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.

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).

Tuesday reading: Guentzel, Civitarese, Labosky, CC radio show, MSU Mankato, Western Michigan preview, national TV schedule

Former Tiger Gabe Guentzel will be playing for the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL after the Anaheim organization switched affiliates. He signed an AHL contract on Sept. 21.

David Civitarese will get some extra coaching with Capitals coach Adam Oates working for AHL Hershey during the NHL lockout.

CC commit Daniel Labosky (2013 or 2014) is tied for fifth in points (15) in 11 games in the Upper Midwest Elite League.

The monthly Coach Scott Owens Show will be broadcast live from McCabe’s Tavern, 520 S. Tejon St., from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays on Oct. 9, Nov. 15, Dec. 4, Jan. 15, Feb. 5 and March 12. Schedule is subject to change, of course.

Western Michigan has the Mason Cup on display in Andy Murray’s office and the Broncos are not about to let it leave.

Minnesota State Mankato single-game tickets went on sale on Monday.

Here is the national and regional TV schedule. The first game broadcast will be the Manitoba at North Dakota exhibition (really) on Saturday night.

Friday reading: Hillen, Michigan Tech, Alaska-Fairbanks, DU student assistant, Bemidji State, Minnesota-Duluth, NHL lockout

Former Tiger Jack Hillen’s future with the Capitals (assuming lockout ends fairly soon) is predicted by this Washington blogger. Hillen is pictured last season playing for Nashville.

Here is a feature on a Michigan Tech freshman goalie from North Pole, Alaska, just outside of Fairbanks. UAF had its first practice recently.

Denver player Wade Bennett has retired due to injuries and will return as a student assistant coach according to DU’s Twitter feed.

Bemidji State home games will be broadcast on the regional Lakeland TV Network. This does not affect Colorado College

The NHL lockout is giving these five AHL teams a serious boost in starpower and talent. What does that mean for some former Tigers? It may be difficult for the unsigned free agents to make some AHL teams during training camp, which could lead to a trickle-down effect that may boost some ECHL franchises. Or they may consider the stability of playing overseas, if spots are available.

Once the NHL lockout ends (I remain hopeful), rosters will shift and a number of promotions from the ECHL to the AHL will return things to normal for most former Tigers.

Wednesday reading: CCHA championship, NCAA selection show, Bachman, Zaba, Prosser, Wisconsin, Mankato, recruits, women’s poll

The CCHA will hold its final league championship game Sunday afternoon, pushing ESPN’s NCAA Selection Show to 7 p.m. Mountain on March 24, 2013. The CCHA explains why.

MSU-Mankato had its first practice which hinted at the more aggressive playing style new coach Mike Hastings will implement. Here is the preseason prospectus for the purple Mavericks

Former Tiger goalie Richard Bachman talks about his new mask and his offseason.

Matt Zaba will play for the Vienna Capitals this season.

The Wild, including Nate Prosser, are holding informal practices. Similar stories can be found throughout the NHL.

Wisconsin is celebrating its 50th anniversary of the modern era. The university had a team from 1921-35 before the program was disbanded. It returned for the 1963-64 season and continues to this day. Here is a transcript of the press conference announcing the celebration.

Here are a few youngsters to keep in mind during the recruiting battles. A Cloquet, Minn. standout who was considering Colorado College committed to Minnesota-Duluth.

The USCHO women’s preseason poll is out.

Thursday reading: Michigan, Jablonski, NCHC, Civitarese, Guentzel

Former Tiger David Civitarese made quite an impression at the recent prospects camp. Thanks to CC statistician Victoria Thomas for providing this image.

Here is a list of Michigan college players who signed pro contracts so far this offseason including Michigan Tech’s Jordan Baker going to ECHL Colorado.

Injured high school hockey player Jack Jablonski is making considerable progress.

Here is an update on CC’s $27 million in renovations at its El Pomar athletic complex, which will include a new varsity weight room and synthetic ice shooting room for the hockey program.

The National Collegiate Hockey Conference added two to its league office staff.

And from the How Did I Miss This? story department, here are two older articles on former Tigers. David Civitarese was happy to miss the Calgary Stampede last month. Gabe Guentzel made a good first impression during his first partial pro season.

Anyone traveling to Omaha later this month may want to check out this hockey game fundraiser that features former Nebraska Omaha players and current NHLers.

