Friday, March 23, 2007

NCAA Tournament Predicitions

Hopefully one of these days we'll be able to apply our Northern Michigan bias to these picks but for now we'll all just stand by our anti-Michigan bias. Here are the picks by the Tech Still Sucks team:

Kyle Whitney

Regional Finals:
- Clarkson over Maine
- Notre Dame over Boston U.
- North Dakota over Minnesota
- Boston College over New Hampshire

Notre Dame over Boston College

Josh Pifke

Regional Finals:
- Clarkson over Maine
- Notre Dame over Boston U.
- Minnesota over Michigan
- Boston College over New Hampshire

- Boston College over Notre Dame

Matt Wellens

- St. Cloud over Clarkson
- Notre Dame over Michigan State
- North Dakota over Minnesota
- New Hampshire over Boston College

- Notre Dame over North Dakota

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Wildcats succeed abroad

Darin Olver was skating for the Northern Michigan Wildcats just two weeks ago. After completing his senior season though, he is now playing for the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL. In his debut for the Wolf Pack, Olver scored a goal.

Also scoring a goal over the weekend was recently departed 'Cat Rob Lehtinen, who netted a goal for his new team, the Johnstown Chiefs.

As is detailed in the article, Lehtinen is completing his NMU coursework via e-mail and is still on pace to graduate.

Lehtinen is currently living in an apartment with former Wildcat Geoff Waugh.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Santorelli Watch

Northern Michigan junior forward Mike Santorelli finished tied for second in the nation in goals scored with North Dakota's Ryan Duncan. Ted Cook of Niagara was the goal scoring champion at 32 goals and the trio were the only to surpass the 30 goal mark this season.

Santorelli has yet to sign with the Nashville Predators or its AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals. A source who will remain nameless reported that Santorelli turned down the first offer from the organization.

Santorelli was unable to comment on the situation last week when I spoke with him concerning his future as a pro but he would talk about the possibility of returning and the advantage of staying in college.

“The season just finished on Saturday night so I don’t know where things are going yet. I can’t really comment on that,” Santorelli said about going pro. “College is a great place and it is another year to mature as a player to get bigger, stronger and quicker.”

Yay for insight! NMU head coach Walt Kyle had a little more to say and while during the season, he has been pretty open about Santorelli leaving, he did say last week that he believes Santorelli could return.

And if Santorelli does, the young, new-look Cats will survive through next season.

“When you recruit Mike four years ago, you recruited him to be here four years," Kyle said. "All our planning has been based on Mike being here four years. Mike is a scorer and we knew he’d be a scorer. If Mike is back, I think everything will be fine. We will be in real good shape if Mike is back.”

“Losing Santos will be a tough thing if we do but the truth is we’re here to bring these guys opportunities. It doesn’t always happen on our time frame.”

If and when a deal does get struck and Santorelli makes the jump, look for it to happen in June. Like Nathan Oystrick's deal with the Atlanta Thrashers, these type of deals take time.

Monday, March 19, 2007

2006-07 NMU Hockey Season in Review

Matt Wellens' 2006-07 Wildcat hockey season in review can be found in today's edition of the Mining Journal. It can also be viewed online at the Mining Journal online through the link below.

Coach Kyle offers NMU hockey season review

Not the best headline but since I don't want to wake up at 5 a.m. to help lay out the paper, I'm not going to complain. Nice job coffee addicted morning team!

It's a long and extensive review that hit on some major factors from this season including extended losing skids, the lack of offense from everyone except Mike Santorelli and the average goaltending and defense that went with it.

This season opened the doors for some young players and it has opened the door for even more younger players next year. Here is a portion of the side bar which should be available in the print edition which includes the quote from NMU head coach Walt Kyle above on the blog banner:

The Wildcats are losing nine seniors this season and possibly a tenth
player if Santorelli decides to turn pro, which is not a lock according to both
Kyle and the Nashville draft pick. Either way, Kyle said the Cats will have an
entirely new look in 2007-08 that will include up to nine possible freshman, two
transfers and the return of goaltender Derek Janzen from the British Columbia
Junior Hockey League.

“We are going to bring in a lot of guys and we’re going to have to make
changes,” Kyle said. “Some of the guys that played this year are not going to
play the same amount in a year. They just can’t if we are going to move

Kyle refused to project where people will be next year. After projecting players like Andrew Sarauer and Matt Siddall to have break-out years, Kyle wants his players to earn everything. The philosophy is one that maybe reflects on the mentality going into next season.

“As a coach you always want to look ahead and project who is going to step
up and we did that a year ago,” Kyle said. “What we found out was you’re not always right on your projections. I’m not going to get into projecting who is going to do it.
I’m going to let these guys show me they are capable of doing it. I don’t want
to give anyone credit for something they haven’t done yet.”