Sunday, August 31, 2008

No Yost Regional in 2010 or 2011

Michigan bid on the 2010 and 2011 NCAA hockey regionals, but they were not selected as a host.

For 2010, the West Regional will be hosted by Minnesota at the XCel Energy Center and the Midwest Regional will be hosted by Notre Dame at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum (the place Michigan and ND played at a few years back).

For 2011, the CCHA will host the West Regional at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis and the Midwest Regional will be at the Resch Center in Green Bay (and hosted by Michigan Tech).

According to Joel Maturi, who is the Ice Hockey Committee Chairman (and also just happens to be Minnesota's AD, hmm, go figure) they focused on selecting venues that have NHL-sized ice sheets (I like it) and that are neutral rinks. Because, ya know, the XCel Center is completely neutral, being seven miles from Minnesota's campus and all.

For attendance purposes, the rink in bumblefuck Indiana should be absolutely spectacular. And I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing that St. Louis isn't exactly a college hockey hotbed. Who's the closest college hockey team to St. Louis? Alabama Huntsville?

So basically we want neutral sites, unless it's the chairman's school that would be getting the advantage. Nice. Michigan should start bidding for regionals using Joe Louis or the Palace rather than Yost, since it pretty clearly will be a cold day in hell before the NCAA lets us host there again. You gotta get away from campus sites, don'tchaknow, even though Minnesota, Wisconsin, NoDak and CC have all hosted at their own arena (some more than once) since we last had it at Yost.

But why have a Regional at Yost when the atmosphere would be far surpassed by the empty seats in Ft. Wayne and St. Louis?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Another Excuse to Update

We're coming at you fast and furious this week! Thanks to the latest Linkorama at The World of Junior Hockey I have a few more things to put out there:

Hockey's Future has started releasing their Top 20 Prospect lists for each NHL team. Out of the teams that have been released, the lists of the Panthers, Blues, and Devils include Wolverines. Matt Rust is listed as the #10 prospect in the Panthers organization (up from #13 last year).

An intelligent, heady player, winner of the University’s Athletic-Academic Achievement award, Rust has managed to play well in just about any type of situation he was thrown into. In particular, Rust excelled this past year on the Wolverines energy line with Carl Hagelin and Aaron Palushaj (STL). He did an exceptional job on the penalty kill, too, but beyond energy and defensive play, Rust has a still-developing scoring touch, which will show through more in the coming season. Rust was sixth on the team in total points in 2007-08, and with the senior tandem of Chad Kolarik and Hobey Baker winner Kevin Porter (PHO) no longer in the picture, Rust’s offensive role should be expanded in his sophomore season.

He's gotta cut out the stupid late-game penalties before I'd go as far as they did in the first sentence, but I imagine that's something that won't continue this year. I agree with the rest.

Brandon Burlon
is listed as the #8 prospect in the New Jersey organization. HF likes him. A lot.

The Devils second-round selection at the 2008 NHL draft makes a splashy debut all the way up in eighth spot. A lot of weight in Burlon's ranking is based on the fact that his overall upside is through the roof, and when you combine that with the tools that he already has, it's scary to think about how good he might get once he gets more experience and fills out his frame. Burlon is a multi-purpose defenseman, but his skating and offensive skills are what really sets him apart from other defense prospects in the organization. Set to play at the University of Michigan this fall, he's probably at least three collegiate seasons away from turning pro, but he is only going to get better and better and his skill set is tailor made for the up-tempo style of play in the NHL. This will quite possibly be the lowest that Burlon will ever be ranked in the top 20.
I really can't wait to see that kid play. And I'd love to keep him three years.

Aaron Palushaj has moved from #14 to #10 in the Blues organization. And here we have one of the problems with Hockey's Future, because, quite honestly, there's not a whole lot of information in his profile that was correct. He didn't play on the top line (at least not when everyone was in the lineup) and his linemates weren't upperclassmen, as he usually played with Rust and Hagelin. They are correct that he needs to shoot the puck more.

