Mind if we interrupt all the talk about Russia and the soap opera it is causing with some actual hockey news? After a week of mostly bad news we can report on some positive news for a change.
Carl Hagelin and his top seeded Michigan Wolverines opened play in the NCAA Division One Mens Ice Hockey Tournament. The Wolverines were sent to the East Regional in Albany, New York because the NCAA committee wanted to "protect" the top seed.
We will not get into what "protecting" really means but we will tell you what Michigan means when they want to "protect" a lead as it means it is Carl Hagelin time.
Hagelin the talented freshman from Sodertalje Sweden has been a pleasure to watch this season. The Ranger's 2007 6th round pick has been a very key performer for the Wolverines due to his versatility whether it was as a penalty killer, left wing or as a center.
Against Niagara, Hagelin was back at his normal spot which is the 2nd line left wing and while he did not put any points on the scoresheet in Michigan's 5-1 win over Niagara, it does not mean he played an important role.
Niagara went 0 for 3 going up against Hagelin's power play unit, Hagelin also was 3-1 when he stepped in to take face offs and if not but for a great save by Niagara's goalie Juliano Pagliero, Hagelin would have added a goal to his efforts.
What is it they say; offense gets you to the playoffs but it is defense that wins championships. If that is the case then Michigan is one win down 3 to go. With the 5-1 win, Michigan advances to the Eastern Regional finals on Saturday evening starting at 7 PM EDT/4 PM PDT.
The game will be televised live on ESPNU but we are sure that if you are in the Albany New York area that tickets are still available and you can get a good look at a very interesting Ranger prospect.
All Good Things
We have watched as Danny Hobbs and his Ohio Junior Bluejackets have waged an impossible uphill battle to try to catch the Chicago Steel for the 4th and final playoff spot in the USHL's East Division. It has been a joy to watch as the Junior Bluejackets a second year franchise in the USHL since January 1 have played some outstanding hockey going 21-12 after struggling badly during the first half of the season.
Sadly they ran out of miracles as Chicago eliminated the Junior Bluejackets with a 6-3 home ice win. It was a tough way to go but for this 2nd year franchise it was a positive learning experience as they build towards a future.
Hobbs did not score but his future has him heading to UMass/Amherst next season and that future does look a lot brighter. Hobbs has 4 games remaining in his USHL career and we are hoping that Hobbs helps lead the Junior Bluejackets to a noble goal with his a 500 record for the season.
The Junior Bluejackets are 2 games under 500 so we hope that they can not give up and end this season on a very positive note even though the USHL playoffs are out of the picture.
Big Brother Steps in
We were not sure how to write this up so we suggest you stop here and first go read this announcement and then come back here so you will understand why we think this is a dumb idea. Call us crazy but given some of the real problems in the world today we would rather see any government do something about them rather than getting involved in "violence in sports".
We will be the first to say that acts like what happened between the Quebec Remparts and the Chicoutimi Sagueneens are disgusting but we also think that these acts are not the norm in the QMJHL. We also think that the QMJHL does a strong enough job to address these issues without the need for the government to stick their noses in.
They are politely calling this "addressing Violence in Hockey" and we are going to call it wasting government funding. Sorry but in our eyes the Minister of Education's job should be education which to us means reading, making sure school kids do not go hungry and insuring the highest of possible quality education is taught to all the children in Quebec not policing hockey.
When they run out of real education issues to talk about then go right ahead and get involved with policing hockey. Until such time please let the QMJHL, Hockey Canada and IF NEED BE the police and judicial systems take care of business.
(Carl Hagelin picture courtesy of the Michigan Wolverines)
3 hours ago