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Your online home for Minnesota Golden Gophers football, basketball and hockey. http://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/community_logos/49211/daily-gopher-fave.png 2014-04-15T21:31:27-05:00
Updated: 11 hours 25 min ago

NCAA Approves Unlimited Free Meals: Bagels with Cream Cheese All Day Every Day

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 9:31pm

It's the off-season for the major revenue sports, but that doesn't mean the excitement had died down because it's the time where the NCAA begins to pass new rules! Last year the NCAA eliminated the rule preventing schools from putting out cream cheese with bagels. Seriously. Before that change it was against NCAA bylaws to allow bagels with spreads.

(The bagel rule was a consequence of an attempt to prevent a snack becoming a meal because snacks were allowed but not meals. The solution ended up preventing jelly on bagels because the NCAA is basically Derek the RA).

This year, the council approved unlimited meals and snacks in conjunction with participation in athletics. From a public relations perspective, while this proposal has been on the table since 2012, it is hard not to view the timing of the announcement as fortuitous after Shabazz Napier's comments after the NCAA Championship. Napier noted that "Sometimes, there’s hungry nights where I’m not able to eat, but I still gotta play up to my capabilities," which to put it mildly is a messed up state of affairs, especially when Oklahoma self-reported an excessive pasta violation.

The rule will will have to be approved by the Board of Directors on April 24. Prior to this ruling, athletes were given either three meals a day or a food stipend. The food stipend was usually below the level required to sustain at least 4,000 calories a day (at a minimum) that most athletes need to eat in order to maintain body weight, much less gain mass.

In addition, the NCAA Council expanded the benefit of free food to include walk-ons. Hilariously because walk-on life appears to be a black comedy written by the Coens, before the rule change walk-ons could not receive free meals because they were not scholarship athletes. Free meals would be improper benefits...or something. Obviously, all those hits in practice and 6 AM lifting sessions were for solidarity and personal improvement. Now walk-ons will also be allowed to have free food through a meal plan instead of through events at Coffman Union and Entrepreneur Club.

It is unclear at this time if the rule will affect Taco Tuesday.

Categories: Minnesota Sports

Minnesota Basketball Recruiting: A Brief Gopher Basketball Recruiting Update

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 4:53pm

There has been a lot going on in the world of Gopher Sports over the last two or three weeks.  Gopher Basketball won the NIT, Spring Football Game was last Saturday and you may have noticed a little bit of coverage of the Gopher Hockey team's run to the NCAA Title game.

Now that the three primary revenue sports have completed any sort of competition until football resumes practice in August, I think we should take a quick pulse of Gopher basketball recruiting.

In case you missed this last week, the Gophers have signed another player to their 2014 class (and they may not be finished).  A 6-9 forward from Senegal who has been playing in Spain will be moving to Minnesota to further his basketball career.  Gaston Diedhou is the 20 year old's name and very little is known about the young man.

So after the Diedhou signing this is what our scholarship situation looks like...

Player Pos 2014-15 2015-16 2015-16 2016-17 SR Andre Hollins G X - - - SR Dre Mathieu PG X - - - SR Maurice Walker C X - - - SR Elliot Eliason C X - - - JR Joey King PF X X - - JR Carlos Morris* SF X X - - SO Charles Buggs PF X X X - SO Daquein McNeil SG X X X - FR Josh Martin* PF X X X X FR Nate Mason* PG X X X X FR Gaston Diedhou* PF X X X X OPEN OPEN OPEN OPEN Scholarships 11 7 5 3 Available 2 6 7 10

As you can see that leaves us with only 11 scholarship players for next year, but it doesn't sound like the staff is done yet.  Internet rumors are heating up that the staff is in pursuit of an unknown JUCO big man and possibly has an in with Xavier forward, Justin Martin.

Justin Martin has announced that he is planning to transfer from Xavier.  The current junior is working to finish school this year and graduate which would allow him to transfer to another school and play right away.  Martin was recruited by Richard Pitino out of high school to play for Louisville and verbally committed before backing out of that verbal and eventually signing with Xavier.

As a junior Martin was the team's 2nd leading scorer (11.7) and 2nd leading rebounder (5.2), Martin shot over 37% from three and would be a great 1-year addition after the loss of Austin Hollins.

Interest exists between the Gophers and Martin. But it's not a done deal. Minnesota's coaches aren't even allowed to contact him directly because he has not been officially released from Xavier. That won't happen until he gets his undergraduate degree.

This would be a very nice get but Martin, a former 4-star and top 100 recruit, will be pursued by a number of teams and the opportunity to play for a Final Four contending team might be be difficult to pass up.

We'll keep an eye on this and see what happens.

Visiting this weekend is another small forward, Ryan Johnson from Thomasville, North Carolina.  Johnson is a veyr lightly recruited forward who visited James Madison last weekend and will be in Minnesota this coming weekend.  He does not currently have a Gopher offer but may be a very late-bloomer who ends up being a great find for the Gopher staff.

Johnson grew an inch or two over the past year and with that came another level of play and college interest. He's a long and agile wing that gets after it on the defensive end and scores in a variety of ways on the offensive end highlighted mostly by his high releasing outside touch. He'll need to add strength to his frame once on a college campus but Johnson is a high IQ mature talent that will be a worker on campus from day one.

I would be a little surprised to see us take Johnson but if he impresses this weekend, he very well may be a fall-back option who is groomed to become a solid player.

Djuan Piper is still in the mix to be added as a freshman small forward, but the Seattle native appears to be having trouble getting academically qualified.  I think the Gophers would take Piper in a heartbeat, but he hasn't made his decision and he may not be able to play D1 next year.

Incoming PF-Josh Martin was interviewed by Marcus Fuller and had this to say about Piper.

"He would definitely add athleticism," Martin said. "He's an athletic freak. He also has length. He's like (Gophers senior guard) Austin Hollins kind of. He's long and is great defensively. He's a scrapper. He would bring a lot of toughness I think."

It's been widely known that Piper has work to do academically, which could be a reason he hasn't committed yet. His favorites are reportedly Minnesota and Washington. The 6-foot-6, 180-pound wing is ranked as high as a four-star recruit by ESPN.com.

Piper would also be a very nice addition, another unique situation to keep an eye on.

Those three names are all worth watching and then of course Pitino and staff could get a commitment from someone completely off the radar.  Rumors are persisting that we are working on a JUCO big man, but any names are pure speculation at this point.  With the way our scholarship situation is, landing a JUCO who would come in as a sophomore or junior would balance things out a bit.  This is shaping up to be a very big class and we'll have at least four scholarships available to use in the 2015 class.

This 2014 class is taking a long time to finalize and hopefully we'll start zeroing in on 2015 targets very soon.  It is undeniable that next year's roster is going to look very different.  But we'll preview the 2014-15 roster another day.

Categories: Minnesota Sports

Minnesota Golden Gophers: Golden Nugz 04.14.14 - The Monday After

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 6:01pm

Evening nugz are better than no nugz, right? Right. Here's your look around Gophers athletics on a cold, blustery Monday.

Hockey

Here are a couple of articles about senior Tom Serratore signing an AHL tryout contract.  Seniors are always welcome to sign.  Juniors... don't get any ideas.

