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).

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.

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.

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.

Thursday reading: Crabb, Hillen, Bachman, Mankato

Former Tiger Jack Hillen made his NHL playoff debut in Nashville’s 3-2 win over No. 5 seed Detroit.

Joey Crabb has been added to the U.S. world championships team, joining Richard Bachman.

MSU Mankato is reportedly a few days away from making a coaching hire. Here is the first recruiting class the new guy will have to work with.

That is it for now. I will update the blog with other signings news, including CC, as it trickles in today and Friday.

Wednesday reading: Civitarese, CHL, Bachman, NHL playoffs

Former Tiger David Civitarese is featured in an article about the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears.

Here are some details about the new CHL franchise beginning playing this fall at the Denver Coliseum.

Boston College celebrated its third title in five years.

The final Inside College Hockey power rankings.

This is a list of the latest early departures from Division I.

Here is an updated story on Richard Bachman, who is one of the 17 Americans on the U.S. preliminary roster for the world championships team next month.

Here are the NHL playoff match-ups. Play begins Wednesday night. Jaden Schwartz (Blues) and Jack Hillen (Predators) are the only former Tigers on a NHL playoff roster at the moment. Others may be called up from the AHL as their teams are eliminated or as NHL injuries mount. Playoffs start in that league April 15.

Sunday reading: BC, Huntsville, Dineen, M. Stuart, Testwuide, J. Schwartz, Bachman, Hillen, Mankato coach, humanitarian award

Colorado Springs native Ben Holmstrom came up big in a key win over Albany Saturday night in the hunt for an AHL playoff berth.

Happy Easter and Passover everyone.

Minnesota will get its rematch against Boston College, which won 19 straight including Saturday night’s 4-1 championship win over Ferris State, during the next Mariucci Classic. Here is the game story.

Perhaps Alabama Huntsville can take solace in this story about Ferris State’s near demise 20 years ago.

Former Tiger Nick Dineen picked up an assist (his third pro point) in Saturday’s 3-0 Game 4 win over Reading in the ECHL playoffs. Game 5 is at 5:05 p.m. Mountain on Monday.

Mark Stuart received the Dan Snyder Memorial Award.  The team honor was established by the Atlanta Thrashers back in 2004, after Snyder died in a car accident in the fall of 2003 and is given to a player who embodies perseverance, dedication and hard work without reward.

“It’s quite an honour, it’s very humbling,” said Stuart. “ I just try to work hard every night. It’s definitely an award I appreciate a lot. I knew his story, but when I got to Atlanta last year, I learned a lot more about him and had a chance to meet his brother (Jake) after our last game last year. What a great family. Everything you hear about (Dan) is positive. He was such a great guy, such a great teammate, that worked hard every night. He’s still sorely missed in the hockey community.”

Mike Testwuide scored an empty-netter for AHL Adirondack on Saturday.

Jaden Schwartz played 7.5 minutes in the Blues’ regular-season finale after three games as a healthy scratch as St. Louis looks to regain some of its intensity and grit headed into the playoffs as the West’s No. 2 seed. He took two shots on  Richard Bachman,  who made 32 saves in a season-ending loss on Saturday.Do not expect to see much of Schwartz in the playoffs. The Dallas Stars’ season is reviewed.

Here are the NHL playoff match-ups. Congrats to Jack Hillen (Nashville) for making the playoffs for the first time after playing for the Islanders.

MSU Mankato is expected to have its head coach hired by the AHCA meetings in late April. CC assistant Eric Rud is one of the darkhorses among the likely finalists. UND’s Cary Eades is the odds-on favorite.

Hockey Humanitarian Award winner and Yale senior Aleca Hughes was inspired by Mandi Schwartz, sister of Jaden and Rylan Schwartz. Hughes did a lot of work for the Mandi Schwartz Foundation.

Here are two Sioux players expected to be heavily courted by the Ontario Hockey League.

The Minnesota captain has moved on to the AHL.

