Zoinks! It looks like Old Man Wang was trying to scare away Islanders fans so he could buy back the land dirt cheap! Not that I really care about this situation, other than the opportunity to work in a solid classic cartoon reference, but if the Islanders really wanted Ted Nolan making the personnel decisions, why not just hire him as the GM, instead of hiring a GM that everyone laughs at and will have limited power and chasing away a great hockey guy like Pat LaFontaine? I could rant about this for paragraphs, but I'll spare the viewing audience. I'll just suffice it to say that if you're going to crash your franchise like the Exxon-Valdez, it only makes sense to have a drunken jerk steering the ship.
Kinda Recruiting News Michigan's Rivals.com affiliate released their updated Hockey Recruiting Hotboard. The update focuses on potential targets for the 2009 recruiting class, and the first mention of a prospect born in 1992 that I've seen.
The six guys they've mentioned are all super-top prospects. They're so good...(How good are they!?)...They're so good, it's pretty likely that none of them will play college hockey more than two years, if they ever play in college at all. Exciting, I know.
Along those lines, The Scouting News gave their frank opinion on Matt Duchene's commitment to Michigan State by coming out and saying he'll never play college hockey and is just using MSU as bargaining leverage against a potential OHL suitor.
If so, it would seem to be the start of an annoying trend with players. I've got no problem with guys like Angelo Esposito, or Cody Hodgson, or even way back to Eric Lindros hinting at maybe playing college hockey. They just have to mention the words 'American' and 'hockey' in the same sentence and their team's GM gets all red-faced and angry and starts handing him more money. I also have no problem with players like Sam Gagner and A.J. Jenks, who I really believe intended on playing college hockey, but due to the circumstances of the situation, decided the OHL was a better opportunity for them. But it would really irritate me to see guys start committing to colleges with no real intention of ever actually going there.
One good thing in Michigan State's favor is that Duchene is the nephew of Anaheim Ducks assistant and former Michigan State player and coach Newell Brown, who helped set Duchene up with Michigan State. There's still a number of obstacles that could keep Duchene from Michigan State, but it gives MSU a little more of a chance.
USA Hockey picked their Under 18 team that they will take to the Czech Republic and Slovakia later this summer. This was the team they picked from the Select 17 Festival two weeks ago. No huge surprises on the list. It looks like a pretty decent team.
USA Hockey should have had the roster for the U17 team that will play an international tournament in Rochester, New York, up by now as well, but there was a complication with one international team dropping out, so the US will field two teams. They're not releasing the rosters yet because they're going to add a few players from the Select 15 Festival that starts next weekend to fill out the rosters.
USA Hockey's Select 14 Festival is going on right now. It's not as big a deal as the other Festivals since the kids are so young that it's hard to project too accurately. Minnesota doesn't even bother to send their players to it, which I can see the arguments for and against. I won't bother with it too much since it's largely irrelevant, but Charles Bando of Massachusetts is the tourney's leading scorer. Of some of the interesting names, the one that stood out to me the most was Jean-Paul LaFontaine. He is the nephew of Pat LaFontaine, who was arguably the greatest American born hockey player ever, and the son of John LaFontaine, who coaches the Bozeman IceDogs, and owns a bunch of car dealerships in Southeastern Michigan. Jean-Paul has four points in his first three games.