Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Two Michigan-related Tidbits

The Michigan hockey series against UNO has been moved from the new Quest Center to their old arena "The Bullpen" due to a scheduling conflict. The Quest Center is slated to host the Nebraska High School Wrestling Championships that weekend.

The spin from UNO:
"This will be another great experience for both our players and fans," Herbster said. "Our program will have a chance to relive where the roots of Maverick hockey began and the atmosphere in that building will be electric with Michigan coming in that weekend."
I'm sure they're thrilled to be losing 2,000+ fans per game (and the potential to sell 6,000 extra seats per game).

In other news, Michigan students got this email from the U of M Ticket Office:
Throughout the years, the back of a Michigan football ticket has stated, "this
ticket if lost or stolen will not be replaced." Due to an increase in the number
of reported lost tickets, The University of Michigan Athletic Ticket Office will
begin enforcing this policy of not replacing student football tickets.

We have replaced student tickets in the past few years as a service but the number
of lost tickets has increased to a point where it has become nearly unmanageable.
We know these tickets are valuable, so please take action to safeguard your tickets.

Hold on to your tickets and see you at the Big House for an exciting season!

Go Blue!

Marty Bodnar,
Associate Athletic Director, Ticketing & Marketing
Amazingly, students tended to "lose" their tickets more often before the Michigan State, Ohio State, and Notre Dame games. Go figure. I love the way they told students to stop selling their tickets and reporting them as stolen so they can still go to the game without actually saying it.

Still don't feel like talking about the Dale Jarrett/Kevin Harvick situation from the weekend.

Random Stuff

First off, my thoughts and prayers are with everyone in the southeast US. I can't even believe what we've seen happen there the last few days. On one happy note, as I was watching the storm, I was thinking about Brett Favre's family everytime they showed scenes from Gulfport--as I know he's from around there. Turns out that everyone in his family is ok, despite not evacuating (honestly can't believe people would hang around if there was any way possible to get out), though his childhood home is destroyed. Could've been a lot worse.

One last note about Katrina, according the New York Daily News, the NFL has not ruled out playing the Saints home opener on Sept. 18 as scheduled. No words here. The mayor says it's going to probably be 2 months before power is back on at least, but they think there's some way that they can fix the roof, put in new turf, and have the stadium ready in 3 weeks? That doesn't even address the question "Who would be there to watch it?" Granted football isn't the biggest concern right now, but it will be interesting to see how the NFL handles this situation.

Alright happier stuff now...As mentioned first pretty much everywhere before here (been helping the chica move in the last few days), Michigan got yet another commit for the incoming class of 2008, in David Wohlberg, another center from Honeybaked. Tbarr from The Wolverine says it's not a certainty that any of these players will accelerate but I have to believe that if all 3 of them make it to Michigan, we won't have to wait til 2008 to see at least one of them, especially if Wohlberg and Czarnik play for the NTDP next year as MaizeOut said they might. That'd give them 3 years in the USA system before they come in to Michigan, and as Peter Mueller decided, that might be too many. But, the fact that at least two of the three might be good enough to play for the NTDP as 15 year old is a promising sign for Michigan's future (not that I was worried) if they ever make it to school.

Erica Lucero is a sophomore at USC and is writing articles throughout the season for ESPN Page 2 about the Trojans' run at a third straight national title. A couple of things from her article about Matt Leinart's status as Big Man on Campus.

It is in this adoring display that we find the true answer to the question about why Matt Leinart gave up going to the NFL for another year: The guy is royalty at the most fanatical football school in the world.

USC fans are hard core. By some teams' standards, you're a faithful fan if you attend a few games a year. That just doesn't cut it here in South Central. We love our football, and missing a game is sacrilegious.

Now, I'm not going to do something silly like say that it is actually Michigan that is "the most fanatical football school in the world", but USC? Weren't they all Cal fans until a few years ago? Whatever, it's cool. Just don't forget to cut the tag off your jersey, Erica.
One other thing that made me laugh in that article:
In the end, it comes down to this: Who would want to give up his superstar status? Leinart would have gone to the 49ers, a mediocre -- at best -- team that is not in immediate need of a quarterback.
#1) The 49ers are not and were not mediocre at best. They won 2 games last season, both in overtime against Arizona. That's about as close to 0-fer as you can get.
#2) Not in immediate need of a quarterback? Looks like they front office disagreed when they, ya know, drafted Alex Smith #1 overall. I'm not sure in what universe having Tim Rattay and Ken Dorsey makes you "not in immediate need of a quarterback".

Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg as still no closer to signing with Detroit according to the Detroit News. Datsyuk may have a self-imposed deadline of...well....tomorrow, or he'll sign with a Russian team. Datsyuk told a Russian newspaper that the length of the deal is the holdup--the Wings want him to sign a 5 year deal and he wants a 2 year deal so he can be a UFA. Holland says the Wings have offered him contracts ranging from 1-5 years. But apparently they're also not close on money either. Reports have Datsyuk seeking close to $5 million a season, even after Milan Hejdrunk signed with the Avs for less than $4 million per. Under no circumstance, if I'm Ken Holland, do I sign him to a $5 million a year deal. That's the type of deal that could cripple the team, especially if he doesn't keep improving. I'm sorry, but 1 30 goal season and 1 all-star apperance does not warrant a $5 mill per deal. Especially when Hejduk has 4 30 goal years and a Rocket Richard Trophy and he got less than 4. Try and get him signed short-term for something reasonable and let him go become a UFA if necessary. He ain't going to find $5 million on the open market unless he improves substantially, and gets away from disappearing in the playoffs.

As far as Zetterberg goes, the Detroit News article says he's looking for $2 million+ on a long term deal. If that "+" keeps it anywhere close to 2 million, they're crazy to not go ahead and lock him up. If they can get Z signed for 5 years and $12 million or somewhere around there, that's going to look real smart in a couple years. Kid's a player.

Even though neither of the Detroit papers have mentioned it, at least not that I could find, I believe that Maurice Evans officially became a Piston yesterday, since the Kings didn't match Dumars' offer to him. Good signing for cheap. Could be another steal for Joe D. They also landed Dale Davis while I was on vacation. Good signing there too, and an upgrade over Elden Campbell. Plus they took him away from Indiana, so that's an even bigger relative gain, with respect to the Pacers. He averaged 7 and 9 for the Pacers down the stretch...could be a big help off the bench, especially if Darko keeps looking clueless.

Lastly, in a very funny (to me--and all my friends--at least) incident in Ann Arbor, the house my buddy rents was destroyed when a runaway crane slammed into it. Don't see that everyday.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

New Blog To Check Out

Chris Heisenberg, of hockey-recruiting-list fame, has started a blog. Should be very interesting to read what he thinks of players' commitments.

It's been a good day so far. 1:43 pm and no Michigan hockey players have gone pro today.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Mike Brown? Really? Mike Brown?

I'm back from the Green Mountain State. Didn't get to see the John Butler Trio (sold out), didn't get a University of Vermont hockey puck (wasn't a fan of the circle-jerk logo The bookstore was closed), but apart from that it was cool.

I got back just in time to see Jake Long screw up his ankle and Mike Brown officially go pro, signing a contract with Vancouver. 3-5--8 Mike Brown. My roommate told me that and I just started laughing. Kind of a in a "Oooooookay, I bet Tim Cook and Adam Dunlap went pro too" kind of way. But it was for real. I'm not sure I like the new collective bargaining agreement much right now. Or maybe Steve Tambellini was just getting a little revenge for Red not being happy about Jeff Tambellini going pro. Just joking.

Brown leaving will hurt our penalty kill for sure, but at least it's not going to hurt the offense. I'm just worried about bodies right now. If they have any injuries (or God-forbid a Miami, Ohio 2004-05 situation) we're in big trouble. If I could skate, wasn't 5'4", and was still in school I'd be getting ready to try out. I think Kevin Porter's brother is a freshman at U of M this year, so maybe he'll join his brother.

Spath talked to diesel Matt Hunwick and Huddy didn't fill him with confidence that Brown was the last defection. Or maybe Hunwick is as paranoid as the rest of Michigan fans now. Hunwick and Hensick were also named alternate captains. So if you've been keeping score, we went from Montoya, Tambellini and Ebbett as tri-captains, to Tambellini and Ebbett as captains and Kaleniecki as an alternate, to Ebbett as captain and Kaleniecki, Hunwick, and Hensick as alternates. Hands up if you ever thought that Andrew Ebbett would be the sole captain of the hockey team.

So you can start the "Who's leaving next year" list with Hensick and Johnson, then add Hunwick and Cogliano to the "Sure, why not" list. Good times. And to avert any potential jinxes, that assumes that Johnson and Cogliano make it to campus. I'm putting the Jack Johnson DEFCON back to 4 just because if Mike Brown can go pro then anything can happen.

