Thursday, June 30, 2011

Harvard Football to Make Two Appearences on Versus

The final two games of Harvard's 2011 football season will be nationally televised on the Versus network, the Ivy League announced last week. A national audience will see the Crimson's November 12th matchup with the Penn Quakers as well as its traditional season-ending contest with the Yale Bulldogs on November 19th. Both games will kickoff at 12noon. Of course, all Harvard football games are broadcast on WHRB 95.3FM in the greater Boston area and around the world at

This will be the fourth year in a row that Ivy League football is shown on Versus, which is owned by NBC Universal and can be seen in over 75 million households, according to Business Insider. The complete schedule of Ivy football games on Versus is shown below:

September 24th: Cornell at Yale, 12noon

October 15th: Penn at Columbia, 3:30pm

October 22nd: Yale at Penn, 12noon

November 12th: Penn at Harvard, 12noon

November 19th: Harvard at Yale, 12noon

The Ivy League press release can be seen here

Will any more of Harvard's football games be televised? If any more are picked up, it will likely be the result of an arrangement involving the participating schools, as the Harvard-Dartmouth game was last year. The matchup between those two schools has been shown on NESN the last two years.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The 2011 NHL Entry Draft Part III: The Future Crimson

Four incoming Harvard freshmen were picked in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, the best in the league. Total, that makes 5 incoming freshmen with their NHL draft rights accounted for, as Patrick McNally was taken in the 2010 Entry Draft by the Vancouver Canucks. This does not represent all of Harvard's incoming class as that has yet to be officially announced. While we'll have something on McNally and the other incoming freshmen once there is an announcement, for now we'll focus on the four Crimson players selected today.

The first Crimson player drafted today was goaltender Stephen Michalek, taken 161st overall by the draft hosting Minnesota Wild. The fourth round selection out of Loomis-Chaffee was ranked fifth among North American goaltenders. Describing his prep school season, NEHJ writer Kirk Luedeke wrote that Michalek "redefined standing on his head" for the Pelicans. That's because Michalek faced somewhere in the ballpark of 1000+ shots and yet put up almost a .920 SV% despite his team's 3-20-2 record (Hartford Courant). His coach described to the NEHJ one 3-2 OT loss where the young netminder faced 50 shots, with 30 being scoring opportunities. In other words, Michalek was, if I may embrace my inner-Stan Fischler, the prep school Al Rollins, the Chicago Blackhawks goaltender who won the Hart Trophy in 1954 despite a 12-47 record. Michalek initially made a name for himself on the US U-18 team at the Ivan Hlinka tournament last summer, leading the US to the silver medal after a 1-0 loss to Canada in the championship game. The lone goal to beat the incoming goaltender was, incidentally, by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the number one overall pick in the 2011 draft. Michalek trained with Jonathan Quick of the LA Kings in his youth and cited the Beanpot as an influence on his decision to come to Harvard. He becomes the first Harvard draft pick of Harvard alum and Wild GM Chuck Fletcher '90 since junior Alex Fallstrom in 2009, though Fallstrom's rights were later traded to the Boston Bruins in 2010.

Next to go for the Harvard Crimson was Petr Placek, perhaps the steal of the draft if he can remain healthy. Reaching as high as being the 54th ranked North American skater, Placek fell out of the rankings entirely due to a knee injury that kept him out of high school hockey action most of the year. Thus, after being projected as a mid round pick, he fell to the Philadelphia Flyers who selected him 176th overall. The big Czech RW came to the US to play for Hotchkiss Prep and his size will both help the Crimson and make him a perfect fit for the Broad Street Bullies. He is 6'4" and 210 lbs. and will likely add to that frame during his time in Cambridge. Reading about him reminds me of a young Bobby Holik. His best season was 2009-10 when he scored 32 points in 24 games. For another take on Placek, including a comparison to Jason Arnott, see Dan Sallows.

