Tag Archives: Brad Thiessen

Hitting the Links

April 24, 2012

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Some news regarding both former and future Huskies, as well as some Hockey East info.
  • Russ Bitely sat down with ’13 recruit Ross Olsson.  Olsson was Madigan’s second recruit and with everyone jumping ship, its nice to hear someone say they are excited for the new era of NU hockey.    Olsson has still not decided between heading to the USHL for a season or staying one more year at his prep school before coming to Northeastern.

  • UNH released their schedule for next season.   They are the fist team to do so.  Once again, the Huskies will get an early meeting with them.  On the whole, their schedule is very similar to last year’s with home and away flipped, as well as some minor changes.   Thats pretty common for Hockey East, so expect more of the same for Northeastern’s schedule.


  • After a brutal series for Marc-Andre Fleury, the Penguins may need to reevaluate their goaltending situation.  Scott Burnside suggests maybe its time to start getting Brad Thiessen ready to eventually take over.  Thiessen is a restricted free agent this summer.

  • Its a rule change summer for college hockey.  Lets hope it goes better than last time, when they almost passed a rule prohibiting icing while on the PK.   On this year’s agenda: Half-Shields and changes to overtime.   We can only hope the coaches are smart enough to vote against the idea of a shootout.    Also in that article is a brief discussion on UConn to Hockey East.   That CT news station that reported it was a “done deal” seems to be a bit off the mark.   Good on Hockey East for making sure to get the proper assurances before letting a sub-.500 Atlantic Hockey team into the conference.

  • Wade MacLeod didn’t put up huge numbers in his first full AHL season,  but Bruce Landon had good things to say about the former Husky in his season-wrap for MassLive.

  • Former Coach Greg Cronin will once again be an assistant for the US team at the World Championships.

  • Earlier this season, it looked like Michael Ryan’s career might be over due to concussion problems.   But Ryan hopes to return tonight for the Rochester Amerks after missing almost all of this season.

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Alumni Update: 3/9

March 9, 2012

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Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

NHL

  • Brad Thiessen is 2-0 since being called up to the NHL for the first time in his career. He has given up just 2 goals in each of his starts and has a .917 save percentage.    His latest win came in a nationally televised came that featured many Northeastern mentions.  Thiessen has looked good in his starts and he is positioning himself for an NHL contract next season whether it be in Pittsburgh or somewhere else.  He will be a restricted free agent this summer.
  • Staying in Pittsburgh, Joe Vitale is enjoying his first NHL season.  Vitale has been a  constant on the 4th line all season and he has chipped in with 4 goals and 9 assists.   The former Husky captain has also been huge for the Penguins on faceoffs.  They recently rewarded him with a 2 year, $1.1 million extension that will keep him in Pittsburgh through 2014.

AHL

  • Tyler McNeely‘s Bridgeport Sound Tigers are leading their division.  McNeely is a +11, but has just 5 goals and 10 assists in 52 games despite getting off to a hot start.
  • In last place in that same division is Wade MacLeod and the Springfield Falcons. MacLeod missed some time earlier in the season with an injury but he has fared well since returning.  He has 6 goals and 14 assists in 49 games.
  • Brodie Reid is having a quiet season in his first as a professional.   In 55 games, he has 8 goals and 13 assists for the Worcester Sharks who are barely hanging onto a playoff place.
  • Michael Ryan may never play hockey again.  After 3 games this season, Ryan was forced out of the lineup with concussion like symptoms.   He returned in February but lasted just 5 games.  There is a chance he could come back, but there is not a lot of optimism.   Ryan, who graduated in 2003, has dealt with concussion problems for much of his career.  A career that has seen him play 83 NHL games split over 3 seasons.   Its an unfortunate situation, but hopefully his long term health will not be compromised.

