The Province, out of British Columbia, had this piece chronicling former UMass and current San Jose Sharks' defenseman Matt Irwin's development throughout his hockey career:
"Bill Bestwick marvels at Matt Irwin being paired with Dan Boyle and manning the point on the San Jose Sharks' power play.
He can't help but think of the kid from Brentwood Bay, near Victoria, who showed up in Nanaimo with high BCHL hopes and little meat on his 16-year-old frame.
"He couldn't do a pushup," recalled the former Clippers coach and general manager.
"When he played for me at 16, as an affiliate player, I think he was probably scared to death. At 17, he got his feet wet, and at 18, he started to figure out, 'Hey, I'm not bad.' He was 6-foot-2, but still a skinny runt with no strength in his body. Then at 19, his coordination and dexterity came to the forefront."
Former UMass hockey captain Mike Kostka, coming off a stellar rookie campaign with the Toronto last season, is currently in preseason camp with the Chicago Blackhawks and looking to earn a roster spot for the upcoming 2013-14 season after signing with the organization this past summer.
Mark Lazerus had this piece in today's Chicago Sun-Times:
When he's out on the ice, Michael Kostka isn't wondering if one bad pass, one wrong stride or one lost opponent is going to be the one that costs him a spot in the NHL this season. He's not constantly looking over his shoulder to see if Joel Quenneville's glare has found him. He's not sweating every little detail. He's just out there playing hockey.
But when he's sitting around the hotel with nothing to keep his mind occupied? That's a different story.
"I've gotten to a point where I feel I can relax out there and just play my game," Kostka said. "If anything, I'm more stressed when I have free time, and you're sitting there, and you've got friends texting you, 'Are you [on the team]?' Man, shut up! I don't know! I'm trying not to think about that right now!"
There are only four days left before the Blackhawks open the 2013-14 season against Washington on Tuesday night, and the final roster likely will be set shortly after Saturday night's preseason finale against the same Capitals.
And while five forwards are jockeying for three spots, on defense, it's a one-on-one matchup. Joel Quenneville said he will be keeping an eighth defenseman out of camp, so it's Kostka, the veteran, against Ryan Stanton, the rookie. One of those two will be a member of the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday. One of them will be a Rockford IceHog.
USA Hockey wrapped up its U.S. Men's National Team Orientation Camp in Arlington, Va., at which former UMass goaltender Jonathan Quick was in attendance. Many members of the media have dubbed Quick the favorite to be the starting netminder for Team USA at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, Feb. 7-23, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. Quick was mentioned by several media outlets in their coverage of the camp, including the Associated Press.
NHL.com had this video interview with Quick from camp:
Former UMass hockey players Matt Irwin and Casey Wellman were both recalled by their respective NHL clubs today. Irwin will rejoin the San Jose Sharks after playing nine games with the Sharks at the start of the season.
Sporting News covered Matt Anderson's NHL debut, and also mentions fellow UMass hockey alum Mike Kostka:
Patrick Bordeleau and Mike Kostka have company.
Bordeleau's circuitous trip to the NHL--he played for five teams in 2008-09--has been an interesting side story of the early season. At 26, he's playing on the Colorado Avalanche's first line. The 27-year-old Kostka has emerged as an everyday defenseman for the Toronto Maple Leafs and currently is playing alongside captain Dion Phaneuf.
New Jersey Devils winger Matt Anderson has them beat.
Anderson, set to play in his first NHL game tonight, is 30--that's too old to qualify for rookie status at all. He got the callup from AHL Albany over the weekend.
"It was pretty surreal," Anderson told the Bergen Record (where there's much more of his story). "It's a phone call you always hope that you get. You think about it and you think how it would happen and I always said to myself, I'd never expect it. It would be at the least expected time."
He's in Boston, where the Devils play the Bruins on Tuesday.
After an injury-filled college career ended in 2007, Anderson signed as an undrafted free agent with the Chicago Wolves. Then came an AHL deal with Albany in 2010, a strong 2010-11 season in which he had 23 goals and 32 assists, and then a two-way NHL contract with the Devils. Now, it's 2013, and he's finally getting his chance.
