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Wisconsin Men’s Hockey Preview
ILLUSTRATION BY CAMERON LANE-FLEHINGER AND BEN PICKMAN/THE DAILY CARDINAL PHOTO BY CAMERON LANE-FLEHINGER/THE DAILY CARDINAL
“…the great state University of Wisconsin should ever encourage that continual and fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth can be found.”
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Wisconsin Men’s Hockey
Position preview: Goalies
All-American transfer primed for big impact in first season with UW By Suzie Kazar THE DAILY CARDINAL
For Wisconsin men’s hockey, it may be out with the old (goalie) and in with the new. Matt Jurusik, the team’s fulltime starter two seasons ago and starter at the beginning of last year — he ended up splitting time with Berry as the season progressed — decided over the summer to leave Wisconsin to play in the United States Hockey League with the Sioux City Musketeers. For the young goalie, this decision comes after a relatively disappointing two seasons with the Badgers. In 50 appearances over two years, Jurusik held a .889 save
percentage with a 3.53 goals against average. He came into the program as an 18-year-old freshman straight out of the juniors, a late addition after former commit Luke Opilka chose the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League over UW. Jurusik had a promising start to his career, but his progression never fully materialized, as he struggled with injuries and poor play throughout his time at Wisconsin. Two major factors played into Jurusik’s decision to leave the Badgers. First, sophomore goalie Jack Berry simply outplayed Jurusik last season. Berry is younger than him and would likely get more playing time than Jurusik.
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Berry had a solid freshman year, but will likely back up Hayton this season.
Hughes named captain for Wisconsin in 2017-’18 By Kelly Ward THE DAILY CARDINAL
Senior forward Cameron Hughes had a 2016-’17 season filled with challenges both on and off the ice. Simply, Hughes had his hands full last year. Off the ice, Hughes was tasked with studying for difficult classes in a competitive major. On the ice, he was asked to aid in the turnaround of a team that had 12 wins total over his first two seasons, all while adjusting to a new coaching staff and system that was very different from what he was recruited to play in. Adding in the struggles of watching his younger brother Ethan battling kidney cancer back home in Alberta, Canada, Hughes could have easily stepped away from hockey or school to focus on his family. Instead, Hughes balanced everything on his plate. Not only was he able to perform in the classroom and on the ice, he went above and beyond, demonstrating the kind of leadership and dedication to the program that head coach Tony Granato and his teammates felt was deserving of the role of captain. “It is really exciting. It is [an honor] coming from the coaches and the players,” Hughes said this summer. “It is a role I was in a little bit [in 2016], and it will expand.” With forward Luke Kunin, last year’s captain and top scorer, leaving for the pros in the Minnesota Wild organization, Hughes will be relied on much more this season to get to the net and provide a strong offensive presence. Despite the team’s need for offense, however, Hughes prides himself on playing a complete, two-way game, similar to Chicago
Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews — the player he chose his no. 19 jersey to honor. Not only does Hughes expect himself to continue to be an important two way player for Wisconsin, he now puts pressure on himself to lead both by example and be a vocal leader. To Hughes, being vocal isn’t necessarily giving the most iconic speeches, but, instead, it’s letting people know that hard work and dedication is the key to Wisconsin improvement. “[The coaches] said just keep doing the same things you are doing,” Hughes said. “I don’t have the best ra-ra speeches, but I lead by example.” Hughes has also integrated lessons from both Kunin and nowgraduated Wisconsin captains Eddie Wittchow and Kevin Schulze into his leadership style. “Learning from Luke was awesome. The way he conducted himself on the ice and off. I look to him a lot,” Hughes said. “Captains in the past like Eddie Wittchow and Kevin Schulze, they both led in their own ways.” Ready to get stronger both on and off the ice, Hughes is anxious to lead the Badgers to a season that will be both exciting and challenging. “We are looking forward to that first game to get back inside the Kohl Center,” Hughes said. “The schedule got released and we were all showing it to each other on our phones and getting really excited for the games. We are really eager and excited to get back in front of the fans and get another chance to do something special.”
The other factor was Kyle Hayton, Wisconsin’s newest graduate transfer. When asked if Hayton had an effect on his decision, Jurusik responded in the affirmative. “It was a factor,” Jurusik told the Wisconsin State Journal. “There were other factors involved, but that was a big part.” Hayton, a standout goalie at St. Lawrence University in New York, had a .929 save percentage to go along with a 2.28 goals against average in his senior season with the Saints. He was named Eastern College Athletic Conference Goalie of the Year along with being a semifinalist for the Mike Richter Award given to the top goalie in the NCAA. Hayton was also a Second-Team All American last year. Hayton cited the influence of the likes of head coach Tony Granato and associate head coach Mark Osiecki as a motive for the move. “Obviously the coaching staff was a huge draw,” Hayton told Andy Baggot of uwbadgers.com. “I’ve never met any coaches like these guys. It’s going to be a big year.” What was a tough choice for Jurusik was ultimately the right move, according Granato.
“I think it’s a decision that’s going to help him in the long run on becoming the goalie that he wants to be and can be. And I understand the decision that he made,” Granato told the Wisconsin State Journal. “If I thought he was doing something wrong, I’d be telling him to stay here, fight through this thing, it’ll be better for you. I can’t say that would be the case.” The addition of Hayton solidifies what has been widely regarded as a shaky position for the Badgers over the past seasons. For the last two years, Wisconsin was ranked 56th out of 60 teams in Division I college hockey in terms of save percentage. Berry showed flashes of brilliance last year, and has a lot of potential to be a tremendous goalie. Still, Hayton looks to add a positive veteran presence in net and will likely carry the load this season. So far, Hayton’s potential impact is all speculation, but even in practice, the transfer goalie looks primed for an impressive season. “He’s a competitor,” Granato said. “He has a track record of being a gamer. He has been looking forward to this for a long time.”
Wisconsin’s 2016-’17 stats Record: 20-15-1
Shot % against: 11.5% (52)
Big Ten record: 12-8-0
Avg. age: 20 (5th youngest)
Big Ten finish: 2nd
Shorthanded goals: 6
Big Ten tournament: 2nd
Powerplay: 21.5% (8)
Penalty minutes: 421
Penalty kill: 84.5% (T-13)
Points leader: Kunin
Goals leader: Kunin
Goals against: 118 (43)
Assists leader: Hughes
Blocks leader: Tischke
Shot percent: 10.2%
Plus/minus leader: Wagner
Shots against: 1,027 (12)
**Parenthesis signal national rank (of 60 teams)
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Athletic director Barry Alvarez posits a dominant hockey season.
