1. Florida State Seminoles (56)
2. Alabama Crimson Tide
3. Oklahoma Sooners (3)
4. Oregon Ducks (1)
5. Auburn Tigers
State Buckeyes (1)
Carolina Gamecocks (1)
15. USC Trojans
16. Clemson Tigers
Dame Fighting Irish
State Sun Devils
19. Mississippi Rebels
20. Texas A&M Aggies
21. Kansas St. Wildcats
23. University of North
Carolina Tar Heels
Only four Big Ten Teams in the top 25 coaches poll.
Thursday, July 31, 2014
From today's local fish wrapper, err, Grand Forks Herald. But what else would you expect from them? I have always said, outside of the sports page, which is awesome, this news paper disappoints me.
I have to respectfully disagree with Tom Dennis. There’s really no need to hurry picking a new nickname. Nicknames are something that we’re stuck with for a very long. If the University makes a hurried, hasteful decision, the University is going to be stuck with some stupid nickname that no one can get behind, or want on the front of their jerseys and t-shirts... Then what? I am dead serious here. Honestly, I could see this happening. One of my biggest fears is that the University will be pressured into picking some stupid nickname like Sun Dogs or Flickertails.
Let’s slow down, get together and move forward with a purpose. Let's not do this willy-nilly. Moreover, let’s not just pick a nickname, just to pick a nickname. Let’s select something that’s not going to alienate a lot of people, especially alumni.
Also, UND can’t even pick a new nickname until 2015. It’s not like UND is going to order new uniforms for their sports teams half way through the year. This is not going to happen.
The first thing that we need to address is the committee/mechanism that chooses the new nickname. Who will be on this committee that picks the new nickname? Obviously, this committee that doesn’t exist yet. The major question is who’s going to help choose this new nickname? Again, if the alumni think that the “wrong” people are part of the process, or if a block of people are left out of the process, you’re going to alienate your alumni base. The University can’t afford to alienate their loyal alumni base.
Tom Dennis, Grand Forks Herald – “We want to emphasize that the work of this group will be to establish a process, not to select a new nickname or logo,” said one administrator. And even that tepid description sounds fiery next to this one, which another official offered:Dennis goes on…
“We don’t have a process yet, but what we’re doing is preparing to create a process.”
In our view, this timidity on the part of UND’s administration is a mistake. The university has a lot to gain and not a whole lot to lose by striding confidently toward its goal, which is to line up lots of nickname suggestions, choose the most exciting one and then announce that choice with trumpets and confetti.
Sorry, but the current “University of North Dakota” moniker just isn’t enough. Harvard has the most recognizable academic name on the planet; but Harvard doesn’t call its sports teams, “Harvard.” They are the Harvard Crimson.Contrary to some’s point of view, no nickname works just fine. This has worked for a year already. Sure, it takes time blending UND into blog posts and game reports, but this is a minor issue.
The Yale Bulldogs, University of Michigan Wolverines, Ohio State Buckeyes … the list goes on. In fact, it goes on forever, as virtually every other college in America has a team nickname, regardless of how famous the institution is.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Looking ahead to the season upon us, one must look at who left early, and from where, and who has the best incoming freshman. You have your usual suspects as one might imagine, with Boston College, Minnesota, and North Dakota probably being in the top 10 all season long, barring the typical first half North Dakota funk they always seem to have. Union, the defending national champs, is a team that I don't know what to think about. They proved that if you have a good core of players, and believe in your coach/team, great things can happen.
Michigan looks like they are back on the upswing once again, but their usual Big 10 football rival,
One also has to wonder about Boston University and if they will crawl back up the rankings again, or if they will stay out of the tournament picture like last season. Only time will tell.
Once again, the NCHC looks to be the powerhouse conference, with the possibility of sending at least five teams to the tournament once again. Miami has their top players returning this season, and are once again among the favorites to win the conference in preseason polls. However, they said that last season too and you saw how that ended up.