Gophers hockey: Tom Serratore signs AHL tryout contract - TwinCities.com

Serratore first to sign contract after Gophers' national runner-up finish | Ice Gold | StarTribune.com

Losing the National Championship game sucks, but it could be worse; it could be raining.  Despite Frozen Four loss, Lucia likes Gophers' potential | Star Tribune

Here's a brave position piece on college sports and riots: Dinkytown disturbance was stupid " Sansevere's Huddle

Football

I'm proud to be one the last people to cross the fifty yard line during Goldy's Run on Saturday.  That yard line, along with all the rest, will be gone shortly.  DON'T WORRY, they're bringing it back.  TCF Bank Stadium getting torn up for Vikings' renovations | Vikings stadium: The build | StarTribune.com

Here's a piece on Rodrick Williams and the power of positivity.  Williams battling for playing time - TwinCities.com

The Gophers are deep at where now?  Gophers cornerback depth shines through in spring game | Gridiron Gold | StarTribune.com


Dribbly Dunks

We're screwing this up already.  It's "low expectations; high aspirations."  Pitino: Gophers need to prepare for 'higher expectations' next season | RandBall | StarTribune.com

Richard's Actual Blog Post can be found here.

Categories: Minnesota Sports

Minnesota Gophers Football Spring Game Recap: The Matt Twitterverse Edition

Sun, 04/13/2014 - 8:00am

We had 4 TDG staffers at the Spring Game. So naturally this recap will consist of live Twitter reactions from the guy who wasn't in the building.

There is a time for the sharing of my own Spring Game reactions. This is not that time. This is the moment where the Gophers are down 5-3 to Union in the 3rd period and I need to distract myself from the SMASH SMASH SMASH urges. It is in that spirit that I bring you the 140 character (or less) philosophizing of our very own Matt H.

GOLDEN-I

— MVofDINKYTOWN BURNS (@MVofDT) April 12, 2014

God damnit Berk

— MVofDINKYTOWN BURNS (@MVofDT) April 12, 2014

This staff’s development of CBs is remarkable, especially given the last 10+ years of Gopher football.

— MVofDINKYTOWN BURNS (@MVofDT) April 12, 2014

Scott Ekpe ate a man

— MVofDINKYTOWN BURNS (@MVofDT) April 12, 2014

Communication between C and RG was completely off, Ekpe came untouched.

— MVofDINKYTOWN BURNS (@MVofDT) April 12, 2014

OPRIME

— MVofDINKYTOWN BURNS (@MVofDT) April 12, 2014

I’m gonna miss Hageman :(((((

— MVofDINKYTOWN BURNS (@MVofDT) April 12, 2014

Oh @TheDailyGopher, make sure you catch the BTN2GO replay. A certain former QB is on analysis...

— MVofDINKYTOWN BURNS (@MVofDT) April 12, 2014

Consequence of having 5 DL not playing today is Jephete Matilus moves down to a stand-up DE/LB. Nice backside pursuit, could be good spot

— MVofDINKYTOWN BURNS (@MVofDT) April 12, 2014

#BERKLASER

— MVofDINKYTOWN BURNS (@MVofDT) April 12, 2014

Yeah Berk is fast

— MVofDINKYTOWN BURNS (@MVofDT) April 12, 2014

Spring game passing pic.twitter.com/mSPijvsH3G

— MVofDINKYTOWN BURNS (@MVofDT) April 12, 2014

Jonah Pirsig is a huge man #ANALYSIS

— MVofDINKYTOWN BURNS (@MVofDT) April 12, 2014

Jonah also just got worked. Angst.

— MVofDINKYTOWN BURNS (@MVofDT) April 12, 2014

@BenjaminJDawson I’ve got my eye on Shooter’s chair

— MVofDINKYTOWN BURNS (@MVofDT) April 12, 2014

This spring game is field goal pr0n, so basically every B1G spring game ever. Practice how you play!!! /sobs

— MVofDINKYTOWN BURNS (@MVofDT) April 12, 2014

Bo Pelini walked out of the tunnel at the spring game and held up his cat! @FauxPelini Best day ever. pic.twitter.com/jxHaDThlnh

— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) April 12, 2014

Now we're ready for the #Huskers Spring Game. pic.twitter.com/XYUrYvMael

— Nebraska Huskers (@Huskers) April 12, 2014

Don’t make me start to like you, Mr. Pelini

— MVofDINKYTOWN BURNS (@MVofDT) April 12, 2014

@TheDailyGopher All bottles!

— MVofDINKYTOWN BURNS (@MVofDT) April 12, 2014

I think every throw Streveler has attempted has been a jump pass...

— MVofDINKYTOWN BURNS (@MVofDT) April 12, 2014

As program builds depth, Kill’s spring games are increasing about who *doesn’t* play versus who does.

— MVofDINKYTOWN BURNS (@MVofDT) April 12, 2014

8 potential starters, plus BBC and Wells, sat on defense. Antonio Johnson got 1-2 series, max.

— MVofDINKYTOWN BURNS (@MVofDT) April 12, 2014

Goodger and Maxx didn’t play on offense. Game was really all about seeing the younger players, positive sign that they have good depth

— MVofDINKYTOWN BURNS (@MVofDT) April 12, 2014

I’m continually impressed by the job @JaySawvel does recruiting and developing CBs.

— MVofDINKYTOWN BURNS (@MVofDT) April 12, 2014

Myrick and Marcus Jones were in great position today, and made the QBs earn their completions. DBs are deepest I’ve ever seen at MN

— MVofDINKYTOWN BURNS (@MVofDT) April 12, 2014

And there you have it. The Spring Game according to Matt via the magic that is BTN2Go.

WERE YOU AT THE GAME? WATCH IT ON BTN2GO? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?
Categories: Minnesota Sports

2014 Frozen Four Championship Final Score: Union 7, Minnesota 4

Sat, 04/12/2014 - 9:28pm

The first period featured six goals and ended with the Gophers in a 4-2 hole. They were never able to recover.

The Minnesota Golden Gophers did not start this game out on the right foot.  Brady Skjei took a roughing penalty less than 20 seconds into the game.  Penalty's would become a trend for the Gophers who found themselves in the penalty box much more frequently than usual.

Justin Kloos put the Gophers ahead early, burying a rebound.

TDG Frozen Four Converage Golden Gophers Face Off Against Union Dark516Knight If there's a formula for success in college hockey, these two teams have found it and implemented it. Expect an evenly played championship game. Only one thing is for certain tonight: the Champion will have earned it. Getting to Know Union Dark516Knight The Union Dutchmen make their second Frozen Four appearance in three years. TDG Frozen Four Converage Golden Gophers Face Off Against Union Getting to Know Union

Shayne Gostisbehere would tie the game on a wrist shot over Adam Wilcox's glove midway through the third period.    He would be a recurring theme for the Union.

Sam Warning put Minnesota back in front thirty second later on a zero-angle shot through traffic.  That was the high point of the game.

In the first period, Union managed twenty shots on goal.  Three of those shots would go in over the course of two minutes, all but officially ending Minnesota's championship bid.

