Over-Thought: Seven Days Out and Waiting for Action

It feels a little soon for the Sabres to be playing actual hockey games, but we’re a week out from the start of the NHL regular season and given the Sabres seemingly perpetual state, there isn’t much room for optimism.

There’s still time for Jason Botterill and Ralph Krueger to actually remove some players from the roster that finished in the bottom five last year. It’s just getting harder to have confidence anything substantial is going to happen when all of the usual suspects are still around.

Rasmus Ristolainen is the elephant in the room and his presence on the trade block is a matter of debate. Not only is there debate in the fanbase over whether or not he should be traded but whether or not the Sabres are actually shopping him or if they’re simply taking calls on him. Beyond Ristolainen there’s Vladimir Sobotka, Zemgus Girgensons and Johan Larsson occupying the fan’s doghouse. There isn’t much in the way of Sabres information in this week’s 31 Thoughts (or last week’s) but it’s still going to serve as the kick off to The OT for this season. Continue reading

Brotherly bond runs strong with Belangers

Something I wrote for the ACHA website

Over twenty years of “what if” and “if only” were wiped away one evening while Neeco and Wolff Belanger were relaxing on winter break. It was then that Neeco came to the snap decision to transfer home to play alongside his brother at Northern Michigan.

The Belanger brothers are two years apart; Neeco is now a senior at Northern while Wolff is a sophomore. Neeco, however, does have an additional year of DII eligibility and will be able to use it as he wraps up his education – he changed his major last year while still at Lindenwood.

Neeco, a two-time National Champion and captain with Lindenwood (DI) had returned home for break and was preparing to have a minor procedure done on his knee when his plans changed.

“Through talking with my brother and talking with some coaches that I could put it off and play,” he said. “So I decided to put it off until the end of the season and play with my brother for as long as I can.

“I hadn’t planned on playing the rest of this season until the doctor said I could play on it and it wasn’t going to make it any worse. Also realizing I could play with my brother and live at home at the same time kind of sweetened the deal.”

So the eldest Belanger took the necessary steps to withdraw from Lindenwood and transfer his credits to Northern Michigan while also planning to suit up for the spring semester. While the process came down to the wire, Neeco was able to join the team for the second semester this season. Continue reading