Minnesota, the College Hockey News number one team coming into this coming season in their very preseason poll release, looks to gain revenge after their national title game flop against Union. The always tough Golden Gophers
Finally, a team I know much more about, North Dakota. With three of five incoming freshman being drafted at this years NHL Draft, they return a line-up that has a lot of options.
If you asked me to pick a national champion right now, I'd have to flip a coin between North Dakota and Minnesota, but the season is very long and a lot can happen. Ask me this question at the start of the second half and I might have a different answer for you.
However, with new signings come people losing a spot on the roster. Among the losses are Dany Heatley, much to the joy of the Wild fans, and Clayton Stoner both going to the Anaheim Ducks. Heatley was just a thorn in the Minnesota Wild's salary cap and with him gone a lot of room opened up. With Stoner, however, the wild lose 2/3 of the grit they had in the line-up, the other third going to Matt Cooke.
If there is a road block in the upcoming season for the Wild, I think this is the spot to have it. Yes, they will have guys who like to hit some, like Matt Dumba and Keith Ballard, but there won't be that one guy who will drop the gloves when the team needs a kick start or protection from an opposing teams enforcer. If push came to shove, I'm sure Ballard or Brodziak would drop the gloves if absolutely needed, but I think it's still not enough.
The other big question is with the goaltending. People keep asking me why we didn't buy out Backstrom's contract, but due to him being injured at the end of the season, by NHL rule, they were not allowed to. So Backstrom is here to stay, for now. Now Josh Harding. He was having a Veznia Trophy type first half until he was sidelined by a change to his MS medications and didn't play for the rest of the season. Harding is expected to be in training camp come September and is expected to be on the opening day roster come October barring any setbacks. Finally, we have rookie sensation,
Now, the rest of the roster. With the additions made, and with who is returning for the upcoming season, I think that the Wild will have one of the most feared rosters in the NHL. All four forward lines have speed and the potential to score, especially with a healthy Zucker, and a returning Fontaine to solidify an already potent roster of wingers. Up the middle of the ice Minnesota still has the three Finish centers, Captain Mikko Koivu, Mikael Granlund, and rookie sensation Erik Haula. I'd say that those three have a solidified roster spot this season, but as for the fourth center who knows. You have to start with the veteran Kyle Brodziak, but if his game starts to slip in his fourth line role, its still nice to have a couple of options. Recently signed Jordan Schroeder would likely be a good fit on the fourth line as well, and probably is the odd man out as of right now, but you can always slide Charlie Coyle to the center spot and call up another recent signing in Brett Sutter to play on the wing.
The defensive core will be a little easier to keep track of this upcoming season. Your top line will still be Brodin and Suter. Spurgeon likely plays with Scandella and Ballard likely plays with the young Matt Dumba to start the season
Here is how the opening day line-up will look like in my opinion:
Almond, Backstrom, Sutter, Blum, Bickel, Schroder, and Veilleux
This is an opening day line-up, I think, can be rivaled to any line-up in the entire NHL. I think this is the year that the Minnesota Wild are finally considered as one of the elite teams in the NHL, provided that they stay healthy. This season is looking very promising for the boys in red and green, and could be one Minnesotans have been waiting for for a very long time.
The Minnesota Wild are having a tough time getting their top goalie prospect signed. Eventually, he's going to have to sing, because he's a restricted free agent. I don't think the Wild want this to drag out much longer.
Michael Russo, Star Tribune --- A path toward a possible arbitration date would have at least guaranteed a settlement on a one- or two-year contract and would have assured that Kuemper would be signed by the commencement of camp Sept. 18. Now, a holdout — or at least the threat of one — is a possibility.
“Darcy has great potential and played very well in stretches for us [last] season, but at the end of the day I think he’s played around 30 games in the NHL,” Fletcher said. “Usually this isn’t the time to fight for the big contract. We feel Darcy right now is trying to establish himself in the league, and once he does that it’ll be a little simpler to come up with terms.
“Our focus right now is on getting good deals with both [Kuemper and Niederreiter]. If we can get the right deal for the player and for the team, then it’ll give us a chance to be competitive. If we spend too much money on players before they’re ready to get the money they feel they deserve, it impacts a lot of other things down the road. If we can get a deal done tomorrow, great. If it takes even into training camp, it’s really not a big deal. We’ve got great depth, we got lots of players. We’re going to have to do what’s right financially to keep this thing going forward.”