Minnesota had a relatively good second period, which they won 1-0, giving Minnesota fans a reason to believe that a comeback was possible.  Taylor Cammarata scored on a rebound early in the period, putting away a rebound off of Colin Stevens.

The rest of the period would only feature penalties.  Brady Skjei picked up his second of the game on a boneheaded hit after the whistle.  Shortly after that penalty kill ended successfully, Jake Parenteau was called for slashing.

It's really hard to stage a comeback shorthanded.

That simple fact seemed to escape the Gophers, and they would take three penalties in the third period.  Somehow, Union managed to score five goals without scoring on the power play.

Unions Max Novak would bury the dagger into Minnesota's heart five minutes into the third on a redirected pass on a three on two rush.  The game stood at 5-3.

Hudson Fashing would score a power play goal with about four minutes remaining, but it wouldn't be enough.  Kevin Sullivan put the game out of reach, beating Wilcox through the five hole.

Matt Bodie added an empty net goal with about a minute left, and Union's celebration was on.

It was a very disappointing end to a very good season for the Gophers.  Come back to The Daily Gopher for more reactions and Gopher hockey coverage.

Categories: Minnesota Sports

2014 Frozen Four Hockey National Championship OPEN THREAD: Minnesota Golden Gophers Take On The Union College Dutchmen For A Natty

Sat, 04/12/2014 - 5:26pm

Minnesota is seeking their 6th National Title tonight in Philadelphia

NCAA Championship Game Minnesota vs. Union

When: 6:30 PM CT

TV: ESPN

Internet: WatchESPN for your computer or mobile device

General Cartman Lee has a message for the Union.........Dutchmen.


LET'S GO GOPHERS! TIME TO WIN #6!
Categories: Minnesota Sports

TDG Tailgate: IT'S HAPPENING! Maroon Lot, Right By TCF Bank Stadium

Sat, 04/12/2014 - 11:00am

It's still a little cool, but that just means it's also cool of you to stop by and hang out.

IT'S ON! WHERE: Maroon Parking Lot, Right By The St. Louis and Scott County Signs

WHEN: Immediately (i.e. 10:45 through Spring Game)

WHO: The TDG Staff and Community WHY: Because it's awesome
Categories: Minnesota Sports

2014 Frozen Four Hockey National Championship Preview: Minnesota Golden Gophers Face Off Against The Union College Dutchmen

Sat, 04/12/2014 - 5:30am

If there's a formula for success in college hockey, these two teams have found it and implemented it. Expect an evenly played championship game. Only one thing is for certain tonight: the Champion will have earned it.

GFPG GAPG ShotsPG Relative
Posession
PP% PK% Minnesota 3.48 1.98 34.53 54.5% 20.1% 83.2% Union 3.73 2.10 33.15 54.3% 21.8% 82.6% Advantage UC MN MN Push UC Push

The National Championship will be decided between two teams that are extraordinarily similar. Just take a look at the stats above. You might as well just wipe out the "Advantage" row, because they pretty much all said push before I decided it looked boring and started handing out advantages.

It's really hard to parse these numbers and find an advantage. Union has a slight scoring advantage, but played a slightly easier schedule to earn that statistical advantage. Minnesota has a slight advantage in team defense, and a slight advantage in goal tending because Adam Wilcox is a monster, but not a huge advantage.

Union's Colin Stevens is a very capable netminder with very good stats. He did an pretty good job of weathering the Boston College storm and keeping his team in the game, especially in the second period of that game where he stopped fourteen shots to preserve the tie going into the third period.

More TDG Frozen Four Coverage Minnesota Edges North Dakota 2-1; Holl A Hero Dark516Knight In one of the most thrilling games in recent memory, the Minnesota Golden Gophers edged North Dakota with a last-second, short-handed, game-winner by Justin Holl, his first goal of the year. Frozen Four 2014: Getting to Know Union Dark516Knight The Union Dutchmen make their second Frozen Four appearance in three years, and their first trip to the Championship game. More TDG Frozen Four Coverage Minnesota Edges North Dakota 2-1; Holl A Hero Frozen Four 2014: Getting to Know Union

The one concern from that game for Stevens is the two goals he allowed in the last two minutes. Granted, only 4 seconds remained in the contest after the second goal, but it sure made Daniel Ciampini's empty net goal more important.

Despite allowing four goals, Union advanced through the semi-finals with a disciplined team effort. Boston College could flat-out score this season. The Dutchmen managed to stay with BC through two periods, and then open up a lead in third. That forced BC to play desperate hockey, and keep its first line on the ice even more than usual. A perfect game plan against a strong team.

Minnesota comes into the Championship game after surviving North Dakota's best game of the year. Despite the elation that resulted from Justin Holl's unbelievable last-second (literally) goal, that semi-final result could easily have gone the other way. Wilcox put the rest of the Golden Gophers on his back and willed them into a win.

I don't mean to imply the Gophers played a poor game; they played a very disciplined game. Perhaps they were a bit too cautious through the course of the game. Their forecheck never had that dominant feel to which we've become accustomed, but a lot of that had to do with North Dakota's four-man neutral zone trap.

On the other side of the ice, these teams look less alike. Union is slightly more top-heavy than Minnesota when it comes to scoring. Daniel Carr and Ciampini both have 22 goals this season, while Justin Kloos leads Minnesota with 15.

Union is the more veteran team. Six of their top eight scorers are upperclassmen. After Kloos, the Gophers are led on offense by the junior class, Kyle Rau, Seth Ambroz, and Sam Warning, but freshman have played a huge role on offense throughout the year. Despite being the second most productive class in the nation over the course of the season, those freshman did not score in Minnesota's game against UND. That must change tonight for #SkateFor6 to end successfully.

in the end, this game will be close. It won't be Minnesota vs. UND close, but it will be close. Union does not play same kind of clutch-and-grab grinding style that North Dakota played. They will be looking to skate, which should open up the ice for the Gophers, relative to the UND game.

Here's what I see happening: Minnesota wins 4-2.

Ski-U-Mah!

Categories: Minnesota Sports

2014 Frozen Four Highlights: Minnesota Gophers Mob Justin Holl In Locker Room After UND Win

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 10:30pm

Another fun video to continue the celebration 24 hours later? You better believe it.

Categories: Minnesota Sports

Gopher Hockey: Reilly First Team All-American, Wilcox and Rau 2nd Team

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 6:24pm

Wilcox gets screwed again.....but Mike Reilly will see his face in Mariucci Forever!

The 2013-14 American College Hockey Coaches Association CCM All-American Teams were announced Friday night, and three Gophers were named to the teams.  Two teams are given out, a West first and second team, and an east first and second team.

Gopher defenseman Mike Reilly was named a first-team All-American and will be honored with a spot on the vaunted Mariucci Arena mural.  Reilly was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year as well, and is one key cog in the Gopher team that will play for the National Championship on Saturday.

Adam Wilcox, the Big Ten Player of the year was named to the West Second Team along with Gopher Captain Kyle Rau.  Denver Senior Goalie Sam Brittan was named to the first team.  Wilcox who is the main reason why the Gophers are where they are also finished second today in the voting for the Mike Richter Award which goes to the Nation's best goalie as voted by a panel of coaches and media.  UMass-Lowell's Connor Hellebyuck was named the winner of that award this morning.

