NHL vs. U, part II: Back to the future

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 23, 2008 - 11:53 PM

Islanders take incoming Gopher Aaron Ness, rekindle memories of last year's in-season call-up of U's Kyle Okposo.


Aaron Ness

Photo: Marlin Levison, Dml - Minneapolis Star Tribune S

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

OTTAWA, ONTARIO - When the New York Islanders signed Kyle Okposo out of the University of Minnesota in the middle of the school year in December, Islanders General Manager Garth Snow justified the controversial move by criticizing the Gophers' program and specifically coach Don Lucia.

"Quite frankly, we weren't happy with the program there," Snow told the Star Tribune. "They have a responsibility to coach, to make Kyle a better player, and they were not doing that. ... We entrusted the coach there to turn him into a better hockey player, and it wasn't happening."

He added, "whether it was Kyle or another player, until things change in that program we'd probably make the same decision."

Well, in Saturday's second round of the NHL entry draft, the Islanders took Gophers incoming freshman and Minnesota's Mr. Hockey, Roseau's Aaron Ness, with the 40th pick.

But Snow changed his tune Saturday, saying, he blasted the Gophers because in a Star Tribune article the day before, "there were three people that took shots against our organization, against Kyle, and I wasn't going to sit idly by.

"Every situation is different. We're happy we got a good hockey player, and we support [Ness] getting his degree at the University of Minnesota."

Still, Ness said how long he stays at the U depends largely on the Islanders' wishes.

"Whenever they feel I'm ready and I feel I'm ready, lets get it going," Ness said. "I'll take this as it comes. As of now, I'm going to the U next year."

Reminded of Snow's thoughts of the Gophers and asked if that could affect his long-term stay at Minnesota, Ness said, "Yeah, I guess, maybe. I'll talk about it with them in the future."

By phone from the Twin Cities on Saturday, Lucia said he wasn't concerned the Islanders took Ness.

"They drafted a great kid, a great player, a world-class player," Lucia said. "I think Aaron has a great set of parents. They know and he knows there's growth to do as a player. It'll take time. So we look forward to having him at Minnesota.

"Whether it was the Islanders or anybody else, it was a smart pick. It's old news as far as I'm concerned."

Friday was a long day for Ness. He had to sit through the three-hour first round only not to hear his name.

"It was a little disappointing, just because of all the hype and stuff," Ness said. "But the bottom line is it's what you do after the draft. This is another step to hopefully getting there one day."

  • related content

  • Wild talks with Rolston enter critical stage

    Saturday June 21, 2008

    The Wild has grown frustrated with Rolston's agent, Steve Bartlett. GM Doug Risebrough says the Wild has not received a single counteroffer from Bartlett.

  • Trade nixed, Wild selects defenseman

    Friday June 20, 2008

    Minnesota offered a lot but couldn't reel in Olli Jokinen from the Panthers, so it made a move and used a pick.

  • Grinders likely to be from minors

    Friday June 20, 2008

    OTTAWA - Don't expect the Wild to try to find a role player this summer to replace Branko Radivojevic, who...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


San Francisco - LP: J. Peavy 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: K. Herrera 7
San Diego 7:25 PM
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Houston 90 FINAL
Orlando 89
Brooklyn 86 FINAL
Boston 100
Washington 100 FINAL
New York 103
Cleveland 92 FINAL
Memphis 96
Minnesota 110 FINAL
Milwaukee 91
Atlanta 117 FINAL
San Antonio 107
Portland 86 FINAL
LA Lakers 94
Phoenix 105 FINAL
LA Clippers 108
Toronto 0 Postponed
Ottawa 0
Philadelphia 5 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
Washington 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Buffalo 1 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Chivas USA 0 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 2
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite Wild player?

Weekly Question