OXFORD, Ohio – A trio of former Miami hockey standouts are skating in the postseason at the highest level as the NHL Playoffs get underway this week.
Donning NHL jerseys in the battle for a Stanley Cup are former Miami teammates Chris Wideman and Tommy Wingels with the Ottawa Senators, as they open up the postseason against the Boston Bruins, who feature 2015-16 team captain Sean Kuraly. In addition to the former Miami players suiting up, former MU assistant coach Mitch Korn is once again playing a prominent role coaching the goaltenders for the President’s Trophy winning Washington Capitals.
In his second NHL season, Wideman logged 76 games on the Senators’ blue line and chipped in 17 points (5 goals, 12 assists) in 76 games. He also finished the year with a plus-seven rating. His 17 points ranked third among Ottawa blue liners. This postseason marks his first time playing in the NHL Playoffs.
Wingels, who played with Wideman while helping Miami appear in two Frozen Fours during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons, was dealt to the Senators from the San Jose Sharks in a Jan. 24 trade. He played his final 36 games of the season with Ottawa and in 73 total games, recorded 12 points on seven goals and five assists. Wingels is making his fifth trip to the NHL Playoffs and scored two goals for the Sharks to help them make their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance a year ago.
Kuraly spent most of his first pro season playing for the Bruins’ AHL affiliate in Providence, where he posted 26 points (14 goals, 12 assists) in 54 games while finishing a plus-10. He saw the ice in eight games for Boston and dished out an assist.
After coaching Braden Holtby to a Vezina Trophy winning campaign a year ago, Korn helped Holtby post even better numbers in an encore season. He shaved his goals against average down to 2.07 and upped his save percentage to .925 while leading the NHL with 42 wins and nine shutouts as the Capitals allowed the fewest goals in the league and posted the NHL’s best record at 55-19-8.
In addition to the three players on NHL rosters at the start of the playoffs, former Miami captain Austin Czarnik is available for a call-up with the Bruins after posting 13 points in 49 games. Other former RedHawks who played NHL games for playoff squads and could get called up are Riley Barber (Washington Capitals) and Pat Cannone (Minnesota Wild).
Four Miami hockey standouts have seen their name on a total of five Stanley Cup titles, with Jeff Zatkoff becoming the most recent to see his name engraved last season as a member of the Stanley Cup winning Pittsburgh Penguins.