Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.
The WNBA season starts Friday, May 24. Indiana, the defending WNBA champion, plays at San Antonio at 7 p.m.
Because the season is starting, teams have to be down to 11 players by Thursday. Even the Lynx, who don't start until June 1.
The Lynx currently have 14 players, including a WNBA-high six rookies in camp. They are not going to keep all those rookies. In fact, I think, three will get cut.
The two obvious ones to go are guard Jackie Gemelos. She has not played much basketball in 1-1/2 years, coming off her latest ACL surgery on one of her knees. The Lynx drafted her in the third round last season. Third-rounders are always longshots.
So are players signed as free agents such as 6-6 center Shawnice Wilson of Miama (Fla.). The Lynx signed her to have a big post in camp when their third round pick -- Waltiea Rolle, another 6-6 center, from North Carolina -- decided not to try out for the team until next season.
Rolle wants to finish her degree, then play in Europe.
But back to Wilson. Unless the Lynx feel they really need her size against 6-8 Brittney Griner of Phoenix and 6-8 Liz Cambage of Tulsa in the West -- doubtful -- she will be cut, too.
The third cut will come down to one of two guards, Sugar Rodgers of Georgetown or Chucky Jeffery of Colorado. Both led their teams in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals.
But Rodgers played in a tougher league, the Big East vs. the Pac-12, was a better scorer and ranked seventh in the nation in steals. She might be able to come off the bench and make things happen.
So assuming those three are cut, who is left? Here is the roster:
Center: Janel McCarville.
Power forward: Rebekkah Brunson.
Small forward: Maya Moore.
Shooting guard: Seimone Augustus.
Point guard: Lindsay Whalen.
Those would be the starters.
Off the bench: Monica Wright, first sub, at any of three positions, 3-2-1.
Amber Harris, at 6-5 tallest Lynx by three inches, but has had disappointing career for No. 4 overall pick three years ago. Was buried on bench last season. Many games played little.
Rachel Jarry, 6-1 forward from Australia with lots of international experience.
Lindsey Moore, rookie point guard from Nebraska, will back up Whalen.
Devereaux Peters, second-year post. Needs to learn how to stay out of foul trouble. Slick, but slender.
And Rodgers, would give Lynx two rookies.
Looking elsewhere around league, here is how other teams stand a couple days from rosters being set:
Los Angeles: Sparks have only 12 players, so need to cut just one. Have three rookies, but nobody with 10 seasons or more of experience. ... L.A. could have three international players on roster -- more than any other team. Fighting for roster spots are veteran guard Jenna O'Hea of Australia and two rookies, 6-2 forward Farhiya Abdi of Sweden and 6-1 guard/forward Alina Iagupova of the Ukraine. ... Hoping A.I. makes it, Ukrainians have to stick together.
Big addition to L.A. was guard Lindsey Harding from Atlanta. Backcourt was team's weak spot. Sparks have only three players shorter than 6-1. But tallest players are two at 6-4, including Candace Parker.
Phoenix: The Mercury have two rookies and two "senior citizens," forward Penny Taylor starting her 12th WNBA season and ex-Lynx guard Erin Thorn, starting her 11th. Like Lynx, Mercury has 14 in camp, including two other ex-Lynx players, forwards Charde Houston and Jessica Adair -- recently waived by the Lynx -- and guard Alexis Hornbuckle.
But the good news is that all the injured players -- Diana Taurasi, Taylor, Candice Dupree -- are healthy and Phoenix is the trendy pick to win the West with rookie phenom Griner in the middle.
Mercury has six players 6-4 or taller (remember Lynx have one). Maybe one or two former Lynx will make roster.
San Antonio: Silver Stars have 15 on roster, but all-star forward Sophia Young is out for a good share of the the season at least. She torn the ACL in one of her knees playing in China in January and had surgery. ... Silver Stars have four rookies and, really five. Julie Wojta of Wisconsin-Green Bay is listed as a second-year player but she played one game last season for the Lynx.
Team has two players going into 15th season: guard Becky Hammon and DeLisha Milton-Jones.
Seattle: 15 players on roster, but two are out for the season with injuries, center Lauren Jackson and guard Sue Bird, Storm's two best players. ... Two rookies and three second-year players on roster and four players with 10 or more years in WNBA, including Jackson and Bird, and Tina Thompson, who has played 16 seasons, and Nakia Sanford, into her 11th.
Tulsa: 13 players, including Cambage who has not joined team yet. ... Two rookies, two second-year players, and three from Stanford, including ex-Lynx Candice Wiggins. ... Six players at least 6-3. ... Big addition is rookie guard Skylar Diggins from Notre Dame.
This is the conference of new coaches. Four of the six teams have a different coach than they had a year ago.
