WAC To Consider University Of Denver

From: Denver Post
by Irv Moss

Western Athletic Conference commissioner Karl Benson issued a statement Tuesday saying that his league will operate with eight members through the 2012 season.

Benson said the decision by the league's board of governors includes all sports, including an option of adding a nonfootball program to the league.

"The University of Denver is a school we have evaluated and considered," Benson said. "One of the options we have looked at has been the admission of a nonfootball member. Any further discussions have been delayed now until at least July 1, 2012."

DU does not have a football program and competes in basketball in the Sun Belt Conference.

"There are several institutions without football in the Mountain and Pacific time zones that we could consider," Benson said.
WAC Members
Boise State (leaving for Mountain West)
Fresno State
Louisiana Tech
New Mexico State
San Jose State
Utah State

Gwozdecky Addresses California Prospects Camp

(above) University of Denver hockey coach George Gwozdecky was in California this week

From: Anaheim Calling Blog
by Arthur

From high in the stands at Anaheim Ice, donning his school's crimson colors, the focused gaze of University of Denver Head Coach George Gwozdecky is unmistakable. This was the coach's first trip to the Ducks West Coast Prospects Camp, though members of his staff have attended two of the previous three, and if anyone knows the value of a strong California player, it's the University of Denver.

"We've had Rhett Rakhshani, we've had Gabe Gauthier, and we're going to have Beau Bennett," Coach Gwozdecky says of the steady stream of California impact players coming through his program, "Gauthier scored the game winning goal for us in the 2004 National Championship game. He wore number 9, and when he graduated, he passed it on to Rhett, who just left us. And now, Beau's going to wear the number 9, so our 'California Connection' [even] maintains the same number." (read rest of article)

LetsGoDU's Mid-Summer Projected Lineup

Zucker (Fr) - Martin (Sr) - Maiani (Sr)
K. Ostrow (Sr) - D. Shore (So) - Bennett (Fr)
Jackson (rs-Jr) - N. Shore (Fr) - Knowlton (So)
S. Ostrow (So) - Olszewski (Fr) - Dewhurst (Jr)
Salazar (Jr) / Mermis (Fr)

Donovan (So) - Lee (Jr)
Nutini (Sr) - Makowski (Fr)
Phillips (So) - Wrenn (So)
Ryder (rs-Jr) / Brehm (Sr) / Cook (Sr)

Brittain (Fr) / Murray (So) / Rosenholtz (Sr)

Anthony Maiani

Freshman Of The Year
Sam Brittain

Most Improved Player
Paul Phillips

Defensive Player Of The Year
Matt Donovan

Beau Bennett Meets Sid The Kid

(left) Beau Bennett was selected with the 20th pick in the 1st Round on Friday by Pittsburgh

From: Pittsburgh Post Gazette
by Shelly Anderson

There was someone at the Penguins' table on the floor of the Staples Center Friday night who had an inkling what DU recruit Beau Bennett was feeling.

"A lot of nerves," Penguins center and captain Sidney Crosby said.

"It's nerve-racking. Everybody works so hard to get here."

Crosby joined the Pittsburgh team brass for the first round of the NHL draft after a stop in Las Vegas for the NHL awards and before heading to Edmonton for a large Canadian Olympic celebration.

For Crosby, it was a pleasant enough way to spend an evening -- "It's fun. It brings back some memories," said the first overall pick of the 2005 draft -- but for Bennett it was a night well worthy of a mental bookmark.

The right winger was the Penguins' 2010 first-round pick, 20th overall.

After donning a Penguins jersey on stage with general manager Ray Shero and his staff, Bennett met Crosby.

"That was awesome. It was unreal," Bennett said. "You watch this guy win a gold medal for Canada [at the 2010 Olympics] and then you meet him and are going to the same organization as him -- I just wish for the opportunity to play with him someday."

Bennett, 6 feet 1 and 175 pounds, is not likely to get that chance right away. He is headed to the University of Denver in the fall after amassing 41 goals and a league-best 120 points in 56 games last season for Penticton of the junior British Columbia Hockey League.

Flashing a big smile, Bennett said during pre-draft interviews with the Penguins he got a feel for what the 2009 Stanley Cup champions saw in him.

"They like my offense," said Bennett, who is on the older side of this draft class because he will turn 19 in November.

"I bring some creativity to the game, and I can create off the right side or the left side. I need to work on some things as well -- on my defensive play and my strength. I think at [Denver], I'll get better on both aspects."

Bennett is from Gardena, Calif., in the Los Angeles area. He was surrounded by friends and a few generations of family members at the packed arena and became the highest-drafted Californian in NHL history, passing defenseman Jonathan Blum, who was selected 26th overall by Nashville in 2007.

Like a lot of Southern Californians who find hockey, Bennett first played on in-line skates before making the transition to ice because he was a Kings fan.

Having the draft in Los Angeles, he said, "shows the interest in hockey is growing and coming west."

Playing hockey is not his only talent.

"Growing up, my parents made me play five years of an instrument to continue to play hockey, and I chose piano," Bennett said. "I don't take lessons anymore, but I still can get on the keyboard and jam a little bit. Modern stuff, whatever's out, whatever's fun to play."

Bennett was a prospect who was hard to collar.

Various rankings and mock drafts had him projected anywhere from midway through the first round to early in the second.

He did not any sleep over it.

"I slept pretty well," he said. "I didn't know what to think -- going first [round] or wherever I got drafted, I was still going to be playing hockey for a long time.

"This is just a stepping stone for my career."

He is thrilled with the way things worked out, joining a club with centers such as Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal.

"If I keep maturing physically and in the game aspect, I hope to be in a spot playing with some unbelievable centers that I grew up idolizing and watching," Bennett said.

DU Receives Commitment From Josiah Didier

(left) Josiah Didier committed to attend the University of Denver in 2012

As the 2010 NHL Draft fades into the sunset, the University of Denver received a commitment from another defenseman who should be drafted in 2011.

Josiah Didier a blueliner from Highlands Ranch, Colorado will play in Cedar Rapids (USHL) for the next two seasons before arriving at DU in 2012.

Didier, 17, a 6-3, 200-pound defenseman who played his first year of Bantam hockey with Littleton Hockey Association before spending the past three seasons with the Colorado Thunderbirds. Most recently, Didier helped lead the U16AAA Thunderbirds to their first-ever Tier 1 National Title.

Didier selected DU over Colorado College and Yale as well as serious overtures from the WHL in Canada.
Articles About Josiah Didier:


Unofficial USHL Prospects Blog
2010 Recruiting Class
F Jason Zucker (U.S. Under-18)
D David Makowski (Green Bay, USHL)
F Nick Shore (U.S. Under-18)
F Beau Bennett (Penticton, BCHL)
F Dan Olszewski (St. Louis, NAHL)
F Jarrod Mermis (Lincoln, USHL)
G Sam Brittain (Canmore, AJHL)

2011 Recruiting Class
D Scott Mayfield (Youngstown, USHL)
F Zac Larraza (U.S. Under-17)
F Garrett Allen (Fargo, USHL)
D Matt Van Voorhis (U.S. Under-17)

2012 Recruiting Class
F Tyler Pham (Team Illinios)
D Dakota Mermis (St. Louis Jr. Blues, AAA)
D Josiah Didier (Cedar Rapids, USHL)
F Daniel Doremus (Colorado Thunderbirds, AAA)

Video: Penguins Draft Beau Bennett With 20th Pick

Sam Brittain Selected In 4th Round By Florida

(above) Sam Brittain was the 6th goaltender selected in the NHL Draft yesterday and the first college bound goalie drafted

From: Montreal Gazette
by Scott Cruickshank

Sam Brittain, net-minder of the AJHL Canmore Eagles, was selected in the 4th round of the NHL Draft by the Florida Panthers.

