Weekend reading: Target Center, Novak, pros update, worlds

The blog will be dark for a long weekend to celebrate Mrs. Blog’s graduation from CU-Denver on Saturday. Family and friends are descending on our fair city tonight and Friday and there are long overdue chores to be done that do not include keeping up with offseason college hockey.

In the interim, check USCHO for any national news or the Grand Forks Herald’s or Duluth’s blog for WCHA developments.

If anything big breaks, they will be all over it as usual. Here are some links to tide you over.

This blogger asks why people dislike Minneapolis’  Target Center; long rumored to be the postseason site for the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

The reality of it is, the league  needs to get as good a deal as possible to generate revenue (this is the business side of things fans do not like to think about) and the central location of Minneapolis (like St. Paul) is attractive.

A deal was said to be close last week but negotiations can tend to drag out, especially with a one-man league office (commissioner Jim Scherr) until May 15, when new director of hockey operations Joe Novak starts working part-time (full time July 15). Those who have taken potshots at the league for the delay are just taking advantage of the situation because they feel snubbed.

Here is a good interview with Joe Novak by the Duluth beat writer and another by the Sioux reporter, which reiterates Novak’s focus on finding the best possible on-ice officials from the CCHA and WCHA. That is something that must please all the fans.

Former Tigers Nate Prosser and Chad Rau, both native Minnesotans, will visit four Northeastern Minnesota cities in June as part of the Wild’s 2012 Road Tour.

Tour stops and scheduled personnel are: June 25, Duluth from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Duluth Heritage Sports Center, and Eveleth from 4-5 p.m. at the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, with Nate Prosser and Jason Zucker, and radio personalities Tom Reid and Bob Kurtz; and International Falls, 10-11 a.m. at Smokey Bear Park, with Justin Falk and Chad Rau, and TV personality and former player Wes Walz and radio personality Kevin Falness; June 26, Grand Rapids, 12-1 p.m. at the Eagles Club, with Prosser and Zucker, and Reid and Kurtz.

Each tour stop will include a fundraising opportunity for local youth hockey associations, and autograph sessions.

St. Louis columnists weigh in on the future of the Blues, where Jaden Schwartz will likely play a prominent role.

This fan thinks Bill Sweatt needs to break into the NHL as a regular this coming season or his window may have closed with the Canucks. Sweatt did go from minus-9 his rookie season to plus-9 which suggests he has become a stronger two-way player, which cannot hurt his chances of making the third or fourth lines.

The State of Minnesota will not be contributing more bond money for upgrades at Mankato’s home ice arena.

Two little-used Badgers will transfer to Division III schools.

UConn, which has been targeted by Hockey East as a likely 12th member (Notre Dame makes 11), released a public service announcement in support of the You Can Play project.

The campaign, which has received considerable support from NHL players, was created by the late Brendan Burke, son of Brian Burke, General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Brendan was a student manager for the Miami RedHawks.

The mission of the organization is to guarantee that athletes are given a fair opportunity to compete and be judged by other athletes and fans alike, only by what they contribute to the sport or their team’s success.

Here is the list of former college players competing for their country in the world championships in Sweden and Finland as compiled by College Hockey, Inc. The number of Frenchmen and Italians involved surprised me a little.

College Players by Country

Canada
Duncan Keith Michigan State
Teddy Purcell Maine
Patrick Sharp Vermont
France
Baptiste Amar UMass Lowell
Stephane Da Costa Merrimack
Laurent Meunier UMass Lowell
Yorick Treille UMass Lowell
Germany
Evan Kaufmann Minnesota
Justin Kreuger Cornell
Italy
Daniel Bellisimo Western Michigan
Matt De Marchi Minnesota
Derek Edwardson Miami
Thomas Larkin Colgate
Vince Rocco Niagara
Rob Sirianni Bemidji State
Sweden
Viktor Stalberg Vermont
United States
Justin Abdelkader Michigan State
Cam Atkinson Boston College
Richard Bachman Colorado College
Justin Braun Massachusetts
J.T. Brown Minnesota Duluth
Chris Butler Denver
Joey Crabb Colorado College
John Curry Boston University
Patrick Dwyer Western Michigan
Justin Faulk Minnesota Duluth
Alex Goligoski Minnesota
Jack Johnson Michigan
Ryan Lasch St. Cloud State
Kyle Okposo Minnesota
Max Pacioretty Michigan
Kyle Palmieri Notre Dame
Jeff Petry Michigan State
Jim Slater Michigan State
Paul Stastny Denver
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About paisleyhockey
I am a freelance writer specializing in sports with 20-plus years of experience.

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