid elimination in the best-of-five series against Connecticut while Houston hopes to do the same at OKC. Abbotsford, which features Brian Connelly, will try to take a 2-0 lead at Milwaukee this afternoon.

Former Tiger Brian Swanson assisted the opening goal as the Alaska Aces defeated Stockton 4-1 in Game 5 of their ECHL second-round playoff series and advanced to the Western Conference finals for the sixth time in the franchise’s nine years. They Aces will face the winner of the Las Vegas-Idaho series (LV leads 3-1).

Tim Hall played for Alaska. The loss ends Ryan Lowery’s stay in Stockton He may now be called up to AHL Oklahoma City, which holds a 2-0 lead in its best-of-five series against Houston, which has Kris Fredheim, Nate Prosser and Chad Rau on its roster.

Friday reading: Tigers in AHL, ECHL playoffs; Johnson, Kilpatrick win Norway title; Bidwill injury; Canzanello in German playoffs; NCHC postseason venue; Hakstol deal; Bjugstad ponders future

Houston defenseman Kris Fredheim defends a San Antonio player earlier this season.

Former Tiger Bill Sweatt scored the opening goal for Chicago and Mark Cullen assisted the next San Antonio goal in the Rampage’s 5-4 OT win in game 1 of their AHL Western Conference playoff series.

Bridgeport’s Trevor Frischmon, Rochester’s Colin Stuart and Houston’s Kris Fredheim and Chad Rau all lost their openers on Thursday night. Nate Prosser (unknown reason) did not play for Houston, which could really use his help on defense.

Click this link for a full list of former Tigers in the AHL playoffs and the Calder Cup postseason schedule.

Alaska, which has Tim Hall and Brian Swanson on its roster, travels to Stockton, which includes former CC captain Ryan Lowery, travels to California for two games Friday and Saturday.

No. 5 East seed Florida could eliminate No. 1 Elmira, which includes former CC captain Nick Dineen, tonight.

The Stavanger Oilers won the top Norwegian league championship on April 13, beating Lorenskog on the road 2-1 to win the final series, 4-3. Jimmy Kilpatrick and Tyler Johnson both played for the Oilers.

Kilpatrick, pictured at left, recorded 42 points (16g,26a) in 33 regular season games and 17 points (5g,12a) in 12 playoff games, including a goal and assist in the finals.

Johnson recorded 10 points (8g,2a) in eight regular season games, and added nine points (4g,5a) in 14 playoff games including two assists in the finals. Johnson joined the Oilers after being traded from the now-defunct Chicago Express of the ECHL.

Arthur Bidwill suffered an undisclosed injury during the CHL playoffs. It was suffered in Game 5 last week and he did not return for Game 6 when the Allen Americans were eliminated by their crosstown rivals, the Texas Brahmas. He had been playing in the No. 2 defenseman pairing.

Andy Canzanello takes a shot for the Straubing Tigers. Canzanello, who lives in Vail during the summer, has spent five years playing for a professional hockey league in Germany. This year, the Tigers have enjoyed their most successful season in recent years and made the league playoff semifinals

Andy Canzanello, shown in green to the left, is in the middle of the top German league playoffs. This feature from the Vail newspaper talks about life in Germany for the former Tiger.

The Big Ten announced its plans for its postseason tournaments and the long-rumored plan to have the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference alternate with them has been contradicted by another report from the “new” WCHA sources, according to Puckato, the Mankato beat writers’ blog:

“Last month, it was reported that the Big Ten was working with the WCHA to have the latter’s tournament in those buildings in opposite years (2014, ’16 at the Joe; ’15, ’17 at the X), and that the NCHC was in negotiations with the Target Center in Minneapolis for its championship weekend.

“According to Minnesota State athletic director Kevin Buisman, the “new” WCHA is still looking into its championship, but he didn’t expect anything to be decided until a June meeting. Buisman said representatives of the future league will not have much time together at next week’s coaches convention in Florida despite regular conference calls.”

Ultimately, it may not matter a ton, although the Target Center is considered by many to be a second-tier hockey venue, because wherever North Dakota goes, a large fan contingent will follow in force.

Here is CBS analyst Dave Starman‘s reaction to North Dakota coach Dave Hasktol’s new six-year contract deal announced on Thursday. There is a new college prospects blog that looks pretty solid so far.

Minnesota’s leading scorer Nick Bjugstad (25 goals) will wait until semester’s end before deciding on returning or heading to the pros.

Thursday reading: Aikens, AFA software training, Big 10 tourney, Dineen fight video, CC-AFA series, ECHL and AHL playoffs, WCHA

Former Tiger Bruce Aikens was named to his hometown Rochester, Minn, QB Hall of Fame.

I wrote an article for USCHO about Air Force using “video-game” software to further develop players’ mental acuity, the all-important, hard-to-quantify “hockey sense.”

