Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Another Depressing Weekend

My how I've been neglecting this blog.

Let me lead with the most random stat ever that I never saw coming. Take a guess what NFL team now has the league's #1 pass defense. Here's a hint: They're 2-10 and start Ahmad Carroll and Mark Roman in their secondary. I may be a homer, but I never would have imagined that Green Bay would even be in the top 10 in pass defense this year, let alone #1. And being that their next three games are against Jeff Garthia, Kyle Boller, and Kyle Orton...they've got a pretty darn good chance at holding that title the rest of the year. They have to keep Jim Bates around. I can't imagine what he'd do with some real talent on defense.

The Michigan hockey team did their best MSU impression again this weekend, getting swept by the Miami Red Hawks down in Oxford. Sauer played Friday, Ruden played Saturday. The defense didn't play either night. I didn't get to listen to a ton of either game, but it sounded like more of the same from the last couple weeks. The defense forgetting that they're not the ones that are supposed to be scoring all the goals, Sauer bailing them out, Cook giving the puck away for game-winning goals, stupid penalties, less than stellar special teams. The highlight being the Wolverines giving up 2 shorthanded goals on a single power play. Strong work guys.

Saturday night Jack Johnson knocked a guy down after a Miami goal and got 7 minutes in penalties out of it. Apparently Davis went soccer-player on it, and Brian Aaron bought it. Shock me, shock me. I swear Wilkens and Hall look great to me right now after having dealt with Aaron and McInchak far too much over the last few weeks. Why have we had so much Aaron and so little Piotrowski this year anyway? I don't particularly like Pio, but at least when he does a game, I don't get the feeling that he's making up rules as he goes along. Red wasn't particularly happy with Johnson's ejection. I can't seem to find the quote online, but he said something along the lines of that he thought it was a borderline two minute penalty, and Jack ended up getting 7 for it, and that the refs shouldn't eject a player when it's clear that none of them really saw what happened.

Johnson, Mark Mitera, and Kevin Porter were all named to the USA World Junior team, leaving the Wolverines once again shorthanded for the GLI. Cogliano could make 4 as he leaves Sunday morning to go to Vancouver for the Canadian team's final tryout. No Spartans, Tigers, or Huskies made the teams, so all three schools will be at full strength for the GLI. Michigan will have Tim Cook on their second pairing and 2 walkons as their #5 and #6 defensemen. Awesome. We had a nice discussion yesterday on the Yost Post about if Michigan should even continue to play in the GLI, being that it's at least 1 sure loss (and sometimes 2) every single season. And with one of those losses each year potentially being to MSU, it makes me hate it even more, since none of the Sparties seem to care that it was our #2 goalie and our #7 defenseman screwing up. I mean "Fire Comley".

The Wolverine football team is off to the Alamo Bowl, which is fine with me. Yeah the Outback Bowl probably should've taken us, but really...if we're having an Outback vs. Alamo debate, it wasn't a good season and win over Florida or Nebraska isn't going to make it a good season. I'd rather play a team that we've only played twice since World War 1. Should be a fun matchup even if there's aren't a lot of marbles on the table.

As for Michigan basketball, they're cruising along at 5-0, after a nice comeback win against Notre Dame on the road. There's a very good chance that they will make it through their nonconference schedule unblemished as a home game against UCLA is the only remotely threatening game. Though this is the team that lost 2 years in a row to BU, so maybe we shouldn't be taking the Coppin States of the world for granted just yet. There's reason to be optimistic though, with 10-1 or better a very reasonable expectation for the non-conference slate. Graham Brown was phenomenal against Notre Dame, rockbiting his way to 13 points and 10 boards, and didn't miss a shot, let alone get one sent into the 5th row.

The Red Wings have gotten back to their losing ways after maybe their best effort of the season against the LA Kings last week. The NHL (and NBA for that matter) seems to have made it a point to schedule Detroit games when I can't watch them, so I don't have too many comments other than Jim Howard is awesome. I saw the LA game and most of the NYI game and he played pretty darn well in both. The goal he gave up to Yashin was terrible, but no one is going to tell me that Osgood wouldn't have let it in too. It looks like Osgood is going to start tonight, but Howard seems to have grabbed Mike Babcock's confidence. As for Osgood, another effort or two like he's had lately and his second stint with the Wings might be short-lived. Legace's hurt and it's still not enough to make him the full-time starter here (as Howard has grabbed that job). If they can't count on him as the veteran netminder, then why is he here?

Jiri Hudler will make a return to the lineup tonight, and they're giving him every chance to succeed, as it looks like he'll play with Datsyuk and Shanahan. They're splitting up Zetterberg and Datsyuk to try and create more offense and Z will be playing with Samuelsson and Williams. Lang can't get back soon enough from his groin injury. Fischer had another setback, and I'll be shocked if he ever plays again, let alone this year. He seems to want to continue with his career but to me that's crossing the line into stupidity if they can't figure out what's wrong with his ticker. On the plus side, Niklas Kronwall is skating again, albeit very lightly and not with the team. It looks like he's on track to return sometime in February, which will be much welcomed.

The Pistons, despite never playing home games, have built a 3 1/2 game lead in the strong Central Division (the only division in basketball that has all the teams playing .500 ball or better). According to this week's power rankings on ESPN.com, the Pistons rated their first 18 games as the toughest part of their schedule (12 road games, 2 trips out West and 1 to Texas). So far they're doing just fine at 13-2 with road games against Golden State, the Clippers, and Utah to finish that stretch. They've gotten off to some slow starts, but Rip Hamilton has been phenomenal shooting the ball and Mr. Big Shot has been dropping dimes all year. They're in the middle of a six day break right now that will help heal up Big Ben's 2 ankles. Not exactly sure how the league managed to give them six consecutive days off during the season.

The Packers kept pace with the Texans, 49ers and Jets in the Reggie Bush sweepstakes, by dropping a 19-7 game to the Chicago Bears. I swear the Texans are throwing games though. This is two weeks in a row now that they've blown games in the last minute. I'd feel a lot better if Houston was 3-9 instead of 1-11 right now. I also don't like this game against Detroit this weekend for the Packers. Even as injury-riddled as they are, I don't think they can manage to lose to Jeff Garthia. Baltimore, Chicago and Seattle are more than doable. They just have to get through this weekend. I don't see it happening.

Just a note, I will never root for the Packers to lose, but the thought of Reggie Bush in the green and gold makes these losses so much easier to take, after they got that pesky "Only team in the salary cap era to not have a losing season" title off their mantle. I am rooting hardcore for Houston, the Jets and San Fran though. It's not fun having your teams go 0-4 every weekend. Luckily Houston and the 49ers play each other the last weekend of the season in a game that neither team will want to win. That one could be akin to Calvin and Hobbes playing tackle football. "Whoops! Fumble!" "Whoops! Fumble!" "Whoops! Fumble!"

Remaining schedules:
Green Bay: Detroit, at Baltimore (this is a Monday Night game...can't wait for those promos!), Chicago, Seattle. Fine time to get 3 of the last 4 at home.
Houston: at Tennessee, Arizona, Jacksonville, at San Francisco (None of these games aren't winnable, which is a very good thing).
New York Jets: Oakland, at Miami, New England, Buffalo (3 of 4 at home, only the New England game is probably not winnable)
San Fran: at Seattle, at Jacksonville, at St. Louis, Houston (They've gotta be in the driver's seat for the #1 pick. 3 road games in a row? Thanks NFL.)

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