AD Alvarez impressed with Badgers’ turnaround, predicts more improvement this season By Jacqueline Damrow THE DAILY CARDINAL
Coming off of an uncharacteristically poor two year stint (12-46-13), the Badgers have been quick to return to prominence under new head coach Tony Granato. Over the last five years, Wisconsin went from being a powerhouse to being at the bottom of the Big Ten, before returning back to its historically impressive form last season. After an unbelievable turnaround in just one year under Granato (2015-1), the Badgers are expected to make even more improvements this upcoming season. Speaking at the annual Capital Times Idea Fest in mid-September, Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said that he “didn’t have a doubt that this group would do a good job.” Still, he was surprised at just how quickly they have regained their competitiveness and restored their reputation. Alvarez is confident that this upcoming season will only bring more growth. He acknowledged how focused and determined the organization is to recruit the very best athletes. Over the last year, many top recruits have expressed interest in Wisconsin, mostly because of the respect that they have for Granato. “A lot of NHL coaches send their players to let [Granato] work with them and develop them,” Alvarez said. Granato and his staff have been very impressive so far in their short tenure with UW. That, combined with the veteran experience of the players, is a big reason why Wisconsin seems poised to continue to climb the ladder towards Big Ten and national prominence.
Improved recruiting: Wisconsin has three of the top30 freshman, accoridng to ISS scouting
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Cameron Hughes was selected this summer as Wisconsin’s captain.
Sean Dhooghe: No. 20 Linus Weissbach: No. 21 Tyler Inamoto: No. 29
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Wisconsin Men’s Hockey
Behind the scenes: UW coaches tasked with finding “right” players when deciding lineup Story by Ethan Levy Whenever you see any finished product, you’re usually oblivious to all of the intricacies and processes that helped shape and design what you end up viewing. The same holds true in sports. When you see a team on the field or the ice, it is nearly impossible to appreciate the behind the scenes work and preparation, including nuance, detail and perfectionist planning that led to what you observe during the game. Specifically, for the Wisconsin hockey team, a significant amount of that forethought and preparation is dedicated solely to the formation of its lineup. For Wisconsin’s hockey team under head coach Tony Granato, everything regarding the formation of the lineup is fluid. Whether deciding the specific line pairings or resolving who actually makes the active roster, the Badgers’ lineup is always evolving. Accordingly, all 28 Wisconsin hockey players, at some point this season, are going to get their shot to play. Opportunity is an integral part of the Wisconsin hockey philosophy. If you work hard, if you have the right attitude on and off the ice and, most importantly, if you have an unrelenting drive to help UW win, you are going to get your chance. This strenuous and time-consuming task of forming lines is twofold: first, deciding which players should be on a line together, and, second — which is sometimes even more of a daunting challenge — deciding which of the team’s 28 players will make the 20-man active roster for any given game. Therefore, line formation necessitates a collaborative effort from the entire organization, especially Granato and associate head coaches Mark Osiecki and Mark Strobel. “It’s our whole staff, including our players,” Osiecki said regarding forming line pairings. “Tony does a really good job communicating with some of our older players and our leadership group to get a feel for the lines. You want players to be comfortable with who they’re playing with, so it’s definitely a collective process.” Part of the reason why forming line pairings is so difficult is that there are so many factors at play. Coaches debate top-down, philosophical questions such as whether to balance their lines or put their best players together. Another question revolves around handedness. Often, coaches have a philosophy about which wing left-handed and right-handed skaters should play on. Arguments can be made for having lefties on the right and righties on the left and vice-versa. For example, defensive zone coverage or a shot on goal might be better if your stick is centered toward the middle of the ice
Only five Badgers played in all 36 regular season games last seaon. Those five were Cameron Hughes, Ryan Wagner, Jake Linhart, Will Johnson and Corbin McGuire.
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Cavillini scored a goal for UW last season in MSG.
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Ustaski looks to consistently make the lineup this year.
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Cameron Hughes, Seamus Malone and Grant Besse played on a line last year, but were all frequently moved around. rather than toward the outside, but it may be tougher to work the puck on the boards using the backhand. Wisconsin, however, has less options with regard to wing preference based on handedness due to its unique roster makeup — the Badgers have only four righties (and only one righty defenseman). Another factor taken into account by coaches when constructing their team’s lines is whether or not to leave players in their natural positions. For example, some coaches prefer to leave a natural centerman with two natural wingers. UW, on the other hand, has demonstrated that it instead values versatility and will therefore interchange players to different, potentially less natural positions if it thinks it increases line chemistry — as showcased last season by playing three natural centers, Luke Kunin, Trent Frederic and Matt Ustaski, on the same line. “Everyone has to be able to play all positions. Everything needs to be interchangeable,” Osiecki said. “Typically, a center is going to start in the face-off dot and you go from there. You work your way out especially in the D-zone, and from there it’s controlled chaos. At times, you might be the low forward and at times you might not be the low forward. It all has to be interchangeable.” Throughout the year, Wisconsin will show looks with different players in different positions, including
changing up who is playing in the middle. Deciding who are going to be the four centers in a game isn’t merely arbitrary, as the centerman is tasked with different defensive zone responsibilities and often also quarterbacks the offense. In particular, though, Wisconsin puts extremely high value on face-off ability for deciding who gets the call to play between the wings. “It’s a puck possession game, so obviously it starts with the faceoff. It’s the only controlled setting in hockey, and if you have a controlled situation where you can try to possess the puck, that’s important,” Osiecki said. “That’s what hockey is right now. It’s all puck possession, so you do put a lot of emphasis on winning the face-off and who can take face-offs.” Clearly, there are many factors that play into deciding line combinations, making it a demanding task for Granato and his staff. Still, only 20 players can make the lineup each game, and determining which 20 to play can be even more challenging than deciding who each player skates with. “There’s a lot that goes into the decisions that we have on who’s in. I wouldn’t say I lose sleep over it, but it’s never a fun decision to have to tell players they’re not playing. I was a player and I was scratched too. I know what that feels like,” Granato said. “You can only dress 20 guys so you have to pick the lineup that you think is going
to give you the best chance to win that night, and I stay with that philosophy throughout the year.” These lineup decisions are not only stressful for the coaching staff, but, obviously, for the players as well. “It’s tough,” junior forward Dan Labosky said. “Obviously you want to be in there to help the team win every day, but all you can do is just keep your confidence, practice hard every day and just wait for your opportunity.” Labosky was in and out of the lineup last season, only playing in 15 of UW’s 36 games. Still, he says that despite the frustrations of not playing, he understood that he could still help the Badgers, even if he wasn’t skating that night. That sentiment still holds. “We watched a little video this week where there were nine army guys and they all got over this wall. Essentially, you have to make sure every single guy is doing their job. Even if you’re not playing, you’re making guys better in practice,” Labosky said. “Everybody has a clear defined role and you have to play it. There are no weak links on our team so you don’t want to be that weak link.” That mentality of always trying to improve and playing your role is exactly what Granato values when he is making lineup decisions. There is a famous quote from the movie “Miracle,” where Herb Brooks states, “I’m not looking for the best players; I’m looking for the right ones.” Granato whole-heartedly
Numbers to know
A total of 11 different forwards played on UW’s top line last season (Hughes, Wagner, Johnson, Luke Kunin, Grant Besse, Trent Frederic, Labosky, Max Zimmer, Seamus Malone, Jason Ford and Ustaski).
