Some extra notes before the seventh-ranked University of Wisconsin men's hockey team opens a non-conference series against No. 4 North Dakota at the Kohl Center on Friday (7 p.m., FSW+, 1310 AM):
1. All set for departure
Badgers coach Tony Granato said he has no worries about leaving the team for a little more than a week after this series.
Granato is scheduled to leave Sunday for Germany, where he'll coach the U.S. in the Deutschland Cup. In that event, USA Hockey will evaluate 29 players, mainly from European leagues, with an eye toward February's Olympics.
The U.S., featuring former Badgers players Robbie Earl and Tom Gilbert, plays three games in three days Nov. 10-12 before Granato, the Olympic coach, returns to Madison on Nov. 13.
He'll miss the Badgers' series at Michigan State next weekend but he said associate head coaches Mark Osiecki and Mark Strobel have things covered.
"Am I comfortable with it? Yeah, absolutely," he said.
Director of hockey operations Shane Connelly will support Osiecki and Strobel behind the bench in East Lansing, Granato said.
2. Trent Frederic looks ahead to North Dakota
This weekend is the first time that Badgers center Trent Frederic has played North Dakota while wearing a UW sweater, but he's not unfamiliar with the Fighting Hawks.
That and more in this video:
3. Tarek Baker's quick recovery
The visual was not pretty on Monday when UW freshman forward Tarek Baker was injured in practice. He appeared to be in major pain as he clutched his left knee.
Three days later, Baker was back on the ice and appeared to be a full participant in practice. Granato said Thursday that Baker just needed medical clearance and that he probably would play Friday.
"He's a tough kid," Granato said.
Forward Linus Weissbach also was a full participant in practice Wednesday and Thursday after missing last weekend's games against St. Lawrence with an upper-body injury.
Defenseman Peter Tischke missed Thursday's practice with an illness but Granato said the junior was likely to play Friday.
4. Back on the ice
It took Cullen Hurley nine games and a position change to get into the Badgers' lineup this season.
Hurley was listed as a defenseman on the line chart, but he played wing on the fourth line with Jason Ford and Jarod Zirbel in last Saturday's 6-3 loss to St. Lawrence.
The senior, who started his collegiate career as a forward before turning to defense, has looked good in practice, Granato said.
"We wanted to get someone into the lineup that knew what we were looking for," he said. "He had been ready, and he played well for us last year. We thought that was a good opportunity, and he played very well."
Hurley had three shots on goal and was minus-1. He scored in his first of 18 games last season, after not playing in 2015-16 and dressing only four times as a freshman.
As strange as it may sound with 15 forwards in the mix, with the Badgers' defense seeming set with the six defensemen they've been using, Hurley's best chance to be in the lineup might be on the fourth line.
5. Rivalry continued?
I wrote earlier this week about Granato wanting North Dakota to be on future Badgers schedules, and Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald got Fighting Hawks coach Brad Berry's take on it.
The short version: Expect the Badgers and North Dakota to play again the future, just not every season.
"We'll continue to schedule (Wisconsin)," Berry told the Herald. "It's just a matter of trying to fit them into a future schedule here."
Berry said similar things to a Friday luncheon of Badgers and North Dakota fans hosted by the Wisconsin Hockey Backers.
Our Friday story was on Wyatt Kalynuk and his importance to the power play in getting pucks to the net from the blue line.
In the New York Times, Gary Santaniello explores the Big Ten at age 5, with hope for the future emerging after a shaky start.
Ethan Levy of The Daily Cardinal looks into the top-10 series.