Monday reading: Badgers, MacNaughton race, Bachman, AHA, polls

bachman maskThe 19th-ranked Badgers play North Dakota for the last time this weekend in WCHA action, but their nonconference play will resume during the 2014-15 season.

Wisconsin’s Derek Lee suffered a concussion in Saturday’s win over Anchorage. His status for this weekend’s road series at No. 7/8 North Dakota road series is unclear judging from this quote from coach Mike Eaves:

‘Well, talked to Mr. Hrodey this morning, and he passed his cognitive test. That’s step one. He still has some residual headaches, so those have to dissipate before he can get on the bike.

At this point, we’re hopeful. The fact that he passed the cognitive was a good step. He won’t go on the ice today, and tomorrow we’ll come back and see where he’s at.”

The Gophers beat writer says SCSU, Minnesota and Omaha have the best chance at the MacNaughton Cup regular-season title.

Former Tiger Richard Bachman’s “The Shining” mask, pictured, continues to draw rave reviews.

Here is a brief look at the Atlantic Hockey Association race with an eye on the Niagara at Air Force regular-season finale.

The latest USCHO.com poll is in as is the WCHA web media poll.

In the pros: Bachman called up by NHL’s Stars; may play Tuesday

bachmanpracticeIt looks like former Tiger Richard Bachman may be with the big club for awhile and could see some playing time.

The Dallas Stars blogger, who usually has a good feel for his team, thinks Bachman could make his first start of the season in Detroit on Tuesday. Lehtonen was reportedly dealing with a “tweak” of his own, leading to Nilstorp’s start on Saturday, so it’s unlikely the Stars push him with back-to-back starts this early in the season.

Bachman was originally sent to the Texas Stars to get some game action after not playing during the lockout.

He replaces the Swedish backup who was put on injured reserve after a groin injury suffered during Saturday’s 4-3 loss to St. Louis.

Here is the press release …

FRISCO, Texas – The Dallas Stars announced today that they have recalled goaltender Richard Bachman from the Texas Stars, Dallas’ development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL). The team also placed goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp on Injured Reserve.

Bachman, 25, has played in four games for Texas this season, earning a 3-1-0 record with a .916 save percentage (SV%) and a 2.46 goals against average (GAA). The Salt Lake City native has appeared in 19 career NHL contests, posting an 8-5-1 record with a .911 SV%, a 2.75 GAA and one shutout. He was Dallas’ fourth-round selection (120th overall) in 2006.

Nilstorp, 28, has appeared in two NHL contests for Dallas this season, posting a 0-2-0 record with a .918 SV% and a 2.70 GAA. He’s also appeared in 28 contests for the Texas Stars this season, where he earned a 16-10- 4 record with a .916 SV% and a 2.13 GAA. Prior to his North American career, the Malmo, Sweden native played for Farjestad in the Swedish Elite League (SEL), where he helped the team capture the 2011 Le Mat Trophy, which is earned annually by the victors of the SEL. Nilstorp was undrafted and signed by Dallas as a free agent on June 5, 2012.

The Dallas Stars face off against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Monday night at 6 p.m. Central  (TV: FOX Sports Southwest).

In the pros: Sterling all-star honor, injury

sterling all starChicago Wolves left wing Brett Sterling was selected to the Western Conference Team for the 2013 Dunkin’ Donuts American Hockey League All-Star Classic, which takes place on Jan. 27-28 in Providence, R.I.

He will miss the game due to an unspecified injury suffered last Friday.

The 28-year-old forward ranks first on Chicago and shares 15th in the AHL with 15 goals and leads the Wolves with 28 points in 31 games this season. He also paces the club with a +10 plus/minus rating and holds third on the squad with 13 assists.

The Los Angeles native has notched 8 points (6G, 2A) in his last four games and his two-goal performance moved him into second place on Chicago’s all-time goal registry with 158 career markers in 285 career games in a Wolves sweater.

Sterling has tallied 5 goals and 7 points in his previous three trips to the AHL All-Star Game and was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2007 event in Toronto.

The 2006-07 AHL Rookie of the Year has amassed 215 goals, 191 assists, and 406 points in 423 career AHL games with Chicago, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Peoria, and Portland spanning seven seasons (2006-present). He also has skated in 30 National Hockey League tilts with Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis, collecting 5 goals and 9 points.

In the pros: Hillen injury, Crabb, Prosser, Schwartz, Stuart, AHL

Hillen shootsFrom the Washington Times …

TAMPA, Fla. | Washington Capitals defenseman and former Tiger Jack Hillen left Saturday night’s season opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning after taking a hit into the boards from Vinny Lecavalier.

Hillen’s left shoulder hit into the boards after Lecavalier struck him with what appeared to be a clean check. He was down on the ice and in pain until the whistle blew with 8:17 left in the second period.

Hillen was attended to on the ice but skated off under his own power, favoring his left arm. Hillen did not return. Coach Adam Oates said the defenseman had an upper-body injury but offered no other update.

Hillen, who’s listed at 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds, signed a one-year contract with the Caps in July. He was making his Washington debut.

Adam Oates dressed seven defensemen and 11 forwards, so Hillen’s injury knocked the Caps down to the usual six. No penalty was called on the play. Joey Crabb was a healthy scratch.

In other former Tigers news, Nate Prosser logged 12:10 in the Wild’s 4-2 win over Colorado. Jaden Schwartz played 11:59 in St. Louis’ 6-0 win over Detroit, , took two shots, blocked two shots and one hit. Winnipeg’s Mark Stuart drew an early boarding call that set up a Jets’ 1-0 lead on a power-play goal.

Both Richard Bachman and Toby Petersen, who enters his 13th professional season in 2012-13, his ninth in the AHL, are starting the season with the Texas Stars. Petersen signed a two-year two-way contract with Dallas on July 2, 2012.

Kris Fredheim has five points (four assists) in 24 games with the AHL’s Houston Aeros. Brian Connelly had 22 points (20 assists) in 33 games before a recent injury. Chad Rau has seven points (four goals) in 24 games with Houston.

In the pros: Bachman sent down to AHL

bachmanpracticeFormer Tiger goalie Richard Bachman was assigned to the Texas Stars of the AHL.

Bachman, 25, has a .911 save percentage (SV%) and a 2.74 goals against average (GAA) in 19 career NHL games. Last season, he became the first Stars goaltender to shutout the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden since Gump Worsley in 1972. The Salt Lake City, Utah native was Dallas’ fourth-round selection (120th overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

Oleksiak, 20, has skated in 38 games for Texas this season, earning 17 points (3G-14A) and a plus-6 rating. Earlier this week, he was selected to participate in the 2013 AHL All-Star Game Classic in Providence. The 6-foot-7, Toronto, Ont. native was Dallas’ first-round selection (14th overall) in 2011.

In the pros: J. Schwartz, Prosser, Crabb, Sterling, Testwuide fight video

ProsserFormer Tiger Jaden Schwartz is making a good impression on Blues coach Ken Hitchcock.

He is one of a number of young stars according to NHL.com who may benefit from their  time in the AHL while veterans played in the ECHL, overseas or tried to stay in game shape on their own.

Nate Prosser and Justin Falk look ready to be the Wild’s third defensive pair. Brian Connelly is injured.

Joey Crabb took part in this Q&A.

Brett Sterling scored a natural hat trick in just over eight minutes during the first period of a 3-1 win for AHL Chicago on Friday night.

Tuesday reading: Testwuide, NCHC, 3 Things, polls

Testwuide adirondackIt is a quiet week news-wise with most teams inactive until Dec. 24 or later depending on their schedules. CC returns to practice on Dec. 28 since the players take block finals on Wednesday and then leave for home.

Here are a few offerings.

Former Tiger Mike Testwuide, pictured, took advantage of his first pro game as a center after being a healthy scratch for six of seven games with the Adirondack Phantoms. He may get more ice time after friend Ben Holmstrom of Colorado Springs went down with a knee injury requiring surgery.

Here is an NCHC-oriented weekend review and a polls update.

Here are the USCHO weekly poll and the USA Hockey rankings and Tyler’s take on last weekend.

The WCHA media blog poll will return after the holiday tournaments and games (Dec. 27-30):

Team Pts Previous Record High Low
1) North Dakota (8) 140 2 8-5-3 1 2
2) Minnesota (4) 130 1 11-3-3 1 4
3) St. Cloud State 125 5 9-7-0 2 3
4) Nebraska Omaha 102 4 10-5-1 3 6
5) Minnesota State 96 6 9-5-2 4 6
6) Denver 90 3 9-5-2 4 7
7) Colorado College 67 7 8-8-2 6 9
8) Minnesota Duluth 62 8 5-8-3 7 9
9) Wisconsin 45 10 2-7-5 7 11
10) Bemidji State 40 11 4-8-2 8 11
11) Michigan Tech 26 9 4-8-3 9 12
12) Alaska Anchorage 13 12 3-7-4 11 12