Tuesday reading: WJC, Crabb, Hillen, Petersen, Bachman, Sweatt, free agents, Cullen, Fredheim, Frischmon, Petiot, C. Stuart, Emrick

Here is the final Team USA roster for its World Junior Championship camp. Thirty-four of the initial 45 players in attendance at the 2012 USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp will remain to oppose Sweden and Finland in a series of international games in Lake Placid this week.

The players are auditioning for a spot on the U.S. National Junior Team that will take part in the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, Dec. 26, 2012-Jan. 5, 2013, in Ufa, Russia.

NHL.com predicts the lineup for the Washington Capitals as part of its 30 in 30 (days) series. Former Tiger Joey Crabb, pictured, is projected as the fourth-line right wing while Jack Hillen is the fourth pairing’s right defenseman.

In Dallas, former Tiger Toby Petersen is the extra (13th) forward while goalie Richard Bachman is the backup, though he may be challenged by top prospect Jack Campbell. Bill Sweatt is not projected to have a regular role in Vancouver.

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

NBC play-by-play announcer Doc Emrick is doing his usual excellent job, this time covering water polo at the London Olympics. He talks about similarities between ice hockey and water polo and why fans should check this sport out. I agree as does Petersen. It is an entertaining sport to watch with lots in common with hockey.

AFA’s McKenzie participating in Capitals development camp

CHRISTIAN MURDOCK/THE GAZETTE

Edited from original on NAHL.com …

Air Force junior defenseman Adam McKenzie, pictured, isgetting a rare opportunity afforded some undrafted players by participating in the Washington Capitals’ annual development camp, which began two days ago. The sessions end on Saturday.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” McKenzie told NAHL.com. “I’m really excited to be here. It’s an opportunity to show what I can do. It’s an NHL camp, and it’s a step toward reaching my dream.”

Among the camp’s 46 participants are players drafted by the team, including 2012 first-round selections Filip Forsberg and Tom Wilson, and free agents. The camp is at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va., and will consist of on- and off-ice workouts as well as scrimmages.

It was his development and experiences with the NAHL’s Wenatchee Wild that played a pivotal role in McKenzie making an easy transition to the Division I level, said Air Force head coach Frank Serratore.

“Adam was a good player when he left Wenatchee,” Serratore said. “He was a mature player to start with and we anticipated that he would be able to make a seamless transition into a Division I hockey player, and he did.”

As a freshman, McKenzie played in all 38 of Air Force’s games. He notched 19 points (5G, 14A) with a plus-8 rating on a Falcons team that qualified for the NCAA Tournament. McKenzie was the No. 2 scoring freshman on the team and the top-scoring freshman in the AHA. Later, he was named to the AHA’s all-rookie team.

“It will be a terrific hockey experience for Adam, and it will give him an opportunity to see where he sits on the food chain among other prospects,” Serratore said. “We’re happy for Adam. It’s good for him, good for [Air Force] and Wenatchee.”

For the entire, unedited article click here.

NHL free agency: Hillen joins Crabb in Washington

CC fans have another reason to follow the Washington Capitals (which also have David Civitarese in AHL Hershey) closely this upcoming season.

Former Tiger Jack Hillen, pictured, signed a one-year $650,000 NHL-only contract with the Caps on Tuesday morning. It looks like Washington expects him to contribute at the top club.

That leaves nine former Tigers (as of 10 a.m. MT) weighing their free agency options. 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), Colin Stuart (Sabres) and Mike Testwuide (Flyers).

Here is the Hillen press release:

The Capitals announced Tuesday morning they have signed defenseman Jack Hillen to a one-year contract. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Hillen, 26, had six points (two goals, four assists), a plus-6 rating and 20 penalty minutes in 55 games with the Nashville Predators in 2011-12. He finished tied for eighth on the club in blocked shots (65).

The Minnetonka, Minn., native has 56 points (10 goals, 46 assists) and 129 penalty minutes in 230 NHL games with the Islanders and Nashville. He posted career highs in goals (four), assists (tied; 18), points (22) and penalty minutes (45) during the 2010-11 campaign with the Isles.

Hillen (5-foot-10, 190 pounds) spent four seasons with Colorado College of the WCHA, where he was teammates with newly acquired Caps forward Joey Crabb. Hillen earned WCHA Defensive Player of the Year, WCHA First All-Star Team and NCAA (West) First All-American Team honors during his senior season in 2008. He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Islanders on April 1, 2008.

