Friday, December 29, 2006

The GLI? We're going to Winnett!

MHNet from The Yost Post posted a link to an article on Hockeysfuture about one of the high-profile members of next year's recruiting class, Ben Winnett. He's having a great season so far, leading his team in both goals and assists.

We haven't heard all that much about him, being that he's from British Columbia and all, so here are Winnett's comments about himself:

"I’m a fast skating and offensive player who likes to shoot the puck but also likes to set up my teammates, and I have a bit of a physical side to me and like to play gritty and finish my checks when I can."

Now here's a less-biased, but still very positive, review from his coach, Ty Davidson:

"He’s a very good player. He’s got, I would say, NHL speed already," Coach Davidson said about Winnett. "He’s got a good hard, quick, shot. He’s a dependable guy defensively; he’s not one of those one-dimensional guys. The other good asset is that he plays with an edge. He’s very feisty, he’s not afraid to go into the corners or to the front of the net. Very competitive, like I said, dynamic is the best way to put it. He has almost European-type speed and skill."

With regard to his studies, the article states that, "he plans on taking general studies for the first two years before moving into the business program". As a Michigan hockey fan, however, I'm obligated to correct the article: He plans on taking general studies for the first two years before going pro a couple weeks before classes start, just after another recruit has decommitted due to a lack of a scholarship for the upcoming season.

We're just a few hours away from the GLI, and according to The Ann Arbor News, we'll have both Jason Dest and Steve Kampfer back for the game. It sounds as if Kolarik is going to be playing with Rohlfs and Naurato. It'll be interesting to see if Naurato can be productive playing with a couple of our better players. Just do what Brett Hull did, Brandon. Just find the open space and be ready to let it rip.

The game tonight is on FSD on tape delay, which means that tonight I will once again attempt the impossible: Watching a tape delayed game without finding out the final score ahead of time. I swear to God if FSD puts the score on the ticker they show during the Pistons game, I will lay someone out.

Lastly, about the Wings win over Columbus last night, I offer up this quote from Mike Babcock:

“(On Wednesday), our goalie (Dominik Hasek) had to do a (heck) of a job; today, our guys had to do a (heck) of a job for the goalie,” Babcock said. “It would have been easy for us to fold, but we stuck with it and got some breaks.”

Anybody want to offer up a guess what changed? Why the guys in front of the goalie had to do a hell of a job last night? Oh yeah, Ozzie was in net. Good thing he's signed for another year.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Getting Back Into The Swing of Things

I'm back from my holidays/Green Bay trip/illness hiatus. So--as I frequently do when I fail to post for a week or so--time for random thoughts about the world of sports.

-If we're going to lose players to the World Juniors every single year, shouldn't it at least be a requirement that the US...I dunno...not lose to freaking Germany? Seriously guys? It's Germany. Canada is acceptable. It sounds like you battled hard after getting down 3-0, but GERMANY? Well...on the bright side, at least it wasn't Holy Cross.

-I'm having a hard time getting jacked up for the GLI. I'm not sure if it's the fact that we haven't won it in so long, the fact that our team has been playing like dogcrap since they last beat State, the fact that Billy Sauer is still our goalie, or a combination of the three. Tomorrow is a no-win game for me. If we win, yippee do, we beat Tech. If we lose, I'm pissed that we lost to Tech and I'll start cursing out Team USA and Canada again. And yes, I realize that Tech isn't that bad this year.

-Would a Billy Sauer/Justin Tobe matchup be the worst goaltending matchup ever?

-Expect some heavy fines for Lawrence Frank and Jason Kidd for their comments about the officiating last night. Anytime you call a ref out by name, and refer to them collectively as "The Three Blind Mice" it's not going to be pretty. Especially when David Stern is running the league. Oh, and it was a foul on Sheed. Definitely. But at the same time, Vince Carter still had a wide open 16 footer for the win. And if you asked them before the game would they take that, the answer would have been yes. Plus, you shot 35+ free throws, and the Pistons got T-ed up 3 times for arguing calls, so obviously the officiating wasn't as one-sided as the Nets would have you believe.

-After the ball went out of play with just over a second remaining, Frank ran out on the court like a pissed-off Jim Valvano. So much for the "no tolerance" rule there huh? Where's that T?

-What stat best goes to show how crappy the NBA's Atlantic Division is? That a 10-16 team is just 1 game out of first place, that a team which is 13 games below .500 is only 4 1/2 games out of first place, or the fact that the last place team in 3 of the other 5 divisions would be either leading--or less than a half game out of first place--in the Atlantic? Yikes.

-Jason Maxiell has just been fun to watch these last few games. Dale Davis as well. It's nice to see the guys coming off the Pistons' bench performing at a high level. I'm still a little worried about Flip Murray. He's playing like the Flip Murray of last year's playoffs, and that's not a good thing.

-It's Week 17 and the Packers still have a legitimate shot at the playoffs. Beat the Bears (not likely, but hey, the Lions were 1 play away from doing just that), have the Giants lose on the road against Washington (I'd say that's more than likely), and have either the Rams lose, or the Falcons win, or the Panthers win and we're dancing.

-I went up to Green Bay for the Packers/Vikings game last week. There's still no better place to watch a game than Lambeau Field. If you haven't been there, you need to. If you're not a Packers fan, who cares? Wait until your team plays at GB, and go. It's amazing. I love it there.

-I'm starting to think that unless he's franchised, the Packers should make Tony Gonzalez priority #1 in the offseason. It might be a product of a weak NFC, but this is a 10-5 football team right now if they've got a red-zone threat like him.

-Overall, I have to say I'm pretty happy with the direction Green Bay is going. The linebacking corps has been transformed from a glaring weakness to an obvious strength. Aaron Kampman leads the freaking NFL in sacks, Cullen Jenkins has been outstanding since they moved him outside. Ted Thompson was 2 for 3 on his big free agent signings this year. Charles Woodson and Ryan Pickett have been fantastic. Marquand Manuel has been a major disappointment. He drafted a bunch of players who are getting experience--particularly on the offensive line. A lot of young guys are getting experience, and there is some good young talent there. Obviously there's a huge hole at QB if Favre leaves because I don't think Rodgers is the answer, though he hasn't had a chance to prove it either way. But for what is probably the youngest team in the NFL, to be a borderline playoff team is a major accomplishment--no matter what my preseason expectations are. I said I wanted to see improvement, and I have. The defense was giving up big plays left and right at the start of the year and they've drastically cut those down, while they've increased their sacks and takeaways. The red-zone offense is what is holding this team back right now.

-Favre should come back and play. Can he still play? Yes. Can he still help this team win? Yes. Can they be a contender next year? They might get in this year, so I don't see why they can't improve on that for next year with $20-30 million to spend.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Quick NBA Comment

Just a quick comment about the Nets/Knicks brawl from last night:

Whatever suspension Carmelo Anthony ends up getting, they need to tack an extra game onto it just for being a bitch. After he threw that sucker-punch, did you see how fast he got the hell out of there? He couldn't have run away any quicker. That was my favorite part of seeing those replays last night. He's the guy that Jared Jefferies is going after. He's the guy that Nate Robinson runs after. But he's nowhere in sight.

Watch it again, and keep your eye on number 15:

Big man, Anthony. It's pretty sad when 5'5" Nate Robinson will stand in there and fight guys a foot or more taller than him, but 'Melo bugs out after he throws a sucker punch.

Friday, December 15, 2006

At Least We Can't Lose This Week....

No Michigan hockey this week, so things have been slow around here. At least it means no losses, eh?

TSN had an outstanding article about Andrew
as he prepares for the World Junior Championships. No shocker, he
made the final roster. In the article, Cogs talked about how winning the gold
last year actually hurt his play at Michigan:

''When I came back after world juniors, I think I slowed down a bit. My
points really tailed off,'' he recalled. ''(Winning gold) was such a high, such
a major thing in my life.
''It was tough for me to get up for games at
Michigan, but really now I'm focusing on doing well here and going back and
playing as hard as possible.''

Yeah. Let's not repeat last year's second half, kay?

Mgoblog has links up to a few good articles as well. Bob Miller had good things to say about two of our commits, and I got a similar review from a friend who attended the tournament out at Compuware:

"A.J. treais was sick, so fast, great hands. Kenny Ryan is good, looked kind of like a man amongst boys, skates and gets to the open spot a lot. [He] seems like a thinker/anticipator out there, trying to get where the puck will end up. [Jon Merrill] is a solid dman. "

As for other hockey stuff:
Seriously, what has gotten into Dan Cleary? He's one goal behind Zetterberg for the team lead. I love that he's getting rewarded for his hard work with a career season. He won me over with his play at the end of the Calgary game that I went to, where we were killing a penalty and had an empty net to shoot at. He missed the net, but then booked down the ice to beat the defenseman to the puck, and drew a hooking penalty on Calgary that pretty much ended the game. I love players that give 100% effort every shift--it's why the two Red Wing jerseys I own are Doug Brown and Tomas Holmstrom.

It's nice to see that someone finally told Datsyuk that it wasn't the playoffs and he was allowed to score goals once in awhile. I will give it to him that he has been pretty good in his own end throughout this slump. He looks great playing with Zetterberg. But his still not someone that I'd be willing to give $6 million to. I still hold firm to my belief that he should've been traded this past offseason, and I think it will be a colossal mistake if they break the bank to keep him. You do that for a player that makes his teammates better, not someone that has to have a top-flight wing on his line to be remotely effective.

