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Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2018-2019: Fire Motzko

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  • Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2018-2019: Fire Motzko

    Originally posted by SteveO View Post
    IMO I don't see the trendline in attendance changing much this coming season, perhaps even declining a bit further based upon what you mentioned and other factors. Both Ohio State and the Gophers lost a lot of scoring and I think these two teams will fight for some place (4th-5th) on the low end of the pack in the B1G standings.

    With much of their high octane scoring returning, Penn St. is my early pick for the B1G title. The Liam Folkes' line with Evan Barratt and Alex Limoges is back who combined for 53 goals and 70 assists for 123 points good for 3.84 points per game, the most in the nation by any one line. Limoges tied Hirose (MSU -signed with Detroit) for most points in the nation last season. Their only negative is their D has to improve and Peyton Jones has to stop being a sieve. The Nittany Lions had the dubious honor of landing last in the B1G in GA and 5th in the nation. PSU is hosting the regional in their backyard in Allentown, PA in 2020, so if they get those things fixed they're a FF team.

    Michigan lost Josh Norris and Hughes, but the bulk of their scoring returns and they will be contenders. They struggled in net last season. But they're bringing in 6-6, Goteborg, Sweden native, Erik Portillo (Frolunda HC J20) which seems like a nice find for the Wolverines.

    Much of the scoring by committee for UW will be returning and they have one of their best recruiting classes in recent years coming in with forwards Alex Turcotte and Cole Caufield expected to be first-round NHL draft picks later this month. They'll also get a head start on the season playing twice against the University of British Columbia in Vancouver over Labor Day weekend (August 30-Sept. 1). The NCAA allows teams to take a foreign trip for exhibition games once every four years. The big advantage for the BADgers is they get 10 days of practice leading up to the trip. Normally coaches can't get on the ice until the start of the fall semester on Sept. 4.

    Notre Dame was young on the backline last season and only lost four seniors, so they'll be tough this season as well. With Cale Morris returning in net, whose .093 SV% was 7th in the nation, ND will be much improved from last season.
    Clearly, it's all Lucia's fault if they finish in the bottom half.

    There are a lot of holes and improvements that need to occur for this team to play at a high level. Just have to replace majority of scoring, see more improvement in Defensive play, and , oh, hope a new goalie turns into a freshman stud. But on the other hand, we've all gone into seasons with the team on paper looking like a Final Four team and struggle, and teams with low expectations excel beyond expectations. I remember thinking after Duluth lost in the NCAA three years ago that with all the departures, especially on D, they would be rebuilding the next year and struggle, but they seemed to do OK the last two years.

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    • Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2018-2019: Fire Motzko

      Originally posted by The Rube View Post
      I'd think about it, I wanted to go to the last UND@MN game, but those prices....f that. That was ridiculous.
      I have gone to the Cities the last few years for Thanksgiving, so will probably be in town for the series, and know the family and a player on the Whouix, so it would be fun to go and pre-game with our friends (but not sit with them preferably - have tough time picturing myself seeing them in person screaming for the Whouix and still being friends after - I'd rather stay delusional and imagine they are secretly Gopher fans.) and watch a MN-UND game. But I don't know if I can justify the $100 per seat, especially since at least one kid might want to go along.

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      • Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2018-2019: Fire Motzko

        Originally posted by Koho View Post
        Clearly, it's all Lucia's fault if they finish in the bottom half.

        There are a lot of holes and improvements that need to occur for this team to play at a high level. Just have to replace majority of scoring, see more improvement in Defensive play, and , oh, hope a new goalie turns into a freshman stud. But on the other hand, we've all gone into seasons with the team on paper looking like a Final Four team and struggle, and teams with low expectations excel beyond expectations. I remember thinking after Duluth lost in the NCAA three years ago that with all the departures, especially on D, they would be rebuilding the next year and struggle, but they seemed to do OK the last two years.
        UMD recruited strong on the blueline and got good goaltending the last two seasons. Those are the two question marks I see with the Gophers next season.

