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.

Thursday reading: Tigers in the pros, WMU, WCHA schedule

NHL.com interviewed former Tiger Jaden Schwartz for its regular 10 Questions feature. He has four points (two goals) in seven games with AHL Peoria.

Defenseman Brian Connelly has eight points (six assists) in six games for AHL Houston while teammate Chad Rau has three (two assists) in seven games. Kris Fredheim has appeared in two games for the Aeros.

For AHL Chicago, Brett Sterling has five points (four assists) in six games while Bill Sweatt has three (two goals) in seven games.

Mike Testwuide has one goal in two games so far this season for AHL Adirondack. Gabe Guentzel has appeared in two games for AHL Norfolk.

Here is a column focusing on Western Michigan.

This weekend’s schedule in the WCHA …

Games for Friday, November 2: Nebraska Omaha at Michigan Tech (WCHA), 7:07 pm ET; Colorado College at Wisconsin (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Minnesota State at Minnesota (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Boston University at North Dakota (NC), 7:37 pm CT; St. Cloud State at Denver (WCHA), 7:37 pm CT.

Games for Saturday, November 3: Nebraska Omaha at Michigan Tech (WCHA), 7:07 pm ET; Boston University at North Dakota (NC), 7:07 pm CT; Colorado College at Wisconsin (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Minnesota at Minnesota State (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; St. Cloud State at Denver (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT.

In the pros: Bidwill, Connelly, Crabb, Fredheim, Hall, Lamoureux, Rau, Schultz

Former Tiger Kris Fredheim is in AHL Houston’s training camp, along with Brian Connelly and Chad Rau, pictured.

The ECHL Alaska Aces just got a whole lot better with the addition of three NHL regulars — Anchorage residents Joey Crabb, Scott Gomez and Nate Thompson. Aces fans should send thank you cards to Gary Bettman.

Tim Hall and former Air Force Falcon Jacques Lamoureux are also on the Aces’ training camp roster.

Stephen Schultz is on the Trenton Titans roster while Arthur Bidwill is on the Colorado Eagles camp. Most ECHL camps started Friday.

Tuesday reading: CC season preview, Rylan Schwartz, Jaden Schwartz, Connelly, Rau, Sweatt, Testwuide, Bachman, Hockey East

Incoming CC freshman Hunter Fejes, shown in red during the Coyotes prospect camp,  will be one of the six newcomers the Tigers will look to for big results this coming season.

Colorado College sports information posted its season preview.

Senior assistant captain Rylan Schwartz is one of the top players returning in Division I judging from national statistics. His 0.66 goals per game trails only Maine’s Joey Diamond, who he is tied with at 11 power-play goals last season.

RPI’s Without a Peer blog compiled the stats (ECAC first followed by national) in this post.

Former Tiger Jaden Schwartz was assigned to AHL Peoria so he may continue to develop during the NHL lockout. Brian Connelly and Chad Rau were sent to AHL Houston. Bill Sweatt is headed to the Chicago Wolves as is Mike Testwuide to AHL Adirondack.

Here are five storylines to watch in Hockey East.

There are high hopes for Richard Bachman among the Dallas Stars leadership.

Former Badger Justin Schultz (remember him?) will benefit from the NHL lockout with some time spent with the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons.

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.

In the pros: Lampl, Rau, Sweatt

Former Tiger Cody Lampl is now a fan favorite for the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies after recovering from two elbow surgeries this season.

The Minnesota Wild announced Friday that it has reassigned goalie Matt Hackett and center Chad Rau, sending the pair of young players to the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League. Rau, a 25-year-old Eden Prairie native, has produced a pair of game-winning goals in seven games with the Wild this winter. The 5-foot-11, 184-pound forward — the brother of Minnesota Gophers standout freshman Kyle Rau — has tallied 21 points in 47 games with Houston this season.

Bill Sweatt scored, but it wasn’t enough to keep the AHL Wolves’s win streak alive.

Updated Monday reading: Rau, polls and rankings

Wild forward Chad Rau, left, celebrates with Marco Scandella (6) after scoring on Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas (30) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2012, in St. Paul, Minn. ASSOCIATED PRESS

Former Tiger Chad Rau fought off some travel problems to make it to Minnesota Sunday in time to score his second NHL career game-winner on Hockey Day in America. Two game-winners in four NHL career games? Not a bad average.

Ryan Lowery scored for ECHL Stockton over the weekend.

Colorado College dropped to No. 16 in the latest USCHO.com weekly poll and USA Hockey Poll (listed at bottom)  and up to No. 19 in the latest Pairwise rankings. The Tigers sit in 14th in the Inside College Hockey rankings.

If you’re an Alabama football fan, you may want to bid on these signed memorabilia and help out the Alabama Huntsville program.

Here’s that video of that ridiculous shorthanded goal by Detroit Lake’s Alex Mason, who lives on the White Earth reservation in Minnesota and has not made a decision about his post-prep future.

The rink at the Kohl Center will be named after “Badger Bob” Johnson, a former CC coach.