Atlanta: 14 players, three rookies. Coach Fred Williams got job Aug. 27 last year. Angel McCoughtry makes Dream go. When she is hot, she is unstoppable.
Chicago: 12 players, two rookies. One rookie who won't get cut is 6-5 Elena Della Donne from Delaware, she and 6-6 Sylvia Fowles should give the Sky dominance inside against most teams. ... Swin Cash is going into her 12th season, Ruth Riley into 13th. ... Sky has never made playoffs in team history. This should be the year that streak is busted. ... Ex-Lynx Shay Murphy could be a valuable sub.
Connecticut: 13 players, including four from UConn. ... Two rookies, guard Kara Lawson, has most WNBA experience, going into 11th season. ... Anne Donovan, who led Seattle to title in 2004, is new coach. ... Ex-Lynx guard Renee Montgomery gave Sun spark off the bench last season.
Indiana: 14 players, only two rookies. ... Two best players are both veterans, Tamika Cathings going into 12th season and Katie Douglas going into 13th.
New York Liberty: Bill Laimbeer takes over as coach. He won several titles at Detroit. ... 13 players, four rookies, and two real veterans, forward Plenette Pierson into 11th season and Katie Smith into 15th. ... Three of players played for Laimbeer in Detroit: Pierson, Smith and Cheryl Ford.
Washington: 12 players, four rookies and new coach, Mike Thibault, who was fired by Connecticut for not winning WNBA title. ... One of rookies is guard Tayler Hill, Minneapolis native who played at Ohio State. ... Michelle Snow is going into 12th season.
So if my math is right, 16 players will get cut in West by Thursday and 12 players in East. Most won't get picked up, at least not immediately. The Lynx should be looking for a big post -- or at least getting a phone number or two. They don't have much size, especially if McCarville or Brunson get hurt.
Two-time NCAA heavyweight champion Tony Nelson was named the MVP of the Gophers wrestling team.
He led team to a 16-2 dual meet record, 7-1 in Big Ten. Gophers won national duals title, were second in Big Ten and third in NCAA meet.
Nelson was 33-1 overall, 8-0 in conference. He also had seven pins, tying David Thorn for team high.
Other award winners:
Most dedicated: Scott Schiller, 29-6 at 197.
Most courageous: Logan Storley.
Leadership award: Kevin Steinhaus.
Most improved: Cody Yohn and Danny Zilverberg.
Intensity award: Chris and Nick Dardanes.
Nine of 10 starters were juniors or younger. Yohn was the only senior, so team should be good again next season barring key injuries.
Henrik Sedin of Vancouver helped Sweden, his native country, win the gold medal in the IIHF World Championship on Sunday in Stockholm. He had two goals and an assists as the Sweden beat the Swiss 5-1.
Switzerland had been 9-0 in the tournament. And Roman Josi, a Swiss defenseman who plays for the Nashville Predators, was the tournament MVP.
Jhonas Enroth, Sweden's goalie who plays for the Buffalo Sabres, stopped 26 shots.
BRONZE FOR U.S.
The U.S. took a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Craig Smith and Paul Stastny in the first and 16th minute, but the Finns rallied to tie the game on two third-period goals by Lauri Korpikoski of the Phoenix Coyotes and, after a scoreless overtime, it went to a shootout.
The U.S. won the four-round shootout 2-1 as Alex Galchenyuk, the Americans third shooter, scored to tie it 1-1. Then when the the sudden-victory round began, Galchenyuk went first for the U.S. and scored again.
The Wild's Mikael Granlund had an assist on Finland's tying goal but missed on his turn in the shootout.
U.S. goalie John Gibson had 36 saves through overtime and three more in the shootout. The Finns had a 38-25 shot advantage.
The U.S. team went 7-3 in the World Championships, losing to Russia and Finland by a goal in the preliminary round and to Switzerland 3-0 in the semifinals.
Paul Stastny of the Colorado Avs led the U.S. in scoring with seven goals and eight assists for 15 points. He was named one of the U.S. team's top three players. The other two were forward Craig Smith of Nashville and defenseman Justin Faulk of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Faulk, a South St. Paul native who played at UMD in college, had six assists and was a plus-1 for the tournament. He also averaged 21:17 minutes per game.
None of the other Minnesotans did too much for the U.S. team.
Former Gophers center Nick Bjugstad of the Florida Panthers had two assists, was a minuus-2, had nine shots on goal and averaged 9:34 minutes per game.
Drew LeBlanc, St. Cloud State's Hobey Baker winner this past season as a senior, played in only six games after being a late addition. He had three assists, was a plus-1 and had seven shots.
Danny Kristo, the former UND player from Eden Prairie, had one goal and two assists, was a minus-1 and had eight shots.
