INSIDE HOCKEY » USHL Get Inside! Thu, 18 Sep 2014 19:48:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Photo Gallery: Team USA U17 @ GB Gamblers (1/25/14) Mon, 27 Jan 2014 12:40:36 +0000

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The Green Bay Gamblers beat the Team USA U17 team 2-1 in overtime Saturday, January 25, 2014 at the Resch Center in Green Bay, WI.  (Inside Hockey – Rachel Lewis)

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Des Moines Buccaneers Season Preview Thu, 04 Oct 2012 13:11:54 +0000

With the upcoming USHL season, The Des Moines Buccaneers wish to sweep the memory of a not so good 2011-12 campaign under the rug. Last season, the team fired their head coach with seven games remaining, ended the season with a 14-game losing streak and a 7th place finish in the Western Conference plus missed the playoffs for a fifth consecutive season. However, this year there’s optimism for a much better scenario as new head coach and general manager Jon Rogger takes over. Rogger, just four months removed from winning the Clark Cup with the Green Bay Gamblers as an assistant coach, brings his hard work ethic and a tried and true system to a young Bucs team.

Here’s Rogger’s breakdown on the upcoming 2012-13 Des Moines Buccaneers season.


“I think our strengths will be our goaltending and our defensemen. We have a solid goalie (Nick Ellis) who’s committed to Providence already. We’re hoping he’s our No. 1 guy. I told Billy Christopoulos before that he can still earn that spot, but right now he’s coming in as the backup. For defensemen, we got to two Swedish players who’ve been a great surprise for us. We think we’re going to be solid on D. The weakness will be … I think we may struggle a little bit to score some goals. We’re going to have to work hard and battle for every goal that we get this year.”


“I’d say Nick Ellis is an 8.5 to 9, and Billy is probably a 7.5 to 8. They’re going to be fine in this league, it’s just a matter of they’re rookies, they’re nervous, they’ve got to get games under the belts. Our success is going to come on how quickly they adapt to this league. If they pick it up in the first eight games, we’re going to do well. If it takes them 20 games, it might be a different story.”


“To play strong and hard in front of the net. We want to keep the goals against down to two or below. That’s what we’ve done in Green Bay and that’s what I’m hoping to bring here. If you do that, you’re going to win a lot of hockey games.”


“On offense, We’ve got a couple of (snipers) in Zach Saar, Luke Voltin and Trent Samuels-Thomas. You need a good three together. Those guys are going to have to work for their goals. I don’t see them having a problem scoring, but they need some help as well. We’re just going to be a tough team to play against and we’ll fight for every goal.”

Special teams

“Our penalty kill, we’ve got a few kids who can just absolutely flat out fly. We’re going to be very aggressive on the PK. On the power play, something that I like to do is have everybody moving, nobody standing around. Get the defensive guys to figure out if they can create some offense, then go for it. We’re going to be very aggressive this year.”


“It’s a slow process, but day by day it’s getting the guys to believe in what we can do. I’ve been around the league long enough and I know what it takes to win. At the end of the day, like I told the guys already, ‘Believe in what we’re telling you and we’re going to win a lot of games.’ You can’t just drill it into their heads, but everyday you go over that and good things will come.”


“I’m excited, honestly. For the first time in four years I’m not sure where we stack up. I think we’re going to do pretty well this year.”

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Bucs’ New Coach Looks to Shine Thu, 20 Sep 2012 20:15:38 +0000

New head coach and general manager of the Des Moines Buccaneers, Jon Rogger, takes over the team for the United States Hockey League’s 2012-13 campaign. Rogger, comes to the Bucs just four months after winning the Clark Cup with the Green Bay Gamblers as an assistant coach.

Last season wasn’t very illustrious for the Bucs, especially toward the end of the season when they careened to a 14-game losing streak and missed the playoffs for the fifth straight year. But this year, Rogger brings his hard work ethic and a sure-fire winning system to a young Bucs team. He’s hoping he can get the team back to winning some hockey games.

“There’s a lot of things I’m bringing here. For starters, working hard. Day in and day out, every practice, every shift, every game. We’re going to play hard and we’re going to compete hard. When you start making the guys believe that they can do it, it’s amazing what can happen. Some of the systems I’m bringing with me that I learned through Green Bay, and I’m looking forward to using them. My philosophy to these guys is, just go out, work hard and good things will happen.”

Switching from an assistant coach in Green Bay to head coach and GM of the Bucs, there’s a distinct possibility of it being a double stressful job, but Rogger is confident of the experience he gained in Green Bay and felt it was his time to shine.