Looking back at the moves that I wanted this past offseason, I was wrong about Gerber. He hasn't been good in Ottawa. But I was dead-on that it would've been a huge error to sign Ed Belfour over Hasek. We are really lucky that Belfour wanted too much guaranteed money. We would be in a real hurt right now if he was in net for us every night. Hasek hasn't been spectacular, but I can live with having the goalie with the top GAA in the league. The defense has helped him a ton by limiting shots, but Hasek has been good when he's needed to be overall. I'll stick with what I said at the start of the season: Give me a healthy Hasek in April and I like our chances. They need another scorer though, especially since you can't go into the playoffs counting on Datsyuk. Holland better be ready to pull another deadline deal or two off.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Scooter to Michigan!

The Wolverines received another commitment for the class of 2007. Bob Miller reported on the Yost Post that St. Louis Bandits defenseman Charles "Scooter" Vaughan has verballed to Michigan. He sounds like just the type of defenseman that we need. Plays with an edge, good skater.

On the season he has a 1-10--11 line in 26 games, with 60 PIMs. The link to his Pointstreak profile is down, so until it's fixed, the sidebar link to his name will go to the team stats page.

Here's the non-premium information that I was able to dig up on him:

He was a damn good roller hockey player back in the day.

He's on the B-List of "Players to Watch (pdf)" by NHL Central Scouting.

Western College Hockey says that he is a "solid defender, but not in the same class as other top defenseman in the class. Solid offensive defenseman, but can also play with edge."

Unfortunately that's it for now. The Wolverine should have more on him in the morning. It is worth noting that that now makes four defensemen we will be bringing in next year with Dest, Cook, and Hunwick for sure leaving. At least they're covered numbers-wise should one of our three first-round picks on the blueline head for the NHL.

Lastly tonight, I have a new favorite google search that someone used to reach this site. Apparently I have the top two results if you search for: "robbie earl" + "bitch". I love it!

An Original Six Matchup

I'm sitting here watching the Wings throttle Toronto, and even though it hasn't been a great game in terms of competitiveness, it really makes me wish that the NHL would allow these matchups more often. Last year, these teams didn't play--which is absolutely absurd in my mind. Basically the fans in Detroit will only see the Leafs come to town once every three years.

It's just a travesty that the Wings will only face four of their Original Six peers once a year at most--barring a playoff matchup. The NHL is so intent on saddling us with facing the teams in our division "to develop rivalries", wouldn't it make sense to just let us face our traditional rivals more often?

There was electricity in the Joe tonight unlike I've heard in a long time in a regular season game. The teams were hitting, the passing was outstanding, and even though the Leafs got smoked, it was a fun game to watch. This game was hockey the way it was meant to be played, and we need to see more of it.

The league could still have divisional teams play 6 times a year, and it would open the door for four home-and-homes against "traditional or geographic rivals". It would allow us to play Toronto, Boston, the Rangers, and Montreal in a home and home series every year. Who wouldn't want to see that?

It'd be even more preferable in my eyes to make sure that every team plays every team at least once home and once away in the season. We shouldn't have to go three years with only seeing Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin in Detroit (or in any Western Conference city) one time.

This has been one of the issues that I feel the league has made a big mistake on. You've got several awesome rivalries. Why eliminate them rather than showcase them? Detroit/Montreal, Detroit/Toronto, Chicago/Montreal.

As I type this, FSD just had a quote from Chelios that the people running the league don't realize how great these matchups are. Something needs to be done. It may not get the fans coming back in droves to watch hockey, but the fans in these old time hockey markets should at least get to see the great rivalries of the past more often than we're seeing them currently.

The Wings looked great tonight. 5 PPGs for, they just missed scoring 6 with the man advantage for the first time since 1942. Datsyuk has found his game again--though I still think they should be looking to move him. Dan Cleary is fast becoming my favorite player on the team, and not just because he's scoring now. I love the way that guy plays. And Hasek was outstanding tonight.
It's nice to see the Wings' special teams clicking again. The panicking about the power play was unwarranted. This team has far too much talent for it to not start clicking sooner or later. It looks like they've got it going now. They've been scoring at a 30% clip over the last 5 or 6 games.

For our game against Ottawa, Ken Daniels is going to be calling the game from between the benches. Somehow, I don't think this is going to work so well. There's a reason that play-by-play guys are usually up high, that being it's extremely hard to see the near corners of the ice when you're down that low. There's going to be guys in front of him constantly when there are line changes. I just don't get how this is going to work. It would make much more sense in my eyes for Mickey Redmond to be down low. It worked great when NBC stationed a reporter down there. Mickey would have time to be listening to what the players and coaches are saying. Ken won't because he's going to be calling the game. We'll see I guess, but I have the feeling this is going to be a one-time thing rather than the start of a trend.

Friday, December 08, 2006

A Sauer Taste

Again, just the first two periods because of my own hockey commitments (at least WE won! Off to the Championship next week!).

We really didn't play all that badly. Frankly I thought we outplayed ND by a not insignificant margin in the first couple of periods. Really...neither of those two ND goals in the first were "quality scoring chances".

The difference is that Billy Sauer fricking (and I didn't originally type fricking) BLOWS. He's done folks. The kid's confidence is back in the sewer. He's gotten lit three straight games, two by teams that have less than stellar offenses. He didn't play the second game last week, he got the hook tonight. He's done.

Honestly, I'm not sure at this point that it wouldn't be better for all parties if he headed back to junior (a la Justin Tobe) to try and get a fresh start. He obviously has no confidence, I can't imagine his teammates have confidence in him, and I sure as [crap] don't--not that I really matter.

Pray that Bryan Hogan is for real, because we're in bad shape goaltending-wise for at least the next couple years if he's not. Who's going to come in when we've got a junior two-year starter, a sophomore, and a freshmen--and all three are getting money? I can't believe they missed this badly on Sauer. At this point, he's not an NCAA-quality netminder. And I really don't think that's an overreaction.

The first goal tonight was inexcusable--and it'd be his worst goal of the year if he didn't give up that other one against WMU last week. It's such a let-down when you come out and give up a goal in the first minute--especially against a good defensive hockey team. It takes the wind out of the building and the team, and it gives the other team confidence coming into this barn.

What stat do you like better? The fact that Sauer has given up 10 goals on his last 33 shots (Yikes) or the fact that the year we played ND in the playoffs, they scored seven goals against us total. In six games. They matched that tonight.

The defense was fine in the part that I saw. 5 goals on what? 13 shots before he stopped the last 3? Can't blame the D when you keep em under 25 for the game and they limited odd-man rushes for the most part.

It also didn't help that we blew a bunch of high-quality scoring chances in the first period. Porter missed a tap in, Cogliano missed a tap-in, Cogliano also had a partial breakaway that he shot over the net straight up Milan Gajic style. Kolarik was leading the rush on a 3 on 1, they bunched up too much (the center was right over his shoulder) and Kolarik simply deked into the defenseman's skates.

The way I feel about this team right now is the way I felt about football when they were a pretty solid team apart from starting Todd Howard and Brandon Williams at the corners. We're a solid enough team, but we have NOTHING in goal. And even though I haven't seen Jakiel play yet, it seems that he's equally adept at giving up 2 goals a period.

Red's got a big dilemma in goal. Do you stick with Sauer and hope he plays his way out of this before it sinks your season, or do you go with Jakiel knowing that if he's got nothing, then Sauer's confidence is in the gutter and he's going to be useless the rest of the year since he's as fragile as Charles Rogers--only his problem is mental.

I need to start drinking at these games. It'd make it a lot easier to watch....

BTW, the reason for the LONG review on the second ND goal...the net was off the moorings for a solid two minutes and no one noticed. Unfortunately for us, it didn't show it on the camera they could use for review. It was apparently clear as day on FSN's coverage though. Not that it mattered.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

More Nonsense From Harris Pollsters

The Detroit Free Press contacted some of the various Harris Poll voters in order to get their defense for voting Florida ahead of Michigan in the final rankings. One would think that they would come out with the standard, albeit wrong, "I just thought Florida was the better football team" response. It appears, however, that the voters were strangely truthful in stating their reasoning. I say it was truthful because, honestly, no one would lie by making themselves look this stupid.

A sample of the responses (and my comments below each):
"Michigan is an outstanding program, but they already had their shot. If this was a tournament system, then they were already eliminated. That was the basis in which I voted for Florida."
Well. I suppose technically so was anyone that isn't Boise State or Ohio State. Nothing like putting in a vote based on an "If this". The general response to that would be, "But it's not!" Wouldn't Florida have been eliminated, then, about 7 weeks ago when they played a decent team and lost?

"We could argue until we are blue in the face who is better between Michigan and Florida. But when you simplify it, we know Ohio State is better than Michigan. Under our system, this brings closure by giving the Big Ten champion the chance to play the SEC champion."

No. We know that Ohio State is better than Michigan (by 3 points) when they're playing on their home field. Due to that relatively slim margin of victory, we know nothing about how those teams would fair on a neutral field. Unless, of course, you feel that homefield advantage means nothing in college football. And if that's the case, I'd say that you're dumb enough to in the Harris Poll!

"The biggest factor is that the SEC and Big Ten are the strongest conferences, and Florida beat six or seven teams ranked in the top 15, and that was a stronger point than Michigan's schedule."

Six or seven teams ranked in the top 15 huh? So you've got LSU, Arkansas, and Tennessee was in the top 15 when Florida beat them, but they aren't anymore. Who else out of Southern Miss, Central Florida, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, West Carolina, and Florida State are we considering to be a Top 15 team? Keep in mind we have to pick three or four of them to make this statement accurate.