In my opinion, and I would think most Gopher fans, and probably Big Ten fans, Wilcox got screwed.  Brittan led Denver to a fourth place finish in the NCHC, while Wilcox led the Gophers to the top of the Big Ten while playing against the #1 schedule in the nation.  He has backed his team to the National Championship game while Brittan actually got yanked from Denver's first round blowout loss to Boston College.  Yet somehow the coaches decided he was more worthy than Wilcox to be an All-American.  Anyone who voted for Brittan can try and explain that one to me any time.  I'll be waiting.  With luck Wilcox will take these snubs as a chip on each shoulder and will show tomorrow night that everyone got it wrong.

The Gopher's opponent Saturday night, Union College had two players named to the East First Team and two to the Second Team.  Both defensemen on the First Team are Dutchmen as both Mat Bodie and Shayne Gostisbehere were honored.  Forward Daniel Carr and goalie Colin Stevens were both named to the second team.

Other players of note to Gopher fans on either team included defenseman Jake McCabe from Wisconsin, Ryan Dzingel from Ohio State and Nick Dowd from St Cloud State on the West First Team, and Badger forward Micheal Mersch on the second team.  On the East squad, Jonny Gaudreau from Boston College was named to the first team, and honored with the Hobey Baker Award. Eagles forward Kevin Hayes joined him on the first team.

The Gophers and Union will face-off at 6:30 CDT on Saturday for the 2014 National Championship.

Categories: Minnesota Sports

Gopher Football: Spring Game Preview

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 5:58pm

The 2014 Gopher Spring game will be 2:30 on Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium!

As the 2014 version of Spring Football Practice comes to an end, the annual Spring Game will take place at 2:30 Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium.  The gates open to the public at 12:30, and the festivities will get started with the 2nd annual Alumni game starting at 1:00 PM.  Some of the players you can expect to see play tomorrow are Ron Johnson, Tyrone Carter, Duane Bennett, and Simoni Lawrence amongst others.  The full rosters are listed here. Members of both teams will sign autographs on the west plaza after the game.

The current Gopher roster will begin warmups at 2:00 and the game will begin at 2:30.  After the game, there will be a 30 minute autograph session for the current players and coaches on the TCF field.  The game will be broadcast live on KFAN 100.3 with the normal team of Mike Grimm, Darrell Thompson and Justin Gaard on the call.  For those who are not in the area, the game will also be broadcast on BTN at 5:30 on Sunday with former Gopher radio voice Dave Lee on the play-by-play,  and our own Gopher Nation's favorite former quarterback Adam Weber doing color.  Justin Conzemius will be the sideline reporter.

So that's how you can either see or listen to the game, but what are some specific things to be on the lookout for?  Here's a few:

Mitch is the Man!

This will be the first Spring Game with Mitch Leidner as the clear #1 quarterback for the Gophers.  By all accounts he has looked good this spring working on his timing and placement of pass routes.  He will be highly scrutinized both now, and as fall camp begins in August as its his team now.  No splitting time with Phillip Nelson.  Moose is on his own.

As for the rest of the quarterbacks, Chris Streveler and Connor Rhoda have both taken second team snaps this spring.  The competition is open, and most likely will not be decided until fall to determine who will need to be ready for those inevitable moments where Leidner gets shaken up for a few plays.  It is a young group as Streveler and Rhoda are both redshirt freshmen to go along with redshirt sophomore Leidner.  It will also be many Gopher fan's first look at incoming freshman Dimonic Rhoden-McKinzy who enrolled early in January to be able to practice this spring.  The plan is for him to be an obvious redshirt next season...but weirder things have happened.

Running Back Cup Overfloweth

If one thing has been seen this spring, it is that the Gophers will have five running backs on the roster who most likely will be able to start next season in the backfield.  David Cobb returns for his senior season after an outstanding junior tilt where he took control of the starting spot and would not relinquish it.  Also entering his senior season will be Donnell Kirkwood who suffered several injuries after starting the season as the #1 running back.  He has looked good this spring and will try and get back into the mix.  Roderick Williams enters his junior season trying to regain some of the magic he had at the end of his freshman year.  He also was injured a portion of last season and didn't get as many reps as he would have liked.

As for the players we have yet to see on the field, Berkley Edwards has to be the most anticipated.  Edwards was hyped up last fall before spraining an ankle in practice and being redshirted.  He has breakaway speed, and Gopher fans would love to see him break one Saturday.  The fifth running back of course is incoming freshman Jeff Jones.  Jones still needs to qualify to be eligible next fall, and obviously won;t be on the field Saturday, but is highly anticipated.

Tight End U?

With Maxx Williams hampered by the knee injury he suffered near the end of the Texas Bowl, he has not practiced much this spring.  In fact he has been shut down, but Kill has said he will be ready to go by August 1.  in his absence, two players have really stood out so far this spring in Duke Anyanwu and Nate Wozniak.  Anyanwu has been hampered by injuries his first two seasons, but the redshirt sophomore has shown off his skills this spring.  Wozniak was redshirted last season, but has impressed the coaching staff making several impressive catches with his 6'9" frame.  Can you say Red Zone target?

Who Will Be Our LInebackers?

The Gophers will have a few new linebacker spots this season as both Aaron Hill and James Manuel have graduated and moved on.  The Gophers already have suffered one blow as Juco Sophomore Cody Poock who was starting in the middle for the Gophers suffered a torn ACL and will miss the entire 2014 season.  Damien Wilson who played quite a bit last season will be called on, as will De'Vondre CampbellJack Wilson who started the season alternating with Wilson before he took over wil lbe asked to play a larger role this season, as will redshirt freshman De'Niro Laster.  Laster is highly anticipated and should help the defense immediately.  Nick Rallis will also be expected to play a larger role in his redshirt sophomore season.

We got our Punter...but a Kicker??

Peter Mortell is coming off of a great year for the Gophers, and there is no doubt the redshirt junior will play a large role next season after having being awarded a scholarship by Jerry Kill this winter.  The starting kicker in August is a bigger question. Like maybe literally bigger.  it appears the job will come down to one of two redshirt freshmen in 2013's highly recruited kicker Ryan Santoso takes on walk-on Andrew Harte.  Both players have made some impressive kicks this spring, and will have another chance to impress on Saturday.  Santoso may have the stronger leg, but reining in his accuracy will be key for him to win the job.  Harte seems to be more consistent, but needs to work on stretching out his distance.  No decisions will be made until the first game, if by then, but it should be fun to see both kickers tomorrow.

This is just a few topics, as obviously there is the competition to replace Ra'Shede Hageman on the defensive line, the rise of Jonah Pirsig on the right side of the offensive line, and the increasing reps for Donovan Jones and Drew Wolitarsky at the wide receiver spot.  Nothing will be determined Saturday, but it will be another brick in the wall that will lead to a summer of workouts getting ready to start the 2014 season in the fall.

So what are you the most excited to see?  What do you feel you need to see to feel more comfortable?  Tell us in the comments below.

