Denver Post: DU Will Be Ready For Michigan Tech

(above) The air is so polluted from the local mines near Houghton that Michigan Tech players practice in respirators to avoid Black Lung
From: Denver Post
by Adrian Dater

George Gwozdecky doesn't have fond memories of when his University of Denver hockey team last faced Michigan Tech in October.

"It wasn't pretty. They're a very good team," Gwozdecky said of the Huskies, DU's opponent Thursday at 1 PM MDT in the WCHA Final Five at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.

DU suffered its worst loss of the season to the Huskies on Oct. 28, a 7-2 defeat in Houghton, Mich. The Pioneers managed a 2-2 tie the next night against the Huskies [read entire article].


dggoddard said...

The article has updates on the injury status of Bennett, Makowski & Knowlton.

No mention of Paul Phillips who left the game on Saturday with an injury.

miller said...

Makowski has certainly missed more than several weeks. He has been out since December.

Watching Bennett warm up Saturday it appears that he has a ways to go in rehab, but heck, stranger things have happened.

Anonymous said...

One of the very strange silver linings about all the injuries we've sustained is that most of these guys should be sticking around longer than they normally would.

Normally, we'd be worried that guys like Mako, Bennett, maybe even Brittain could leave after this season had they been 100% the whole time. Now, we're all but guaranteed to have those guys back. Sure, we'll lose Shore and Zucker, but considering who else we could've lost, that's not nearly so bad.

dggoddard said...

I think heading into the NCAA Tournament with a fresh goaltender is going to pay big dividends.

Guessing Gwoz will start Brittain on Thursday, although I'd be tempted to start Juho.

dggoddard said...

Here are some comments regarding DU from MTU's Mel Pearson on his radio show.

*MTU coaches got to watch the Sunday WI/DU game

*Anytime a team has to play the three game series and then a short turnaround, it a lot of hockey

*MTU has beaten UMD, DU, SCSU, MN this season.

*MTU coach likes Huskies' depth, even against a team like DU

*Freshman Dman, Leleggia, good defense and knows when to jump into the offensvie play

ScottA said...

Coach Gwoz' statement notwithstanding, Tech is NOT a very good team...DU is an amazingly inconsistent team (someone else used the term 'bipolar'). The talent is there, but the intensity seems to vary with the phases of the moon. Some attribute it to players anticipating the pros (Newsflash: AHL life sucks), but I have no such insight. If the 'B' team shows up, as in Houghton and the first game of the last NoDak series...we lose. If the 'A' team shows up, we win. Usually tou can tell who showed up by the end of the 1st period. Go A team!

anonevermore said...

I would LOVE to think that Bennett will return next year, but I have some doubts about it. If he does come back, and if Drew's two bros can convince Drew to come back, we're gonna have a good looking team on paper.

Anonymous said...

I'd wager that Zucker's departure is almost certain. Minnesota is desperate for young forward help and an AHL left wing slot is virtually guaranteed for him at the beginning of next season.

However, Drew Shore's situation is a little bit muddier. The current organizational situation in Florida is not ideal for him. Barring trades, there are as many as 5 other non-NHL centers in the organization that will be above him on the depth chart at the beginning of next season. Drew would likely be on the outside of the AHL looking in at the start of the year, and could find himself wallowing in the bus leagues for far longer than he would otherwise want. Or deserve.

I admit to being a little rusty on my NHL draft rules, but I'm pretty sure that Drew, by virtue of being drafted back in 2009, could return for his senior season and emerge a rookie free agent. Thus, he would be free to sign with any team that he wants.

Professionally, this may be his best choice because it would get him out of the log-jam that is the Florida center situation and allow him to chart his own professional course. Personally, we all know the compelling reasons he's got to stay.

However, who knows? He may be ready to be done with the grind of coupling class with hockey every day. Having played the varsity athletics game in college myself, I can certainly understand if that's the case.

Time, of course, will tell.

Anonymous said...

Badminton is a varsity sport now?

Anonymous said...

My guesses:

Zucker: Gone after DU season ends.
Chance of departure: 95%

Drew Shore: Good chance he'll stay to play with 2 bros and become a free agent, and finish his degree. Chance of Departure: 50/50.

