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RE:Gopher Hockey - 11/14/2007 10:07:14 PM   
So.Mn.Fan


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It's early-signing day today. Interesting stuff from the Strib on the direction of some Gopher programs. Today is a bit like Christmas for college coaches. It’s the start of the early signing period. Kids who have made verbal commitments can make it official. I wrote a very short story on recruits in three sports for Wednesday’s Sports section. Wrestling is bringing in five athletes, all rated in the top five in their weight nationally. A super class. Women’s hockey also has a solid class, with six recruits including two special ones from Grand Forks, N.D., the Lamoreaux twins, Monique and Jocelyn. Both are forwards who can score. They are playing for Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Faribault. Men’s hockey? That’s a little trickier to figure out. Coach Don Lucia seems to have decided to go young. Three players, who should be high school juniors, have accelerated their education so they can graduate next spring in three years, skip the USHL and play for the Gophers. One is Jordan Schroeder of the U.S. national under-18 team in Ann Arbor, Mich. He is a creative playmaker who has heated up in scoring lately. He had a hat trick and two assists in a recent game against Finland. He finished his junior year of high school this past summer, taking classes on the Internet from BYU. Defenseman Sam Lofquist, Schroeder’s teammate, completed his junior classes this fall. In Schroeder’s case, he would have been too old to play for the national under-18 team next season and did not want to go back to a high school team (he played at St. Thomas Academy as an eighth-grader and freshman). His other option was the USHL or, if he could graduate high school early, the U of M if they wanted him early. Apparently the Gophers do. Lucia and the other coaches can’t talk about Schroeder until he signs, but he said the U was leaving the decision up to him. My guess is that Lofquist is in a similar position. A third player, Roseau defenseman Aaron Ness, is also accelerating his education, trying to graduate high school in three years. Rams coach Scott Oliver said he is taking junior and senior classes at the same time. Sounds difficult. He might not have senior status yet like Schroeder and Lofquist do, so he might not be able to sign early. Obviously, these three players are talented but are they rushing too quick into college hockey? Schroeder and Lofquist are playing against college teams now, and Ness was on the U.S. under-18 team with them for games against Colorado College and Air Force last month. All three have more than an inkling of what they are getting into. They have to be confident in themselves. And the U has to have confidence in them, too. Beyond these three, the U has a commitment from one other U.S. national under-18 player, 6-4 Grant Scott, a kid from Pennsylvania, who is a normal senior. Has the U ever had a player from that state? Five present USHL players also have committed. Big question here is, which of them does the U want for next season? Nobody on Lucia’s staff, of course, can say. This group includes forwards Nico Sacchetti of Virginia and Jake Hansen of White Bear Lake — who would be high school seniors if they had stayed home — and high school grads Taylor Matson of Holy Angels and Mike Dorr of Roseville. Matson was injured part of last season, Dorr was the Metro Player of the Year. Lucia said the Gophers would sign between six and eight players. He has six seniors on the present team, including practice goalie Brent Solei. But he has to over-recruit because he could lose several players such as junior Blake Wheeler and sophomore Kyle Okposo — both first round NHL draft picks — to the pros in the offseason. Do you think going younger is a good idea? These young players might stay around another season, but … is it too big a jump for them? Frankly, I wonder if the accelerating players are learning as much as they should be in the classroom. Are they over-cramming?
Post #: 26
RE: RE:Gopher Hockey - 12/19/2007 1:33:51 PM   
TJSweens


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Kyle Okposo is officially leaving the Gophers program. He will sign with the Islanders after the World Championships. Apparently the Islanders and Okposo were both disatisfied with his development in the Gopher program.
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RE: RE:Gopher Hockey - 12/19/2007 2:46:10 PM   
Jim Frenette


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quote:

ORIGINAL: TJSweens

Kyle Okposo is officially leaving the Gophers program. He will sign with the Islanders after the World Championships. Apparently the Islanders and Okposo were both disatisfied with his development in the Gopher program.