"I believe Florida had a tougher schedule. I also remember Michigan had a tough time against Ball State. The idea of a rematch between Ohio State and Michigan was a factor, but it was at the bottom of the considerations."

Florida had a tougher schedule by an average of .0003 per team in winning percentage. So I guess that part of the statement is true, but not by as much as Gary Danielson would've had you believe. By the way, I heard they had to rent a power washer to clean the announcer booth up after the SEC Championship.

If Michigan is getting knocked down for "having a tough time against Ball State" (fine, next time, leave the starters in) then why aren't we knocking Florida for "having a tough time against Vanderbilt". Or Florida State. Or South freaking Carolina who is only bowl eligible because they beat Wofford, Florida Atlantic, and Middle Tennessee State. And do you "remember" that Michigan had a tough time against Ball State, or did you "hear" that Michigan had a tough time against Ball State? It's fun only looking at final scores isn't it?

"The championship game is not scientific. It's just a show. Let's see something different."

Tell the players that, jackass. I hope you're entertained by 30 point blowouts...

Half the people interviewed in the article pointed to strength of schedule as a factor in the decision. I guess the old saying is true after all. If enough people repeat a lie, it eventually becomes fact.

The Harris Poll, folks! Let's give it a hand!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Bad News But a Silver Lining

Michigan hockey got some bad news, with James Dowd from the Michigan Daily (and my hockey team, the Blackbears) reporting that Jason Dest will miss up to a month with a dislocated shoulder. That could keep him out up to--and very possibly through--the GLI. The good news, however, is that x-rays on Jack Johnson's shoulder were negative. He's listed as day-to-day and the general thinking is that if he's practicing on Thursday, he'll play in the game Friday.

More good news is coming, as it appears that Mark Mitera did NOT make the US World Juniors team, and neither did Chris Summers (at defense or forward). That's a big boost for the Wolverines as they'll only be missing two plays for World Juniors (it's great when we have to be happy that we're only missing two players. Balls).

So while we got some good news tonight, it still kind of sucks that heading into a huge weekend against Notre Dame the three questions are:
1) Who is playing goal for us? (Gotta believe it's Sauer...whether that's a good thing or not remains to be seen)
2) Will Jack Johnson be ok to play? (If he's at all able to, he will. He'll suck it up.)
3) Will Andrew Cogliano be able to play Sunday when the Canadian camp starts Sunday night? (My guess would be yes. He's one of the few "locks" for the team. It probably won't hurt him to miss one day of the camp. I bet he gets the ok.)

Those are still not the three areas you'd like to have question marks.....Big weekend coming up!

Monday, December 04, 2006

The BCS Mess

What a joke. The events of yesterday have proven that this system sucks more than a "recruiting hostess" when a 5-star is in town. I wouldn't have a problem with Florida going if I believed for a second that people voted for them because they truly felt Florida was the best team. That's not what happened though.

You're not going to read anything new here, but I took the time to respond to someone on the Packer Wire who asked me my thoughts, so I might as well paste them here.

If people felt that the Gators were better than U of M, they would've jumped Michigan the week we lost to OSU. Not two weeks later. I have a very hard time believing that an ugly win over Arkansas convinced people that this team was better than Michigan. The voters didn't vote for the 2nd best team, they voted to set the matchup. And that is not at all what their job is when voting in these polls.

One has to go no further than breaking down the components to see how stupid the BCS is.

Why is the coaches' poll stupid? Urban Meyer inadvertently explained it in his interview with Chris Meyers. The question was asked, "How does your team match up with Ohio State?" His answer? "I don't really know. We haven't seen too much of them. Down here in the South we don't get a lot of film of their games." What are these coaches basing their votes on then? They obviously aren't watching other college football games on Saturday. It's impossible. They've got their own gameday duties to worry about. And Meyer admitted as much.

The other reason it's stupid is that not every coach has a vote. I understand that part of that could be that they don't want to give the Non-BCS conferences too much power--or at least that's the only thing I can come up with. But Joe Paterno doesn't have a vote. Joe freaking Paterno doesn't have a vote. Urban Meyer didn't have a vote either. Coaches don't vote based upon who they think is better. They vote based upon geography and their own personal interests. Seriously, do we really think Mike Bellotti knows if Michigan or Florida is better? How many of each team's games do you think he watched?

The Harris poll is even dumber. Who are these people and why are they qualified to send a team to the title game? According to stuff I've read today, there's a voter who has a radio show in Ohio, who regularly refers to Michigan as "Skunkbears" and "scUM" on his show. There's a bar owners, radio hosts, ex coaches. Are we accounting for bias in this poll? Nope, the NCAA shot that idea down last year. This little tidbit is included with the Harris Poll rankings: "Last season the 11 Division 1-A Conference Commissioners and Notre Dame Athletics Director Kevin White decided to not accept the Harris Interactive recommendation to apply a standard statistical practice that addresses potential instability, error, or bias associated with unusual ranking patterns."

So you get things like the jag-off (Jim Walden) who put Florida #1 because "The Big Ten is a joke of a conference"...despite the fact that they've got 3 of the top 6 teams in the country, and in his coaching career he was 0-17 against teams from "That joke of a conference".

You've also got guys like George Lapides who was quoted in the NY Times (HT: mgoblog) as saying that he feels Michigan would beat Florida if they played, but he put Florida in anyway because he likes the idea of conference champions playing each other. Where was that sentiment when everyone was loving on Notre Dame??? When did "I like the idea of it" become an option for ranking the teams?

Then there's the guy who put Michigan behind USC! USC!!!! The team that lost to two unranked teams is ahead of one whose only loss was to the #1 team in the country on the road?

There are several who have Michigan (or Florida) behind Louisville. I like Louisville. They're a nice team. I'm from there originally. There's no justification for that. Someone put them #2! Just as egregious was the guy who put Florida number 5 behind Michigan, OSU, Wisconsin, and Louisville.

Someone had Boise State #2, which I guess is kind of understandable if you want to prove a point that you should get to play for a title when your best win is Hawaii). I heard that someone had TCU in the top 10, though I didn't check every ballot to verify that. Someone definitely had BYU in the top 10. How can we trust these people to make a rational decision when there's no accountability for someone whose ballot is completely out of whack. A poll that allows someone to vote Florida #1 at this point loses all credibility.

Then there's the computer polls. For an example of how stupid these can be, look no further than this this breakdown from awhile back.

The argument that "Michigan had their chance" absolutely holds no water. Unless Florida is going to go play OSU in Columbus on that crappy field, things aren't equal there. Why didn't Florida "blow their chance" when they lost to Auburn on the road. Last time I checked, Michigan didn't "have their chance" at beating Ohio State on a neutral field. OSU beat us by 3 at home, which as Vegas will tell you, is pretty close to being at wash at a neutral site.

Additionally, the campaigning that Gary Danielson did on CBS for the entire second half was shameful. I laughed my butt off when he put his "victory comparison" up on the screen. That was all well and good to compare wins, until you realize that he wasn't taking into account the score, how the teams played, or anything like that related to the games themselves. Only who beat whom. That's when you get asinine things like Michigan's win against Vandy being a push with Florida's win against Vandy. Even though Michigan beat them by 20 and Florida won by 6. And you know, Michigan actually had more yards than Vandy in their game.

That win over South Carolina looks ok, until you realize that they slept through that game, needing what? A couple blocked kicks to beat them by one point? They squeaked by a BAD Florida State football team. And Arkansas was leading that football game the other night until their backup punt returner decided it would be a good idea to try and Willie Mays catch a punt inside his own 5 yard line.

Michigan was in a game they could have lost/did lose twice this year. Every other game was never in doubt. Ball State made it a game, mostly against the 2nd and 3rd string defense. And of course Ohio State beat us.

I love that a pair of voters on CBS Sportsline admit that they voted for UF because...umm...well...13 games is harder than 12. Good thing UF scheduled that game against 1-AA West Carolina. That made the difference, by God! If you're going to schedule a 1-AA team, at least pick one that is within sniffing distance of .500....

What else, what else, what else? Oh yeah. Vegas is pretty good at this stuff. Even they agree that Michigan is the better team. It was said that if Michigan and UF played on a neutral field, Michigan would open a 6-6 1/2 point favorite. But Florida is the better team. Riiiight.

Michigan was also hurt because they sat idle for two weeks while Florida and USC were still playing. After the country's last look at the Wolverines, the voters still thought Michigan was the second best team in the country. That after a LOSS even. But somehow in there, they were jumped by not one, but TWO teams. One of which scraped by Florida State and won a decently close game against a bumbling, depleted Arkansas team. The Big Ten needs to do something about the schedule. Build in an extra bye week or two, or something. Who wouldn't be in favor of us taking our bye against Ball State and then playing a game after OSU at this point? I know OSU is supposed to be "The Game" but these other conferences have a HUGE advantage by playing after we're done. Since the media appears to be so distracted by bright and shiny objects that they can't remember how most of them were in favor of a rematch just a couple weeks ago.

If USC had won yesterday, there's no part of me that believes Florida would be ranked ahead of Michigan today. The anti-rematch sentiment took over, and the voters manipulated the rankings to make sure it wouldn't happen, ignoring their job to rank the teams by how good they are--NOT by what matchup they want to see.

It's too bad too, because they've robbed the nation of an absolute EPIC national title game, in favor of what will likely be an Ohio State 20+ point victory. All that gimmick stuff isn't going to work against OSU. I just can't imagine how good a Michigan/OSU game would be, when neither team has anything to do but prepare for each other for a full month.

