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Eric McErlain calls Bill Simmons out as a bandwagon hockey fan. Simmons has already milked the "Red Sox fans are most tortured in sports because our team has never won" and "Celtics fans are the most tortured in sports because our team used to win and now they don't" premises. It's only a matter of time(or maybe it already happened, I haven't read anything from ESPN in a couple years now) before he milks the "Patriots fans are the most tortured in sports because they were so close to perfection and didn't get it" premise. He's just building the foundation for future whining about how hard it is to be a Bruins fan.

McErlain's main point is a good one though. With some big market US teams going deep into the playoffs, it should really help hockey's popularity. There was a similar potential resurgence after the Rangers won the Cup in '94, though any momentum was killed when the owners locked out the players the following year.

NHL.com profiled Minnesota State recruit Justin Jokinen. With the Dark Knight coming out this summer, and likely being the awesomest thing ever, it's probably inevitable that this kid's nickname will end up being The Joker. Jokinen made his commitment to MSU official last week, along with USHL forward Tyler Thompson.

Michigan College Hockey has been keeping track of team awards for the various Michigan-based college programs. Here are the award winners at Lake State, Northern Michigan, Wayne State, and Michigan State.

Forward Dion Knelsen will be on the committee that chooses Alaska's next head coach. Meanwhile, AD Forrest Karr had more intriguing quotes that lead you to guess what life was like in Fairbanks with Doc there:
The challenge is finding someone that can balance teaching self-discipline, teamwork and sportsmanship without resorting to authoritarianism and cruelty.
Also on the coaching front, I had briefly mentioned assistant coach Joe Shawhan leaving Lake Superior, but didn't mention that the parting seemed less than amicable.

Scott Nason wrote in the Soo Evening News that Shawhan was offered a coaching position at Northern Michigan last year, but turned down the job to stay at LSSU.(To make matters worse, had Shawhan taken the NMU job, his daughter could have gone there for free to study the noble profession of speech-language pathology. Now she's stuck at LSSU, a school Shawhan's former coach, Frank Anzalone, once described as a "glorified high school".)

Jim Roque has been pretty quiet about the whole thing, and hasn't really given his side of the story, but judging by various internet rumors, it sounds like at best, there was a difference of opinions between the two, and at worst, Shawhan undermined Roque as a coach.

Former North Dakota forward Hunter Bishop was named MVP of the BCHL's Interior Conference this year. I have a feeling that Ohio State will be getting a completely different player than the one who saw spot duty for half a year in North Dakota.

Here's an article on Waterloo's Nick Larson. He's probably one of the top remaining uncommitted players out there right now.

I mentioned the Fargo Force yesterday, but you can see more of their future roster at the team's website, which includes some incredibly cheesy radio ads.

MGoBlog previews next year's Michigan hockey team.

The semifinals of the USHL playoffs get underway tonight, highlighted by a great match-up between Omaha and Lincoln. It's also nice to see Chicago advance after some rough seasons.