Wednesday reading: Honors, Crabb, Hillen, DU, UND, schedule

Two future NCHC foes garnered weekly CCHA honors.

The recent NHL proposal has desperate NHL bloggers excited enough to post depth charts, including former Tigers Joey Crabb, pictured, and  Jack Hillen in Washington.

Denver has a new  director of media relations after Eric Bacher left for the assistant athletics director for public relations at Virginia. His replacement is Nicole Bostel, who was DU’s associate director of media relations. Congratulations to Nicole on the promotion.

Here is an injury update for shorthanded North Dakota.

This Week in the WCHA …

Games for Thursday, Oct. 18: Minnesota Duluth at Notre Dame (NC), 7:35 pm ET.

Games for Friday, Oct. 19: Minnesota at Michigan Tech (WCHA), 7:07 pm ET; Minnesota Duluth at Notre Dame (NC), 7:35 pm ET; Lake Superior at Bemidji State (NC), 7:37 pm CT; Rensselaer at Minnesota State (NC), 7:37 pm CT; Alabama-Huntsville at St. Cloud State (NC), 7:37 pm CT; Northern Michigan at Nebraska Omaha (NC), 7:37 pm CT; Colorado College at Air Force (NC), 7:05 pm MT; * North Dakota vs Alaska Anchorage (NC), 5:05 pm AT; UMass Lowell at Denver (NC), 7:37 pm MT. * Alaska Goal Rush (Fairbanks, AK).

Games for Saturday, Oct. 20: Minnesota at Michigan Tech (WCHA), 7:07 pm ET; * Merrimack vs Alaska Anchorage (NC), 4:05 pm AT; Lake Superior at Bemidji State (NC), 7:07 pm CT; Rensselaer at Minnesota State (NC), 7:07 pm CT; Alabama-Huntsville at St. Cloud State (NC), 7:07 pm CT; Northern Michigan at Nebraska Omaha (NC), 7:07 pm CT; UMass Lowell at Colorado College (NC), 7:07 pm MT; Air Force at Denver (NC), 7:07 pm MT; * North Dakota at Alaska (NC), 7:05 pm AT. * Alaska Goal Rush (Fairbanks, AK).

More Friday reading: WCHA previews, weekend picks, Alabama-Huntsville’s hopes, weekend schedule

Here is the conference season preview I wrote along with colleague Tyler Buckentine, who is based in Minnesota.

Michigan Tech lost 4-2 at Lake Superior State on Thursday, something Tyler and I both predicted. We also picked MTU to win at home Saturday night against the Lakers. Here are the rest of the weekend’s picks.

Alabama-Huntsville needs to show it can compete in the WCHA and fill its arena with WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod coming South to watch Minnesota State at the Chargers this weekend.

Here are the team season previews we wrote: Alaska-Anchorage, Bemidji State, Colorado College, Denver;

Michigan Tech, Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth, Minnesota State;

Nebraska-Omaha, North Dakota, St. Cloud State and Wisconsin.

Here is this weekend’s schedule, courtesy of the WCHA. Michigan Tech lost at LSSU 4-2 Thursday night.

Fri
10/12/12
Michigan State
at Minnesota
6:07 p.m. CT
Fri
10/12/12
St. Cloud State
at New Hampshire
7:30 p.m. ET
Fri
10/12/12
Minnesota State
at Alab-Huntsville
7:00 p.m. CT
Fri
10/12/12
Wisconsin
vs Northern Michigan
7:05 p.m. CT
Fri
10/12/12
Ohio State
at Minnesota Duluth
7:07 p.m. CT
Fri
10/12/12
USA Under-18 Team
at North Dakota
7:37 p.m. CT
Fri
10/12/12
Clarkson
at Colorado College
7:37 p.m. MT
Fri
10/12/12
Army
vs Nebraska Omaha
9:00 p.m. CT
Fri
10/12/12
Canisius
at Alaska Anchorage
8:07 p.m. AT
Sat
10/13/12
Notre Dm/Maine
vs Nebraska Omaha
3:30/6:30 p.m. CT
Sat
10/13/12
St. Cloud State
at New Hampshire
7:00 p.m. ET
Sat
10/13/12
Lake Superior
at Michigan Tech
7:07 p.m. ET
Sat
10/13/12
Minnesota State
at Alab-Huntsville
7:00 p.m. CT
Sat
10/13/12
Wisconsin
vs Northern Michigan
7:05 p.m. CT
Sat
10/13/12
Ohio State
at Minnesota Duluth
7:07 p.m. CT
Sat
10/13/12
USA Under-18 Team
at Bemidji State
7:07 p.m. CT
Sat
10/13/12
Clarkson
at Colorado College
7:07 p.m. MT
Sat
10/13/12
Michigan State
at Minnesota
8:07 p.m. CT
Sat
10/13/12
Air Force
at Alaska Anchorage
7:07 p.m. AT

Sunday reading: Behrend, exhibition preview, Denver, Lowell, schedule

Former Tiger Ted Behrend is in CHL Denver Cutthroats’ training camp, which started last week.