Florida must has liked the progress of recently graduated DU goaltender Marc Cheverie, because they drafted Brittain less than three months after signing Cheverie.

Brittain monitored the proceedings from his Calgary home.

"Unbelievable," said Brittain, slotted No. 8 on Central Scouting's ratings of North American goaltenders. "This is what you dream of as a kid -- getting your name called. An amazing experience, but the longest wait I've ever had.

"Anxious. Nerve-racking. But having my name called? Remarkable. I couldn't be happier going to Florida."

Brittain is committed to the University of Denver.

Going there as a drafted player is a thrill.

"It kind of leaves you a bit speechless," said Brittain. "You work really hard to get here. And, as hard as I've worked, I'm just starting my career. Now the work that I've put in has to be doubled . . . to push for an eventual roster spot with the Florida Panthers."

Five Questions With Jason Zucker

Jason Zucker Selected In 2nd Round By Wild

Video: NHL.com

Article From: Las Vegas Sun

University of Denver incoming Freshman Jason Zucker's first skates had wheels. The 3-year-old kid learned the fundamentals of hockey not on a pastoral Canadian pond, but inside a roller rink in the stifling heat of Las Vegas.

Zucker didn't touch ice until he was 6, following his older brothers onto an air-conditioned hotel sheet. Twelve years later, he pulled on a Minnesota Wild jersey Saturday as a second-round NHL draft selection - the first player ever drafted from Las Vegas, the sprawling desert gambling mecca that had exactly three ice rinks at last count.

"I might be the first, but I won't be the last," Zucker said.

Although the NHL's expansion into the Sun Belt over the past 20 years was blamed for part of the NHL's financial woes and talent depletion, the first fruits of that move might have ripened during the two-day draft at Staples Center. Americans were in unprecedented demand at the NHL draft this weekend, starting with a record 11 U.S. citizens chosen in the first round.

The momentum from the impressive U.S. victory at the World Junior Championships in January has extended into the draft, with a record-tying 21 Americans chosen in the first two rounds.

And fittingly for the first draft in Los Angeles, the first-round American choices at Staples Center included Pittsburgh Penguins choice Beau Bennett - the highest-drafted Californian in NHL history at No. 20 - and Long Beach's Emerson Etem, chosen by his near-hometown Anaheim Ducks at No. 29.

Both of those blue-chip prospects surfed when they weren't skating, yet still developed into elite teenage talents. Every NHL team has taken notice of the evolving game down south _ particularly the clubs whose junior programs fostered this talent.

"When we started out here, we would only see players coming up in inline hockey," said Kings Hall of Famer Luc Robitaille, who moved to Los Angeles in 1986. "Now, kids are on skates from a very young age, and they're facing good competition from a very young age. In L.A., in San Jose and everywhere, they have almost everything in place to play hockey through their whole lives."

Zucker was a stick boy for the IHL's Las Vegas Thunder during that league's heyday in the 1990s, and he spent the last few years with the Los Angeles Hockey Club and the U.S. national team.

"West Coast hockey is getting on the map here," Zucker said. "Not just the West Coast, but everywhere in the U.S. is on the rise."

USA Hockey said 11 Americans had been selected in the first round, while the NHL only gave credit for 10, tying the number of Americans chosen in the first round in 2006 and 2007. Defenseman Cam Fowler, the Ducks' pick at No. 12, was born in Windsor, Ont., but was raised and trained in the Detroit suburbs.

Semantics aside, the American first-round choices included an impressive number of high-caliber NHL prospects, including goalie Jack Campbell to Dallas at No. 11; defenseman Derek Forbort to Los Angeles at No. 15; left wing Austin Watson to Nashville at No. 18; and rugged defenseman Jarred Tinordi to Montreal at No. 22.

And then there's Bennett, the Gardena native & DU recruit who attended high school in Cerritos, Calif., before playing juniors in Penticton, B.C. He has a 20-year-old brother playing for Penticton's rivals in the same league.

"I come from not the most well-known league, too, so it's even more rewarding that people noticed me," Bennett said. "Being in L.A. for the draft, being with my friends and family, it's an amazing experience."

Bennett wasn't expected to go ahead of Etem, who fell all the way to No. 29, where the Ducks grabbed him. Although he grew up 20 miles from the Honda Center, Etem has never attended a Ducks game.

"There's a new wave of California skill," Etem said. "I think it's about the coaching being done here. There are big things going on. I'm just grateful to be a part of it."

Penguins Thrilled To Nab Bennett In 1st Round

(above) Incoming DU freshman Beau Bennett was one of the biggest surprises of the NHL draft going 20th overall

From: NHL.com
by Sam Kassan

The Pittsburgh Penguins arrived in Los Angeles for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft looking to re-stock their system with talented players.

The Penguins grabbed Gardena, California native Beau Bennett with the 20th-overall selection, making him the highest-drafted California player ever taken at the NHL’s yearly draft.

“It’s unbelievable, a whirlwind of emotions,” Bennett said. “Having my family here is amazing. To go to an organization like Pittsburgh, which has won a Stanley Cup recently, has (Evgeni) Malkin and (Sidney) Crosby, it is a dream. I hope to be there one day, playing alongside those guys.”

“He’s been a point producer, he skates well, he scores goals, he’s strong on the puck already and he’s not done growing yet,” Penguins director of amateur scouting Jay Heinbuck said. “He’s going to fill out. He’s got a great work ethic. We’re real excited to get him.”

Bennett, 18, played for the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League and led the BCHL in scoring this past season with 120 points on 41 goals and 79 assists in 56 games.

Bennett’s offensive talent has Heinbuck full of smiles.

“We saw a kid that had exceptional skills already and a lot of potential to be an offensive player at the NHL level,” said Heinbuck, who admitted to being nervous that Bennett would get selected ahead of Pittsburgh’s pick. “We were excited to get him.

“He’s fun to watch. He’s one of those guys that when he gets into flight his jersey ripples. You can tell by my smile that we’re excited to have the kid because there’s such a potential to have a skill package at pick No. 20.”

“They liked my offense,” Bennett said. “I definitely bring some creativity to the game. I can create off the right side or the left side. I definitely need to work on some things, as well, with my defensive play and strength. I think going forward I'll get better in some aspects.”

Though Bennett has played all three forward positions, the Penguins expect him to project best at wing.

“We found him to be more productive at wing,” Heinbuck said. “He was most effective on wing and that’s where we see him.”

Bennett (6-foot-1, 173 pounds) was born and raised in Gardena, attending Valley Christian High School in Cerritos. He started off playing roller hockey at the age of 3, but thanks to the sacrifices of his family, Bennett was able to work his way onto the ice.

“Huge sacrifice, mostly for the parents, actually,” said Bennett, who notched 58 points for the Los Angeles Jr. Kings in 2008-09. “They're doing all the driving. The rinks are spread out. There's about nine or 10 rinks throughout Southern California. We're driving, doing our homework in the car, getting dressed in the car. You definitely have to sacrifice a little of your social life. But you can do it if you have a passion for the game. All of us hockey players are willing to do it.”

Bennett, who will be attending the University of Denver in the fall, recorded the highest point total in the BCHL since DU Alum Tyler Bozak of the Toronto Maple Leafs posted 128 in 2007. He became the first BCHL rookie to surpass 100 points in the last seven years.

With a combination of great work ethic, natural ability and potential, the Penguins are delighted to nab Bennett in the 2010 draft.

“He’s a driven kid and already has exceptional hands,” Heinbuck said. “With that work ethic, some grit, good skating and prolific skill, that’s what we’re excited about.”

