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state of hockey
09-14-2012, 09:27 AM
They started to put it together at the end of last season. Gave the Gophers all they could handle in their last series.

SanTropez
09-14-2012, 09:31 AM
Out of curiosity, why do you two have sconnie so high? It's just a question. I plead ignorance because I haven't followed much WCHA news in the offseason.

As the others mentioned, they really did start playing good Hockey towards the end of last season, they were really young last year. I think they have the talent to finish top 5 this year, imo anyway.

ExileOnDaytonStreet
09-14-2012, 10:13 AM
Aside from Justin Schultz, we also didn't lose a lot of production from last year to early departures, which (as we all know) is a rare blessing.

gopher wes
09-14-2012, 10:34 AM
Fair enough. I kinda see them in the thick of the home ice battle as compared to those two predictions that have sconnie solidly in the home ice picture.

mnstate0fhockey
09-14-2012, 11:34 AM
I have Wisconsin finishing 3rd in the conference. Solid goaltending, always solid defensively, Zengerle should be near the top of the nation in scoring, lost no one on offense that scored a goal (though loss of Schultz will be felt some), and a pretty dang good recruiting class.

My Top 4:

1. Minnesota
2. North Dakota
3. Wisconsin
4. St. Cloud State

Battling for Home Ice

5. Denver
6. Michigan Tech
7. Nebraska Omaha
8. Minnesota Duluth

In the Cellar

9. Colorado College
10. Minnesota State Mankato
11. Bemidji State
12. Alaska Anchorage

ExileOnDaytonStreet
09-14-2012, 11:43 AM
Fair enough. I kinda see them in the thick of the home ice battle as compared to those two predictions that have sconnie solidly in the home ice picture.I've been pretty pessimistic about everything in our AD lately, so I've been in the same camp for the most part (woe is us, our best days are behind us, we're on the same level as soccer and volleyball as far as Barry's concerned, etc). That said, I do have to confess that chances are the Badgers are probably going to do better than I think they will.

Fighting Sioux 23
09-14-2012, 04:43 PM
I have Wisconsin finishing 3rd in the conference. Solid goaltending, always solid defensively, Zengerle should be near the top of the nation in scoring, lost no one on offense that scored a goal (though loss of Schultz will be felt some), and a pretty dang good recruiting class.

My Top 4:

1. Minnesota
2. North Dakota
3. Wisconsin
4. St. Cloud State

Battling for Home Ice

5. Denver
6. Michigan Tech
7. Nebraska Omaha
8. Minnesota Duluth

In the Cellar

9. Colorado College
10. Minnesota State Mankato
11. Bemidji State
12. Alaska Anchorage

Pretty much agree, although I see SCSU just edging out Wisconsin. That being said, Wisconsin has a much easier schedule than SCSU, so they could definitely sneak by the Huskies.

As for Zengerle, I can't give this kid enough credit. He is by far the best player in the conference (probably country) with the puck. The key will be if he can be paired with a true goal scorer. If he is, I think Zengerle wins the Hobey...he's that good.

gfmorris
09-15-2012, 12:17 AM
We'll tattoo 13 on some random freshman's head if it means we get in the next iteration. I can always find a sacrificial lamb. Just pen us in for 13 ALABAMA-HUNTSVILLE in your standings for 12-13.

GFM

SanTropez
09-18-2012, 10:55 AM
http://www.uwbadgers.com/sports/m-hockey/spec-rel/091712aae.html

Alavarez and Eaves news conference to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the modern era of Badger hockey. I just found it amusing that Barry still really has no clue about Hockey.



QUESTION 1: Barry, when you first came here to the University of Wisconsin, what did you know about Wisconsin hockey, and what have you learned in the last 20 plus years?

COACH ALVAREZ: When I came here, I'd never been around hockey, a little bit at Notre Dame, very little. But never seen a match just very, very unaware.

When I grew up in Pittsburgh, there were no Penguins. I went to Nebraska, there was no hockey in Nebraska. Iowa, no hockey. So when I came here my first day on the job Pat Richter took me out to see the '90 team play and had a chance to go into the locker room and meet some of those guys. And that was really my first exposure.