Tuesday reading: Cecere, NHL free agency, Guentzel, Bjugstad, AFA

Future Tiger Garrett Cecere (2013 commit) is getting some attention from NHL scouts.

Seven former Tigers remain NHL/AHL free agents  (as of 10 a.m. MT) after Joey Crabb (Capitals), Curtis McElhinney (Columbus) and Toby Petersen (Dallas) signed on Sunday and Monday.

Jack Hillen joined Crabb on the Caps on Tuesday morning.

Here are some details about Crabb’s deal and the $200,000 pay raise from the Anchorage Daily News.

They are (name, 2011-12 team):

Richard Bachman (Dallas): Kris Fredheim (Wild); Trevor Frischmon, pictured, (Islanders); Richard Petiot (Tampa Bay); Brett Sterling (Blues), Colin Stuart (Buffalo), and Mike Testwuide (Flyers).

Colorado Springs’ Ben Holmstrom (Flyers) is also available.

Jake Guentzel, younger brother of former Tiger Gabe, is considering Colorado College. Nice kid. I met him during his visit while he was watching a practice last November. He is forgoing his senior year of high school to go to the USHL which means he could develop more quickly.

Former Badger Justin Schultz hates how Lebronesque his decision became.

Minnesota’s Nick Bjugstad will decide after the Panthers’ development camp if he will return to the Gophers.

UMass fans lick their wounds after being turned down by the Quinnipiac coach.

From  the academy …

The Air Force hockey team is proud to announce the five members of the Class of 2016, as announced Monday by head coach Frank Serratore. The class of 2016 includes two forwards and three defensemen.

26, Ben Carey, F, 5-11, 160, Centennial, CO / Wenatchee Wild (NAHL)

Played two years of junior hockey for the Wenatchee Wild of the NAHL … Led the Wild in scoring in 2011-12 with 57  points (27-30-57) in 60 games … led the team with 14 ppg and was second with a +16 … tied for 11th in the league in goals and 16th in points … third in the league in power-play goals … scored six points (2-4-6) in eight playoff games … in 2010-11, was fifth on the Wild with 43 points (19-24-43) in 57 games … fourth on the team in goals and fifth in points in 2010-11.

44, Max Edson, F, 5-8, 170, Hermosa Beach, CA / Waterloo Blackhawks (USHL)

Played two years of junior hockey for the Waterloo Blackhawks of the USHL … Played 33 games in 2011-12 at forward and scored 15 points (6-9-15) … In 2010-11, played 54 games at forward and scored 19 points (10-9-19).

8, Max Hartner, D, 6-0, 195, Greenwood Village, CO / Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)

Played three years of junior hockey for the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL … Played in 38 games in 2011-12 on defense and scored 10 points (1-9-10) … Played in 44 games on defense in 2010-11 and had 12 points (6-6-12) in 44 games … team captain in 2011-12 and 2010-11 … helped lead the Gamblers to the USHL regular-season and playoff championships twice … In 2009-10, scored three points (1-2-3) in 24 games.

10, Jesse Ramsey, D, 5-11, 175, Rogers, MN / Kenai River Brown Bears (NAHL)

Played three years of junior hockey with the Kenai River Brown Bears of the NAHL .. the top scoring defenseman, and third overall on the team,  with 38 points (11-27-38) in 60 games in 2011-12  … ranked fifth in the league in points by a defenseman … 11 goals tied as the second most in the league by any blueliner … played 57 games at forward for the Brown Bears in 2010-11 and had 21 points (5-16-21) … began his junior career in 2009-10 with the Wenatchee Wild of the NAHL and played 16 games, scoring four points (3-1-4) … played the final 38 games of the 2009-10 season with the Brown Bears at forward and scored 19 points (3-16-19) in 38 games.

77, Trevor Waldoch, D, 6-2, 175, Forest Lake, MN / Austin Bruins (NAHL)

Played two years of junior hockey for the Austin Bruins of the NAHL … Played in 60 games on defense in 2011-12 and scored 27 points (9-18-27) in 60 to rank third on team among defenseman … Played 48 games in 2010-11 on defense and scored 25 points (5-20-25) in 48 games.