Categories: Minnesota Sports

Gopher Basketball Picks up 4th Commitment From 6-9 Forward Gaston Diedhiou

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 3:58pm

In a VERY surprising development, it appears as though the Gophers have received a commitment from a 6-9 forward from Senegal.  His name is Gaston Diedhiou.

Gaston Diedhiou, who is from Senegal, just verbally committed to Minnesota, per a source. Played for Canarias Baskeball Academy this year.

— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) April 11, 2014

Diedhiou is 20 years old and he is currently playing basketball in Spain at Canarius Basketball Academy.

You can see video below of Diedhiou and it appears as though he is an athletic forward who can run the floor.  You don't see a lot of scoring, particularly shooting, in the video but he is a physical presence defensively and shows some athleticism.

This addition is a surprise commitment.  I expect that Diedhiou will get a year to develop his skill set before being needed for frontcourt minutes in 2015-16.

Categories: Minnesota Sports

Goldy's Run, Football Spring Game, and Hockey Natty Title Game Plans

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 10:15am

So...Saturday could be a bit busy.

UPDATE: THE TDG TAILGATE IS HAPPENING IN THE MAROON LOT.

It's been a little over a month since we announced plans for a TDG Tailgate to follow tomorrow's Goldy's Run and lead us into the Football Spring Game. I'm here to announce the "final" plans, or at least sketch out the best plan I can pull together for the event.

Goldy's Run

If you're going to be at Goldy's, look for the 6'9" guy wearing Zubaz. If it's not me then corral that individual and find the other 6'9" dude wearing Zubaz because I want to meet my long lost Zubaz brother.  I'll be walking (yes, I'm out of shape...deal) the 5K so I'll be hanging near the back of the 5K pack at the start line.

D516K and GN will be running but they will not have identifying pants to my knowledge.

TDG Tailgate

Anyone who has been to Goldy's Run can tell you that parking fills up pretty quick. That's going to make the tailgate a little trickier to execute. Here's the best plan we've come up with.

6:30-7:00 AM: GoAUpher arrives in the lots. I'm going to try an park in one of the two lots closest to the stadium.


I will tweet out a picture and spot on the map to where I am on both the @GoAUpher and @TheDailyGopher accounts. If you are running, plan on tailgating, and arrive early enough try to park near me.

Approx 9:00 AM: Once the race is finished up I will head back to my car and write a quick post here on TDG that details exactly where I am in the lot. It will include pictures and detailed location and whatnot. All the info will go out again on the Twitter accounts.

9:00-10:30 AM: The rest of the TDG crew who can attend the tailgate will get their cars moved as close to me as possible. Should be relatively easy as the lots usually clear out pretty quickly once folks finish running. If you are not in the same lot as me but would prefer to be closer then I would urge you to do the same.

10:30 AM: TDG Tailgate starts. This is going to be really informal. If you aren't able to get closer to us with a car but can walk over from your spot then definitely BYOB and food. We'll have a basic setup in place with a grill that we can share until the gas runs low. Sorry, I'm in the midst of a move, finishing up my job in Madison, and hunting for a new job all at the same time. Simple is what works.

Again, if you're able to park close that will be best as it will allow for more room to hang out and it means you have pull a cooler and grill right out of your car.

The tailgate will run until there's no one left. I assume that will be about the time the Spring Game starts.

Alternate TDG Tailgate Plans Based On Weather

Come fall I'll tailgate in any type of weather Minnesota can throw at me. This spring, with too much going on and this trip designed to be a semi-relaxing last run up to Minny for a while, that's not happening. So, if it's raining and crappy (or about to be raining and crappy) the backup plan is to head to Stub & Herbs. That decision will be made by 10:30 AM. Stubs doesn't open until 11am, so we've got time to gauge how things are looking. If plans change I'll make sure to keep everyone apprised on Twitter and via updates to the post of TDG.

Spring Game Schedule

Regardless of where we're tailgating, here's the rundown of the Spring Game schedule:

12:30 PM: Gates open at TCF.

1:00 PM: Alumni flag football game.

2:00 PM: Football alumni sign autographs on the West Plaza and the current team takes the field for warmups.

2:30 PM: Spring Football Game kicks off.

4:00-4:30 PM (approx): Current players sign autographs on the field.

NCAA Hockey National Title Game

There is absolutely no official plan for watching the game as a group, but I would really like to catch it somewhere on campus. If you are interested and have suggestions put them in the comments. If we choose Dinkytown I'm parking far away.

Final Thoughts

This is all a little more thrown together then I would have liked, but that's how it goes sometimes. Ultimately these are events I'm going to no matter what and I'm just hoping to get the chance to hang out with some of the folks from the TDG community if I can. So if you're thinking about coming to the Spring Game I urge you to stop on by the tailgate and chill for a bit!  =)

Running In Goldy's? Plan To Tailgate? Thoughts On Watching The Natty? Share Your Plans In The Comments!
Categories: Minnesota Sports

2014 Frozen Four: Media Coverage of Minnesota's Win over North Dakota

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 10:08am

A Special Golden Nugs Edition: Yes that did really happen!

You have read plenty of our coverage of last night's life affirming victory on a Justin Holl shorty with 0.6 seconds left in the game over North Dakota.  Here are what everyone else is saying about it, media from close and from far:

The Gopher Homers Edition:

Here is Jason Gonzalez's recap of the Game in the Star Tribune.

Chip Skoggins has a great column on the locker room reaction to Holl's game winner.

Tim Leighton has his recap in the Pioneer Press.

Megan Ryan has the Minnesota Daily's recap of last night's game.

1500 ESPN's Judd Zulgad talked to Justin Holl after the game.

The Gophers refuse to say the victory was sweeter because it was against North Dakota.

Jess Myers describes how big Wilcox's save was on the tipped shot with 9 seconds left in the game.

The Neutral Observers:

Here's how it looked from the Boston Globe's perspective.

NCAA.com article on how North Dakota is coping with the crushing loss.

The Philadelphia Paper has a nice recap.

And Now For the Fun Part---North Dakota Media:

You can hear Schlossman's tears hitting his computer keyboard as he wrote this article for the Grand Forks Herald

Schlossman's Blog is equally fun to read for MN fans.

East Grand Forks Gopher Fans are loving this the most.

Hockey is a cruel sport....North Dakota.

And Now For Our Idiots:

Of course some idiots had to go and pretend to riot in Dinkytown.  Seriously kids....lets not do this

The Minnesota Daily has a good article on the disturbances including one guy taking tear gas directly to the face,

Read and enjoy!

Categories: Minnesota Sports

2014 Frozen Four Highlights: Where Does Justin Holl's Game Winner Rank In Gophers History?

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 6:00am

Holl's game winner with 0.6 seconds left will be etched in the minds of Gopher fans forever. Where would you rank it among the best goals in Minnesota Hockey history?

Neal Broten Grant Potulny Blake Wheeler Matt Koalska

And now?

Justin Holl

Last night's amazing finish is among the best in Minnesota Gopher Hockey history. So where should it rank? Let's take a look at the candidates one by one.

Neal Broten - 1979


Neal Broten's game winning goal clinched the U's third national title under Herb Brooks. Oh yea, he was a freshman too.