I think a few years ago I walked on the ice to visit with Mike and he said: Coach, how many times have you been on the ice? I said: This would be my first.

So I was not exposed to hockey until I got here.



QUESTION 2: Barry, not too long ago it used to be that Wisconsin hockey was the top dog of the athletic department. How important is it to you now, this program, hockey, considering the strength of football and basketball over the last 20 years?

COACH ALVAREZ: I think it's important for me to have 23 strong sports. But as a businessman, in running the department, naturally it's important that your three revenue producing sports are strong: Football, basketball and hockey.

So we want to provide the resources necessary for them to be competitive. We understand how important it is historically for the community, for the state and for this university. But also we want to be competitive for other reasons also.

UpNorthHockey
09-18-2012, 12:20 PM
I have Wisconsin finishing 3rd in the conference. Solid goaltending, always solid defensively, Zengerle should be near the top of the nation in scoring, lost no one on offense that scored a goal (though loss of Schultz will be felt some), and a pretty dang good recruiting class.

My Top 4:

1. Minnesota
2. North Dakota
3. Wisconsin
4. St. Cloud State

Battling for Home Ice

5. Denver
6. Michigan Tech
7. Nebraska Omaha
8. Minnesota Duluth

In the Cellar

9. Colorado College
10. Minnesota State Mankato
11. Bemidji State
12. Alaska Anchorage

I think you're right to put UNO and MTU fairly high as both teams were tough last year and are clearly on the rise. Still, I think I'd drop SCSU down a notch.
However, I just can't see why people are picking UW so high after last year's season...even in major pre-season polls. I think it's herd behavior.
Their goaltending was good, not great, they lost Schultz and all they really gained of note was Kerdiles.
Zengerle is a great player and Mersch & Barnes are good, but those are the only returning players that scored more than 20 points last year.
I'm just not seeing tangible player based reasons for the big bump in the standings. I think they're still rebuilding and won't see home ice playoffs.

Fighting Sioux 23
09-18-2012, 03:53 PM
I think you're right to put UNO and MTU fairly high as both teams were tough last year and are clearly on the rise. Still, I think I'd drop SCSU down a notch.
However, I just can't see why people are picking UW so high after last year's season...even in major pre-season polls. I think it's herd behavior.
Their goaltending was good, not great, they lost Schultz and all they really gained of note was Kerdiles.
Zengerle is a great player and Mersch & Barnes are good, but those are the only returning players that scored more than 20 points last year.
I'm just not seeing tangible player based reasons for the big bump in the standings. I think they're still rebuilding and won't see home ice playoffs.

As far as Wisconsin is concerned, I think a lot of people (myself included) are looking at how well they played down the stretch. The Badgers were 1-8-1 in their first 10 WCHA road games last season. They went 4-3-0 on the road down the stretch (including 5 games against Minnesota and Denver), and I think that is why a lot of people (myself included) think that the Badgers were much better than their record last year. Given that, and given the perceived fall of Duluth and CC, the strong recruiting class that the Badgers have coming in, the losses that UNO faced, and the (IMO) the return of the best player in the WCHA, and I think the Badgers will be a very good team. I have them 4th in my rankings. You can call it "herd behavior," but I think you'll be quite surprised at how good the Badgers are this season. Of course, I'm sure those in Madison would rather you assume that they aren't a top-half team.

As far as player based reasons...

Zengerle - IMO, he is the best player in the WCHA. He scored 50 points, and if he can be paired with a true goal scorer, I wouldn't be surprised if he put up 60-65 points. Again, I feel that he is the front runner for the Hobey Baker at this point in time.

Mersch/Barnes - The Sophomores improved from their Freshman seasons (Mersch going from 19 to 30 points and Barnes going from 17 to 26...both in fewer games), and I feel that they will likely continue that upward movement. I would look for Mersch and Barnes to put up numbers somewhere along the line of 15-20 goals and around 20 assists for 35-40 points each.

Joseph Labate - Labate had a solid freshman season scoring 20 points (5-15-20). If he can continue to develop and produce, I would look for him to put up similar numbers to Mersch (~30 points) this season.