Here is the Gazette’s preview for this weekend’s exhibition games involving Air Force and Colorado College which has top returning scorer Rylan Schwartz, pictured.

Denver’s David Makowski, who missed a lot of games last season due to recurring headaches, is back at full strength this season.

Here is a capsule preview of UMass-Lowell by the Boston U. fan blog and notes on its exhibition win on Saturday.

Here is the WCHA exhibition schedule for Sunday and Monday.

Sun
10/07/12
Manitoba
at Bemidji State
5:07 p.m. CT
Sun
10/07/12
Lethbridge
at Minnesota State
5:07 p.m. CT
Sun
10/07/12
British Columb.
at Colorado College
6:07 p.m. MT
Mon
10/08/12
Lethbridge
at Nebraska Omaha
7:07 p.m. CT

Thursday reading: Mason Cup, Michigan, Denver, WCHA schedule

The Associated Press

The CCHA is wondering what will become of its league championship trophy, the Mason Cup.

Michigan’s No. 1 goalie may miss time for eye surgery.

Denver icon Daniel Ritchie is honored in this article about the presidential debate.

Here is a season preview for the WCHA women and for the Northern Michigan men.

Lake Superior State’s season gets underway this weekend.

This weekend’s WCHA exhibition schedule:

Games for Saturday, October 6: Brock University (ON) at Michigan Tech (EX), 7:07 pm ET; University of Lethbridge at Minnesota (EX), 7:07 pm CT; University of Manitoba at North Dakota (EX), 7:07 pm CT; * University of British Columbia at Denver (EX), 7:07 pm MT; USA Under-18 Team at Wisconsin (EX), 8:07 pm CT; # University of Regina at Alaska Anchorage (EX), 7:07 pm AT. * at Pepsi Center, Denver; # at McDonald Center, Eagle River, AK

Games for Sunday, October 7: University of Manitoba at Bemidji State (EX), 5:07 pm CT; University of Lethbridge at Minnesota State (EX), 5:07 pm CT; University of British Columbia at Colorado College (EX), 6:07 pm MT.

Games for Monday, October 8: University of Lethbridge at Nebraska Omaha (EX), 7:07 pm CT.

CC picked 7th, Thorimbert shares goalie honor in WCHA media poll

Compiled and written by Bruce Ciskie, KZIO Radio/Bulldog Radio Network …

A year after surprising many by winning the WCHA’s MacNaughton Cup Championship, the Minnesota Golden Gophers are a nearly-unanimous pick of WCHA media to win the league. The annual 94X WCHA Preseason Media Poll, released Wednesday, shows the Gophers easily outdistancing the rest of the league.

A panel of 25 members of the WCHA media voted on a predicted order of finish, along with a handful of individual honors.

Minnesota received a whopping 24 of 25 first-place votes. Defending WCHA playoff champion North Dakota had the other first-place vote and finished a distant second. Denver came in third, followed by Wisconsin and Minnesota Duluth. St. Cloud State claimed the final “home-ice” position in the preseason balloting.

Minnesota junior forward Nick Bjugstad, pictured, was a runaway choice for the Preseason Player of the Year. He also anchors the media’s second annual Preseason All-WCHA Team, where he is joined at forward by Wisconsin junior Mark Zengerle and St. Cloud State senior Ben Hanowski. The defensemen on the team are Denver’s Joey LaLeggia and Nick Jensen of St. Cloud State. Sam Brittain of Denver and Josh Thorimbert of Colorado College tied for the goaltending nod.

For the second straight year, the media chose North Dakota’s Rocco Grimaldi as Preseason Rookie of the Year. Grimaldi took a redshirt after an injury-ravaged season, and he is again eligible for rookie honors.

Teams were scored under a standard system of 12 points for a first-place vote, 11 for second, and so on. The number listed with each team is the number of points that team averaged per vote.