Eric Johnson, an Avs defenseman, had two goals and two asists for four points. He was a plus-5 and had 11 shots and averaged nearly 18 minutes.
Defenseman Jamie McBain of the Carolina Hurricanes had two assists and was a minus-2. He averaged 10 minutes per game.
And T.J. Oshie of the St. Louis Blues, a late addition to the team, had one goal and was a minus-1 in four games. He averaged just over 17 minutes.
The names have been out there for months.
But on Friday, North Dakota men’s hockey coach Dave Hakstol announced the names of eight incoming freshmen for the 2013-14 season.
Four are defensemen, three are forwards and one is a goalie.
Three are from North Dakota, including two cousins from Grand Forks where the school is, and one from next door in East Grand Forks, Minn. The other four players are from Canada, two from British Columbia, one from Alberta and one from Saskatchewan.
All are at least 5-11, and one is 6-4. So there is some size.
Two were teammates on the Penticton Vees in the BCHL, two were teammates on the U.S. national development team.
Hakstol said he might add a few more later.
Here are the bios on all eight, provided by UND:
Luke Johnson, 5-11, 165, Grand Forks, N.D.
Draft eligible in 2013 and is ranked 96th among North American skaters by Central Scouting ... Spent the past two seasons with the Lincoln Stars of the USHL, where he was a teammate of fellow incoming freshman and Grand Forks native Paul LaDue, a cousin. Had 46 points (19g, 27a) and a team-leading nine power-play goals in 57 games in 2012-13. Had 55 points (20g, 35a) in 55 games in 2011-12 … Participated in the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in each of his two years with Lincoln … Helped lead Team USA to a gold medal at the 2012 World Junior A Challenge, collecting four assists in four games.
Played at Grand Forks (N.D.) Central High School as a freshman (2009-10) and sophomore (2010-11), winning a state title and earning all-state honors as a sophomore.
Father, Steve, played at UND from 1984-88, was a member of UND’s 1987 NCAA championship team, and was a first-team All-American and Hobey Baker Award finalist in 1987-88 … Uncle, Chad Johnson, was his head coach in Lincoln and played at UND from 1990-93.
Wade Murphy, 6-0, 180, Victoria, British Columbia
)Draft eligible in 2013 … Led Penticton of the British Columbia Hockey League in points (70) and assists (47) in 2012-13 and made his second straight BCHL Interior Conference First All-Star Team … Tied for fifth in the BCHL scoring race … Added five goals and six assists in 15 playoff games … Was a teammate of fellow incoming freshman Troy Stecher.
Joined Penticton midway through the 2011-12 season and helped lead the Vees to BCHL and Canadian national championships … Collected 14 goals and 15 assists in 22 games with the Vees after scoring 22 goals and 40 assists in 38 games with the Victoria Grizzlies … His 91 total points ranked fourth overall in league’s scoring race … Added nine goals and nine assists in 15 playoff games … Helped lead Canada West to a silver medal at the 2012 World Junior A Challenge, earning all-tournament honors with three goals and three assists in four games.
Adam Tambellini, 6-4, 177, Edmonton, Alberta
Draft eligible in 2013 and is ranked 42nd among North American skaters by Central Scouting ... Finished the 2012-13 season with the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles, collecting 14 goals and 12 assists in just 16 games … Had begun the year with Vernon and amassed 22 goals and 17 assists in 36 games … His 36 total goals tied him for third in the BCHL … Helped lead Surrey to a BCHL championship and is currently competing in the Royal Bank Cup national Junior A championship … Has 10 goals and eight assists in 17 playoff games … Earned BCHL Coastal Conference Second All-Star Team honors.
Spent the entire 2011-12 season with the Vernon Vipers and recorded 27 goals and 29 assists in 55 games … Father, Steve Tambellini, enjoyed a 10-year playing career in the NHL and most recently served as general manager of the Edmonton Oilers from 2008-09 to 2012-13.
Gage Ausmus, 6-1, 204, East Grand Forks, Minn.
Draft eligible in 2013 and is ranked 148th among North American skaters by Central Scouting ... Spent the past two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program (NTDP) where he was a teammate of fellow incoming freshman Keaton Thompson.
Played in in 66 games with the U.S. Under-18 Team in 2012-13 and had two goals and 12 assists … Tied for second on the team with a +22 rating … Helped Team USA win a silver medal at the World Under-18 Championship … Spent the 2011-12 season with the U.S. Under-17 Team and collected two goals and four assists in 54 games … Named to Media All-Tournament Team at the 2012 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Windsor, Ontario, where the U.S. placed second … Helped lead the 2011 U.S. National Under-17 Team to a Four Nations Tournament title in Balishikha, Russia.