Beau Bennett Drafted By Pittsburgh Penguins

(above) DU recruit Beau Bennett press conference after being selected with the 20th pick in the First Round of the NHL Draft

QUESTION: With all the centers in Pittsburgh, you spent the last portion of the season at the position. Do you stick to the wing now, or is that up to your coaches at DU?

BEAU BENNETT: Up to the coaches. Coaches’ decision. Wherever they slot me, I'll be willing to play. I want to be a player for a long time, and wherever that may be, I'm excited.

QUESTION: Can you talk about your decision to go to Denver?

BEAU BENNETT: The decision to go to Denver -- I had a couple options and decided to keep it close to home between CC and DU. And it really encompasses all that I was looking for in Penticton as well. Great team, great guys, great coaching. Big city. I'm really looking forward to taking my next step in my career.

3 DU Players Expected To Be Drafted This Weekend

From: DU Athletics Website

Three University of Denver hockey players expect selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, slated for June 25-26 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif., home arena of the Los Angeles Kings. The first round of the Draft will be televised tonight on Versus at 5 PM MT.

Incoming freshman Beau Bennett, Jason Zucker and Sam Brittain expect to hear their names called when the draft begins this weekend.

Bennett is currently ranked No. 32 among North American skaters in the final Central Scouting Rankings, while Zucker is ranked No. 51. Brittain is ranked No. 8 among North American goaltenders.

Bennett could become DU's third first-round pick if selected on Friday. Bennett would join Craig Redmond (LA Kings/1984/6th overall) and Joe Colborne (Boston/2008/16th overall) as the only players to don the crimson and gold as first round NHL selections.

Jason Zucker Awaits NHL Draft Today

(above) DU recruit Jason Zucker (#16) will be in Los Angeles this weekend for the NHL Draft

From: Las Vegas Review-Journal
by Todd Dewey

Backstage at the NHL Awards at the Palms on Wednesday, Las Vegas resident and University of Denver recruit Jason Zucker had a chance to check out hockey's most treasured trophies.

But in keeping with the sport's tradition, the 18-year-old left wing didn't dare touch any of them, let alone the sacred Stanley Cup.

Projected to be taken in one of the first two rounds of the NHL Entry Draft, which takes place today and Saturday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Zucker hopes one day to win an award or hoist the Cup himself.

At the least, he is expected to become the first player from Nevada ever drafted by the NHL. The 5-foot-10-inch, 175-pound forward was born in Newport Beach, Calif., but his family moved to Las Vegas when he was 2 months old.

"It means a lot just being from Las Vegas. It's such a small hockey market, and I can help try to put it on the map a little bit," said Zucker, who attended Bonanza High as a freshman before moving to Michigan to play for the prestigious Detroit Compuware Under-16 squad and U.S. National Team Development Program.

"I didn't really have a huge role model right in my backyard like a lot of kids do," he said. "That's why I'm hoping I can do that for some other kids."

Zucker is ranked 51st among North American nongoaltenders by NHL Central Scouting. A mock draft on NHL.com this week had Zucker going with the 29th pick of the first round to the Anaheim Ducks.

"He plays the game with a lot of energy," said Norm McIver, director of player development for the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, who have the 24th and 30th picks.

"He's a real competitive kid. You really notice Jason when he's on the ice. He's a very good offensive player and a strong skater."

Zucker, who worked out for the New Jersey Devils on Thursday in Los Angeles, said he'll be grateful just to be drafted.

"As long as I get better after the draft, it doesn't really matter," he said. "It's a dream come true, but really the road only starts here."

Zucker will attend the draft with his family, including four siblings and his parents, and former local coaches Larry Sanford and Rob Pallin.

Regardless of where Zucker is selected, though, he plans to play college hockey this fall for Denver University.

"Do I think Jason is going to play in the NHL? Absolutely," Denver assistant Steve Miller said. "We feel in our heart, as a staff, he's going to play in the NHL one day."

Zucker's impressive resume clearly points in that direction.

At 17, he was the youngest player on the U.S. Under-20 team that won the World Junior Championships in January over host Canada, and Zucker also helped carry the U-18 team to consecutive world titles. He scored 29 goals and 53 points in 60 games for the U-18 team.

Introduced to hockey by talented older brothers Evan and Adam, Jason started skating at age 2 and played roller hockey at the Crystal Palace skating rink on Rancho Drive before turning to ice hockey at 8.

He began playing for the Los Angeles Hockey Club at 10, boarding a flight from Las Vegas each Thursday, and two years later returned home to play for the Las Vegas Outlaws.

Recruited by Compuware, Zucker moved to Ann Arbor, Mich., for his sophomore year of high school and scored 102 points in 68 games. Last year he earned a spot in the National Team Development Program.

His father, Scott Zucker, who works in construction for Station Casinos, said watching Jason get drafted will be surreal.

"You watch the NHL on TV, and now all of a sudden you're part of it. It's hard to comprehend," he said. "But the kid's pretty grounded. With what he's done on the world stage, he's not cocky. He's a down-to-earth, good kid.

"I tell him don't ever forget where you came from, and he hasn't, which is great."

News & Notes From Around PioNation

The last goaltender from Nova Scotia turned out to be pretty good for the University of Denver (Marc Cheverie). Now comes word that another goaltender from Halifax has his eyes set on playing college hockey. Justin Colllier is looking at DU, Maine and Sacred Heart as well as various major junior teams.

Justin Collier's Stats

The University of Denver hockey team will participate in the 5th Annual Hockey Day Minnesota on Saturday, Feb 12, 2011. Hockey Day Minnesota 2011 on FOX Sports North will include a full day of hockey-related programming designed as a celebration of the game from peewees to pros. The city of Moorhead will serve as the background for the outdoor boys high school games featured in the Hockey Day events. DU will play the University of Minnesota in Mariucci Arena.
Colorado College has added the Great Lakes Invitational Tourney to their 2010-11 hockey schedule. They are replacing Boston University who pulled out at the last minute. CC will play Michigan State and either Michigan or Michigan Tech in Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
Real GM's NHL Mock Draft is interesting for DU fans because it mentions that incoming freshman Beau Bennett could be selected anywhere from 12th-45th this weekend. Anaheim at #12 seems like a good fit for Bennett. St. Louis (#14), Florida (#15), Ottawa (#16), Colorado (#17) and Los Angeles (#19) could also be logical landing spots for Bennett if he were to go in the middle of the First Round.
A second person has died in Fort Collins after contracting Meningitis in an adult league hockey game. It is believed that the players contracted the disease in either the handshake line after removing their mouthguards or by sharing water bottles.

Fear The Fin Blog Profiles Beau Bennett

Fear The Fin Blog, covering the San Jose Sharks, has an excellent interview with incoming Freshman forward Beau Bennett. With the NHL Draft kicking off on Friday, it will be interesting to see if Bennett is still around when San Jose makes the 28th selection. The Sharks might have to move up to the Top 20 to nab Bennett.
FTF: "We heard that you had trouble choosing a college for next year. What made you pick the University of Denver?"

Bennett: "I had a couple choices, so I made a short list of five schools. I didn't want to be away from my team for too long, so I narrowed it down to Colorado College and DU. At the end of the day I really believed in the coach and the team; it's kind of how I picked Penticton. It was close to home as well and that's the route I chose to go."

McKenzie Ranks Two DU Recruits In Top 50

TSN Analyst Bob McKenzie ranked two incoming DU Freshmen as Top 50 Prospects for the 2010 NHL Draft on Friday. Beau Bennett came in at #18 and Jason Zucker was #44 on McKenzie's list.

McKenzie pointed out, "Some scouts have Bennett ranked as one of their Top 10 players eligible for the Draft."