Kerdiles - As you mentioned, he is their star recruit this season. He is certainly capable of putting up Labate-type numbers, and probably should put up more. It will be interesting to see if he is paired with Zengerle because those two guys could light up the league. If he's put with Zengerle, I would conservatively guess 15 goals for Kerdiles.

Blue Line - Yes, they lost Schultz, but they still have a solid d-corps down in Madison. Wisconsin has become known for developing d-men, and I don't see that changing this season. While I don't see any one blueliner picking up the production lost from Schultz, I see the collective picking up the majority of that slack. Look for Simonelli and McCabe to lead the blueline in points (although neither will touch Schultz's 16 goals from last season).

Joel Rumpel - As a freshman, Rumpel put up a .919 save %...pretty impressive. He also was the stalwart in net for the Badgers late season charge, and in their final 6 games allowed only 11 goals (1.83 GAA/.941sv%) all on the road. Those are fantastic numbers. While I don't think anyone sees Rumpul stopping 94% of the shots he faces, I think it is certainly within reason to expect something along the lines of a 2.10gaa/.925sv%.

And last but not least, you have to keep in mind Wisconsin's schedule when predicting placement in conference. Wisconsin is in arguably the easiest pod (w/Minnesota, Mankato, and UAA). They do have road trips to North Dakota and Denver, but get SCSU and Tech at home. It's probably one of the easier schedules (behind Minnesota) in the conference, and will help the Badgers rack up points in conference.

I'm not saying Wisconsin is the best team in the league, but:
- They were better than their record showed last year;
- Have a great group of forwards in place to increase offensive production;
- Have more than a capable group of blueliners;
- Have a strong goalie, who performed increasingly better as the season progressed;
- Have a strong recruiting class coming in; AND
- Have a pretty easy schedule

I have them 4th (just behind SCSU), but I would be willing to bet a decent sum of money that they get home ice this year.

UpNorthHockey
09-19-2012, 01:13 PM
I'm not saying Wisconsin is the best team in the league, but:
- They were better than their record showed last year;
- Have a great group of forwards in place to increase offensive production;
- Have more than a capable group of blueliners;
- Have a strong goalie, who performed increasingly better as the season progressed;
- Have a strong recruiting class coming in; AND
- Have a pretty easy schedule

I have them 4th (just behind SCSU), but I would be willing to bet a decent sum of money that they get home ice this year.

I hadn't considered their strength of schedule or end of season performance last year. Perhaps they will outperform my expectations. I do agree that Zengerle will be a Hobey contender and that their middle tier players are likely to improve. However, I still think they're going to be in the middle of the pack, not in the top. To be honest, they're my favorite of the B1G teams, and I'd like to see them do well....just not until next year.

mnstate0fhockey
09-19-2012, 02:24 PM
I agree with most of what FS23 said. Although, I think Bjugstad is the best player in the WCHA, and would have had more points than Zengerle last season had he not been slowed by injuries. And if the reports I read from Florida's camp are accurate, look out this season :)

Fighting Sioux 23
09-19-2012, 02:35 PM
I agree with most of what FS23 said. Although, I think Bjugstad is the best player in the WCHA, and would have had more points than Zengerle last season had he not been slowed by injuries. And if the reports I read from Florida's camp are accurate, look out this season :)

Bjugstad is certainly a beast, but I think Zengerle is the more complete player. IMO, Zengerle is more like Gretzky, while Bjugstad is more like Brendan Shanahan (not suggesting that Zengerle is the greatest player of all-time, just type of game that I think each is akin to). Also, if you want to look at points, keep in mind the numbers Minnesota put up (50 more goals than Wisconsin) in relation to Wisconsin. Bjugstad was surrounded by more talent than Zengerle was. Ultimately, if I could add just one of these guys to my team, I would take Zengerle.

Saying that, I would concede that Bjugstad is somewhat more capable of individually changing the outcome of the game because Zengerle (to be most effective) needs to be paired with a true goal scorer. FWIW, if these two guys were on the same team they would put up some ridiculous numbers.

mnstate0fhockey
09-19-2012, 02:40 PM
Bjugstad is certainly a beast, but I think Zengerle is the more complete player. IMO, Zengerle is more like Gretzky, while Bjugstad is more like Brendan Shanahan (not suggesting that Zengerle is the greatest player of all-time, just type of game that I think each is akin to). Also, if you want to look at points, keep in mind the numbers Minnesota put up (50 more goals than Wisconsin) in relation to Wisconsin. Bjugstad was surrounded by more talent than Zengerle was. Ultimately, if I could add just one of these guys to my team, I would take Zengerle.