        Lafontaine is a Michigan reject that became BCHL’s top goaltender, so hopefully he doesn't break stride. Good article: REFLECTIONS: JACK LAFONTAINE

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        • Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2018-2019: Fire Motzko

          Originally posted by SteveO View Post
          Lafontaine is a Michigan reject that became BCHL’s top goaltender, so hopefully he doesn't break stride. Good article: REFLECTIONS: JACK LAFONTAINE
          Hopefully he plays well enough to make Minnesota his last stop for the next two seasons. It is a little worrisome, though, that Michigan gave up on him...makes you wonder why.
          Minnesota Golden Gopher Hockey

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          • Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2018-2019: Fire Motzko

            Originally posted by D2D View Post
            Hopefully he plays well enough to make Minnesota his last stop for the next two seasons. It is a little worrisome, though, that Michigan gave up on him...makes you wonder why.
            LaFontaine will be 22 years old in January. My guess is Mel Pearson decided to go with a younger and taller 18-year old recruit in 6' 6" Swede Erik Portillo, given this is Hayden Lavigne's last season. Potillo was the best goalie in J20 SuperElit, which if you're unfamiliar is a 20 team junior league in Sweden. It's a smart move by Pearson, and I wouldn't be surprised if he rotates him in or eventually replaces Lavigne. The Gophers saw a lot of Strauss Mann last season (final series sweep vs Michigan), but neither Mann nor Lavigne played well.

            JL's two seasons with the Wolverines: 5-11-1, SV% .900, GAA 3.40. With his return to D1, he's definitely got something to prove. I hope he brings his A game early and often or it'll be a long season.
            Last edited by SteveO; 06-10-2019, 04:20 PM.

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            • Originally posted by SteveO View Post

              Michigan lost....Hughes, but the bulk of their scoring returns and they will be contenders.
              I’d call losing Hughes a net gain
              I wanna go fast!

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              • Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2018-2019: Fire Motzko

                Originally posted by UMD21 View Post
                I’d call losing Hughes a net gain
                Ok, I'll bite...what's your take on him?

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                • Originally posted by SteveO View Post
                  Ok, I'll bite...what's your take on him?
                  My exposure to him was watching the WJC. Talked to some Michigan fans sounds like he gave them a bit of heartburn as well.
                  He holds the puck too much, tries too much, makes costly turnovers. At first I was thinking ok he’s not used to this high level of competition maybe he’ll adapt his play to the level of competition—he didn’t. Continued to be a liability through the tournament I’m surprised they didn’t scratch him but I’m not a coach. So I really don’t see how he’s going to fare any better in the NHL. He doesn’t have the skills his brother has to get away with that style of play
                  I wanna go fast!

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                  • Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2018-2019: Fire Motzko

                    Losing Quinn Hughes is a net loss.

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                    • Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2018-2019: Fire Motzko

                      Originally posted by UMD21 View Post
                      My exposure to him was watching the WJC. Talked to some Michigan fans sounds like he gave them a bit of heartburn as well.
                      He holds the puck too much, tries too much, makes costly turnovers. At first I was thinking ok he’s not used to this high level of competition maybe he’ll adapt his play to the level of competition—he didn’t. Continued to be a liability through the tournament I’m surprised they didn’t scratch him but I’m not a coach. So I really don’t see how he’s going to fare any better in the NHL. He doesn’t have the skills his brother has to get away with that style of play
                      I think I partially agree, but Hughes is a loss for Michigan. Fortunately for the Wolverines, they'll reload with another youngblood on the blueline with projected NHL 1st rounder Cam York.

                      When I look at a player like Quinn Hughes, who is obviously in the eyes of scouts and the Vancouver Canucks a defensive talent AND a highly skilled offensive player with an elite blend of vision, creativity, puckhandling, speed and decision-making, it's hard to imagine how he will be anything but successful in NHL. One thing for sure, his agent Pat Brisson, who is perhaps the best in the business today maintaining big-time active contracts for John Tavares, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Sidney Crosby, Anze Kopitar, etc. wouldn't even give Hughes a cup of coffee if he felt like he wasn't going to excel in the NHL. I didn't catch his successful NHL debut, but apparently Hughes and Brock Boeser connected several times in the playoffs (3 pts. in 5 games). Hughes burned his first year in the playoffs and has two seasons left on his ELC for a total of $2.7M. Not bad for 19 years old.