The Wings signed Andreas Lilja, who adds some much needed sexual assault accusations grit to the team, and they finally got a deal done with Niklas Kronwall. Good moves, good moves. Chris Osgood says "Sweet, I get to play behind the best defense corps in hockey and fool people into thinking I'm a decent goalie again!" Fortunately, the heir apparent is in the fold as Jimmy Howard also signed, passing up his senior season at Maine. Holland called him "the best goalie with the most potential we've ever drafted". Can't wait to see him in a Red Wings jersey. I'd suggest they bench him whenever they play Alex Ovechkin though.

The Packers aren't making this easy on me. The NFL Network was so gracious as to televise (on tape delay) all the preseason games this year, and for the second straight week, the Green and Gold played badly enough that I'm not watching the game when it's on tomorrow. I'm not worried. Yet. The defense is still missing a lot of guys, but holy crap. 10 points total in the last 2 games? Not good. On the plus side, it looks like they went an entire half without a penalty, which is good because in the first half, I thought John L Smith was coaching them.

When your punter has been the bright spot of the preseason, it's not a good thing. But BJ Sander looks like he might actually be worth the 3rd round pick that was spent on him. Kid's had 3 pretty darn good games in a row.

On the bright side, there's the best NASCAR race of the season tomorrow night at Bristol. Love that night race! I was supposed to get down there last year, but it didn't happen. I think this race is next on my list of things I want to do in the sports world. Gordon's starting second, in his effort to make the Chase and allow me to have some interest in the last 10 races beyond rooting against Tony Stewart. Harvick's in the top 20 and Junior is lucky the top 35 are guaranteed spots in the field. Good job Dale.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


The Blog That Yost Built will likely be out of commision for the next week or so. Going on vacation and I don't know that I'll have internet access. Hopefully I don't come back to something stupid like Jack changing his mind and bolting or something.
By the way, if you're a fan of country-folk-rock at all, Kasey Chambers is the absolute best. Saw her in concert for the fifth time last night and she blew me away again. What a voice!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Tambellini's Gone

Tambellini signed with the Kings today. I hate you LA. God I hate you.
Didn't see that one coming.

The Gophers Cheat

This explains things a little bit....

According to the invoices received by the university, 62 containers of Sci-Fit Extreme Mass at a cost of $2,480 (plus $157.50 shipping and handling) in July 2004. NCAA rules state that a school cannot dispense supplements that have a protein content of more than 30 percent of the product's calories. Extreme Mass advertises a whey protein content of "an astounding 33 percent," and bills itself as "The Ultimate Protein Enhanced Weight Gain Formula."

University officials claim the invoice was wrong. Dietz said the order was placed for a different Sci-Fit product called Be Large, which meets NCAA guidelines. He said the school inadvertently was shipped 12 containers of Extreme Mass and 50 containers of Be Large. But the invoices are for 62 containers of Extreme Mass at a cost of $40 each. Dietz said that once the Extreme Mass arrived, the protein content was miscalculated and then distributed to men's basketball and men's hockey players.

Jimmy says "I w-w-w-want to play for T-T-The U!

Cheatin' little bastards! They probably store extra supplements in their external cheek pouches too!

And yes, I'm joking.

Eklund says the Wings have signed Andy Delmore. The joke is that he should spell his name "Elmore" because there's no D, but he has had a couple good seasons and the book on him is that he's a PP specialist with one of the best shots in the league. Our power play would be pretty darn good with Lidstrom, Schneider, Delmore, and Fischer/Kronwall back on the point. As long as he came very cheap, I don't think it's a bad idea to add another dman who can move the puck.

Green Bay linebacker Kurt Campbell tore his ACL and is done for the season. This increases the chances that the Grown-Ass Man, Dawg will make the final roster.

Avs fans are apparently pissed that they signed Brad May. My Avs-fan friend certainly was. That has to be the most curious signing in the NHL this year. Short of Anaheim (Brian Burke) or Vancouver signing Steve Moore, that'll be #1 for sure.

Jack Johnson DEFCON Back to Five

The Official Jack Johnson DEFCON is back to five, thanks to an interview in the Detroit Sports Rag, posted by MHNet to The Wolverine. MGoBlog is not a DSR fan. I haven't really read it much so I have no opinion, except that this interview was really enjoyable. MGoBlog is right though...Hopefully this will be the last "For real this time. Jack's staying." post. Though I think that no matter how many times we say it, Michigan Hockey Summers have conditioned us to be paranoid, and we will not truly believe Jack's coming until practice starts. In the DSR interview, Jack confirms once again that he's coming to U of M, but the interview as a whole is a great read. The relevant parts:

Spiro: It was reported in the Ann Arbor newspapers that you have opted to attend the University of Michigan for at least 1 season, though you have not publicly confirmed this yet. Is the report true, and why did you make the decision that you did?