Andy Merritt also had coverage of Matt Anderson's NHL debut for the New England Hockey journal and also mentions the other four former UMass hockey players in the NHL this season:
When you're a rookie, they tell you to act like you've been there before.
Matt Anderson's not exactly a rookie, and he has been here before, although it's been a long time.
The 30-year-old West Islip, N.Y., native made his NHL debut Tuesday with the New Jersey Devils, who fell in a shootout to the Boston Bruins. It was the culmination of a very long journey for Anderson, coming more than six years after he began his pro career.
Since graduating from UMass in 2007, Anderson played with three different pro teams - the AHL's Chicago Wolves, the Gwinnett Gladiators of the ECHL, and for the last two-and-a-half years back in the AHL with the Albany Devils. He has had his greatest success as a pro in Albany, racking up 40 goals and 106 points in 171 games, and in 2010-11 had a career best 23 goals and 32 assists in 76 games.
Still, a nice minor league career isn't really what a player dreams of when he becomes a professional. It's all about getting the call - or in Anderson's case, the text message. That text came Monday. While Anderson was enjoying the AHL All-Star break in Southern Vermont with some friends, he was having some trouble keeping his cell phone charged.
"There was one charger, one of those Bose docks, at the house where we were staying, and I stuck it on there," he said. "Me and my buddies were about to leave the house, and it came on, and there was a text from [Albany GM] Chris Lamoriello, saying to call him as soon as possible."
Lamoriello, the son of New Jersey GM Lou Lamoriello (Providence, R.I.), had good news: The big club was calling Anderson up, and just in time for the UMass grad to come back to Boston.
The USA Today had this piece on UMass hockey alum Matt Anderson making his NHL debut for the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night:
Proving that good things eventually will come to those who wait, winger Matt Anderson made his NHL debut at 30 on Tuesday night.
The forward was called up by the New Jersey Devils on Monday after he had spent his entire pro career in the minors.
"The longer you wait, the more you appreciate it," he said during the between-periods interview on MSG Plus.
Anderson went undrafted out the University of Massachusetts after a college career in which he missed the 2003-04 season with a shoulder injury and was limited to 18 games the following season by a broken ankle.
He had signed minor league deals with the Chicago Wolves and the Albany (N.Y.) Devils. But after scoring 55 points in 2010-11, New Jersey signed him to a two-year, two-way deal last season.
Anderson had 20 points in 39 games this season with Albany. He played Tuesday night on the Devils' fourth line. One of his shifts was cut short because a fight broke out between the Devils' Krys Barch and the Boston Bruins' Shawn Thornton, but he finished with 11 shifts, 6 minutes, 57 seconds of ice time and one blocked shot.
Here's another piece of former Minuteman Matt Irwin and his early season success in the NHL with the San Jose Sharks:
Matt Irwin is too young to remember Larry Robinson. But he knows "big bird." Big yellow fella from Sesame Street.
"My uncle is a Montreal Canadiens fan, so he's a big Larry Robinson fan," Irwin, the 25-year-old San Jose Sharks' rookie, said before facing the Vancouver Canucks here Sunday. "I haven't had to ask for an autograph yet (for my uncle), but that might be coming up soon."
Irwin is already signing autographs for himself. The defenceman from Brentwood Bay on Vancouver Island has been a revelation to the Sharks' coaching staff, which includes Robinson, known as "Big Bird" when he played and merely one of the greatest blueliners of his generation.
Robinson and Irwin are getting to know each other.
Undrafted after three Junior-A seasons with the Nanaimo Clippers, Irwin entered the University of Massachusetts as a 20-year-old freshman and played two seasons in Amherst. He earned a free-agent contract from the Sharks, then spent another 2 ½ seasons in the American Hockey League before injuries to San Jose defencemen Brent Burns and Jason Demers helped Irwin make the lineup for the start of the lockout-shortened National Hockey League season.
Until two weeks ago, Irwin's entire NHL experience was one pre-season game.
