The Twitters went ablaze last night with a rumor that four OHL teams would be playing a double-header at Michigan Stadium the day before the NHL's Winter Classic, which pretty much would have been the worst thing since fascism and restaurants that serve kettle chips with sandwiches and make you pay extra for fries. Thankfully, I saved a pretty spleen-filled post until the morning, and by then, the rumors had been killed. The games will be played at an alternate location, almost guaranteed to be Comerica Park, which would be a fun event, and a nice addition to the festivities, though it would be a bit watered-down since it would take place during the World Juniors, meaning most of the CHL's bought foreign talent would be unavailable.
Notre Dame's Riley Sheahan was suspended by the CCHA for one game last weekend for a hit on Western Michigan's Dane Walters.The Irish appealed the suspension allowing him to play on Friday, but it was upheld, keeping him out of the Saturday game. Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson wasn't happy with how the CCHA handled the suspension. He has a bit of a point. The original penalty was initially charged to the wrong player--Notre Dame's Jeff Costello rather than Sheahan--and incorrectly called a contact to the head penalty. The officiating crew that evening was replaced by a new crew the following night.
That said, I didn't see the hit, but have no problem with the suspension. Sheahan may not have made contact with Walters' head, but he almost certainly made an illegal hit--which is all the CCHA press release for the suspension specified--and even Jackson conceded it was an illegal hit, saying it probably should have been called interference. As a result of the hit, Walters didn't finish that game(Walters apparently gave it a go for a shift or two after the hit, but reports indicate it was the Sheahan hit that caused his injury), missed the following night's game, and didn't play at all last weekend. In what world, other than a bizarro alternate reality that lets Bruce McLeod and Greg Shepherd run a hockey league(that's right, we're the crappy one), is an illegal hit that causes a player to miss three games due to injury not worthy of a single game suspension?
Roman Augustoviz of the Star-Tribune broke the story that has been rumored for months about the five Minnesota schools starting their own annual college hockey tournament. On one hand, this should be a pretty fun event that people have wanted for years. On the other hand, this gives Minnesota a plausible excuse for never having to travel to the outstate schools for road games again.
Minnesota State Moorhead set another artificial deadline that they won't come anywhere close to hitting. Circle the end of February on your calendar for the next "We're so close, but we can't say how much money we've got" article that pushes the deadline back another couple of months.
The USHL held their first ever prospects all-star game last night in Muskegon, and the event seemed to be a success. It may not have been heavily attended by fans, but definitely by scouts, with a reported 200+ scouts being in the building. There were some a little disappointed by the NTDP not participating. They didn't participate this year because the event was scheduled the same week as their high school exams. I'm not sure about their participation in the future. If the goal of the event is about exposure, it's not like any of those kids are hurting for exposure to pro scouts. I'd rather see a few more off-the-radar kids get the opportunity to show something in front of that audience.