The hockey Bucks get back to work this weekend, hosting Mercyhurst on Saturday and Sunday. These will be the last two games of the calendar year. The team will then have a bye week before diving into the Big Ten portion of their schedule.
I thought we’d take advantage of that bye week to have a look back at the year's biggest hockey stories. If you have any nominees for, let’s say the top ten Buckeye hockey headlines of 2013, share them in the comments or via Twitter.
- Peter Morrow took a look at the Ottawa Senators’ standout junior/college prospects. Ryan Dzingel and Max McCormick both earned a mention. Morrow also floats the possibility that they’ll be skating in the pros next season.
- You’re probably done with your Christmas shopping by now, but check out Ohio State’s promo for tickets-as-gifts anyway. (Al McLean-in-the-box not included.)
- Paula Weston touches on the notable stories from the B1G schools through the first half of the season. She also revisits each coach’s preseason comments in light of their team’s first half performance.
- Mike Morreale gives a shout out to the five freshmen from Michigan and Michigan State who made Central Scouting’s preliminary players-to-watch list.
- Jeremy Dewar has a look at the former Michigan State Spartans in the NHL here.
The World Juniors begin on Thursday in Malmo, Sweden. (At least it’s Thursday to us. I have no idea which day of the week it is in Sweden.) Next to the Olympics this is the premier international tournament for hockey fans. It features some of the best under-20 players in the world. It’s a huge deal in Canada and is becoming a must-see event for US hockey fans as well now that NHL Network provides extensive coverage. Former Buckeyes players such as RJ Umberger and Ryan Kesler have skated in the WJC. Ohio State has also had a presence behind the benches in former coach Mark Osiecki and current assistant coach Joe Exter. Buckeye recruit Janik Moeser will be the program’s lone representative at the tournament this year. The defenseman will suit up for Team Germany, who open against Canada on Thursday morning. NHL Network’s programming schedule states the game will be shown live at 7:30 a.m. with a replay at 2:30 p.m.
Big Ten schools have five players currently with Team USA (there's one cut still to be made); Hudson Fasching and Brady Skjei of Minnesota, Andrew Copp and Tyler Motte from Michigan, and Nic Kerdiles of Wisconsin. They’re also repped on the coaching staff by Gophers’ head coach Don Lucia. The only B1G player cut from the team’s preliminary roster was Michigan’s JT Compher, who was left off due to injury rather than his performance in camp. The scuttlebutt is that he broke his foot blocking a shot in practice and will be out a while, which is crappy news for both US and Wolverine fans. The remaining Big Ten contingent and Team USA get underway on Thursday against the Czech Republic. That game will air live at 11:30 a.m. with a replay at 7pm.
More World Juniors links…
- The delegation from Minnesota has been a popular pre-tournament topic. Dan Myers wrote about how Skjei and Fasching won’t get any preferential treatment from Lucia. In fact, he says, it may be harder for them to make the team being Lucia’s “family.”
- Nathan Wells focused on Skjei and Kerdiles using last year’s missed opportunities and extra motivation to make Team USA this time around.
- A few of Andy Baggot’s Five Good Minutes with Kerdiles are devoted to the WJC. Bucky’s Fifth Quarter also has a stream devoted to Kerdiles’ WJC experience here.
- Check out Chris Peters of United States of Hockey and the good fellows of SBN College Hockey for more highlights and analysis of Team USA’s camp/cuts as well as continuing coverage of the tournament.
- NHL.com has an overview of each group with schedules, outlooks, and players to watch for each team. Mike Morreale gives the rundown of Group A and Adam Kimelman has the skinny on Group B.
- And because it's always fun to fuel the US-Canada rivalry... Don't forget to play along with The Sleeping Giant's Canadian Excuse Jingo for a chance to win one of their awesome t-shirts!
- The Buckeyes will have at least one representative at the Sochi Olympics. Congrats to Natalie Spooner who made Team Canada’s final roster!
- Bill Althaus reports that Kyle Hood, most recently of the CHL’s Missouri Mavericks, has decided to call it a career.
- Winnipeg has returned John Albert to the St. John’s IceCaps. Albert skated in eight games during this stint with the Jets and recorded his first NHL goal against the New York Rangers.
- Do you have time for a great read? Check out Pierre LeBrun’s piece on Ryan Kesler for ESPN. To summarize: Kesler’s currently healthy, dominant at both ends of the ice, and coming for you, Canada. Also, check out Kesler putting an end to the Canucks' eight round shootout vs. Chicago here.
- Rob Parent talked with RJ Umberger about facing former teammate Steve Mason and how things went wrong for Mason in Columbus. Things went wrong for the Flyers all together in Columbus on Saturday as Umberger scored twice in a 6-3 Blue Jackets win: