MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) - Gopher Hockey alums Phil Kessel and Erik Johnson have been named to the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game, the league announced over the weekend. The 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game is set for Sunday, Jan. 25 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio (4 p.m. CT, NBC Sports).
Kessel will be making his third-straight All-Star Game appearance (2011, 2012) for the Toronto Maple Leafs - tied for second most among Gophers with Reed Larson (1978, 1980, 1981). Only Mike Ramsey has made more All-Star Game appearances among Minnesota alums with four (1982, 1983, 1985, 1986). In 42 games this season, Kessel ranks 10th in the NHL with 43 points and tied for eighth with 19 goals. The forward has 502 points (241 goals, 261 assists) in 628 career NHL regular-season games with another 21 points (13 goals, eight assists) in 22 career playoff games.
Johnson will make his first appearance at the All-Star Game this season as a member of the Colorado Avalanche. In 41 games this year, Johnson leads all NHL defensemen with 12 goals and has another 10 assists for 22 points. The defenseman has 192 points (48 goals, 144 assists) in 450 career NHL regular-season games with another two points (one goal, one assist) in seven career playoff games.
A total of 16 Gopher Hockey alums have seen NHL action so far this year - Keith Ballard (MIN), Nick Bjugstad (FLA), Alex Goligoski (DAL), Erik Haula (MIN), Erik Johnson (COL), Phil Kessel (TOR), Nick Leddy (NYI), Jordan Leopold (CBJ), Paul Martin (PIT), Kyle Okposo (NYI), Nate Schmidt (WAS), Thomas Vanek (MIN), Blake Wheeler (WPG), Jordan Schroeder (MIN), Stu Bickel (MIN), Seth Helgeson (NJD).
-Pride On Ice-
Three Gophers are among the nominees for this year's Hobey Baker Award, and fans can help them earn college hockey's top honor by voting online through March 8.
All-Americans Mike Reilly, Adam Wilcox and Kyle Rau represent the Gophers on the nomination form.
Awarded annually to college hockey's top player, the Hobey Baker's highly popular fan-voting opened on Wednesday, January 7. Visit the Hobey Baker website: www.hobeybakeraward.com. Click on the Vote for Hobey icon and follow the prompts to make your selection from this year's outstanding crop of college hockey players. Please spend some additional time to check out the detailed bios on each candidate.
This first phase of fan balloting will run now through March 8, 2015. Phase two of fan balloting will begin on March 19 from the list of Top Ten Hobey Baker finalists. The fans' vote accounts for a full 1 percent of the total ballot in each phase in selecting this year's award recipient.
Award criteria include candidates emulating the exceptional character traits exhibited by the award's namesake, Hobey Baker. A legendary American hero, Baker was a World War I fighter pilot and was known as America's greatest amateur athlete in his day, excelling at hockey and football at Princeton University. Award candidates must demonstrate strength of character both on and off the ice, contribute to the integrity of his team and display outstanding skills in all phases of the game. Consideration should be given to scholastic achievement and sportsmanship.
Key Hobey Baker announcement dates for 2015 include:
- Top Ten list of candidates: March 19
- Hobey Hat Trick of three finalists: April 2
- Hobey Baker Award announcement: April 10
The 2015 Hobey Baker Award winner will be announced from a field of three Hobey Hat Trick finalists on Friday, April 10, 2015 during the NCAA Frozen Four Championships in Boston, MA. For more info on the Hobey Baker Award or to access the Hobey logo, please visitwww.hobeybakeraward.com.
Florida Panthers Executive Vice-President and General Manager Dale Tallon announced today that the club has agreed to terms on a six-year contract with F Nick Bjugstad.
"We are very pleased to have agreed to a long-term contract with Nick," said Tallon. "He is a big, strong and skilled forward who will play an important role on our club for the next several seasons. Nick, along with Aleksander Barkov, Aaron Ekblad, Erik Gudbranson and Johnathan Huberdeau are all part of our club's growing nucleus of young and talented players that will lead our team to future success."
Bjugstad, 22, currently leads the Panthers in goals (13), points (21), shots (94) and game-winning goals (3). He has recorded four multiple-point games this season, including a career best four points (2-2--4) on Nov. 16 at Anaheim. He has posted two four-game point scoring streaks this season and netted Florida's game-winning goal in a NHL record 20-round shootout on Dec. 16.
