Hockey beat Notre Dame 8-5 last night, but the game was much closer than the score as Notre Dame closed to 6-5 with a few minutes remaining in regulation before Cogliano netted 2 to seal it. Now, I don't get CSTV so I didn't get to see the game--and I only got to listen to the last 10 minutes--but I'm kind of confused as to why Ruden got the start. I know he had a shutout against UAF, but the Nanooks hit 4 goalposts, and with a couple bounces going against him he could've gotten shelled as bad as Sauer did. I understand starting Rudy up in Fairbanks as Sauer hadn't gotten to practice on big ice, but why come back with Ruden last night?? Sauer's young, he needs road experience, and Notre Dame isn't an overly tough place to play. I'm sure we'll see Billy back between the pipes tonight.
It was nice to see Kolarik break out of his slump with a goal and an assist last night. He had about 6 goals against ND last year, so this was a good team for him to be playing against. Naurato and Bailey got their firsts as Wolverines as well. Our powerplay is humming along with 4 more PPGs last night, and Al and Jim were talking about how that raised our PP % up to something like 32%. I gotta believe a lot of that is due to the presence of Jack Johnson back on the point (and Matt Hunwick's improvement). I've said many times we haven't had a shot like Jack's back on the PP since Komo left, and it looks like the power play #s are starting to indicate that. Cogliano also looks like he's comfortable in college hockey now. The first few games he had chances and just couldn't get any to go, but since then he's been lights out. He's got 6 goals and 7 assists on the year now. Turnbull continues to be a pleasant surprise, and Porter looks like he's continued his great season.
Maybe someone who saw the game can indicate if the score was Ruden being a sieve or the defense sucking. Based on his prior performance at ND and the high shot total, I'd say it was probably a combination of both. I really don't like that we gave up 5 goals to that team though. I know they're probably much improved over last year, but that's a team that scored 7 in 6 games against us last year. No reason to give up 5 to them.
The Wings 9 game winning streak came to a close against Edmonton (shut up Brian). Nothing like putting Chris Osgood in to cure a franchise-record winning streak. Again, didn't see the game, but I've heard that 3 of the 4 that he let in were just brutal but that he also made some huge stops to get the game to OT. To which I say: Yup, that's Chris Osgood. Maddeningly bad sometimes, brilliant other times. I've always said that when he's completely on his game there aren't a whole lot of goalies better than him. It's just that he's rarely completely on his game, and in the meantime you get a mix of great saves and goals that even junior-year Al Montoya could have stopped. Jason Williams now has 18 points. Unreal.
An interesting thing happened yesterday when I pulled up ESPN.com. There were three stories on their front page that were Green Bay-related. Roethlisberger isn't playing against them Sunday, so we get the return of Charlie Batch, hooray! Terrell Owens said that Philly would be undefeated if Favre was QBing them, throwing McNabb under the bus again in the process. And that Favre said if Sherman is fired, he's probably leaving too because he'd have to learn a new system and whatnot.
Favre needs to hang around 1 more season after this one. He'll break the TD pass record if he stays healthy and he'll have a shot at breaking Elway's wins by a QB record (I think he needs 12 more). Not to mention that this team is set up pretty nicely to make a run next year if they can add a few pieces. And if the team keeps struggling and lands the #1 draft pick, having Favre, Reggie Bush and Javon Walker on the same offense...yikes. They're going to have a ton of cap room to help out in areas of need as well. There have been worse teams than this one make the turnaround in one year. They're 1-6, but they've lost 6 games by 30 points and 5 games by a total of 16 points. They aren't nearly as bad as their record indicates, especially considering all the talent they're missing right now because on a rash of injuries like I've never seen. Talk is now that Tony Fisher and Antonio Chatman might not play Sunday, so they'd be missing all 3 of their RBs and their 1, 3, 4, 5 WRs. Awesome. I guess that's still better than starting Charlie Batch or Joey Harrington.
On talk radio this week, there's been a ton of chatter about how if the Packers keep struggling they need to put in Aaron Rodgers to get him some snaps, to which I say "Bunk!" There's a few reasons you don't sit Favre down:
#1) He's Brett freaking Favre! It's one thing if he's out there playing with a Paul Coffey-sized fork sticking out of his back, but he's not. 2 years ago he led the NFL in TD passes, and probably should've won his 4th MVP (but they gave it to Gannon...good call). Last year, I believe he set a career high in completion percentage. And this year, going into last week's games he was leading the league in TDs AGAIN. He's the only thing this offense has going for it. Oh yeah, and he's a freakin' legend that you don't bench.
#2) If they put Rodgers out there with Tony Fisher in the backfield and Donald Lee and David Martin to throw to, what would they expect to happen? He'd look awful. They'd kill his confidence before he had a legit shot to do anything. Look at JP Losman in Buffalo, and that guy has McGahee, Moulds, and Reed out there.
The idea of sitting Favre down is completely idiotic. It might be nice to get Rodgers into some games late in the season, just to get an idea if he's got anything so that if you land the #1 pick at Matt Leinart is sitting there....well..ya know. But they're not benching Favre, and they shouldn't. This team would be lucky to score 50 points the rest of the season if Favre was on the bench/hurt. If you can't run the ball (and they can't, and they couldn't even with Ahman Green) and you've got a rookie QB out there, what the heck do you think is going to happen?
Back to college hockey, a week after sweeping Ohio State, Western Michigan lost 10-0 to LSSU at home! Bellissimo got yanked and the guy they put in gave up 4 goals on 6 shots. Ouch. How bad do those Buckeyes look right now? They lost to Miami 3-1 last night to cap it off. They're looking very Purdue-footballesque right now at 1-3-1 in the CCHA and having only played Western, Miami and BGSU. Probably not the start they were looking for.
To women's soccer: Michigan pulled off an unbelievable upset in the first round of the B10 women's soccer tournament, knocking off unbeaten, untied, and #1 ranked Penn State in penalty kicks. The game goes down as a tie, because it made it through both overtimes tied, but for the Wolverines to pull that off is just incredible after they gave up the tying goal with 20 seconds left in regulation on a penalty kick. They went on to beat Illinois 2-1 last night to earn a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game against Wisconsin. The game features the 7 and 8 seeds in an 8 team tournament. Whodathunkit. Wisconsin is on fire right now, and Michigan lost their second best player--Therese Heaton--with what appeared to be a torn ACL. Should be an interesting game tomorrow. Hopefully the maize and blue will pull it out and make it back to the NCAA tournament.
Stones 2-0, Rip? Not nice!