April 11, 2012
Wolverines in the Professional Hockey
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Twenty-four alumni from the University of Michigan ice hockey program appeared in at least one National Hockey League game this season, the most of any NCAA hockey program for the fifth consecutive season, according to College Hockey Inc. Of the 24 players, four made their NHL debut this season (Carl Hagelin, New York Rangers; Shawn Hunwick, Columbus Blue Jackets; Chris Summers, Phoenix Coyotes; Travis Turnbull, Buffalo Sabres).
The Wolverines will be represented by six alumni in the quest for hockey's holy grail, the Stanley Cup Playoffs, as Andrew Ebbett (Vancouver Canucks), Hagelin, Mike Knuble (Washington Capitals), John Madden (Florida Panthers), Brendan Morrison (Chicago Blackhawks) and Summers all advanced to post-season play.
Ebbett and the Presidents' Trophy-winning Canucks enter the playoffs as the top-seeded club in the Western Conference and will square off with the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Kings in the western conference quarterfinals. Ebbett, who missed nearly three months action due to injury, is back in the Canucks' lineup and finished the season with six points (5g, 1a) in 18 games this season.
Hagelin finds himself in a similar situation on the East Coast, as the Rangers claimed the number one seed in the Eastern Conference with 109 points this season. Hagelin began the season with the Connecticut Whale of the American Hockey League but earned his first NHL recall in November and remained up the entire season. The Sodertalje, Sweden, native compiled 38 points (14g, 24a) in 64 games for the Rangers and showcased his world-class speed by winning the fastest skater competition at the NHL All-Star Game in late January.
Knuble, Madden and Morrison are the most seasoned of the former Wolverines fighting for the Stanley Cup. Knuble's Washington Capitals will have a tough task in their eastern conference quarterfinal series, as the number-seven seeded Caps try and take down the reigning Cup champion Boston Bruins. Knuble became the first Wolverine to appear in 1,000 NHL games in a career earlier this season and has two Stanley Cup championships on his résumé.
Madden is one of three former Wolverines to capture the Stanley Cup three times in his career, earning two rings with the New Jersey Devils (2000, 2003) and one with the Chicago Blackhawks (2010). This year, Madden squares off with his former team, the Devils, as a member of the southeast division champion Florida Panthers. Madden signed with the Panthers on Jan. 4 and helped them to their first postseason berth since 2000, when the Devils swept Florida in a first-round series.
Morrison began the season with the Calgary Flames but was dealt to the Blackhawks in late January. The 36-year-old forward in chasing his first sip from Lord Stanley's Cup, as the sixth-seeded Blackhawks will face the pacific division champion Phoenix Coyotes, and Summers, in their western conference quarterfinal series. Morrison was held scoreless in 11 games for Chicago following the trade, while Summers has three assists through the first 21 games of his NHL career but has not seen game action since March 6.
Contact: Rob Tillotson (734) 763-4423