Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State well Represented in NHL

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You know what today is? Hockey’s opening day, and with it time to break down all the team’s rosters. In all, 57 former CCHA players are on NHL opening-day rosters. Michigan leads the way with 15, followed by Michigan State with 11.

Six Ohio State Buckeyes are on NHL opening-day rosters, ranking third among CCHA schools. So the Big Ten is definitely in the hizouse here.

Four NHL regulars from 2009-10 return to their squads for the new year – R.J. Umberger in Columbus, Dave Steckel in Washington, Ryan Kesler in Vancouver and Rod Pelley in New Jersey. Zac Dalpe, who left Ohio State in the spring after two seasons, earned a spot in Carolina’s lineup after his first training camp. Tyson Strachan is on the opening-day roster for St. Louis after playing eight games for the Blues a season ago.

Dalpe’s  Hurricanes take on the Minnesota Wild at noon ET Thursday as part of the 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere Series in Helsinki, Finland, to open the 2010-11 NHL campaign (live on Versus and TSN).

Defensemen Nate Guenin, with the Blue Jackets, and Matt Bartkowski, with Boston, were two of the final players from their respective teams sent to the American Hockey League when NHL rosters had to be cut down. Bartkowski, like Dalpe, ended his Buckeye career after last season and was participating in his first NHL camp. He is currently with the Providence Bruins. Guenin cleared waivers and is with the Springfield Falcons.

Seventeen total former Buckeyes participated in NHL training camps this fall, with many now assigned to AHL squads – Corey Elkins (Manchester/Los Angeles), Sean Collins (Hershey/Washington), Johann Kroll (Hershey/Washington), Matt Beaudoin (San Antonio/Phoenix), Jason DeSantis (Wilkes-Barre Scranton/Pittsburgh) and Tom Fritsche (Lake Erie/Colorado). Joe Palmer was in the Chicago Blackhawks’ camp and now is with the Toledo Walleye in the ECHL.

Dave Caruso began the 2010-11 campaign in the New Jersey Devils’ camp and now is with the Trenton Devils in the ECHL. Hunter Bishop, the third Buckeye to sign an NHL contract after 2009-10, was in camp with Montreal but is currently out with an injury.

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