Monday, January 23, 2006

Breaking Down the Carnage

More notes on Michigan’s disappointing 5-2 loss to the Falcons:

--In his return, Jack Johnson was on the ice for 4 of BGSU’s goals, and both of Michigan’s.

--Matt Hunwick took 3 penalties. All of them resulted in PPGs for the Falcons, including two that put the game out of reach after Michigan had made it 3-1. I’ve heard from a couple of different people that he was benched for much of the third period. Not really what you want to see out of one of your captains. That’s very Scott Matzka.

--Michigan gave up 3 short-handed breakaways during the game. This has been a disturbing trend for a team that coming into the weekend had given up 6 SHGs in their last 12 games. The goalies stopped all three, but the coaches can’t be happy about that, even if they were pinching more than usual due to the score.

--Bowling Green tallied 49 shots on goal. It’s very possible that the scoring staff at BGSU was more generous with the shot totals than most rinks, but 49 is still waaay too many to be giving up. Our defense has been comically bad for the last 2 months or so.

--I’ve also heard that the coaches may finally be coming around to the idea of splitting up Jack Johnson and Matt Hunwick. The duo was on the ice for the first goal, and a bad pinch led to an odd-man rush and a goal. On the second goal, they were out there again and Michigan had (guess what??) a turnover in their own end.

--The last time Michigan lost 4 consecutive road games? The last year we didn’t make the tournament. Nice omen.

--On the bright side, Chad Kolarik is still rolling. He has 4 multi-point games in his last six and has tallied 9 points in that time.

We’re just playing stupid, stupid hockey right now. 14-9-1 (9-6-1) is not a record I expect out of a Michigan hockey team. With 2 more against Sparty this week (who we haven’t beaten in 5 tries), that .500 mark in conference could be getting closer and closer. I still haven’t given up on this season. Two years ago, Denver finished 5th in the WCHA and lost in the first round of their conference tournament. We have the talent to make a run, they just have to get back to playing like they were at the start of the season. All it takes is getting hot for 4 games. It’s doable.


Anonymous said...

Maybe you should look at what really happened on those goals. The bad pinch you refer to started out as a 1 on 2, JJ jumped the one, he just slid it over latterely and the UM forward was caught withoput picking up his man, now it's a 2-1. Get it right. The forwards have some responsibility. Weren't 2 goals shorthanded? What your seeing is 2 different teams, a home team and a road team. This team needs more grit. If you are so down on JJ's play, why don't you recommend he turn pro and leave it to Cook/Dest etc. I am NOT slamming the other kids, its just that what UM really needs is MORE of JJ! Put JJ out with Cogs, he at least passes. At World Juniors the Canadian press said he played 40 minutes a game and was voted to the all tourney team. Why don't you ask the others to step up to his level instead of blaming Jj/Hunwick. By the way, how many games can you win scoring 0 goals? and how tough is it to win with only 2 goals. I am not sure d is the problem, look at where is the offense. Especially when 2 d'men are tied for second in scoring. This team cannot score 5-5. Breaking up the d is not the answer, they need MORE of them. Go Blue!

Packer487 said...

Holy crap, calm down a little bit. I'm the LAST person in the world that wants to see Jack Johnson turn pro--hell I just got a Johnson 27 USA Throwback made up last week. He's my FAVORITE player on the team, but the fact remains that he and Hunwick have NOT played well together as of late.

You're right, I didn't see the goals. On the first goal, you mention that there were 2 Wolverines back: Jack and a forward. Where was Hunwick?

I view the defense as a bigger problem than the offense in that we haven't managed to win a single game this year when we've scored less than 3 goals. Where are the 2-1, 2-0 wins? But look at these goal totals in our losses: 4, 6, 3, 4, 4, 6, 4, 2, 5...that's not going to get it done. Michigan is the 3rd ranked team in the country in offense, but they rank 26 in defense giving up almost 3 goals per game.

Having Hunwick and Johnson together 5 on 5 doesn't do us much good IMO. It's not smart to have both D pinching, so why not split them up and put them each with more of a stay at home guy? That way your two best offensive dmen have the green light to go, but someone responsible will be back to cover for them. They've been beat for breakaways/odd-man rushes far too many times late in games. Ebbett even stated that there are too many guys looking to score and they're not worrying about defense. I have to believe that's directed at the #1 D pair.

Anonymous said...

Just another observation about defense, aren't Jj and Hunwick leading the team in plus/minus? I believe the forwards shoulder more responsibility than you do as far as d goes. Look at the scoring, let's say JJand Hunwick are out, shouldn't at least one forward have the awareness to cover? After all, they don't seem to be scoring 5-5 anyway. I mentionedthe difference between home and away, take a look at that, it really tells a story. I do know that no one wants to win more thn JJ, maybe that's why he gets carried away-his passion is incredible, never lets up at all. We need more of that. Go Blue

Packer487 said...

Timmy Miller is actually first, but Johnson and Hunwick are 2 and 3 in +/-, so that is a point taken. But if you think those two have played well together lately, you're just mistaken. And it looks like the coaches are leaning in the direction of splitting them up, at least to try it.

I have noticed once in awhile that a forward hasn't come back, but that's not really what I get upset about with Johnson and Hunwick. I'm talking about when the puck is around the top of the dot, and one of the guys goes to try and hold it in the zone, the opposing player beats him to it and it's a 2 on 1 the other way. They have to be a little smarter about when they pinch.

Look at the breakaway goal that MSU had. Johnson and Hunwick appeared to be in a little bit too deep and they let the MSU guy get behind them. It was the same thing against Wisconsin for the GWG, and against whoever we played after Wisconsin--when our goalie made a save to keep us up by 1.

We are a different team at home than we are away. Especially with a young team that doesn't surprise me. That being said, there's no excuse to be below .500 on the road.

I love Johnson's passion. I said it after the State game when he got that penalty when people were talking about how there was 1 minute left so he shouldn't have hit him....bull. Give me 22 guys who play til the final horn and I'll be happy.

He does have to be smarter about picking his spots though, now that he's a marked man. He has 106 PIMs and the next highest on the team has 47.