News and notes from Michigan's fourth straight sweep and this week so far:
The Michigan Side:
The big news is that Louie Caporusso injured his knee in practice today and will be out "a while", reports the Michigan Daily. Carl Hagelin will play center in Capo's absence, which is fine, especially since he's a great back-checker. It's definitely a blow to lose a guy who is our fourth-leading scorer, however. Hopefully "a while" is more like "a month or two" and not "the season".
Having played nine games he's probably ineligible for a medical hardship waiver, should this be a season-ending injury. You're only allowed to play in 20% of games, so we'd need to play 45 for him to be eligible. And the only way that's possible is if we don't get a first-round bye in the CCHA playoffs and continue on to the National Championship. Pretty unlikely.
During Friday night's win, the Wolverines held UA without a shot during Brian Lebler's 5 minute penalty. That's pretty hard to do.
Billy Sauer was named CCHA Goaltender of the Week and Aaron Palushaj was honored as CCHA Rookie of the Week.
The last time Michigan was 9-1-0 to start a season was 1999-2000. If we sweep the Lakers, it will be our best start since 1961-62.
MGoBlue has an excellent feature on Mark Mitera. Last week, I suggested that one of the video features The Wolverine is working on be about Mitera and what it's like to now be "The Guy" and how it is not having an everyday defense partner. This article answers all these questions and more.
Chad Kolarik is playing well enough that the Nanooks used their annual cheap shot against us on him, rather than our goalie for once. He's still going bombs away, with a full 33% more shots on goal than the 2nd place person on the team. Can't complain when he's playing that well.
Billy Sauer went 30 minutes longer without giving up a goal than he ever had at Michigan. If this was last year, I'd be making a "Wow, he went 31 minutes!" joke. But he's playing great, so I won't do that. I'm not prepared to live in a world where both Billy Sauer and Chris Osgood can be considered top goalies. He now has a 2.19 goals against (!!!!!!!!!!!). That'll do pig. That'll do.
The student section also got a "We hate Comcast" chant going during Friday night's televised game. I'm guessing only part of that had to do with the TV timeouts. Matt Rust was out with "flu-like symptoms" Saturday night. Please God don't let that actually be the flu (or something of the like) and not mono.....
Kolarik and Berenson are really impressed with the energy and spirit of this team. The lead of the article indicates that this is our best start since the turn of the century. That sounded a lot more impressive until I remembered that he's talking 2000 and not 1900. I feel old.
Of all the guys to score an overtime goal on a breakaway, Mike Komisarek's probably not the guy you're thinking of.
Michigan has scored first in 8 of their 10 games this season. I guess that'll happen when you've only given up 4 first-period goals all year. They're 8-0-0 in those games.
Statistical oddity: We're 6-0-0 when allowing a power play goal.
Matt Hunwick became the 18th Wolverine to suit up for an NHL team this season, making his debut for the Boston Bruins. He had 1 shot on goal in 15+ minutes of work. He's now back in the AHL with Aaron Ward's return, but it's nice to add another Wolverine to the list of NHLers.
I laugh every time I pull up our statistics PDF and see "14,127" listed as the attendance for our game against Boston College. There were maybe, maybe 1,000 people in the building for that one.
Kevin Porter is the only player on our team with multiple power play goals, and he has 5.
I gotta post this again. Billy Sauer has a 2.19 GAA!
Maybe it's the number. Chad Langlais leads the team in assists with 8 in 10 games.
We have 12 players averaging at least a half a point per game thusfar.
The Opponent's View:
It's pretty darn tough to have a series against the defending National Champions and then play the #2 team in the country in their barn. Their coach says he's happy with the effort even if they haven't been rewarded with wins yet.
Two key members of the Nanooks sat out Saturday's first period after missing the bus to the arena when their alarm didn't go off in the morning. Add that in with a few injuries, and another player leaving the team for the WHL, and they were facing an uphill battle from the get-go.
The Nanooks always play hard, but that second goal Friday night was a back-breaker.