Through it all, I'm still very excited about the Rose Bowl. It's hard to complain about a "traditional" Big 10/Pac 10 matchup against a team like USC. It's a chance to get revenge for a couple years ago, build some momentum for next season, and snap this bowl losing streak.

Go Blue, Beat USC. And ::gulp:: Go Buckeyes. The best thing for college football would be for both those Big 10 teams to win easily...I'm willing to take one for the team and deal with the OSU fans after another national title if it means we move closer to a playoff. And I'm thankful that we have a coach that won't whore himself to the media just to buy votes.

BTW, Jim Tressel is a bitch for not voting in that last poll. I understand that it was a lose-lose situation for him, but still. Bitch.

The BCS screws someone almost every year, and this year it just happened that our number was up. The networks may love it because it creates controversy, and controversy = ratings, but if the NCAA is actually interested in crowning a true champion, they need to move to a playoff system as soon as it is possible. I'd much rather the controversy be over who is the 8th seed and who is left out as #9 than for it to be over who should play for the friggin' National Championship. Let the players prove it on the field. Don't let coaches with agendas, who likely haven't seen enough games to make an accurate judgement haphazardly throw a ballot together, dopes from all across the media who have about as much right to pick teams as I do, and computers that aren't fed enough information determine things.

That's all I got.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Michigan vs. WMU weekend

Can't bring myself to comment on the BCS right yet--except that the whole system is beyond stupid, and I'll hold firm to the thought that we need a playoff, even if by some miracle they do put Michigan into the title game. Thoughts from the weekend against WMU:

I didn't go to the game at WMU, so I'm sure these comments are going to be on the negative side, but they should be! There's no excuse for losing to a joke team like WMU at home. We aren't taking advantage of our home games this year (Northeastern for one--note that until this weekend they hadn't won a game since they beat us).

It was huge for us to get a win at Lawson. A sweep to that team would've been devastating. But the coaches can't be happy about giving up 11 goals in two games to a team that had only scored 30 in the previous 11 conference games. That said, we're still only 2 points back of Miami with a game in hand, and we move up by 5 points on Sparty.

Cogliano kept it going with 5 goals this weekend. Red is going to be absolutely pissed if we lose him for the Sunday game against Notre Dame because of WJC commitments. First they move the game to Sunday for TV, then we might lose Cogs because of it. That'd be bad.

Hensick is still rolling. His career-high 4 assists moves him within 1 of a tie for sixth place on our all-time list. He's got a very legit chance at ending his career #2 all-time behind Morrison.

Some other good news is that our powerplay was 3 for 7 last night.

The bad news out of last night was that Johnson, Dest, and Summers were all injured during the game. Summers came back from a very ugly injury--he ran into the open WMU door at full speed--to play the rest of the game, but Johnson and Dest didn't return. It's being reported that they both have shoulder injuries. Here's hoping neither of them are serious. We wouldn't lose a ton putting Cook back in for Dest--I thought Cook was actually playing ok hockey before he came out of the lineup--but losing Johnson would be very, very bad. Hopefully our anonymous commenter who seems to be in the loop with regard to Jack can provide some info as to his condition and status for next week???

From Friday Night, what I posted on the Rivals board...slightly edited:
I only caught the first two periods (hockey playoff game) but it was easy to see where things were going.

Sauer...I've pretty much given up on him. I'm not going to be fooled again. He's a goalie that's capable of putting together a few good performances, but he is NOT a good goalie, or someone that I can see us winning a championship with. When he's off, we might as well just pull him and play 6 on 5 the whole night. 4 goals on 11 shots? Against Western? Are you kidding me?

The first goal he gave up Friday night was the worst of the season definitely. If you want a reason the crowd was out of it, that was probably it. Teams know to go high-glove on him now, but half the time it doesn't even matter. What an awful performance. It's hard to go to a freshman backup on the road, but I'm pretty confident we're going to see Jakiel make his first career start tonight (I called that one!). The only question is if Sauer will go in the tank now like he did last year.

Hunwick was brutal Friday night. He seems to be getting walked around every single shift now. I'm thinking about going ahead and awarding him the Josh Langfeld Memorial "Got Progressively Worse Every Year" Trophy.

Summers seems to be getting better, but he had a giveaway on the 4th goal.

Did you notice: Fardig is still playing center, but he's not taking faceoffs as much (he did take 7 Friday night and won 2)? An incredible 0 for 13 performance on draws against Wisconsin will do that. Turnbull was 2 of 8 though...

That second goal was a sight to see wasn't it? Johnson skated back toward our net by the red line, drops it behind the back to Hensick, he gets spun around and throws it behind his back to Cogliano, he gets into the zone, throws it behind his back into the slot for a shot, then Cogs puts home the rebound. Yowsa. Of course, the third behind the back pass wasn't really necessary. It looked pretty though!

Bailey came out with a lot of energy and went around killing people. Just keep doing what you do Bailey. Don't worry about getting points. That's not what you're here for. I know it sucks to not score, but you can help the team by hitting people and hopefully staying out of the box in the process.

We need to stop losing home games to bad teams.

Oh and the people that sit behind me need to STFU. Lord. I'm starting to feel like I did at football games, where I don't want to be there anymore because our crowd--at least the people around me--are so uneducated. Or they just want to get drunk and try to look cool. The alumni section is looking really good to me right now......

Now I'm going to get back to pouting about the BCS.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Yeah. We Get It. You Don't Like The Pistons.

Bill Simmons was killing me today. In more ways than one.

He wrote a column about the sorry state of the NBA's Eastern Conference--calling it the worst conference in sports history (and with the 5-11 Knicks one game out of a playoff spot, he's probably right).

Now, let me be clear about this. I love Bill Simmons. Yes, I think his act has gotten a little bit tired over the years. I don't laugh nearly as often as I did back about 4 years ago, since a fair portion of it is the same material rehashed over again. But when the guy is on, there's still no one better. And I check every day to see if he's written something new. The Mailbags, chat transcripts and the NFL Picks alone are worth it.

There's also not a lot of things that I like more than when he cracks on how dumb NBA teams can be. I'm not blown away by his general sports knowledge, but he definitely knows his stuff when it comes to the NBA. So I love columns like this.

There were some great lines in there, and I had a great 15 minutes reading it. Until I got toward the end and he started cracking on Joe Dumars again.

Worst-case scenario: They lose in the second round, Billups leaves after the season, Melo wins the MVP and Pistons fans still refuse to admit that Joe Dumars screwed this entire decade up for them.

Earlier in the column, he recapped some of the things that Dumars has done "wrong": "Now here's the team that should be kicking itself, between passing on Melo and Bosh, giving away Arroyo and Darko, screwing up the Wallace situation and everything else."

First let's address the Darko pick. He's harped on it for years. Yes, Anthony, Bosh, and Wade are better players than Darko. Yes, we passed on 3 of the top 15 players in the NBA for Darko. That being said: It's unfair to kill Dumars for that move. The fact of the matter is that no GM in the entire league would have taken Bosh or Wade over Darko, and pretty much everything I read indicated that there were only a few that preferred Anthony. In addition, I'm positive I heard reports leading up to the draft that some GMs liked Milicic more than LeBron. Dumars didn't screw up more than any other GM in that situation would have. Also, we needed another big man at the time because, remember, we didn't have Rasheed Wallace at that point. And Tayshaun Prince just had his breakout playoff, so we really didn't need a small forward.

Not to mention the possibility (which is a fairly likely one, in my opinion) that Anthony wouldn't have gotten along with Larry Brown, since he didn't play defense and all. Which was kind of important on that team.

So was Darko a great pick? No. Does it look awful in hindsight? Absolutely. Would 80% (at least) of the GM's in the league have made the same mistake? Yup.

As for Darko and Arroyo: It's very questionable if this team a whole lot better with them here. And we got a first round pick in one of the deepest drafts ever (and some cap space) for them.

Onto the Ben Wallace situation. It seems awful funny to me to kill Dumars for "screwing up the Wallace situation" when earlier in the exact same column, Simmons wrote that: "It might have been a mistake to hand out $60 million to a past-his-prime, mercurial, 34-year-old rebounder/defender who can't score, hadn't been an impact player since the defensive rules changed and had just about no chance of getting along with a control freak like Scott Skiles".

It's one or the other. Either the Bulls are stupid for signing him or Dumars is stupid for letting him go. Because it seems to me, that if he's past his prime, he can't score, and he's not an impact player defensively, that maybe Dumars didn't screw us by letting Wallace go. He just refused to overpay and get locked into one of those bad contracts. Keep in mind that Wallace didn't like Flip Saunders at all.

Short-term, it absolutely hurts to have lost Ben Wallace. This team would be better with him (provided that the Wallace/Saunders feud didn't turn into a major distraction--which it VERY well could have). Long-term, we're going to be really happy that that contract isn't on our books. Signing him long-term would've done as much to "screw up this decade" as anything.

It's just another case of Simmons throwing jabs at a team that he has never liked (probably due to the feud with the Celtics back in the day). It's too bad, because otherwise that was a pretty darn entertaining column.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

College Hockey Showcase in Review

When I pleaded with the Wolverine hockey team to "Pretend we're Holy Cross" on Saturday night, I was referencing their hockey team from last season. Not their 2003 football team.

What a brutal result. I figured a loss was coming. I didn't see 8-2 though.

It's another disappointment against the Gophers, but a loss wasn't that shocking. It was the last of a brutal five-games-in-nine-nights stretch, and the Wolverines were finishing up with the best team of the stretch (and in the country) and on the big ice to boot.

