clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Wisconsin men’s hockey: B1G coaches teleconference

Assistant coach Mark Osiecki spoke with the media via technology on Thursday morning!

COLLEGE HOCKEY: NOV 24 Wisconsin at Michigan Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The preseason B1G men’s hockey coaches teleconference happened on Thursday morning and B5Q was able to catch the last two coaches, Michigan’s head coach Mel Pearson and Wisconsin’s assistant coach Mark Osiecki, on the call.

The preseason conference poll was released earlier this week and has the Badgers slotted in as the third best team in the Big Ten behind Notre Dame and Penn State. However, it should be a tough league to win because every weekend will be a battle. “I really like the talent level spread across the B1G,” Pearson noted on the call.

“It’s a good league. A very good league, sometimes to our detriment because we are knocking each other off,” Pearson added while discussing the prospects of the entire conference this season.

Like many around the college hockey world, Pearson is impressed with the newcomers the Badgers have brought to Madison this season. “You look at Wisconsin and what they’ve done and what they’ve got coming in,” he said. The Badgers recruiting class this year is chock full of high NHL draft picks and should really raise the floor of this year’s team.

The reason that head coach Tony Granato wasn’t on the call Thursday morning was because he is supporting his brother, Don Granato.

“Filling in for Tone. He’s dealing with a family issue. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and we are sending all our good thoughts to the Granato family,” Osiecki started off his portion of the teleconference with a message for Granato.

Next, Osiecki was asked about K’Andre Miller, who has been recovering from an injury. “He’s coming back great but he’s doing a great job maintaining that and nursing it to a better level. No ill effects to his play or skating. Fun to have him back.”

He was also able to give an injury update on forward Sean Dhooghe, “Sean’s fine, he’s just been held out of practice a couple days as a precautionary thing. He’s in great spirits.”

Osiecki obviously touched on the incoming recruiting class and how highly rated they all are, but he also focused on their attitudes.

“Fun group. One thing they all have in common is they are tremendous, tremendous competitors. Really fun having that group in, these guys just have big smiles on their faces. In a lot of respects we have to pull back, they just want to have hockey more and more each day.”

One of the players that Osiecki singled out is not one of the most highly regarded players in the class, but still one that he thinks will make an impact. Freshman defenseman Mike Vorlicky (Edina, Minn.) has made the coaching staff take note of him.

“Michael Vorlicky will probably be the biggest surprise. He’s really jumped in and is jumping off the page right now.”

With all of these new, talented players coming in chemistry will be something the team needs to develop early in the season.

“The next step is more chemistry. It is right now finding that chemistry and plugging people into certain roles. Our depth allows players to play into roles. Our biggest challenge as a staff is plugging people in and finding the right chemistry,” Osiecki said when asked what the most important thing is to taking the next step as a team.

Luckily for the Badgers they had a chance earlier this fall to take a trip to Vancouver for a pair of exhibition games. “Obviously an unbelievably unique situation,” Osiecki mentioned.

“First of all, it was fun. We had really good team building. Tony did a great job with lining up the practices with the calendar to benefit our players. UBC (University of British Columbia) did a great job hosting and obviously Vancouver speaks for itself.”

The overarching theme of the weekend for the Badgers was, not only team building, but also to expose more people to the college hockey brand. Osiecki said they wanted to “carry the college hockey brand to Canada. The other focus was selling college hockey out west.”