Monthly Archives: June 2009

>There’s A Draft In Here…

>The 2009 NHL Entry Draft has wrapped up from Montreal and four future, or present RedHawks had their names called.

The first to go, was 2010 commit Reilly Smith, a winger, drafted by the Dallas Stars in the third round (69 overall). Smith, who played last season for the St. Michael’s Buzzers in the OJHL, was originally ranked at number 158 on the NHL’s Central Scouting list. His selection at 69 is a jump of 89 spots. AT 6’0, 157 Smith has good size, but desperately needs to fill out a his frame. Dallas made it clear that the wing was an area of concern, selecting 4 wingers out of 5 picks.

Next to go, was sophomore defenseman Chris Wideman, selected by the Ottawa Senators in the fourth round (100 overall). Wideman, who quarterbacked the CCHA’s second best powerplay in 2009, will surely be on the Sens “watch list,” as they’re steadily rebuilding a solid D-corps. His puck moving abilities are a must have on every NHL roster. Look for Wideman to continue to improve in the following years.

No action for Miami in the fifth round, however another winger, Curtis McKenzie, set to join the ‘Hawks in the Fall, was also taken by the Dallas Stars, only in round 6 at 159 overall. He led the Penticton Vees of the BCHL in scoring this season, with 33 goals and 41 assists. McKenzie is considered to be a two-way power forward who is strong in front of the net and in the corners, but can also score goals and has great size for that, at 6’2, 192.

Last to be taken was sophomore goaltender Connor Knapp, by the Buffalo Sabres in round 6, 164 overall, just five spots down from McKenzie. Knapp was ranked number 19 on the list of 31 North American goalies that are draft eligible. In his freshman campaign, Knapp posted a 13-5-3 record and a 2.09 goals against average and will fit nicely in a Buffalo organization with a dwindling supply of ‘tenders in the system. Knapp, along with Wideman, will be attending the USA World Junior Evaluation Camp in August.


>News From Across the Pond

>- Former RedHawk captain Derek Edwardson has a new home for the 2009-2010 season. Eddy joins HC Fassa of the “Serie A” Italian league, after spending the previous two seasons with Heilbronner EC, in Germany. Serie A is the top professional league in Italy. Fassa plays in Canazei, in the Italian province of Trento.

– While one alum has a new home for next season, another one is staying put, yet again. Danny Stewart has re-signed for a fourth season with the Coventry Blaze, in England. Stewart, a fan-favorite of the Blaze, graduated from Miami in 2003, and helped lead the Blaze to back to back Elite League titles in 2006-2007 and 2007-2008. Coventry finished as the league runner-up in 2008-2009. 
– An Italian website has forward Marty Guerin signing with SG Pontebba, in Italy. Guerin spent the 2008-2009 season with the ECHL’s Charlotte Checkers, but missed almost the entire season with a knee-injury, suffered early on. Stay tuned to hear if this is a confirmed signing, or simply a rumor. 

>Sophomore defenseman Weber Arrested, Released

>He may be in the midst of a simple misunderstanding, but Will Weber is now undoubtedly in a certain degree of “hot water” shall we say, as he was arrested by the Oxford Police Department on Sunday.

Details are sketchy as to why the purse was actually taken from the Oxford bar that Weber was at. The police report claims that the sophomore defenseman left the bar, with the bag in hand, and attempted to hide it from police officers as he left.

Here’s where things become confusing…

Weber claimed the purse was that of a girl he was walking with, but the report claims that the girl was carrying her own purse and that it did not belong to her. The true owner of the purse was eventually found and she claimed to not know Weber, or the girl he was with. Upon leaving, Weber, highly intoxicated at the time of the incident, claims that the girl had asked him to grab her purse, but claims he took the bag in question completely by accident. The officers on scene spoke with the woman that was with Weber and the report alleges that she never asked him to grab the purse. The woman also said that she believed the theft to be simply a mistake.

He was charged with theft, and underage drinking and subsequently released.

Even though the circumstances are strange, I have to think that this was just a stupid mistake on his part. Of the many facets of Miami hockey, crime is not one of them. The coaching staff brings in quality players, both on ice and off, year after year. Sure, there may be a bad seed here and there, but Weber is not cut from this cloth. We’ve all done silly things while under the influence and I’m sure he’ll have a nice chat with Coach Blasi, if it hasn’t happened already.

On an unrelated related note, Weber, a 2007 second round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets, will be in development camp with the team beginning next week.

>Eichenlaub Signs With Condors

>Add another name to the list of RedHawks in the pros, as defenseman Ray Eichenlaub has signed a contract with the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL.