They also list Kevin Porter as one of the preseason Top 15 candidates for the Calder. The Calder is prrrobably not gonna happen, but he should make Phoenix's roster.

Lastly, here's something that I think is kind of interesting. Here are our winning percentages with the various CCHA refs over the past 5 years, with the number of games officiated in parenthesis (for comparison's sake, our overall winning percentage is .693):

Aaron: 56% (17)
Brown: 60% (5)
Hall: 79% (17)
Hill: 83% (6)
Hoberg: 80% (5)
Klosowski: 100% (3)
Kotyra: 100% (4)
Lisko: 78% (9)
McInchak: 74% (29)
Murphy: 100% (1)
Piotrowski: 72% (38)
Pochmara: 33% (6)
Sergott: 80% (5)
Shegos: 64% (32)
Wilkens: 78% (18)

Do keep in mind that strength of schedule isn't included as a factor. But it appears that my immense dislike of Aaron is partially due to the fact that we lose a lot when he does our games. And, well, perhaps The Miami Student would like to know that we don't actually have that great of a record with Matt Shegos as the head official.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Few Small Tidbits

I know, I know. It's Utah week. It's the beginning of a new era at Michigan. You're not thinking about hockey, and I don't blame you. But I have a blog to update once in a blue moon, so here are a few tidbits:

From what I've heard (and it seems to have been confirmed in this USCHO thread), the hockey band will be moving from their perch on the south side of the press box to a new location in section 19. The plus side to this is it will allow for the band to increase in size. 30 members is what was reported by one of the band members at USCHO. My concern is that putting them in section 19 will make it hard for the students in section 14 to hear them. But the sound resonates so much in Yost, I'm not actually sure that'll be a problem. It's not like everyone can discipline themselves enough to cheer in unison to "The Victors" anyway. There will also be a new band director, who reportedly knows more about hockey than the previous guy. But don't get your hopes up. He's probably still not going to be allowed to dance. Because it's a tool of the devil, you know.

Mike Cammalleri is happy to be back playing for a Canadian team. So is Todd Bertuzzi, but we don't really care about him.

Mac Bennett played in the BeanTown Classic Hockey Tournament. His team went 3-2 and won one of the fifth-place games. He had at least a goal and an assist.

Ex-Daily writer, and my old hockey teammate, James Dowd wrote an article about Aaron Palushaj for Inside College Hockey. Here was a quote from Billy Powers in the article:
Michigan assistant coach Billy Powers on Palushaj: “I think Aaron surprised some people last year. When you look at his numbers, he’s always been known as a good offensive player, but was more of a goal scorer. He’s still a kid who can score, but we saw more of his playmaking ability and that he could get the puck to teammates who were in a position to score.”
As I've stated before, I think we'll see a significant jump in goals for Palushaj this year. He was thought of as one of the top snipers in the 2007 Draft and he had just 10 goals last season. With Porter, Kolarik, and Pacioretty gone, that frees up more than 460 shots on goal. There will be a lot of pucks to go around and Palushaj's goal total should benefit.

Old news, but I failed to mentioned that Palushaj had 3-2--5 at Team USA's WJC tryout. I imagine he's a lock for the team along with Matt Rust.

Lastly, The Curse of Bryan Herta update that I know you're all longing for. The Andretti-Green team once again had one of the fastest cars at the latest round of the ALMS. Frenchy McFrench had the Acura in the overall lead for a portion of the race. A radio malfunction (or shoddy pit crew work, which wouldn't be shocking) caused Montagny to fail to pit under a caution. He had to make his stop under green flag conditions and was on pace for a 6th place finish in class until two cars ran out of fuel on the final lap, putting him into fourth place in the P2 class. Yet another disappointing finish. Oh, and the co-driver stuffed the 26 into a slower car, knocking a piece of bodywork off and hurting the handling. That was fun too. Also, Robin Miller from Speed TV has reported that Acura is dropping the AGR team after the season. So that's kind of funny.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Our New Hockey Jerseys are Full of Win

People in general were less than thrilled about Michigan's new-look white jerseys for football. I suspect the reaction to the new hockey jerseys will be much, much better. The Hoover Street Rag found an ad for them in the new MDen catalog.

That white sweater is absolutely amazing. It gets points right off the bat for having a tie. The striping is very old-time hockey. (See the Hoover Street Rag link for a picture of Red wearing a similar jersey back in his day.) The collar is only one color. To fit with the old-time feel, it's the only one of the three that doesn't have patches on the shoulders. It's a nice, classic look which we haven't really seen in awhile (even the similar pattern on our blues a few years back had those god-awful pit stains).

Unless I'm mistaken, this is the first deviation from the standard white-jersey-blue-M in a long time. I think we've had that style (plus or minus pit stains) every year since I've been closely following the program (2000-01). It's a really nice change, even if I do like the old style as well.

I also like the addition of the CCHA logo to each jersey. They may have offered that on the recent replicas; it's been a few years since I've bought one. But I like it anyway. I also like that Adidas got the lettering correct on the maize jerseys. The Nike lettering was way too small.

I wish the blue and maize jerseys had ties, but apart from that, I think Adidas has done a really nice job. I'll be purchasing all three of them since, amazingly, I don't have a blue jersey with a maize M. But yeah, that white jersey is absolutely fantastic. I think that one has a good chance to become my #1, since my current favorite (the 98-style gold dazzle one) has proven to be horribly unlucky (at least at the Frozen Four).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Finally Some Hockey Content!

The CCHA announced today that, as expected, they will be adding the shootout to conference games beginning this year. If the game is tied after regulation, the teams will play the 5-minute, 5-on-5 overtime as usual. If a winner isn't decided, there will be a three-man shootout. If necessary, it will continue on with other players from the bench until someone wins.

The winner of the game (in regulation, shootout, or overtime) will receive two points. A shootout loss gets a team one point, but unlike the NHL, they do not receive a point for an overtime loss. Basically you can look forward to less-talented teams playing for the shootout once it gets to overtime. If a team wants to attempt to hang on for dear life for five minutes against us, I'm ok with that...

Games decided in a shootout will count as ties in the national standings, which I like. Also, for non-conference games hosted by CCHA teams, the shootout is allowed but the opponent has to agree to it. Those games, too, would only count as ties in the national standings, so there's no real point beyond deciding an artificial winner.

I'm mixed on the addition of shootouts. I like them in the NHL because they're exciting as hell and there are a possible 164 points during the regular season, so a few extra aren't going to make a huge difference. In the CCHA there are only 56 points available and last year a .500 record earned Ferris State the #5 overall seed. It's easy to see how being good in shootouts could give a team a significant boost in the conference standings.

My preferred method would have been a 10-minute 4-on-4 overtime, and if it's tied after that, it's tied. I bet you would get a winner more often than not and it doesn't really deviate too much from the game as a whole. That said, shootouts are really exciting and there's no chance I'd turn one off. I'm just not sure they have a place in a 28-game season.

So, who stands to gain the most from an opportunity to earn an extra point? Over the past 3 seasons, here is the list of ties per CCHA team:
1. Nebraska-Omaha: 14
1. LSSU: 14
3. Alaska: 13
3. Ferris: 13
3. MSU: 13
6. Notre Dame: 11
7. OSU: 10
7. Michigan: 10
9. WMU: 8
10. Miami: 7
11. NMU: 6
12. BGSU: 3

I haven't got the foggiest clue where the CCHA got their numbers from. In the press release, they claim there were 31 tied games in 2007-08, 26 the year before, and 33 the year before that. I've got 19 (38 ties total in the standings), 16, and 26. But whatever.

The team who looks to be hurt the worst by this is Bowling Green. The teams they tend to finish around in the standings (Ferris, UNO, LSSU, Alaska) tie a lot more often than they do, thus their peers will have more opportunities to gain extra points in the standings. We're talking ten over three years, or three to four extra opportunities a season, but in the middle of the CCHA, two, three, four extra points could make a big difference. I'm actually really surprised by the low number out of Bowling Green.

The top-dogs are all fairly equal. If the trends continue, MSU could gain slightly relative to Miami, but it's not going to make a huge difference at the top of the standings, I don't think.

It could make it a little tougher for Northern Michigan to crack the top four, as they don't tie very often and I would expect the top dogs to win shootouts more often than not. It might put them at a handicap of a point or two relative to the top teams in the conference if the trends over the past few years continue.

The Burn That Yost Built: Olympic Edition

My viewing experience for this Olympics has been greatly aided by one of the best inventions of my lifetime: The DVR.

In the past, I've pretty much had to pick one channel, stick with it, and catch whatever they decided to show me in primetime. Now? I tape pretty much everything and then zip through it, watching the events I want to watch. No 6 hours of fluff for an hour of events, no watching the gymnasts stand around for 3 minutes while their scores are calculated, no suffering through the events that I don't give two rips about. Plus the ability to rewind live TV gave me the ability to watch that Japanese dude wipeout on the rings about 13 times in a row.

I like it because it's allowed me to watch some of the sports that I didn't know much about--and grew to really like. The canoeing/kayaking was a surprise. I thought I'd watch about 5 minutes of it and then move on, but I really enjoyed it. The two-person runs are less fun, but the singles events are fantastic. I've also really liked watching the water polo (go Betsy Armstrong!) and field hockey (that's a sport I miss being in Ann Arbor for) events. Another one that's been surprisingly enjoyable has been synchronized diving.

The Curse of Bryan Herta reared its beautiful head again this past week. New AGR driver Frenchie McFrench was leading the Generac 500 at Elkhart Lake with about 11 minutes to go in the race, buuuuuut he crashed into a lapped car and took himself out. If you're keeping track (which you aren't), the driver change has resulted in fewer points per race for the team (even if you account for Sebring being worth more points than a normal race) than the Herta/Fittipaldi combo was producing. Bang up move there, Michael. Three races, three times they've had one of the two or three fastest cars, three times they've ended up multiple laps down.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I know I've been a little lacking in hockey articles lately. The Favre situation took over my life even more than the Michigan coaching search did. I've also been job hunting (landed a great one, so now I can buy the new laptop I desperately need) and enjoying the Olympics.

I'll be back to covering hockey in the near future. Thanks for sticking with me through the summer. I don't remember struggling as much for stuff to write about last off-season. The end is in sight!

The WSJ Needs to Stick to Business

Everyone else has had their take on the Brett Favre situation, so it's only fitting that Allen Barra of the Wall Street Journal had one as well. It was a steaming pile of poo, but it was a take nonetheless. It pisses me off when jokers like this have a massive platform. This guy clearly just tries to be controversial, he's not very good at formulating arguments, but because he's in the Wall Street Journal, millions of people are reading this and thinking "Hmm, he makes a good point."

I have to break this one down, because it's such a joke.

It would have been refreshing if at least one of the worshipful media folk at the press conference had replied, "Well, actually, Brett, you're here because after months of vacillating on your retirement and putting the Packers through hell -- and forcing them into using a valuable draft pick on an extra quarterback because they didn't know whether you'd be playing for them this season -- you tried to bully them into either making you the starter or trading you to a team of your choice. Like a prima donna, you put your own desires ahead of the welfare of the organization to which you professed loyalty. Now you've been dumped on one of the NFL's most desperate franchises because no one else wanted you."

1) Unless the Packers are full of crap about drafting BPA, they would have taken Brohm anyway. Nobody forced them to draft him. They could have signed a vet to be the backup.