Johnson: The report is true. I simply do not feel ready at this point in time to make the jump to the professional level. I committed to Michigan at age 14, and I've been looking forward to wearing the UM sweater ever since. Plus, I want to win a National Championship.

Excellent news. But, as my USCHO friends so graciously pointed out, Jack may be saying he'll come to U of M, but once the Carolina brass emphasizes to him that they want him in their organization, he'll sign right? The Ann Arbor News article was written before he actually got a contract offer from them. Once he got that, he'd have to take the money right, being that he was getting the rookie max? Jack puts that idea to bed.

Spiro: How hard did (Carolina Hurricanes GM) Jim Rutherford push you to sign with the Hurricanes organization immediately?

Johnson: He felt that I was ready, but acknowledged my desire to sharpen my game at UM. Though he wanted me to sign right away, he made a point to say he understands how beneficial it will be to have Red Berenson as a coach. The program at Michigan is just phenomenal.

Good times. Speaking of putting things to bed....

Spiro: Now that you've chosen to attend college, you must answer a very important question: Who will be the bigger ladies man at UM; Jack Johnson or Michael Phelps?

Johnson: Phelps? The swimmer? Swimmers don't put fans in the stands here in Ann Arbor. I hope that answers the question sufficiently.

Now I'm not sure about that one (Nor am I sure about his answer that he'd rather win a national championship than a Stanley Cup). A bunch of girls at Michigan made a group on The FaceBook called "I'm Getting With Michael Phelps Before I Leave Michigan" (I think you might have to have an account to view the link). Jack will do fine for himself, but until he can ask someone if they'd like to come back to his place and see his six gold medals...I think Phelps wins out. Jason Dest may have some competition for team playa though.

Jack also goes on to say in the interview that he'd rather break someone's jaw with a check than score a goal. Just so long as...ya know....the goal wouldn't win a championship and the hit was clean. Drew Miller, I can't wait til you get to Yost this year. If only Chris Kunitz was still in college.

The USA Under 17 Select team which is playing in the Under 18 Junior World Cup, but in the article is called the USA Under 18 team (don't ask, I hate USA Hockey's website) beat Switzerland to move to the 5th place game against Slovakia. They narrowly missed the medal round (thanks to a loss when they did not have Billy Sauer in net). Sauer hasn't been great in the tournament, but he was named the Player of the Game for the game against the Swiss.

Kevin Porter has had a great Take All of Michigan's Players Away For the GLI Camp National Junior Evaluation Camp, tallying 2-3--5 in 4 games. Chad Kolarik also put up a pair of goals and an assist. Phil Kessel actually went a game without a point. Wow! Johnson's not in attendance because of dental work. I can't believe that USA would be so dumb as to not put him on the team this year after that debacle last Christmas.

Scott Sharp drove to a victory in the IRL race today and now sits fifth in the points. Not sure how that happened since he's terrible and all. AGR had a rough day with Franchitti and Kanaan having wheel bearing issues again and Herta dropping out because of a faulty gearbox. Wheldon extended the streak of races with an AGR driver on the podium to 34 however.

Tony Stewart won his fifth race out of the last seven. I turned it off before I got to see if he'd climb the fence again, or if he'd cry about how rough of a race that was for him first. Poser. Jeff Gordon rallied from a cut tire to finish 15th and keep his hopes alive of making The Chase. That was a decent finish, despite protests from The Girlfriend That Yost Built that "That's not good enough!!!!" He sits 67 points back of 10th place with 4 races to go.

Harvick is 70 points back, and he managed a decent finish despite not being on the screen for the last 70 laps. Dale Jr. only wrecked one person today, which is progress (The Blog That Yost Built called him an assclown roughly 85 times today. It's hard to hate your own favorite driver). He came in with a top 10 finish but is still 163 points back of The Chase, and stands almost no chance of making it. If Gordon, Harvick, and Junior are all shut out, it's going to be really tough to watch the last ten races. Jimmy Johnson would be my favorite of the top 10 and I really don't like him all that much. Ugh. I bet you could've made a ton of money in Vegas before the season if you bet that none of those three would make it to The Chase.

By the way, if anyone is in the market for a computer, I just bought a Dell Media Center PC with a TV Tuner and it's quite possibly the coolest thing ever. I can watch TV on my monitor and essentially TiVo it (only with the TV Tuner, "TiVo" is free). Then I can burn it onto a DVD. Haven't tried it yet, but supposedly it'll even work with normal DVD players, which is sweet. I just edited the commercials out of the IRL race that Bryan Herta won. I'm really looking forward to it during hockey season, when I can tape the Michigan games off of Comcast Local and rewatch em when I get home. Might be able to make quite the highlight tape by the end of the season. Also, when Red Wings/Pistons games conflict with the shows I watch (Lost, Alias, Boston Legal, ER, House MD) I'll be able to tape em without scrambling for a tape every week. So awesome.

