Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Curiosity in the Sports World

If anyone needs an indication that people in the CCHA offices just aren’t paying attention, check out their weekly release with the award finalists.

“Best Defensive Defenseman:

Andy Greene, Miami
Matt Hunwick, Michigan
Nathan Oystrick, Northern Michigan”

What dude, what dude, what dude??? Matt Hunwick? Why don’t we go ahead and give Tim Cook the Offensive Defenseman award, or Jack Johnson the Lady Byng Trophy? Put it this way, with Jack being up for best Offensive D-man, if Hunwick was truly one of the best defensive defensemen in the CCHA, we would have without a doubt the finest pairing the country. Instead, most people want to see the two of them split up. And there’s no doubting Jack’s offensive ability……..

Ebbett should be a lock for best defensive forward.

Osgood really makes me laugh. By all accounts, he was outstanding the 2-0 win over Anaheim earlier in the week. I wouldn't know. I don't watch games that he starts. But check out the campaigning after the game:

"That was the key for me. Just go out there and play and not make a big
deal out of it. Obviously it would be easier if I played a little more."

"Manny is going to play the majority of the games," Osgood said. "But it
would be nice to play a little more."

Calm down a little bit there, tiger. Let's start with going back to back games without getting yanked (which he hasn't done since 12/31 and 1/3) before we start talking about consistent PT eh?

The other curiosity this week comes from Allan Muir from CNNSI:
In his column, he lists 10 potential NHL Deadline Deals that would be “Matches Made in Heaven”. Some of them do in fact make sense. McCabe to Carolina, Jokinen to Ottawa, even Samsonov to Detroit I could see. But then there was this:

Phoenix deals Curtis Joseph to Ottawa for 2006 second-rounder.
The Sens have too much on the line to risk going into the playoffs with Ray Emery as their starting netminder. With no concrete timetable for Dominik Hasek's return from the groin injury he suffered in Torino, Ottawa needs a capable veteran
Phoenix might want a prospect as well as a pick in return for CuJo, but the market for goaltending has cooled off considerably.

Now, I may not be an NHL guru or anything like that. But I will go out on a limb here, and say that there are two teams that you will not see Curtis Joseph play for. One is the Detroit Red Wings (and as bad as they treated him, I don’t blame him a bit). The other is the Ottawa Senators. There is just absolutely no way that he is going to play second fiddle to Dominik Hasek again. There is no way that a team is going to invite that circus to come back to town.

Maybe Vancouver could sign Steve Moore to play on a line with Bertuzzi. Maybe Terrell Owens will sign with whatever team Jeff Garthia ends up going to. Maybe Chris Kunitz and ‘anny Richmon’ will sign with the Wild because they like playing defense so much. Yes Ottawa probably wants a backup goalie. I would be absolutely shocked if that goalie is Curtis Joseph though. It’s just not going to happen with Hasek already there.

This isn't a curiosity but it made me very happy when I read it in the Detroit News today, especially the last sentence.

The Griffins, Detroit's minor league affiliate in Grand Rapids, is duplicating
the Wings' red-hot season. Forward Donald MacLean scored a franchise-record 47th
goal in Sunday's 6-1 victory over the Rochester Americans. The Griffins lead with
the American Hockey League with 43 victories and 91 points (43-16-1-4). Griffins
goalie Jimmy Howard is 16-4-2, and has helped the Griffins earn points in 14 of
his last 15 starts (12-1-1-1).

Doesn’t Howard have to be Detroit’s back-up next year at the very worst? That was an absolute blessing that he fell to the Wings in that draft.

Michigan hockey landed a second round date with Ferris State. I say bring em on! If there’s one team that I want to see back at Yost, it’s the Bulldogs. They’re a solid opponent, and they have just as much to gain/lose as Michigan in this series (don’t believe me, check out the PWR…they’re right on our butts), but Michigan has to be pissed over the way the regular season ended. They’ll be ready to go against FSU. The question is can they put a solid weekend together for the first time since December. I’m fully counting on being at Yost all 3 days this weekend. I think this is a pretty reasonable estimate of how I think this series will go.
Michigan wins in 2: 30%
Michigan wins in 3: 40%
Ferris wins in 3: 20%
Ferris wins in 2: 10%

I’m not going to dig the post out, but an FSU fan on USCHO before the regular season series between these two teams posted that Mitch O’Keefe had a scholarship offer from Michigan contingent upon Al leaving. Al took too long to decide, so O’Keefe went to Ferris instead. Does anyone know if that’s true or not? My BS-o-meter was beeping away when I read that because I had honestly never heard O’Keefe’s name until 2 weeks ago (Ferris is an irrelevant program to me when they’re not playing Michigan or in a battle with Michigan for seeding). I have a hard time believing that I wouldn’t have heard him mentioned by Bob Miller or Mike Spath if the Wolverines were recruiting him—let alone if they offered him a scholarship and they wanted him to be their goalie of the future. I had heard of Sauer, I had heard of Jakiel. We even heard about Jimmy Spratt. I don’t recall hearing O’Keefe’s name ever brought up.

Lastly, RIP Kirby Puckett. He was around back when I still actually liked baseball, and even though I wasn’t a Twins fan, you could tell that was one of the truly good guys in sports.


Chris said...

It very well could be true, but the scholarship offer would have been dependent on Al leaving after his *sophomore* season, not last season.

It was probably very similiar to the recruitment of Jimmy Spratt. Michigan was interested when it looked like Al might leave during the summer after his sophomore year and the field of possible replacements was thin, but once Al decided to come back, it gave Michigan the opportunity to recruit a lot of other goalies for the following year's class.

Packer487 said...

Gotcha. Thanks for the info!

Anonymous said...

In the summer of 2004, Michigan had considered both O'Keefe and Spratt as last minute replacements if Montoya left prior to his junior season. Since there was no need for this contingency as Al returned for his Jr. season, I guess Michigan opened its recruiting again for a "younger" goalie and got the verbal from Sauer and Jakiel in the winter of '05 with O'Keefe and Spratt also committing to their respective schools in this timeframe.

Packer487 said...

That makes sense...It didn't occur to me that the FSU poster could have been talking about the summer following Montoya's sophomore year. The post said something along the lines of "Michigan wanted O'Keefe if Montoya went pro. It took Al too long to make up his mind, so O'Keefe committed to Ferris instead."

I knew something was screwed up with the timing, since I was pretty sure Sauer had already committed during Al's junior year, so it never would have been an issue of him making up his mind. Forgot the "Al Watch" was on after his sophomore year too...ya know, since he actually stayed and most Michigan players don't do that....