Monday, September 22, 2014

Season's almost here

The Mavericks are practicing. Just two hours a week with coaches (plus captains' practices and conditioning), but they are practicing. The official start day is just 12 days away, and they'll jump right in after that with an exhibition game on Oct. 5 and a trip to Omaha five days later.

Preseason rankings should begin trickling in soon, and the WCHA will release its preseason coaches poll (compiled by yours truly) next week. Where do you think the Mavericks will stand in the conference prognostications? What about the national rankings?

Minnesota State put out its preseason prospectus in recent days. Here are a few highlights going into this season:

* This will be Mike Hastings' third season as head coach. Assistant coach Darren Blue begins this 15th season with the Mavericks, and Todd Knott begins his sixth on the staff.

* Of the nation's active players, Matt Leitner ranks third in career points with 121. He's behind Miami's Austin Czarnik (124) and Minnesota's Kyle Rau (123). His 81 assists rank second behind Czarnik's 87.

* Jean-Paul LaFontaine's 42 career goals rank fifth among active players. He's behind Cody Wydo of Robert Morris (65), Alex Grieve of Bentley (50), Rau (47) and Jonny Brodzinski of St. Cloud State (43). His 26 power-play goals rank first among active players. Rau has 22.

* Minnesota State needs 14 victories to reach 800 in program history. MSU is 786-601-138 since 1969. They are 305-313-77 in the Division I era.

* For the third year in a row, Teddy Blueger, now a junior forward, is the youngest player on MSU's roster (Aug. 15, 1994). Chase Grant (Aug. 17, 1989, is the oldest).

* The Mavericks' 25-player roster is a true melting pot. It includes players from three different countries and 14 different U.S. states and Canadian provinces. The breakdown includes: U.S.--Minnesota (6), North Dakota (2), Michigan (2), Wisconsin (1), South Dakota (1), Pennsylvania (1), Oklahoma (1), Alaska (1), Colorado (1), California (1) and Missouri (1); Canada--British Columbia (3), Saskatchewan (1) and Ontario (1); and Latvia (1).

* In an aside, the MSU women's team's 24-player roster has players from five countries (U.S., Canada, Germany, Norway and Sweden) and nine U.S. states/Canadian provinces (Minnesota, North Dakota, Illinois, Colorado, Arizona, New York, British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario). Ten players are from Minnesota. Put the two teams together and you get six countries, 14 states and four provinces.

No comments: