Hockey - last year's #1 overall NHL draft pick has decided to leave the gophers and sign with St. Louis for $850,000 in base salary. Erik Johnson is a great defenseman and will be missed as the Gophers try to repeat in the WCHA and get back to the Frozen Four. Keep an eye on GopherPuck for better insight and analysis.
Baseball - 3 tid bits
- The Golden Gopher baseball team has won 12 of their last 14 games are 22-7 overall. We are sitting behind Michigan in the conference standings and our weekend series with the Wolverines was wiped out due to weather last month. Ohio State was considered one of the teams to beat in the Big 10 this year but they are currently struggling to 4-6 in conference play.
- Former head coach and namesake of their on campus stadium, Dick Siebert was voted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame. I don't think many realize how big Siebert was. While coaching the golden gophers for 31 seasons he won 11 conference titles and 3 nation championships. Very impressive.
- CSTV.com has ranked Minnesota as #6 in their MID-MAJOR poll. This might be the only sport where the Big-10 is considered a Mid-Major.
- Our opponent for the Big Ten / ACC Challenge is a road game to Florida State. The Seminoles lose their best player this year but return basically the rest of their roster. In 2006-07 they finished with 22 wins, an NIT bid and notched wins over the likes of Duke and Florida. Should be a good challenge for what we hope is an improved Golden Gopher squad.
- The Big Ten is officially adding 2 conference games to the schedule. All teams will now play an 18 game in conference schedule beginning next season. This should boost the strength of schedule for all Big 10 teams as they can drop a couple of the weak schools on their schedule. I am a fan of the 18 game schedule, but we'll evaluate this decision this time next year.