Sunday, April 16, 2006

Next season's outlook just got a little bleaker...


Earl Signs With Toronto Maple Leafs

MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin men’s hockey junior forward Robbie Earl (Los Angeles) announced today at a news conference at the Kohl Center that he has signed a contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs and will depart school after three years at Wisconsin. Earl was selected in the sixth round, 187th overall, by Toronto in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

“Today I decided to leave school and join the Toronto Marlies in the playoffs and for the upcoming Sunday and sign a contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs,” stated Earl “I am not coming back for my senior year.”

Earl is expected to report to the Toronto Marlies, the American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs, on Saturday and possibly skate for the team in Sunday’s game against Syracuse. Earl’s former Badger teammate Andy Wozniewski already plays in the Toronto system, having split time this season with the Marlies and the Maple Leafs.

Named the most outstanding player of the 2006 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four this past Saturday, Earl helped pace the Badgers to their sixth NCAA title with a 2-1 victory over Boston College. In the Frozen Four, the winger scored three goals and one assist, including the game-winning, power-play goal against Maine and the game-tying goal against Boston College.

“It has been a tricky three days,” added Earl. “I didn’t expect it to happen this quick. It is kind of a double-edged sword – I am happy to be in this position to sign, but then again it is tough coming off the national championship, you’d like to be with your guys and celebrate a bit.”

Earl had steadily improved each season with the Badgers, collecting 14 goals and 27 points as a rookie, a team-leading 20 goals and 44 points as a sophomore and a team-leading 24 goals and 50 points this season.A 2005 Second-Team All-WCHA honoree and 2004 All-WCHA Rookie Team member, Earl finishes his UW hockey career with 121 career points (58 goals, 63 assists) to share 45th on the all-time UW scoring list.

“It was a very, very, very hard decision,” commented Earl. “I haven’t been able to sleep much and I’ve been getting all the information I can. It is scary being young and taking the next step. I am just glad that I made my decision and I can move forward.”

Prior to joining the Badgers, Earl skated two seasons with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program under current UW head coach Mike Eaves.

Eaves remarked, “I know I speak for the coaching staff and talking to some of his teammates and how excited they are for Robbie, the fact that he is going out as a national champion, the most outstanding player of the tournament, those are both tremendous spring boards to go to the next level and meet those challenge.”

Earl is the first Badger to leave school early since defenseman Ryan Suter left school following his freshman season of 2003–04. Suter signed with the Nashville Predators, but skated one year with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL, before skating in the NHL with Nashville this season.

“It is very much a hole for us,” Eaves acknowledged. “A tough one to fill. Not only do you lose a 24-goal scorer and 50-point guy, a big-game player and young man that is coming into his own in terms of his maturity and his leadership. As coaches we are every bit as proud as his other accomplishments. What we’ll probably have to do is replace him by committee.”

1 comment:


OT: I tried diet Berries and Cream Dr. Pepper... Should have taken your advice.