Bennett: Pens are loaded at forward and might want him to stay, but also might not like DU's medical team after wrist issues. Beau could use more ice time - not pro -ready Chance of Departure: 60%

Makowski: Undrafted. Chance of Deaprture: 10%

Brittain: Injury cost him a year of development. Chance of departure 20%.

Twister said...

Agree with the earlier comments on Zucker--it's hard to imagine a scenario under which he stays for another year. He's had an amazing two years here, has played on 3 consecutive World Junior teams, and really doesn't have much else to accomplish at the college level. I'd be shocked if he's here next year.

I haven't heard anything about Shore and Bennett, but in Shore's case, the opportunity to be a free agent and essentially pick where you play (a la Bozak) has to be appealing. Plus the opportunity to wear the "C" again and play in his hometown with 2 of his brothers has to be hugely appealing. I think he's back.

Bennett is the wild card. This season is essentially a lost one, unless he somehow makes it back. But the reality is there are only a few more weeks left in college hockey. I would love to see him back, but who knows.

Anonymous said...

Top 6 in home attendance this season (all WCHA): Wisconsin, UND, Minny, Omaha, CC, Duluth. BC checks in at 7th.

CC fans show up. CRIMSON OUT!!

Anonymous said...

Saw Paul Phillips in class today, he didn't have a sling on or anything so that could be a good sign

Ring_of_Fire said...

@ anon 1:40...

You're throwing that stat out (in two places, no less)like it somehow means something profound.

I'm just curious as to what you're trying to illustrate, or prove, as the case may be.

Care to expound on it?

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing 1.40 means that CC fans enjoy watching mediocrity?

Anonymous said...

What other sports are there in Colorado Springs in the winter?

Air Force Hockey and Basketball?

DU has much stiffer competition for the local entertainment dollar than CC does.

DU hockey does just fine.

Anonymous said...

@ R_O_F

He (she) is probably incapable of expounding on his/her stance.

The collective intelligence of our haters is most definitely dwarfed by a small bag of turnips.

Anonymous said...

CC is at 92% of capacity. DU is at 88% of capacity.

Virtucally the same fervency.

Anonymous said...

Hey 1.40-post that in a 3rd thread and it still means squat.

old pio said...

In psychology it's called an approach/avoidance conflict. I pay attention to the talk about who's staying and who's leaving early. But I don't like it. And I certainly mean no disrespect to anyone offering opinions (except for that ephebophile CC "fan" who posts under numerous monikers) my sense is what will be will be. We've survived an enormously tough series with Bucky and now have a tough slog through the "final five" before heading to the NC$$'s.

Truth to tell, I'd like to send the WCHA "regrets" that we'll be waxing some dentle floss this weekend and won't be able to participate. So sorry. Even if DU wins the final five, how much gas are we likely to have left in the tank?

I know we'll have some early losses. I hope the only surprises are guys who decide to stay. But that's all in the future. And the speculation is perfectly natural and I understand it. If we don't get pole-axed this weekend, it seems to me we've got a real chance to make some progress toward #8. And right now, that's more important to me.

Anonymous said...

The Final 5 is nothing but a league moneymaker and an Upper Midwestern Block Party, in which we are always the unwanted uncle from far away.

I can't stand conference tourneys. They devalue the regular season, allow streaky second half teams to get playoff berths that were not earned the hard way, and they are always too far away for us to drive there.

Fugg 'em.

Mike B said...

As far as early departures from the program go, I feel (and certainly so does the coaching staff) that you would almost have to expect that all these players are going to head out at the end of this season. After the most recent Natty Title in '05, we started seeing players leave early across the board. It would almost seem that Gwoz and the boys were a bit surprised by a few of the signing (Staz in particular) and it left the roster the following year a bit light. Now, we see a huge class coming in next season. This would allow for the coaches to bring guys up that still have junior eligibility left to stay if they are not needed or to move up and start school if some of these guys leave.
I think that, as PioNation fans, we would have to expect that all players that are close to being "NHL ready" to get signed, take the bonus and start working out with their pro teams as soon as the final whistle blows on this season. I, personally, can count at least a handful of DU players who signed early and probably should have stayed on campus for another year. College hockey is really becoming the premier incubator for NHL teams, but the pressures of contracts and dollars plays a huge factor into these decisions.
Meanwhile, I would like to see the stars that were injured this season play one more year in college. Its hard to say where Bozak would have been if he played one more year at DU after his short sophomore season, but thats really tough to say. Some of these kids are great athletes but not great students, which plays a big factor into the final decision.

