U.S. Nordic Video

     The U.S. Championships in Houghton, Mich.,
will offer streaming video of portions of races this week beginning Tuesday.
     Tuesday’s schedule has the womens 5-kilometer
freestyle at 9:30 a.m. and mens 10K at 11 a.m., and on Wednesday are the mens
15K classical at 9 a.m. and womens 10K at 1 p.m.
     The streaming video is available at
Michigan Tech Web cams

U.S. Defeats Finland

      Three goals by Boston University’s Colin Wilson helped the unbeaten United States to a 5-3 win over Finland in Monday’s final preliminary round game at the World Junior Championships in Liberec, Czech Republic.
     Wilson, who leads the tournament with six goals, completed a natural hat trick 1:43 into the second period, followed three minutes later by a goal from Denver’s Tyler Ruegsegger, followed by a goal from New Hampshire’s James vanRiemsdyk off a Wilson faceoff draw.
     Finland (2-2) scorerd three third-period goals, two on power plays, on USA backup goalie Joe Palmer of Ohio State. Starter Jeremy Smith had played every minute of the tournament before being given a rest after two periods.
     The Americans (4-0) have already earned a bye into Friday’s semifinals against Canada or Finland. It’s only the second time in U.S. team history that the American’s are 4-0 after the preliminary round (ther first time was 2004).
       Canada (3-1) defeated Denmark 4-1 Monday as Wisconsin’s Kyle Turris scored twice. Canada outshot Denmark 43-16. Canada faces Finland in Wednesday’s quarterfinals.
      The U.S. has the tournament’s top three scorers — vanRiemsdyk (10 points), Wilson (7) and Jordan Schroeder (7) of Prior Lake, Minn.

NHL Update

     Dallas defenseman Matt Niskanen is 2-12–14 with a team-leading plus-15 in 39 games (the Stars are home Monday with Nashville). The Stars are 8-1 the last nine games; Vancouver left winger Mason Raymond is 3-5–8 in 18 games with a plus-3 (the Canucks are 6-2 the last eight games and are at Calgary on Monday); New Jersey right winger Jamie Langenbrunner, the team’s captain, is 5-11–16 in 21 games with a plus-1; Minnesota defenseman Sean Hill is 0-2–2 in 15 games.

Bulldogs Are Back

      Minnesota Duluth returned to practice Saturday, after 14 days off. Coach Scott Sandelin had two-a-day-practices Saturday and Sunday. The Bulldogs resume play with a non-league series against Bemidji State, Friday at the DECC and Saturday in Bemidji, Minn.
     "I wanted four sessions the first two days just so the players would get their feet back under them and get a feel for the ice again,’ said Sandelin.
     The Bulldogs had all players at practice for the first time since Nov. 1, when freshman defenseman Evan Oberg injured a leg at practice, said Sandelin.  Oberg was practicing for the first time since his injury and should be in uniform for UMD’s home series against Minnesota on Jan. 18-19.
     "If he’s back ready to play before that, it will be a bonus,’ said Sandelin.

WCHA’s Tough Saturday

     While Minnesota Duluth isn’t playing during the holidays, the rest of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association has been busy the last two days. League teams were 5-0-1 Friday and 3-4-1 Saturday to go 8-4-2 with four games involving the WCHA Sunday.
     On Saturday, Michigan Tech lost in double-overtime to No. 2-ranked Michigan 1-0 in the Great lakes Invitational title game in Detroit, while No. 1 Miami of Ohio topped St. Cloud State 2-1 in overtime in the Ohio Holiday Classic in Columbus, Ohio. No. 10 New Hampshire scored five third-period goals to beat No. 7 North Dakota 7-4 in Grand Forks, N.D., to split a series.
     In another notable game, at the Dodge Holiday Classic in Minneapolis, Rochester (N.Y.) Institute of Technology (a former Division II power now in Division I) beat No. 12 Minnesota 4-3. It was the first loss in the tournament for the Gophers in coach Don Lucia’s nine seasons. It was the first time RIT had faced a WCHA team in three Division I seasons.
     Gopher reaction from the St. Paul Pioneer Press from forward Blake Wheeler: "At some point guys have got to dig their heels in. They’ve got to feel something when they put that jersey on every night. Hopefully, it doesn’t get any lower than this because I couldn’t imagine how that would feel."
     Minnesota forward Jay Barriball: "It was an embarrassing effort we put out there, especially in the third period. We played terrible. We didn’t give 100 percent, so we deserved it."
     Massachusetts-Lowell beat Cornell 3-2 and Maine 6-0 to win the Florida College Classic in Estero, Fla. Lowell (9-4-4) is No. 8 in the PairWise Rankings and is home Jan. 25-26 against UMD.

U.S. beats Russia 3-2

     Two third-period goals gave the United States a 3-2 win over Russia on Saturday at the World Junior Championships in Liberec, Czech Republic.

     That keeps the Americans unbeaten at 3-0 and provides a bye into the semifinals on Jan. 4 in Pardubice. University of Minnesota forward Mike Carman got the winning goal, while Denver’s Tyler Ruegsegger scored a 5-on-3 power-play goal in the first period. Michigan defenseman Chris Summers was named U.S. player of the game. New Hampshire’s James vanRiemsdyk also scored for the U.S. in the third period. Russia is 2-1.

     The U.S. faces Finland at 11 a.m. Monday.

     "Our team played with a real deep belief in themselves. They have a real commitment to team play," U.S. coach John Hynes told the World Junior Championships Web site. "I thought as the game wore on, we had real good survival skills to make the right decisions at certain times, late in the third period. I was proud of the fact that we took another step forward in growing as a team tonight."

Canada Loses

      Three-time defending champion Canada lost 4-3 to Sweden as its 20-game tournament win streak ended. Canada (2-1) led 2-0, trailed 3-2, then tied it with 3:42 remaining as Wisconsin’s Kyle Turris assisted Claude Giroux on a power play. But Sweden won on Tobias Forsberg’s goal with seven second to play.

      Sweden (3-0) leads Group A and the U.S. (3-0) leads Group B.

 

Colorado College Update

     Colorado College president Richard Celeste cited privacy laws in
declining comment Thursday on the school suspensions of two hockey
players, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported Friday.
     The No. 4-ranked Tigers (11-5), co-leaders in the WCHA, are without forward Cody Lampl, suspended from school until January
2009, and forward Derek Patrosso, suspended from school until March 12, said the newspaper.
     "When we get involved with a student conduct matter, we need to respect the privacy of everybody involved," Celeste said.
     Lampl, a junior, said he plans to appeal the ruling, but
declined to provide further information about the incident in question.
Patrosso could not be reached for comment, said the newspaper.
    "He is welcome back to the team at the end of the sixth
block, which is March 12, coach Scott Owens said of Patrosso, meaning
the senior will miss the rest of the regular season but can return for
the first round of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs.
     With Colorado College officials and students on holiday break until Jan. 7, an appeals process is unlikely to begin before that date.

     The Tigers play play Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Saturday in the
first round of the Lightning College Hockey Classic in Tampa, Fla.
     Patrosso was suspended by the WCHA for one game Nov. 10 for a hit from behind on Minnesota Duluth defenseman Jason Garrison in a game the night before in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Vancouver Victory

     Left winger Mason Raymond had a goal and assist as Vancouver won at home Thursday night, beating Calgary 5-3. Raymond has three goals and five assists for eight points in 17 games, and is a plus-3. He’s on an all-rookie line with Taylor Pyatt and Jason Jaffray.     Vancouver is 5-2 since Raymond was recalled Dec. 11.
      "Tonight I thought Mason, Pyatt, and Jaffray played a solid game for us," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault told the Associated Press. "We were able to shut down their line and the (Sedin) Twins with Markus (Naslund) did a good job. We don’t score five goals very often and we don’t give up three very often. Their three goals were all tipped, so there wasn’t very much Louie (Robert Luongo) could do on that. I don’t know if we had an offensive outburst or their goaltender had a tough time, I couldn’t tell which is which."