A guy who will be looked upon to add a scoring touch to the lineup in Cambridge will be the next pick out of Harvard, incoming freshman Colin Blackwell, who was selected by the San Jose Sharks 194th overall. Blackwell set a record for St. John's Prep, amassing 66 points in only 25 games en route to being named Massachusetts high school player of the year by Massachusetts HS Coaches as well as ESPN Boston. While some believed Blackwell would spend a year, either in the EJHL with the Jr. Bruins or in the USHL, he is enrolled as a freshman at Harvard and is listed in the Harvard student directory. A two-sport athlete (he also plays lacrosse), Blackwell rejected Boston College as well as several Ivy and ECAC programs because he felt Harvard was "the perfect fit" (Salem News). Listed at 5'9" and 170 lbs., Blackwell will not be one of the bigger guys but could play well with similarly built Conor Morrison. The NEHJ listed him as a draft sleeper and as a "dynamic little scoring forward" (NEHJ). Both Harvard and San Jose fans would not mind seeing him develop into a Brian Gionta or Martin St. Louis type player while in college.

The final pick from the Crimson comes with a familiar name, as defenseman Max Everson out of Edina, MN was drafted by Brian Burke, Harvard Law School '81, and the Toronto Maple Leafs with the 203rd overall pick. Everson is projected to be a two way defenseman at the college level. He is 6'1" and can put more on his frame as he is listed as only 185 lbs. One scout, Max Giese of the USHL, said Everson's pros are his transition game, hard shot, and ability to quarterback a PP but that negatives are a flawed skating motion, a lack of improvement in skating speed over the past two years, and a lack of creativity- Everson often takes what is there instead of creating an opportunity from nothing (Bruins 2011 Draft Watch). While creativity is hard to teach, the Crimson will need to focus on Everson's skating both for their own improvement as a team but also to help Everson transition to the professional ranks. His coach, former NHL defenseman Curt Giles, adds Everson has the ability to get to around 200 lbs. and add a couple of inches as well. Giles cited Everson's improvement in lateral movement as well as his already hard shot as strengths Everson will bring to the NCAA and perhaps pro ranks (Minnesota Sun). Everson rejected an offer from the University of Minnesota to join his older brother Marshall Everson, a rising junior.

Thanks to Harvard Athletics for providing some of the links and info used in this post.

Check out out other draft post: Part 1, a look at the draft class of Harvard's non-conference opponents, and Part 2, a look at the draft class for the ECAC.

The 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Part II: The ECAC

As a conference, the ECAC had a very nice draft day, with 14 current or future players being picked by NHL teams. Teams that saw someone with their name called were Harvard, Cornell, Yale, Brown, RPI and Quinnipiac. We'll get to the Crimson in part 3 of our series but for now, let's just focus on the rest of the league. In part 1 of our series, we looked at the selections of the Crimson's non-conference opponents.

Brown - The Brown Bears had the quietest draft day of the teams above, with only one player getting selected. That was 6 foot, 195 lbs. rising sophomore Dennis Robertson, selected 173rd overall by Brian Burke and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Robertson was 4th on the Bears in points last season with 17.

Cornell - The Cornell Big Red had one of the best draft days in the league, garnering the first three picks to come out of the league. The Stanley Cup Champion Bruins, led by a Harvard front office, dipped into the familiar territory of an ECAC pick by selecting Big Red incoming freshman Brian Ferlin with the 121st pick of the draft. Ferlin, a Floridian, spent two years with the Indiana Ice of the USHL. The big 6'2", 201 lbs. RW put up 16 points in his rookie season in juniors, but followed that up with an impressive 25 goals, 48 assists for 73 points, including 23 points on the PP (11 PPG, 12 PPA). With that type of build and scoring touch, Ferlin strikes me as potentially being a Colin Greening type forward for the Big Red. Cornell also had the next two picks from the ECAC, with the first being Joel Lowry, selected 140th by Los Angeles. Listed at 6'1", 180 lbs., the LW will likely look to fill out his frame in the weight room. Lowry put up impressive numbers in his two seasons with the Victoria Grizzlies of the BCHL, including 24 goals and 43 assists in the past season. His brother Adam, who went the WHL route, was drafted 3rd overall and his father is Dave Lowry, assistant coach of the Calgary Flames and former NHLer. The next and final pick for Cornell was at 145th overall, as incoming Big Red forward Phillipe Hudon got drafted by the Red Wings. The Choate Prep product said in 2010 that he bases his game off of Milan Lucic (The Hockey News), meaning the power forward should have no problem fitting into Cornell's system. Hudon can play either center or wing- he has a center's mentality but his talents fit in better on the wing.

