Jason Ruff

Top MSU Hockey Players of All Time

The MSU hockey team has had a great history in college hockey. With their fair share of conference, regular season and tournament titles, three NCAA National Championships, and two Hobey Baker award winners, the Spartans have some great accomplishments under their belt. None of those accomplishments would have been possible if it were not for the hard work and dedication put in by countless MSU hockey players over the years.

Over the next five weeks, Behind the Mask be releasing each of our top five greatest spartan hockey players of all time. Starting with No. 5 and working all the way up to No. 1. Each of us giving our own reasons on why each player deserves to be there.

Who will claim the top spot on the countdown?

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Phil Osaer Named Director of Hockey Operations

With Adam Nightingale stepping down at the end of the pastmen’s hockey season to coach the Shattuck-St.Mary’s high school hockey team in Fairbault, Minn., a gap opened up in a vital position for the Spartan hockey program. That gap has now been filled by Phil Osaer.

Osaer is a native of Livonia, Mich. and earned his business administration degree from Ferris State University. While at Ferris he played goaltender for the Bulldogs from 1998-2001. After college, Phil spent 12 seasons in professional hockey and was an instructor at Suburban Hockey Schools in Farmington Hills, Mich.

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Non-Conference Schedule Preview: Hockey

At last year’s postseason press conference, Michigan State head coach Tom Anastos said that he would include a wide variety of non-conference teams for the Spartans to play in the upcoming seasons. Now with the official 2014-15 hockey schedule released, the Spartans boast a strong but flexible schedule that even Tom Izzo would be proud of. Read More…

Rule Changes Possibly Coming for 2014-15 Season

Change is in the air this summer as the NCAA Hockey Rules Committee (headed by Michigan State head coach Tom Anastos) recently proposed several rule changes to the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel last Friday.

There were a total of nine rule changes approved by the committee. The changes that could have the most significant impact on the game include new rules for faceoff procedure, (who puts their stick down first, faceoff location in the offensive zone, etc.) expanding the use of video replay, and new shootout regulations.

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Big Ten Hockey Schedule Released

Michigan State’s Big Ten schedule has been announced and, like last year, the Spartans will face each of their Big Ten conference foes four times during the regular season.

The major difference is that this year the Big Ten Tournament will be held at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit as opposed to Xcel Energy Center in Minneapolis, Minn.

Also, no word has come as to the date of the annual Joe Louis game between the Spartans and the Wolverines.

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Wisconsin, Minnesota and Others Opt out of Gentleman’s Agreement

Several members of college hockey’s royalty appear to be disenchanted with the rest of the league.

After a vote by the American Hockey Coaches Association Convention moved to keep the “Gentleman’s Agreement,” several hockey programs, including Minnesota and Boston College, announced they would no longer adhere to the agreement and not recognize the verbal commitment as binding.

Instead, they would only recognize the NCAA National Letter of Intent. Soon after, Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves announced his program would follow suit.

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Spartans Add More Weapons to Freshman Class

While the Michigan State men’s hockey team grows “organically” in order to improve for what will likely be a defining year, they will not have to do it alone. In addition to their two previous National Letter of Intent signees (defenseman Josh Jacobs and goaltender Edwin Minny) MSU head coach Tom Anastos recently announced the official addition of defenseman Carson Gatt (brother of current Spartan senior Nickolas Gatt) and forward Dylan Pavelek.

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Spartans Head South for Race against Virginia

With their season coming to a close, the Michigan State women’s rowing team will head to Charlottesville, Va. for races against the No. 5 Cavaliers and the Duke Blue Devils.

MSU had a strong showing at their last outing at Clemson. And for their efforts, they now sit just eight points out of the No. 20 spot in the NCAA polls. While the Spartans did not do so well against Virginia in their first race of the season, MSU has gotten better and has proven that they can compete with ranked teams.

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Spartans Prep for Clemson Invitational

Michigan State continues their crusade to reach the NCAA rankings this weekend at the two-day Clemson Invitational at Lake Hartwell, S.C. The Spartans have been just shy of the national polls for several weeks in a row, receiving eleven votes at the last polling period, and will need a strong performance this weekend if they hope to convince the voters that they deserve a spot in the NCAA Tourney.

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Rowing Club Prepares for Lubbers Cup

As the team continues its relentless march, the Michigan State men’s crew club will be preparing to race in the 19th annual Don Lubbers Cup Regatta this weekend on Saturday, April 12. This will be MSU’s sixth race of the season, and third of the spring.

During their last outing in the Cincinnati Regatta, the varsity eight finished second behind Cincinnati by three seconds in the final race.

