Today’s Prospects News & Rumors has some good and bad news. Starting with the bad news first, one of the top programs in college hockey is shutting things down for two weeks. On the positive side, recent draft picks of both the Montreal Canadiens and San Jose Sharks had nice weekends.
Michigan Pauses for Two Weeks
We have written about the University of Michigan in this column quite a bit this season. They boast one of the most talented rosters in the country after bringing in an exciting freshman class that included Matty Beniers, Brendan Brisson, Kent Johnson and Owen Power.
Saturday night started off great for the No. 8 Wolverines as they swept their two-game series versus No. 16 Notre Dame with a 3-1 win. This was revenge after the Fighting Irish beat Michigan in back-to-back games in November.
However, not long after time expired, the team learned that they and the rest of the school’s sports programs will be put on hold for the next two weeks. Due to an outbreak of the COVID-19 B.1.1.7 variant, all Michigan athletic programs will pause their activities including games and practice for up to 14 days.
“Canceling competitions is never something we want to do, but with so many unknowns about this variant of COVID-19, we must do everything we can to minimize the spread among student-athletes, coaches, staff, and to the student-athletes at other schools,” said Warde Manuel, Director of Athletics.
Michigan’s next two games against Penn State, scheduled for Feb. 2 and 3, have already been postponed. The next game on their current schedule is versus Michigan State on Feb. 9. There is a “postponement weekend” built into the Big Ten schedule, March 10-12.
Danil Gushchin Pulls a Svechnikov
Staying in Michigan, there is some about the Great Lakes State and the lacrosse-style goal. Mike Legg was the first to use it in a big moment when he scored with it for the University of Michigan in a 1996 NCAA Tournament game against the University of Minnesota.
Since then, Andrei Svechnikov has perfected the “Michigan” goal for the Carolina Hurricanes in the NHL. Gushchin was the latest to score with the lacrosse-style shot on Saturday night for the Muskegon Lumberjacks, the same team Svechnikov played for during his United States Hockey League (USHL) career.
Gushchin added a second goal in a 5-4 shootout loss to the USNTDP. He was drafted by the Sharks in the third round (76th overall) of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. He was originally supposed to play for the Niagara IceHogs in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) but was loaned back to the Lumberjacks as the league tries to play a 2020-21 season. He now has 14 goals and 30 points in 23 games this season. The 18-year-old winger has 52 goals and 113 points in 116 career USHL games, all with the Lumberjacks.
Alexander Gordin Nets His 20th
Gordin has had a very event 2020-21 season as he has played in all three levels of Russian hockey with SKA St. Petersburg. The Canadiens’ 2020 sixth-round (171st overall) draft pick had one game with the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) and did not find the scoresheet. He had two goals in his nine games in the VHL, Russia’s equivalent of the American Hockey League (AHL).
It is the MHL, the country’s top junior league, where Gordin has done the most damage. He opened the scoring with this power-play tally in SKA-1946’s 6-1 victory at Sakhalinskie Akuly on Sunday.
Gordin now has 20 goals and 35 points in 36 MHL games this season. He is a longshot to make an NHL roster one day, but he has shown that he can be both a playmaker and goal scorer. With the right amount of development, he could ride his creativeness with the puck all the way to Montreal.
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.