Now Playing: Richard Ashcroft "C'mon People (We're Making it Now)"

Saturday, August 13, 2005

A Domino Falls

Yesterday was a good day for Michigan fans as Deshawn Sims,'s 39th rated 2006 basketball recruit, committed to the Wolverines. The article about the commitment gave Wolverines fans even more reason to smile.
"I stepped up. I know a lot of guys around here are waiting to make a decision but I finally decided on what I want to do so maybe it makes other guys thinking about committing commit to. I know some people were waiting on me and there are some guys in this class that I'd like to play with."

Especially 7-footer Tom Herzog.

"His dad told me that whenever I committed, than Tom would come to Michigan, too," Sims said.
Add that to Tory Jackson hopefully making up his mind between school on his list and K'Len Morris, who is already in the fold, and U of M could be nailing down a great class for 2006. Soon, the days of "Wait til basketball season" being a retort for Sparties after their annual football beat-down will be over. Good times.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bill McClellan wrote his hilariously funny take on the NCAA's banning of Native American mascots and its effects on the University of Bunch, which is his new name for the University of Illinois. Read it, trust me.

In the same vein, SkunkBear from The Wolverine found an open letter from the President of the University of North Dakota to the NCAA, which hits things pretty dead-on. Obviously North Dakota has more than a passing interest in the NCAA ruling, as one of the teams that was singled out. President Kupchella defends his school very well, IMO.

I don't speak Norweigan (at least I think Norweigan is the language I don't speak that's relevant to this), but apparently the gist of this article is that Anders Myrvold, who I hoped would come back as a depth defenseman for the Red Wings, was busted on cocaine charges. Ken Holland wouldn't wake up from his month-long nap to comment.

Joey "Princess" Harrington (apparently that really is his nickname within the team), was 9-9 last night for 100 yards. He looked pretty good, and Charles Rogers didn't break his collarbone so that's a plus as well for the Lions. As for the Bears, Rex Grossman broke his ankle and is out 3-4 months. That leaves the quarterbacking to Chad Hutchinson or Heisman-Winner Kyle Orton. So much for improving this year. Then again, when you pin your hopes for the season on a guy who has completed 54% of his passes with 3 TDs and 4 INTs in his career, maybe you weren't going to fare too well to start with. Personally, I hope they go with Orton. Get that number of starting QBs since Favre made his first start as a Packer to an even 20.
One more comment on Grossman...they list him at 6'1", but we saw him at a Pistons/Pacers playoff game in 2004 down in Indy, and I swear to God he's closer to 5'9" or 5'10".

Jason Ryznar signed a contract with the New Jersey Devils yesterday. Good for Ryz. I really hope he manages to stay healthy and have a good career. He'll do just fine if he can keep away from the injury bug and not ice-down the wrong ankle when one is hurting (yes this happened).

And a big blow to the Bowling Green Falcons--and in turn the CCHA. Jonathan Sigalet has bolted to join his brother Jordan in the Boston Bruins organization, according to Inside College Hockey, citing the Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune. In that same article on INCH, it says that Joe Exter--the Merrimack goalie who was nearly killed in an on-ice collision with Pat Eaves--has signed on to be an assistant coach at American International. Also, Brady Greco--a defenseman from CC who I don't remember at all--signed with Tampa Bay and is passing up his senior season.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Football's Back!

Random note: I believe Billy Sauer is going to wear #36 for the Wolverines.

I avoided all the preseason games of the last week so that tonight's Packers/Chargers game would by my first football experience for the season. Impressions:

-Favre looked great! On the money with pretty much everything he threw.

-It took 3 plays for me to be pissed off at the officiating. Packers force a fumble, run it back for a TD, and they rule the guy never caught the ball when he had it for 3 steps. I wish there was a good way to challenge plays like that, but if they blow it dead, there's really nothing that can be done.

-BJ Sander was as good as a punter can be tonight. Hopefully that will shut a bunch of people up. I'm sick of hearing about what an idiot Sherman was for picking him. Nailed a punt inside the two, put one 45 yards or so with enough hangtime that Sproles got killed when he caught it, hit another one really well when GB was backed up, mishit one that still rolled 20 yards when it hit the ground, and gave Longwell a great hold on the GW Field Goal.