But through four games this month, the 6-2, 210-pound Irwin was averaging 22:48 of ice time and playing with Dan Boyle in the defence's top four.
UMass hockey alum Matt Irwin, who logged his first NHL points over the weekend, was featured in his hometown paper:
In a star-studded lockerroom, Matt Irwin could have been mistaken for a fan Sunday morning.
After all, the Brentwood Bay, B.C. native talked enthusiastically about idolizing Trevor Linden while playing for the Nanaimo Clippers. But the talk among teammates was how the undrafted San Jose Sharks defenceman has made a seamless rookie transition to the NHL. He even unloaded a heavy slapshot for his first career goal Saturday.
The effort was posted in a hurry to YouTube and there was a flurry of calls from his minor-league teammates in Worcester, Mass., and likely a few from old college teammates at UMass-Amherst, too.
"I don't know if I ever pictured one goal and it doesn't matter -- it's kind of been a whirlwind and kind of exciting," he said before a 4-1 victory Sunday over the Vancouver Canucks. "We've all had that moment on the driveway and stuff like that. I don't think I even scored too many of those goals then. I was just trying to play."
Irwin doesn't look like and certainly doesn't sound like a rookie. A pairing with veteran Dan Boyle and the tutelage of assistant coach Larry Robinson have the 25-year-old blueliner poised for a brighter future after signing a two-year, two-way free agent contract that expires after this season.
"He's played great -- better than great," said Boyle, who was also undrafted. "He's not only doing what he needs to do, he's doing more and not just eating up minutes. He's a big factor in all the games. Veterans sometimes do the mistake of giving a young guy too much information and then it's overload.
Congratulations to former Minuteman Matt Irwin who scored his first NHL goal last night to help the San Jose Sharks down the Colorado Avalanche, 4-0. Irwin saw 22:48 of ice time, blocked six shots and was named the game's No. 2 star.
Here's the video of Irwin's goal:
The Sharks also had this nice tribute to Irwin on Twitter Friday after he tallied his first NHL point, an assist vs. the Phoenix Coyotes:
Which is why it's such a pleasure to see a guy like Mike Kostka in the lineup, because he is like found money. Kostka grew up in Ajax, a Leafs fan from the jump, and was a defenceman whose feet grew to size 13 when he was still 5-foot-6 and 140 pounds in the ninth grade, which didn't help his skating. He wasn't drafted by the OHL, and he wasn't drafted by the NHL, and he went to school at UMass-Amherst, and he eventually bounced around the AHL until he was let go by Buffalo in 2010. He was one day from signing a deal in Germany.
"One of my friends, Marco Rosa, who plays in Finland now, he just happened to come over, and I was going to sign the next day, and he came over and he was chatting, and it was like, you can't go now," said Kostka, 27, the morning of the home opener. "And I was like, what do you mean? I'm going to sign tomorrow. And he said if you feel like you even have a one per cent change of playing in the NHL, you can't leave here. Europe will be there."
Three weeks later, in a striking stroke of luck, Rochester called.
"My sister was doing grad certificate at Durham College, and the second part was an internship, and she got an internship with the Nashville Predators," Kostka said. "That was a couple years before, and she had worked for the Nashville Predators, and so then I get a call, and Mike Santos, who was the assistant GM in Florida now, had just left Nashville, and was trying to start to build the Rochester team, calls, and says, I knew your sister from the office, I know you came from a good family, we've seen you play, and we'd like to offer you a contract."
He signed for the minimum, US$37,500, and kept working. He got better. Tampa let him go, Toronto signed him, he played 34 games with the Marlies during the lockout -- and managed 34 points -- and he played the first regular-season NHL game of his life Saturday night in Montreal. He played 23 minutes with Dion Phaneuf that night, and played top-pair minutes again Monday, with 27:02. He was fine, passable, and saved a goal on a second-period penalty kill, clearing it from the crease. He doesn't give up.
"The hope is what drives you and what pulls you, but at the same time you've got to keep your mindset of where you're at," Kostka said Monday. "It's tough at times, obviously, you know, you hope and you want to be there, but I've learned throughout my career that it's not going to work if your mind is somewhere else, in the future or the past."