The Frozen Four all-tournament team

Forwards

Kyle Bonis, Ferris State; Paul Carey and Steven Whitney, Boston College

Defensemen

Chad Billins, Ferris State; Brian Dumoulin, Boston College

Goalie

Parker Milner, Boston College.

More Monday reading: Tigers in the pros, Mankato, USA U18 roster

I wrote a feature on Richard Bachman, pictured at left, for CC sports information and an update on the other former Tigers under AHL and NHL contracts.

The coaching change at Minnesota State Mankato continues to be the big news around the league for the time being (I suspect the Gophers will be the focus again within 24 hours). Here are more Frozen Four links.

Here’s more from the Monday morning press conference where Troy Jutting shows why he is the respected man he is around the WCHA.

Now it is time for people to guess about possible replacements, which mentions current CC assistant Eric Rud as a possibility. In my opinion, both he and Joe Bonnett are more than qualified.

Here is the USA U-18 national team roster for the upcoming world championships in Europe. There are plenty of college commits on the list.

Wednesday reading: Weekly honors, UNO rink, J. Schwartz, WCHA women, AFA honor

Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) and defenseman Jack Hillen stop a Kings shot during the first period Monday. / Sanford Myers / The Tennessean

Two Gophers were honored by the WCHA this week.

UNO coach Dean Blais is trying to jump start the school’s effort to get its own 8,000-seat arena on campus. No doubt, such a move would be huge for the program, especially from a financial viewpoint (concessions, parking revenue, etc.).

Here’s a look at Wisconsin’s road playoff possibilities.

CC assistant Eric Rud was checking out the NAHL’s top prospects recently.

From stltoday.com: Blues GM Doug Armstrong believes Colorado College forward Jaden Schwartz is close to NHL-ready, and why not? He was captain of Team Canada at the World Junior Championships. He has scored 12 goals and added 24 assists in 26 college games this season.

Colorado College has won just one of its last six games. At 16-14-2 overall and 13-12-1 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, Schwartz’s team is on the outside of the NCAA’s 16-team national tourney bracket looking in.

Perhaps Colorado College can win the WCHA tourney and the automatic berth that goes with it. Or perhaps Jaden will have to decide whether to turn pro earlier than he expected.

Schwartz is a skilled player, but his character is what sets him apart. He appears to be a natural leader. “When you play, you want to make the players around you better,” he told the Colorado Springs Gazette earlier this season. “Whether teams are on you more or not, that’s something you’ve got to battle through. Every player has been through that at different levels.”

Pine Creek graduate Emily West’s play will be critical for the Minnesota women in the WCHA Frozen Faceoff (league semifinals and championship) this weekend in Duluth.

This sick little boy has been inspired by the Brown Bears and they have been motivated by him.

From AFA sports information:

Air Force sophomore Jason Torf was named the Atlantic Hockey Association Goalie of the Month for February as he helped lead Air Force to a 5-2-1 record and the AHA regular-season championship.

Torf, from Hermosa Beach, Calif., posted a 1.11 goals-against average and a .956 saves percentage in the month. He recorded four shutouts in eight starts as he blanked RIT (3-0 on Feb. 3), Niagara (2-0 on Feb. 10), Mercyhurst (8-0 on Feb. 17) and Robert Morris (3-0 on Feb. 25). Three of his four shutouts came against teams ranked in the top four in the league. Torf led AFA to the league title by stopping all 25 shots he faced in the final regular-season game at Robert Morris, Feb. 25. The night before, he made a season high 35 saves against the Colonials.

After missing almost three months and 14 games with a groin injury, Torf has come back to be among the national leaders in every goaltending category. In all games, he ranks third in the nation in goals-against average (1.65), seventh in shutouts (4) and eighth in saves percentage (.931)

The Atlantic Hockey monthly honor was his first of the season and second of his career. Air Force, 17-9-7 overall and 15-6-6 in the league, earned a bye in the first round of the playoffs. The Falcons will host an AHA quarterfinal series, March 9-11, at the Cadet Ice Arena.