Grant Potulny - 2002


[Ed: The whole video is awesome and worth the time, but for Grant's goal skip to 0:51]

After the Gophers forced overtime with a late game tying goal in regulation, Grant Potulny potted this game winner to give Don Lucia his first national title at Minnesota and the school's first since the Broten game winner in 1979.

Blake Wheeler - 2007


This Broten-esque diving OT game winner over UND earned the Gophers the WCHA Final Five title.

Matt Koalska - 2002


[Ed: The whole video is awesome and worth the time, but for Grant's goal skip to 0:15]

Grant Potulny's national title winning game winner might be the most iconic goal from that night in St. Paul, but it never could have happened without this game tying goal with 53 seconds left in regulation.

Justin Holl - 2014


Holl collects a Rau rebound with his skate, gets it on his stick with fleeting seconds left, and scores with 0.6 seconds left in regulation to send the hate Whioux home from the Frozen Four. Oh, and lest anyone forget...it was a shorty.

How Would You Rank Them Gophers Fans?
Categories: Minnesota Sports

2014 Frozen Four Highlights: Minnesota Beats North Dakota - Championship Game Bound!

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 1:20am

The best moments from a great win (hat tip as always to @GopherSports).

Categories: Minnesota Sports

2014 Frozen Four Final Score and Recap: Minnesota Edges North Dakota 2-1; Advances To Championship Against Union

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 11:17pm

In one of the most thrilling games in recent memory, the Minnesota Golden Gophers edged North Dakota with a last-second, short-handed, game-winner by Justin Holl, his first goal of the year.


It doesn't get any better than this. After sixty minutes of nail biting, senior defenseman Justin Holl flicked a wrister bast UND's Zane Gothberg with only six tenths of a second remaining on the clock, putting Minnesota up 2-1 and into the Frozen Four championship game this Saturday.

UND played this game almost to perfection, to their credit. They managed to control the play for much of the game, and did an excellent job of keeping the Gopher forwards on the perimeter and limiting penetration. Their only two glaring mistakes (other than constantly playing with six or seven skaters) resulted in Minnesota's two goals.


The first mistake was losing Sam Warning in the scrum in front of Gothberg after Gopher Captain Kyle Rau attempted a wraparound. Warning was untouched by a defender on the play, and neatly deposited a backhand goal after picking up Rau's rebound.

The second mistake was assuming the Gophers wouldn't attack after a face off in the Minnesota zone with 9.6 seconds remaining on the clock. UND was on the powerplay with Mike Reilly in the box for holding, only forward Rocco Grimaldi backchecked with any intensity. After Rau carried the puck into the zone, he attempted to throw the puck toward the front of the net, but the puck was blocked right onto Holl's stick. Holl immediately threw the puck at the net, and it squeaked in on the ice and off the far post with 0.6 seconds remaining on the clock.

That goal is for sure on the top five list for game winning Minnesota goals. It was an amazing end to one of the finest college hockey games anyone could hope for.

As always, Adam Wilcox played an outstanding game. The goal he allowed was flukey, sure; but many of the 36 saves he made were absolutely fantastic and kept Minnesota in the game as North Dakota pressed. It's a crime that he is not a finalist for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award.

I can't say much more about it than that, so here are my notes.

What I Liked

I like Travis Boyd shooting on a 3 on 2. It was good to see a Gopher enter the zone with possession, move into the high scoring percentage area right in the slot, and rip a shot at the net. I also didn't mind that it hit Gothberg straight in the face!

TDG Frozen Four Coverage 2014 Frozen Four Thursday Predictions Dark516Knight Thursday is FINALLY here! After two long, torturous weeks of waiting, we're only a few hours away from narrowing the championship field down to two teams. But who will win? I've looked into the future for you, and here's what I found. Frozen Four Preview: UND Dark516Knight Sorry, I guess I can't call them that anymore, despite the fact that every fan who wears their jersey still has a huge portrait of a Sioux warrior on their chest. TDG Frozen Four Coverage 2014 Frozen Four Thursday Predictions Frozen Four Preview: UND

I like blocking shots all game. If you're going to play against a team who carries the momentum and attempts a ton of shots, you need your skaters to absorb some rubber for you goalie. I don't have the blocking stats in front of me, but I'm pretty sure I remember Michael Brodzinski blocking five shots in the game. Well done.

I liked the way the Gophers started to swing the momentum back after the first five minutes of the game. UND came out flying, and Minnesota bent, but didn't break. I would have been more calm if the Gophers had scored early, but sports are exciting so that's ok.

Part of swinging that momentum back was the Vinnie Lettieri Connor Reilly line bringing a physical presence to the forecheck.

I like playing mistake free hockey and not allowing odd-man rushes. This is one-and-done hockey, and mistakes are unacceptable. The usually aggressive Gopher defense did a nice job of picking their spots and not getting beat on the breakout.

I love Justin Holl following the rush up the ice with time winding down to see what happened. In the post game interview, after describing how he jumped into the play, he said "I think I blacked out." I believe that. He clearly did not see his shot go in, and only reacted after he saw Seth Ambroz flying through the air in celebration. It was a great moment.

What I Hated

I hate having to sacrifice your offensive-defensemen prevent odd man rushes. While I agree that it needs to be this way, I hate tying Mike Reilly's game up. He might consider a move to forward in the future.

I didn't like the way North Dakota controlled the play in the first five minutes. I kind of expected that. Everyone knew UND would play this game like it was their last, and they did. I just didn't like watching it.

I don't like being out-shot in any period.

I don't like all the shots from the outside. Part of the problem was UND's disciplined defense, but I would have liked to see a little more penetration into the slot. Gothberg had a lot of easy saves in this one.

I didn't like the Gophers playing on their heels to start the second period. After the first period, I hoped for better pace in the second. Again, credit UND for playing well.

I hate losing faceoffs. Again, I don't have the stats on hand, but it felt like UND won far too many faceoffs in this one.

I hated watching Kyle Rau not connect on passes as the Gophers entered the offensive zone. Buuut he finished with assists on both goals, so all is forgiven.

I wrote this down: "Hated the whole third period." But that was before the first goal and obviously before the game-winner. Silly notes, paper can't keep up with my emotions.

I hated the sloppy defense that led to UND's goal only thirty some seconds after taking the lead. It was just a mental let-down by Mike Reilly, but it needs to be avoided in tournament situations.

Wrapping It up

So that's that. Holl's goal is the #1 Top Play on Sports Center. Ski-U-Mah.

#UNDTears

Categories: Minnesota Sports

Frozen Four 2014: Schedule, TV Listings, Gametimes, and Most Importantly - OPEN THREAD!

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 3:57pm

It's Frozen Four time. You know what to do.