There are only four right handed players on Wisconsin’s team this season — Linhart, Jarod Zirbel, Johnson and Sean Dhooghe. 62 percent of NHL players are lefties.
93.3 percent of Wisconsin’s forwards played in at least half of its 20 Big Ten conference games last season. Frederic, Hughes, Wagner, Johnson, Linhart, Besse and Corbin McGuire played all 20 games.
believes in that sentiment and tends to put those “right ones,” who he defines as the hard workers and determined skaters, into the lineup. “I’m going to go with that [Miracle] quote. The best players don’t always help you win. You’re going to pick the 20 guys that give your team the best chance to win,” Granato said. “Aidan [Geno] Cavallini is a perfect example of that. Last year when he got into our lineup, he probably wasn’t one of the best 12 players at that certain point in the season, but he understood his role and he understood what it took to win. He added character and different things to our lineup that somebody with more skill may not have been able to add.” Cavallini only played in one of Wisconsin’s first four games last year, but played in 31 of Wisconsin’s ensuing 32 games. “Geno” exemplifies that even if you don’t make the opening night roster, you can still find a way to make an impact and play down the stretch. “Like Geno, Matt Ustaski also didn’t play a lot of games and then at the end of the year he scores a goal that gives us a chance to go into overtime against Penn State. He played a big, big part. He played top line,” Granato said. “You don’t just start a season and say these are going to be your 20 guys.” According to Granato, as long as you are working hard — as long as you work like Cavallini — you will eventually get your shot. Granato doesn’t hide it — he values and rewards effort. “When you’re a coach, you’re looking for inspiration. You’re looking for guys that play with passion and, if it’s just that, and the time is right, and your team is struggling a bit or your flat or you need something like that, some sort of spark, then absolutely [I will put a guy in the lineup based on effort],” Granato said. “Every coach will tell you the same thing — they’re looking for energy, they’re looking for the guy that does everything that’s asked of them.” Over the course of a season, Granato and his staff will consider a manifold of factors including handedness and faceoff ability in their decisions. Deciding the lineup is a continuous, interchangeable and evolving process. The active roster to start the year will almost certainly not be the lineup at the end of the season, and, for UW, effort is valued above all else. According to Granato, determination creates opportunities, and dedication creates wins. And fortunately for UW, Granato sees a lot of that heart in this year’s group. “There will be guys in and out of the lineup [this year],” Granato said. “I look forward to seeing those guys that aren’t in the opening lineup doing what Ustaski and Cavallini did all year last year — that’s staying ready for their chance and making the most of it.”
19 different Wisconsin players scored a goal in 2016-’17. 22 different Badgers registered at least one point and only one UW skater was held scoreless for the year.
The Daily Cardinal Badger Bios: meet six Wisconsin standouts 4 • Wisconsin Men’s Hockey
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As part of Wisconsin’s large veteran core, Malone, Frederic, Johnson, Linhart, Tischke and Wagner look to lead the Badgers in 2017-’18 Content by Ethan Levy
Seamus Malone Junior forward Seamus Malone has seen hockey success everywhere that he has played. Before joining Wisconsin, the sophomore forward played three seasons in the United States Hockey League with the Dubuque Fighting Saints. In 2014-’15, his last year with Dubuque, the Fighting Saints finished third in the Eastern Conference and made it to the semifinals of the Clark Cup Playoffs. Malone led Dubuque that season with 58 points in 58 games, which was the 11th highest point total in the league. After arriving at UW, Malone had an impressive freshman campaign. His 25 points were the sixth most in scoring for Big Ten freshman, and he was second among Big Ten rookies with 20 assists. Even after a big freshman year, Malone continued to make greater strides last season. Malone’s contributions were often overshadowed by the dominance of Luke Kunin and Trent Frederic, but that does not diminish the fact that he had a really impressive second year with Wisconsin. Malone finished last season fourth on the team in points with 29, tied for third in goals with 10 and second in assists with 19. Offensively, Malone brings a lot to Wisconsin. Malone is a really good skater and has a rocket of a shot when he lets one fly. The sophomore forward finds a way to skate fast through the neutral zone with the puck and carry himself into the high scoring areas.
Malone made plenty of offensive contributions last season, but most notably was his two-goal performance in a 6-5 loss in Colorado against then No. 2 Denver, the eventual national champion. “He’s a really skilled player. He has great puck skills and his vision is amazing,” sophomore forward Max Zimmer said. “If I can get open he will be able to get me the puck anywhere on the ice. He’s a smart player overall.” On the other side of the puck, Malone also plays really solid defense. He is a go-to penalty killer for the Badgers and is counted on to play solid in-zone defense as one of UW’s primary centerman. One of Malone’s most underrated attributes, though, is his versatility. Malone plays anywhere from first to third line, and can mesh and create chemistry with really anyone on the team. Last season, he was on a line with almost every other Badger forward and found success on each of those lines. “His versatility is really important. Not only for the coaches to be able to put together a lineup, but for him to be able to play any position to play with any guy is crucial,” Zimmer said. “I played on a line with him last year and I thought we had a lot of success because of him.” Malone is likely to make even more strides this season. Look for him to both lead the Badgers with tangible contributions and leadership, as Malone will also wear an assistant captains patch this season.
