The Gophers hockey team is in slight danger of losing three major components to last season’s squad. There is a possibility, however, that all three will be back.
First, assistant coach Mike Guentzel has interviewed for the head coaching job at Nebraska-Omaha. He is one of four applicants, two of whom will be interviewed next week.
Guentzel, who is considered by many coaches in the WCHA to be one of the best assistants in the country, will be a top candidate for the job.
Former Minnesota Moose coach Frank Serratore is also among those being considered for the job.
If offered the position, Guentzel said he isn’t sure that he’ll take it.
“I haven’t made that decision yet,” he said. “I went down there because I’m interested. I think it’s a good opportunity, but I don’t want to get into `yes’ or `no’ right now. I just got back, and I still have to discuss it with my family. I’ll know more by the end of next week.”
The second loss might come via the NHL draft, which is Saturday. Gophers forward Erik Rasmussen, who scored 16 goals and notched 32 assists for 48 total points last season during his freshman year, is expected to be picked very high in the draft.
“He’s going to get taken in the first round,” Guentzel said. “I’m sure there’s some secret stuff going on, but I would expect him to be taken anywhere between fourth and 15th overall.”
Rasmussen was third on Minnesota’s squad in scoring last season behind Hobey Baker Award winner Brian Bonin, who had 81 points, and All-America defenseman Mike Crowley, who had 63 points.
But even if Rasmussen gets drafted in the first round, he might stay with the Gophers. That will depend on which team picks him, how much that squad needs him to play right away and how much money he is offered.
If Rasmussen is drafted high, he will be offered somewhere in the $400,000 range.
And, as Guentzel said, “Money talks.”
Crowley remembers the day two years ago when he was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers. His rights have since been traded to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
“(Rasmussen) is in a great situation, and it’s going to be a very memorable day for him,” Crowley said. “But I talked to him recently, and I think he’s going to be back at the U.”
Crowley said Rasmussen knows he needs to work on getting stronger before he can tackle the NHL.
Many rumors have aired about Crowley himself getting an offer he can’t refuse. He broke single-season Minnesota records last year in points by a defenseman (63) and assists by a defenseman (46), and his 17 goals put him second behind Randy Skarda (19) in goals by a defenseman.
Although Crowley has the option, he doesn’t think he’s going anywhere.
“I’ve talked to (Anaheim), but money has never been on the table,” he said. “A player has to ask for a contract and as of today, I’m going to be back here. We’ll see how the draft goes.”
Shudlick picked by Columbus
Former Gophers women’s basketball star Carol Ann Shudlick was picked by the ABA’s Columbus, Ohio, team in the draft Wednesday as an alternate selection.
Each of the eight teams in the women’s professional basketball league were given two of the 16 players considered to be the elite athletes. Eleven of these women are currently playing for the U.S. Olympic team.
The rest of the 122 players who made the cut at the tryouts two weeks ago were drafted. Each team picked eight players in addition to the two given to it before the draft, and selected three alternates who could also make the team in the future.
Shudlick, a native of Apple Valley, was an All-American for the Gophers in 1994 and holds career records in points (2,097), field goals made (854) and field goals attempted (1,682).