Monday, July 18, 2011

Three Stars: July 11-17

3. Prospects looking to lock on with Penguins
(Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Your "sweet, we're gonna be awesome" story of the week: Pens prospect camp invitees Rob Madore and Andrew Blazek, both Pittsburgh-area natives who elected the college route, think Penn State's kinda nifty.

2. DCT: Penn State/Neumann University hockey game not yet official
(Nittany WhiteOut)

It's probably a gross understatement to say that the leaking of the try at an outdoor game didn't go as anyone planned. NWO calls out some people ("blogs" with an "s" - that could be me!) on that front and re-emphasizes the preliminary status of things, but neither are really my purpose for linking this one. It's more because of this:
The exposure that an outdoor hockey game will bring to the Penn State hockey program cannot be understated. An attention grabbing gimmick like this outdoor game just days following the Winter Classic is just what a program on the brink of rising to the Division I ranks like Penn State needs to make a splash on the hockey scene. Even the opponent will be a significant step up from the usual ACHA club-level opponents. What better way to attract the attention of scholarship athletes during the midst of our final ACHA season than scheduling the 2009 Division III national champions in an outdoor venue. A true coming out party for the soon-to-be newest member of the Division I hockey fraternity.
To be honest, I think the whole thing needs to be dialed back just a tad. A great experience for both teams? Fun for fans? An outdoor game where tickets won't require selling a kidney? Sure, I can get behind each of those things. But the hard reality is that this, if it happens, is probably going to be a lot closer to Adrian and Concordia (WI) at the Big House (What? Who? Exactly.) than to BU-BC at Fenway. It's not going to be on TV, 10,000 would be a fantastic attendance number - the Adrian-Concordia game drew 1470, I'm assigning what I think is fair credit to the Penn State name - and with the proliferation of outdoor hockey, I'm not even sure how much attention will be attracted from scholarship athletes.

1. Hockey Adds Defenseman
(Fight On State)

Forward a 'big-time' get for Lions
Canadian forward commits to Lions
(Lions 247)

Broadly speaking, "recruiting" takes the top spot this week, thanks to Andrew Dzurita's typically-excellent work and FOS popping in with a hockey recruiting article for the first time since Mark Yanis. The links are on Connor Varley, Jonathan Milley and David Glen, respectively.

Best of the Rest

We Are...........PENN STATE! (and soon to be Buffalo South)

Julie Robenhymer makes a habit of visiting NCAA hockey schools, then posting a bunch of pictures and information she picked up on the trip. Which is pretty cool, but since the target market is generally those from places other than the one being visited, there's not much in her PSU post for people who have been following closely. Except for this little nugget:
They plan to host a combination of Sabres development camps, training camps and pre-season games once the new building is complete.
It's been known for quite a while that PSU would seek something like that for the Pegula Ice Arena, and since the facility's namesake also happens to own the Sabres...well, it wasn't exactly a reach to get there. Still, it's now somewhere in print.

...and we now know about this guy at camp too.

Smith's departure leaves Badgers in tough spot
(Bucky's 5th Quarter)

Wisconsin star forward Craig Smith unexpectedly left his last two seasons of college eligibility on the table to sign with the Nashville Predators, who drafted him in the fourth round in 2009. Since he possibly could have played Penn State as a senior (in the unlikely event he was still there), you might be thinking "great." Not so fast. UW now has some scholarship flexibility, and...
One option if they did bring someone in [for this season] would be Reed Linaker from the St. Albert Steel in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. Linaker was linked to the Badgers this spring when Jordy Murray was considering leaving. Instead the coaching staff decided to bring in Brad Navin a year early from Waupaca high school. Linaker told me in late April that if the Badgers offered, he would accept.

However that offer never came. Instead Linaker gave a verbal commitment to start up program Penn State for 2012. When reached Friday afternoon Linaker told Bucky's 5th Quarter that he had not talked with Wisconsin recently.
That said, B5Q hockey guru Chuck Schwartz doesn't believe the Badgers will seek to re-fill Smith's scholarship. But it's still something to keep an eye on.

New conference will alter landscape of college hockey
(USA Today)

The Superleague, now with the similarly-hubristastic name of National Collegiate Hockey Conference, became official on Wednesday. And wherever it ends up hockey-wise, one thing's for sure: they need to hire some media relations people ASAP.

NCHC logo evolution. Well done, fellow big-timers.