Trent Frederic Just two years ago, sophomore Trent Frederic had not even had a taste of college hockey. Before he was a Badger, Frederic played two seasons for the United States National Team Development Program, where he put up 40 points (20 goals, 20 assists) in 60 games. In 2016, Frederic skated for Team USA at the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Under-18 World Championship, alongside current teammate JD Greenway. At the tournament, Frederic put up seven points in seven games en route to a bronze medal. For many, even after playing on such esteemed teams, the transition to college hockey can be difficult. Frederic, however, has already had immediate impact on the Wisconsin hockey program after just his first season. Last season, Frederic, the first round, 29th overall pick in 2016 by the Boston Bruins, had an incredible freshman campaign, netting 15 goals (second on the team to Luke Kunin’s 22) and 33 points (also second to Kunin–38). Frederic did, however, play less games with Kunin, and was accordingly first in points per game with 1.1. Frederic also led the team in shooting percentage, scoring on 20.3 percent of his shots. All of this success translated to a multitude of accolades, including Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Second Team All-Big Ten. The freshman phenom was also the only unanimous selection to the Big Ten All-Freshman team. Frederic’s impact, however, goes beyond just those numbers. The forward is very versatile and can play both center and winger. He
consistently wins face-offs, is a great two way forward and seemingly comes up with timely blocks to keeps the puck away from UW’s net. On top of that, he simply has a knack for the net, and always seems to find the back of the goal when UW needs it most. “Last year was an outstanding year for him,” head coach Tony Granato said. “He was relied on in every situation for us — the powerplay, penalty kill. He played a lot of minutes for us.” Not only is Frederic talented and relied on for tangible contributions, but he has already established himself as a leader and a mentor, and will accordingly be one of Wisconsin’s assistant captains this season. “As far as wearing an ‘A’ on his sweater, that’s been earned by what he put into it last year,” Granato said. “His work ethic, his leadership, how he handles every situation. He’s a guy that you want as one of your captains.” Despite his 2016-’17 campaign that earned the SpikeCarlson-Chris Chelios MVP award (as voted on by his teammates, Granato and the rest of the Badgers), expect even bigger things out of Frederic this season. “I think this summer was a summer again where he made great strides in improving some of his strength and conditioning,” Granato said. “I think he’s ready for a really big year.”
Will Johnson Junior forward Will Johnson is a top candidate for breakout player of the year for Wisconsin, despite already stringing together a successful first two years with the program. The Badgers already had very high expectations of the Santa Barbara, Calif. native since well before he was on the team. In Johnson’s last year of junior hockey, he totaled 36 points in 30 games for the Madison Capitols of the USHL. He was actually leading the league in scoring after those 30 games, but suffered an injury that ended his season prematurely. Last season, Johnson made in impact every game, as he was one of only five Badgers to play in all 36 contests. Early in the year last season, Johnson played on the third line with Malone and freshman forward Max Zimmer (who he also played with in game one of this season), but was constantly moved around, playing with almost everyone on lines one through three. He ended his sophomore campaign with 22 points on ten goals and 12 assists, including five powerplay goals (which was tied for second most on the team). His most important goal, however, came in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals, when Johnson netted the game winner against Ohio State. Johnson is an incredibly nifty forward with a lot of skill, including a slick pair of mitts. He actually may have the best hands on the team, rivaled by Wagner and a few others. He is a real crafty skater, and he likes to use his speed to drive outside and make
plays cutting across the goal line. Johnson has offensive talent, and he can make really make something happen out of nothing based on pure skill alone. “He’s sneaky. He’s not the most flashy player, but he definitely has just as much skill as anyone on the team,” freshman forward Max Zimmer said. “He plays on the power play too. This is his third year and he had a good last year. I think he will be able to contribute this year offensively. He’s very talented.” Still, even with all of the offensive talent, Johnson was only eighth on the team in points, and while ten goals is a solid number, Johnson’s skill outweighs that production. Often, for guys that produce less on the scoresheet than they are capable, the next season tends to be a big breakout year. For Johnson, many of his teammates expect just that: an offensive explosion this year. “He’s definitely one of those guys that could have a breakout year,” Zimmer said. “For us, and for him personally, a big year for him would be really great.” Johnson’s talent and offensive skillset will likely lead to a pretty dominant season for the junior forward.
Peter Tischke A lot of the Wisconsin hockey players outperformed their expectations last season, but junior defenseman Peter Tischke exemplified that more than maybe any other Badger. Tischke has been a solid player at all stages of his hockey career, including in his two seasons in the USHL with the Chicago Steel. Tischke had a quality freshman campaign, but really broke out as one of UW’s best defenders in 2016-’17. Ultimately, Tischke’s performance earned his All-Big Ten Second Team honors. The third year man is not particularly flashy. In fact, he’s not flashy at all. He doesn’t have breakaway speed, nor does he have the hardest shot. Tischke’s main contributions stem from his consistency. Game in and game out, Tischke never takes a shift off. He likely isn’t going to be the player to score the big goal (although he did net the game winner against Michigan last season on Feb. 8), but he will almost always make the right pass and be in sound defensive position. Tischke, maybe more than any other UW defender, is consistently protecting the net and not missing his defensive assignments. “He’s one of the fastest guys on the team, one of the strongest. He competes in the corner. He just does everything well,” redshirt senior defenseman Tim Davison said. “He’s so consistent every game. He’s playing probably 25 to 30 minutes a game and he’s a big part of our team.”
This consistency that Tischke demonstrated last season was recognized by his teammates and coaches. At the end of the season, he received the team’s Dr. Joseph Coyne-Joe Pavelski Most Consistent Player award. Wisconsin this year will stress stability and consistency in terms of defensive coverage, and Tischke will be an integral part of seeing that goal come to fruition. Lasy year UW lacked the poise to consistently cover the front of the net, and Tischke hopes to help turn that around this season. Tischke’s other biggest attribute, however, is his ability to successfully block shots of opposing players. Quite simply, he is a vacuum, a machine at stopping pucks before they get to his goalie. Last season, Tischke led the Badgers with 60 blocks. The then-sophomore would literally kneel in front of any bomb, and was fearless in his pursuit to come up with a block. “You want to be good in your own zone, so every time you can block a shot, that’s one less save your goalie has to make,” Davison said. “If the shots he blocks get through, you never know what can happen. It’s huge. Pete’s in there blocking shots even in practice.” The most memorable and iconic moment of last year’s campaign for Tischke was in the team’s biggest win, a 3-2 victory on Feb. 24 over rival Minnesota. In that game, Tischke blocked 11 shots, which is a ridiculous number on its own, but even more impressive when you consider the timeliness of the blocks. Whenever Minnesota started to press, Tischke came up with another block, thwarting its momentum and scoring chance. The Badgers defense in 2017-’18 will likely be much better than a season ago, and Tischke will be a crucial piece in that.