The 6-foot-6, 220-pound center has played in 121 games with Florida (2012-2014) scoring 30 goals with 30 assists and 32 PIMS. Bjugstad was drafted by Florida in the first round (19th overall) of the 2010 NHL Draft.
On the international level, the Minneapolis, Minnesota, native represented the USA at the 2013 World Championship. Bjugstad also earned a Bronze medal at the 2011 World Junior Championship, recording four points (2-2--4) in six games. He also appeared in the 2012 World Junior Championship.
Bjugstad completed his collegiate career at the University of Minnesota, appearing in 109 games scoring 54 goals with 44 assists, earning three consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament. He also won 2010 Minnesota Mr. Hockey Award, given to the state's most outstanding senior high school hockey player.
MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) -- Gopher Hockey alum Seth Helgeson has been recalled by the New Jersey Devils and will make his NHL debut tonight against the Minnesota Wild.
Tonight's game is set for a 6 p.m. (TV: FOX Sports North, Radio: KFAN) at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
"He's got fresh legs, which is good coming in," coach Pete DeBoer said. "We were young prior to him coming in, so it's nothing we haven't dealt with this year. I'm excited to see him. He had a great training camp and he deserved to be the guy called up here."
Helgeson is a physical presence.
"Not exactly the way you want to inject energy, but we'll take it and hopefully he'll come in and give us a good game," DeBoer said.
"He's a big guy. Physical. Long stick. We don't have a lot of that, physical defensemen, back there. With Sal, who is that type of defenseman, going out, it's nice to have a guy in the minors that plays a similar type game."
A Faribault, Minn., native, Helgeson was a four-year letter winner at the University of Minnesota and served as an alternate captain as the team's lone senior in 2012-13. The defenseman skated in 150 career games for the Gophers and amassed 27 points (seven goals, 20 assists). He also proved to be incredibly durable despite his physical play -- ending his college career with 122-straight appearances including every game of his sophomore, junior and senior seasons.
In his final two campaigns with the program, the Gophers earned two-straight MacNaughton Cups as Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) regular-season champions as well as two NCAA tournament berths including the team's run to the Frozen Four in 2011-12.
Helgeson signed with the Albany Devils following his senior season and played four games for New Jersey's AHL affiliate that year. He added 10 points (one goal, nine assists) and 100 penalty minutes in 75 regular-season games during the 2013-14 campaign and also played in four playoff games for Albany. So far in 2014-15, Helgeson has played in 12 games with one assist and 11 penalty minutes.
With Helgeson expected to play tonight, we'll have a contest between two former teammates as well as four Gopher Hockey alums on the ice at Prudential Center. Helgeson and Wild forward Erik Haula played together for three seasons at Minnesota while Thomas Vanek and Keith Ballard will both be in the Wild lineup as well.
Gopher Hockey now boasts 14 alums in the NHL this season: Keith Ballard (Minnesota Wild), Nick Bjugstad (Florida Panthers), Alex Goligoski (Dallas Stars), Erik Haula (Minnesota Wild), Seth Helgeson (New Jersey Devils), Erik Johnson (Colorado Avalanche), Phil Kessel (Toronto Maple Leafs), Nick Leddy (New York Islanders), Jordan Leopold (St. Louis Blues), Paul Martin (Pittsburgh Penguins), Kyle Okposo (New York Islanders), Nate Schmidt (Washington Capitals), Thomas Vanek (Minnesota Wild) and Blake Wheeler (Winnipeg Jets).
MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) -- Tuesday night's NHL action was a great night for Gopher Hockey as Minnesota alums contributed a total of seven points including this overtime game winner by Phil Kessel.
Kessel also picked up an assist earlier in the contest.
Elsewhere, the Islanders remained unbeaten with two goals and three points from Gopher Hockey alums Kyle Okposo (one goal, one assist) and Nick Leddy (one goal -- his first with the Islanders). Okposo's goal marked his 100th in the NHL.
Also worth pointing out, Dallas defenseman Alex Goligoski assisted on the game-winning goal in a 4-2 win over Todd Richards' Columbus Blue Jackets and logged a game-high 25:11 of ice time. Erik Johnson also picked up an assist and led all skaters with 26:27 of ice time as the Avalanche fell in overtime to Toronto.