Here’s the USA Hockey poll:

USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine rankings

1 Ferris State (36) 22- 8-4 979 1
2 Boston College (11) 21-10-1 939 3
3 Michigan ( 3) 20-10-4 860 5
4 Minnesota-Duluth 20- 7-5 836 4
5 Boston University 18-11-1 757 2
6 Minnesota 21-11-1 748 7
7 UMass-Lowell 20- 9-0 736 6
8 Union 19- 6-7 677 8
9 Denver 18-10-4 521 10
10 Maine 18-10-3 511 11
11 Cornell 14- 6-7 472 12
12 Merrimack 15- 9-6 434 9
13 Michigan State 18-12-4 388 16
14 North Dakota 17-11-3 384 14
15 Miami 19-13-2 331 19
16 Colorado College 16-12-2 254 15
17 Ohio State 15-11-5 227 17
18 Notre Dame 16-15-3 140 13
19 Western Michigan 16-13-5 133 18
20 Colgate 17-12-3 52 NR

Tuesday reading: NHL call-ups, pro and league updates

San Antonio Rampage center, Jon Matsumoto, fights for the puck while Houston Aeros goalie Darcy Kuemper and former CC defenseman Kris Fredheim, left, guard the net during the second period of an AHL hockey game, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012, in San Antonio. Photo: Josh Huskin/pressphotointl.com / SA

Former Tiger Chad Rau was called up to Minnesota as was Colorado Springs native Ben Holmstrom by the Flyers.

Nate Prosser stayed on the Wild roster over the All-Star break, giving him some time to recover from that blocked shot against the Avs. He talked about it in this CC video with smem current Tigers who made the trip to Denver during CC’s bye week.

Brian Connelly won the fastest skater competition at the AHL All-Stars Skills Competition.

Bill Sweatt talks about his hockey and college background in this Chicago Wolves profile video.

The Gazette sets the stage for this week’s Gold Pan rivalry against Denver and has an update on former Tiger goalie Chris Kawano’s reality TV debut.

Wisconsin’s inexperienced players need to bear down and convert their scoring opportunities if the Badgers are to make a run at home playoff ice.

Here’s a feature on Nebraska-Omaha recruit Zack Randolph of Duluth.

Thursday reading: In the pros, WCHA series previews

Chad Rau, pictured celebrating a goal for AHL Houston, will play two games for the Aeros this weekend while the NHL enters its all-star break. Hopes are high he'll get a return trip to St. Paul next week when NHL play resumes.

Former Tiger Chad Rau, who played in his first two NHL games in the past couple days, was sent down to the AHL because of the NHL All-Star Break. His longtime teammate Nate Prosser has spent half the season with the Wild and the other in Houston in large part because he is the only Wild defenseman with a two-way deal, meaning he can be sent down without clearing waivers (and giving other teams a chance to claim his rights).

“Upper management says it is not about my play,” he said. “It’s just business.”

Bill Sweatt (one goal and an assist) and the rest of his AHL Wolves teammates took it up a notch in Abbotsford, B.C. with Canucks brass in the stands.

Minnesota coach Don Lucia wants road points at St. Cloud State but knows he’ll need to overcome a strong defensive team to do so. He takes on a Huskies team expected to play two defensemen as forwards due to a rash of injuries. The WCHA-leading Gophers are also looking for a way to avoid their Friday struggles. Here’s UM’s weekly preview notes.

Here’s a video preview of the series put together by St. Cloud State. The Huskies picked up a commit from a well-regarded Duluth high school player.

Michigan Tech travels to No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth. Here’s the Huskies’ preview notes and more from the Bulldogs, including NHL alumnus notes  and the weekly preview notes. The Bulldogs have a chance to add some breathing room in the standings between themselves and third-place CC, which is idle.

Here’s the latest update on the injuries at North Dakota, including some amusing comments. Nice to see some humor instead of bile over the situation. North Dakota hosts Wisconsin. Here’s video and the transcript of UW coach Mikes Eaves’ Monday press conference.

Wisconsin’s Justin Schultz is good as this blog post from Goon’s World shows with a video.

MSU- Mankato travels to Bemidji State this weekend. Here’s some preview notes from Mankato and a video interview with BSU coach Tom Serratore.

Alaska Anchorage hosts No 15 Denver. Here are the Pios notes.

Western Michigan will have its leading scorer back this weekend.

MSU-Moorhead continues to raise money for the $30-some million it will need to start up Division I hockey, bumping its deadline from the end of this month to Feb. 29.

Monday reading: Pros; CC at Nos. 10 and 11 in polls;new D-I programs?

Former Tigers Nate Prosser and Chad Rau took part in the Wild’s outdoor practice on Sunday. Both are quoted in this article about the experience.

Joey Crabb was promoted to the Leafs’ second line headed into a Monday-Tuesday set. It doesn’t mean nerves aren’t a little frayed. He and a teammate got into a fight on Sunday. The link has a video interview. Sounds like Crabb fought well, but don’t expect him to drop the gloves against an enforcer any time soon.

The split at Minnesota dropped the Tigers from No. 11 to 12 in this week’s USCHO.com poll and up from 11 to No.10 in the USA Hockey Magazine rankings.

CC dropped from No. 9 to 11 in the INCH power rankings.

Junior forward Eriah Hayes had a roller-coaster weekend for MSU Mankato.

Here’s the Gazette’s look back on Air Force and CC’s weekend.

Alaska-Fairbanks is taking a lead role in the organization of the new WCHA in 2013. The article also mentions that Wisconsin-Green Bay, Minnesota State-Moorhead, Iowa State and Alabama-Huntsville are all under consideration to become the league’s 10th member since Green Bay and Iowa State, as long rumored,  are considering adding Division I programs. Both Moorhead and Huntsville are working to raise money to start/sustain their programs.