COMMENTARY: Welcome to the Jungle
(College Hockey News)

...and like I said last week, let's just acknowledge things for what they are and ditch the "we considered everyone's interests before doing this" garbage. Adam Wodon, and most people, see through it. Good? Bad? We don't know, and we won't for some time (my hunch is that it just depends on the school). But in the meantime, quit insulting our intelligence.

Minnesota State-Moorhead Moving Towards Division I
(Western College Hockey Blog)

Penn State was nearly bumped from its spot as the newest NCAA hockey program this week when MSU-Moorhead announced it was holding a press conference...then announced, essentially, that they were simply working on it.
Moorhead's plan is to set up an endowment for the program to give them some financial security, and make sure they receive no taxpayer money (Because no state money has worked out great for the other MSU in the WCHA). They estimate that they will need $37 million to make that happen. So far, they've raised 40%, or $15 million of that goal in soft commitments (people who've said they'll write a check when the program is created). Part of that $37 million is allotted for "the best coach that money can buy."
It's actually a pretty savvy move in my opinion. Moorhead set a deadline of three months to raise the rest of the money, which coupled with the existing progress will hopefully inspire donors to come out of the woodwork. And they're making the WCHA aware of their presence before they get too far down the road of trying to salvage their conference.

Small school? Yes. But a big winner in the logo department. MORTAL KOMBAT!

WCHA to Formally Accept Northern Michigan
(College Hockey News)

Domino No. 3...wait, I think it's 4. Something like that.

The State of American Hockey - 2010-11
(The United States of Hockey)

I'm a huge fan of USoH to the point where it's in my regular rotation of must-read blogs. Proprietor Chris Peters, simply put, doesn't miss a thing and knows his stuff cold. This particular link got bumped with a busy week last week but guess what? Still topical.

Hockey East Extends Contract of Commissioner Joe Bertagna

Well, when you're the commissioner of the only major conference that hasn't been gutted recently, why not? Worth noting as well: he reportedly helped repel a Superleague raid on Boston College and Boston University.

Exter Joins Ohio State Hockey Staff

In what's universally being praised as a great hire, former Merrimack goalie Joe Exter is now a conference rival. He brings a tremendous depth of experience, primarily with USA Hockey as the NTDP's goalie coach, and also on the staffs of the gold medal-winning U.S. teams at the World U18 Championships and World Junior Championships. Prior to that, Exter spent one season each as an assistant in the USHL and with American International.

Guentzel Joins Minnesota Staff

Minnesota makes it two Big Tenners who beefed up their coaching staffs this week, as highly-respected Mike Guentzel returns to his alma mater and a place where he previously spent 14 years as an assistant before spending the last three seasons with Colorado College, the USHL's Fargo Force and Nebraska-Omaha (in that order).


  1. I would hope a Penn State/Neumann game held in alumni rich Philadelphia will draw far more than just 1470. Just tie the event and ticket sales to THON and you've got yourself a crowd. Heck, if they can convince fans to attend Pittsburgh Pirates games for THON, Penn State's very first outdoor hockey game should be an easy sell.

    Hahah, there was no deliberate effort to call TYT out. Your Neumann piece accurately reported the tentativeness of the outdoor game, as other websites jumped the gun then hastily removed the articles when more details surfaced.

  2. Haha no worries, wasn't trying to start a blogwar with that comment, I actually would've been flattered by the consideration as noteworthy enough to call out. Basically, I posted with the original release from, then took it down, then retooled the post to fit the DCT article, reposted, then softened some of my language even further. Heck of a rope we all try to walk with the whole "be fast, informative and accurate at the same time" thing.

    Anyway, to the issue at hand, I think 1470 is about what Neumann will pull in (I'll go ahead and assume that Concordia (WI) doesn't travel all that well). PSU? I really have no idea what to expect. Tying THON in would be huge obviously (great idea), although it should also be noted that as bad as the Pirates were until now, they were still a team playing at the highest level of a sport much more popular than hockey.

    It's still just the ACHA team, so I'm not sure that "mainstream" PSU fans will come out, just like they didn't really pay more attention than normal to the Icers this past season after "the announcement." Joe Philly will have moved on after the Flyers are done with their game.

    Like I said, I really don't know. I wouldn't be surprised to see an ACHA team and a DIII team playing in front of parents, girlfriends and a few die-hards and I also wouldn't be surprised to see an energized crowd that fills most of the seats. The wife and myself definitely make two, so that's a start!