Yale - The Yale Bulldogs saw two commits get drafted into the NHL in the later rounds, though neither player is expected on campus until 2012. The first future Bulldog to go was Rob O'Gara, who was taken 151st overall by the Boston Bruins. The local blueliner, who won the New England prep championship this year with Milton Academy, already has size at 6'3" and has good skills moving the puck, though he's seen as a project for the NHL (NESN). The thought that he has another year to grow physically as well should certainly frighten the other 11 teams in the ECAC. The second commit to go was Colin Sullivan, another future Bulldog defenseman, as Sullivan was drafted 198th overall by Montreal. A local Connecticut product, Sullivan is described as a great skater (Bruins 2011 Draft Watch) despite his 6'0", 200 lbs. frame, certainly fitting the Eli blueprint.

Quinnipiac - Keeping up with their Connecticut rivals, the Bobcats also had two future players drafted in the later rounds of the Entry Draft. Incoming freshman Matthew Peca was the 2nd of their two picks, going 201st overall to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Pembroke River Kings center won the 2009-10 CJHL Rookie of the Year title in 2009-10 after scoring 47 points in 60 games. Despite playing 10 less games in 2010-11, Peca put up 72 points, scoring 26 times and adding 46 assists. Peca is diminutive at 5'9" and only 165 lbs. yet is a solid playmaker, hard worker and two way talent with speed that is problematic for defensemen (Ottawa Sun). He is also apparently not related to Michael Peca. Quinnipiac will add another NHL pick to the roster in 2012, when Josh Manson, 160th overall and an Anaheim Ducks selection, is expected to enroll. The 6'3", 205 lbs. forward-turned-defenseman played in the BCHL for Salmon Arm. After 24 points as a forward in his first year with Salmon Arm, Manson converted to the blue line and increased that total, scoring 12 goals and adding 35 assists. His father is former NHLer Dave Manson.

RPI - The 'Tute was also a well represented team at the NHL Entry Draft, with two Engineers getting drafted in the later rounds. The first was rising sophomore defenseman Patrick Koudys, who went 147th overall to the Washington Capitals. Not far after his was RPI's second selection was goaltender Jason Kasdorf, selected 157th overall by the newly reformed Winnipeg Jets, his hometown team. Originally a 2012 prospect, Kasdorf is expected to attend RPI in the fall to share the goaltending duties with Bryce Merriam after the early departure of Allen York to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Kasdorf, who once played for the Winnipeg Thrashers midget AAA program, had hoped that the formerly Atlanta Thrashers and now hometown Winnipeg Jets would select him and they did. He led the Portage Terriers to the Anavet Cup. Here's a link to audio from Portage coach Blake Spiller (Portage Online).

The 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Part I: Other Leagues Thread

This will be the first of three posts on the NHL Entry Draft today. 61 current and/or future collegians were selected over the last two days by NHL teams. In part I, we'll look at the draft list of some of the teams Harvard will face in non-conference play. In part II, we'll look at the ECAC draftees. In part III, we'll take a look at Harvard's 4 draftees.

Edited the next paragraph for clarity and because I jumbled things between Gaudreau and Haar.

