Nashville hosted a series between Alabama-Huntsville and Merrimack this past weekend, and that has led to some reports that the Music City will put in a bid for a Frozen Four the next time people bid, meaning the earliest they'd host would be 2015. Nashville was number one on my list of venues I'd like to see host a Frozen Four last April, and still think it would be a great venue. There will probably be some pressure to go west-er after two straight Pennsylvania Frozen Fours, but if Nashville is interested, I wouldn't keep them waiting long.
TSN's Bob McKenzie put together his Mid-Term Top 60 list, which is arguably the best list available. While NHL Central Scouting simulates what one team's opinion might be, this list compiles the opinions of various NHL teams and averages them out to make a list. It's not perfect, since it maybe punishes guys where there is a wide range of opinions, but no system is going to be perfect, and this is probably the best way to do something like that, short of every team publishing their list.
Of note on the list, Tyler Biggs is a little lower than Central Scouting, but still 10th overall. Technically he's the ninth North American skater on the TSN list, so it's really only a difference of four spots, making Central Scouting's position not that crazy after all. I'll still stick with my Eric Nystrom comparison and politely ask to trade down, thank you very much.
Jamie Oleksiak, Scott Mayfield, and JT Miller also get mentioned in the top 30. Rocco Grimaldi, Adam Clendening, Mario Lucia, John Gibson, Seth Ambroz, Nick Shore, Matt Nieto, and Michael Paliotta all get mentioned in the second round. Joseph Labate, Connor Murphy, and Dillon Simpson are all honorable mentions.
ISS offers a slightly different take, with Grimaldi and Nieto still in their first round. It's interesting to see some of the self-correction that goes on with this list as we get more information about what the real decision-makers are thinking. Biggs moved up from 28 to 12, while Robbie Russo goes from 18 to unranked.
The Montreal Gazette's Pat Hickey pens a column saying NCAA hockey should be in the discussion for more players from Quebec. The article also mentions last week's big news, which was that Quebec '94 Michael Matheson committed to Boston College, for 2012, meaning he will likely play next season for Dubuque in the USHL. There's also some interesting new information regarding '95 Anthony Duclair considering playing in Hockey East some day. Duclair was one of the few underagers to play in the World U17 Challenge last month and is reportedly an exceptional player. He still has to go through the QMJHL draft process this summer, so it will be interesting to see how that shakes out.
Speaking of the Dubuque Fighting Saints, with Zemgus Girgensons and Riley Barber this year--though unlikely next year for either-- and potentially Matheson next season, their fans may get the opportunity to watch three first round draft picks for the 2012 Draft. That's quite a way to bring hockey back to the city.
Dubuque Note #2, the Fighting Saints are currently leading their division in the USHL, while fellow expansion team Muskegon is holding steady slightly above .500 in the stronger of the league's two divisions. The expansion team in Ohio a few years ago was disaster, and Youngstown hasn't necessarily established themselves as a powerhouse, but I think you have to say the USHL got the expansion thing right this time around with making sure both teams were able to step in from Day 1 and be competitive teams within the league.
Now compare that to the NAHL standings, where the league added a bunch of new teams in the offseason, and currently, out of nine different expansion teams, Amarillo ahead of Wichita Falls is the only instance in the entire league where a new team is ahead of an already-existing franchise in the standings.
Rochester Mayo head coach Lorne Grosso passed former Michigan great Willard Ikola for most coaching victories in Minnesota High School hockey. Further down I-90, Albert Lea head coach Roy Nystrom holds the all-time record for coaching victories though not all of his wins came in the state of Minnesota.