Monthly Archives: May 2011

Kaufman to Serve As Volunteer Assistant

Yep- the Brian Kaufman, the same one who captained the ‘Hawks to the Frozen Four two years ago. It was announced on Monday that Kaufy will be joining the Miami coaching staff this season as a volunteer assistant, after a disappointing stint (mainly due to injury) in professional hockey. Here’s Rico on what he believes Kaufman will bring to the table:

“Brian was a big part of our program as a player and we’re excited to have him as one of the staff members. I think he’ll bring a lot to the table. He’s well-respected and understands the game and the leadership aspect. All of those qualities that he possesses will help our program continue to evolve into a consistent program where we’re playing at a high level.” (MURedHawks.com)

Gotta agree with that. Those who knew Brian know of the great hockey mind he possesses, after all he was a high school quarterback in Minnesota before attending Miami. I personally feel that Brian will make a great coach because of this and that the Miami hockey program will only benefit from his presence. It’s always nice when former players return and make the program all that much better and Kaufman is most certainly on the right path to following the footsteps of some Miami alums who have made their way behind the bench.

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The Schedule Is Out!

On Friday afternoon, the Miami Athletic Department released the 2011-2012 hockey schedule, which can be seen by clicking the “Schedule” tab at the top of this page. The CCHA opponents are, of course standard…directional Michigan schools, Buckeyes, and Polar Bears. But what about the other odds & ends? Here is my breakdown of the upcoming slate of games:

– I like that the schedule once again features the two “home and home” weekends with Ohio State. If you’ll recall, last season the Buckeyes didn’t make the trip to Oxford…the teams only met twice with both games being played at Value City Arena. I think this (Ohio State series) is a great thing for Miami Hockey. Based on the name recognition alone, I feel this is a better opportunity to draw more casual fans to Cady Arena. OSU travels well and the competition is always high stakes.

– Some may complain that the non-conference schedule isn’t strong enough (as I myself have been known to do), but I really like the fact that Bemidji is coming to Oxford this season. I think it’s a great test for the RedHawks in their building, just as St. Cloud and UNH have been in the past few seasons. Remember, the Beavers are a part of the WCHA now and play teams like Denver, North Dakota, and UMD every weekend. This isn’t the College Hockey America version of Bemidji, keep in mind. Last season they finished 15-18-5 and were a part of the “Final Five” tournament. Again, they aren’t North Dakota, but still good competition, in my opinion.

– Miami closes the season with 9 of the final 16 games on home ice. For a program that has been known to “Swoon” after the holiday break, this could be a good chance to atone those losses (if it happens, that is) and pick up some momentum heading into the post-season.

– Speaking of the holidays, the RedHawks will head West for the Denver Cup during Thanksgiving weekend. The ‘Hawks will take on Denver on the second day and either Princeton or Providence on Friday night. The University says that they’re not sure if they’ll play Princeton or Providence, but reliable sources close to the DU program have said that Miami will take on Providence in the first game. Stay tuned…

– The Brotherhood will have both a road and home series this season with Lake Superior State, Michigan, Northern Michigan, and of course, the split home and home weekends with Ohio State. Not a bad cluster group, if I say so myself.

– Since the team has to make the 3,721 mile trek to Fairbanks this season, the two extra home games appear to be with the homeless (read confrenceless) Alabama-Huntsville Chargersm set to take place in February. I like the non-conference opponent late in the season, as opposed to strictly CCHA games during the second half. The last time the two school’s met, the RedHawks beat UAH in the 2009-2010 NCAA Tournament.

Do you have any thoughts on the newly released schedule? If so, leave them in the comments section of this post!

Go RedHawks!

Update On Jones Contract Situation

The following is from a great piece over on the Chatham-Kent Sports Network about former RedHawk Ryan Jones and his current status in the NHL. As of July 1, 2011 the ex-Miami captain will become an Unrestricted Free Agent-free to sign with any team that bids for his services and there is said to be no guarantee that the third year pro (I know, third year…really?) will return to the Edmonton Oilers.

Here’s Jonesy on where he and the Oil stand:

“We are still in talks right now,” said Jones. ”We aren’t in a huge rush right now as both my agent and the Oilers management have lots of stuff on their plates right now.  The things I am taking into consideration right now would be my fit in the organization and the fact that both my wife and I enjoy being in Edmonton and playing there.  That being said like any player I want some stability so that is where we are at right now.” (CKSN)

The problem with Jones is that many in the NHL feel he is a “3rd line plus” player- a guy that provides energy, competes every shift and chips in a few goals if he gets some bounces. While those of us who followed his college career need no introduction to his goal scoring ability, guys that carry a “bottom six” reputation as Jones does aren’t usually in high demand on the free agent market. Many teams, however, believe they can fill these role player spots with players from within the organization (i.e. the minors). The best case scenario is that the Oilers (and teams wishing to sign him) will view his career-high 18 goals (tied for tops on the Oilers) as yet untapped potential and utilize his skill-set on the second or third line, not on a checking line as most of his career has been spent.

By the way, Jones was also honored as Edmonton’s representative for the NHL’s Bill Masterton trophy, an annual award given to the player on each team that is said to most exhibit a dedication to hockey.