-Nate Kaeding? Wow. Bad kicker. I know he had a great year last year for a rookie, but holy crap. Marty was about ready to kill him after he missed the 2nd one, let alone the third. Then Longwell nails one from 53 to win it. Good thing the Chargers are in SoCal.

-A bunch of players that won't make the Packers are really bad. And Ahmad Carroll still holds a lot. Roy Manning popped someone. He's a grown-ass man, dawg.

-Aaron Rodgers? Rough debut. JT O'Sullivan lobbed about every pass he threw. They looked like bad punts. Not sure why they were so high on that kid. He looked terrible.

-Must improve: Making sure the WRs run their routes past the sticks, especially on third down. Running backs...hold on to the damn ball! I think Poop was the only one that didn't fumble tonight.

-Terrell Owens is a moron. I don't know how he said some of the stuff he said with a straight face. You could just tell every time he opened his mouth that Rosenhaus was hoping he wasn't going to say something completely retarded. "Andy Reid told me to shut up. So I told him to shut up. I'm a grown man."

Or a five year old.

"He disrespected me so I disrespected him back. My name is Terrell Owens, not Terrell Reid. I'm not his kid." It only got better from there. I'm sure ESPN will show the interview (or interviews...he said roughly the same things to Rece Davis) about 35,000 times over the next 48 hours. It was the highest of high comedy. Rosenhaus can't believe half the crap that he spews. "The Eagles can't expect TO to be happy because he's not happy. They can give him a new contract and he'll be happy again." What a load of BS.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Johnson watch back on?

The News and Observer in North Carolina reported that the 'Canes have made an offer to Jack Johnson right around the rookie max of $850,000 a year for 3 years. The Minnesota fans/Anti-Hobart people on USCHO seem to think this means that he is gone, but that's not The Blog That Yost Built's position.

While I'm on the record as saying that I don't think Johnson should play college hockey (unless he's reading this and cares what I think), I just don't think this article should be news to anyone. Johnson was taken 3rd overall and Carolina said right off the bat that they wanted to sign him. Did anyone really think he'd make substantially less than the rookie max? The kid was picked 3rd overall for cryin' out loud! He knew pretty much what he could expect out of Carolina. Now, could having a $2.5 million offer actually staring him in the face change his mind? Maybe.

The Jack Johnson DEFCON will drop back down to 4, as indicated in the sidebar. On another note, the guy who wrote that article's name is Luke DeCock. Too many jokes.

In a great feel-good story, MS-stricken goalie Jordan Sigalet has signed a one-year contract with the Boston Bruins. I'm really rooting for this kid. I liked him ever since he put on a show against Michigan and made 48 saves in a 1-1 tie, and after his affliction came out last year he showed a lot of heart and guts playing through it. On top of that he seems like just a great, great kid. It's really easy to root for people like him.

The Red Wings invited a player named Robin Big Snake to training camp. Is it too much to ask that this kid eventually make the NHL so I can get a jersey with "Big Snake" on the back? Does he have a built-in pickup line that's better than Tayshaun Prince being able to tell girls that everyone calls him "long"?

Isn't this cute? Vancouver gave the Sedin twins identical contracts even though Daniel outscored Henrik by 12 points in the last NHL season. At some point doesn't the "twins" thing have to go away? Really guys...just because you look alike and were created from the same egg doesn't mean you have to sign the exact same contract. I'm surprised we were actually let in on which player went #2 in the draft. They should both be listed as being pick 2 1/2.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Nogood is Back

The Wings brought Chris Osgood back today. No word on if Ray Sheppard or Slava Kozlov are interested in returning as well. In other news, the Wings fanbase of 17-21 year-old girls just went up 10 fold.
I curse Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg for being little bastards and effectively keeping the Wings out of the market for anyone else. If Datsyuk really wants $4+ million per, I'd find him a quick bus ticket out of here, to quote Bobby Ross. He's good, but he hasn't done jack in the playoffs. Let's not go asking for Ziggy Palffy money just yet, huh? Speaking of Palffy, I was really hoping the Wings would nab him but for 3 years/13.5 million, Pittsburgh can have him. That's about 35-40% more than I thought he'd be getting. Nice player, but that's a lot of money to put out there for a guy that's been hurt as much as he has been.
I guess that brings our options down to Selanne and Bondra. Still hoping for Bondra, even though he's getting up there in years (and making me feel old in the process). If they find one more scorer, I think they'll have a pretty decent team. I still think the Wings have the best defense corps in the league. Schneider would be a #1 on 20 other teams, Lidstrom's obviously one of the elite, then you still have Chelios, Fischer, and Kronwall (kid's a player)...and I can live with Jamie Rivers as the #6. Bondra would be a big help to the offense though.
I'm disappointed in the signing of Osgood though. I know he's probably as good--and cheaper--than most of the guys out there, but I really didn't want to see that guy back in Detroit. Ugh.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Red Thinks Jack Will Be Back

More good news on the Jack Johnson front, as today Mike Spath asked Red Berenson about him and posted to Rivals:
Johnson will be playing hockey next year at Michigan. Red is positive of that.
Pretty straightforward there.

