Monday, April 26, 2010

Wisconsin's Top Assistant Moves On

After coming within a game of the national championship, Wisconsin has some holes to fill. Not only do they lose Hobey Baker winner Blake Geoffrion, and likely junior defenseman Brendan Smith, but head coach Mike Eaves has to hire two new assistant coaches.

Kevin Patrick left for the USHL after the season, in a move that was announced before the Badgers were done playing. He stayed on and helped as much as he could down the stretch.

Possibly more valuable was the work of longtime Eaves assistant Mark Osiecki. He worked with the Badger defensemen, getting a lot of kudos from the current players, as well as former players like Jamie McBain, who sung Osiecki's praises when I talked to him in March.

Now, Osiecki is moving on to become the new head coach at Ohio State.

"I can't express how excited I am at the opportunity to take over the hockey program at an institution as great as Ohio State," Osiecki said. "The locker room is filled with good players, and I look forward to building on the tradition of the coaches who have come before me."

Osiecki not only was a major part of Wisconsin's defense, but he was the main recruiter on the staff. Losing him could prove to be as big as any possible early departure on the Wisconsin roster.

Meanwhile, Eaves has a very tough job ahead of him, as he tries to replace two valued members of his coaching staff.

If he's lucky, the early departures will be kept to a minimum.

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