Anonymous said...

I agree Mike B. Where are Paukovich and Dingle, no one knows. I bet if you took a poll of players that left early, the majority would say that they wished they had stayed another year. Who wants to spend all night on a bus riding to some small venue.

Anonymous said...

Stastny never set foot in the AHL. Carle's only had 3 AHL games, Butler played 27 AHL games, and Bozak 32 played AHL games. All of those guys were essentially NHL ready and are now NHL regulars.

All the rest of the guys the left early? Skinner, Dingle, Paukovich, Colborne, Cheverie, Wiercioch? Minor leaguers, for the most part.

I don't think any of our underclassmen are NHL ready. Maybe Drew Shore is the most complete player, but he is soft at times. Zucker is fast and skilled enough. but one wonders about his NHL durability at maybe 180 lbs with his style of play. Bennett is uber-skilled, but doesn't appear physically ready for the pro grind.

I think all 3 will play in the NHL, but I would think all three will need AHL time.

Anonymous said...

Let’s not forget Mark Rycroft. He dropped out of DU early for a shot at the NHL. He was 5’9’, 180#s with more heart than talent.

Remind you of anyone?

old pio said...

Mike B, your post got me to thinking (or perhaps it's just my mind wandering) about the difference between now and then as regards the NHL attitude towrd collegiate players. The pros didn't like college players. They didn't have checking in the offensive zone, weren't physical enough, froze the puck too much, blah, blah, blah.

At the conclusion of his senior year, correcting for the era, Maggie was perhaps the best, most dominating college hockey player ever. He had led DU to back to back national titles. Been the MVP of the Final Four. And if there had been a Baker award would certainly have won it at least once. More likely twice.

Yet the Blackhawks initially weren't prepared to offer him a contract with the big club. I vividly recall seeing GM Tommy Ivan sitting in the stands at the Arena scouting Maggie. Despite his resume, the Black Hawks offered him a tryout with the Dallas Black Hawks of the CHL, after which they would make an offer for the big club. Maggie told 'em to stuff it. They relented. And the guy's rookie performance took the Black Hawks from last to first and got him on the cover of SI.

The next year we lost our first non senior to the pros when St. Louis and GM Lynn Patrick (Craig's dad) signed George Morrison. 70 goals in two seasons, with a year of eligibility left! Ouch.

Anonymous said...

Boy I can't see Drew Shore NOT returning to Denver next fall. That's an incredible opportunity for the 3 of them to be together, for him to Captain the team and quite a sentimental way to thank DU for all they've done for their family.... and maybe set some DU or NCAA records together as a trio. Now - Drew leaving after the winter break, after the Denver Cup? Starting but not finishing out the season....that's another story which I can see happening. I'm calling it: Drew will be back in Magness - shortly after Obama and Romney leave the building

vizoroo said...

I agree with old pio, we have a Thursday game to think about. And if all goes well a Friday and Saturday too!

After that we can contemplate what fly away regional we will attend.

And if all goes well wonder why the Frozen Four is in very unfrozen Tampa.

And if all goes well--where do we hang that 8th banners.:-}

Boonetown said...

Interesting discussion, but I hope the players are focusing on Michigan Tech rather than their future hockey plans.


old pio said...

That post using my name, agreeing with Vizoroo is a fraud. Those are not my words. It's our CC friend using at least his fourth identity. DG, it's your blog, but can't you do something?

Anonymous said...

I'm with Old Pio on this one. That guy needs to be banned or something.

We shouldn't have to put up with him just because his team lost to Tech and had their two best players bail.

mexico said...
This comment has been removed by the author.