This is a great chance for Eichenlaub, who endured a tough senior season at Miami, watching his share of games from the seats at Cady Arena. Injuries also bothered Eichenlaub at times throughout his career (not to mention being hit by a car before last season).
More now, from Condors’ Head Coach Marty Raymond on the signing: 
“Ray is a very well-rounded defenseman. He can put up good numbers, but also plays sound defensive hockey. He’s very reliable at both ends of the ice and will work hard every night.”
And from Eichenlaub: 
“I’m excited to come play for a city that seems like they really rally around their hockey. It’s a big accomplishment for me to be able to move on and further my career. I’m really looking forward to getting out there and I’m going to play as hard as possible for the city and the fans.”
Bakersfield is gaining a true workhorse here, as those that follow Miami hockey know how dedicated he is to the game and how much of a team player he is. The Condors are the ECHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks.
Congrats, Ray!

>Knapp, Wideman to Attend USA Junior Camp

>Connor Knapp and Chris Wideman have a chance to showcase Miami University on a global stage, while representing their country at the same time. The two RedHawk sophomores have been invited to attend the United States National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, NY in August. 

With an invitation to the camp, Knapp and Wideman, both CCHA All-Rookie Team selections, are candidates, should they make the team, for the 2010 U.S. National Junior squad that will compete in the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Knapp, a goaltender, would be only the second Miamian to make the squad, as Jeff Zatkoff was on the 2007 squad. Wideman, a defenseman, would be the first RedHawk blueliner to participate and only the second RedHawk skater to do to, joining Nathan Davis, also in 2007.

The World Junior teams are comprised of the best under 20 hockey players, by country. The camp runs from August 7-15 and the 2010 Tournament runs from December 26, 2009  to January 5, 2010.

>Knapp Ranked 7th Best College Prospect

>With the NHL draft just two short weeks away, Hockey’s Future has once again reviewed the top 10 NCAA draft-eligible prospects. While Minnesota forward Jordan Schroeder is the unanimous top prospect (and a top 15 pick, at least), Miami sophomore goaltender Connor Knapp cracks the list at number 7. Here’s the writeup:

Knapp was half of one of the nation’s best goaltending tandems this season. Though he played in just one post-season game, Knapp was an integral part of the RedHawks success this season. He was named to the CCHA All-Rookie team after posting a 13-5-3 record that included three shutouts in 23 games.

Knapp is a towering goaltender that is remarkably agile. He utilizes his large frame very well and is excellent in his positioning. Knapp’s rebound control, especially on second and third opportunities, is also quite good. He possesses good lateral movement too. Knapp is very focused and poised in playing his position. Though his puck handling has improved over the course of the season, it is an area that he will need to continue to work on to be successful at the next level.

Miami assistant coach Brent Brekke on Knapp: “The one thing that Connor did a great job in was just changing his habits. Connor’s very dedicated in all aspects of his life. He’s a pretty detailed kid, which I think really indicates why he has made such big strides. He’s also taken that extra step in getting himself into peak condition to become a better goalie. Connor is a kid that takes care of the little details like a pro.”

I should also point out that Knapp was ranked 19th out of 30 North American goaltenders by NHL Central Scouting. Miami sophomore defenseman Chris Wideman was listed as a “notable.”

Click here to see which other NCAA players made the list.

>3 RedHawks to Attend Jackets Development Camp

>The Columbus Blue Jackets have released the roster for the team’s 2009 development camp and three players with Miami ties have been invited.

Trent Vogelhuber is the lone forward to make the roster, while Will Weber and Kevin Roeder will represent the RedHawk defense. You’ll recall that Vogelhuber (Rd. 7, 211 overall) and Weber (Rd. 2, 53 overall) were both selected by Columbus in the 2007 draft and have attended the rookie camp before. Roeder is a free agent invitee.

The camp will be held at Nationwide Arena’s Dispatch Ice Haus and will run from June 29-July 3. Admission is free, with the times of each days’ workout listed below:

June 29: 2:45 to 4:15 p.m.
June 30: 10:30 a.m. to noon
July 1: 10:30 a.m. to noon
July 2: 10:30 a.m. to noon

View the rest of the Jackets D-Camp roster by clicking here.

>Loupee Signs With CHL’s Americans

>The offseason signings continue today, as forward Bill Loupee has signed with the expansion Allen Americans of the Central Hockey League. 

Those local to the greater Cincinnati/Miami Valley area may recognize the name Bill McDonald, an associate coach of the team. He spent the past two years as the head coach of the Dayton Bombers and coached former Miamian Nino Musitelli. Lopuee’s signing makes him the fourth player signed by the team, as GM/Head Coach Dwight Mullins has already signed three players that played last season for McDonald in ECHL Dayton. 
The Americans will play at the newly constructed Allen Events Center in Allen, Texas.