In addition, MGoBlog points out that Brett from Go Blue Wolverine put up an article with quotes from the horse's mouth, saying he'll be at Michigan.

The Blog That Yost Built still reminds you that Comrie and Cammi both said they'd be back before going to the pros, and Komo said he was staying 4 years and he left after 2. But my Jack Johnson Panic-O-Meter is back down to Defcon 4.

The Red Wings resigned Chris Chelios, Mathieu Schneider and Steve Yzerman in the last couple of days (as of 6:45 pm the Chelios/Schneider link only talks about Schneider, but the link on TSN's front page says Chelios signed as well). Good moves all around, especially when Ken Holland said Chelios is signed for under a million, and Stevie Y only took $1.25 million. Schneider was our best defenseman in 2003-04 (including Nick Lidstrom) and it's great to see him back in the fold. Dandenault left and I can't blame him. The Wings weren't going to put out the kind of coin he got from Montreal.

I'd still like to see the Wings sign Ziggy Palffy. He's been injured a lot the last few years, but when he's healthy, he's a point-a-game player. They probably wouldn't have to break the bank to sign him either.

I'm still laughing that not only did the Avs not get Naslund, they lost Forsberg and Foote. Bitches.

And in a page out of Ron Wolf's book (before the NFL put a stop to it), the Flyers traded Jeremy "It's not so much me as it is" Roenick to LA along with a third-round pick for future considerations since they went over the cap when they signed Forsberg. Bob Clarke has loaded up on boom-or-bust guys the last few days, getting Hatcher and Forsberg.

According to JWI19 on Red Wings Central, Ken Holland said on WXYT earlier that they're talking to 2-3 other goalies, not just Chris Osgood. I still think Nogood is going to be back in the Winged-Wheel, but it's nice to hear that they're exploring other options. He also said that the Wings may go after some restricted free agents. Hint hint.

And the NFL Network officially rules. Not only are they showing every NFL preseason game that's not on national TV, they're showing the Packers/Bills scrimmage tomorrow night. Oh yes.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Good News on the Jack Johnson Front?

BretGoBlue on the USCHO board, who also writes for Go Blue Wolverine, talked to Jack Johnson today:
I spoke with Jack today. I don't have the story or interview posted yet, but I asked him point blank if there was anything Carolina could offer him to bring him away from Michigan next year and his answer was "no".

He also added that the rumor he might not attend Michigan was news to him and nothing more then a rumor.
That's what I like to hear. I'm always going to be skeptical, as you never know what close to a million bucks will make someone do (and Komo said he was staying 4 years, Cammi said he was coming back for his senior season, Comrie said he was coming back for the 2000-01 season, etc.), but it's at least some good news.

I'm just a little curious as to why he thinks it's news to him that he might not attend Michigan when he mentioned in an article that he was going to think about it a little and do what his gut told him to do.

I don't think I'm going to feel comfortable until I see #3 on the ice this season.

Monday, August 01, 2005

The Drafting By The Detroit Red Wings

I'm not a Ken Holland fan. Let's get that out of the way right now. I haven't liked the guy since he took over the Wings, and I'm not really about to start. I will credit him with firing Dave Lewis and getting Babcock in there. I said at the time it was the first decent thing he has done that didn't involve just having more money than other teams.

That said, I want to take a look at the drafting of the Detroit Red Wings, since I've been reading all weekend about how well the Wings draft, and how great their European scouting is. Example: Random thread on RedWingsCentral about Christofer Lofberg, Detroit's 3rd round pick who was not even ranked by the CSB. Comments in that 12 post thread alone: A scouting report that said "Leave it to the Red Wings to find gems in Scandanavia. Detroit has a history of locating awesome Swedish talent...and the beat goes on for the Red Wings." and "Another European pick that the Wings are famous for."

It's a widely held notion that the Wings are a great drafting team. After all, they've found guys like Datsyuk and Zetterberg late in the draft to go with guys like Lidstrom, Fedorov, Yzerman, etc. that they picked up as well. That is true. Finding Datsyuk and Zetterberg as late as they did was certainly a coup. But does that mean that they're a great drafting team--or even one of the better ones in the league? I say no.