Sounds like a true Leafs fan. He never gave up, even when it appeared hopeless. He never left, even when hockey was tough. When asked what he would have done if hockey hadn't worked out, Kostka smiled. "It was gonna work out," he said.
Leafs fans have been conditioned to be a little more fatalistic about their chances. But they never give up, either. Maybe one day, it'll all work out.
Former Minuteman Matt Irwin joined Mike Kostka as the second UMass hockey alum to make his NHL debut this weekend. A member of the San Jose Sharks, Irwin was on the ice for 19:06 in his first NHL game, including 51 seconds on the power play. He also registered two shots and two hits as the Sharks defeated the Calgary Flames, 4-1.
Here's a great piece on former Minuteman captain Mike Kostka from today's Globe and Mail out of Toronto. Kostka will be one of four UMass hockey alumni on NHL rosters as the season opens this afternoon.
No member of the Toronto Maple Leafs had a bigger smile on his face when the dressing room opened on Friday afternoon at the Air Canada Centre.
Mike Kostka was still there, still a Leaf and, presumably given he had been lining up alongside captain Dion Phaneuf throughout much of training camp, one day away from playing in his first NHL game at age 27.
That's not something you see all that often.
Kostka, who grew up a Leafs fan 45 minutes east of the Air Canada Centre in Ajax, Ont., has bounced around the minors for years after four seasons with the UMass Minutemen in the NCAA.
He graduated in 2008 at age 22 and stepped right into the AHL, playing two seasons with the Portland Pirates before considering going over to Europe, as many players do when they sense they're beginning a long, low-paying career in the North American minor leagues in their mid-20s.
Close friend, Marco Rosa, another minor leaguer looking for a break (and now playing in Finland), convinced him otherwise.
"After my first two years in the AHL, I didn't get qualified by Buffalo and I had an opportunity in Germany and I didn't have a job here," Kostka said. "I was about to sign that night to go over to Germany, and Marco told me 'if you think you have a 1 per cent chance of making the NHL, you can't leave now.' For whatever reason, that just made sense.
With the start of the NHL season just days away, teams have been providing coverage of their training camps on their web sites. Video updates from the LA Kings and the San Jose Sharks featured former Minutemen Jonathan Quick and Justin Braun.
Jonathan Quick Speaks To The Media On Day 1 Of Training Camp:
Sharks Second-Year Players Are Expected To Raise Performance Level (Braun at 2:27 mark):
Two more former UMass hockey players are also currently at NHL training camps as Matt Irwin is with the Sharks and Mike Kostka (pictured, middle) is with Toronto.
With the return of the NHL less than two weeks away, the Los Angeles Times has this piece on former UMass goaltender, Los Angeles Kings' star, Jonathan Quick and his recovery from surgery on a herniated disk. Quick received medical clearance to play on Monday.
Goaltender Jonathan Quick never complained while he carried the Kings on his back and became the most valuable player of their Stanley Cup championship run, but he paid a steep price for toting that heavy burden.
A herniated disc that doctors didn't immediately diagnose began pinching his sciatic nerve in March, while the team was making its playoff push, but Quick played through it stoically and superbly. Game after game he kept the low-scoring Kings competitive, boosting them into the final playoff spot in the West and then repelling shot after shot as they rampaged through the playoffs and to a six-game victory over the New Jersey Devils in the Cup final.
Never did he hint at the ache that accompanied him almost everywhere.
"If you'd sit on a plane, get in a car, driving to the rink, driving home, sitting down for dinner, whatever," he said of when he felt discomfort. "But when I was playing, that's when I'd get the least amount of pain. It was manageable on the ice."
Rehabilitation, the preferred option, failed to remedy the problem. When the disc developed a cyst he had no choice but to undergo a microdiscectomy in August. The procedure removed herniated disc material, cleaned up an inflammation and left him facing a tedious recovery.