Kuemper, 24, went 12-8-4 last season with a 2.43 goals-against average and .915 save percentage. He came to the Wild’s rescue when goalies Niklas Backstrom (abdominal injury) and Josh Harding (multiple sclerosis) were sidelined. Kuemper’s camp, which battled the Wild three years ago before Kuemper signed his entry-level contract, appears to feel it has leverage because the Wild again plans to rely on Backstrom and Harding to be healthy next season.
I have been following this story with great interest, I actually can't believe that Subban is locked up with a long term deal, already. I think it’s insulting that the Habs want to play their former Norris Trophy winner 5.25 million a year. Talk about being low balled. In my opinion, Subban is definitely worth 8 million a year, if not 10 million a year.
TSN.CA -- With both sides scheduled for their hearing on Friday, the Montreal Canadiens and restricted free agent P.K. Subban have set up their respective asking prices in salary arbitration.If Subban was an UFA, it would be interesting to see what other teams would be willing to offer him in the way of a contract. But Subban has stated that he wants to remain a Hab.
According to Ken Campbell of The Hockey News, the Canadiens submitted an offer of $5.25 million on a one-year contract, while Subban - represented by agent Don Meehan of Newport - is asking for $8.5 million.
The one-year offer from both sides would still make Subban a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer.
Subban, who signed a two-year deal worth an average annual value of $2.875 million contract prior to the 2012-2013 season, scored 10 goals and added 43 assists in 82 games with the Canadiens in 2013-14.
He also added five goals and 14 points in 17 playoff games and was part of the Canadian men's Olympic team that won gold in Sochi in February.
Time to reserve those seats for next year's Frozen Faceoff. I also recommend the Minneapolis Marriott City Center.I stayed there last March and it was an amazing hotel.
2015 #FrozenFaceoff tix renewals to be mailed 8/1! Deadline for seat/loyalty pricing is 9/15. http://t.co/eQcuxc0xzJ pic.twitter.com/koz5CRhnwP
— The NCHC (@TheNCHC) July 30, 2014
Former Michigan State Spartan Justin Abdelkader has been give a three-game suspension by the IIHF for a hit to the head of Czech forward Vladimir Sobotka (video include above). My youtube video also made the USA Today Sports page.
Helene St. James, USA TODAY Sports -- The tournament showed both the good and ugly in Abdelkader's game. He had three goals and four points in seven games — but he also managed to get suspended for two separate incidents. It was the severity of the second one — a hit to the head of Czech forward Vladimir Sobotka — that resulted in Tuesday's announcement by the International Ice Hockey Federation of a three-game suspension. The suspension would take effect at the 2015 world championship (of course, there's no guarantee Abdelkader will appear in the tournament).
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
s/t to Bar Stool. I know this is a bit old. Nothing like a four-put from less than seven feet. Nice to see that T.J. Oshie is human like the rest of us. I actually did this twice in the last stroke play tourney that I played in, back in 2008. No one likes to be that guy.
Matt Frattin's Maple Leaf teammate Jake Gardiner just inked a five-year, 20.25 million dollar contract.
Jake Gardiner has signed a $20.25M, five-year extension with the #leafs. Gives him a $4.05M AAV.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 29, 2014
Earlier today, I posted a blog post on the NCAA concussion lawsuit and whether this lawsuit would have any effect on NCAA Division I Hockey. Apparently, it does.
Mary Wisniewski, Reuters --- Former University of Maine ice hockey player Kyle Solomon joined the lawsuit in 2013.
Solomon, who suffered four concussions while at UMaine, said in February 2013 that Berman’s law firm told him it wanted to “change the NCAA’s return-to-play policy and thought my situation at UMaine would be a good example. It wasn’t that [my concussions] weren’t treated. But they weren’t treated as seriously as they should have been because the NCAA didn’t have a [strong enough] rule in place.”