ECHL

  • Kyle Kraemer continues to tear it up for the first place Ontario Reign.  48 points in 46 games has him tied for 2nd best on the team.   This is Kraemer second full season of professional hockey and he has done well in both.   He could be in line for a shot at the AHL next year if he continues this pace.
  • Chad Costello leads the ECHL in points with 76 in 45 games.  He has been called up to the AHL twice already but managed just 4 assists in 11 games.  In his career, he has played 19 AHL games.  He is just 0-5-5, -2 in those games.  He can dominate the ECHL all he wants, if he doesn’t start performing in his AHL chances, he will never get higher in the ECHL.   Since leaving Northeastern after his Sophomore season in 2008, Costello has played for 8 different teams in 4 different leagues.
  • Dennis McCauley was traded to Chicago, but he failed his physical so the trade was cancelled and he has been returned to Reading.
  • Chris Donovan: 25 GP 0-2-2, Steve Silva: 36 GP, 6-23-29,  Dave Strathman: 21 GP, 2-6-8 (since being traded to Utah), Louis Liotti: 38 GP, 2-4-6

CHL

  • Jake Newton finally found his comfort zone.  After posting a 1-2-3 in 31 games with Lake Erie, Newton found himself demoted to the CHL this week.  In his first game with the Allen  Americans, he scored a goal.   Since leaving NU, Newton has played 79 AHL games over two seasons.  He is a 3-9-12, -17.  If those stats don’t justify Cronin’s response to him leaving, then this demotion definitely does.  This should serve as a warning for defenseman who think they may be ready for pro hockey but really aren’t.   But judging by the events of this offseason, it clearly hasn’t.

Juniors

  • Jamie Oleksiak is having a good go of things in Niagara.  In 24 games, he has 4 goals and 13 assists to go with his +19.  His team has already clinched a playoff bid.

Intramurals

  • JP Maley has 2 goals in 4 games for the Mighty Ducks.  His team needs to win their last game to grab a playoff spot after once again finishing behind Reptar on Ice.

Coaching

  • Toronto fired their head coach, but Greg Cronin survived and remained on the staff.   He could be looking for a new job in the summer though if Toronto decides to clean house.
  • Jason Guerriero and Holy Cross swept Army last week in the first round of the Atlantic Hockey playoffs.  This week they head to Mercyhurst for their quarterfinal matchup.
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NHL, Meet Brad Thiessen.

February 26, 2012

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Back in October of 2006, The Northeastern Huskies took on the Boston College Eagles for the first game of the season. In net, BC was touting the 24th overall pick of the 2004 NHL Draft in Cory Schneider, whose level of play is currently having some NHL teams consider converting him from an underused backup into the starting goaltender he should be. On the NU end was an overage, average-sized goaltender from Aldergrove, British Columbia named Brad Thiessen. It was his first start after winning the job outright as a freshman, and while Schneider put on a display of consistency, Thiessen struggled to find his in the 5-2 loss that night in Chestnut Hill. Despite these differences, not one, but both guys would make their way to the NHL.

Over the next three years, Thiessen improved steeply, culminating in an impressive junior year which saw Thiessen garner both All-American and Hobey Baker finalist honors. It’s a true testament to his propensity to improve and play with a level head. The Pittsburgh Penguins rewarded Thiessen with a two year deal, and the experience of seeing the Penguins win a Stanley Cup. Thiessen was a part of the  team’s taxi squad before being relegated to the AHL. He would go on to earn his keep with AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre Scranton, winning the AHL’s goaltender of the year award and starting the the league’s annual all-star game in 2010-2011.

Fast forward to this season, and Thiessen has been in a rut. He’s gone from having a .922 save percentage the year before to a .885 for 2011-2012. The prospect of Thiessen making the run for a cup he experienced has faded significantly. But again fortune (and Penguins GM Ray Shero) have rewarded Thiessen’s determination again. With backup Brent Johnson falling ill on top of his own share of struggles, Ray Shero has used the goaltender exemption to bring Thiessen up, giving the Penguins three goaltenders for a few days, which avoids creating issues with Johnson’s one-way contract. But just as it seemed Thiessen was going back after a short stay, the Penguins have not only decided to keep Thiessen up for the day, but he’ll be making the start this afternoon against the Columbus Blue Jackets at 1pm. So call it luck, a low pressure start, a tryout, or whatever you want but Thiessen’s made it and that’s all that matters. Cheers to the former Husky, he’s earned it.

