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Monday, July 31, 2006

Coming and going

Big news item No. 1 -- Jonathan Toews is returning for his sophomore season. I know many of you live around the country and do not have a subscription to the Herald, so I apologize that the story in Sunday's paper did not get on our Web site. It was run as part of this story -- a look into the high rate of early departures in college hockey. Because of that, it lacked the coding needed for a story to appear on the Web site.

A quick rundown of the 'Toews is returning' story for those who didn't see it: Toews decided it was in his best interest to stay another year and develop. He turned down a three-year, $850,000 with an $85,000 signing bonus offer (the maximum rookie salary for a 2006 pick) to return to school. Obviously, that could not have been an easy decision.

I brought up the Phil Kessel situation, where there first were reports that he was staying, then more that he may be going, and back, and forth and so on. Toews said "There's no turning back now," about his decision to return. It's final.

Hopefully this situation never arises, but people always wonder what happens if a guy gets hurt after turning down pro dollars. Before last season, Toews took out an insurance policy. His policy is likely worth around $1 million. It's definitely no consolation for getting hurt and not being able to play in the NHL, but something to fall back on if the unthinkable happens.

Big news item No. 2 -- UND associate head coach Brad Berry is leaving to become an assistant coach with the Manitoba Moose of the AHL.

This will be a tough loss for the Sioux, but one that doesn't come real unexpectedly. Berry's value is no secret.

How many times have you heard a player talk about how important Berry was in his development? Berry works closely with the defenseman and has done a great job developing them.

Think of the defensemen that have come to UND while Berry has been around. There was the group of Matt Greene, Matt Jones, Andy Schneider, Nick Fuher and Matt Smaby -- the corps that drew compliment after compliment during UND's run to the Frozen Four two seasons ago.

Greene is already a regular in the NHL, something very rare for someone his age. Jones has played NHL games already and has drawn rave reviews from Phoenix. Smaby is on his way to the NHL. And both Schneider and Fuher played in the AHL.

And obviously last season's defensemen were very impressive, making people forget the fact that they were all underclassmen and four regulars were freshmen. Berry was an important part of it.

When both Chay Genoway and Derrick LaPoint committed to UND, one of the first things I heard from them was how excited they were to work with Berry.

Whoever replaces Berry will have big shoes to fill.

So who will that person be?

When an assistant job last became available (summer of 2004 when Cary Eades was hired), former Sioux players Steve Johnson and Ian Kallay were among names thrown around by many.

Kallay seems extremely unlikely now, as he just left his assistant spot at Michigan Tech to pursue business opportunities. He said in a release that his business offer was too good to pass on.

Johnson, meanwhile, is still coaching the Lincoln Stars of the USHL.

Volunteer assistant Scott Koberinski, another former Sioux player, applied last time it was available.

Stay tuned for the applicants.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

the ones you had mentioned in your blog on who may apply may have the history knowledge of the game but how much of then have the specifics and knowledge of the defesmans game. all were great products for the forward position and such and yes they have the ceditials as coaches but experience at the position is key too for an asipiring defenseman what what better way to learn then from some one who has played all levels in that position and for recuiting to have a guy like berry to succeed him as he moves on to the AHL. im sure who ever they go with will be good for the program. good luck berry in the AHL.

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Blogger ND Sports Issues said...

Brad, how's it going? Just took a look at the press release announcing Berry's heading to the AHL. Should be interesting. Keep us updated...I will also pass this along on my blog

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