I was watching the game in a bar (plug for Joe Koolsky's in Troy…great place, great food) so the details of the game are a little fuzzy. But my overall impression was that they soundly outplayed us, but it was more 5-2 bad rather than 8-2 bad.

The big difference in the game was that Minnesota converted on seemingly every breakaway and odd-man rush that they had, while Michigan didn't. Tim Miller had a glorious scoring chance right off the bat and Briggs made a fantastic save. Johnson (I think) had a breakaway and didn't convert. Cogliano had at least one breakaway and didn't score. Meanwhile, Minnesota got us with the old "Alley-Oop" play from The Mighty Ducks.

We've obviously got big-time problems with allowing short-handed goals. You never like to see one allowed—and we've seen that far too many times this year. Three is completely inexcusable.

I can't say a whole lot more than that. It's hard to get a read on actual players' performances when you're sitting at a bar and also trying to watch the Wings, Pistons, and USC/Notre Dame.

Kyle Okposo, Jim O'Brien, and Mike Carmen were extremely impressive in that game. I always liked Carmen at USA. I think I'm in agreement with WCH on this one that it is hard to believe that O'Brien hadn't scored coming into this game. He's a good player—and it's scary that he's on the fourth line. Damn that's a talented hockey team.

As for the Wisconsin game, I didn't get to watch it. But it says a lot about our team that they were able to come back against the defending champs in their house, after getting down by a couple of goals. I know Wisconsin is struggling right now, but I would gamble that by the end of the season that's going to look like a very nice win for us. I think it already does, despite the Badgers' record.

Overall I'm very happy. Playing Michigan State, Wisconsin and Minnesota in a five day span is no easy task and I said coming into the week that I wanted to see 2 wins. We got them. We were clearly overmatched against the Gophers, but we're not nearly as bad as that score looked. I'm sure that was a tired hockey team, and that's not a good thing when you're going up against a team that's that talented—and you're on Olympic ice.

I feel good about the direction of this team. They've been playing better and better. After going what seemed like 12 years without beating MSU, now they've taken two in a row. They're winning close games. They've shown that they can come back against solid opponents. They've won some low scoring games—which is great to see because it means that Sauer and our defense are playing well. They took 3 road games against Ferris and Wisconsin—places where we've had trouble in recent years. The setback against Minnesota was disappointing but they were due. Now it's time to regroup, play strong hockey heading into the break, and dare I say…get that GLI monkey off our back?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

LOUD NOISES!!!!!!!!!!

I was hoping that post #200 for The Blog That Yost Built would be celebrating a trip to the BCS Championship Game, but sadly it is not. Great football game, though. Both teams obviously made mistakes, but it really doesn’t get a whole lot better than that (ignoring the outcome). 1 vs. 2. Michigan vs. OSU. Michigan coming back to possess the ball, down by 4 points with a chance to go ahead late in the game.

I’m obviously biased, but I will stick with what I said before the game: They lost a very close game, so they deserve a chance to prove it on a neutral field. If a one-loss team is going to the BCS Championship, then how do you not take the team whose only loss was by a field goal against the #1 undefeated team? By definition, every one loss team has a “worse” loss than us.

The only acceptable alternative in my eyes is if Rutgers wins out. If people were talking about Louisville and West Virginia having a shot at the title game, then it’s only fair that if Rutgers does everything that was asked of them that they get a chance to play for it. Especially considering an undefeated Rutgers team will have beaten Louisville and West Virginia on the road. That said, they would lose by 30 to Ohio State.

If the goal is to get the two best teams playing for the national title, then it has to be Michigan vs. Ohio State on a neutral field. Has to be. My only fear is that the voters in the South are going to kill us in an effort to make sure it doesn’t happen, opening the door for an SEC team to perhaps go.

So far, Herbstreit (I believe), Davie, Holtz, Flutie and John freaking Saunders of all people have said they favor a rematch after seeing that game, and the best thing that could happen for us would be for them to keep saying it. Several of them were firmly against a rematch before the game and the performance swayed them. Hopefully it did the same to a lot of the voters. Honestly, I can’t imagine that people would be against seeing these two teams duke it out again on a neutral field. Give each of them a month to prepare for it too? Man.

On to the game:

You have to tip your hat to Jim Tressel, Troy Smith and the Buckeyes. They came out with a gameplan that attacked Michigan’s big weakness—the nickel and dime corners. Oh and Morgan Trent.

I’m sure in the coming weeks we’ll hear that only the fumbled snaps kept this game from being a blowout. And that may be true, but at the same time, Henne missing Manningham on the second drive, Crable’s late hit, Crable’s missed tackle on the first long touchdown run (which is just as much of an execution error as a bad snap), and some questionable (in my eyes) calls on third and short kept Michigan from winning this game. And frankly it would’ve only taken one of those things going the other way to swing the outcome of this game.

Losing Willis absolutely killed us because the backup safeties played like hell as far as I’m concerned. I’ll be curious to see what the final “Yards After Mundy” total is for this game because it has to have been astronomical. The other safeties had some missed tackles as well.

The field conditions hurt Michigan worse than they hurt OSU and I’m not really sure why. Is OSU more used to playing on that surface than Michigan? I find that questionable since it was just installed (unless their other surfaces this year were just as bad). Were they wearing longer cleats or something? I don’t know. But I will say that I can think of at least 6 or 7 plays off the top of my head that resulted in probably close to 200 yards for Ohio State simply because a Michigan player slipped. Add in a couple of them on offense and it was a big problem. You can’t use it as an excuse because both teams had to play on the same surface, but Michigan was definitely hurt by the conditions worse than the Buckeyes. Part of playing at home I guess.

Henne didn’t make any mistakes as far as turnovers go, but he didn’t play a GREAT game. The overthrown ball to Manningham cost us 7 points and with those markers, it’s a completely different game. He wasn’t under any pressure on the play, Manningham didn’t have anyone close to him, and he just missed the throw.

I also thought he was too slow to react to the pocket collapsing around him. And when he did react, it seemed that he was moving back into the rush instead of away from it. Even though Henne played well (don’t get me wrong, he DID play well), we left a lot of points on the field.

The clock management was problematic. Under no circumstance should you have to burn a timeout coming off a kickoff return. That timeout could have been big at the end of the game.

Mike Hart: What can you say. That kid just never quits, he never loses fumbles (I know, I know), he runs for 100 yards or more on everyone, and had Michigan pulled that game out, I think there’s at least a decent chance that HE would be the favorite for the Heisman.

Where Michigan really missed some opportunities was that they didn’t capitalize on their takeaways. 10 points on 3 takeaways isn’t awful, but after we recovered the Smith fumble on third down with a chance to take the lead, I’m pretty sure we went 3 and out. And there was a crucial drop on first down by Manningham, I believe. (Note: I would double check these things, but my grandma has a dialup connection that works off her only phone line so I have to type this post offline)

All in all, it was a great football game and it will go down in the archives as one of the best in this series. I’m sure Classic Sports is licking their chops, as they won’t be able to play this game enough…since we lost and all.

When figuring out who should play in the title game, I offer this in Michigan’s defense.
A) Who are the two best teams in the country? Clearly Ohio State and Michigan.
B) If a one loss team is going to be in the title game, what one loss team has the “Best” loss? Michigan.
C) Las Vegas indicates that homefield is worth 3-4 points. I don’t think anyone would really dispute that. Well, Michigan lost by 3 points on the road to the undefeated #1 team in the country. Play it on a neutral field and what happens?
D) Is there another team in the country (other than OSU obviously) that has been more impressive throughout the entire season as Michigan? USC has been in several close games, and lost to a bad team. Florida has been in several close games, some against bad teams. Arkansas got it put in their pooper by USC. Notre Dame shouldn’t even factor in. Our loss is to #1, their loss is to us, by more points, and at home.
E) (And this point should factor in significantly less than the others) What would be the best matchup for the title? I think we just saw it.

Michigan/OSU for the national title would be epic. Frankly, Ohio State should probably already get the crown as National Champions, but in the system we have that is designed to put the two best teams on the field, I don’t see how you could possibly send another one loss team to the title game over a team that barely lost to the best team in the country, on the road no less.

And if a rematch doesn’t happen, you can go ahead and give OSU the title, because there’s no one in the country other than Michigan that I think could beat them.

If it doesn’t happen, we will have another 12 months to think about the missed opportunities in this one. Because there were a lot.


We lost a great man today. I was lucky enough to meet Bo on two occasions, both through the Michigan Union Bookstore where I worked for 3 years. He came in to do a book signing for "Tradition" and I got to chat with him for a couple of minutes. It wasn't anything more than chit-chat, but for those 2 minutes or so, I had his full attention. He wasn't hurrying me through the line to sign more books. We chatted about how I worked down in Marketing for a little while, which led to a conversation about Jamie Morris ("Isn't he a peach?" quipped Bo). My boss took a picture of us together, and unfortunately that was the one picture on the roll that didn't come out. It's too bad because I would absolutely cherish that photo now.

The second time, my boss brought me along to help out getting the faculty dressed for graduation. In exchange for having to wake up balls early on a Saturday, the perks were that a) I got to help Bo out, and b) I got to go inside the new football locker room. I didn't spend too much time chatting with Coach that day, but I did notice that he was willing to chat with anyone and everyone who wanted some of his time. He would pose for pictures, even sign autographs.

They were just two minor meetings--and combined they probably didn't total more than 5 minutes. And yet, I still feel lucky to have had the opportunity to shake the hand of the person who played such a big role in making Michigan what it is today.

