Top links from the offseason:
From The UConn Blog:
- Jordan Timmons transferring to Robert Morris
- Season in review: Huskies take major step forward
- Roster review: Goaltenders, Defensemen, Forwards
- Ruslan Iskhakov signs pro contract in Europe
- UConn men’s hockey preparing for a preseason unlike any other
- Mike Cavanaugh breaks down incoming freshman class
- How UConn builds a recruiting class; Huskies looking to add goaltender for 2021
- Hockey East announces plan to play 2020-21 season (Hockey East)
- Three Huskies in final NHL Central Scouting Rankings (UConnHuskies.com)
- Which prospects improved their NHL Draft stock at summer U20 camps? (The Athletic; Vlad Firstov and Yan Kuznetsov get a mention)
- Payusov and Turnbull named ACHA All-American Scholars (UConnHuskies.com)
- Hockey East Men’s Summer School (Hockey East; Adam Karashik is featured)
- Season in Review: Tomáš Vomáčka (On the Forecheck, a Nashville Predators blog)
- 15 Huskies named to Hockey East All-Academic squad (UConnHuskies.com)
Who’s the first person to hit a home run in UConn baseball’s new Elliot Ballpark? Unofficially, the answer is Mike Cavanaugh:
Coach Cav answering the challenge from @BCHockey Head Coach Jerry York for the @TRFoundation @TRFWiffle to help support survivors of spinal cord injuries.— UConn Men's Hockey (@UConnMHOC) July 30, 2020
Challenge goes out to this year's seniors! @AdamKarashik @brianDrigali37 @Zrobb14 @bradleystone31 #BatterUpTRF #IceBus pic.twitter.com/tpVvJoFUyN
UConn gets some high praise from college hockey expert and ESPN anchor John Buccigross:
This will be Mike Cavanaugh’s best team at UConn. Sure hope the season is only delayed a touch and he won’t lose some of his talented players. Huskies have 5-6 guys who could play in NHL #CawlidgeHawkey pic.twitter.com/QxGCh9VJxO— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) August 22, 2020
In the News
Hockey Commissioners Association delays start of season
In a move that’s been long-expected, the typical October start of the Division I ice hockey season has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The news was announced on Friday by the Hockey Commissioners Association (HCA) who represent all 11 DI hockey conferences.
Moving forward, each conference will decide how and when to return to play. According to College Hockey News, Hockey East could start its season “as early as November.” UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh told The UConn Blog that he believes the status of his team’s season will not be decided by the conference, however, but by the University.
“If our basketball team isn’t playing this winter, how can they let the hockey team play, you know?” Cavanaugh said. “That’s the thing, I think there’s got to be equity among the department. Those decisions are going to be made by David Benedict, President [Thomas] Katsouleas, and to a larger extent, probably our governor.”
The NCAA is expected to announce its plans for the college basketball season on Wednesday, which should provide clarity for the Huskies’ hockey programs as well.
Karashik named captain
Adam Karashik will wear the captain’s “C” on his jersey for the 2020-21 season. The senior defensemen will head UConn’s leadership group that includes fellow seniors Brian Rigali and Zac Robbins as well as junior Carter Turnbull.
“It is an amazing honor to be selected as captain by my teammates and coaches,” Karashik said in a release. ”Since I have been here, not only have amazing players worn the ‘C’ but they were also amazing people. It is something I take great pride in. I can’t wait to represent my team and the University of Connecticut next season.”
Karashik had previously served as an assistant captain last season. Though the players decide the captain through a team vote, Cavanaugh believes Karashik is the right choice to lead the squad.
“He’s been the epitome of what we want in a UConn hockey player,” Cavanaugh said. “He’s a 3.0 or better in school. He’s diligent off the ice. He works his ass off on the ice. He’d do anything to help our team win. He eats pucks, he brings so much energy to our locker room. I feel really good about him.”
Through three years, Karashik has appeared in 96 games, totaling 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) and blocking 147 shots. Last season, he ranked second in Hockey East with 51 blocks.
Firstov, Kuznetsov have shot at history
Vlad Firstov and Yan Kuznetsov spent part of their offseason at the Russia World Junior camp, where both impressed — according to Cavanaugh.
“They both did very, very well over there,” he said.
Rosters have still yet to be announced, but if either player makes the cut, it would be the first time anyone who’s played in college will be on the Russian team.
As of now, the World Junior Championships are scheduled to be held from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Alberta, Canada.
Updated overtime rules
College hockey overtime rules are changing for the 2020-21 season. In July, the NCAA approved a change where games still tied at the end of regulation will begin a five-minute, sudden death 3-on-3 overtime period. If neither teams score, the game will go into the books as a tie.
The previous overtime format called for a five-minute, sudden death 5-on-5 period if the game was tied at the end of regulation, but there was no consensus on the rules from conference to conference. While a game would end in a tie if nobody scored in overtime during Hockey East games, some conferences would use a three-player shootout to decide a winner.
Plenty of former UConn players are continuing their respective careers in the pros.
Karl El-Mir is re-signing with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits of the ECHL, where he spent the latter half of last season after being traded from the Indy Fuel in January. In 34 games with both teams, El-Mir racked up 19 points.
Staying in the ECHL, Miles Gendron signed with the Newfoundland Growlers after bouncing around with four different teams in 2019-20 — including a stint with the Growlers.
“I’m super excited to be back with the Growlers,” Gendron said in a release. “I was really upset when the season ended. I felt like I was just starting to catch my stride with the Growlers (at the end of last season). It was such a great place to be. I really enjoyed it (in St. John’s). It really felt like you were in a big-time pro atmosphere.”
Max Kalter is also sticking around with his club as the forward re-upped with Hockey Club de Cergy-Pontoise, a team in the French Magnus League.
Meanwhile, Ben Freeman will be staying in his home state of Maine to begin his professional career as he signed with the Maine Mariners in the ECHL. Freeman hails from Falmouth, Maine — the town directly north of Portland, where the Mariners play.