Monday, October 09, 2006

Have Some Sparty

I think it was an omen.

Up in the booth, they were playing the usual Michigan pregame music cd (You know, the one with "Lady" by Lenny Kravitz). The song changes. The Michigan State Spartans come out of the tunnel. And what do we hear? Nickleback. And they couldn't have picked a better song:

"How the hell did we wind up like this? Why weren't we able to see the signs that we missed"

"Someday, somehow, gonna make it alright but not right now. I know you're wondering when"


"Now the story's played out like this/Just like a paperback novel/Lets rewrite an ending that fits/Instead of a hollywood horror"

It wasn't intentional. It was in the normal sequence of the cd, but how perfect was that?

Sparty didn't fail to disappoint. Whether it was jumping offsides four or five times on the first drive, somehow managing to rough our kicker three times, a late hit out of bounds (which was a cheap call IMO), bringing a kickoff out of the endzone to the 9 yard line, or simply fair catching a punt at the 4, those guys proved why they go to State (and why John L's teams have always been at the top of the country in penalties).

It wasn't an overly impressive win on the scoreboard, but make no mistake, the outcome was never in doubt. Michigan managed a comfortable win while only throwing for like 130 yards on State's horrid secondary. And why not? If you know they can't stop the run, why not grind the clock, eat up chunks of yardage, and put up points while limiting MSU's options to do the same?

Now the rumors are swirling that Bowser got Super Mario, and Manningham is going to be out--at least for a little while. It would suck to not have him for these next two games (the three after that are "functional byes" as Brian would call them) but they're still both games that we will be favored in, and should win. It's not like we're really hurting that badly at WR as it is. If Henne throws the ball as well as he has on a good number of Manningham's touchdown passes it won't matter if it's Arrington or Breaston on the other end.

Side note, this Monday Night game is absolutely brutal. It's really 6-3 with 2 1/2 minutes to play and Jake Plummer threw for 6 yards in the first half.

On to Hockey:

I got my first look at the 2006-07 Michigan Wolverines, and while I missed important parts of each game this weekend (volleyball commitment Friday night, general lack of caring Saturday), I saw what I needed to see, and that was this: Billy Sauer looked great. Goaltending is the big question mark on this team and Sauer looks like he might be ready to make The Leap. Granted I have to keep in mind that it was Waterloo and the NTDP, not Michigan State and Minnesota, but he was still fantastic and that is encouraging.

Johnson was awesome, Cogliano was the best player on the ice in the chunk of the game I saw on Friday--I still can't believe how fast that kid is. I think we're going to like Summers. None of the other freshmen made a big impression on me--though I think Ciraulo is going to fit in just fine with Digger and Naurato on the fourth line. I really like the lines they were using this weekend. It seemed like a very nice mix of speed, skill and grit.

It felt great to be back in Yost, even if it was half full and the games didn't count.


Anonymous said...

Johnson was by and far away the best player BOTH nights. UM would have lost w/o JJ. Are you kidding about Cogs being the best player? He had what, one goal this weekend and he's a forward! JJ's hit after the US took a 2-1 lead totally intimidated the US team. It' so many of these little things that make him so great. How about 8 points, 4 PIM's and TOTAL dominance?

Packer487 said...

You have to understand that all I saw Friday night was the first 8-10 minutes of the third period, and Saturday I didn't see the third period (and therefore, I missed that hit). So I missed all of Jack's points Friday night and his goal on Saturday.

Cogs was great in that ten minute span when I saw him. That's all I was commenting on. Obviously Hensick and Johnson had better games...but I missed most of it.

Packer487 said...

What I really want to see out of Cogliano this year (which I'll talk about when I finally get around to writing my season preview) is the realization that just by using his speed alone, he can get 3-4 quality scoring chances a game.

When he got hot last year, the kid was amazing. Trouble is, he was more streaky than Shanahan. I think (hope?) we'll see a jump forward from him this year.

Anonymous said...

Good comments by all. Cogs doesn't see the ice nearly half as well as TJ or JJ. I agree, his speed should generate a few chances every game, but in traffic, when the gain the zone-forget it. The most impressive thing I saw in the two ex. games was the chemistry between TJ and JJ. By the way, Hunwick really struggled without JJ. Look at the plus/minus for both games. JJ makes everyone around him better, that's one of the special qualities that the NHL loves. GO BLUE!!!!