DU Recruit Awaits The NHL Draft On Friday

(above) Incoming DU Freshman Sam Brittain awaits the NHL Draft on Friday

From: Calgary Herald

by Scott Cruickshank

For you and me, the 2000 National Hockey League entry draft was a riveting affair.

After all, it's not often you see the local pro outfit select a star from the local junior squad in the first round.

But that's what happened -- the Calgary Flames snapped up Calgary Hitmen goalie Brent Krahn with the No. 9 pick.

Memorable stuff.

Sam Brittain will have to take our word for it.

The goalkeeper provided perspective -- yes, time does fly -- when asked about that marquee event in Calgary.

Brittain had tickets to the hot event, but opted to go to a chum's birthday party instead.

"So I never saw anything of it," says Brittain. "But one of my friends went and he brought me back a banner. At that time I never knew what the draft was -- no clue."

Cut him some slack. He was eight years old. But the upcoming NHL showcase -- Friday and Saturday in Los Angeles -- belongs to him and his peers.

Brittain: "For the majority of the winter, you have to think about the game at hand. You can't be thinking, be dreaming, about getting drafted, because you're not going to be successful if your mind's not right at the rink. Now that the season's over? Just the excitement of it all -- a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

Brittain, after his time with the Canmore Eagles of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, heads south for his freshman campaign at the University of Denver.

Brittain was rated the No. 8 North American goaltender by season's end. Then, at the last minute, he got invited to Hockey Canada's annual elite goaltenders' camp in mid-June at Norma Bush Arena.

Brittain is six-foot-three. He's still growing. He posted top marks in one NHL Combine Drill, in the process bettering 100 of his peers at the NHL scouting combine in Toronto. Brittain was the overall top scorer in the hand-eye co-ordination test.

"As soon as you get over the nerves and the fact that there's 300 people watching," says Brittain, "you can settle down."

At the combine, time is set aside for interviews.

Brittain sat down with nine clubs, including the Flames.

"I was able to relax, settle in, be myself," he says. "You just try to make a great impression on everyone you meet and things will hopefully work out."

All that remains is the draft itself.

Brittain can't decide whether to travel to Los Angeles for the NHL Draft on Friday.

"I'd rather be able to relax at home and distract myself," says Brittain, who's been told that he could be picked anywhere from the second round to the fifth. "Early or late, it doesn't matter to me. I just want to be selected by one team on that day."

Bacteria Causes Death Of Colorado Hockey Player

From: Channel 7 News-Denver

FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- A third man who played in a recreational hockey league game (Fort Collins Adult Hockey Association) at EPIC Arena in Fort Collins has been hospitalized with a critical case of meningitis days after another player died, health officials said Friday.

This makes four confirmed meningitis cases in Larimer County since Memorial Day Weekend. A fifth patient was hospitalized, but lab tests did not confirm the bacterial infection.

All three hockey players played in a 7:15 p.m. game June 9 in Division C of the adult league at EPIC Arena, formally called the Edora Pool and Ice Center, said Dr. Adrienne LeBailly, director of the Larimer County Health Department.

One hockey player, 29-year-old Brian Wormus, died Monday at Poudre Valley Hospital. A second man, who played for the SuperMarket Liquors team against Wormus's Teamsters team that night, remained in critical condition at the same hospital Friday.

The third hockey player to contract meningitis, who played on Wormus' team, left for a family camping trip in Montana June 12 before teammates or public health officials could alert him about the possible exposure, LeBailly said during a Friday teleconference on the outbreak.

He became ill Wednesday and was taken to a small town hospital where doctors quickly diagnosed him as having lethal blood poisoning from the meningitis infection, she said. He was immediately transferred to a bigger Montana hospital where he remains in critical condition.

“(It) is almost certainly connected to the confirmed cases" from the June 9 hockey game, LeBailly said.

She called the hockey game outbreak extremely rare.

"This outbreak is quite unusual to have three confirmed, serious cases all in one event that occurred on one night," LeBailly said.

“This is such a tragic situation,” she added. "We will continue to follow up on our investigation and treatment of contacts so that we can try to prevent further meningococcal illness.”

Health officials have provided antibiotics and/or vaccinations to referees and players on the two teams from the June 9 game and are now also offering the preventive medication to two teams that played later that night.

Officials are also tracking household members of players who had direct exposure to the infected men.

Bacterial meningitis is a severe infection of the lining of the brain or spinal cord. It is treatable with medication, especially when caught in the early stages.

Symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, neck stiffness, exhaustion and confusion and sometimes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, LeBailly said.

The infection is spread by contact with saliva and other oral secretions, for example, when people share water bottles, utensils or come into contact with mucus from a runny nose, LeBailly said.

She speculated that the hockey players might have been exposed to saliva after removing mouth guards and shaking hands at the end of the game.

LeBailly stressed that the bacteria isn't hardy enough to survive outside a person's body. So it would die swiftly, for example, in the locker rooms, pool and hockey rink facilities at the arena.

“So facilities are not an issue," she said. "It is still safe to swim at EPIC, to play hockey at EPIC.”

On the website for the Fort Collins Adult Hockey Association, President Paul Thompson offered "deep regret and sorrow (over) the loss of one of our own, Brian Wormus."

Thompson said the health department has treated more than 30 players and referees with antibiotics.

LeBailly said health officials also will be attending the games of other hockey leagues to answer questions and provide information. She said people who haven't had direct contact with infected players do not require treatment.

Thompson advised players to be "mindful of regularly washing your hands, not sharing water bottles and beverages, not spitting in the bench areas, being careful of contamination of mouth guards and keeping gloves on in the handshake line."

A fourth patient, who attends Colorado State University and had no connection to hockey games, became sick over the Memorial Day Weekend with a confirmed case of meningitis, LeBailly said That patient survived and is undergoing rehabilitation at a Denver area hospital.

A fifth patient, with no connection to the hockey team or EPIC arena, was admitted June 14 at Poudre Valley Hospital, the same day Wormus and another hockey player were hospitalized there, LeBailly said. But tests for the non-hockey patient, who has been released and is doing well, did not confirm meningococcal infection.

Patient 1: A Colorado State University student who got sick Memorial Day weekend and is in critical condition in a Denver-area hospital.

Patient 2: Wormus, who died Monday.

Patient 3: The hockey player who played on June 9 and then again on June 12, and is in critical condition at Poudre Valley Hospital.

Patient 4: Is not connected to the other victims but who also fell ill on the same day as Wormus. That person may have had a case of viral meningitis and has since been treated and released.

Patient 5: The player on Wormus' team who fell ill in Montana.

News & Notes From Around PioNation

Four DU players are among 44 players invited to take part in USA Hockey's national junior evaluation camp this summer in Lake Placid. Drew Shore, Nick Shore, Beau Bennett and Jason Zucker will audition for a spot on the U.S. National Junior Team that will take part in the 2011 World Junior Championship.
Colorado College hockey player Billy Sweatt was a second round Draft choice of the Chicago Blackhawks. After four years at CC, Chicago said, "Thanks, but no thanks," his agent said earlier this week. The 2007 second-round draft pick (No. 38) fell victim to the salary cap crunch the Stanley Cup champions are facing this offseason.

DU Netminder Invited To Hockey Canada Camp

(above) Hockey Canada will take a long look at DU goaltender Sam Brittain this week

From: Calgary Herald

Incoming Freshman goaltender Sam Brittain is joining Hockey Canada's fifth annual Program of Excellence Goaltending Camp, which starts tonight at Norma Bush Arena.

Brittain -- who played for the Alberta Junior Hockey League's Canmore Eagles last season and is committed to the University of Denver -- was pleased by the last-minute news.

"They wanted to know if I wanted to be a part of it," said Brittain, who replaces injured Jean-Francois Berube. "It was a huge surprise to me. I was super excited. Extremely excited."

