Author: Joe Yerdon

Johnny Gaudreau

NCAA on NBCSN — Frozen Fenway: No. 6 Boston College vs. No. 14 Notre Dame

1 Comment

NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 college hockey season tonight when the No. 6 Boston College Eagles (12-4-2) host the No. 14 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-7-1) at Fenway Park in Boston with coverage starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. 

The Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium won’t be the only outdoor hockey game with ties to college this week. It’s time for Frozen Fenway in Boston and the main event features a pair of powerhouse teams in Boston College and Notre Dame.

With BC involved, there’s plenty of talent to go around (10 NHL draft picks) but the biggest name is one of the smallest players in junior forward Johnny Gaudreau (pictured).

Gaudreau, a fourth-round pick by the Calgary Flames in 2011, is second in the nation in points with 33. His 15 goals put him behind just RPI junior forward Ryan Haggerty in that category. The remarkable part is he’s done all this in 18 games.

What makes BC scary is they’re not a one-player show. Seniors Kevin Hayes (Blackhawks) and Bill Arnold (Flames) are right there with Gaudreau in points and freshman Ryan Fitzgerald (Bruins – son of former NHLer Tom Fitzgerald) has arrived on the scene in a big way with 18 points.

The bad news for the Fighting Irish? BC is on a tear heading into the game. The Eagles have won four in a row and have outscored opponents 21-5 over that stretch. Aside from a couple of hiccup losses on the road to Maine and at home against Holy Cross, the Eagles have been more than worthy of their No. 6 ranking.

Notre Dame heads into the game having won just two out of the past six games. They’ve been off for almost a full month due to the holidays and finals and coach Jeff Jackson is hoping the time off will help them rebound.

Senior T.J. Tynan (Blue Jackets) has led the team with 15 points and sophomore forward Mario Lucia (Wild) leads in goals with nine. Offense has been a problem and they’ll have to go without freshman Vince Hinostroza (Blackhawks) who’s away with Team USA’s World Junior team.

That could spell trouble for the Irish as BC’s had strong goaltending this year. If the Irish want to surprise the Eagles, they’ll need senior Steven Summerhays to continue his strong play (9-6-1/.931/1.89). With an attack like BC has and the buzz that will be in the air at Fenway for this game, it sets the bar high for Summerhays to get the job done.

NHL Draftees

Boston College — Forwards: Johnny Gaudreau (JR – Flames), Bill Arnold (SR – Flames), Kevin Hayes (SR – Blackhawks), Ryan Fitzgerald (FR – Bruins), Adam Gilmour (FR – Wild), Chris Calnan (FR – Blackhawks)

Defensemen: Ian McCoshen (FR – Panthers – at WJCs), Michael Matheson (SO – Panthers), Isaac MacLeod (SR – Sharks), Steve Santini (FR – Devils – at WJCs), Chris Calnan (FR – Blackhawks)

Notre Dame — Forwards: Vince Hinostroza (FR – Blackhawks – at WJCs), T.J. Tynan (SR – Blue Jackets), Austin Wuthrich (JR – Capitals), Bryan Rust (SR – Penguins), Jeff Costello (SR – Senators), Mario Lucia (SO – Wild), Steven Fogarty (SO – Rangers), Thomas DiPauli (SO – Capitals – at WJCs)

Defense: Robbie Russo (JR – Islanders), Stephen Johns (SR – Blackhawks), Kevin Lind (SR – Ducks)

Avs’ Johnson calls Olympic snub ‘disappointing’

Erik Johnson
1 Comment

Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson was one of the key players on Team USA’s blue line during the 2010 Olympics. This time around, however, he’ll have to watch his country play from home.

Johnson tells Adrian Dater of The Denver Post he’s “disappointed” he didn’t get the call to represent his country in Sochi.

“I didn’t expect to make it at the beginning of the year. But how well I’ve played these last three months, I was back in the mix. So that’s probably the hardest part, knowing that I couldn’t have done any more as far as my play to make it. You know, I played fantastic these first three months, so it’s disappointing, but my focus is on this team now,” Johnson said. “I’ll use that two-week break to recharge and get ready for the playoffs.”

Colorado is currently third in the Central Division and have a seven point lead on Dallas and Minnesota in fourth. Playoffs are a very real thing for the Avs and Johnson is a key part of that. He has six goals and 18 points through 40 games, making him the top point-producer on their blue line.

Being the guy that helps push the play of one of the higher-scoring, faster teams certainly helped him make a case for the Olympics. That said, it was clear the brain trust behind Team USA found players they liked better for that role.

Flames’ Wideman (broken hand) returns tonight

Dennis Wideman
1 Comment

Things haven’t been great lately for the Calgary Flames, but they’ll get one of their top point producers on the blue line back against Tampa Bay tonight.

Dennis Wideman will be in the Flames lineup for the first time since he broke his hand on November 27. The puck-moving defenseman says he’s ready to help the team score some goals as Kristen Odland of the Calgary Herald shares.

“I think if we start throwing pucks to the net, then you start opening other things up and you’ll start to see (goals),” Wideman said. “It’s all kind of a cycle.”

Calgary’s offense is one of the worst in the league as they’ve scored 96 goals this season. Only the Buffalo Sabres have scored less than they have and when your team is in the same breath as the worst team in the league, that’s not so great.

In 24 games this season, Wideman has two goals and 12 points. Any kind of lift he can provide, they’ll take it.