“This is nothing against … Maine hockey,” he said. “It was an honor to play for Maine. I loved playing for them. It was a shame it had to stop.”
Good news for incoming UND forward Austin Poganski, as he was added to the USA Hockey World Junior evaluation camp roster. Fellow incoming UND freshman forward Nick Schmaltz is also on the roster for the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp, too.
Adam Kimelman, NHL.com -- Goaltender Evan Cowley and forwards Ryan Hitchcock and Austin Poganski have been added to the roster that will take part in the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp next week in Lake Placid, N.Y., USA Hockey announced Tuesday. They will replace goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic and forwards Adam Erne and Cole Cassels.
The camp will run Aug. 2-9, and serves as one of the first steps for the United States in building the team that will compete at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship in Toronto and Montreal. Rockford IceHogs assistant coach Mark Osiecki will coach the team.
Poganski, a 2014 fourth-round pick (No. 110) of the St. Louis Blues, had 19 goals and 31 points in 55 games with the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League last season; he is committed to the University of North Dakota for the fall.
That's a lot of money. It will be interesting to see if this has any effect on NCAA Division I Hockey.
John Keilman, Chicago Tribune -- The NCAA has created a new protocol to handle concussed athletes and will spend millions to monitor the health of athletes who might have suffered concussions while playing college sports, according to a settlement filed in federal court this morning.
The $75 million settlement caps litigation that began when a dozen college athletes -- including former Eastern Illinois University defensive back Adrian Arrington -- accused the NCAA of putting their health at risk by leaving concussion policies up to individual schools.
Under the agreement, NCAA schools will have to follow certain procedures. Players will not be allowed to return to action the same day they receive a concussion. All players, coaches and trainers will receive concussion education. And doctors trained in concussion diagnosis will have to be present for all games played in contact sports such as football, soccer and basketball.
In what has been one of the slowest offseason that I can remember, time to start moving forward. Here's a video for Wild fans to peruse. I think the Minnesota Wild will be a lot better with Thomas Vanek in their top-six.
Monday, July 28, 2014
So, kind of sounds a lot like the debate that is taking place in division I athletics right now.
Rick Westhead, TSN -- Dias told TSN that when he met with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne three weeks ago at Queen's Park, Wynne brought up the issue of working conditions in junior hockey with him. Dias said Wynne told him she is interested in learning more about whether players get a fair share of the game's profits.
Flynn's spokesman Craig MacBride declined to comment.
Wynne's spokeswoman Zita Astravas said both the premier and Flynn have already met with Dias.
"Discussions covered a wide range of topics," she said. "Unifor is an important partner and our government looks forward to a positive relationship with labour."
Two years after a similar attempt to organize CHL players fizzled out, Unifor is trying again. The union, which represents about 300,000 workers in various industries, says major junior players are underpaid and exploited by the owners of junior teams that have become hugely profitable in recent years.
P.K. Subban is still a restricted free agent without a contract. The Hab’s defenseman isn’t saying anything about his contract negotiations either.
“I’ll answer one question about the negotiation,” Subban told a media scrum at Royal Montreal Golf Club.“It’s been kept pretty quiet the whole time and it’s going to remain that way until a deal is done.” (Brenda, Branswell, Habs Inside/Out)“As of right now today I’m sitting here and trying to just enjoy the day. Just not thinking about anything,” he said. Apparently, Subban wants to remain a Hab for life.
"Obviously I remain adamant on remaining in Montreal and being a Montreal Canadien, and not just for a long time but hopefully for the rest of my career, and be a lifer there," Subban told Breakfast Television in Toronto earlier this week. "I really enjoy playing there." (NHL.COM)It looks like Subban could get one of the most lucrative contracts in the Montreal Canadiens history.
We're talking, of course, about P.K. Subban and what's sure to be the most lucrative deal in franchise history. One that will likely bring the defenseman $10 million a season—or more—at some point during the agreement. (Allan Muir, Sports Illustrated)
Friday, July 25, 2014
That's the question of the summer, how much is P.K. Subban going to get paid. Show him the money. I am thinking between eight and 10 million dollars. All we know is, Subban is going to get paid, that's a fact Jack. I think he's going to be filthy rich. Whether you like him or not, Subban is the face of the Montreal Canadiens. In my opinion, he's also the best player on their team.