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Beanpot Preview: Huskies vs Boston College

February 6, 2012

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Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

Tonight Northeastern enters a tournament that they haven’t won in 23 years against a team who they have beaten just once in their last nine meetings.  And they do it without 2 first line players.  Its easy to dismiss the Huskies Beanpot chances every year.  And for much of the season, thats what every NU fan does.  But for some reason, as the tournament gets closer, people begin to talk themselves into believing theres a chance.  And every time Lucy pulls the football away at the last minute.  This year is no different.  The Huskies find themselves in the familiar role of underdogs, but how can you not be excited for tonight?

In the 59 previous Beanpots, NU has finished last in almost half of them.    Their 29 fourth places finishes are the most by far.  There are 4 championships and 10 second place finishes are the least by far.  And they don’t have a winning record in the Beanpot against any of the other 3 teams.

So for all the magic and great moments the Beanpot has brought, NU’s involvement has been limited to disappointment on most occasions.  Its been 23 years since the Huskies last won the ‘Pot and there is no reason to believe that streak is ending this year.   NU coaches are 0-7 in their first Beanpot game.  Only 3 skaters that will dress tonight for NU have ever scored in the Beanpot (Rob Dongara, Luke Eibler, and Mike McLaughlin).    And they are playing a team that has already beat them 3 times this season.

If it seems like the odds are stacked against the Huskies, i’ts because they are.   With each passing year, the pressure only grows.  And since 1988, even the best Husky teams have found a way to come undone on a Monday night in February.

This will be the 9th meeting between BC and NU in the past two season, and every single one of those games has been decided by 1 goal, except for a 2-0 BC win where the 2nd goal was an empty netter.   In last year’s Beanpot, BC broke Northeastern’s heart in overtime with a thrilling 7-6 win.  A week later the two teams met again.  This time NU managed a 7-7 tie at Conte Forum, and then finally beat the Eagles the next night with a 2-1 win at Matthews.  The teams would meet at the Garden again in the Hockey East Semifinals.   Again BC came out on top with a 5-4 win.  The teams have met 3 times this season (in 3 different locations) and the Eagles have come out with a win all 3 times.   They won in OT at Matthews, scored a goal with 2.7 seconds left to win at Conte, then beat the Huskies again by 1 at Frozen Fenway.

When it comes to playing BC, Northeastern just can’t seem to get over the hump.  But on a positive note, the last time BC and NU met in the first round of the Beanpot, the Huskies cruised to a 6-1 win.

The Huskies will be without Cody Ferriero and Steve Quailer.  Quailer leads all active NU players with 4 Beanpot points (3 of which were vs BC).  The Huskies don’t have much Beanpot experience and they graduated a lot of Beanpot points this summer.  Garrett Vermeersch has 4 assists in 4 games.  Mike McLaughlin has 3 goals in 6 games. Rob Dongara has a goal and an assist in 2 games.  Those 3 are the only Huskies with more than 1 Beanpot point to their name.  This of course ignores Vinny Saponari, who played on the 2009 BU team that won the Beanpot over Brad Thiessen and Northeastern.  His experience will be key for the Huskies.

The Huskies need a hero.  Its time to bring the Beanpot back to Huntington Ave.  Beanpot history is full of improbable heroes and epic moments.   Northeastern will need some of that tonight.   On paper, the Huskies have no chance to win this thing.   And thats exactly why, as a Husky fan, you’ve got to have faith.  The Beanpot is always won by the best team.   Its won by the team who can just win on back to back Mondays.   Tonight’s game should be great, win or lose, but I think its about time that Northeastern wins this thing.