The four-day camp features 14 elite goalies vying for spots on the national junior and under-18 sides.

Ron Tugnutt, Hockey Canada's goaltending consultant, is running the show.

Tyler Bozak Has Huge Rookie Season In NHL

(above) DU alum Tyler Bozak

From: The Hockey Writers

University of Denver Alum Tyler Bozak made his rookie season in the NHL a memorable one.

Bozak came into the Maple Leafs organization similar to any other young prospect, amid extraordinary hype. Despite the expectations though, his AHL performance was rather ordinary and it wasn’t until he rose to the NHL that Leafs Nation got a full glimpse of his exceptional talents.

Bozak finished first in points-per-game among all rookies this past season, and maintained an impressive 56 percent success rate in the faceoff circle. Bozak also possessed great chemistry with prolific sniper Phil Kessel, and moving into the 2010-2011 campaign he will seek to replicate his wonderful first season with the Leafs.

DU Student Named Academic All-Star

(above) DU Student Julie Markham was featured in USA Today as an Academic All-Star

Julie Markham is the kind of person who refuses to give up on a dream — even if some people think it's an impossible dream. And that has made a world of difference to the University of Denver student, who graduated Saturday.

It has taken her to Cambodia, India, Bangladesh, the Middle East and, most recently, Kenya, where she is consulting with a local bank that is developing an eco-friendly village designed to move slum-dwellers into sustainable, affordable housing.

Markham, a real estate and finance major, has ignored naysayers who say microfinancing — sometimes called "barefoot banking" — won't lead to long-term social good. Or who think a college student could never play a role in transforming the lives of people across the globe. She heeds the words of Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, who once said: "All progress depends on the unreasonable man."

"No matter where my journey takes me, along the way I hope to be unreasonable," says Markham, 23.

In some ways, that sums up the attitudes of all 20 members of USA TODAY's 2010 All-USA College Academic First Team, which includes Markham. Yes, they study hard, serve their communities and are role models on campus. But at their core, they are solution-oriented thinkers who aren't afraid to dare. And in defying standard notions of what it means to be a student, they set a high bar for what the undergraduate experience looks like.

News & Notes From Around PioNation

DU recruit and Aspen native Dan Doremus is scheduled to arrive at the University of Denver in 2012. According to Mike Chambers Blog, he'll be playing in Sioux Falls for the next two years in the USHL. No surprise since Doremus was selected in the 1st round of the USHL Draft last month.
DU Alum Matt Carle and the Philadelphia Flyers face a do-or-die game tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks. If the Flyers win, Game 7 will be on Friday night in Chicago. Carle has been receiving props from the announcing crew and DU even got a shout out from NBC on Sunday night during the broadcast.
DU Alum Peter Mannino ended up having a sensational season with the AHL Chicago Wolves. He was 25-6-1 during the regular season and led the Wolves to the AHL Semi-Finals. His NHL rights are currently held by the Atlanta Thrashers.

1977-78 WCHA Champions

Back row (left to right): Dave Lassen (manager), Gary Nedelak, Perry Stensland, Brad Purpur, Doug Berry, Lex Hudson, Ray Anttila, Mark Falcone, Paul Messier, Cal Sandbeck, Bob Pazzelli (captain), Gene Lake (manager). Middle row: Barry Lupovich (graduate assistant coach), Rob Anderson, Dirk Scherer, Greg Woods, Craig Roehl, Shawn Dineen, Gordon Gibson, Vince Magnan, Mark Davidson, Bob Williams (trainer). Front row: Jim Bales, Craig Berezowsky, Brian McAlister, assistant coach Ralph Backstrom, Ernie Glanville, Coach Marshall Johnston, Frank Xavier, Alex Belcourt, and Walt Aufderheide.

Hockey Journal Profiles DU Recruit Jason Zucker

(above) Jason Zucker brings a winning pedigree to DU

From: Hockey Journal
by Kirk Luedeke

There aren’t many players in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft class who can claim the level of sacrifice, commitment and dedication to hockey that U.S. National Team Development Program forward Jason Zucker can.

The diminutive but skilled left winger stands about 5-foot-10 and weighs in at around 175 pounds, but if one could factor in the size of one’s heart beyond the physical dimensions, Zucker would likely top the scales at 200 pounds.

A native of Las Vegas, he became the first player from that state to compete in the World Junior (Under-20) tournament last winter and was also a pioneer at the NHL draft combine last month, but it is his trio of gold medals earned over the last year for Team USA that speaks the loudest about his tenacity and potential at the highest level.

“Winning isn’t an easy thing, no matter what tournament you’re competing in,” Zucker told hockeyjournal.com recently, as he wrapped up his time in Ann Arbor, Mich., after an distinguished two-year stint with the program. “Whether you’re talking about the midget-major nationals, the state high school championship or Stanley Cup finals, none of them are a cakewalk, so to be a part of not one, not two, but three championship teams in one year is as proud and humbling an experience I can describe.”

Zucker started skating at the age of 2½ and was competing in roller hockey games by three. He played his first competitive ice hockey at age six and, by the time he turned 10, had decided to leave Vegas for a better level of competition in California with the Los Angeles Hockey Club, where he spent two years honing his skills.

Returning to Nevada for two years to play for the Las Vegas Outlaws AAA team, Zucker then went east to Michigan, where he spent two more seasons with the storied Detroit Compuware program before making the U.S. NTDP at age 16. The ledger reads that over the last eight years, Zucker has spent six of them away from his family, challenging himself at levels not possible in his home state and pursuing a pro hockey dream in the process.

“I was lucky enough to have my family behind me from day one,” Zucker said, referring to his parents (Scott and Natalie) and older brother, Evan, whom he credits for getting him started in the sport he loves (he also has a younger brother and sister). “They shipped me out (to California) at 10 because I wanted to play hockey there. Everything has been my choice and they’ve supported me the whole time.

“If I want to play hockey, then I will. If not, I won’t. But the support was always there and they were behind me even when hockey took me away from home.”

Zucker’s draft stock has been rising steadily this season. Lauded by scouts for his soft hands and offensive abilities, he emerged as a much more effective two-way player and energy forward this season, his coming out party happening at this year’s World Juniors. There is some concern that his smallish frame won’t hold up to the kind of kamikaze-style he plays, but at least thus far, his physicality hasn’t been an issue.

His skating, for a player under 6-feet, isn’t explosive, but if he can pick up a step or two, should be fine at the next level given his smarts and work ethic.

“(Zucker) performed his role as a pest and physical agitator to perfection,” said the independent scouting source Red Line Report back in January, after Zucker and his teammates stunned Canada, winning the World Juniors gold medal in overtime. “Throws his body around recklessly like a heat-seeking missile despite his below-average size.”

Team USA’s youngest member, who didn’t turn 18 until about two weeks after the tournament wrapped up, scored several big goals and impressed scouts with his willingness to go into heavy traffic areas and take the puck hard to the net. Despite being one of the more youthful players in the most prestigious tournament made up of mostly amateur prospects and future NHL stars, Zucker showed the kind of ability, competitiveness and moxie beyond his years -- all traits that big league clubs covet.

“It was an amazing experience,” Zucker said. “We had a great group of guys who did whatever it took to win, and we got all the instruction and support from our coaches that allowed us to go out and compete night in and night out.”

Like another highly accomplished teammate, netminder Jack Campbell, Zucker was a member of the 2009 and 2010 Under-18 champion squads, giving them an unprecedented (for Team USA) three gold medals in a calendar year. Campbell recognized a kindred spirit in Zucker when the pair joined the NTDP together and not surprisingly, a close bond of friendship blossomed between the two in short time.