94X WCHA PRESEASON MEDIA POLL

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

1. Minnesota (24 first place votes) … 11.92 poll average

2. North Dakota (1) … 10.76

3. Denver … 9.92

4. Wisconsin … 7.8

5. Minnesota Duluth … 6.88

6. St. Cloud State … 6.84

7. Colorado College … 6.08

8. Nebraska Omaha … 5.48

9. Michigan Tech … 5.2

10. Minnesota State … 3.6

11. Bemidji State … 2.48

12. Alaska Anchorage … 1.04

PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Nick Bjugstad, forward, Minnesota (16 votes)

Others receiving more than one vote: Erik Haula, forward, Minnesota (4); Mark Zengerle, forward, Wisconsin (3)

PRESEASON ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Rocco Grimaldi, forward, North Dakota (8 1/2 votes)

Others receiving more than one vote: Nic Kerdiles, forward, Wisconsin (5); Jordan Schmaltz, defenseman, North Dakota (2 1/2); Brady Skjei, defenseman, Minnesota (2); Andy Welinski, defenseman, Minnesota Duluth (2)

PRESEASON ALL-WCHA TEAM

Forwards

Nick Bjugstad, Minnesota (20 votes); Mark Zengerle, Wisconsin (17); Ben Hanowski, St. Cloud State (8)

Others receiving more than one vote: Danny Kristo, North Dakota (7); Erik Haula, Minnesota (6); Rylan Schwartz, Colorado College (5); Corban Knight, North Dakota (3)

Defensemen

Joey LaLeggia, Denver (20 votes); Nick Jensen, St. Cloud State (9)

Others receiving more than one vote: Nate Schmidt, Minnesota (7); Wade Bergman, Minnesota Duluth (3)

Goalie

Sam Brittain, Denver and Josh Thorimbert, Colorado College (7 1/2 votes each)

Others receiving more than one vote: Juho Olkinuora, Denver (3), Joel Rumpel, Wisconsin (2)

The following media members took part in the 94X Preseason Media Poll:  David Ahlers, KKAR Radio/University of Nebraska-Omaha; Stephen Anderson, Daily Mining Gazette; Andy Baggot, Wisconsin State Journal; Tyler Buckentine, USCHO.com; Mike Chambers, Denver Post; Bruce Ciskie, KZIO Radio/Bulldog Radio Network; Chris Dilks, Western College Hockey; Shane Frederick, Mankato Free Press; John Gilbert, WCHA.com; Kurt Haider, KENI Radio; Mick Hatten, St. Cloud Times; Dirk Hembroff, WKMJ Radio; Jack Hittinger, Bemidji Pioneer; Ken Landau, 103.9 FM The Eagle Radio; Don Lyons, Leighton Broadcasting/St. Cloud; Todd Milewski, USCHO.com; Dan Myers, Minnesota Hockey Magazine; Jess Myers, 1500ESPN.com; Joe Paisley, Colorado Springs/Colorado College; Kevin Pates, Duluth News Tribune; Chris Peters, United States of Hockey; Brian Posick, WIBA Radio/Badger Radio Network; Chad Purcell, Omaha World Herald; Brad Schlossman, Grand Forks Herald; Jay Stickney, 102.3 ESPN Radio.

Tuesday reading: Picks, Clarkson, Mankato, OHL, Hockey East

Here is the Mankato beat writer’s preseason picks which has CC in seventh and Josh Thorimbert, pictured, as the preseason first team goalie. Here is my take.

Here is Bruce Ciskie’s WCHA preseason picks. Thanks to him for compiling the poll. The Western College Hockey Blog also weighs in.

Clarkson junior forward Ben Sexton is the catalyst for the Knights’ offense. CC opens against Sexton and his teammates Oct. 12-13.

Mankato has a high-skill center coming in in Latvian native Teddy Blueger.

The OHL lowered the fine it levied against the Windsor Spitfires.

The NCAA women’s season will soon be underway.

Defending NCAA champion Boston College was chosen by the Hockey East media to repeat as regular season champion for 2012-13 in the third annual poll of the Hockey East Writers & Broadcasters Association.

The Eagles received 21 of a possible 25 first-place votes. Last year’s regular season runner-up, Massachusetts-Lowell, finished second in the balloting and received three first-place votes.

CC hosts UMass-Lowell on Oct. 20.

Boston University was picked third, followed by New Hampshire and Providence. Maine came in sixth, just behind the Friars, and received the remaining first-place vote.

CC hosts UNH on Nov. 23. Here is a capsule look at the Wildcats.

Merrimack, Northeastern, Massachusetts and Vermont rounded out the remaining four spots in the poll.

The media once again selected a preseason All-Hockey East Team. Because of a tie in the balloting at forward, four forwards were named this year. The four were Joey Diamond (Sr., Maine), 2012 NCAA Tournament MVP Johnny Gaudreau (So., Boston College), Matt Nieto (Jr., Boston University) and last year’s Hockey East Rookie of the Year, Scott Wilson (So., Massachusetts-Lowell).

Garrett Noonan (Jr., Boston University) and Chad Ruhwedel (Jr., Massachusetts-Lowell) were named on defense. Parker Milner (Sr., Boston College) was the choice of the media in goal.

My WCHA preseason picks

Here are my preseason picks for the WCHA this 2012-13 season. Try not to laugh out loud. Remember prognostication mean nothing after Oct. 12.