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Alumni Update 1/25

January 25, 2012

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Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

NHL
  • Joe Vitale has cemented his spot on the 4th line for the Penguins.  He has played in 42 of 49 games for Pittsburgh this season, posting a 2-7-9 line.  He is averaging just under 11 minutes of ice time per game, but his 55.7% win percentage on faceoffs leads the team.    Last night, Vitale got to play in front of friends and family as the Penguins traveled to his hometown of St. Louis.  Penguins coach Dan Bylsma even let Vitale take the game’s opening faceoff, which he won.  While he may not be lighting up the stat sheet, Vitale has proven that he can be a reliable 4th liner in the NHL and he looks like he will be sticking around.
AHL
  • Wade MacLeod has returned from injury for Springfield.  He is having a quiet season with a 3-11-14 line in 31 games.
  • Tyler McNeely is playing on the first line for Bridgeport, but he has just 11 points in 39 games.
  • Jake Newton’s change of scenery hasn’t really done much for him.  He is a +2 after 29 games, but has just 3 points to his credit.  Since leaving Northeastern after his freshman season, Newton has played 77 AHL games.  He is a -16, with just 3 goals and 9 assists.   Cronin said at the time that he wasn’t ready and it looks like he was right.   Definitely a cautionary tale for guys thinking about making the jump.
  • On the hand, Brodie Reid has proven Cronin wrong.  Reid put together a great second half to his freshman season and parlayed it into a pro deal.  In his first year of professional hockey, Reid is 7th on his team with 18 points (7 g, 11 a).  It will be interesting to see if Reid can keep it up through the entire season.  Regardless, he has proven that he can at least hold his own in the AHL.
  • Michael Ryan was supposed to finally return this week from an extended absence to due to lingering headaches, but it doesn’t appear he that has happened. They are not sure whether it is a concussion or just neck problems, but either way they aren’t taking any chances.  The 7th year veteran has been out of the lineup since the first week of the season.  Hopefully it is not the end of a career that he has seen Ryan play 83 NHL games between the Sabres and the Hurricanes.
  • Brad Thiessen is having a tough year for Wilkes Barre Scranton.  He has started 29 out 46 games, posting 2.81 GAA and .890% save percentage.  But Thiessen has somewhere to turn to off the ice, thanks to the voluntary chapel program he has set up for the team.  Thiessen has turned it around of late with wins in his last 4 starts.  The quickest path to the NHL is probably still going to be through a trade, but his play this year may have diminished that.  Definitely a situation to watch with just 1 month until the trading deadline.

ECHL

  • Its been a tough season for the 2 Reading boys.  Both have missed time due to injuries.  Louis Liotti is a -13 and has just 5 points in 32 games.  The Pride of Billerica, Dennis McCauley is 8-8-16 through 31 games, with 4 fights this season.
  • Trenton is struggling as well but Steve Silva is enjoying his first season as a pro with 13 points in just 11 games.  Silva missed the early part of the season with an injury but he returned just before Christmas and has been enjoying a nice run.  Just like he did at Northeastern, Silva has put up great numbers in two categories: assists (10) and penalty minutes (33).     Being 3rd on the team in PIMs despite missing half the team’s game is quite an accomplishment.
  • Its been an interesting year for Dave Strathman who know finds himself on his third ECHL team of the season. He was picked up by Gwinnett after Reading let him go at the beginning of the year.  He played 18 games with them before being traded to Utah this week.  Strathman’s former teammate at Northeastern, Chris Donovan, is also on Utah.  Donovan had 25 points last year, but has been unable to replicate that in his second season.  In 16 games, he has just 2 assists to his name.  He has not put up a point in the 5 games he has played since returning to the lineup in late December after an injury.
  • Its not all bad for NU alums in the ECHL, Kyle Kraemer is putting together a good year for Ontario.  The team is in 2nd place and Kraemer has played a big part in that.  After missing the beginning of the year with an injury, he has put up 18 points in 25 games.  In 9 games this month, Kraemer has 4 goals and 7 assists.
  • Chad Costello is having a another great year for Colorado.  He is tied for second in the league with 22 goals, and he leads the league with 57 points,  thanks to a league leading 37 assists.   For the second time in two weeks, he has earned a call-up to the AHL.  In  his 2 previous call-ups, Costello has managed just 1 point from 12 games.   But through 2 games with the Worcester Sharks, he already has 2 assists.  Since leaving Nu after his sophomore season, Costello has dominated the lower league, but so far been unable to find success in the AHL.  Hopefully this chance will be his breakthrough.

