Sometimes, misfortune can bring about opportunity. I have stated this before, but I coach high school football in Wisconsin. I love football, but unfortunately our season is over. Normally my weekends are spent looking at film and scouting our next opponent. Now I have time to bring about my focus to hockey. The lockout is still rolling along on what should've been the NHL's first weekend of the 2012-13 season. There appears to be some more discussion in the last few days between the two sides, but no real sign of either side relenting. This week I participated in two Fantasy Hockey League drafts, perhaps that work will be for not but that's all a person can do; just keep on hoping the two sides will end the dispute and go forward with a hockey season. On a side note, I drafted two pretty awesome teams which I may talk about in future articles if I ever actually get to use those teams. While we wait to see what happens with the NHL's labor struggle; team employees are laid off or have their hours reduced, local businesses like restaurants, bars suffer the pain of drastically reduced numbers of customers coming through their doors, players try to stay sharp in workouts with their fellow teammates or seek work overseas if its available. Its not fun for anyone, fans included. But as I've said earlier there is other hockey to watch and it started last night.
College hockey and the American Hockey league joined the junior leagues (OHL, WHL, QMJHL, USHL, NAHL, etc) already in progress giving hockey junkies plenty to pay attention to. As always we'll do our best to help keep you up to date on the progress of Wild prospects. You can follow us on Twitter @StateofHckyNews where we regularly post updates on prospects and other Minnesota hockey news as it comes across our screen. So where are our prospects playing this weekend and what's happened so far?
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Just as a reminder, we have all the links you can need to track online all the hockey you want in the wake of the lockout right here.
On Saturday, at 7:00PM CST, the Aeros faceoff against the Charlotte Checkers. It is the North American professional debut for Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle, Johan Larsson, Zack Phillips and Jonas Brodin. On Sunday, the Aeros travel to play in-state arch rival San Antonio in matinee game set to start at 3:00PM CST.
(D) Matthew Dumba - Red Deer Rebels (WHL)
Dumba was a -1 and had 4 PIM's in Red Deer's 2-1 win over Medicine Hat on Friday night. The dynamic defenseman has 2 goals, 7 points as well as a +1 and 25 PIM's in 9 games this season. Dumba, an assistant captain plays again tonight against Calgary at 8:00PM CST.
(D) Colton Jobke - Regina Pats (WHL)
Jobke, named Regina's captain had an assist and 2 PIM's in a 3-2 loss to Swift Current last night. The stay at home overage defenseman has a goal and 5 points, is a +2 and 13 PIM's in 4 games so far this season. Regina plays the Everett Silvertips tonight at 8:00PM CST.
(C) Tyler Graovac - Ottawa 67's (OHL)
Tyler Graovac's hot start continued on Friday, when he chipped in a goal and was a -1 in a 3-2 overtime loss to Mississauga. The big bodied forward from Brampton, Ontario has 7 goals and 10 points, is a +2 and 2 PIM's in 9 games this season. Graovac's 67's play against Kitchener tomorrow in a game at 1:00PM CST.
(LW) Raphael Bussieres - Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)
Raphael Bussieres has struggled a bit so far this season as he was a -2 in a 4-2 loss to Rimouski. The Drakkar assistant captain has 2 goals, 5 points and is a -4 with 4 PIM's in 8 games so far this season. Baie-Comeau plays again this afternoon against Rimouski at 3:00PM CST.
(C) Erik Haula - Minnesota Golden Gophers (WCHA)
Haula and the Golden Gophers got out to a good start on Friday night when the Pori, Finland-native chipped in a goal iand was a +2 n a 5-1 win over Michigan State. The senior forward is centering the top line of Zach Budish and Sam Warning. Haula led the Golden Gophers in scoring last season. The Golden Gophers play again tonight in Minnesota (its Homecoming weekend) against the Spartans at 8:00PM CST.
(D) John Draeger - Michigan State Spartans (CCHA)
John Draeger is getting prime-time action early as he is a top pairing defenseman for the Spartans alongside Jake Chelios, the son of NHL great Chris Chelios. Draeger had no points and was a +1 in the Spartans 5-1 loss to the Golden Gophers last night. Draeger and the Spartans will try to answer back this evening at 8:00PM CST.
(D) Nick Seeler - Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks (WCHA)
Nick Seeler had a tremendous college hockey debut with a goal and an assist and was a +4 in Nebraska-Omaha's 5-1 rout of Army on Friday night. The offensively gifted defenseman plays again tonight against Notre Dame at 6:30PM CST.
(F) Adam Gilmour - Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL)
Adam Gilmour was a -1 in a 3-2 overtime victory for the Lumberjacks last night against Cedar Rapids. The Boston College recruit has 3 assists in 4 games so far this season. The Lumberjacks play Des Moines tonight at 7:05PM CST.
(F) Louie Nanne - Penticton Vees (BCHL)
Louie Nanne is playing well to start the 2012-13 season, as he had an assist in a 3-2 loss to Victoria last night. Nanne has 4 goals, 11 points and 4 PIM's in 9 games this season. Nanne and the Vees play in Cowichan Valley at 9:05PM CST tonight.