ICYMI last night, Blake Wheeler didn't waste much time before picking up his first goal of the season in last night's 6-2 win over Arizona in Jets' opener. But frankly he wasted even less time before picking up his second of the year.
The forward scored a pair of goals 15 seconds apart on Friday night including the eventual game winner for Winnipeg. Actually, Wheeler closed out a gap of four goals in less than two minutes between the two teams midway through the first period, but we've got highlights from both of his goals for you -- he added an assist later in the game for good measure.
MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) -- Gopher Hockey will list a total of 14 alums on National Hockey League opening rosters as the NHL regular season begins tonight with four games.
The Maroon & Gold are represented on 10 different NHL teams including the Minnesota Wild, which leads all league teams with four Gophers on roster.
Gopher Hockey in the NHL
Phil Kessel and the Maple Leafs kick off the season tonight at 7 p.m. ET against Montreal.
MINNEAPOLIS (Gophersports.com) -Gopher Hockey alum and former team captain Nate Condon has signed a one-year deal with the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League (AHL) and will also participate in the Colorado Avalanche's upcoming training camp.
A native of Wausau, Wis., Condon certainly left his mark his mark on the Gophers program over his four years with the team including leading the team to the national championship game as a senior.
After missing the NCAA tournament in 2011 as a freshman, Condon helped the Gophers reach the national tournament in each of the next three years including Frozen Four appearances in 2012 and 2014. Condon's class was also the first in program history to win three regular-season conference championships while the inaugural Big Ten regular-season championship in 2014 marked the first time in program history that the Gophers have won three-straight titles.
Voted team captain as a senior, Condon proved to be Minnesota's most durable skater during his tenure with the Maroon & Gold. The forward played in 159 career games and including 158-straight games to end his career. In four years with the team, Condon only missed one contest - the second game of his freshman season.
The senior tallied his 100th career point in Minnesota's 7-3 win over Robert Morris in this year's NCAA tournament opener, becoming the 81st Gopher in program history to reach the 100-point plateau. Condon finished his career with 103 points, 40 goals and 63 assists as a Gopher.
A 2014 graduate of the prestigious Carlson School of Management, Condon doubled majored in finance and accounting at Minnesota. He was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and a two-time recipient of Minnesota's John Mayasich Outstanding Student-Athlete Award. Additionally, Condon was named the team's Elwin "Doc" Romnes Leasdership & Sportsmanship Award honoree as well as the University of Minnesota's male representative for the Big Ten Outstanding Sportsmanship Award as a senior.
Colorado selected Condon 200th overall (seventh round) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
-Pride On Ice-
MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) - Gopher Hockey alum Jake Parenteau has agreed to terms with the Orlando Solar Bears of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL), adding to the list of former Gophers on the organization's roster entering 2014-15.
A native of Franconia, Minn., Parenteau played in 113 career games for the Maroon & Gold and totaled 22 points (four goals, 18 assists) as a member of the team's defensive corps. Parenteau and the senior class took Minnesota to a pair of Frozen Four appearances in 2012 and 2014 including reaching the national championship game last season. The senior class also guided the Gophers to three-straight regular-season conference championships for the first time in program history (2012-14). The defenseman closed out his academic career by earning Academic All-Big Ten honors and the Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award in 2014. He was also honored with Minnesota's Donald M. Clark Community Service Award during his final year with the program.
Orlando now boasts three Gopher Hockey alums on roster with Parenteau joining goaltender Kent Patterson and forward Jacob Cepis.
-Pride On Ice-
Join Gopher Hockey at the 2014 Minnesota State Fair on Wednesday as head coach Don Lucia and members of the Maroon & Gold hit up the "Great Minnesota Get-Together" before the start of the 2014-15 season.
Coach Lucia and Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo kick off the day with a Hockey Roundtable at the 1500 ESPN booth (Chambers St. & Carnes Ave.) at noon as part of the Mackey and Judd morning show before Lucia joins WCCO News at Noon at 12:20 (Nelson St. & Carnes Ave.).
Kyle Rau, Seth Ambroz and Ben Marshall will then join Lucia at the University of Minnesota Stage on Dan Patch Ave. (between Underwood St. & Cooper St.) for a Q&A session starting at 1 p.m. Fans are invited to get autographs and take pictures with the Big Ten regular-season championship trophy and the North Star College Cup before and after the Q&A session.