Wednesday, December 01, 2010

UMD Hockey Notes

With everything going on this week, I haven't made it down to the DECC. Of course, that doesn't mean things aren't happening.

Defenseman Dylan Olsen was named to Canada's World Junior team tryout camp. Olsen tried out for last year's silver-medal team, but Hockey Canada hates college hockey players chose to send Olsen back to Duluth. Olsen struggled a bit in the second half of the season, and it's been theorized that the snub affected his play.

So far, Olsen's been a monster this season. He leads UMD defensemen in scoring, and when you watch him play, you almost automatically conclude that he's a goner to pro hockey after this season.

Making the Canadian team would be a nice feather in Olsen's cap. He will miss time for UMD regardless, because the camp is Dec. 12-15 in Toronto, and the Bulldogs play at Minnesota Dec. 10-11. If he makes the team, he'll be gone for the Amsoil Arena opener Dec. 30, as well as the Clarkson series Jan. 3-4.

If that's not bad enough, Justin Faulk might be joining him. Well, at the tournament in Buffalo Dec. 26-Jan. 5. Faulk is going to be on the U.S. camp roster, and while he's not a shoo-in for the U.S. roster, it seems more likely than not.

(This seems like a really good time to remind you that Team USA won the gold last year in this tournament. So suck on that, Canada.)

That would leave UMD without -- arguably -- their top two defensemen for a huge game against North Dakota. Assistant coaches Derek Plante and Brett Larson both brought this up as a great opportunity for the other defensemen on this roster. UMD has ten, and five of them have been in a never-ending struggle for ice time. The competition has been fun to watch in practice, and things could get really interesting if someone steps up and plays well while Olsen and Faulk are (presumably) gone at the WJC.

Will he or won't he? Must be something about guys named Brett.

Kevin Pates notes that we don't know for sure yet if Brett Hull will make it to Saturday's final game at the DECC. I was told the same thing by a couple people earlier this week.

It almost reads like we are being duped in hopes that there's a surprise in store for fans Saturday night. If that's the case, it's both genius and aggravating at the same time.

If it's seriously that Hull hasn't or can't make up his mind, then maybe there is something about being named Brett that renders the person indecisive by nature.

Of course, Hull -- who starred at UMD for two stellar years in the 1980s -- can do whatever he wants. He's earned that right with those 700-plus goals and two Stanley Cups, one of which I hoisted over my head at Grandma's Sports Garden in 1999.

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