Europe

  • Ryan Ginand made the move across the pond this season and is paying dividends.  Ginand has 39 points through 32 games in the Italian league and he is a +40.  He was also featured in the Globe recently.
  • Jared Mudryk has an insane line of 22-41-63 in just 31 games for his German team.  He is second on the team in goals, assists, and points.

Major Juniors

  • Jamie Oleksiak has played in just 6 games since being traded to the Niagra Ice Dogs, but he already has 4 assists and earned a +4 rating.  The trade saw him go from the bottom of the standings to the top, where as joined Bruins 1st round pick Dougie Hamilton on a very talented team.  The Ice Dogs will be looking to make a run for the Memorial Cup it could be just another big moment for Oleksiak who has already got to be a part of the NHL Draft (where he was picked 14th by Dallas) and the World Junior Championships (where he played for Team Canada) this year.

Coaching

  • The Maple Leafs find themselves just outside the playoffs in Greg Cronin‘s first year as an assistant there.
  • The Houston Aeros have the second most points in the AHL’s Western Conference.  Sebastien LaPlante is in his first year as an assistant with the team.
  • Rob Rassey is an assistant with Youngstown who find themselves in the middle of the pack in the USHL.
  • Jason Guerriero and Holy Cross are in 8th of 12 in Atlantic Hockey.   There hasn’t much chatter about a move to Hockey East in a while, but Guerriero has been traveling all over North America on recruiting trips in his first year as an assistant.
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Alumni Update 1/12

January 12, 2012

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Joe Vitale, F, Pittsburgh (NHL): The Penguins have dropped five straight, and the news that Sidney Crosby is ready to skate couldn’t have come at a better time (I hope they’re not jumping the gun). In November, Vitale averaged around 13 minutes a game, but in 3 games in the new year, he’s only been allotted just 9:40 on average, and was a scratch in last night’s shutout loss to the Capitals. Vitale finds himself in a constant fight for ice time in his role as fourth line center. The Penguins are too structurally sound for their woes to continue, and Vitale brings too much energy to the game to stay grounded.

Jamie Oleksiak, D, Niagara (OHL): The towering defenseman was traded over break from Saginaw to Niagara in a blockbuster deal. The Ice Dogs gave up a lot for Oleksiak, who joins a contending team after a solid World Junior performance for third place Canada. He joins Bruins top prospect and Canada teammate Dougie Hamilton on a stacked blue line.

Brodie Reid, F, Worcester (AHL): Brodie Reid received his first professional penalty Tuesday. The season started months ago for the Sharks prospect. He also scored two goals Saturday, leaving his total at 7 goals and 16 points in 24 games.

Tyler McNeely, F, Bridgeport (AHL): It’s official. McNeely has emerged as the enforcer of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (NYI). Contributing eight points this year has helped the undersized winger bolster his leadership role as well.

Wade MacLeod, F, Springfield (AHL): MacLeod returns from injury to help the Falcons (CBJ) make a late season run. He has 12 points in 25 games.

Brad Thiessen, G, Wilkes-Barre-Scranton (AHL): The netminder has been struggling lately but is in a rebound. After giving up 14 goals in 3 games, Thiessen has recovered to win two in a row, one shootout, and on Tuesday a victory for the Penguins in which he turned away 24 out of 26 shots.  It’s an uphill climb, but Thiessen has shown he is much better than what his numbers say.