Saying that, I would concede that Bjugstad is somewhat more capable of individually changing the outcome of the game because Zengerle (to be most effective) needs to be paired with a true goal scorer. FWIW, if these two guys were on the same team they would put up some ridiculous numbers.

We can agree to disagree because I certainly think Nick Bjugstad is as complete a player as there is in college hockey. For a guy with a power forward's body, his skating is quite good and his hands are exceptional. He has arguably the best shot in the college game. He is also a smart hockey player and plays at both ends of the ice. I would say Zengerle is more like Jari Kurri and Bjugstad a Mario Lemieux who plays defense (again, loose comparisons). Zengerle being the elite playmaker who's more of a setup guy than pure goal scorer and Bjugstad the elite power forward with great puck skills.

Zengerle is definitely a great player, and surely a Hobey candidate, but Bjugstad has (as you said) the ability to just take over a game. Both will be a lot of fun to watch this year, and would be pretty unstoppable on the same line :)

Fighting Sioux 23
09-19-2012, 03:04 PM
He has arguably the best shot in the college game.

I will agree to disagree, but this statement couldn't be further from the truth. He certainly has a good shot (scored on about 16% of his shots), but nowhere near the best shot in the college game.

Personally, I would take Bill Arnold every day and twice on Sunday as far as who has the best shot in the college game (~21%), or even a Carter Rowney (~21%) or Ben Hanowski (~18%) in the WCHA. That's not to diminish Bjugstad's skills, but I think you have overrated his skill in at least this particular area.

mnstate0fhockey
09-19-2012, 03:11 PM
I will agree to disagree, but this statement couldn't be further from the truth. He certainly has a good shot (scored on about 16% of his shots), but nowhere near the best shot in the college game.

Personally, I would take Bill Arnold every day and twice on Sunday as far as who has the best shot in the college game (~21%), or even a Carter Rowney (~21%) or Ben Hanowski (~18%) in the WCHA. That's not to diminish Bjugstad's skills, but I think you have overrated his skill in at least this particular area.

Bjugstad played half of last season with a shoulder injury (injured it before the WJC). I'm going to stand by that comment. We can revisit after this season.

Fighting Sioux 23
09-19-2012, 03:13 PM
Bjugstad played half of last season with a shoulder injury (injured it before the WJC). I'm going to stand by that comment. We can revisit after this season.

Did he play his Freshman season injured as well? He scored on about 11% of his shots that season.

EDIT: FWIW, Bill Arnold scored on ~22% of his shots his freshman season as well. I shouldn't leave out Jordan George from this conversation in the WCHA either (he has consistently scored on about 20% of his shots).

mnstate0fhockey
09-19-2012, 03:22 PM
Did he play his Freshman season injured as well? He scored on about 11% of his shots that season.

EDIT: FWIW, Bill Arnold scored on ~22% of his shots his freshman season as well. I shouldn't leave out Jordan George from this conversation in the WCHA either (he has consistently scored on about 20% of his shots).

Bjugstad did have mono for a month. Bill Arnold didn't accelerate his schooling and come in as young as Bjugstad did either. We can agree to disagree because I don't think we'll ever totally agree.

Back to the original topic, both Bjugstad and Zengerle should shine this season. Can't go wrong with either. Will be fun to see how each does :)

Fighting Sioux 23
09-19-2012, 03:25 PM
Bjugstad did have mono for a month. Bill Arnold didn't accelerate his schooling and come in as young as Bjugstad did either. We can agree to disagree because I don't think we'll ever totally agree.

Arnold's 2 months older than Bjugstad. Fact is, Arnold has a significantly better shot than Bjugstad, and so do dozens of others across the college hockey landscape, including a handful in the WCHA alone. Again, Bjugstad is a great player, but he doesn't even come close to having the best shot in his own league, let alone college hockey.