For some reason he hasn't been the same since he returned last year from the world Jr's

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RE: RE:Gopher Hockey - 12/19/2007 3:12:10 PM   
Jeff Jesser


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He hasn't been the same without Tyler Hirsch setting him up. He tries to do too much and gets way too fancy for his own good.  He has a lot of talent but he's misusing it.  
Post #: 29
RE: RE:Gopher Hockey - 12/19/2007 4:09:27 PM   
TJSweens


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I think playing center has really hurt Okposo. The position just doesn't suit his game. 

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RE: RE:Gopher Hockey - 12/19/2007 4:35:04 PM   
Jim Frenette


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quote:

ORIGINAL: TJSweens

I think playing center has really hurt Okposo. The position just doesn't suit his game. 


That was the problem? I guess I don't pay enough attention.

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RE: RE:Gopher Hockey - 12/19/2007 4:41:38 PM   
TJSweens


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Jim Frenette

quote:

ORIGINAL: TJSweens

I think playing center has really hurt Okposo. The position just doesn't suit his game. 


That was the problem? I guess I don't pay enough attention.


Lucia put him in a finesse role. Okposo is at his best as a net crashing power forward. As a center he was becoming more of an east/west skater instead of north/south. He really struggled in that role.

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RE: RE:Gopher Hockey - 12/20/2007 7:35:14 AM   
Jeff Jesser


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It's still pretty crappy that Isles are taking him now.  It's not sitting well with college coaches, and rightfully so.
Post #: 33
RE: RE:Gopher Hockey - 12/21/2007 9:19:04 AM   
Jim Frenette


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Now the GM of the Islanders says that Lucia is to blame for Okposo not improving. If I recall, Don has sent many a player to the NHL that actually stick to the team in their rookie years. Could it be that once Okposo was drafted he stopped working on his game thinking he already had a fat contract coming his way? I think he should be a little accountable also.

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Post #: 34
RE: RE:Gopher Hockey - 12/21/2007 11:12:01 AM   
TJSweens


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Wow. 500 wins and a couple of national championships. Just imagine what Lucia could have done if he was a good coach.

Snow is moron who is talking out of his ass!

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RE: RE:Gopher Hockey - 1/29/2008 9:00:44 PM   
So.Mn.Fan


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http://www.startribune.com/sports/gophers/14749677.html

Jesus, what a sad, sad ending for a promising kid.
Here's hoping he gets help and saves what it left of his life.
Quite simply, I hate what drugs do to people.
Post #: 36
RE: RE:Gopher Hockey - 3/7/2008 4:48:37 PM   
Jason Dorn

 

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BIG WEEKEND FOR THE GOPHERS

GET AFTER THE BULLDOGS

SWEEP AT HOME

MOVE UP IN THE PAIR WISE

GO GOPHERS!!!!!

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Post #: 37
RE: RE:Gopher Hockey - 3/7/2008 4:53:33 PM   
So.Mn.Fan


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Jason Dorn



BIG WEEKEND FOR THE GOPHERS

GET AFTER THE BULLDOGS

SWEEP AT HOME

MOVE UP IN THE PAIR WISE

GO GOPHERS!!!!!


And .....
Watch the next Mike Crowley (Aaron Ness) compete over at the X.
Special player.
Glad to see someone else hasn't given up on the Gophs yet, Jason.
Some WCHA team is gonna get a tough draw, having to beat them twice.
Let's see how a wounded Gopher fights.  
Love that Kangas is getting his shot, the kid can play.  
Post #: 38
RE: RE:Gopher Hockey - 3/7/2008 5:14:39 PM   
Jason Dorn

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: So.Mn.Fan

quote:

ORIGINAL: Jason Dorn



BIG WEEKEND FOR THE GOPHERS

GET AFTER THE BULLDOGS

SWEEP AT HOME

MOVE UP IN THE PAIR WISE

GO GOPHERS!!!!!


And .....
Watch the next Mike Crowley (Aaron Ness) compete over at the X.
Special player.
Glad to see someone else hasn't given up on the Gophs yet, Jason.
Some WCHA team is gonna get a tough draw, having to beat them twice.
Let's see how a wounded Gopher fights.  
Love that Kangas is getting his shot, the kid can play.  



Never give up on the Gophers, played for Coach Guentzel when he was assistant to Coach Hartzell years ago on the St.Paul Vulcans.  Made the team in old Williams arena, after a scrimmage against the U's JV, never forget that moment.

