The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/18/11 at 02:41 AM ET
Red Wings prospect and University of Maine Black Bears forward Gustav Nyquist is crossing his fingers that, by mysterious machinations, the NCAA will choose to include Maine in college hockey’s Division I playoffs. In the interim, and as Division I’s respective conferences crown playoff champions this weekend,* the Portland Press-Herald’s Rachel Lenzi reports that Nyquist’s spectacular second-half performance for Maine earned him a particularly prestigious honor:
On Thursday night, five days after the University of Maine men’s hockey team was eliminated from the Hockey East quarterfinals, Gustav Nyquist received some consolation. Nyquist, the Black Bears junior right wing, was named one of 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the top player in Division I college hockey.
“I’m a little surprised,” said Nyquist, who gave credit to his teammates and linemates when discussing the individual nomination. “There’s so many good players out there in college hockey. It must be really tough to narrow it down to 10 (finalists), then to three. Just being nominated as one of the top 10, it’s a huge honor. There are so many players who could be in that top 10.”
Nyquist is Maine’s leading scorer this season and is currently Hockey East’s second-leading scorer with 18 goals and 33 assists in 36 games.
Nyquist also spoke to the Bangor Daily News’s Larry Mahoney about the news:
“It’s such a huge honor and I think you’re always a little surprised. I was surprised last year,” said Nyquist. “There are so many good hockey players in college hockey. It’s so tough to narrow it down to 10 and then to three and then to pick a winner, obviously.”
He said it is difficult for him to assess his season “because my biggest goal was to help the team make a run at the Hockey East title as well as to get us into the NCAA Tournament.
“So it’s a little disappointing,” said Nyquist, whose Bears were eliminated in two games by Merrimack in the Hockey East quarterfinals last weekend and are a longshot to make the NCAA tournament. “I love all my teammates. And if it ends here, it will be tough to go out like this.”
Nyquist racked up 51 points (18 & 33) in 36 games this season and finished strong with points in 11 of his last 12 games (11 & 10). He had at least one point in 30 games and had 14 multiple-point games.
Nyquist had 21 power-play points (5 & 16), eight game-winning points (1 & 7) and had two goals and an assist while shorthanded.
He ranks seventh in the country in scoring and sixth in points per game (1.42). He is also tied for fourth in assists and assists per game (0.92).
Until the Black Bears know whether they have any hopes of continuing to play, the junior forward can’t surrender his college eligibility by signing with the Wings.
*The CCHA playoffs take place at Joe Louis Arena on Friday, with Wings prospect Riley Sheahan and the University of Notre Dame taking on Miami of Ohio at 4:30 PM EDT, and the University of Michigan and Western Michigan University will face off in the other semifinal on Friday at 8. Both games will be aired on Fox Sports Detroit Plus, and the winners of Friday’s games will compete for the CCHA championship on Saturday at 7:30 PM (also on FSD+).
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.