Today NHL.com has a great story about Jonathan Quick and former UMass goaltending coach Jim Stewart:
Following an All-America playing career at Holy Cross that resulted in a single game with the Boston Bruins and more than 20 years mentoring college goaltenders, 2006 was going to be Jim Stewart's farewell to hockey.
Stewart earned a 1985 national championship coaching Darren Puppa and Adam Oates at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute before spending five years as a volunteer assistant at the University of Massachusetts. He was leaving the game to focus more on his family. But all of a sudden, a young goaltending prospect named Jonathan Quick compelled Stewart to stick around for one final season.
"My wife gave me the blessing for one more year and I said, 'You know what? Jon's going to be a sophomore, he's going to play a lot. We'll certainly be better,'" said Stewart, who simultaneously worked for the state's Department of Recreation and Conservation managing Massachusetts' hockey rinks and swimming pools. "It was hard to juggle all these things. We managed to do it for some time, but I was getting run down. I basically said I would do one more year because I thought Jon was going to have a pretty good year, and he did. Then I wrapped it up."
Under Stewart and UMass head coach Don "Toot" Cahoon, Quick didn't just have a pretty good year in 2006-07. He had a historic season for a program that was shelved in 1979 before returning to Division I in 1993. As a sophomore, the star goaltender from Milford, Conn., took the team to the NCAA tournament for the first time, earning All-America honors and setting single-season records for wins, appearances, saves and minutes, as well as career marks for save percentage, goals-against average and saves per game.
Stewart's final season became one of his most memorable.
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette has a story on the success of Jonathan Quick and Victor Cruz and their meteoric rise to sports fame this year.
On Friday, Victor Cruz wore a maroon tie on his trip to the White House, a silent nod to the prominent color of his college (University of Massachusetts) and high school (Paterson Catholic) alma maters. Three days later, shortly after hoisting the Conn Smythe Trophy, Jonathan Quick thanked UMass coach Toot Cahoon and the Minuteman program during a televised interview.
It's continued to be a good year for the UMass athletic department. Even after the Minuteman baseball team was eliminated from the Atlantic 10 tournament, ending the 2011-12 athletic season, its prominent former players are keeping the school's name in the news in good ways.
UMass has had alumni shine in the ranks of the four major professional sports before. Mike Flanagan won a Cy Young Award. Jeff Reardon was, at one point, baseball's all-time leader in saves. Marcus Camby was the NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
But none of them captured the attention of their fan bases like Quick and Cruz. In the nation's two largest media markets, the two former Minutemen not only found the spotlight, but have shined in its glare.
Former UMass netminder Jonathan Quick and the Los Angeles Kings came up just short of the New Jersey Devils in Game Four of the Stanley Cup Finals last night. Quick had 21 saves in the 3-1 setback. The teams will head back to New Jersey for Game Five on Saturday with the Kings up 3-1 in the series.
Here are several pieces from the past few days that have focused on Quick:
Former UMass hockey standout Casey Wellman, who was traded by the Minnesota Wild last Thursday to the New York Rangers, is featured today by his new team, the Connecticut Whale, on the squad's web site, CTWhale.com
Casey Wellman played several sports growing up in Brentwood, Calif., hardly a hotbed for hockey.
But Wellman got hooked on the game played on ice after his father, Brad, met several New Jersey Devils players who asked him to skate with them in Boston.
"Dad didn't know how to skate, so he was pretty upset about that," Wellman said with a smile.
But Brad, an infielder for 441 games for three major league teams over eight seasons who later managed in the Houston Astros organization, introduced Casey and his brother, Logan, to hockey, and 31/2-year-old Casey fell in love with his new endeavor.
"I have some vague memories (of his dad playing), but I was pretty young," said Wellman, whose uncle, Tom Candiotti, is a former major league pitcher known for his knuckleball. "Having pictures of a father-son game is pretty cool, but I haven't played baseball for a while. It's a great sport, but at the time, it was just a little slow, a little boring, so I stuck with hockey."