USA Goes 2-0

      The United States beat Switzerland 4-2 Friday at the World Junior Championships before 1,222 in Liberec, Czech Republic. The Americans (2-0) got two goals from Colin Wilson and scores from Bobby Sanguinetti and James vanRiemsdyk, and three assists from Jordan Schroeder. The U.S. led in shots on goal 51-18.
      The U.S. now faces Russia (2-0) at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Canada Streak at 20

     On Thursday, Canada defeated Slovakia 2-0 on two power-play goals from Wisconsin freshman Kyle Turris. Three-time defending champion Canada (2-0) has now won 20 straight games in the tournament (allowing just 19 goals) and has two shutouts this year.
     Canada faces Sweden (2-0) Saturday.

Stars Reward Coaches

      The Dallas Stars announced Friday that the contract for coach Dave Tippett, 46, has been extended through 2008-09. Tippetts contract was to expire on June 30, 2008. In addition, the Stars announced that associate coach Rick Wilson and assistant Mark Lamb have also signed extensions through 2008-09. Assistant Ulf Dahlen was offered a contract extension, but has decided to wait until the summer to assess next season, the Stars said in a press release.

The Dallas Stomp

     
When Dallas beat Minnesota 8-3 Wednesday in Dallas, it was more than the former state franchise destroying the present state franchise.
      As the Stars led 33-17 shots, they scored their most goals in more than two years (9-1 over Chicago on Nov. 4, 2005), while the Wild matched its most goals allowed (Detroit 8, Wild 3 on Nov. 16, 2001).
      Minnesota’s Marian Gaborik, two games removed from scoring five goals, had one shot on net.
      "They were too fast for us," Gaborik told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "They were skating and we were just looking at them, especially in the third."
      Dallas rookie Matt Niskanen of Mountain Iron had an assist in the win and now has two goals and 12 assists for 14 points in 38 games. He leads the team in plus-minus at plus-13.
      Fellow NHL rookie Mason Raymond, a left winger with Vancouver, now has
three goals and four assists in 17 games (including a first-period goal
at home Thursday night for a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes against Calgary), and is a
plus-2. He was called up from Manitoba of the American Hockey League on
Dec. 11.
      Here’s what the Vancouver game blogger had to say about Raymond’s goal vs. Calgary:
      "Jason Jaffray finds Raymond all alone in the slot but the pass went through Mason’s feet. This time the pass didn’t go through his feet. Taylor Pyatt finds Raymond cruising through
the slot and after Mason’s initial shot is stopped, he follows up on
the rebound and pokes it into the yawning cage. Nice to see some fire
from Mason as well, as he lets loose a few fist pumps after the goal."

Are You From Finland?
      With four Dallas forwards coming from Finland, some media folks have figured that Niskanen is a fellow countryman.
      His ancestors came to the United States from Finland and settled
in North Dakota, but Niskanen is all Iron Range despite the inquiries.
      "It’s happened quite a few times where
people ask, Where you from in Finland? How long you been over here?"
Niskanen told the Dallas Stars Web site. "I get a good chuckle out of it. Im just a northern
Minnesota kid."

Mega Marathon
      What was the largest marathon in 2007?
      If you picked one of the majors, you’d be right. The New York City Marathon on Nov. 4 had a world-record 38,607 finishers.
      Finisher records were also set individually at London (35,694), Chicago (33,633) and Berlin (32,638).
      The 2007 Grandma’s Marathon had 6,898 finishers, second-most in race history. The Twin Cities Marathon, from Minneapolis to St. Paul, had 7,147 finishers.
      American Bernd Heinrich, 67, who was Polish-born, has been selected to the American Ultrarunning Association Hall of Fame. Heinrich, who has a Ph.D. in Zoology, set a U.S. record for a 24-hour race of 156 miles, 1,388 yards and a U.S. record of 100K of 6:38:21.

