Saturday, August 29, 2009

Step One, Complete

According to this article, Lucas Lessio has signed with the St. Michael's Buzzers for the upcoming season. That would be the same program that has produced Drew Cogs, Louie Caporusso, and Brandon Burlon (as well as Red Wing prospect Brendan Smith).

Niagara GM Dave Brown says that his gut feeling is that Lessio will still end up playing for the Ice Dogs, but he also seems like he kind of has the Baghdad Bob thing going.

Update: Lessio took to the ice in his first game for St. Mike's since signing with them (he played a game last week as well and scored) and had a pair of goals and an assist in an 5-4 overtime loss. Bob Miller cited some reports that he basically put the team on his back. He also mentioned that while there's nothing definite, "things look positive" for Michigan. Awww yeah.

MGoBlue had an interview with JMFJ today. He recently participated in the US Olympic Camp along with Mike Komisarek. Nice to see that he's still working toward getting a degree from U of M.

We're only 5 weeks away, folks!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lessio Leaves Niagara Camp

I was set to make a post that things weren't looking good for Michigan in terms of getting a commit from Lucas Lessio, as the talented forward showed up for the start of Niagara's training camp. Life got in the way of blogging, so it never happened.

Fast-forward another day or two and things look better. Lessio did not attend camp today, telling Niagara that he had some things to sort out.

One poster on the Niagara Fan Forum said that everyone he talked to said Lessio was gone from the Dogs and would be playing for Michigan.

We shall see.

Two other things I want to mention because they both seem like great causes:

The annual University of Michigan Kinesiology auction to benefit the Pat Maloy Scholarship is underway once again. There's definitely some cool stuff (that autographed photo of Wolverines holding the Brown Jug is awesome) and it's for a great cause. Bid away!

I also got an email about a project started by two U of M seniors which strives to introduce the game of hockey to underprivileged children in Toulouse, France. It's called L'Hockey Folie.

Here's a blurb about the program from their website:
L'Hockey Folie connects disadvantaged children aged 6-10 from the Mirail with the game of hockey--a connection that would otherwise be very unlikely. In France, hockey is still a niche sport and few have exposure to the game. Moreover, as organized sports in France are expensive, the opportunities to participate in a sports club are predominantly a privilege of select classes. By offering participants the opportunity to both discover a new sport and also enter into an established inline hockey club, Hocklines Toulouse, l'Hockey Folie strives to enrich lives, create connections, expand opportunities and foster positive citizenship.

They're looking to get people to donate used rollerblades, sticks, helmets, and gloves to outfit the kids with proper hockey gear. To help, people can email them at or drop equipment off at 127 Adams Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48104.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

USA Finishes 3-1 Against Russia

With a 6-0 win tonight, the Americans finished 3-1 against Russia in their four game exhibition series in preparation for the World Junior Championships. USA outscored Russia 24-8 in the four games.

In the evaluation camp as a whole, Robbie Czarnik had a 2-1--3 line in six games.

Without knowing too much about what went on, it seems like Mike Lee is the favorite to be the starter, but you have to like Jack Campbell's chances of being named to the team as well. Lee got to play two of the four games and gave up just one goal (and from the game wrap-ups it sounds like he was outstanding in the intrasquad scrimmages as well). Campbell gave up a single goal in his start. As far as the competition goes, Brandon Maxwell gave up 6 goals on 17 shots the one game he got to play, and coach Dean Blais said that "you can't give up two or three soft goals and expect to win." Not exactly a ringing endorsement. It doesn't appear that Connor Knapp saw time against the Russians.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sauer Signs

One of the topics that I've gotten quite a few emails about this offseason is what's up with Billy Sauer? He was drafted in the 7th round by the Divealanche a few years ago but didn't sign with them after our season ended.

Wonder no more! Sauer signed with the Avs last week. says that he'll be one of five goalies in camp: Peter Budaj, Craig Anderson, Sauer, Trevor Cann, and Tyler Weiman and that he'll be battling with Cann for the backup AHL job. Weiman has 140 or so AHL games (and one NHL game) to his credit. Cann spent four years in the OHL and was 35-15-1 last year for London and Peterborough. If he doesn't stick with Erie, he'll likely end up with the Charlotte Checkers in the ECHL.

No Lucas Lessio news, but the other team vying for his services--the Niagara IceDogs--just fired their head coach. A week before training camp starts. The St. Michael's Buzzers start camp on Tuesday (they are the team Lessio supposedly will play for if he doesn't go to the OHL), so I would imagine that it won't be too long until we find out one way or the other. Hopefully we'll end up with our first 1993-born commit.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Couple Good Reads

Habsworld interviewed Mac Bennett. A great read all around, but here are a couple of Michigan-relevant bits:

HW- Is playing for Gatineau of the QMJHL still something you'd consider?