The Big Ten announced it will hold its postseason tournament in Detroit and St. Paul every other year, setting the stage for a National Collegiate Hockey Conference announcement that has the new league playing in St. Paul when the Big 10 is in Detroit and vice versa.

Former Tiger Nick Dineen had his first pro fight (video) on Wednesday night.

All indications point to a home-and-home series between CC and Air Force starting with the 2014-15 season.

Here is an ECHL roundup from Wednesday.

The AHL playoffs start Thursday night. I listed all the series and have former Tigers listed by their team so fans may follow their efforts.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals – Series “A” (best-of-5)
1-Norfolk Admirals (Richard Petiot, injured) vs. 8-Manchester Monarchs
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 20 – Manchester at Norfolk, 7:30
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 21 – Manchester at Norfolk, 7:15
Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 25 – Norfolk at Manchester, 7:00
*Game 4 – Fri., Apr. 27 – Norfolk at Manchester, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., Apr. 28 – Norfolk at Manchester, 7:00

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals – Series “B” (best-of-5)
2-St. John’s IceCaps vs. 7-Syracuse Crunch
(Gabe Guentzel)
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 20 – St. John’s at Syracuse, 7:30
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 21 – St. John’s at Syracuse, 7:30
Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 25 – Syracuse at St. John’s, 6:00
*Game 4 – Fri., Apr. 27 – Syracuse at St. John’s, 6:00
*Game 5 – Sat., Apr. 28 – Syracuse at St. John’s, 6:00

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals – Series “C” (best-of-5)
3-Bridgeport Sound Tigers
(Trevor Frischmon) vs. 6-Connecticut Whale
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 19 – Connecticut at Bridgeport, 7:00
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 21 – Connecticut at Bridgeport, 7:00
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 22 – Bridgeport at Connecticut, 5:00
*Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 25 – Bridgeport at Connecticut, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., Apr. 28 – Connecticut at Bridgeport, 7:00

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals – Series “D” (best-of-5)
4-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins vs. 5-Hershey Bears
(David Civitarese)
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 20 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 21 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 25 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 4 – Fri., Apr. 27 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., Apr. 28 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05

Western Conference Quarterfinals – Series “E” (best-of-5)
1-Oklahoma City Barons vs. 8-Houston Aeros
(Kris Fredheim, Nate Prosser, Chad Rau)
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 19 – Oklahoma City at Houston, 8:05
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 20 – Oklahoma City at Houston, 8:35
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 22 – Houston at Oklahoma City, 8:00
*Game 4 – Tue., Apr. 24 – Houston at Oklahoma City, 8:00
*Game 5 – Wed., Apr. 25 – Houston at Oklahoma City, 8:00

Western Conference Quarterfinals – Series “F” (best-of-5)
2-Toronto Marlies vs. 7-Rochester Americans
(Colin Stuart)
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 19 – Rochester at Toronto, 7:00
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 21 – Rochester at Toronto, 3:00
Game 3 – Mon., Apr. 23 – Toronto at Rochester, 7:05
*Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 25 – Toronto at Rochester, 7:05
*Game 5 – Sat., Apr. 28 – Rochester at Toronto, 3:00

Western Conference Quarterfinals – Series “G” (best-of-5)
3-Chicago Wolves
(Bill Sweatt) vs. 6-San Antonio Rampage (Mark Cullen)
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 19 – Chicago at San Antonio, 8:00
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 21 – Chicago at San Antonio, 8:00
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 24 – San Antonio at Chicago, 8:00
*Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 25 – San Antonio at Chicago, 8:00
*Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 27 – San Antonio at Chicago, 8:30

Western Conference Quarterfinals – Series “H” (best-of-5)
4-Abbotsford Heat
(Brian Connelly) vs. 5-Milwaukee Admirals
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 20 – Abbotsford at Milwaukee, 8:00
Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 22 – Abbotsford at Milwaukee, 6:00
Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 25 – Milwaukee at Abbotsford, 10:00
*Game 4 – Fri., Apr. 27 – Milwaukee at Abbotsford, 10:00
*Game 5 – Sat., Apr. 28 – Milwaukee at Abbotsford, 10:00

Here are Bemidj State’s five signees and their 2012-13 schedule.

The Gopher defensemen were the most productive in Division I.

More Monday reading: Tigers in the pros, Mankato, USA U18 roster

I wrote a feature on Richard Bachman, pictured at left, for CC sports information and an update on the other former Tigers under AHL and NHL contracts.

The coaching change at Minnesota State Mankato continues to be the big news around the league for the time being (I suspect the Gophers will be the focus again within 24 hours). Here are more Frozen Four links.

Here’s more from the Monday morning press conference where Troy Jutting shows why he is the respected man he is around the WCHA.

Now it is time for people to guess about possible replacements, which mentions current CC assistant Eric Rud as a possibility. In my opinion, both he and Joe Bonnett are more than qualified.

Here is the USA U-18 national team roster for the upcoming world championships in Europe. There are plenty of college commits on the list.

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