Despite his West Coast upbringing, Wellman is now surprisingly playing professionally with the Connecticut Whale, who are about 70 miles from where he competed collegiately on the East Coast. When Wellman was on his way to practice with the Houston Aeros last Thursday, he got "a pretty big surprise," a call that the Minnesota Wild had traded him to the New York Rangers.
"It was definitely pretty crazy, a bit of a shock," said Wellman, 24, acquired for center Erik Christensen, who had a two-week conditioning assignment with the Whale in mid-January, and a conditional seventh-round pick in 2013. "It was tough to say goodbye because I had some good friends (in Houston), but that's the business and that's what can happen and probably won't be the last time."
Wellman quickly returned home, packed and headed for Hershey, Pa., where he met his new teammates. Whale coach Ken Gernander put Wellman on a line with All-Star Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and rugged Andre Deveaux, and the trio helped produce a 4-1 victory over one of the AHL's top teams, including going 5-for-5 on the penalty kill against the league's top power play.
In his home debut Tuesday night, Wellman again helped on the penalty kill, played the power play and assisted on Blake Parlett's winning goal in a 3-1 victory over the Syracuse Crunch as the Whale won their third in a row after an 11-game winless streak (0-6-3-2) in January to reclaim first place in the Northeast Division from the idle Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Rich Hammond of the L.A. Kings has a feature on Jonathan Quick as he prepares to play in his first career All-Star game which is this Sunday. Coverage of the All-Star weekend begins tonight at 5 PM on the NHL Network. Sunday's All-Star Game will be televised at 4 PM on the NBC Sports Network (formerly VS).
Jon Rosen of Fox Sports West looks at Jonathan Quicks season in 2011-12 and his chances at being a finalist for the Vezina Award thanks to his stellar play in goal this season for the L.A. Kings.
With an NHL-leading six shutouts -- as well as five straight starts and 14 overall in which he yielded no more than one goal -- Quick is in the midst of posting the best season by a goaltender in Kings franchise history. His results would suggest serious consideration for the Vezina Trophy.
Jonathan Quick has been named to the NHL All-Star Team becoming the first UMass hockey player to earn the distinction. The game will be played Jan. 29 in Ottawa. Quick is also the first L.A. Kings goalie to be selected in 30 years.
In his blog, Criag Custance of ESPN.com looks at the potential goalies for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. UMass alum and current L.A. King netminder was a member of the 2010 team and is among the top-five players who could currently make the roster.
On Monday, former UMass All-American and current L.A. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick was named the NHL's Third-Star Of The Week after winning all three starts last week and is now 5-0-1 over his last six starts.
Dick Baker of the Springfield Republican has an update on Justin Braun (San Jose Sharks, NHL), Matt Irwin (Worcester Sharks, AHL) and Casey Wellman (Minnesota Wild, NHL).
Braun played a season-high 21 minutes in a 3-2 win over Edmonton, while Irwin was reassigned to Worcester. After being called up from Houston, Wellman has been sidelined with the an injury for the Wild.
Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune has a feature on Casey Wellman that was picked up nationally. The story centers on the development of Wellman who is a rare Californian playing in the top professional ranks between the NHL's Minnesota Wild and the AHL's Houston Aeros - whom he helped nearly win the Calder Cup last season.
The Daily Hampshire Gazette ran a piece on former UMass All-American hockey goalie Jonathan Quick and his current hot streak with the L.A. Kings. Quick is arguably one of the most talked about NHL players currently as he has a string of three straight shutouts and recently won his 100th career game for the Kings.
Former UMass All-American Jonathan Quick made headlines over the weekend as he reached his 100th career win in the midst of a three-game shutout streak for the L.A. Kings. Quick earned win No. 100 in a 2-0 win over Phoenix. After a 1-0 win over Dallas on Saturday night, he became the first ever Kings goalie to post three straight shutouts and is now 5-0-1 on the season.
Former UMass standout Paul Dainton was sharp last night in a split-squad preseason game between his Columbus Blue Jackets and the Winnipeg Jets. Dainton saved 17-of-18 shots in 40 minutes of action as the Jackets won 5-1.