“Jason is my best friend on the team,” Campbell told hockeyjournal.com. “Two years ago, we made a pact -- that we’d spend an extra half hour on the ice together every day so that we could push ourselves beyond the limit and take maximum advantage of our opportunity (in the program). We did extra sprints, took extra shots, and did the kinds of things to make ourselves better.

“That’s why, two years later, I think the both of us can look back on our time (in Ann Arbor) with such a sense of accomplishment. Jason’s worked so hard for everything; nothing comes easy in this game, and it’s been so much fun to share in the success (we’ve had) with such a close friend and teammate.”

Zucker’s 29 goals and 53 points in 60 games with the Under-18 team this season underscore the kind of promise he’s shown offensively, and by this time next year, he’ll have a year of college hockey under his belt at the University of Denver. Zucker will join another impressive freshman and 2010 draft prospect up front in Beau Bennett, and should benefit from coach George Gwozdecky’s pro-style system.

“I’m really excited,” said Zucker. “It’s going to be a good overall experience for me, knowing the kind of tradition Denver has and all the great players that have come out of that program. I can’t wait.”

Before he becomes acquainted with the WCHA and the rigors of being a student-athlete, he’ll first take the first tentative steps toward the fulfillment of his NHL dream when he travels to the city he spent two years living in as he learned about the game. There is some irony that when an NHL team calls his name, it will be in Los Angeles, where he first began to realize that he had the potential to have a career in pro hockey at just 10 years of age.

After meeting with more than 20 teams, including the Boston Bruins, at the Scouting Combine in Toronto recently, Zucker’s future is starting to come into focus.

“It’s hard to tell,” he said, when asked which teams’ interviews he had the best feeling from or felt he aced. “When meeting with them, for the most part, everyone was nice and friendly. They were trying to get to know you as a person, and I’d have to say that all the teams I met with were great to me. You can tell the preparation the teams put into it; for me, that was the biggest thing I took away from it, how professional everyone was.

Zucker did say that he wasn’t “grilled” or pressured by any of the clubs he spoke to, which speaks more to his good reputation as a player and intense competitor who has focused on his game and refused to allow any off-ice distractions get in the way of his road to the draft.

“I do know guys who got grilled,” he said. “I was lucky enough to not have gone through that.”

Now, all that remains for Zucker is the waiting. He’s a likely candidate to go somewhere in the second round, but just may have convinced someone to grab him inside the top-30 with his opportunistic play and sterling character. Regardless of where his name is called, however, Zucker has come to realize that all of the hard work and sacrifices in missing out on a lot of the things a normal child gets to experience are finally coming to fruition.

“I felt like I was 8-years-old again (at the combine),” he said. “I’ve watched them (the NHL teams) my whole life, and when I met with Pittsburgh and Detroit, I kept thinking that players like Sidney Crosby and Pavel Datsyuk, they’re in that exclusive profession I aspire to. It’s a dream come true for me (to be a part of it) and maybe now I’m one step closer to making that dream a reality.”

CBC Profiles Carle Brothers

(above) DU Alum Matt Carle and the Flyers will play Chicago on Sunday night

From: CBC.com

by Tim Wharnsby

There was a mob of reporters around defenceman Chris Pronger in the Philadelphia Flyers' dressing room moments after his team had tied up the Stanley Cup final at 2-2 on Friday.

They listened to him orate on how the Flyers have been able to claw back into the series and watched him bask in the spotlight. Everybody wanted to hear from the Conn Smythe Trophy candidate with Game 5 set for Chicago on Sunday night (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 8 p.m.).

About 10 minutes later, Pronger's defence partner, Matt Carle, climbed up onto the same riser to conduct a session with reporters. But the crowd that remained had dwindled to only a handful, even though Carle had just scored his first career playoff goal in the 5-3 win to take a stride closer to his Stanley Cup dream.

"He's obviously playing with a lot of confidence right now," Pronger said. "He's making a lot of smart decisions on the ice. He's been playing very well one-on-one against their top players.

"He makes that good first pass and his vision sets him apart."

Championships also have set the 25-year-old Carle apart from the average NHLer. When the native of Anchorage, Alaska was 15 he remembers watching another fellow Alaskan, Scott Gomez, win his first to two Stanley Cup titles with the New Jersey Devils.

The triumphant scene inspired Carle. He went on to win world under-17, under-18 and junior championships with the United States. He then celebrated back-to-back U.S. college titles at the University of Denver and won the Hobey Baker Award as the top collegiate hockey player.

No bed of roses

But life hasn't been rosy all the time for Carle. That's why he has been so determined to win a Stanley Cup with the Flyers.

Two years ago, when Carle was still with the San Jose Sharks he was informed by his younger brother David that his hockey career was over, just a few months before the young Carle was about to suit up as a freshman defenceman at the University of Denver.

David Carle was diagnosed with hypertrophy cardiomyophathy, a heart condition that often kills young athletes if it goes undiagnosed.

It was too risky for David to continue playing, even though the Tampa Bay Lightning drafted him a few weeks later in the seventh round. The University of Denver honoured the younger Carle's scholarship. He just completed his second year as a student/assistant coach.

David often has remarked how much his brother helped him through the tough times. With two more wins, there could be one heck of celebration for the Carle brothers.

The older Carle was drafted in the second round (47th overall) by the San Jose Sharks in 2003. He was impressive in his first full season there, making the NHL all-rookie team.

But then he was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the deal that the Sharks landed Dan Boyle. Carle's stay in Tampa Bay did not last long. He then was moved to the Flyers in exchange for Steve Downie and Steve Eminger.

Whether it simply has been more experience or playing alongside Pronger, Carle has been magnificent for the Flyers. "A little bit of both," said Carle, when queried as to what has contributed to his fine play in the playoffs.

The Pronger-Carle pairing have done an outstanding job shutting down the Blackhawks top line Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Dustin Byfuglien in the final. So much so, that Chicago coach Joel Quenneville shuffled his lines quite a bit on Friday in the hopes some sort of offensive spark would occur for his team.

"I have learned to have a little bit more composure out there and to be a bit more aggressive defensively," said Carle, when asked what playing alongside Pronger has done for him. "He's a guy you can learn a lot from just watching him on and off the ice."

"We hit it off pretty good. There might have been a little bit of an adjustment period in training camp to get familiar with. But it seemed to be a good fit right away."

"Old Time Hockey" With The Chicago Blackhawks

(left) DU Alum Keith Magnuson was one of the toughest players in the NHL in the 1970's

From: Chicago Tribune
by John Kass

With the Stanley Cup finals between the Blackhawks and Flyers getting more physical by the game, I got an interesting call from a former hockey doc.

"I don't think the spectators, if they've never played hockey themselves, truly understand the mentality of the hockey players, how they disregard pain and their own doctor's orders," said Dr. Antonio Ramos when I met him in his office in the Pilsen neighborhood.

Ramos, now 85 and retired, was a surgeon at the now-defunct Henrotin Hospital, the unofficial Blackhawks trauma center. That led to his hobby, stitching up Blackhawks as one of several team doctors in the old days.

"There was Tony Esposito, the goalie, getting a stick inside his mouth that ripped it up, with incredible trauma, and going back to play," said Ramos.

"And Bobby Hull years ago, in the playoffs with Montreal, struck in the face with a puck, the entire bone structure of the face having disintegrated, and playing," Ramos said. "And of course, there was DU alum Keith Magnuson."

Ramos' colleague was a plastic surgeon, Dr. Randall McNally. Now 80 and retired, McNally remembers Magnuson literally fighting to get back on the ice.

Magnuson's jaw had been broken in two places. The trainer, Skip Thayer, had Magnuson flat on his back on one of the training tables.

"His (jaw) bone was exposed through the skin, and he had a bad laceration," said McNally. "I looked to Magnuson and said, 'You're done, Keith.' "

Magnuson hated how that sounded. He wanted to play.