At East Grand Forks High School in 2010-11 prior to joining the NTDP and scored three goals and 11 assists in 15 games.
Paul LaDue, 6-2, 185, Grand Forks, N.D.
Selected in the sixth round (191st overall) by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft … Spent the past two seasons with the Lincoln Stars of the USHL where he was a teammate of fellow incoming freshman and Grand Forks native Luke Johnson, a cousin.
Set the franchise scoring record for defensemen with 83 points (21g, 62a) and was a +63 in 118 career games with Lincoln … Was named the USHL Defenseman of the Year in 2012-13 after leading the league’s defensemen in points (49) and assists (37) in 62 games … Collected 34 points (9g, 22a) in 56 games with Lincoln in 2011-12 and led USHL defensemen with a +36 rating.
Spent the 2010-11 season with the Alexandria Blizzard of the NAHL and was named to the NAHL All-Rookie Second Team after recording three goals and 19 assists in 56 games … Played prep hockey at Grand Forks (N.D.) Central High School in 2009-10 and had 10 goals and 25 assists in 27 games.
Troy Stecher, 5-11, 180, Richmond, British Columbia)
Spent the past three seasons with the Penticton Vees of the BCHL … A teammate of fellow incoming freshman Wade Murphy for the past two years … Was named 2012-13 BCHL Interior Conference Defenseman of the Year after collecting 47 points (8g, 39a) in 52 games … Was also named to the BCHL Interior Conference First All-Star Team … Led the league’s defensemen in assists … Served as team captain in 2012-13 … Won a silver medal with Canada West at the 2012 World Junior A Challenge
Was named to the BCHL Interior Conference Second All-Star Team in 2011-12 after recording 42 points (5g, 37a) in 53 games and leading the Vees to a BCHL championship … Named RBC Cup Playoffs Top Defenseman after scoring 15 points in 26 games and leading Penticton to a Canadian Junior A national championship … Helped Canada West to a gold medal at the 2011 World Junior A Challenge … Had 20 points (5g, 15a) in 54 games as a rookie with Penticton in 2010-11 … Last name is pronounced STETCH-ur.
Keaton Thompson, 6-0, 185, Devils Lake, N.D.
Draft eligible in 2013 and is ranked 53rd among North American skaters by Central Scouting ... Spent the past two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program, where he was a teammate of fellow incoming freshman defenseman Gage Ausmus … Appeared in 67 games with the U.S. Under-18 Team in 2012-13 and had four goals and 16 assists with a +18 rating … Helped Team USA win a silver medal at the World Under-18 Championship.
Appeared in 54 games with the U.S. Under-17 Team in 2011-12 and scored five goals and 17 assists … Member of the U.S. National Under-17 Team that finished first at the Vlad Dzurilla Under-18 Tournament … Helped lead the 2011 U.S. National Under-17 Team to a Four Nations Tournament title in Balishikha, Russia.
Matt Hrynkiw, 5-11, 179, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Spent the past three seasons with the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) … Named Canada’s 2012-13 national Junior A goaltender of the year and SJHL Goaltender of the Year after going 27-11-2 and leading the league in goals against average (1.83), save percentage (.939) and shutouts (six) … Went 10-6 with a 2.11 GAA and .932 SV% during the SJHL playoffs.
Named Humboldt’s Team MVP, Hardest Worker, Best Team Player, Most Dedicated Player, and Three-Star Award winner … Helped Humboldt to an SJHL championship in 2011-12 after leading the league in GAA (2.28) and shutouts (four) … Last name is pronounced huh-RINK-you.
Russia was the defending champion in the Men's World Hockey Championship, had Alex Ovechkin on its side, and had never given up eight goals in the tournament.
Until Thursday. The U.S. beat the Russians 8-3 in Helsinki, avenging a 5-3 loss in the preliminary round.
The two catalysts for the offensive explosion were Paul Stastny with two goals and two assists and Craig Smith with five assists. John Gibson made 31 saves.
The U.S. led 2-1 after one period, 4-1 after two.
This is the first time since 2009 that the Americans have reached the semifinals in this tournament.
Their next game is against surprising Switzerland at noon on Saturday in Stockholm.
Ovechkin had a goal and an assist for Russia, both in the third period.
"We played a really good game and I'm proud of our team," said Joe Sacco, coach of the U.S. team.
"I thought our goaltender made a couple of big saves early to keep it scoreless and then we were able to get the lead and keep it.
"We scored timely goals today and got contributions from everyone up and down our lineup. We beat a very good hockey team and we're excited now to move over to Stockholm."
Switzerland placed 11th our of 12 teams in the World Championship a year ago. But now the Swiss are 8-0 in this tournament after beating the Czech Republic 2-1 in the quarterfinals. This is the first time they are in the semifinals since 1998.
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