Senior defenseman Jake Linhart, entering his fourth season with Wisconsin, has now established himself as the leader and best player on the Badgers’ defensive core. Before he was a Badger, Linhart played for the Chicago Mission and then the Green Bay Gamblers in the USHL. Most college hockey players don’t start playing in the NCAA until they are older, but Linhart started his career with the Badgers as only an 18-year-old and has been a big part of UW’s program since then. Last season, Linhart led Wisconsin’s defense with 23 points, and scored a huge overtime winner against Michigan State. Additionally, Linhart was the only defenseman who played over ten games that had a positive plus-minus. Linhart was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team after the season. To many, Linhart may not look particularly special. He doesn’t really do anything flashy. Instead, Linhart plays a much more simple, efficient game. Linhart is the first defender back to protect the crease. He is always making the right pass. He finds a way to keep pucks in at the offensive blue line. He chips the puck out of the D-zone when the forwards need a change. These all seem like little things, but in aggregate they are substantial contributions. “To a non-hockey fan, they might not really see him. He’s not very flashy, but at the end of the night he’s plus two or three. He’s got a goal and a couple assists,” redshirt senior Tim Davison said.
“He keeps it simple. He plays a real smart game. He’s a great skater, really good defensively. He doesn’t try to force things. He’s not trying to walk through guys. He just makes the right play every time.” In an age of professional defenseman like Erik Karlsson who dazzle and make spectacular plays, the art of consistency and simplicity often gets overlooked. Still, historically, some of the all time greats didn’t make extravagant plays — just the right ones. That consistency and ability to make the right play is exactly what Linhart brings to UW. “There are some really good players, like Nicklas Lidstrom, who aren’t very flashy but are some of the all time greats,” Davison said. “Stuff like that, just keeping it simple and playing the game the right way, are so important. Linhart has had a lot of success [doing that].” Linhart has been relied upon so often by this UW coaching staff, and he has delivered. As a result, Linhart will be one of the assistant captains for Wisconsin this season. “He’s not the most vocal guy on our team, but he works hard. He brings it every day, and if he does have something to say, people are going to respond, they’re going to respect it” Davison said. “I think you need someone like that. When Linny starts to talk, everyone’s like, ‘okay we should listen.’ He’s a great leader.” Linhart was already Wisconsin’s best defenseman last year, and with another year of improvement, look for the senior assistant captain to be a force defensively this season.
Ryan Wagner There are seven seniors on the Badgers this season, and Ryan Wagner will be a significant part of that veteran group. Four years ago, before joining UW, Wagner played on the United States Under-18 team, and the Chicago Mission for AAA youth Midget Minor hockey before that. Once Wagner arrived at Wisconsin, he made an immediate impact. In his freshman season (2014-’15), he played in 35 of the Badgers’ 36 games, and even led the team in hits. Wagner’s ability to make an impact game in and game out has persisted, as he was one of only five Badgers to play in every game last season, helping him total 19 assists (tied for second on the team). To the casual hockey fan, Wagner looks like a pretty good hockey player. He has a sick set of hands, and can make pretty incredible moves around defenders. He shoots the puck well and can put it in the net when he needs to. Despite not being the fastest skater, Wagner can get himself into scoring positions, and he is always in the the middle of the action. He even scored a Sportscenter Top Ten-esque goal last year, roofing the puck from the slot while literally falling down onto his back. Accordingly, many view Wagner’s contributions as primarily offensive. The senior, however, provides way more than a few cool dangles. Wagner is really the “do-it-all-man” for the Badgers. He plays significant power play minutes, and is an even more valuable asset on the penalty kill. Wagner was consistently one of the top killers for the Badgers and a big reason UW bolstered an impressive 84.5 percent penalty kill last season. “Wags is a great example of what he can add to our lineup as far as being
a solid 2 way player,” Granato said. “He has such stability on the wing. He’s going to kill penalties and play on the powerplay. He will be a big minute guy for us.” Outside of being so dominant on special teams, Wagner’s best contribution comes on the defensive side of the puck. Accordingly, he very well may be Wisconsin’s best two-way forward, never taking a shift off defensively. While UW’s forwards collectively struggled at defensive zone positioning last season, Wagner was always in the right spot, and took pride in defensive responsibility. Accordingly, Wagner led Wisconsin in plus-minus with a plus-eight rating. Wisconsin’s average plus-minus last year came out even, and Wagner was one of only four forwards with a positive plus-minus (with a player as low as minus-22). Potentially Wagner’s most iconic play last season, however, was when he dove face first into the boards to tip a puck so that it wouldn’t be called icing — highlighting Wagner’s dedication to doing the little things to help his team win. As a result of this determination, Wagner will be an assistant captain for the Badgers this season. PHOTOS BY CAMERON LANE-FLEHINGER
season preview 6
Wisconsin Men’s Hockey
Luke Kunin Loss
Veteran core will help fill void left by Kunin’s departure to pro hockey By Nathan Denzin THE DAILY CARDINAL
Big expectations have been put on the Wisconsin men’s hockey team coming off its breakout year last season (2015-1). The preseason USCHO poll has them ranked No. 12 in
the country, and they have been talked about as a dark horse candidate to make the Frozen Four for the first time since 2010. Still, the Badgers are not entering 2017-’18 without adversity. Despite returning a large part of their lineup from last season, they
CAMERON LANE-FLEHINGER/THE DAILY CARDINAL
Luke Kunin left the Badgers to play in the Minnesota Wild organization.
