Monday, July 16, 2012

Three Stars: July 9-15

3. USHL Announces 2012-13 Regular Season Schedule

BCHL releases 2012-13 regular season schedule

The USHL and BCHL, which together will be home to at least five of PSU's current nine men's commits this season, both released their regular season schedules this week. Time to start looking for those weeknight games (so as not to conflict with Nittany Lions games) to watch on

2. Kevin Kerr Player Bio

2014 D Kevin Kerr attended the prestigious USA Hockey Select 16 Player Development Camp last week, following 2015 F Alec Marsh, who was at Select 17s in late June, at a USA Hockey camp. Kerr scored his Forest Green team's only goal in a 5-1 loss to Orange, one of four suffered by the team against a single win. He missed the cut for the U.S. U17 team that will compete at the Five Nations Tournament next month, which is selected from camp participants.

1. @MarkHorgas

Some say championships aren't won in July. Freshman women's forward Jill Holdcroft disagrees.

PS. I could not be more glad to see the giant PSU logo banners behind the benches, in light of the Nittany Lions taking over what was traditionally the visitor's bench this year - for those unfamiliar, that bench had some hideous artwork of a hockey player, figure skater and speed skater behind it. Well, presumably it's still there, just behind the banner. Good enough.

Best of the Rest

Class of 2012: Lamoriello, Modano, Olczyk

Congratulations are due the most famous Penn State hockey dad since Craig Patrick: Ed Olczyk, who has been announced as part of the 2012 class of U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductees, with formal enshrinement scheduled for sometime this fall. Here's his bio from the link.

Eddie Olczyk was the third overall pick of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks and enjoyed a 16-year professional career. A member of the 1994 Stanley Cup champion New York Rangers, Olczyk's career was split between six teams, including the Chicago Blackhawks (1984-1987, 1998-2000), Toronto Maple Leafs (1987-1991), Winnipeg Jets (1991-1992, 1995-96), New York Rangers (1992-1995), Los Angeles Kings (1996) and Pittsburgh Penguins (1996-1998). All total, he notched 342 goals and 452 assists for 794 points in 1,031 games. Additionally, Olczyk represented the U.S. nine times on the international stage during his career, including as a member of Team USA at the 1984 Olympic Winter Games in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, as a 17-year-old, where he skated on the famed "Diaper Line." He also helped Team USA to a second-place finish in the 1991 Canada Cup. A native of Palos Heights, Ill., Olczyk is the current lead game analyst for NHL on NBC and NHL on NBC Sports Network. Olczyk was also heard during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, including the gold-medal men's ice hockey contest, which was the most-watched hockey game in America in 30 years. Olczyk, who spent parts of two seasons behind the bench as head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2003-05, presently serves as the game analyst for Chicago Blackhawks television broadcasts.

So wait, he wasn't even on the Jets anymore when NHLPA '93 came out? If EA took liberties like that, why couldn't they just leave Ronnie Franchise on the Whalers?

Penn State alumni and friends give more than $208 million
(Penn State Live)

A dose of good news, both generally and in relation to the hockey programs: PSU received its second-highest gift total ever in the just-concluded fiscal year, as the $208 million figure trails only 2010-2011's $275 million. Part of the difference is due, of course, to Terry Pegula, who gave $44 million of his (initial) $88 million pledge during that particular period, followed by $22 million more last year.

Tempering that positivity is the fact that total commitments (gifts plus pledges of future gifts) are off by 37 percent, as Forbes points out. Some of that is also due to Pegula, but even taking him out, commitments are at their lowest level since 2005-2006. Still, for the time being - because who knows where the future takes us - I think it's fair to call PSU's donation base healthy. The continued engagement of Penn Staters in the school will definitely be something to keep an eye on, because interest in athletics is very obviously part of that.

Another crucial thing, as I've mentioned before, is the fate of the football program in light of the Freeh report released Thursday, because anything that damages it creates collateral damage throughout the athletic department.


Even if Penn State didn't have a varsity women's team, it would be kind of cool to see an old ACHA rival make things "we painted it on the ice" official with the CHA. But hey, good news, PSU's in the CHA too and will be playing on that surface on my birthday (November 16th, as well as the 17th). Happy birthday, me.