Here goes:

The parity of the WCHA is best exemplified by the bottom three. All three will be quite tough at home when they can set up their best individual matchups against the visitors. Each will get at least one home win (two is likely) over a ranked opponent that will shake up the league standings.

12. Alaska-Anchorage – Three of the top four scorers are no longer with the Seawolves. That and the usual toll travel takes will wear down UAA, but not before knocking off a couple ranked visitors.

11. Bemidji State – Always a tough opponent, the Beavers will need more balanced scoring to complement returning leading scorer Jordan George and Ben Kinne; replacing graduated goalie Dan Bakala will be a tough task.

10. MSU-Mankato – New coach Mike Hastings will revitalize the program and could push the purple Mavs into home-ice contention for a while until depth becomes an issue. This program, like Bemidji State, will be a contender year in and year out in the new-look WCHA starting with the 2013-14 season.

Spots 4-9 should be pretty fluid throughout the season. I would not be shocked to see this portion of the list flipped depending on injuries and which teams see the most improvement from key players. Here is my best guess:

9. St. Cloud State – Seniors Ben Hanowski and Drew LeBlanc and junior Nic Dowd and Nick Jensen combine to lead a heralded group of underclassmen including Joe Benik. Opening at New Hampshire is a tough opener but home series against Alabama-Huntsville and Mankato should help the underclassmen get their feet under them. Depth may be an issue.

8. Minnesota-Duluth – The Bulldogs have some key contributors back from last season but replacing Hobey winner Jack Connolly, Travis Oleksuk, J.T. Brown and Brady Lamb’s 131 combined points will be a huge challenge. It feels wrong putting UMD so low, but a slow start with games against Ohio State (home), at Notre Dame, Wisconsin (home), at Nebraska Omaha and then at North Dakota is possible.

7. Nebraska Omaha – Too much offseason tumult with two top scorers leaving early for the pros and a heralded recruit heading to Canada instead.  If freshman goalie Anthony Stolarz is the real deal, then UNO could garner home ice. Goalie John Faulkner could ride to the rescue if Stolarz stumbles.

6. Michigan Tech – Mel Pearson turned the program around quickly. Now with good returning talent and more of his recruits in the mix, the Huskies should contend for home ice and flirt with the top 20 especially with a strong start against area rival Lake Superior State and a home series against Minnesota (keep an eye on this series).

5. Colorado College – The Tigers have some good freshmen forwards coming in; Cody Bradley and Hunter Fejes spring to mind. Jared Hanson looks strong. With solid goaltending and more offensive production from a larger defensive corps, this team should grind out a winning record and home ice.  How well the underclassmen and some key seniors perform will make a big difference in whether the Tigers finish in ninth or third place or somewhere in between.

4. Wisconsin – The Badgers have to replace Justin Schultz, but with 15 of 16 top scorers back including Mark Zengerle and some defensive improvement, UW could contend for the league title and an NCAA berth.

The top three have a slight edge over the teams designated 4-9 because of more returning talent and balance. The known positives carry a lot of weight in my mind.

3. Denver – This team has enough remaining offensive talent (Joey LaLeggia, Nick Shore, Shawn Ostrow, Ty Loney), physical defenders and impressive goalie depth (Sam Brittain, Adam Murray, Juro Olkinuora) to overcome having only three seniors (captain Chris Knowlton, Murray and practice goalie Zack Hope) on the roster. Freshman Quentin Shore should be a big help.

2. North Dakota – Remember Rocco Grimaldi? I do and with him back healthy, UND has the playmaker it needs to challenge for the league championship. Corban Knight, Danny Kristo and Carter Rowney can produce points early if Grimaldi is slow to get back into form. Freshman Zane Gothberg and Huntsville transfer Clarke Saunders give UND good goaltending behind a solid defenseman corps (Nick Mattson, Dillon Simpson). The nonconference opener against Alaska-Anchorage just got a whole lot tougher because of those one-game suspensions. An early home series against Boston University will be a good measuring stick

1. Minnesota – Is any team more loaded with offensive talent with Erik Haula, Kyle Rau, Zach Budish, and Nick Bjugstad back? The only possible hiccup is the unproven goaltending.  I think former CC short-term backup Michael Shibrowski can take the step up into a starting role. I predict a fair number of 5-2 wins.

My preseason honorees:

F – Erik Haula, Minnesota

F – Mark Zengerle, Wisconsin

F – Rylan Schwartz, CC

D – Joey LaLeggia, Denver

D – Nick Jensen, St. Cloud State

G – Josh Thorimbert, Colorado College

ROY – Rocco Grimaldi, North Dakota

POY – Erik Haula, Minnesota

COY – Don Lucia, Minnesota