will have to replace the team’s widely regarded most valuable player and captain from a year ago: Luke Kunin. Kunin lit up the scoreboard last season, tallying 38 points on 22 goals and 16 assists. When he was named the team’s captain after his freshman year, he made history as the youngest team captain for the Badgers in the last 40 years. His incredible skill on the ice and leadership skills off it earned him the 15th overall pick in last year’s draft by the Minnesota Wild. Obviously, no one player can completely fill the void created by Kunin’s absence, but UW has the pieces in place to support that loss and thrive despite missing the former captain’s constant, two-way impact. One player the Badgers will look to in the absence of Kunin is senior Cameron Hughes — who led the team in assists by a fairly wide margin a year ago. Hughes may be asked to handle more of the scoring load this year. The senior was also named the team captain after being an alternate to Kunin last season. The team will look to him for leadership on and off the ice, and there is
Kunin’s career UW stats Games played: 69 Goals: 41 Assists: 29 Points: 70 Points per game: 1.01 Power play goals: 14 Short handed goals: 3 Game winning goals: 3 Shots: 239
Shot percent: 17.2% Multi-point games: 20 Plus/minus: -11 Most points in a game: 4 Penalties (min): 32 (64) Big Ten points: 43 Big Ten goals: 25 Led UW in goals twice Led UW in B10 goals twice
no reason to suspect he won’t be a solid successor to Kunin. The Badgers will also look to Trent Frederic following his incredible freshmen year, where he was unanimously named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team. The center, who was drafted in the first round of last spring’s NHL Draft by the Boston Bruins, averaged an astonishing 1.18 points per game in his rookie campaign. Another player primed for a breakout year, Seamus Malone, will try to improve upon his solid 2016-’17 campaign as well. Malone has good shooting ability, incredible vision and could easily top his ten goals from last year. One thing that was often overlooked about Kunin was his drive to do whatever it takes to win. Kunin was an incred-
ible two-way forward with rare defensive and shot blocking ability. He killed penalties and significantly helped out UW in the defensive zone. Fortunately for UW, Hughes, Frederic and Malone are also great two-way players and will be able to continue Kunin’s example of sound defensive hockey. This Badger team is filled to the brim with talent and should make a serious run at a Big Ten championship again. Losing Kunin certainly hurts, but his slack should be picked up by the rest of a very solid roster. With Hughes as a captain, Fredric looking to have another huge year and Malone looking like a breakout candidate, the Badgers should improve after an impressive rebound campaign last season.
Denver Pioneers clear favorite to repeate as national champions By Andrew Bahl MANAGING EDITOR
There are 60 teams in college hockey and they will all be chasing Denver this season. The Pioneers suffered only three regular season losses en route to claiming the regular season NCHC title and cruised through the NCAA Tournament, defeating Minnesota-Duluth in the final to earn the school’s eighth national championship. DU returns over three-quarters of the goals from last season, and while the Pioneers will be without last year’s Hobey Baker award winner, Will Butcher, the amount of talent left on the team is scary. All-American forward Henrik Borgstrom returns, as does elite netminder Tanner Jaillet and his .929 save percentage. The rest of the NCHC, however, will be looking to give Denver a run for its money. The conference boasts four teams in the USCHO preseason top-10 poll. Minnesota-Duluth, ranked sixth nationally, lost six of their top players to the NHL this offseason and will be looking towards a younger core to help them return to the Frozen Four. That group includes highly-touted freshman defender Dylan Samberg, who will have to shine if the Bulldogs are to live up to their rating. Badger fans get to watch another installment of the school’s rivalry with No. 7 North
Dakota, who will have its sights firmly set on Saint Paul and a trip to the Frozen Four. Last season was a disappointment, with UND going under .500 in conference play before crashing out in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Boston University. Preseason All-NCHC forward Shane Gersich will look to place the team back among college hockey’s elite. Out east, the Hockey East conference figures again to be deep, despite Notre Dame departing to join the Big Ten. This was underscored by the fact that Northeastern, despite having two of the best players nationally in Dylan Sikura and Adam Gaudette, were picked to finish fifth in a preseason vote. Boston University, voted preseason conference champs, look to be locked into a battle with UMass-Lowell to come out on top of the Hockey East. Forwards Jordan Greenway and Patrick Harper will look to lead a topheavy BU roster. UML will look to counter that batch of NHLready talent with one of the best coaches in the country in Norm Bazin. While the River Hawks lost their three best players to the pros, they return top young goaltender Tyler Wall and his 2.06 goals-against-average. The ECAC looks set to be decided by one of two teams: Harvard or Quinnipiac.
Quinnipiac missed out on the NCAA Tournament last season, but the Bobcats will look to ride the goaltending duo of Keith Petruzzelli and Andrew Shortridge to another postseason berth. And Harvard, coming off a Frozen Four appearance, gain the return of defender Adam Fox, one of the top freshman in the country last season. While Atlantic Hockey and WCHA look to be the weakest conferences in college hockey, they have two top-tier teams who should run away with the titles. Air Force will be without top goalie Shane Sterrett, but lost almost nothing else from an Eagles team that dominated the Atlantic Hockey Conference last season. Minnesota State looks to be far and away the best side in the WCHA, but will need a freshmanheavy roster to step up in non-conference play to boost the Mavericks’ strength of schedule and thus their chance to garner a higher seed in the NCAA Tournament. Olympic years are often weird in college sports and this year’s men’s hockey season will be no exception, as college, AHL and European players will replace NHLers in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Many of the top players will be siphoned off for several weeks to make that trip and this could throw a wrench in trying to make national championship predictions. And it is near cer-
tain that teams will burst onto the national scene unexpectedly, much as Wisconsin did a year ago. Even still, it is tough to look past Denver to become the
first team to repeat as national champions since the Pioneers themselves did it in 2005. Smart money is on DU to be holding the trophy in March.