Dennis McCauley, D, Reading (ECHL): Typical McCauley. His team is clawing for wins but the former NU fan favorite is scoring at a healthy clip and cleaning up the rink as usual.

Steve Silva, F, Trenton (ECHL): Silva has been on an absolute tear since returning from injury, scoring 9 points in 9 games, especially at clutch moments.

Chad Costello, F, Colorado (ECHL): The far and away leading scorer in the ECHL was just returned to Colorado after being on loan from Springfield (AHL), where he played with former teammate Wade MacLeod (despite getting very little ice time) for four games over the holiday. He has a staggering 52 points in 30 games, and potted a hat trick in his return.

Kyle Kraemer, F, Ontario (ECHL): Kraemer, who’s been battling knee issues all year, has been on a four game tear in the new year, scoring six points.

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Alumni Update 12/6

December 6, 2011

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Despite being allotted just 7:43 of ice time, Former Husky captain Joe Vitale made a splash last night during the Bruins/Penguins game for several reasons, most notably in this fight with Greg Campbell. Just seconds after making an athletic takeaway play to set up Matt Cooke for a goal, Vitale followed up a bid by teammate Tyler Kennedy and ran into Tim Thomas in his crease, which is a big no-no. Bruins center Greg Campbell took exception, but what stole the show was NESN’s Jack Edwards showing the propensity to go from exciting to delusional almost instantly, making it seem like Campbell was drilling Vitale until he realized this was not the case. It was tough to decide who to root for in this one, being an avid B’s fan as well, but Vitale held his own in the fight and may have even won the bout.  Good for Joe for answering the call though, as well as earning himself the third star of the night.  NESN gave Northeastern and his career achievements a nice mention too. Vitale is a fan favorite who is further solidifying his role on Pittsburgh’s roster.

Former Hobey Baker finalist Brad Thiessen is in a bit of a skid, dropping 6 of his last 7 contests, but the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (AHL) netminder should bounce back, he’s one of the top goaltenders in the minors and has too much talent/poise not to. A motivator for the 25 year old could be found in the BCHL’s recent list of their top 50 former players of all time. The league’s fans voted on the top ten players from each decade since the 1960’s. Along with lofty company such as Brett Hull, Mark Recchi, and Paul Kariya from previous decades, Brad Thiessen was named the the 2000’s portion with Duncan Keith, Jamie Benn, Andrew Ladd, Travis Zajac, and other NHL regulars. The full list can be seen here.

D Jamie Oleksiak (Saginaw, OHL) has been named to Canada’s U-20 World Junior Championship preliminary roster. The hulking defenseman has shown some offensive prowess to go with his punishing defense as of late, and could be the piece Canada needs to complete their blue line. It’s far from a sure thing though, as he has some serious competition for a roster spot.

Worcester Sharks (AHL) F Brodie Reid is leading his team with a +7 rating through 19 games, which is tangible proof of the solid two-way player he is becoming. Wade MacLeod (Springfield, AHL) is among his teams’ leaders in points with 11 through 22 games, and has been involved in some key plays for the Falcons.

Jason Guerriero’s (’05) Holy Cross Crusaders (Assistant Coach) are back to .500 following a sweep of Canisius over the weekend.

Dennis McCauley (Reading, ECHL) has turned on the jets and is having himself a nice season despite his team’s missteps so far. The Husky hero has 9 points through 19 games. The Reading Eagle features McCauley’s local ties and family here.

Kyle Kraemer (Ontario, ECHL) is back from injury and is already contributing. He looks to be back on track to improve on an impressive first season with the Reign.

After missing pretty much all of last season with Reading, defenseman David Strathman has rebounded with Gwinnett (ECHL), scoring his first goal of the season on Friday.

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