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.

Wild releases own WCHA preseason poll

This just in …

Admittedly, having all these WCHA preseason polls (I voted in three last month) start to get a bit redundant and silly so the Minnesota Wild organization, also chimed in.

With quite a few former WCHA players on its roster, the NHL organization (which is not as busy as usual this time of year for some reason) took time to make its own preseason poll. 

A player’s alma mater clearly affected their judgment and their greatest college rival showing up in last place (when was the last time Minnesota and North Dakota finished last in the WCHA?) showed that the players, which included Brian Connelly, Kris Fredheim, and Chad Rau, did not take it too seriously.  That is a good thing.

CC was picked to finish fourth overall.

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.

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.

Wednesday reading: Jaden Schwartz, Prosser, future foes, Penn State

Former Tiger Jaden Schwartz, pictured,  is the No. 2 prospect in the St. Louis organization according to nhl.com, but on a deep team like the Blues, that means he may start next season in AHL Peoria. Unless, of course, he has an exceptional training camp that dislodges a proven veteran.

Either way, do not expect Jaden to stay in the minors for long.

Nate Prosser will likely be on the Wild’s NHL roster in the fourth defenseman pairing this upcoming season, according to nhl.com.

Future foes for both Air Force and Colorado College were profiled recently by Inside College Hockey. The most recent articles are about UMass-Lowell’s sophomore defenseman Zack Kamrass of Atlanta and Sacred Heart senior Ben Ketchum and Wisconsin’s Joseph LaBate, pictured.

Vermont fills out its coaching staff.  Penn State gets its second commit in seven days. UMass announced its incoming freshman class.

Monday reading: Labosky, UMass, Howe, Carle, Cullen, Tech, UVM

Please, Tiger fans, do not make a “Big Lebowski” reference when you first meet 2013/14 CC commit Dan Labosky. He’s nice about it, but he is getting tired of hearing it. Here is a feature and Q&A on the Benilde-St. Margaret’s standout.

The fourth time is the charm: Vermont associate head coach John Micheletto accepted the UMass head coaching job on Sunday and may be announced officially as early as today. Three previous offers were made, reported by various media, and subsequently turned down.

CC goalie Joe Howe participated in the Wild’s prospect development camp, where DU’s Jason Zucker has performed well.

Former SCSU standout Matt Cullen, brother of former Tigers Mark and Joe, had a foundation that recently donated $1 million to help children.

Former Denver player David Carle starts up his assistant coaching career in Green Bay.

Michigan Tech picked up a BCHL commit. Good news for the Fairbanks tournament. Bemidji State added a volunteer assistant coach.

Vermont signee Zemgus Girgensons decided to sign with Buffalo before donning the Catamounts uniform. The Riga, Latvia native was the 14th pick in the 2012 draft and put up 104 points in 100 games at USHL Dubuque.

Fargo Force defenseman Butrus Ghafari, a Western Michigan signee, turned down chance  to play for the U.S. NTDP, per Force assistant Jesse Davis via Ryan S. Clark of the Fargo Forum. He is on the USA U-17 Team that will compete in the Five Nations tournament next month.

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.