Preseason USCHO Division 1 Men’s Hockey Poll 1. Denver (48), 33-7-3, 998 2. Boston U 24-11-3 837 3. Minnesota 23-12-3 822 4. Harvard (1) 28-6-2 744 5. UMass Lowell 27-11-3 711 6. Minn Duluth (1) 28-7-7 642 7. North Dakota 21-16-3 632 8. Notre Dame 23-12-5 611 9. St. Cloud State 16-19-1 547 10. Penn State 25-12-2 539 11. Providence 22-12-5 494
12. Wisconsin 20-15-1 414 13. Boston College 21-15-4 366 14. Quinnipiac 23-15-2 286 15. Cornell 21-9-5 279 16. Union 25-10-3 215 17. Air Force 27-10-5 203 18. Minn State 22-13-4 198 19. Ohio State 21-12-6 180 20. Northeastern 18-15-5 172 20. Western Mich 22-13-5 172 www.uscho.com/rankings/
season preview dailycardinal.com
Wisconsin Men’s Hockey
2017 UW Roster 1 Jack Berry 2 Wyatt Kalynuk 4 Patrick Sexton 5 Tyler Inamoto 6 Peter Tischke 7 Jake Bunz 8 Jarod Zirbel 9 Linus Weissbach 10 Jake Linhart 11 Dan Labosky 13 Ryan Wagner 14 JD Greenway 15 Matthew Freytag 16 Tarek Baker 17 Will Johnson 18 Seamus Malone 19 Cameron Hughes 20 Josh Ess 21 Jason Ford 22 Max Zimmer 23 Jason Dhooghe 24 Sean Dhooghe 25 Cullen Hurley 26 Tim Davison 27 Matt Ustaski 33 Kyle Hayton 34 Trent Frederic 35 Johan Blomquist
Goaltender Defenseman Defenseman Defenseman Defenseman Defenseman Forward Forward Defenseman Forward Forward Defenseman Forward Forward Forward Forward Forward Defenseman Forward Forward Forward Forward Defenseman Defenseman Forward Goaltender Forward Goaltender
Tony Granato Mark Osiecki Mark Strobel
Sophomore Freshman Junior Freshman Junior Junior Junior Freshman Senior Junior Senior Sophomore Junior Freshman Junior Junior Senior Freshman Senior Sophomore Freshman Freshman Senior R-Senior Senior Graduate Sophomore Sophomore
6-1 6-1 6-1 6-2 6-1 6-3 5-11 5-9 5-11 5-7 5-8 6-5 6-1 5-10 5-10 5-10 6-0 5-11 6-0 6-0 5-7 5-3 6-2 5-10 6-6 6-0 6-3 5-11
180 180 190 195 207 210 175 165 187 165 187 215 195 185 184 180 175 188 187 190 165 150 197 183 230 165 215 180
CAMERON LANE-FLEHINGER/THE DAILY CARDINAL
CAMERON LANE-FLEHINGER/THE DAILY CARDINAL
Max Zimmer looks to have a breakout season.
Tim Davison will play a big role solidifying UW’s defense.
Head Coach Associate Head Coach Associate Head Coach
Wisconsin’s win totals since 2011-’12 25
2011-’12: 18 2012-’13: 23 2013-’14: 24 2014-’15: 4 2015-’16: 8 2016-’17: 20
20 15 10 5 0
2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Daily Cardinal Roundtable
Roundtable: Predictions for UW’s 2017-’18 campaign Who will be the MVP for the Badgers in 2017-’18?
Who will be Wisconsin’s breakout player this season?
How many wins will the Badgers reach this season?
The obvious answer is Trent Frederic, but I am going to pick Seamus Malone. Frederic is the best player on the roster, but Malone showed flashes of brilliance last year. He has a prolofic shot, incredible vision and I think he will lead UW in assists this season, and maybe goals too. MVP: Seamus Malone
Wheels on wheels. Max Zimmer is going to have a tremendous year. He is fast, strong and smart. And fast. Really fast. He largely struggled to find the score sheet last year, but now, in his sophomore season, he is ready to break out. Breakout player: Max Zimmer
I think this Wisconsin team is at least four wins better than last year’s team, but its schedule is really difficult with an improved Big Ten, and that will make it tough to actually improve by that amount. I think they improve by one win. Total wins: 21
Ever since the departure of Joel Rumpel, goaltending has been a position of flux for the Badgers. That trend will end in 2017-’18 with the arrival of All-American Kyle Hayton from St. Lawrence. While Hayton may not be the sexiest performer on this team, with an improved defense in front of him, he could be the piece that lifts Wisconsin to the promised land. MVP: Kyle Hayton
Devoted Badger fans will already be familiar with Seamus Malone’s pinpoint passing ability, which helped him rack up 19 assists last season. Perhaps more importantly, however, was Malone improving his plus/minus by over 10 points. If the sophomore continues to rise as a two-way forward, he can become one of the Big Ten’s elite wingers. Breakout player: Seamus Malone
The Badgers boast a stronger team than the one that narrowly missed the tournament with a 20 win season last year. I say Wisconsin improves by two wins this season, despite a tougher schedule, but a tournament berth is far from certain. Total wins: 22
The Badgers’ second leading pointgetter from last year is back in the Cardinal and White hoping to have yet another impactful season. No need to overthink things here, as Frederic will yet again lead UW in points per game and carry its offense. MVP: Trent Frederic
Johnson only scored 10 goals last year and finished with a mere 22 points, but his nifty stick handling and shifty skating ability give him potential to look less like Will Johnson and more like Magic Johnson with how he can bring Wisconsin’s offense to life. Breakout player: Will Johnson
The loss of Luke Kunin will almost certainly hurt the Badgers’ offense, but Granato has recruited well enough to recover from his absence. Give me four more wins and a trip to the NCAA Tournament come March. Total wins: 24
Kyle Hayton was a Second-Team AllAmerican last season, and the best goaltender in one of the country’s top conferences. It’s easy to downplay the importance of goaltenders until they steal a game, or three. Hayton’s got the talent to do that. MVP: Kyle Hayton
Ryan Wagner was second on the team in shots-on-goal last season, and first in plusminus. With good linemates and some puck luck, he could make a run at the 20-goal mark this season. Breakout player: Ryan Wagner
It won’t take much to improve on their 7-6-1 non-conference record from last year, and I expect them to be above .500 in the Big Ten again this season, even if it’s not by much. 22 wins seems like a reasonable estimate. Total wins: 22
season preview 8
Wisconsin Men’s Hockey
Deep Big Ten likely best conference in NCAA hockey By Cameron Lane-Flehinger THE DAILY CARDINAL
What happens when the deepest top-to-bottom conference in the country adds a top-five team from the year before? The seven teams in the Big Ten will answer that question when they take the ice for a conference season that could be one for the ages. With four teams ranked in the top-12 of the USCHO.com preseason poll, and five in the top 20, the margin of error for any team will be slim, and a bad stretch of play could result in a string of losses for even the conference’s strongest teams. Leading the pack at the start of the year is Minnesota, the defending regular season conference champion, which enters the season ranked No. 3 nationally and first in the Big Ten. The Golden Gophers lost heartbreakers to Penn State and Notre Dame in the postseason last year that denied them a conference tournament title and Frozen Four appearance, but they’ll have plenty of chances to avenge those defeats with the Fighting Irish joining the conference. Minnesota returns plenty of topshelf talent from last year including junior forward Tyler Sheehy, the reigning conference player of the year, and junior goaltender Eric Schierhorn, the two-time defending Big Ten goaltender of the year. With Schierhorn back in the crease, the Gophers should once again boast the conference’s best defense. Still, they’ll need to replace the goal scoring of departed forwards Justin Kloos and