I live in Jersey so I dont get to see them much, caught the last three and their on toniteon FSN.  They let a couple of Ws get away late in the game on the ties, uncharacterisitic of Coach Lucia's teams, but they play with heart, still young and are very much alive for NCAA berth despite the record.

They really struggle catching passes and make way too many mistakes in their own zone, that surprising, Gopher teams just dont do those things.  Clean that up and they can make a run, they can play with anyone in the country, unless they continue to turn it over, then they dont stand a chance aginst a talented squad who will convert.

Dont know much about the Keeper but folks seem to be high on him from what I have read.  Its going to be a great weekend of hockey with the Bulldogs in town... I expect a sweep and that salute they do at center ice (forget what its called).


GO GOPHERS!!!!

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Post #: 39
RE: RE:Gopher Hockey - 3/7/2008 5:16:08 PM   
Jason Dorn

 

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Tourney weekend also...what a weekend of hockey. 

< Message edited by Jason Dorn -- 3/7/2008 5:18:29 PM >


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Post #: 40
RE: RE:Gopher Hockey - 3/7/2008 6:30:55 PM   
So.Mn.Fan


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Cool stuff, Jason.
The Vulcans were the bomb.
Remember them well, and probably you if I think hard enough.
Didn't they become Tri-City or such, or did they just fold?
My oldest son is still contemplating the Junior-route. We'll see.
Many more opps and levels now than there was in the Vulcan days.
Big Guentzel fan myself. He must be paid well, cannot believe no one has taken him from the program yet.
Enjoy the games this weekend.  
Post #: 41
RE: RE:Gopher Hockey - 3/7/2008 7:23:51 PM   
Jason Dorn

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: So.Mn.Fan

Cool stuff, Jason.
The Vulcans were the bomb.
Remember them well, and probably you if I think hard enough.
Didn't they become Tri-City or such, or did they just fold?
My oldest son is still contemplating the Junior-route. We'll see.
Many more opps and levels now than there was in the Vulcan days.
Big Guentzel fan myself. He must be paid well, cannot believe no one has taken him from the program yet.
Enjoy the games this weekend.  


Thanks I will, same to you...

This is back in 88 with Johnny Young, I was a role player fourth liner but I had a blast. 

Coach Guentzel is a great coach, he always gave me a hard time about skating with my head down says He would have just drilled me, believe me I took my share of hits, I eventually got it.

Coach Hartzell is coaching again I think its Sioux City, I think they won the National Championship last season, great coach of hockey but even better at preparing you for life, pushes to excel beyond your limitations, a true winner.

Both coaches had a great impact on me as a young man.  I was really raw but by the end of that year I learned more hockey than I did  growing up.  My defense struggled and it kept me off the ice, it was a complicated system and I kept messing up my coverages...I heard about it a lot.  By the end of the year I was getting it, taking better passing angles and was rewarded with more playing time, they really emphasize the defense at the next level.  It will serve your son well to focus on becoming as complete a player before taking the next step.


How about that 30 seconds in and a goal...great start.

Your son will learn a lot about hockey with a coach like Kevin Hartzell former captain of the Gophers, most important he will push him to excel and help prepare him for life.  Junior Hockey is one of my fondest memories ,only wish I had gone back for my second year.

Again with the turnovers in the D ZONE, got away with it but it will come back to haunt..STOP IT.

Keep me up to date on your son, best of luck to both of you work hard for him at the game and you at the support.   Its tough driving to all those games and practices.


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Skol ... Vikings can win the Super Bowl.
Post #: 42
RE: RE:Gopher Hockey - 3/7/2008 9:22:13 PM   
Jason Dorn

 

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Big Victory, shut the Bulldogs down defensively, great effort. Lots of shot attempts broke up with diving attempts, good hustle.  Good start offensively, need to find a second scoring line. 

GO GOPHERS!!!

