And now Leddy is gone

      The latest update on Who is Leaving the Gophers Now? again comes from Roman Augustoviz of the Minneapolis Star Tribune who is reporting Tuesday that sophomore-to-be defenseman Nick Leddy of Eden Prairie, Minn., has signed with the Chicago Blackhawks for $2.7 million over three years. A link to that story is here.

     The Chicago Tribune has a story here.

     Earlier Tuesday, Minnesota coach Don Lucia said in a statement that winger Josh Birkholz had left the team. Augustoviz also has details on that departure.

Raymond Scores, Vancouver Wins

     Mason Raymond had a first-period goal and assist and Vancouver went on to beat Chicago 5-1 Saturday night in an NHL second-round playoff series opener in Chicago:

From The Canadian Press

CHICAGO — Roberto Luongo made 36 saves and the Vancouver Canucks showed why they were the Western Conference’s top scoring team this season, routing the Chicago Blackhawks 5-1 Saturday night in the second-round series opener.

Luongo, who gave up seven goals in his previous playoff appearance at the United Center a year ago when Chicago beat the Canucks in the clinching Game 6, was sharp throughout. He made 17 saves in the first period.

The Canucks stunned the Blackhawks with two goals in less than a minute — Mason Raymond scored with 10.5 seconds left in the first period and Henrik Sedin made it 3-0 just 32 seconds into the second.

Christian Ehrhoff, Kyle Wellwood and Michael Grabner also scored for the fast-skating Canucks against rookie goalie Antti Niemi, who faced 25 shots and was pulled after two periods with Chicago trailing 5-0. Cristobal Huet came on in relief.

Chicago’s Patrick Kane ended Luongo’s shutout bid by scoring during a 5-on-3 power play early in the third period.

Game 2 is Monday night in Chicago.

Olsen and DeLisle

Dylan Olsen and Dan DeLisle won’t be overlooked at Minnesota Duluth, at least not by the Chicago Blackhawks.

Both were taken by Chicago in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft — Olsen in the first round, DeLisle in the third. Both are in UMD’s lineup today as freshmen as the Western Collegiate Hockey Association season opens with a series against Minnesota State-Mankato at the DECC.

Chicago’s director of player development, Norm Maciver of Duluth, a former UMD All-American defenseman, will have ample opportunity to view the pair of draft picks. However, he has no timetable for getting them to the NHL.

“We want them to be a big part of UMD’s program and to contribute here. Some time in the future, when it’s apparent they’re ready for the jump to the pros, then we’ll talk about that,” said Maciver, who was at the DECC on Sunday for UMD’s game against Northern Michigan. “We want them to enjoy where they are now and show progression as players.”

Olsen, 18, a defenseman from Calgary, Alberta, played the past two seasons with the successful Camrose Kodiaks in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. DeLisle, 19, a center from Arden Hills, Minn., played three varsity seasons with Totino-Grace High School.

Olsen played in the 2008 World Junior A Challenge and on Canada’s entry in the 2009 World Under-18 Championship. DeLisle led Totino-Grace in scoring as a junior and senior, and was a 2009 Minnesota Mr. Hockey finalist.

“I came here knowing I have to pick up my game; I need more speed and strength. But I also want to make an impact,” said Olsen, whose dad, Darryl, was a Northern Michigan defenseman from 1985-89. “It’s up in the air as to how long I’ll be here. Maybe a year, maybe two, but even if it’s four years, I’ll be going to school and getting an education.”

The Bulldogs weren’t used to losing underclassmen to the NHL until recently, and now have had five players in three years leave with eligibility remaining — Matt Niskanen, Mason Raymond, Jason Garrison, Alex Stalock and Evan Oberg.

Olsen and DeLisle were part of Chicago’s prospect camp in July and now have the experience of two college games. Olsen is paired defensively with junior Mike Montgomery, while DeLisle is centering a line with Kyle Schmidt and David Grun.

“I felt UMD was the best place for me to develop and it’s a dream of mine to get to the NHL,” said DeLisle, whose uncle, Joe DeLisle, was a UMD forward from 1984-88. “Chicago told me they’ll watch and wait until I’ve developed, and then I’ll get an opportunity. Right now, I’m still trying to get my feet wet.”

Olsen, 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, and DeLisle, 6-5 and 225, are from different hockey backgrounds, with Olsen at a more advanced level in Canada the past two years. DeLisle is straight from high school, following a path taken by a few recent Bulldogs like Jordan Fulton, Chad Huttel and Niskanen.

Both players expect to offer help offensively and as a physical presence. DeLisle says he’s more than one-dimensional, and Olsen says he’ll take a stand if needed, like when teammate Mike Connolly was hit after a whistle in an exhibition game.

“I went up to [the opposing player] and said, ‘Come after someone your own size,’ ’’ said Olsen.

UMD coach Scott Sandelin likes what he sees from both.

“Dan has good hands and can shoot the puck, and has great reach. We want him to make it tough for other players,” said Sandelin. “Dylan is so smart and sees the ice and passes the puck so well.”

A recent Minneapolis Star Tribune story, featuring Minnesota Wild No. 1 draft pick Nick Leddy, a defenseman from Eden Prairie, Minn., talked about his future as a University of Minnesota freshman. Gopher coach Don Lucia said he was told by Wild management that Leddy will be at Minnesota for at least two years, but not four years.

Maciver said Chicago won’t get as specific about its draft picks and will evaluate progress annually.