Northeastern University - Granted the Huskies aren't guaranteed to be a non-conference opponent but Harvard's local Beanpot rival had a good day at the draft. Jamie Oleksiak, the Huskies' towering rising-sophomore, became the first NCAA player selected, going 14th overall to the Dallas Stars. At 6'7" and 241 lbs., Oleksiak draws quick comparisons to Bruins' captain Zdeno Chara. There might be some nerves on Huntington Ave. about whether or not Oleksiak returns to Matthews Arena with reports that the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL will make a push to sign him (CHN). After seeing Oleksiak become the highest-drafted Husky in school history, Northeastern fans had to wait until the 104th spot when incoming freshman John Gaudreau went to the Calgary Flames. The Dubuque Fighting Saints forward put up 36 goals and 36 assists in 60 games on the way to becoming the USHL rookie of the year. Gaudreau will likely spend a lot of time in the weight room at Northeastern (edit- or whatever college he goes to); the future Husky is 5'6" and only 141 lbs. so could stand to add some bulk in order to get into NHL shape over the next few years. Gaudreau told Ryan Clark that he will decide in the next 48 hours as to whether or not he attends Northeastern. Clark is now reporting that Calgary Flames director of scouting Tod Button had told radio station Fan 960 that Clark will not attend Northeastern, nor will he be in the USHL next year, and that he is looking at two other schools. This is due to the departure of Greg Cronin, reportedly. Finally, the Huskies saw incoming freshman Garrett Haar go 207th overall to the Washington Capitals. CSN Washington claims Haar will stay despite Greg Cronin's departure. The defenseman amassed 23 points in 51 games for the Fargo Force of the USHL. At 6 foot and 193 lbs., he should add to an already intimidating blue line.

Boston University - Harvard will face the Terriers twice this season, including the Beanpot opener, and Jack Parker's program had a good draft weekend despite not having a Terrier go in the first round for the first time since 2009. Defenseman Adam Clendening was drafted not far after though, going 36th overall to the Chicago Blackhawks. Matthew Nieto joined Clendening as a second rounder, as the left winger went 47th overall to the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks, of course, took Nieto's classmate Charlie Coyle last season, but there will be no reunion after college as Coyle was sent to the Minnesota Wild along with Devin Setoguchi for defenseman Brent Burns. Rounding out Boston University's draft day was the selection of Garrett Noonan by the Nashville Predators at 112th overall. BU looks to have a small recruiting class coming in, so it's perhaps unsurprising that all three of the Terrier draft picks are rising sophomores.

North Dakota - The Crimson will get an up close and personal look at two of the top collegians in the draft when they head west to play the Fighting Sioux (or whatever North Dakota is called by then) at the end of 2011. At 15th overall, North Dakota recruit J.T. Miller became the first incoming NCAA player selected at the Entry Draft when he was grabbed by the New York Rangers. Miller was ranked 23rd by the CSS' final rankings but the Rangers liked what they saw, comparing Miller to Mike Richards and Brandon Dubinski (NY Times). The same article might cause some worries for UND fans though about Miller ever suiting up for them- Rangers director of player personnel Gordie Clark supposedly hinted at trying to convince Miller to sign a pro contract and forgo the NCAA. Miller's USNTDP and future Sioux teammate Rocco Grimaldi had a shot at the first round, but his size (and possibly his faith, according to Yahoo Sports) saw him drop into the second round, where he was snapped up early with the 33rd pick, going to the Florida Panthers. The diminutive winger is only 5'6" but has a very good shot at being a Brian Gionta or Martin St. Louis type player, especially at the college level. Finishing the UND day at the draft was rising sophomore Dillon Simpson's selection at 92nd by his hometown Edmonton Oilers, the team where his father Chris Simpson won two Stanley Cups during his 10 year NHL career. At 6'2" and 205 lbs., Simpson is a physical presence but being a 4th round pick indicates that teams saw him as a bit of a project, meaning he'll likely be honing his game at North Dakota for at least another year.

Harvard's other non-conference opponents, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and (potentially) Boston College did not see anyone go on draft day. In neighboring Hockey East, Vermont commit Michael Paliotta went 70th overall to Chicago and UMass-Lowell's Scott Wilson was the last collegian picked, going 209th to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Men's Basketball Fills Assistant Coach Opening

Harvard has hired Boston Celtics video assistant Brian Adams to filled out its coaching staff as it prepares for its 201-2012 campaign, the school's athletic department announced yesterday. Adams' hiring follows the departure of Crimson assistant Kenny Blakeney, who had been with Head Coach Tommy Amaker for the entirety of his tenure in Cambridge.

According to the Athletic Department, Adams' role for the Celtics was to record and edit video of Celtics' opponents' games, and to provide additional scouting video. This appears to be Adams' first venture into the college ranks.