The Colorado Avalanche and Greg Mauldin agreed to terms last week renewing the forward with a one year deal. Mauldin played in 29 games with Colorado last season where he had 5 goals, including 2 shorthanded and 1 game-winner, and 5 assists.
Speculation abounded last week about the possibility of UMass rising sophomore Michael Pereira being selected in the NHL Draft last Friday and Saturday. Unfortunately, that didn't come to pass despite Pereira being one of the top rated college draft-eligible players and having been ranked by the Central Scouting Services agency over the last two years.
Of the 92 draft picks by the L.A. Kings over the last decade, UMass' Jonathan Quick is listed among several of the top draftees.
"Jonathan Quick (third round, 2005): Quick was USA's third goalie at last year's Olympics, and he has done well as the Kings' starting goaltender. He has back-to-back 30-win seasons, and this year he went 35-22-3 with six shutouts to go with a 2.24 GAA and .918 save percentage. He was ninth in wins, sixth in GAA and sixth in shutouts."
The NHL Draft begins tonight and will finish up on Saturday. Mike Pereira has continued to gain attention as one of the top NCAA Players likely to be taken. Last week he was listed as one of the top-10 NCAA Players eligible for the Draft. Today he is listed as one of the top New England talents - a region that has seen several notable players taken in the first round.
"I think (NHL teams) would be smart to take him. He's a very noticeable offensive player whose skating is obviously better than a lot of the players on the ice. He has very good balance agility and a real good stick." -- Central Scouting's New England Regional Scout Gary Eggleston
Mike Yeo is expected to be named the new head coach of the Minnesota Wild at a news conference today at 11 AM. Yeo has been the coach of the AHL Houston Aeros which made it to the Calder Cup Finals before falling to the Binghamton Senators.
This could bode well for Casey Wellman as he spent most of the past season in Houston with Yeo.
Dick Baker of the Springfield Republican has a nice piece on the alumni turnout at the UMass Hockey Pond Club Golf Tournament this past Monday. He focuses on Greg Mauldin and Justin Braun looking at their NHL experiences this past season.
The Bleacher Report looks ahead to next year's NHL season to figure out the top 10 teams who are in a position to compete for the Stanley Cup.
No. 10 on that list is Jonathan Quick and the L.A. Kings.
As a relatively young team, the Kings can only improve upon last season's performance, which saw them put up a good fight against San Jose in the quarterfinals, despite having to deal with injury problems. Doughty, Anze Kopitar, Jack Johnson and Dustin Brown are all entering their prime, so if goaltender Jonathan Quick can play with more consistency, Los Angeles will be a dangerous team next year.
The NHL signing deadline is approaching and The Hockey Writers has a piece covering the free agent status of the Colorado Avalanche including UMass' Greg Mauldin. Mauldin is an unrestricted free agent this year after producing the best AHL/NHL season of his pro career.
According to author Mike Verminski, "There is, of course, no way of knowing who the organization plans on re-signing by July 1st, but Tomas Fleischmann, Greg Mauldin, David Van Der Gulik, David Liffiton, and Bacashihua are guys that should be signed to new contracts before the July first deadline."
The Binghamton Senators won both Games 4 and 5 of the AHL Calder Cup Finals over the weekend to take a 3-2 lead in the series over Casey Wellman's Houston Aeros. The Series will move back to Houston for Game 6 (Tuesday night) and Game 7 (Thursday night).
Casey Wellman and the Houston Aeros won Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals 3-1 on Friday only to fall in Game 2 to the Binghamton Senators 2-1 in overtime on Saturday. Game 3 is Wednesday at the Groome County Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton.
Wellman scored Houston's only goal on Saturday night.
Casey Wellman scored a pair of goals and Jon DiSalvatore scored with 1:13 left in regulation as the Houston Aeros got past the Hamilton Bulldogs in Game 7 of the AHL Western Conference Finals last night.
The Aeros will face the Binghamton Senators hosting Games 1 and 2 of the Calder Cup Finals on Friday at Saturday nights.