"Magnuson got up and started trading punches with Skip because he wanted to return immediately," McNally said. "They were really going at it. To his credit, Skip did not punch him in the face, just the body."

Eventually, doctors were able to convince Magnuson that going back out onto the ice with his jawbone protruding from his cheek wasn't such a good idea.

"There's the unwritten old hockey rule," Blackhawks great Stan Mikita told me. "No matter how hard you get hit, you get up and take your next shift on the ice. If you've got a broken leg, you'll fall and then you'll know it. But you take that next turn."

Mikita said there were good hockey docs and bad hockey docs.

"The good ones would stitch you up so you could get back on the ice and play," Mikita said. "If you really want to hear some hockey doc stories, you better call another DU Alum Cliff Koroll. If you don't like them, then you have no sense of humor."

As a rookie out of the University of Denver, Koroll, now president of the Blackhawks alumni organization, was sent to a Blackhawks farm team. He met his team on the road and was warned about the other team's doctor. Home-ice doctors often treated both teams.

"One of the guys said, if you get cut tonight, then you better get cut early," Koroll recalled. "It turned out the other team's doc liked to drink a little bit, and the longer the game went, the drunker he got."

As the game ended, Koroll took a stick above the eye. With blood running down his face, he was dispatched to the other team's training room.

"I'm laying on the table when I hear ice clinking in a glass," Koroll said. "The old guy's walking down the hall. He hits one wall, hits the other wall, staggers up to me with a scotch in his hand and starts stitching."

Later, Koroll met his teammates at a local night spot where they rehydrated themselves. Then it was back to the hotel for much-needed sleep. But all Koroll could do was stare at the ceiling.

"I remember telling my roommate, 'Jimmy, I can't sleep, I can't close my eyes.' I go into the bathroom to take a look. Do you know what the doctor did? He'd stitched my eyelid to my eyebrow. That's why I couldn't close my eye."

Koroll freed his eyelid with manicure scissors, went to sleep and got treatment at a hospital the next morning.

Later, when he was called up to the Blackhawks, Koroll's mouth was hit with a stick, tearing the heck out of it, and it wouldn't stop bleeding.

The man who stitched him up that night was Dr. Myron Tremaine, the head team doctor and brother-in-law of Hawks patriarch Arthur Wirtz.

"He puts a few stitches in and starts tying a knot. Then somebody got hurt upstairs and he runs off and throws his rubber gloves on the floor and drops the scissors. The needle and the thread were resting on the Indian head logo on my jersey."

When Tremaine returned, he picked the gloves from the floor, but couldn't find the needle.

"He's searching for the needle, it gets caught in his coat sleeve, and when he turns away, he starts dragging me across the table by my lip. I'm crawling after him, grunting like a pig trying to tell him, stop, stop, but he pulls a chunk of meat right out of my mouth."

The old Hawks I talked to respectfully remember McNally and Ramos, but they weren't too fond of Tremaine. It was probably the brother-in-law-of-the-boss thing.

"Wasn't he a gynecologist?" asked Bobby Hull.

No, I said, he was a surgeon.

"A gynecologist, that's what I heard," said Mikita.

No, a surgeon.

"Well, if he wasn't a gynecologist," said Koroll, "then why were there stirrups on the end of the training table?"

Matt Carle's Goal Sparks Flyer's Win

(above) DU Alum Matt Carle scored a goal and was +2 last night in the Flyers win against Chicago

* GAME 1: CHI 6, PHI 5
* GAME 2: CHI 2, PHI 1
* GAME 3: PHI 4, CHI 3 (OT)
* GAME 4: PHI 5, CHI 3
* GAME 5: PHI vs. CHI, Sun., June 6, 6 pm, NBC
* GAME 6: CHI vs. PHI, Wed., June 9, 6 pm, NBC
* *GAME 7: PHI vs. CHI, Fri., June 11, 6 pm, NBC
* * if necessary - All Times Mountain
From: NHL.com
by Dan Rosen

University of Denver Alum Matt Carle read what Philadelphia Flyer teammate Claude Giroux was doing before making his move.

"Claude spun around and I just figured he would be throwing the puck at the net," Carle said, "so I was hoping to get a fortunate bounce -- and sure enough, I did."

Giroux absolutely did spin and fire the puck toward the net. And, Carle, because he read the play and didn't go too high in the zone, was able to get the most fortunate bounce/pass he could have possibly hoped for to score his first goal of the playoffs 14:35 into the first period of Friday night's 5-3 Flyers' win in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Giroux's shot never hit the net, but instead went straight to Niklas Hjalmarsson. The Hawks' defenseman incredibly swept the puck right into the high slot -- right onto Carle's tape for an easy slam-dunk goal that at the time gave Philly a 2-0 lead.

Call it Carle's reward for the minutes he's been logging and the work he's been doing as the other man playing against the Blackhawks' best players.

Everybody wants to talk about Chris Pronger (rightfully so), but Carle is playing almost as much as his defensive partner -- and he had 1 goal and 2 assists along with a plus-4 rating in the Flyers' wins at Wachovia Center. Pronger is a plus-6 along with an assist, which is why he's in the Conn Smythe Trophy discussion.

"He's obviously playing with a lot of confidence and making good, smart decisions on the ice," Pronger said of Carle. "He's playing very well one-on-one against top players. He's got a good first pass and vision that probably sets him apart from a lot of other players."

Pronger said Carle's vision is why he was able to read what Giroux was doing.

"You have to see the play develop and he certainly has great anticipation and vision of what is going to happen," Pronger said.

He'll never get the credit, not with Pronger being a dominant player on the ice and a media darling off it, but Carle deserves at least some praise for helping the towering No. 20 hold Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Dustin Byfuglien in check. One guy, no matter how experienced, tough, tall and talented he might be, can shut down those three on his own.

Carle, though, credits Pronger for his rise.

"I have a little bit more composure out there and I think I play more aggressive defensively (because of Pronger's presence)," Carle said. "Obviously with added experience you're going to have more confidence and feel more comfortable in different situations."

The ice time isn't bothering Carle either. He's only playing roughly two more minutes per game in the playoffs than he did in the regular season (25:39 to 23:23).

The guy is 25, so when he sees his 35-year-old partner smiling and yucking it up with the media after games, there's no way he's going to complain about skating too much.

"It's nice having the days off in between so you don't have to worry about the back to backs and you get plenty of fluids," Carle said. "When it comes game time, you have so much adrenaline going. This is what you live for, to be in these kinds of hockey games."

He's got at least two more of those games to play before calling it a season.

NHL Goaltending Scout Profiles Sam Brittain

(above) Incoming DU goaltender Sam Brittain has seen his NHL Draft prospects rise since the NHL Combine last week

Former NHL goaltender Al Jensen has been NHL Central Scouting's goaltender scout for the past 10 years, and his evaluations have proven solid. This is what he had to say about incoming DU Freshman Sam Brittain in an article at NHL.com.
Sam Brittain, Canmore Eagles, AJHL, 6-2 3/4, 215 lbs.
"He's a lot like J-S Giguere. He moves just like him, he plays just like him. He has a blocking style. He's not a flashy guy. His athleticism is average but his net coverage is exceptional. He's a big kid who likes to slide, using that butterfly technique. He's always square to the puck, great angles, calm, relaxed and in control. Doesn't that sound like Giguere? He's got a good future because that's what it's all about: If you've got the size and can cover the holes, that's a big advantage right there -- and he's got great rebound control."