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Opinion: Future Still Bright for MSU Hockey

The season is over and we all have questions. Is Tom Anastos under the gun next year? Will developing “organically” help or hurt the team? How will MSU be able to replace Wolfe, Riemer and the Chelios brothers?

First off, I do not think anyone will deny that this season was much better than last season. Winning percentage was higher, defense was better, and overall, it just seemed that MSU was in almost every game they played in.

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Sparty versus Smarty on the High Seas

It is Sparty versus Smarty on the high seas as the Michigan State women’s rowing team travels out east to face off against No. 9 Brown and No. 5 Princeton this Saturday on Lake Carnegie, near Princeton, N.J.

This will be the first race for Princeton and Brown, while Michigan State on the other hand, has several races under its belt, including one against Rutgers and Boston University yesterday.

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Spartans Cruise by Rutgers and Boston

In a stellar opening performance, the MSU women’s rowing team cruised to victory against Rutgers and Boston, two strong squads going into yesterday’s contest.

Michigan State only raced three teams (varsity eight, second varsity eight and novice eight) due to the lack of four man squads for Rutgers.

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Weekend Hockey Preview: No. 5 Wisconsin vs. MSU

For the last weekend of the regular season, the Michigan State Spartans (10-16-7) welcome the No. 5 Wisconsin Badgers (21-9-2) to East Lansing this Friday and Saturday. With senior night fast approaching, it will be an emotional weekend for the Spartans who look to build up their confidence and rhythm going into the Big Ten Tournament.

The Wisconsin Badgers are coming off an exceptional weekend, grabbing five out of six points against the Penn State Nittany Lions. They are still chasing No. 1 Minnesota for the Big Ten regular season championship. However, the Badgers are five points behind the Gophers and will need to have a perfect weekend (and a Michigan sweep of Minnesota) in order to jump to No. 1.

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Opinion: Spartans Played Best Game Yet

What was it? Was is head coach Tom Anastos’ timeout early in the first period? Was it the sellout crowd at Munn Ice Arena? Or was it the grit and determination of the senior class?

Whatever the reason, one thing is predominantly clear: the Spartans played their best game of the season last Saturday against No. 12 Michigan.

While it was not the first time the Spartans have rallied back to win a close game this season, no game had the stakes as high as this one. Read More…

Riding out the Storm

It is clear that we are now in the dark days of the MSU hockey rebuilding process. Offense has been scarce, close games have slipped away and many are becoming frustrated.

“These are the times that try men’s souls,” Thomas Paine once wrote, and that quote is as true today as it was nearly 250 years ago.

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Weekend Hockey Preview: Michigan State vs. No. 7 Wisconsin

With only three weekends left in the regular season the Michigan State Spartans (3-5-6-4) will face a tough challenge this weekend, traveling to take on the No. 7 Wisconsin Badgers (8-5-1-0) in Madison, Wis. The Badgers come into the series second in the Big Ten with 25 points, and ready to play their last home series of the season at the Kohl Center this Friday and Saturday.

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Weekend Hockey Preview

Things may get interesting again this weekend as the Michigan State Spartans (2-5-5-3) visit Penn State University (1-9-0-0) for the first time this season. Coming off of a weekend that saw both the Spartans and the Gophers get swept and Penn State get its first win, everyone is holding their breath to see if there are more upsets in the works.

The Nittany lions are coming off of their first Big Ten conference victory in program history, upsetting No. 9 Michigan 4-0 last Saturday. MSU on the other hand, is coming off of a frustrating weekend, coming away with only two points in their series against Ohio State. While MSU did sweep the Nittany Lions in East Lansing in January, Penn State will look to return the favor this Friday.

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Spartans Host Weekend Series with Buckeyes

Big Ten action returns to East Lansing this weekend as the Michigan State Spartans look to conclude their season series with the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Coming off of a dominant performance against Penn State last weekend, the Buckeyes roll into East Lansing with 13 points and a 4-5-1 conference record.

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Michigan Week on Ice

Perhaps the perfect lead into Saturday’s basketball game against the dastardly maize and blue is a matchup on the ice at Munn Ice Arena between the Michigan State Spartans and the Michigan Wolverines.

These two teams have met twice already this season, albeit one was not an official game and they have both won one game apiece. At the consolation game of the GLI (Great Lakes Invitational), the Spartans made a mockery of the Wolverines in a 3-0 whitewash. However, the Wolverines returned the favor with a 2-1 victory over the Spartans at Joe Louis Arena last Thursday.

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