2) After the Packers made it clear he wasn't going to start there, why should he have put the team ahead of his own interests? (If you believe Favre) The Packers told him "Playing here isn't an option." So what's he supposed to do? Stay retired just so the Packers aren't put in an uncomfortable situation? They were looking out for their own interests, he was looking out for his.

3) Saying "no one else wanted you" is incorrect, but why worry about facts.

It would be if Brett Favre were as good as Joe Montana. Mr. Montana won four Super Bowls and was arguably the greatest quarterback in football history; Mr. Favre has won just one Super Bowl and is probably the most overrated, or at the very least overhyped, quarterback in the modern NFL.

It's nice that he provides, ya know, some data to back his assertion that Favre is the most overrated/overhyped QB. (For the record, Mike Vick had a strangehold on that title before getting put in jail.) It's also nice of him to leave out the fact that Favre has never played with a Hall of Famer on offense, while Montana had one of the best supporting casts in history. And that Montana played pre-salary cap when it was easier to keep a great team together. Not to take anything away from Montana (because he clearly was amazing and I agree that he's arguably the best of all-time), but it's insane to say "OMG Favre only won one Super Bowl so he's overrated!" Look at what he was working with for most of the last decade. It wasn't Jerry Rice, John Taylor, Brent Jones, Roger Craig, Tom Rathman and a ridiculous OL....

Let's strip the Brett-to-the-Jets deal of the illusions the media has wrapped it in. What we have is a 4-12 team that has signed a 38-year-old quarterback who, though he made something of a comeback last season, hasn't otherwise finished in the top five of the league's passers since 2001. (In 2006 he was ranked 25th; in 2005, 31st.).

A 4-12 team who signed a slew of new players in addition to the 38 year old QB and added Gholston to the defense.

Even if he hasn't finished in the top 5 of league's passers lately, that's using the ridiculous QB rating stat. He's been runner up in the MVP voting twice in that span. Not that the MVP voting is the be-all-end-all either, but I'd use that as a gauge of performance before I'd use passer rating.

From 2005 to 2007, Mr. Favre has thrown 66 touchdown passes and 62 interceptions. If any other NFL quarterback had put up those numbers, his job would be on the line; instead, the New York Jets have chosen to delay the inevitable process of breaking in a new young quarterback -- and in fact have released Chad Pennington, who, according to Kerry Byrne of the Web site Cold Hard Football Facts, is "maybe the most underrated quarterback in the NFL."

So you've got one bad year when he got off to a good start before every player on the offense got hurt (They used like 7 starting RBs that year, including Rashard freaking Lee), one great year, and one mediocre year. But based on his career as a whole, it's pretty clear which of those seasons was a complete outlier.

And if Kerry Byrne said Chad Pennington is the most underrated QB in the NFL it MUST be true! Great support for the argument there. Never mind that in the last 3 years, Pennington has 29 TD passes and 28 picks. Worse numbers than Favre's, even with that one disaster of a season that isn't likely to be repeated. But Favre's job would be in question if he was any other QB and Pennington is the most underrated in the league. Makes sense.

And the delay in breaking in a young QB assumes that the QB of the Future is on the roster. The best bet for the "QB of the Future" on the Jets would be Kellen Clemens, guy with 5 TDs and 10 INTs in his career. Yeah it was stupid to go get Brett Favre. Clearly Clemens is a budding star waiting to take them to the promised land.

But there is also considerable evidence that he is nowhere near, as his admirers claim, the greatest passer ever to play the game or that he even ranks in the top 25. Mr. Favre's trademark has always been productivity over quality. He's been remarkably durable with the daring to throw the ball more than any other passer, but he hasn't always thrown it better. He has never, for instance, led the NFL in the league's passer-rating system, which measures effectiveness with various statistics. (In comparison, Joe Montana led the league twice; Mr. Montana's successor at San Francisco, Steve Young, was first six times, and Peyton Manning three times.)