I was sad when I heard the news, obviously. I was working at about 10% capacity this entire week as it was, but when I read Brian's post around 10:00 or so, all work stopped. I was on The Fort hitting F5 over and over, hoping to find out good news, but having a feeling deep down that it wasn't going to be a happy ending today.

The outpouring of support from fans all across the college football world on the free board amazed me, and it spoke to how much of an impact this man had. I actually have to give credit to the Buckeye fans for showing a lot of class today. It didn't go unnoticed and it was appreciated.

I'm sure Ufer was honking his horn to greet the General, and in a way, it's kind of fitting that Bo and Woody will get to watch this game together from the best seats in the house. It had to be this way.

On thing that I was thinking about today is what if Bo didn't come to Michigan and build up this program? Would my dad have become a fan? And thus, would I have become a fan? Would I have gone to this school if I wasn't so die-hard Maize and Blue? It's possible that I wouldn't have. Which means I wouldn't know the girl I've been dating for 2 1/2 years. Just something to think about.....

Godspeed, Bo. We'll miss you. Thank you for everything.

And Michigan? I'm sure if Bo could pass along a message right now it would be simply this: Beat. The. Buckeyes.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

How is This OK?

I want to talk about the fan behavior at Ohio State. And I want to know why the national media doesn't make a bigger issue out of it.

Everyone knows the story about how an email was sent out to Michigan students this week, warning them about things to do and things not to do down in Columbus this weekend. What I want to know is how did it get to the point that an email became necessary? How did it get to the point that Ann Arbor needs to send campus police down to Columbus so the natives have someone to call if they need to? And why isn't anyone talking about it?

Ask any Michigan fan who has been to Columbus if they've had a positive experience and the answer will undoubtedly come back, "No". The M Zone alone detailed a half dozen instances of behavior that goes beyond what normal human beings should exhibit. Dave Shand talked of getting spit on in the stadium because he was wearing a Michigan jacket. We had full cans of beer thrown at us (unprovoked) in 2002. The band has eggs thrown at their bus. It's not an isolated incident here and there.

Ask any Texas fan who was there last year if they enjoyed the experience. Ask any Notre Dame fan who had the "pleasure" of dealing with these animals at the Fiesta Bowl last year if they'd ever trek down to C-Bus. The answers would come back: No, and no. I met several ND fans this year who told me they were really rooting for us to beat OSU based on how they were treated at the bowl game last year. Texas fans on various message boards have echoed that sentiment. Those aren't rivalry's not isolated to just when Michigan goes down there. Those fan bases aren't looking to cause trouble. There goes the "Michigan fans are just asking for it" excuse. Frankly, the Texas fans and Notre Dame fans were classy enough when I attended games that I actually root for Texas now (as long as they aren't playing Michigan) and I've become one of the few Wolverine fans that harbors no ill will toward the Irish and their program.

The fans in Columbus seem bound and determined to create an atmosphere so hostile that opposing fans won't want to come there, thus increasing home-field advantage for their team. Either that or they're just pricks. And it's working. I can't tell you how many people I've talked to that say they will never go down there again. Or that if they go, they're not wearing Michigan clothing.

So why aren't we talking about it? Especially considering that college hockey is a niche sport, it seems absurd to me that it seems the fan behavior at Yost, which basically amounts to swearing, draws more negative attention nationally than the violence in Columbus. Even Rick Reilly cracked on Yost in a recent column:

We have become a nation of !#$%&ers. Michigan hockey fans serenade each opponent sent to the penalty box with a dozen elegant words: "Chump! D---! Wuss! Douche bag! A------! P----! Cheater! Bitch! Whore! Slut! C---------!"

Higher education at its finest.

He wrote an entire column about swearing (the main focus of the column was about what BU is doing to try and prevent it). Where's the column about people attacking other fans en masse? Wouldn't you think that that would be a little more worthy of mention?

Then there's Jim Carty, who stopped jerking off to his photo and portfolio long enough to contribute this pearl of wisdom in response to Reilly's column:

Every time the Michigan football team travels to Ohio Stadium, we're treated to a litany of stories about how badly the Ohio State crowd harasses Wolverine players, coaches and fans. The kids are cursed at. Their parents are cursed at. Senior citizens wearing Michigan gear are cursed at.

Terrible stuff, just terrible.

Unless, of course, you're doing it at Yost, where the C-Ya - nothing more than organized and tacitly university approved name-calling - has been going on for years.

Sorry Jim, but the swearing is just the tip of the iceberg when Michigan fans talk about how badly they are treated down in Columbus. Frankly, I don't care if someone walks up to me and says "F--- Michigan". I'd prefer it not be every other person. I'd prefer that every photo I have of my trip to the Horseshoe not contain someone flipping the bird in the background. But I can deal. Swearing doesn't bother me. Getting full cans of beer thrown at me on the other hand? That bothers me. Knowing that these people are willing to tackle a crippled person without any provocation? That bothers me. The fact that cops will pull over any car with Michigan plates who dares to go 1 mph over the speed limit bothers me. The fact that I had to back into a parking spot out of fear that my Michigan plates would get my car keyed? That bothers me. The fact that my boss's friend had $1,500 worth of damage to his car after a recent foray to The Game? That bothers me.

Paula Weston (who hails from Columbus of all places), talks about the fan behavior at Yost roughly 13 times a season. After another column in January of 2005, she posted this response to emails from Michigan fans:

I've received a good number of messages that take me to task for not denouncing the behavior of OSU fans at football games.

I don't doubt that fan behavior in The 'Shoe is atrocious. I've never actually attended an OSU football game. I'm not a big college football fan, and although I take a passing professional interest in it — and I can't avoid having it crammed down my throat for five months of the year — I just don't care to attend a game.

But, living in Columbus, I have witnessed some shameful behavior from OSU football fans, and one incident comes to mind from 1990, after I had just relocated here from Western New York.


It's the mob mentality, the bully gene that gets me, and I have to say that what I witnessed that day in 1990, during my very first season of Buckeye football in Columbus, has soured me on the football fans here forever.

Why the Michigan hockey fans would want to stoop to the level of OSU football fans is just baffling to me.

That's the thing though. We're not stooping to the level of OSU football fans. We swear. Yes we swear a lot, but it's simply swearing. And 95% of the time it's directed to the players on the ice. Is it classy? Heck no. Does it even come close to what Buckeye fans do? Heck no. And it's absolutely absurd to make that comparison.

No one going to Yost legitimately fears for their safety. I've venture a guess that at least 75% of opposing fans who attend games at Yost come away having had a positive experience (and I'd say that guess is very conservative). I'd like to point out at this time that most of the complaints about the fan behavior at Yost stem from the "Cya chant" and not from how the opposing fans are treated. I can honestly say that I have never seen someone walking around the concourse stop to say "F--- [insert school name]" to an opposing fan. And I walk 2 laps during every intermission. But go to C-Bus and "F--- Michigan" will be heard more often than "Go Bucks!".

To the city of Columbus's credit, they seem to at least be making a token effort to curtail some of this behavior. But it won't matter. And I don't really have any suggestions to fix the problem short of having loads of police that actually give a damn. The national media calling them out on occasion might help as well. Rick Reilly's mention of the issues at Yost caused the administration to have a little chat with the students again. But the only mention of this sub-human behavior by a national figure that I have ever seen came from Kirk Herbstreit this week. And even that was just on WXYT with Doug Karsch.
"I worry about Michigan fans who are coming down to Columbus. That part of the rivalry sucks. It's embarrassing. Do you know how nice it would be for Michigan fans to come down to Ohio and sure, take a little razzing, but have some fun?"
How bout writing a column on ESPN about it, Kirk? He goes on to mention that Michigan fans can be partially at fault as well. In some instances I don't doubt that that is true, but I'd also say that no one comes out and makes statements like "I'm worried about Ohio State fans" or "I'm legitimately scared that someone might get murdered" before the Buckeyes come up to Ann Arbor.

It's sad that we have to discuss this. It's sad that these people think that behavior such as this is ok. And it's sad that seemingly no one beyond the Michigan blogosphere and message boards will talk about it.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Band Director Won't Dance? Mr. Johnson Will.

So who is having a better time in Ann Arbor: Jack Johnson Jr. or Jack Johnson Sr.?

Gotta love Mr. Johnson. Too bad we don't have a video of last weekend when he did the lawn mower. That was classic!

Some belated comments on the weekend, pulled from my posts on The Wolverine's Yost Post:

-Really nice to see Michigan come out and play well for 3 periods. Lots of shots given up, but not a ton of great scoring chances.

-It amazes me sometimes that if there's anyone on this team that's undisciplined, it's our seniors and not the younger guys. Hunwick took another bad penalty Saturday. Dest sold out to try and smoke a guy (up 3-0 mind you), missed him and it led to a 2 on 1 and Summers had to take a penalty to save a goal, and Kolarik got himself an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when Michigan was going to have a power play.

-I loved everything else about Saturday though. Sauer had one of those nights where he LOOKED shaky on a lot of stops, but only one ended up getting past him. Just quite a few of the plays where a harmless shot would hit him in the glove and bounce out. Probably not as dangerous as it looked, but I still get that "Osgood" feeling that every shot could/might go in.

-Maybe a new name for the Hotboard. Ryan Grimshaw from the U-17 team and his folks were sitting next to us. They said they're from the same city that Billy Sauer came from, and that he played with Kevin Quick last year I believe. I believe Kenny Ryan was also at the game. Merrill definitely was. God that kid is big.

-I really do like Lebler.