“Being in Green Bay for four years, I worked under three different coaches, each with a different style and each with a different philosophy. I picked up different things from each guy, not only the GM part but the coaching part. The coaching part is the easy part, it’s managing the kids; the billets, the away-from-the-ice stuff that goes on. When things go smooth off the ice, it goes smooth on the ice.”

Some hockey purists get a little down on the USHL, but this league adequately prepares a young player for Division 1 college hockey, as it mimics the National Hockey League as far as professionalism, training, schedules and equipment endorsements go.

“The league is a great league. That’s why it’s a Tier 1 premier league in the U.S. What’s awesome is that every rink is unique and special. Every team is very good. The owners are great and for the most part, it’s ran like the NHL. Everything is professional from game-day staff to operations to the game itself; equipment is also provided for these kids. The only thing we don’t do is pay the actual players. With that being said, everything is ran identical to the NHL. The coaches are great, the facilities are great. That’s the biggest thing, the kind of separation from youth hockey to now — big boy hockey as I call it.”

Time spent in the off-season as a coach is spent preparing and planning for the upcoming season, and it was no different for Rogger.

“Trying to get a mix of kids not only for this year but for next year. We went younger this year, we have 10 high school players. Not only do we need to do well this year, but we have to build for the following season. All along, we’ve been working on trades; working on the right mixes. You have some ’92-birth year kids who will help pick up the ’95’s. More or less, it’s a personnel part where all summer long we’ve just been trying to put the pieces in the puzzle.”

As our conversation wound down, I asked Rogger what he considered would be a successful season this year as the Bucs head coach in his first behind the bench.

“My biggest goal right now is to make the playoffs, because I know how hard it is to win at this level. Through playoffs, anything can happen. There was some games that we won last year that we probably shouldn’t have won, but we found a way. So if we get to the playoffs, it becomes another season.”

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Bruins 2012 Draft Review Thu, 28 Jun 2012 22:48:23 +0000

The Boston Bruins have had undeniable success drafting players in recent years. Yeah, there have been some misses too, but overall, Boston’s core pieces have been the product of strong drafting. Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, and Tyler Seguin are all home-grown talent, providing crucial depth to the Bruins team that claimed the Cup in the summer of the 2011.

This year, the Bruins took a different approach in Pittsburgh, drafting a goaltender in the 1st round. While this shift in draft strategy might be due to the sudden loss of Tim Thomas, it was somewhat of a surprise to see the team draft a goalie in the first round. The Bruins selected Malcolm Subban – the brother of the much-hated rival, and Montreal Canadiens defensemen, P.K. Subban – 24th overall.

Subban had his best season last year playing for the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League, going 24-15 with a 2.50 GAA and .923 Save Percentage. He is also a strong candidate to be the starting goaltender for Canada in this year’s world junior championships.

The goaltender thrives off his athleticism. Quick feet and top agility have been major components to his success. His athleticism provides a quick post-to-post movement, and extremely fast glove hand.

Being that he is smaller, a lot of goals are scored up high on him, or through a screen.  While rebound control has been a problem in the past as well, experience should certainly help with that issue. These are the areas Subban must improve upon if he wants to be a successful goaltender in the National Hockey League.  While the goalie might be a bit of a project, I like the draft pick for the Bruins, as Subban certainly has the makeup to be a successful goaltender for quite some time.  His athleticism alone is an outstanding characteristic.

Another intriguing draft pick of the Bruins was London Knight’s Center Seth Griffith. Griffith is an undersized player, who plays a Marc Savard style of game. He reads the play unbelievably well, even manning the point on the London power-play at times; much to the chagrin of knights fans though, who would often complain about his reluctance to shoot (similar to Bruins fans and Savard). Griffith certainly has the skills to be a productive NHL player (he scored 45 goals this past year, ranking him third in the OHL) but will have to overcome his small frame to make it as a full-time player. If Griffith can improve his puck-battling capabilities, he will certainly have a chance to crack the Bruins roster down the road.

Overall, I wasn’t entirely impressed with the Bruins draft. I have never been too high on USHL players, but refuse to pass judgment until I watch them play.

Craving some hockey? Bruins fans, be sure to check out development camp this weekend, as the likes of Subban, Griffith, and many other top-tier prospects will be on display. Let the games begin!

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Photo Gallery: Lancers @ RoughRiders (3/10/12) Sun, 11 Mar 2012 08:12:17 +0000

After turning their season around with five straight wins, the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders lost a heartbreaker 4-3 in a shootout against the Omaha Lancers on March 10th, 2012.

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Photo Gallery: Stampede @ RoughRiders (3/9/12) Sat, 10 Mar 2012 07:41:45 +0000

The Cedar Rapids RoughRiders overpowered the Sioux Falls Stampede at home, winning 5-3.

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