I was told in journalism class in high school to lead with the most important stuff first, so let me put my biggest gun right out there: In the last nine NHL Entry Drafts (Where players have had the opportunity to compete...meaning 1995-2003, I didn't count 2004 because even Alex Ovechkin isn't a "full time NHLer" yet because of the lockout), the Detroit Red Wings have managed to draft three full-time NHLers. Jiri Fischer and Pavel Datsyuk in 1998, and Henrik Zetterberg in 1999. Easy math says that that means that every three years, the Wings have found 1 player that has gone on to be an NHL regular. That. Is. Not. Good. Let alone great.

To take it one step further, since 1998, the only players that the Red Wings have drafted that have even played in the NHL are Fischer, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Kronwall, Hudler, and Bykov. The Red Wings draft of 1989 yielded 6 full-time NHLers alone.

Even before the Red Wings got into "Need a player? Trade a first round pick" mode, they didn't fare much better. From 1992-1997, the only legit NHLers that they drafted were Darren McCarty, Dan McGillis (who never played for us), Anders Eriksson, Mathieu Dandenault, and Tomas Holmstrom (with all of those coming before the 1995 draft).

Kutznetsov (133 games) Golubovsky (56), Maracle (66), Darryl Laplante (35), Jesse Wallin (49), Philippe Audet (4), Butsayev (94), Ryan Barnes (2) and BJ Young (1) also made it to the NHL in that time, but none of those players could be considered even decent NHLers.

I don't necessarily buy the argument that because the Wings have been so good, they haven't had to have younger players in the lineup. If these kids were players, they would make it to the NHL one way or another. I really don't feel like there's too many players behind held down by the Wings (maybe a couple in these later drafts) but if you're good enough, you'll get to the show one way or another.

The point is that I don't feel like the Wings have drafted well enough to get a free pass from criticism. When you've only found 3 legit NHL players since I was 12 years old, you could be doing better. Everyone praises the Wings' European scouts because they unearthed Datsyuk and Zetterberg, but for every one of those kids that gets drafted, there are 10-20 Alexander Seluyanovs. Granted you're going to find that with most teams as not even close to every draft pick makes it, but I would be willing to bet that no NHL team has drafted more poorly over the last 10 years than Detroit in terms of finding bonafide NHLers.

In addition, you can no longer stash players over in Europe for 3-4 years and let them develop at their own pace (like the Red Wings are doing with Liv and Grigorenko). 2 years, and you lose their rights. As someone put it on RedWingsCentral, the NCAA is the new Europe. Colorado did the smart thing, taking a bunch of college kids (including TJ Hensick), while the Wings were busy drafting the best available Swede.

And so where is that "Awesome Swedish talent" that the Wings are famous for finding? There's Lidstrom and Zetterberg. And apart from that there's....umm....Par Djoos? Anders Eriksson? Kronwall looks like a player, but apart from that there's not much. When the 5th most successful Swede you've drafted since I was born is Par Djoos, I don't really feel like that should build a reputation.

The Jack Johnson watch is now officially on. This post is long enough so I'm not going to talk about it. I will merely direct you to mgoblog for two posts about it including a great anecdote from the draft, where a draftee (who my guess is, Jack Skille) mentioned his fear of Jack Johnson. I will be super sad if this kid never puts on the Block M. Though I do think he's ready for the pros, and unless he's dead set on being a Wolverine, it actually probably doesn't make any sense for him to play college hockey. Unless he's reading this, in which case he should stay four years and make Justin Abdelkader his child.

Bryan Herta won the IRL race at Michigan Speedway this weekend. I had freebies lined up to go, but Danica-mania took over and so the IRL put the kabosh on comp tickets. There weren't enough of my friends that wanted to pay to go, and my dad the big race fan had to pick my mom up at the airport, so he couldn't make it. And so I missed my favorite driver win at a track 40 miles from me. I ran around the house whooping it up and scaring the dog, though.

Lastly, Fox Sports retelevised the Cold War this weekend. I taped it on my sweet new computer that has a tv-tuner. Two things about that game: Mike Cammalleri's goal that made it 2-1 Michigan was just gross. If that was an enclosed arena, he would've put the defenseman's jock on the clock. Instead it's probably in orbit, being run into by the space shuttle Discovery about now. The other thing was the interference no-call that led to Jim Slater's goal was worse than I had remembered it. I still can't believe how bad Jay Vancik was mugged on that one. Holy crap.

And State just got another 5 on 3.