What each Big Ten team needs from Santa for Christmas

BleedGopher

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Per Jess:

Minnesota Golden Gophers (17 points, 3rd place, 9-5-4, 5-4-3-1)​

In the past two decades, there have been plenty of NCAA title teams that were notably less talented than their school’s squad of a year or two earlier. Denver in 2002 was a juggernaut that didn’t make it to the Frozen Four, but the Pioneers claimed a national title two years later. Michigan’s 1997 team was one of the rare collections of talent in college hockey history, but got bounced in the Frozen Four, only to see a scrappy overachieving bunch of Wolverines win the crown in 1998. Ditto for Minnesota Duluth’s powerful 2017 squad, which fell to Denver in a one-goal NCAA title game, then won the title a year later with a notably less-dynamic roster.

The Gophers putting one of the most eye-popping collections of future NHL talent on the ice last season, but falling a few minutes short of the program’s sixth NCAA crown. There has been an underlying idea among the folks in Minneapolis who follow the local college hockey team that history can repeat itself again, and this Gophers squad can erase memories of the Tampa tragedy this time around.

Coach Bob Motzko is still juggling lines — in reality, he rarely stops juggling lines — looking for consistency and chemistry. Perhaps the biggest obstacle to finding either has been injuries, which meant missed games and reduced-capacity performances for several key Gophers in October and November. They’re getting healthier, and using the holiday break to rest and rejuvenate.


Go Gophers!!
 




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