Thursday, March 16, 2006

March Madness, I Love It!

But I ain't talking about the bouncy-ball stuff. I love that too, but I love it significantly more when Michigan is playing in a game that's remotely relevant. And being that they haven't been in one of those games in March since before I could drive by myself (note that I'm 2 years out of college now) let's shift to hockey.

Michigan gets it going tomorrow night against Sparty, and will make an attempt to not go completely winless against the Spartans in 05-06 (barring an NCAA Tourney matchup). If there's ever a game that could break Yale/Union's 5 OT game, this one is it. The Spartans come in looking to potentially grab a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, while the Wolverines have solidified themselves in the field, and with a good showing at the Joe could potentially grab a #2 seed and hopefully not end up in Grand Forks where they would get run.

Last weekend was Michigan's most complete weekend of the season. They played outstanding hockey for 5 of the 6 periods, the third period of game 1 being the lone exception. Jack Johnson and Matt Hunwick were absolutely awesome together, for the first time since before the Showcase. Per a surprisingly good article from a Daily writer not named Ian or James Dowd, Jack was on the ice for 7 of Michigan's 10 goals last weekend, while only on the ice for one of FSU's 5 tallies. That article also had this quote from Jack about the "Three more years!" chants:

"I was aware (they were chanting)," Johnson said. "The only way you're going to get me out of (Michigan) is at gunpoint."

Then again, Komo said he was staying four. It's looking better for a return of Jack next year though.

Anyway, I have a bigger challenge than the Michigan hockey team tomorrow night. I'm going to be at a comedy show at 7:30 (dammit!) and my goal is to make it home and watch my tape of the game without finding out who won. So off goes the cell phone, down comes AIM, and with a little luck maybe I can make it through for once without finding out the score. Or the game will still be in OT.

Some quick stats on our recruits for the next several years:

Trevor Lewis: 2nd leading goal scorer in the USHL: 51 GP, 32-38—70, +28, 63 PIMs, 12 PPG

Aaron Palushaj (89 bday): 52 GP, 10-21—31, +13, 53 PIMs,

Steve Jakiel: Since the trade 8-4-1 2.63 GAA, .914 save % (note the other goalie is 12-16-2 with a 3.69, .880). Overall he is 18-10-3 with a 3.06, .898

Tristin Llewellyn: 44 GP, 5-5—10, -5, 111 PIMs, has 2-3—5 and is +4 in 19 games since the trade

Steven Kampfer: 51 GP, 5-6—11, -5, 76 PIMs

Chris Summers: 49 GP, 5-10—15, 54 PIMs (2-7—9 in 22 games against NCAA teams)

Target Pat Kane: 48 GP, 41-39—80, 18 PIMs, 13 PPG (13-16—29 in 22 games against NCAA teams)

Matt Rust: 52 GP, 13-12—25, 56 PIMs for the U-17s

Louie Caporusso: Playoffs: 13 GP, 5-6—11, 6 PIMs, Regular Season: 48 GP, 29-44—73, 44 PIMs, 9 PPGs. Team is one game away from advancing to the semifinals.

Brian Lebler: 54 GP, 23-12—35, 11 PPGs. Team did not make the playoffs

Max Pacioretty: No stats, but his team went to the New England Finals before losing to who the coaches called maybe the top high school team in the country. It looks like he had a big play in the semifinals.

AJ Jenks: 66 GP, 26-29—55, +27, 97 PIMs and apparently never loses faceoffs.

Robbie Czarnik: 28 GP, 31-39--70, 48 PIMs, 6 PPGs. He has scored a point in 27 of his 28 games played.

David Wohlberg: 26 GP, 16-34--50, 71 PIMs, has scored a point in all but 3 games for them.

Czarnik is 1st on the team in scoring, Wohlberg is second, the next highest on the team has 35 points. Looks like our guys are doing most of the damage for them. The team is 26-1-1.

From what I've been told, Czarnik is just awesome and may in fact be too good to play college hockey. The latter three have all been invited to USA's camp so hopefully we'll get to see them play in Ann Arbor quite a bit in the future.

Stupid question of the week courtesy of Eric from Ft. Collins, CO in John Buccigross's mailbag.

In your estimation, is Joe Sakic HOF worthy? Two Cups and a Smythe, Hart, Bing and a Bud Light Plus/Minus to his name. Seven 30-plus, five 40-plus and two 50-plus goal-scoring regular seasons, three 100-plus-point seasons, career average well over a point per game. He will end this season with 650 total goals & and is an all-around decent guy. Playing the homer for a minute, I think he deserves it when he is done.

Playing the homer you think he deserves it? I hope Yzerman gets in. (Note: Dino Ciccarelli scored over 600 goals and he's not in, so maybe it's not as dumb of a question as I thought. I think Dino should get in too, but Sakic is still a first-ballot guy, no question)

Jay Sharpe, whom I've mentioned on here before as a guy who is obviously tuned in to someone in the Packers organization (and who admittedly may be sending him smoke screens) posted on The Wire that Ted Thompson is expected to have a huge signing by the end of the week (no name was given). Terrell Owens' name keeps coming up, and would allow the Packers to move Javon Walker, either for more picks or as part of a deal to move up in the draft. Vinatieri is also expected to be signed.

I love what Ted Thompson has done in the first few days of Free Agency. He's locked up two of's top 10 free agents (Kampman and Pickett) and he's very possibly going to land another one in Vinatieri. He's avoided giving average players huge deals (Like what Brian Williams got from the Jags) and he's re-upped with a bunch of the guys I wanted to keep. Get Henderson locked up, sign another 1-2 WRs (I'm not sure how I feel about TO. If JWalk is dead set on getting out and it's a contract that protects the team if he flakes out, I'm all for it), a Kicker and a LB and we're in pretty darn good shape heading into the draft. They've got a ton of options out there, and it's nice to see them starting to make some moves.


Anonymous said...

The comment from Jack in the Daily article was nice, but this one from INCH was decidedly more non-committal:

INCH: Most people believe this will be your only year at Michigan. What do you say to that?

JJ: I’m just having fun right now, and I’m going to take it one year at a time. I’m at Michigan right now and having fun, so that’s about it.

So who really knows? I want to see him for one more year, but we all know how Michigan hockey summers go...

Anonymous said...

I was aaaaat the Joe tonight and overheard Brian Burke telling Jack's Dad that Anaheim just made an offer to Carolina for Jack. The player was a "real" player. Jack Sr. and Burke were indiscussion for quite a while. Later I saw Jack's Dad talking to Ken Holland. Could be an interesting summer. I want him back, but why turn down a million bucks?

Packer487 said...

I wonder if Brian Burke is realizing that he screwed up by not taking him. Bobby Ryan could turn out to be a fantastic player, but a defenseman that skates & has the offensive moves of a forward, but can kill people is so hard to come by.

He's already turned down a million bucks once...they can't offer him more than they have (unless there's a small increase worked into the CBA). It just depends if he's ready for hockey to be his entire life I guess.

Anonymous said...

Czarnik is good in his own age group. I seen him play for years and when the game gets physical he disappears. Interesting to see how his game changes playing NAHL players next year at the NTDP. Today he lacks heart to play in traffic. Softy scoring easy goals in a soft 90 league.

For UofM's sake hope he matures into a premier player with more heart and character.