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Hill Out, Guentzel Reportedly In at Minnesota

Well, it was a great run for the rest of the WCHA. But after days/weeks/months/years of rumors, Minnesota has finally decided to let go of assistant coach John Hill. Meanwhile, strong rumors have indicated that Hill's replacement will be Mike Guentzel, a former Gopher assistant coach, and most recently, an assistant at Nebraska-Omaha.

There have been plenty of rumors that in the spring of 2008, a feud between Hill and Guentzel, an assistant at Minnesota at the time, became irreconcilable after a disappointing season. The Gophers won just 19 games and barely squeaked into the NCAA tournament, after having won more than 25 games in each season since Don Lucia's first year at Minnesota in 1999-2000. It became clear that one would have to go, and Lucia chose to keep Hill, while Guentzel resigned amidst talk that he was forced out

The Gophers have missed the NCAA tournament each of the past three years since forcing Guentzel out, and much talk centered on Hill being a weak link on the coaching staff. If Guentzel is the one to replace Hill, that would be about as clear a statement as we'll ever get that it was a mistake for Minnesota to keep Hill and get rid of Guentzel. The real question is if this assistant coaching change is all that it will take to jumpstart a Minnesota program that has played well below its capabilities in recent years.