News & Notes From Around PioNation

Mike Chambers Blog has a posting about Marc Cheverie graduating from DU this weekend. Congrats to Chevy, but the big news is that he might also pursue a graduate degree while kicking off his pro hockey career.
Speaking of Chambers' Blog, he mentioned last week that DU is still looking around for a more regionally desirable conference. According to Chambers, the Sunbelt isn't doing it for DU.
DU Alum Matt Carle and the Philadelphia Flyers will try and even their Stanley Cup series with the Blackhawks tonight (Friday). Carle is having an outstanding playoffs, racking up 12 assists while averaging over 25 minutes of ice time per game. Ironic that Carle's career got back on track when he switched to #25 before this season began. Some may remember that Carle wore #12 during Freshman season at DU before switching to #25 his Sophomore year.
Matt's brother David, was mentioned prominently in a NHL.com article this week. The younger Carle recently concluded his second season as a student assistant coach at Denver University, aiding coach Gwozdecky in skill development, practice, strength and conditioning and video breakdown. He was originally recruited by Denver but retired from hockey in July 2008 after being diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the heart resulting in sudden cardiac death with overexertion. David has done an amazing job publicizing Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and has brought much needed attention to this little known, but extremely dangerous condition.

Sam Brittain Makes Hockey News "Hot List"

The Hockey News Hot List is a weekly roundup of minor league, junior, college and high school players appears regularly throughout the off-season on thehockeynews.com. This week DU recruit and incoming Freshman Sam Brittain was listed at #7.
7. Sam Brittain, G – Canmore Eagles (AJHL): Brittain’s Jr. A stats this year weren’t eye-popping, but at nearly 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, he has the trendy big frame NHL scouts love. His work at the combine was also a good indicator; he won the hand-eye coordination drill, which seems to be a good trait for a netminder, no? He is committed to the NCAA’s Denver Pioneers. Draft eligible in 2010.

Carle's OT Assist Leads To Joy In Philly

(above) DU Alum Matt Carle joins the celebration after Claude Giroux scored against the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime of Game 3 of the NHL Stanley Cup hockey finals Wednesday night

Twice, the Philadelphia Flyers needed video replay to decide if a goal counted. One did, one didn't.

Claude Giroux didn't need the officials to check his winner.

Giroux scored 5:59 into overtime to give the Flyers a 4-3 victory over Chicago in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals Wednesday night, cutting the Blackhawks' series lead to 2-1. Game 4 is Friday night in Philadelphia.

Giroux scored on a redirection off Matt Carle's pass, beating Antti Niemi to decide the third straight one-goal game in the series.

"I tried to get a stick on it, and it just trickled in," Giroux said. "Our line started playing well, so anytime your line's going you just play better I think. The whole team just showed up tonight, and we really wanted that win.

"Desperation was the key word, I think. It's almost do or die."

Sam Brittain Radio Interview In Edmonton

The University of Denver hockey team will lean heavily on incoming Freshman goaltender Sam Brittain next season. The Pipeline Show in Edmonton interviewed Brittain last night.

Brittain talked about his experience at the NHL Combine last week and looking forward to playing at the University of Denver.

Brittain chose Denver over the University of Wisconsin and Nebraska-Omaha.

NHL.com Profiles DU Alum Matt Carle

(above) DU alum Matt Carle battles for the puck with UND Alum Jonathan Toews in the Stanley Cup Finals on Monday night

From: NHL.com
by Mike Morreale

When defenseman Matt Carle was asked to provide the greatest single moment of his career, he smiled and recalled what could still be considered the biggest goal of the Philadelphia Flyers' season.

It was in the third period of the regular-season finale against the New York Rangers and the Flyers had to win to qualify for the playoffs.

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was stopping everything sent in his direction -- until Carle took a pass from Jeff Carter in the slot and flipped it into the right side of the net to pull the Flyers into a 1-1 tie with 13:06 left in regulation.

The Flyers ultimately won the game 2-1 in a shootout to make the playoffs and have been on a pretty historic playoff roll ever since. Chalk one up for the 2006 Hobey Baker Award-winner from the University of Denver.

"That goal (against New York) was big," Carle told NHL.com. "Sometimes, they'll be games where you create chances and guys don't score. Then there are times you might have a breakout pass and get an assist or score that goal to contribute in some capacity. I'm just glad I was able to help get our team into the playoffs.

"But certainly, the highlight of my career so far is being here and playing for a Stanley Cup."

Bingo. That's precisely the answer any coach would want to hear from a budding 25-year-old defenseman who still possesses tons of unrealized potential. Sure, Carle's sixth goal of the regular season might have been the biggest of his young NHL career, but it hasn't distorted his sense of reality and focus on the ultimate prize.

Reaching this point didn't come without its share of ups and downs. But he's happy, enjoying life and ecstatic to have the opportunity to be playing alongside a likely Hall of Fame defenseman in Chris Pronger in the City of Brotherly Love.

"I think playing with Prongs has really helped him a lot," Flyers goalie Brian Boucher said. "He's a pretty steady guy as a partner, knowing what you're going to get every night. Matty is an intelligent player, and he figures things out pretty quick. He's got some talent and it's good to see him have some success after getting bounced around a little bit. I think he's found a nice place here in Philly along the blue line."

In 19 postseason games, Carle ranks third on the team in ice time per game (25:29), second in shifts (34.5) and blocked shots (44), first in plus-minus rating (plus-7) and second among the team's defensemen in takeaways (9). Not bad for the kid from Anchorage, Alaska, who was the first American-born player to capture World Junior and NCAA Championships in the same season (2003-04).

"The coaching staff in Denver did a really good job developing me and allowing me to roam and kind of do my thing as a player," Carle said.

Carle was actually the first player in the history of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association to earn Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season. That came in 2005-06, when he led the nation in assists (42) and led all NCAA defenseman in goals (11).

He was selected in the second round, No. 47, by the San Jose Sharks in the 2003 Entry Draft and forfeited his senior year at Denver to join the team in March 2006. Carle recorded 3 goals and 3 assists in his first 12 NHL regular-season games, then added 3 assists in 11 playoff games. In his first full season with the Sharks in 2006-07, Carle recorded 11 goals and 42 points in 77 games and was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team. Carle signed a four-year contract extension with San Jose in November 2007 -- but less than nine months later he was dealt to Tampa Bay in the big deal that brought defenseman Dan Boyle to the Sharks.

"I remember Craig Rivet and I had a pretty good relationship (on the Sharks) and we got traded on the same day so it was kind of funny how that worked out," Carle said. "I had a lot of friends there; I was good buddies with Joe Pavelski and my assistant coach, Rob Zettler, had a pretty big hand in developing me.

"Looking back, I know it helped me a lot to be spending more time out on the ice. You don't really understand the payoff until a little bit down the road."

Then came his trade to the Flyers -- after just 12 games with the Lightning.

"That second trade was much more of a shock than the first one," he recalled. "I still can't really put my finger on it, but it's OK. It's part of hockey and I understand that. It was a blessing in disguise and might have been difficult to take at the time. But it's one of those things I look back on and I'm happy at where I'm at."

The feeling is certainly mutual. In Carle, General Manager Paul Holmgren has provided Pronger with a steady partner who is willing to take criticism and learn from his mistakes.

Pronger could see this coming the moment he began working with Carle earlier this season.

"It's not just these playoffs," Pronger said. "You look at his body of work throughout the course of the season. He's played extremely well. Look at his patience with the puck and playmaking ability, and lot of times his ability to play defense gets overlooked. He's a solid one-on-one player and real good in the corners in getting loose pucks and moving it up to our forwards. That's something we preach to one another -- getting it up to our forwards and getting up into the attack."

Mock Draft Has Bennett Going In 1st Round

Several Mock Drafts have projected that incoming DU recruit Beau Bennett could wind up with the Chicago Blackhawks. Fanhouse released their Mock Draft today and Bennett was predicted to go to Chicago with the 30th pick.