-Bailey was just out there smoking people Saturday. He had 3 or 4 big hits...funny moment. He hit a kid and knocked him down. He stood over top of him for a few seconds because his stick was caught and he had his hand up in the air to show he wasn't holding him. The puck came back over by them and into that guy's feet. So Bailey brought his hand down, and hit the kid again. It was great.

-Also nice to see the 4th line contributing. Naurato can't do much but shoot. But he did it well tonight.

-Cogliano's play on Miller's goal was just nasty. He came in, deked his way around the guy to the outside, the goalie came with him, Cogs took the puck around the net, then fed Miller in the slot. He had a wide open net. It was gross.

-Our power play was weird Saturday. They had our checking line out there a couple times. It was like we've got a power play and they throw Naurato, Miller and Turnbull or something out there. Then Kolarik and Cogliano were out there together on the PK. Trying to get guys used to playing in different situations? I dunno.

-Wilkens was weird this weekend. Usually he calls everything, but he let them play for the most part this weekend. I'm a fan of letting the guys was an unexpected surprise.

Other thoughts on the weekend from DC Nole and tbarr.

Michigan received Letters of Intent from 5 of their 10 freshmen yesterday. Caporusso, Winnett, Llewellyn, Quick, and Palushaj are signed, sealed and delivered to Ann Arbor. Mike Spath posted comments from Billy Powers about each of them and Bob Miller had his comments on the entire class. The gist is that this class may not have the top-echelon player like Johnson or Cogliano, but they should have much more offense upside than the 2005 class.
Pacioretty has been having a huge year thus far and Bob says there are whispers he could end up being a first round selection.

That brings me to a new feature that I added this week. If you direct your attention to the right sidebar, you'll notice each of our verbal commits listed. Click on their name, and it will take you to their stats, making it nice and easy to keep up with how our future players are doing.

Lastly, if you go to the website of the St. Michael's Buzzers and click on the number one in the screen that comes up, you can see a video of Louie Caporusso netting a hat trick. He's sniping. In their video section they also have video from the semifinal games of the World Junior A Hockey Challenge. Caporusso is on Canada East and Winnett is on Canada West.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Longest Week

I came into work today and promptly spent the first hour of the day talking about Michigan-Ohio State with my boss. I spent the next 45 minutes or so reading The Wolverine, mgoblog, and talking about Michigan-Ohio State with a co-worker.

It's official. I'm going to be useless this week.

It's Monday at 2:15 pm and I simply can't function. It's like how I was the week before Christmas when I was a little kid. Expect instead of RBI Baseball 2 at the end of my wait, it's the biggest football match-up of my lifetime.

The best rivalry in college football. Only this time, it's undefeated vs. undefeated. #1 vs. #2. Not only will the winner take home sole possession of the Big Ten Championship, they will also punch their ticket for the BCS National Championship Game; a game in which they will likely be at least a touchdown favorite.

What happens when you put this much significance onto a game that's already the biggest rivalry in college football? I can't wait to find out.

Football Gods, you owe us this one. After 4 years of John Navarre, Sparty Bob, the debacle that was my sophomore year in college, the Year of Infinite Pain last year, the Sun Belt officiating….you can give us this one. If all that isn't enough, I propose you go knock on the Hockey Gods' door and buy up the debt owed to me for Jason Ryznar's waived off goal as well.

And do you really want to let those drunk-ass, mullet-wearing, bird-flipping, white-trash, scum-of-the-earth, phantom-pass-interference-championship-winning, Clarett-loving, city-burning, M-Club-banner-ripping, yard-marker-throwing, can-of-beer-chucking, basketball-player-paying…..ERRR can't go there, Dave-Shand-harassing, Heisman-Trophy-breaking, library-masturbating, horrible-rapping, motherfucking assholes and their fans to get to enjoy another title? Didn't think so.

Besides, you still owe us for that half-championship that Fat Phil decided to gift to Nebraska.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Link-O-Rama About Kevin Quick

As Bob Miller reported on The Yost Post, Michigan received a commitment late last week from Salisbury prep defenseman Kevin Quick, a 2006 third round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning. He’s listed as 6’0” 175. Last year for the 25-1-2 Varsity team, he posted a 3-20—23 line and was +45 with only 6 PIMs.

Here’s a sampling of information from around the internet on the newest Wolverine verbal:

Western College Hockey says this about him:

“All-around solid defenseman. Does everything pretty well. 11th best defenseman at 2005 Select 17 Festival.Drafted 78th by Tampa Bay in 2006 NHL Draft. Narrowed choices down to Michigan, Ohio State, Clarkson, and Providence.”

McKeen has a long question and answer with him from February of 2006. It’s well worth the read. Quick says that, “I think I am an offensive defenseman, and also can play solid defense. I can join the rush and create an odd man advantage and still get back to play defense. My strengths would be passing, and skating. I think I am a good skater. My weaknesses would be I need to get bigger and stronger and this will help improve many areas of my game, and burying more of my chances.”

He also goes on to say that Billy Sauer is one of the five best players he has ever played against. “[He’s] an amazing goalie who is a great kid off the ice too. He is a sound goalie who is consistent and we see that this year at Michigan. He holds teams in games and helped a lot in winning the nationals with the Buffalo Saints a few years ago.”

All due respect to our new young’un, but I don’t think “consistent” would be the first word I’d use to describe Billy Sauer’s play last year.

McKeen also raves about him in the “player profile” section:

03/28/2006 - An excellent skater with loads of offensive potential .. good vision and good hands .. not afraid to get involved in the physical aspect of the game .. not an overly aggressive checker, but good at clearing bodies in front of his team's net .. follows plays and anticipates quite well .. shows remarkable patience with the puck and possesses a good, hard shot .. whenever the opportunity presents itself, he is willing to jump up to join in offensive situations. His patience under pressure proved to be very valuable at the end of the game when Salisbury took the lead .. never scrambled when Taft swarmed around the net .. an effortless skater, who has shifty moves for a defenseman .. played a ton of minutes with Alex Biega .. his draft stock could have gone up a bit with his performance.

01/01/2006 - A member of the USA U-18 team, Quick is not only very responsible in his own zone, but also possesses solid offensive capabilities .. shows an ability to carry the puck up the ice and is an integral part of Salisbury's power play .. moves the puck extremely well and makes hard, sharp passes .. also boasts a good point shot which he consistently keeps low and on target .. very quick on his feet .. displays impressive two-way instincts and is a legitimate pro prospect.

09/02/2005 - (u18) solid all-around defenseman was at his best early on, but retreated for a more stay-at-home style deeper into the tournament. Scouting: good skater for his size with decent ability and lateral movement .. acceptably strong on his feet .. mobile enough to stay with his man at most times .. sound, safe positionally .. some offensive upside, as he has good enough hands to corral most passes and make quick, accurate feeds .. good instincts and hockey sense .. hard slap shot but struggles with accuracy .. has an edge and doesn't lose position when going for a hit .. effective and persistent playing along the boards.

From Hockey’s Future:

The smooth-skating, offensively skilled (yet defensively responsible) playmaking defenseman was invited to Tampa Bay’s summer prospect camp. Quick made perhaps the biggest impact of any of the invites, bringing dynamic playmaking ability with levelheaded decision-making far beyond his years to camp.

They say he’s likely a power-play QB. has this profile:

Quick is a US high school player out of Salisbury Prep in New England who fills the Lightning's role need for an offensive defenseman. Quick is an excellent skater and talented puckhandler who helped lead his team to the New England Prep School championship. He has a hard one time shot on the power play and is as smart in the defensive zone as he is in the offensive third of the ice as he was +45 after 20 games this season. He doesn't have ideal size but he isn't afraid to mix it up physically. Red Line compares him to Buffalo's Brian Campbell and sees him as a player who was "definitely flying under the radar" going into this draft. As of our latest information he has yet to commit to a college.

Positives: Outstanding skater with excellent balance and agility. Confident puckhandler and loves to jump into the play. Smart at both ends of the ice. Not afraid to get involved physically.
Negatives: Undersized. Has only played prep level competition to this point and it remains to be seen how he will handle the next level of hockey.

They list him as Tampa Bay’s 13th best prospect (HF has him 18th) and as the 5th best blue-liner in the organization.

In another article, they drop the JJ bomb:

The 6-foot, 175-pound defenseman took his official visit to the CCHA school this past weekend. Considering that Quick has drawn comparisons to current Michigan defensive standout Jack Johnson, his decision to play for the Wolverines bodes well for his continued development.

Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster called the choice "great," saying Michigan is "one of the best programs in the country."

"[Kevin] will be well-coached and well-developed there," Feaster stated. "I believe it is an excellent choice."

Tampa Bay’s official site talks about him after the draft, and uses the obvious play on his name to talk about his speed:

With its second pick, in the third round, the Lightning selected a defenseman tailor-made for the new NHL, Kevin Quick from The Salisbury (prep) School in Salisbury, Connecticut. His last name is quite fitting as he is regarded as a quick-skating offensive defenseman in the mold of current Lightning defenseman Dan Boyle.

“He’s one of the most fluid skaters in this year’s draft,” Lightning Chief Scout Jake Goertzen said. “He is a very agile, puck-moving defenseman and is very well-suited for the new NHL."

Sounds like a very nice pickup for Michigan. Especially considering the severe lack of returning defensemen we could have next year.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Comments on the "Good" Michigan-MSU Game

Didn't get to catch Friday night's loss due to volleyball and my own hockey game, but they looked pretty good last night. Random thoughts:

-Sauer would like to have the first one back for sure (got caught looking over his right shoulder when the puck was behind the net, they came out to his left and stuffed it...he never moved), but apart from that he played very well. Absolutely can't fault him on the second goal. He did a great job at locating the puck...lots of goalmouth scrambles tonight.