Casey Wellman and the Houston Aeros will look to get past the Hamilton Bulldogs tonight at 7 PM (CST) for a spot in the AHL Calder Cup Championship. Houston won the first three games of the series, while Hamilton has won the last three. Fans can watch the game on www.ahllive.com.
Former UMass All-American Jonathan Quick has made the quite the ascension in the NHL over the last two seasons as the starting goalie for the L.A. Kings. With Jonathan Bernier as a solid No. 2 goalie, Quick has been the rumor of several trade scenarios this off-season with the price tag being high draft picks or quality caliber forwards.
Casey Wellman's Houston Aeros fell 5-4 in double-overtime last night in the AHL Western Conference Finals as the Hamilton Bulldogs found the game-winning goal 9:11 into the second OT. That sets up Game 7 of the series on Tuesday night at Houston's Toyota Center. The winner gets a berth in the Calder Cup Championship Series.
Wellman was held scoreless last night despite taking three shots.
Justin Braun's San Jose Sharks lost 4-2 last night falling behind 3-1 in the Western Conference Final series against Vancouver. The Sharks will need to win on the road to stay alive on Tuesday night at 6 PM.
The San Jose Sharks will host the Vancouver Canucks tonight at 6 PM (PST) in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Former UMass All-American Justin Braun remains with the club as an active defenseman on the playoff roster.
Vancouver leads the series 2-0 with both previous games being at home.
Former UMass Hockey standout Casey Wellman was recalled to the Minnesota Wild from the Houston Aeros (AHL) on Thursday. Wellman made the most of his opportunity, and scored the eventual game-winning goal on Thursday night in the second period against the New York Rangers.
So far this season, Wellman has a goal and an assist in 14 games played.
The San Jose Sharks have recalled former UMass defenseman Justin Braun to the NHL. Braun was previously with San Jose earlier in the season, tallying one goal and eight assists in 15 games played. He scored his first NHL goal on December 2 against Ottawa. To read the complete release from San Jose, click here.
This week San Jose will take on Detroit tonight, Pittsburgh tomorrow and Calgary on Friday.
Justin Braun was sent down to the AHL Worcester Sharks on Wednesday prior to the San Jose Shark game against Minnesota Wednesday night. In 14 games with San Jose, he posted one goal and eight assists, which is third on the Sharks amongst defensemen. With Worcester this season, he has also totaled a goal and eight assists in 17 games played.
Justin Braun, Greg Mauldin and Jon Quick each appeared in games for their respective NHL teams on Saturday. Braun, playing with the San Jose Sharks, logged over 17 minutes of ice time and assisted on the overtime goal which gave the Sharks a 2-1 win over defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago. Braun now has a goal and six assists in nine games this season.
Mauldin appeared in his 15th game with Colorado last night, and had two shots on goal to help the Avalanche to a 3-2 overtime win in Washington. Mauldin had 17 shifts for 12 minutes of ice time during even strength and shorthanded situations. Mauldin has four goals and four assists, along with a plus-7 rating this season.
Quick was between the pipes for Los Angeles last night, which suffered a 3-2 overtime loss to Minnesota. Quick face 21 shots during the game, making 18 saves. Quick is 14-5-1 this season with a 1.92 goals against average and .927 save percentage.
In Dick Baker's MassLive.com UMass Hockey Blog, he has several posts on recent UMass skaters with updates on their pro careers. He also previews what will be a hot topic this weekend as the Pereira brothers face-off in Saturday's game at Boston University.
Former UMass Hockey forward Casey Wellman and the Minnesota Wild are getting ready to kick off the 2010-11 NHL season with two games in Helsinki, Finland beginning tomorrow. The "View From The Lighthouse" Blog on the Wild website hints that Wellman will get the start on a wing for the season opener against Carolina after his strong finish to preseason play.
Dick Baker of the Springfield Republican added three new entries into his UMass Hockey Blog as the Mass Attack inches closer to its exhibition game with New Brunswick on October 2. The first post discusses the Minutemen's pre-season scrimmage, which was held Thursday afternoon in anticipation of the conditioning sessions slated for early next week.