Boston College vs. Union

A Frozen Four Drinking Game? Yes Please! Time For The Frozen Four Drinking Game Nathan Wells Be responsible though. Seriously. A Frozen Four Drinking Game? Yes Please! Time For The Frozen Four Drinking Game

When: 4:00 PM CT

TV: ESPN 2

Internet: WatchESPN for your computer or mobile device

Minnesota vs. North Dakota

When: 7:30 PM CT

TV: ESPN 2

Internet: WatchESPN for your computer or mobile device

Categories: Minnesota Sports

2014 Frozen Four Preview Q&A: North Dakota Blogger Might Need A New Blog Title?

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 8:35am

We talk with Eric Burton (@goon48) about North Dakota's chances, which Whioux player you're all going to hate, and why he doesn't plan on filling YouTube with more fight videos tonight. You might remember Eric from such blogs as Goon's World and SB Nation's own Hockey Wilderness.

We all know what day it is. To get a UND perspective on tonight's game I turned to Eric Burton (@goon48) of Goon's World. In an attempt to be neighborly, I tried to leave the door open for him to troll, but he pulled some crazy blogger jujitsu and took the high road.

TO THE Q&A!

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The Daily Gopher: First off, is there anything you'd like to say to Mike Eaves and the Badgers besides "Thank you suckers"?

Eric Burton: Ha. Thanks for the giving us an opportunity to end your season. Honestly, I have a lot of respect for Mike Eaves (ed: strike one) and the Wisconsin Badger hockey program (ed: strike two...watch yourself Burton!). The man can definitely coach. I referred to Wisconsin as defense U, because of all of the NHL defensemen that they have produced over the course of his tenure. That's one thing that I miss about the new realignment. We are no longer in a league with Wisconsin and Minnesota, two of the best rival teams in all of college hockey. Boston University and Boston College have to be three and four. Wisconsin and Minnesota teams put butts in the seats at the Ralph. I am sure Wisconsin will return the favor, and beat UND in a big game soon enough.

TDG Frozen Four Central Previewing North Dakota Dark516Knight I guess I can't call them the Fighting Sioux anymore, despite the fact that every fan who wears their jersey still has a huge portrait of a Sioux warrior on their chest. Frozen Four Predictions Dark516Knight Thursday is FINALLY here! After two long, torturous weeks of waiting, we're only a few hours away from narrowing the championship field down to two teams. But who will win? I've looked into the future for you, and here's what I found. TDG Frozen Four Central Previewing North Dakota Frozen Four Predictions


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TDG: How would you describe UND's season? Is there any reason the team didn't finish the year on a tear like they always seem to do following an early season slump? And did a large % of UND fans actually want Hakstol's head after this season up until UW helped you out?

EB: I would explain it in two words, emotionally draining. From October till November 30, 2013, the mood around the UND hockey team seemed pretty tense. Let's just say, this team has made a big transformation from the beginning of the season till now. I know it sounds cliché, but I think they grew up a lot this season.

When they were sitting at 4-7-2, many of the fans were starting to write them off. I don't think anyone was thinking about going to the Frozen Four. Home ice for the NCHC playoffs seemed like a distant possibility.

Then after losing 5-2 to St. Lawrence, the team had a players-only meeting and the guys seemed to respond. Let's put it this way, coach Hakstol has been in playoff mode since January. He's a very intense guy. I think that he's done a lot of "coaching" this season. This might be his best job so far.

True story, I went to a practice in November and things weren't going well, on the ice. I watched assistant coach Dane Jackson out skating a few of the players during drills. The coaches threw everyone one of the media members out of the arena and had a bag skate. I think that was the beginning of the transformation for this hockey team.
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TDG: Gothberg looks to have had a pretty darn good season. Despite that, UND backed into the NCAA tournament. What contributed most to Zane getting more losses hung on him?

EB: Gothberg started the season slow, and on November 30, 2013, his record was 2-5-2. Since December 1, 2013, Gothbeg is 18-4-1, with an NCAA leading 1.71 GAA and a .934 save percentage. He's given up two goals or less in 19-of-23 starts. In the other four starts, he only gave up three goals. I think the problem at the beginning of the season was that Gothberg getting used to his D-corps. On the backend, UND has a senior, a junior and sophomore. There are four freshmen fighting for the other three spots in the defense parings. It took some time for the D-corps to gel.
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TDG: One big downside to not seeing UND more this season is that I realized that outside of Grimaldi and Gothberg I'm not really up to speed on UND's individual players. Let's assume that the rest of the Gopher fan base is as poorly informed as me (yes, that was me teeing up a softball)...who should Minnesota fans be worried about and why?

Not A UND Blog - But They Have A UND Blogger Minnesota Wild
Not A UND Blog - But They Have A UND Blogger Minnesota Wild blog Hockey Wilderness

EB: Well they would probably know more about UND if the NCHC had a better television package. Obviously, I was able to watch the Gophers and Boston College play quite a bit this season. The wonders of DirecTV, right. Much like the Gophers, UND will roll four lines. Everyone is chipping in on the score card. The forward line of Drake Caggiula (11g-13a-24pts), Mark MacMillan (10g-16a-26pts), Michael Parks (12g-18a-30pts) is as good as any second line in college hockey.

The top line of Stephane Pattyn (7g-9a-16pts), Rocco Grimaldi (17g-22a-39pts) Luke Johnson(8g-13a-21pts) is very good. Grimaldi has really taken it up another notch during the second half of the season. Since February 21, 2014, Grimaldi has (7g-10a-17pts).

In my opinion, UND and UMN are very similar teams. There are no bad teams this time of year. Bad teams don't make the Frozen Four. If anything, I think UND kind of flew under the radar this season.
------------------------------
TDG: What UND player(s) will be the most likely to get Gophers fans screaming GOON! on Twitter?

EB: I told Joe Gravellese of BC Interruption that North Dakota is no longer a bunch of knuckle dragging Neanderthal goons, as some opposition fans like to call them. They can get up and go. Over the last couple of years, the coaching staff has transformed UND from a pound you out of the arena type team, to a team that can skate. I think this is a reaction to being run out of the building against the B.C. Eagles, during previous Frozen Fours. I think former UND defenseman Joe Finley is still trying to find his cup.

Looking at the national stats, UND is 18th in the nation for penalty minutes. In my opinion, Minnesota-Duluth is a bunch of goons, they're third in the nation in penalty minutes. That being said, I am certain the Gopher fans will learn to hate assistant captain Stephane Pattyn. He's the team leader in penalty minutes for UND. I am sure Gopher fans will be calling him a goon, before the weekend is over.
------------------------------
TDG: If you were Coach Hakstol, what would your gameplan be to beat Minnesota? Is this a game you think UND can win 5 on 5 if the Gophers are playing defense like they did last weekend?

EB: Stay out of the penalty box, stay out of the penalty box, and stay out of the penalty box. Don't lose your wits. Play under control. Stay out of the box. Connor Gaarder had a good quote on media day and it's probably good advice for both teams.

"You can get too jacked up for it, because you might make stupid plays," Gaarder said. "You have to keep your emotions in check and play strong, smart hockey."

More than likely, our game will get Hockey East officials and the game will end up being a special team's game.
------------------------------
TDG: As we approach Thursday's game, do you feel like the rivalry has lost a little heat now that Minnesota and UND are no longer conference foes? Or does your HATE burn as strong as ever?

EB: No. I don't think so. With that in mind, there's too much on the line. I am going to go out on a limb, there will be no line brawls on Thursday night. Not a single one. I don't see any instant classics (scrums and fights) popping up on Youtube after this game is over. Don't worry, if there is one, I will have it up on Youtube, quickly.