-Jason Dest is going to get killed when they look at the film of the second goal. We were killing a 5 on 3 (the call on Summers was BS, and I didn't see the one on Johnson but I'm betting that they wouldn't have called it on 99% of the other players in college hockey...seemed to be the trend tonight) and Dest cross-checked someone in the slot (It was a legit call, he did it Chelios-style). When Dest saw the ref was going to make the call, he stopped playing to look up at the sky in disbelief. When he did that, the MSU player snuck in behind him and scored.

-Great crowd tonight and they were loud. The maize out really works when they give out shirts (go figure!).

-Hensick and Porter were outstanding tonight. Hensick was a "passing machine" as tbarr put it, and Porter actually hit the net about 70% of the time, including his second goal, which I believe went 6-hole (over the head) on Lerg. I've been waiting for one of those since Mini-Me came into the CCHA. I think teams are starting to figure him out; he's had an awful year so far. Hensick actually was pretty good defensively tonight as well. He even lined someone up in the third period. Didn't quite connect, but Jack still would've been proud.

-Shegos called a terrible game. Just brutal.

-Johnson and Hunwick were really disciplined defensively tonight. Neither one had a rush that was remotely irresponsible. Solid stuff out of both of them tonight. Funny enough, the defenseman that made it the furthest into the zone tonight was Cook.

-I haven't seen the last 3 games, but I'm guessing the turnovers finally caught up with Kampfer as he was sitting tonight.

-I still can't believe Cogliano's wheels. Every time I see that kid play his speed just amazes me.

-I was really happy with how guys were throwing their bodies at the puck tonight. Haven't seen the blocked shot numbers but we had a LOT.

-Can't even get the alumni band director to dance anymore. That's sad.

-I wish they allowed fighting, so we could see Tim Miller drop the gloves. I'm guessing Kennedy wouldn't have been talking so much at the end of the game if Miller or Johnson was allowed to beat his head in. Miller just cross-checked him instead. Got his money's worth on that one. Not sure how Jack ended up in the box beyond "he was on the ice so he must've roughed someone after the whistle". He actually showed restraint because Kennedy hit him first and Jack didn't pop him back like you know he wanted to.

-Naurato has such a great release on his snap shot. It really makes you wish he could do more out there and be kind of a Kaleniecki type player.

-If Kolarik ever gets a "C" or "A" on his jersey, he wins the Scott Matzka Memorial Award for "Most likely to be stripped of it for blowing up on the ref".

That's all I got.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Teams in Review

Time to catch up on my various teams:

Let's start with Michigan hockey. I didn't see either game against Northeastern, so it's hard for me to comment, other than to say that losing to them is extremely disappointing, as is the fact that it took an overtime goal by us to avoid taking just 1 point at home vs. a lower-half Hockey East team.

It appears that the "Red Wing powerplay" that we debuted in the second game against Miami reared its ugly head again Saturday night, going 0 for 12 with the man advantage. There's no reason for a team with that much talent to not score on that many PP opportunities.

From what I saw on the Wolverine Sports Magazine, it looks like Billy Sauer wasn't really the problem. He made some HUGE saves in both games. And it seems like he's been absolutely outstanding on breakaways this year.

As for the Jack Johnson suspension: He deserved the DQ, and I'm not sure how anyone who watched the tape could say otherwise. He jumped the kid and pounded him for quite awhile. That said, I applaud Jack for doing it. You have to protect your goalie, and a beatdown of that punk was absolutely warranted.

As for the Northeastern player, he should've been given a match penalty and a DQ for intent to injure. That was about as blatant of a charge of the goalie as I've ever seen. He made no effort to stop and just plowed our goaltender. He's just lucky Jack didn't beat his ass any worse.

You would think that after the Exter/Eaves situation, the NCAA would be all about cracking down on players running the goaltender, but they haven't shown any interest in doing so that I know of. If they're willing to put a no-tolerance rule in for hitting from behind, which leads to minor bumps drawing 5 and a game, why not do the same for hitting the goaltender?

If they're not going to allow fighting, then they need to do something to keep guys from crashing into the goalie. Don't think for a second that teams would have run Montoya nearly as much if Mike Brown was allowed to throw down when he wanted to. Don't think for a second that teams would run Billy Sauer if Jack Johnson and Timmy Miller could drop the gloves.

Jack did what he had to do. It sucks that we're playing Sparty tonight instead of say, Ferris, and even though I'm sure the media will blow it up into another "OMG JACK JOHNSON IS OUT OF CONTROL" story, this incident was completely 100% warranted.

We need to get a win against State this weekend. I don't care if it's tonight or tomorrow, but we absolutely HAVE to get at least one, and I'd really like 3 points. If I'm not mistaken, if we don't get a win in this home-and-home, it will mark the longest we have EVER gone without beating the Spartans. That's a problem.

To football now:
I missed the Northwestern game due to my brother's wedding in Maine (unfortunately, there was no Julie "The Cat" Gaffney sighting when I was in Bangor). As for what happened though, I'll revert back to what I said after Central and Vandy: People need to calm down. As Bill Simmons put it when talking about the Patriots, we only pulled out just enough to win (and if you don't get the reference, you're luckier than me).

It was crappy weather, we're banged up, and we were playing a bad football team. Yes in past years, not respecting the opponent has cost us wins, but did anyone really think Northwestern was going to score on our defense? I didn't.

You know tomorrow we're going to get our 28 points and then just ride out the game. They'll score against our scrubs, we'll walk out of there with a 31-10 win or something and everyone will be panicking even more. They're not going to show anything until November 18th and the sooner people realize it, the better. This is a great football team, and they're on cruise control until the real National Championship game down in Franklin Counnnnnnnnty.

Lately the topic of a rematch in the BCS title game has come up. My view on it is this: If Michigan wins on the road against the Buckeyes, they don't deserve to get a rematch. If Michigan gets blown out in Columbus, we don't deserve a rematch. If, however, it's a very close game (I'm talking like within a field goal, or a very late touchdown providing the margin of victory) then Michigan probably deserves the chance to prove who is better on a neutral field. Vegas says homefield is worth what? 3-4 points? If we're within that, then I think a rematch on a neutral field is probably warranted.

Will it happen? I doubt it. It's looking like Louisville will be coming out of the Big East unbeaten (Go Cards!) after that win last night (Entertaining game by the way). And either team losing at this point in the year probably drops them behind Florida. Unless UM loses and gets blown out in the process, I can't see the loser of this game dropping below Texas though. OSU smoked them in Austin, and Michigan would be playing that same OSU team, only on the road.

It's going to be interesting regardless. And it's nice knowing that as long as we don't stuff up in the next two games, we've got the Rose Bowl as a worst case scenario. There are worse things in the world, as much as I want to go to the BCS Championship Game.

Packers:It's hard to say how good or how bad that team actually is. They've lost to 4 teams with records .500 or better, and they've beaten the three worst teams in football. They're currently sitting at 3-4 with 9 games to play, and looking at their schedule the rest of the way, I don't think 9-7 is completely out of the question. Likely? Heck no. But definitely possible.

Buffalo, NYJ, Detroit, SF are all very winnable games, though they'll be underdogs against the Bills and Jets. Win all four of those, and we're sitting at 7 wins. A split with Minnesota is pretty likely in my eyes (especially since the game at Lambeau is the home finale, and a night game in December).

Then they'd have four games left: New England, Seattle, Minnesota away and Chicago away. Gotta win one of those four to get to nine wins. Beating New England is very unlikely, but the other 3 are possible (the Bears will have everything wrapped up by the time they meet in week 17).

Like I said, is it likely? Heck no. I think 7-9 or 8-8 is what they're looking at right now. But I'll take having at least an outside shot at the playoffs. I'd really like to have the St. Louis and New Orleans games back right about now though. At least one of those should have been a win.

I love the way Charles Woodson has played as of late. The Green Bay media (and Packers fans as well) are really starting to come around on him. He's been outstanding the last couple of games.

And don't look now, but Brett Favre hasn't thrown a pick in 3 games, and he has just 5 for the season (4 of the 5 have been with the Packers trailing by 8 points or more). Amazing how much better a guy can look when his team isn't trailing 90% of the time and he's got a line that can somewhat protect him isn't it?

My last thought on the Packers: Why don't more teams run zone blocking? In the last four games, it's gone like this:Morency: 99 yards
Herron: 120 yards
Green: 110 yards
Green & Morency: 105 apiece
It seems they're getting to the point of being able to plug in a back and count on 100 yards, now that the line is starting to figure this thing out. Denver and Atlanta have run with great success, and Michigan is doing pretty well this year as well. The more I read about it, the more I can't believe that every team in the league isn't running this system.

To the Wings:
They're starting to play a little bit better, though I'm still very concerned about our offense. I think the power play and penalty kill will sort themselves out. Too many holdovers from last year's brilliant special teams for them to stay bad the entire year. Hasek is a notoriously slow starter, so I'm sure his play will improve. They need to find a scoring winger at some point this season though. Bondra would be a great pickup, and I don't know why no one has signed him yet.

Even though they've run off 5 straight now, I still can't help but feel that we're headed for another tank job in April. They're the same type of team they've been for the past few years, only now we've lost 60 goals of our offense and haven't replaced it.

That's all I've got for now. Beat State, dammit.