One long, backlash-filled day after telling coaches and teammates that he would be leaving Eden Prairie HS to play in the USHL, Kyle Rau has decided that he will stay at Eden Prairie for his senior season. Much like aiding revolution in Iran, or getting a complete listing of things that get more ice time than Paul Bissonnette, this is another huge victory for social media. Perhaps if we all banded together, we could pressure Rau and Minnesota head coach Don Lucia into wearing ridiculous wigs and looking silly(well, moreso).
While college coaches can't necessarily "force" players to play in one league or another--an accusation that seemed to get thrown at Lucia a lot today--they do hold a pretty hefty bargaining chip in terms of deciding when a player will start his college career. It will be impossible to ever fully know what promises were made, and with what conditions, and if those conditions ever changed, but it's pretty clear that somebody screwed this up pretty badly. Rau leaving for the USHL wouldn't have been a huge deal--six other Gopher recruits could be playing high school hockey in Minnesota this year, but opted to play elsewhere, and nary a peep was said about them today--if it had been handled better and the decision was made far earlier. But something clearly changed in the past week or so that led Rau to reconsider his decision to stay at Eden Prairie, and created another fiasco for a Minnesota program that already has enough problems to deal with.