At last Wednesday's media day, the topics of playing the Gophers came up with each and every player. To a man, they talked about playing under control and not letting their emotions get away from them. I suspect the Minnesota players will be taking the same approach.
------------------------------
TDG: First season of the NCHC. Your thoughts?

EB: You have a league that took the best of the remaining schools from two conferences and formed a really tough league. When they were talking about "like-minded" schools, I really wish they would have added Michigan Tech, Mankato and Bemidji State, also. Of course there were many of the same match-ups as before, so that was kind of cool. Every weekend was literally a war, there were no nights off. There were no easy match-ups this past season.
The Frozen Faceoff was actually really cool, but it's not the Final Five. I have to give props to the NCHC, they did a good job of running the league this past season. I really like how they ran their social media and if you need something their Director of Communications Michael Weisman was very accommodating. That was one of the aspects that I thought was awesome. I think the NCHC is run much better than the WCHA was.
------------------------------
TDG: Let's assume the worst...if UND beats Minnesota who would you want to face in the Championship?

EB: From watching Boston College, I don't think UND matches up that well with them. But UND is due against them. I picked Union to beat Boston College in the semifinals, so I am going to go with Union.

------------------------------

Thanks to Eric! If you're looking for rivalry talk, stop by Goon's World.

Categories: Minnesota Sports

2014 Frozen Four Preview Q&A: Boston College Hawkey Talk With BC Interruption

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 7:52am

Joseph Gravellese (@joegrav) from the fine SB Nation blog BC Interruption (@bcinterruption) fills us in on the Eagles.

Boston College. The team with the best first line in college hockey and Hobey Baker award winner Johnny Gaudreau (yes, I already gave it to him). A team that faced the Gophers in the best college hockey game I've ever seen with my own eyes back in October. And possibly the team I least want to see the Gophers play in the tournament.

While BC is not an unfamiliar foe, I wanted to see what might have changed for them in the recent months. BC Interruption's own Joseph Gravellese (@joegrav) was kind enough to answer a few questions to get us all back up to speed.

------------------------------

The Daily Gopher: Boston College has clearly had a good season. Coming into this weekend, what would you say are the Eagles' biggest strengths and weaknesses?

Joseph Gravellese: As everyone knows by now, BC's main strength is their incredible top line, which has basically scored at will on opponents all year. As usual, BC is a very fast team, and a great passing team. A big key ot BC's success this year has been the offensive, puck-moving ability of the young defense corps, which has excelled at turning defense into offense.

Unfortunately, that D corps has on occasion made some blunders in terms of turning the puck over or making an inopportune rush that doesn't work out and gives the opponent a breakaway or an odd-man rush the other way. That's a product of both aggressiveness and inexperience, I think.

BC's other weakness has been an inability to establish a true shut down line that Jerry York has confidence in continuing to roll out as a fourth unit -- there have been numerous changes made to that line, with its most recent iteration featuring Michael Sit, Quinn Smith and Brendan Silk. Sit, Smith and then-linemate Danny Linell got worked pretty badly by Notre Dame's top line in the Hockey Eas tquarterfinals The reworked unit did pretty well in the regional round so expect them to stay together if Smith is healthy (he was questionable last we heard).

------------------------------

TDG Frozen Four Central Previewing Boston College Dark516Knight The BC Eagles fly into the Frozen Four on the backs of a trio of forwards that might be college hockey's best line ever. Frozen Four Predictions Dark516Knight Thursday is FINALLY here! After two long, torturous weeks of waiting, we're only a few hours away from narrowing the championship field down to two teams. But who will win? I've looked into the future for you, and here's what I found. TDG Frozen Four Central Previewing Boston College Frozen Four Predictions

TDG: Johnny Gaudreau. Evil cyborg or the final product of years of research into goal scoring genetics?

JG: Evil cyborg.

ED NOTE: I think he's lying. It's a poorly kept secret that BC has been investing in cloning research for years now in the hopes of copying a player just like Johnny Hockey.

------------------------------

TDG: Notre Dame clearly had your number down the stretch this season. What did they do that enabled them to pick up wins in three of the last four games of BC's Hockey East schedule (all at BC I might add)? Do you think Union or a potential Championship opponent can exploit the same things to beat BC?

JG: Notre Dame has been a bad matchup for BC for years now. Sort of a bizzaro version of BC football owning the Irish in the late 90s/early-to-mid 2000s, where the "underdog" really gets up for the game. Moreso than that, Notre Dame plays an incredibly disciplined, smart neutral zone trap that BC really struggles with. Notre Dame didn't have to force anything - they waited for BC to force passes or make a mistake to turn the puck over, then used their speed to lash out and strike quickly against BC. Thatcher Demko struggled between the pipes during that quarterfinal series too, which didn't help.

Notre Dame is a really good team and probably should have beaten St. Cloud State, frankly. They were unlucky to lose that one. I think they would have posed a really interesting challenge to the Gophers, but I guess we'll never know.

I certainly hope Union or Minnesota or North Dakota or whoever decides "oh we're going to copy Notre Dame" because unless they are naturally a trap-first team they aren't going to execute that game plan as well as Notre Dame does. If there's any lesson to what ND pulled off against BC it's that discipline and sticking to your own style is how to get it done against BC. It also helped that the officials allowed full-scale mugging of Johnny Gaudreau and other BC offensive weapons throughout the series without calling any interference, hooking, holding etc. penalties (ND is out now and BC is in the Frozen Four, so it's not whining anymore, right?)

Frozen Four Foe Boston College Eagles
Frozen Four Foe Boston College Eagles blog BC Interruption

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TDG: Boston College's first line is ridamndiculous. The trio of Gaudreau, Hayes, and Arnold scored 47% of the team's 160 goals this season and accounted for 66% of their 289 total points. While that's insane (completely outright stupid good), is that a recipe for disaster if Union (or a potential Championship opponent) can hold that line in check?

JG: Sort of, I guess. I wouldn't go so far as to call it a "recipe for disaster" because thus far it has been easier said than done. I do have confidence that the Calnan, Gilmour and Gaudreau-the-younger line is doing to do some damage against Union. Just a hunch. I think the style of game BC would likely get in to against a NoDak or a Minnesota would be conducive to Gaudreau, Arnold and Hayes getting opportunities to score.

------------------------------

TDG: What's the gameplan you want to see BC execute against Union?

JG: Make smart passes and don't turn the puck over - just like against UMass-Lowell, Union is the type of team that will pounce on any bad mistakes. The defensemen need to pick their spots on when to carry the puck or join the rush. Don't take dumb penalties (Union scored 3 PPG against BC last year and they have a number of outstanding puck-moving defensemen).

TDG: Predictions for the weekend?

JG: Since we bought balcony tickets rather than going through BC, I predict I will see at least one skirmish in the crowd between a Minnesota fan and a [redacted] fan. I will be quite disappointed if that prediction does not come true.

------------------------------

Thanks to Joseph for taking the time to help us out! For more Boston College coverage, make sure to stop by BC Interruption.

Categories: Minnesota Sports