Mac- I'd say at this point I'm pretty much locked in with University of Michigan. So it really isn't an option right now. It just seems to be the better fit for me right now to go the college route and join Michigan.

HW-Do you have a timetable in mind for when you'd like to turn pro?

Mac-I'd like to turn pro 2 or 3 years down the road, but that's a best guess. When they think I'm ready, I'm going, and I'll do everything in my power to make sure I'm ready as soon as possible. If it takes 1- 2 years or 4 years, whenever I can, I'm going to play pro.

He also mentioned that Max Pacioretty was his roommate at the development camp and that he also hung out with Greg Pateryn.

Also, the Daily talked with Chris Brown. Interesting tidbit at the end of the article:

At this point, though, Brown’s potential at the highest level is exactly that — just potential. He plans on earning an undergraduate sports management degree in the next four years, meaning the NHL will have to wait.

And those four years could mean a great deal to Berenson, who's had to deal with early exits from Michigan for several years.

“You can’t turn down a Michigan education,” Brown said. "So for right now, it’s four years, and I’m going to do whatever I can to bring a national championship within those four years.”

Based on his earlier interviews it sounded like he was two (at most) and done. Granted it might just be that he knows his audience here, but it's still nice to think that a highly draft player might think about staying four!

Edit: One other thing...JMFC kept being a bad-ass in international play. He backstopped the US to a 6-1 win over Russia in game two of their exhibition series in preparation for the World Junior Championships. Campbell made 24 saves and turned aside four Russian 5-on-3s. He made 13 of his 24 saves in the first period when the outcome was still in doubt.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

CCHA Denies Alabama-Huntsville

First off, a correction to yesterday's post: A reader commented that Wohlberg actually missed the USA camp, and that's backed up by him not being listed on the stat sheet from the three intrasquad scrimmages. So, assuming he was injured, I guess there's still a chance we could be without him at the GLI. I have to believe he's the type of guy USA would want on the WJC team, especially after the year he had last year.

Now on to the surprising news of the day: The CCHA has denied Alabama-Huntsville's application for membership in the league. As the linked article points out, I'm not sure the CCHA's reasoning holds water. The Chargers have a 6,600 seat arena, and Huntsville is no further than Omaha was. I'd love to know what the true story is....and what the plan is moving forward. It's hard to believe the conference would be happy sticking with 11 teams.

Hopefully UAH can find a spot in one of the other conferences. I really hate the thought of another NCAA program folding, especially when there's a spot open in one of the major conferences. I had assumed that UAH to the CCHA was a forgone conclusion after UNO announced they were WCHA-bound. Sticking with 11 doesn't make much sense....

....Unless the conference knows something we don't about the future of the Bowling Green program and they didn't want to go up to 12 only to be back down to 11 a year later. But BGSU just got $4 million for arena improvements, so that doesn't make much sense either. No matter what it's going to be a sad day for college hockey if the UAH program ultimately folds because the CCHA didn't make the decision to save them. We don't need this sport to shrink.....

Monday, August 10, 2009

Campbell, Czarnik on USA's 29-Man Roster

Jack Campbell and Robbie Czarnik made it through the first round of cuts in the USA World Junior Championship evaluation camp. There are 29 players (15 forwards, 10 defensemen, 4 goalies) remaining in the camp, vying for 22 spots on the team.

AJ Treais, David Wohlberg, and Kevin Lynch were among the 14 players who did will not be a part of the team that will take on Russia in a couple of scrimmages. They could still be considered for a spot on the WJC team, but you have to believe it's kind of unlikely at this point.

On the bright side, it looks like Michigan will be almost completely at full strength for the GLI this year. I'm kind of shocked that David Wohlberg didn't make it through the first cut for World Juniors after the season he had for Michigan last year. I'm sure he's disappointed, but I'm sure all Michigan fans will be happy to have him in the lineup at the Joe.

Here's the full list of players who advanced.

This is old news but it wasn't really worth a post of its own and I haven't had much to talk about:
If you go to MGoBlue and click the Alumni Weekend video link on the right sidebar, there's a recap of the Alumni Game. They busted out the blue style of our throwbacks for the Over-35 game and they're every bit as cool as the white ones. Really nice looking jersey...

Mike Cammalleri likes hybrids--but he's not talking about cars.

The Caps have a long interview with Brendan Morrison.