Allan Muir, Sports Illustrated -- A crazy amount of money? Sure is. But then Subban is a crazy, unique talent.
The 25-year-old blueliner is coming off a bridge deal that earned him $3.75 million last season with a $2.875 million cap hit. It was an absurd bargain won by Bergevin at a time when cap issues—as well as concerns about Subban's defensive play and propensity for being a loose cannon—were used to deflate the price.
Those issues aren't in play now. A Norris Trophy winner in 2013, Subban has emerged as a player without peer. A master of possession, he can take control of a game at will with his speed, courage and creativity, and in a fashion that no contemporary can match.
Subban's talent makes him the heart of the Canadiens, but it's his swagger that makes him the team's soul. He's not just a player. He's an entertainer, a throwback to the days of Yvan Cournoyer, Guy Lafleur and Steve Shutt. Subban may be Ontario-born, but he's a Flying Frenchman through and through.
Look who showed up at the office today. Think he would rather sign something else this week. @PKSubban1 pic.twitter.com/fs3uUbMBUf
— Scott Moore (@MooreScottmoore) July 24, 2014
Not a big fan of this one. Looks like NDSU is hosting the Frozen Four. Thoughts on this logo?
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Schmaltz leaves strong first impression http://t.co/cnmgh786tPWhile he may not be the second coming of Jonathan Toews, not many are, soon-to-be UND freshman forward Nick Schmaltz impressed the Chicago Blackhawks brass with his efforts during a recent development camp.
— ESPN Chicago (@ESPNChiHawks) July 24, 2014
Scott Powers, ESPNChicago.com --- To eliminate that risk, the Blackhawks could look to sign those college prospects earlier. They could attempt to sway their top top-tier college players to leave after their sophomore or junior seasons and sign them to entry-level contracts. They have done this before with players such as Jonathan Toews and Nick Leddy.That being said, it doesn't appear that the Blackhawks are going to rush him to sign an NHL contract, either.
The Blackhawks already appear to have a handful of players whom they might consider signing prior to their senior seasons. Forwards John Hayden, Vincent Hinostroza and Anthony Louis are coming off productive freshman seasons and continued to impress at last week's prospect camp. Tyler Motte didn't attend the camp, but he also had a strong freshman season. Nick Schmaltz, the Blackhawks' 2014 first-round pick, also played well in the camp and will be a freshman next year.
Scott Powers, ESPNChicago.com --- Blackhawks amateur scouting director Mark Kelley did a majority of the evaluating of the 6-foot, 172-pound Schmaltz and had him high on the list of the offensively-skilled players in the NHL draft. One of Schmaltz’s skills especially stood out to Kelley.
“His hands, they’re fast,” Kelley said at the NHL draft.
Schmaltz isn’t a finished product, and that also attracted the Blackhawks to him. The Blackhawks weren’t looking for someone in the first round they could rush to the NHL. They sought someone with a high ceiling, but who would need time to get there.
Marc Tracy, New York Times -- The N.C.A.A., the Big 5 conferences and a few other universities have seemingly begun to retreat.
In April, weeks after the star point guard Shabazz Napier of Connecticut complained during the Final Four that there were “nights that I go to bed and I’m starving,” the N.C.A.A. changed its rules to allow universities to provide unlimited meals to competing students. (The N.C.A.A. said the change had been in the works for some time.)
The N.C.A.A.’s president, Mark Emmert, testified this month before a Senate committee investigating student-athletes’ well-being. While defending the current model generally, Emmert acknowledged several concerns expressed by the senators. He said he supported guaranteed four-year scholarships.
Last week, the N.C.A.A. released a revised governance proposal that, if approved by its board of directors in August, would make it easier for the Big 5 conferences — the A.C.C., the Big Ten, the Big 12, the Pac-12 and the Southeastern Conference — to make their own rules.