                      With regard to last season, IIRC he was somewhere around 5th in the nation in assists among defensivemen. However, although I'm not a terribly vivacious fan of the +/- stat given the abundance of confounds embedded in variable, he did register high in the minus category, as did Dante Fabbro (BU) of whom there is some similarity to Hughes in this category and signed with the Predators in March as well. IMO a young, uniquely gifted 19 year-old like Hughes, needs time and space to flex his wings and that's inevitably going to mean turnovers, miscalculations, and being out of position which often led to odd man rushes for the opponent. So I have no argument with you there.

                      Coaching a highly talented D like Hughes requires that he be paired with a supportive player on D along with an understanding from his teammates that puck support will be needed at times for a "run and gun" guy like him. I think Michigan coach Mel Pearson whom I think is one of the best in the NCAA, tried to do that as a much as possible while accepting the growing pains as well. Perhaps he'll end up alongside someone like Chris Tanev who IMO is the Canucks best D, and the total package of hockey IQ, smooth skating, quick puck movement and would pair seamlessly with Hughes to provide defensive support when needed.

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                      • Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2018-2019: Fire Motzko

                        Originally posted by UMD21 View Post
                        My exposure to him was watching the WJC. Talked to some Michigan fans sounds like he gave them a bit of heartburn as well.
                        He holds the puck too much, tries too much, makes costly turnovers. At first I was thinking ok he’s not used to this high level of competition maybe he’ll adapt his play to the level of competition—he didn’t. Continued to be a liability through the tournament I’m surprised they didn’t scratch him but I’m not a coach. So I really don’t see how he’s going to fare any better in the NHL. He doesn’t have the skills his brother has to get away with that style of play
                        Fans were saying the same thing about Charlie McAvoy when he left NCAA, and he's done alright.

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                        • Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2018-2019: Fire Motzko

                          Didn't want to search for the BT thread...


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                          • Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2018-2019: Fire Motzko

                            A few thoughts on Bryce Brodzinski and the NHL draft. Interesting and somewhat puzzling to see the recipient of the 2018-19 Mr. Hockey Award, given to the best HS hockey player in the State of Minnesota, selected by the Flyers in the 7th and final round @ 196. He just barely qualified for the 2018 Draft based upon his birth date (Aug. 9, 2000) and was subsequently passed over last season, so this was his second shot at the draft.

                            Sammy Walker, 2017-18 Mr. Hockey was also selected in the 7th round @ 200 in the 2017 draft, but that was before his senior HS season (2017-18) after which he won the award. So Brodzinski's low draft pick did raise some eyebrows.

                            There's certainly no question about Brodzinski's dominating performance in MN HS hockey last season (32-44-76 in 23 games) as a captain at Blaine HS. But judging a player based solely on a career best HS season was apparently a tough call for NHL teams.

                            It’s noteworthy that Brodzinski was a bit older and perhaps a more physically solid player (6'0" @ 196-200lbs) than most HS players. However, his short stint in the USHL with the Omaha Lancers proved he can compete at a higher level (7-10-17 in 19 games), a team that struggled scoring goals last season and ranked 15th/17 teams in GF.

                            Nevertheless, some GMs may have speculated that his performance was enhanced by beating up on the smaller high school competition. I suspect NHL teams were not keen on taking a risk with Bryce thinking his performance against lower level competition might be a false positive and not translate to a more advanced level of play.

                            It should be interesting to see how Brodzinski fits into the lineup for the Gophers this season. Seems to me he has something to prove to himself and others, and especially NHL teams who waited too long and passed him over again. IMO the Flyers snatched up on a bargain with Brodzinski with his obvious innate ability to find open space and the back of the net as a natural goal scorer. Based upon the Flyers current rebuilding strategy from top to bottom, if Brodzinski excels they may come calling in two seasons.

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                            • Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2018-2019: Fire Motzko

                              Spot on observations, SteveO. I would add that he didn't live up to all the hype in the state tournament, scoring just one of his team's twelve goals in their three games. I too am looking forward to see how he'll do at the college level, and he'll use the motivation of getting snubbed in the draft to prove his critics wrong.
                              Minnesota Golden Gopher Hockey

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                              • Re: Minnesota Golden Gopher Season 2018-2019: Fire Motzko

                                Loving this thread, very interesting discussion
                                Last edited by penak; 06-23-2019, 12:37 PM.

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