The new face of the CHA

Speaking of, here's a brief look at Penn State's conference...

Women's hockey head coach Scott McDonald earns a three-year contract extension
( well as some coaching news involving a member team. I can just imagine Scott McDonald walking into RIT AD Lou Spiotti's office and saying "hey, who do I have to beat up to get a contract extension around here?"

Tess Weaver will continue to make No. 36 look good this season.

2012-13 Penn State Roster

Let's keep the women's string going with the observation that the roster has now added jersey numbers. Of the six members of last year's Lady Icers, four kept the same numbers. Jess Desorcie changed from 43 to 15, while captain Taylor Gross is now 24 instead of 48. Considering those two players wore their "new" numbers at their stops prior to joining PSU in the middle of last season, it's hardly stunning that they jumped on the chance to switch when it opened up. Former TYT interviewees Emily Laurenzi and Sarah Wilkie both got their previous numbers as well (20 and 21, respectively), so I'm good with everything.

Girgensons, Sabres Agree to Terms on Entry-Level Contract

Micheletto To UMass; Reports and FTT Opinion
(Fear The Triangle)

People frequently ask me my expectations for the coming men's season. My answer, in truth, is that I don't have the slightest clue. But given that 10 of the 35 games on the schedule are against ACHA or NCAA Division III opposition, I don't think "close to .500" is an unrealistic goal. "Close," in my definition, would be in the neighborhood of 14 wins (assuming a couple ties in there), meaning of course, that just four wins in 25 games against DI and the NTDP U18s gets us there - assuming that we don't get Wayne Stated by one of the ACHA teams. In addition, breaking off an unexpected, season-highlight type of win against a major-conference team is a secondary goal of mine.

Why do I mention all of that? Well, on January 19th, Penn State plays Hockey East's Vermont in Philadelphia. It's one of the more high-profile games on the schedule, and it stands a very good chance of being one of the three highest-attended games this season (I'm ceding first and second place to Wisconsin for the time being). However, UVM was a miserable 6-27-1 last year. UVM lost its two best players, leading scorer Sebastien Stalberg and goalie Rob Madore, from that team. UVM returns one player who scored 10 goals last year. UVM is now down their best recruit for the coming year and possibly an assistant coach as well. If the Lions are to chip off a major conference team this season in one of the seven or eight attempts, UVM would seem the definitive low-hanging fruit at the moment.

UPDATE: John Micheletto has been confirmed as the next UMass coach, with a press conference scheduled for Monday afternoon.

Michigan Daily Issues Statement, Stands By Report as Lawsuit Looms
(The United States of Hockey)

Remember last week when I mentioned the Jacob Trouba story, where the star defense prospect reportedly spurned a $200,000 offer from the OHL's Kitchener Rangers to stick with his Michigan commitment? Well, the Rangers are suing the (student) reporter and (student) paper who broke the story. Chris Peters has been all over this, so rather than fire off a paragraph of half-baked analysis, I'll just direct you over there. In a nutshell, the Rangers are douchebags and idiots (my words, not Peters').

Hockey City Classic scheduled for Soldier Field in February 2013

It's finally been confirmed that on February 17, 2013, Notre Dame will play Miami and Wisconsin will take on Minnesota in a doubleheader at Chicago's Soldier Field, dubbed the Hockey City Classic. Here's hoping for a strong attendance number, both because of the hope I'm still carrying that the Big Ten tournament will be in the Windy City in the future and because it might get Northwestern and/or Illinois to think long and hard about things.


Sometimes it's nice to be reminded that Penn State isn't a horrible place. Thanks, Abbey.


  1. This week, I feel like I don't care if I ever see another football game again. Maybe I'll feel different later. Probably.

  2. I have a great relationship with BSD, but honestly, their "only [player with jersey number equal to a countdown of days] until Penn State football!" series is nauseating to me. I suppose we all deal in different ways, but really, my only concern for the football program right now is whether it will be harmed enough financially to impact other sports. I never thought I'd say that.

    Will I feel that way next month? Next year? Five years from now? I don't know.

  3. I will probably feel different once the games start and we see how the new staff does things differently.

    PSU football, like all football teams, has always had a fair number of fans with misplaced priorities. It would be great if we could somehow get rid of those, but it's probably not possible.