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Post #: 43
RE: RE:Gopher Hockey - 3/8/2008 8:33:45 AM   
So.Mn.Fan


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Hear, hear, Jason.
Nice win. Those early goals make the game so much easier.
Wheeler finally making a big impact, and it was nice to see some seniors contribute.
Great story in the Strib on Peltier and Kaufmann yesterday and how they have come a long ways together.
Thanks for the great re-cap of your career and experiences. You got out of it what is most important, a life lesson.
To me that's what hockey has always been about. It's the hardest game in the world, the most-frustrating at times, the most-dangerous at times, but the most beautiful when done right. And done for the right reasons.
Another big one tonight. The atmosphere just feels better around the Gophs right now.
As I said earlier, I don't think anyone wants to see them on their schedule from here on out.  
Post #: 44
RE: RE:Gopher Hockey - 3/8/2008 5:45:46 PM   
So.Mn.Fan


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If I'm Coach Lucia, I'm heading over to Hill-Murray and working on a couple of their uncommitted big D-men and forwards.
I've felt the Gophers lately have been missing that element, the large, physical, dedicated grinders, the Matt Koalska's if you will.
Minnesota will always get the "stars", but they've been short on muckers as of late.
Yes, they'll need Junior-seasoning, but horde a bunch of them and look to the future.
Not just at H-M. There are some really solid kids in the tourney this year, and many more that were just beat out in sectionals.
Kids really change between 17 and 20, especially when they are motivated to work towards playing for their home-state club.
Most very good players in this day and age are comitted to someone by the time they are juniors in HS, but there are always those that fall thru the cracks and blossom late.
Post #: 45
RE: RE:Gopher Hockey - 3/9/2008 12:06:21 PM   
Jason Dorn

 

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Disappointing loss, simply outplayed.

The Gophers need to recruit some offensive skill players as the PP is to slow, too much thinking, telegraphed passes with poor spacing, especially on the point, stop moving laterally and attack the net.  Good power plays penetrate and break down the box, this isnt the case for the Gophers as they retreat at the point, hesitate moving it, and cycle rather than spreading out.  Positioning needs to improve, this is easily accomplished in a week. 

The Gophers can compete with anyone in the country when they accept they will not score at will and become a tight checking, grind it out, lunchbucket mentality group focused on hustling, smart play, limiting turnovers and penalties, such as the effort on Friday against UMD. 

If they continue with the loose defensive zone play turning it over at the clip they do, they might survive next weekend, maybe, but eventually will be embarrassed by a top team.  They just lack the capability to score goals to make up for the numerous defensive mistakes.

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Post #: 46
RE: RE:Gopher Hockey - 3/15/2008 9:20:20 PM   
Jason Dorn

 

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Another OT, 1-1, they have to win one of these at some point.  Come on Gophers make it happen.

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Post #: 47
RE: RE:Gopher Hockey - 3/15/2008 9:48:16 PM   
Jason Dorn

 

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FINALLY AN OT WIN
 
NO ELIMINATION
 
GAME THREE
 
GO GOPHERS!!!!!!!


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Post #: 48
RE: RE:Gopher Hockey - 3/16/2008 3:31:47 PM   
So.Mn.Fan


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God that was a fun win.
Hard to believe how far our expectations have fallen, but that was still a fun win.
My man Kangas is getting it done. He's always just kept pluggin away and improving.
Great kid.
Carman can really change the landscape for us if he gets confidence.
They need to relish the "spoiler" role for a change.
Everyone's always used it against them, it's time to turn it around on people.
Should be a barn-burner tonight.
I respect how far Mankato has come, and a loss to them won't be a disgrace.
In fact, I'd much rather see them succeed than any of the other rivals we have.  
They are blue-collar and work for everything they get.
And the good thing is, the Gophers are getting down and dirty with them.
This tough stretch the Gophers have gone thru may really pay off in the long run, as it will help establish a much-needed work ethic in everyone returning and coming in. That's how championship teams are built. Starts with great recruiting, but ends successfully only when hard work is added.    
Post #: 49
RE: RE:Gopher Hockey - 3/16/2008 3:41:27 PM   
So.Mn.Fan


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Btw, super goal from Bostrom.
Will need more such efforts tonight.
MSU's goalie is outstanding.
Fans are doing an awesome job there, that is usually a very antiseptic building, not much character, but the last two nights, it has been rocking.
Post #: 50
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