Vinni Lettieri. Opening the season with a trip to No. 6 Minnesota Duluth will provide an early test of their status as a national title contender. If Minnesota fails to live up to expectations, expect Penn State, Notre Dame and Wisconsin to vie for the conference championship. The Nittany Lions enter the season with no glaring holes or significant questions about their roster, but they’ll have to solve the consistency issues that relegated them to a fourth-place finish in the regular season last year. Those issues were on full display for sophomore goaltender Peyton Jones in the season’s final three games, where he allowed only a single goal on 51 shots against Wisconsin to seal a conference tournament title before allowing eight goals on 44 shots in two NCAA tournament games. Jones’ play and leadership, along with sophomore forward Denis Smirnov, will be crucial for Penn State to avoid another midseason slide. Notre Dame, the conference’s newest team, is also its biggest unknown. Gone are star forward Anders Bjork and goaltender Cal Petersen, but the Fighting Irish return almost every other player from a team that reached the Frozen Four last season. A pair of 40-point forwards from last season — senior Jake Evans and junior Andrew Oglevie — should make up for some of Bjork’s dominance, but Petersen’s impact will be harder to replace. The star netminder led the NCAA in minutes in 2016-’17, and finished his career with 90 consecutive starts. In his place
will be freshman Dylan St. Cyr. If St. Cyr can approximate Petersen’s level of performance, Notre Dame could challenge Minnesota for the conference’s top spot. If not, the Fighting Irish could be fighting for a postseason berth. Rounding out the conference’s ranked teams is Ohio State, No. 18 in the USCHO poll and fifth in the Big Ten coaches poll. The Buckeyes return the conference’s top scorer, junior forward Mason Jobst, but lose 45 goals from forwards Nick Schilkey and David Gust, along with all three goaltenders from last season’s roster. Jobst will likely challenge Minnesota’s Sheehy as the conference’s best player, and could even make a run at the Hobey Baker. Still, the Buckeyes will have an uphill battle to challenge the conference’s top teams. After combining for just nine conference wins last year, Michigan and Michigan State will be looking for bounce-back seasons in 2017-’18. The Wolverines placed two freshmen on the Big Ten preseason watch list: forward Josh Norris and defenseman Quinn Hughes. If the Wolverines’ freshmen can live up to the hype, Michigan could echo last season’s Badgers and make a surprise postseason run. The Spartans, coming off a three-win conference season, have no such reinforcements and could easily fall short of that total against such consistently strong opponents. Top-to-bottom, the Big Ten looks to be the best conference in college hockey, with multiple teams that could make legitimate Frozen Four runs.
CAMERON LANE-FLEHINGER/THE DAILY CARDINAL
Tony Granato has had immediate success at UW and has been rewarded by being hired as the head coach of the U.S. National Team.
Granato to coach both Wisconsin and the U.S. Olympic team this season By Michael Parsky THE DAILY CARDINAL
Earlier in the summer, recently named general manager of the USA Olympic hockey team and former Badger hockey player Jim Johannson needed to create a coaching staff to lead the United States during the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Luckily, at an impromptu reunion of the 1988 Men’s Olympic hockey team that Johannson was a member of, the general manager turned to longtime friend, former UW teammate and current head coach for Wisconsin Tony Granato for the job. Johannson and Granato were teammates on three UW hockey teams. After Granato was named head coach in early August, former UW defenseman and member of the 1983 Badger national championship team Chris Chelios was named to Granato’s staff as an assistant. Granato was a two-time AllAmerican selection and captained the Badgers during the 1986-’87 season. After a successful 13-year playing career in the NHL, which included seven international event appearances for team USA and a 13-year coaching career in the NHL, Granato came back to his alma mater in 2016 and led the Badgers to a 20-15-1 record in his first season as head coach, finishing second in the Big Ten.
Now at the helm of team USA, Granato will be faced with the challenge of fielding a team without the help of American superstars from the NHL. For the first time since 1994, players under contract in the NHL will not be allowed to participate in the Winter Olympics. Instead, Granato will have to look elsewhere, with fellow NCAA, American Hockey League and professional hockey players playing in Europe. With a 25-man roster to fill, Granato hopes to submit a preliminary list of candidates by mid-October. It will be a busy year for Granato, as he still plans to coach the Badgers amidst coaching the Americans. Granato is expected to miss at least three games. The Winter Olympics hockey tournament is set to take place Feb. 14-25, 2018. Granato will also coach an American squad in the Deutschland Cup in Augsburg, Germany from Nov. 10-12. While the UW hockey team will surely miss Granato during his absence, Granato is looking toward using his extensive experience as player and coach on the international stage to help the new-look Americans succeed. Granato last served as an assistant for team USA during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Overall, it is an exciting opportunity for the Wisconsin head coach, as the Americans look to win their first gold medal in international competition since 1980.
Granato’s hockey life
1964: Granato was born. 1982: Granato was drafted by the Rangers (6th round, 120 overall). 1983: Granato started his college career at Wisconsin. 1988: Granato started his NHL career with New York. He led the team with 36 goals, which still stands as the rookie record for the club. 1990: Granato was traded to the LA Kings. 1993: Granato went to the cup finals with the Kings and lost to Montrael. 1996: Granato suffered a head injury that many thought would would end his career, but later that year he returned after being traded to the Sharks. 1997: Granato won the Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy for perserver- emce, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey. 2001: Granato retired from the NHL. 2002: Granato was hired as an assistance coach by the Avelanche, and was subsequently promoted to head coach. He went 32-11-4-4. 2004: Granato was replaced by Joel Quenneville, but stayed on as an assistant with Colorado. 2008: Granato was re-hired as head coach by the Avelanche. 2009: Granato was fired from the Avs after a 32-45-5 record. 2009: Granato was hired as an assistant by Pittsburgh. 2014: Granato was released, along with the rest of the coaching staff, by the Penguins. 2014: Granato was hired as an assistant by the Red Wings. 2016: Granato was hired as the fifth head coach of Wisconsin since 1966. 2017: Granato was named Big Ten Coach of the Year and was a finalis for National Coach of the year. 2017: Granato was hired as the head coach of the U.S. Olympic team that will take part in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.