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Bayside Puck Chatter

Both William Kelley High School teams concluded play yesterday in their respective holiday tournaments.

Prior to the holidays, the boys lost 9-0 to Duluth Marshall and then defeated Moose Lake 7-3 and Two Harbors 4-1 going into holiday action.

They travel to Ely on Tuesday to take on the Timberwolves. The girls, after losing a tough 3-0 contest to Cloquet, defeated Moose Lake 7-3 and Eveleth-Gilbert 4-1.

They travel to Mars Lakeview Arena on Thursday for a rematch with the Proctor/Hermantown/Marshall Mirage. The girls could possibly be without leading scorer Libby Guzzo for a while due to injury.

Going into holiday tournament action, the rankings had Moorhead and Duluth Marshall No. 1 for the boys, and Eden Prairie and Blake for the girls. The Mariner girls came in at No. 17.

The top three boys teams via computer rankings were Moorhead, Holy Angels and Roseau in AA, and Hermantown, St. Thomas Academy and Duluth Marshall in A.

For the girls it was Edina, Eden Prairie and Holy Angels in AA, and Breck, Alexandra and Crookston in A.

There were 13 teams still unbeaten in high school hockey prior to the holidays, five for the girls and eight for the boys.

The girls teams were Alexandria, Breck, Crookston, Edina and Eden Prairie.

The boys squads were Cloquet, Detroit Lakes, Hermantown, Hill-Murray, Holy Angels, Moorhead, Morris/Benson and Roseville.

Kyle Schmidt, son of Mariner alumni Bob and Kris (Young) Schmidt, has accepted a scholarship to play hockey at UMD.

We should all send a nice thank you card to the NFL and the NFL network for not allowing us to watch the debacle that was supposedly an NFL football game between Minnesota and Green Bay.

From what I've seen and read, it was a game well worth missing as neither offense managed to score a touchdown.

The Vikings need to either scrap the West Coast offense, or fess up and admit the fact that they don't have a NFL-caliber quarterback and receivers and will address this in the offseason. They also need someone other than Brad Childress to call the plays and a coach who will actually talk to his players.

If approved by 20 of the 30 NHL teams, there will be realignment in the NHL starting next season. Instead of the two conferences with three divisions each, it will be two conferences with two divisions each, one of eight teams and one with seven. The new divisions would be based mainly on time zones, with the top two teams in each division getting a top four seeding. The other four spots would go to the next four teams with the most points.

The Wild would end up with Columbus, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Nashville and St. Louis.

It's very likely that the Pittsburgh Penguins will be playing somewhere that is not in Pennsylvania next season. Top prospects are Kansas City, Houston and Winnipeg. If this happens they would change places with Columbus.

The Silver Bay Squirt B team won the first tournament of the year at Rukavina Arena. They defeated Pine City 13-0, Stillwater 5-1 and Anoka 4-1 to take home the gold and improve to 8-0-0 overall on the season.

There was an excellent turnout for the annual alumni hockey game, with 38 players lacing up the skates.

The Young team defeated the Legends 17-7 behind two goals each from Andy Martinson, Luke Taintor, Shawn Brown, Andy Johnson and Earl Nikula. Former Pittsburgh Penguin, Rusty Fitzgerald had two goals for the old timers. Jerry Pelkey, class of '73, was the oldest former Mariner to take part in the action.

In Division I college hockey, Minnesota for the men and Mercyhurst for the women were No. 1 going into holiday action. In Division III it was Manhattanville for the men and Plattsburgh for the women.

The Gophers entered with a 18-game unbeaten streak, but will be missing five players who will be playing in the World Junior Tournament. St. Cloud and New Hampshire each were unbeaten in 12 games.

The World Junior Championships started earlier this week in Sweden. Canada and the USA are the favorites, with other medal contenders being Sweden, Russia and the Czech Republic. There are eight Minnesotans on the USA squad. Canada has won the last two events.

Last year the USA was a heavy favorite, but failed to medal when the team with a large number of No. 1 draft picks decided it was more about individual play than team play.

While there is no clear-cut favorite for the No. 1 overall pick in the June NHL draft, here's a list of some of the top candidates:

You have forwards Angelo Esposito and Sam Gagner and defensemen Karl Alzner and Keaton Ellerby of Canada, and forwards Patrick Kane and James Vanriemsdyk of the USA, plus forwards Jakub Voracek and Michal Repik of the Czech Republic. Also in the mix are forwards Alexei Cherepanov of Russia and Luca Cunti of Switzerland.

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