U.S. Wins

      The United States opened the World Junior Championships with a 5-1 victory over Kazakhstan on Wednesday morning in Liberec, Czech Republic.
      Among the American goal-scorers were former University of Minnesota forward Kyle Okposo, Gopher Mike Carman and Denver’s Tyler Ruegsegger. Minnesota freshman defenseman Cade Fairchild of Duluth had an assist on a power-play goal. Kazakhstan led 1-0.
       New Hampshire forward James vanRiemsdyk, with a goal and assist, was named the U.S. player of the game. The U.S. outshot Kazakhstan 49-18 before a crowd of 1,029.
       In other results, Sweden beat Slovakia 4-3, three-time defending champion Canada blanked the Czech Republic 3-0, while Russia stopped Finland 7-4 with a four-goal second period.
       The U.S. next plays at 11 a.m. Friday against Switzerland. Switzerland opens with Finland on Thursday.

Berglund, Granato honored

      Art Berglund and Cammi Granato are part of the seven-member 2008 International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame Class.
      Also named were Angela James, Geraldine Heaney and Mario Lemieux of Canada,
Igor Larionov of Russia and Philippe Bozon of France. The induction is in Quebec City, Quebec, in May during the 2008 IIHF Men’s World Championship.
      Berglund served as USA Hockeys director of
national teams and international activities for 11 years before being named
senior director of international administration in 1996. His start in
international hockey came after graduation from Colorado College in
1963, where he led the Tigers in scoring during his senior
season.
      A 15-year member of the U.S. Womens
National Team beginning in 1990, Granato is the program’s all-time scoring
leader with 343 points (186-157) in 205 games. She achieved international fame
by captaining Team USA to a gold medal at the 1998 Winter Games in
Nagano, Japan, the first year of Olympic competition. She played at Providence College.

World Juniors Open

      The United States opens the World Junior Championships at 9 a.m. Wednesday against Kazakhstan in the Czech Republic.
       Boston University defenseman Brian Strait of Waltham, Mass., was named America’s captain Tuesday, with assistants — forwards Tyler Ruegsegger of Denver and Blake Geoffrion of Wisconsin, and defenseman Chris Summers of Michigan.
      Canada is the three-time defending champion and opens against the Czech Republic at 1 p.m. Wednesday in the event for players under 20.
      Former Minnesota Duluth defenseman Tom Kurvers, the director of player personnel for the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes, talked about the World Junior Championships in a recent New York Times story. He played in the 1982 tournament:
      "Players get measured, and they get remembered based on their performances in this event.
      "The country of Canada basically sits down on the couch for two weeks and watches these games. They’ll watch whatever countries are playing and then paint their faces red and cheer for Canada when they’re on."
      University of Minnesota freshman defenseman Cade Fairchild of Duluth is on the American team.
      Live scoring and audio broadcasts of the United States games (with Jack Swanson and Jeff Sauer at the microphone) are at www.usahockey.com with highlights available after the game on the USA Hockey Web site in the All-Access Pass section.

More Okposo
     Newspaper copy continues to be churned out, particularly in the Twin Cities, on the departure of University of Minnesota sophomore forward Kyle Okposo for the NHL’s New York Islanders.
      Bruce Brothers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press talked with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman about Okposo and the midseason decision to leave, a rarity in the college game:
     "It was a mutual decision. Nobody makes somebody leave college. Both the team and the player have to come to an agreement," said Bettman.
     "You can’t look at one instance and suggest that the rules and bargaining agreement aren’t working.
     "If it becomes more common, we’ll have to look at it."
     Denver coach George Gwozdecky, president of the American College Hockey Coaches Association, told the Pioneer Press that the Islanders and their decision to pursue Okposo at this point was "deplorable. Nothing can justify this."