Now he's not a Top-25 QB of all-time? What the hell? I'd love to see this joker's list. If you want to make the argument that he's not Top-5, I'll listen. I'll disagree, but I'll at least listen. But not Top-25? Even Sal Paolantonio thinks that's jacked up.

And here we go with using the passer rating argument again. The NFL's passer rating system is insane. And using Peyton Manning in support of your argument might not be the best idea (I'll get to that in a minute). But as long as we're considering it to be such an important stat, let's look at a few years:

In 1995, Favre was runner up to JIM FREAKING HARBAUGH! Favre's 38 Touchdowns, 13 INTs, 4400 yards, and 63% completion percentage lost out to Harbaugh's 17 Touchdowns, 5 INTs, 2500 yards and 63% completion percentage. Clearly Harbaugh was the more effective passer.

In 1996, Favre was runner up to Steve Young. Favre's 39 TDs and 13 INTs were pretty clearly inferior to Young throwing a whopping 14 Touchdowns and 6 INTs.

In 1997, Favre finished behind Young and Chris Chandler. 35 Touchdowns, 16 Picks and another MVP were no match for 19 TDs and 6 picks, or Chandler's 20 TDs, 7 picks and 2700 yards passing. Chandler was so good that he QB'ed his team to a 7-7 record that year.

Mr. Favre has probably been excused by fans for not winning a passer-rating title because its formula is so complex most fans don't understand it. However, in the single most important passing stat, yards per attempt (YPA), he has also never led the league and finished as high as second only once (in 1995 with a 7.7 average). Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger currently leads the league in active players at over 8.1 yards per throw.

There are a lot of things that I've defended Brett Favre for, but I've never seen someone rip him for never winning a passer-rating title. I'm sure he would have put that on his list of accomplishments right next to his Super Bowl title, 3 MVPs, and his ownership of every passing record in the books.

I don't deny that YPA is an important stat, but I think he's overrating it here. Ben Roethlisberger is pretty clearly the best quarterback in the league. Except that, uh oh, over three years (before last year when he was great) he had 52 TDs and 43 Interceptions, which means his job should have been on the line according to a few paragraphs ago. Last year, Favre finished behind Matt Schaub in that stat. Yup, it's a clear-cut indicator of how good a QB is.

Also, how arrogant is the first sentence in this paragraph? Pehaps our resident genius would like to come down off his high horse for a minute to explain the system to us mere mortals (without looking it up) and then tell us how it was derived and what we should be able to take from it. Why are we subtracting 30 points from the completion percentage before multiplying by .05? Why do we subtract 3 yards off YPA? Why not 5? Or 2.8? What the hell does it even mean? Surely Mr. Barra would have no trouble explaining this to us all.

Did I miss when a passer-rating title became important? Favre had 16 Touchdowns in the first five games of 1996, more than Young had the entire season. And a better TD/INT ratio to boot. But Young was pretty clearly more efficient. That system is stupid. And only stupid people make too much out of it.

It's true that Mr. Favre holds the all-time record for TD passes (442), but what isn't as well known is that he also holds the record for most interceptions (288). Perhaps the best way of understanding Mr. Favre's effectiveness is to compare him to baseball pitcher Nolan Ryan, who holds the all-time record for strikeouts but also for walks. Everyone concedes that Mr. Ryan was a legitimate Hall of Famer, but with a lifetime winning percentage of .526, no one argues that he was the best ever or even among his own contemporaries.

It's not well known that Favre has the interception record? Favre also holds the record for most wins and has a winning percentage far greater than .526. If Barra doesn't think Favre is better than some of his contemporaries, I'd love to hear the argument. I'm sure it's just as air-tight as the one he's making here. I'd love to see the names on his list of contemporaries that are better.

We've resorted to using different sports. Amazing.

Nor, it must be admitted, has Mr. Favre been a particularly good big game performer. His career postseason is a mediocre 12-10, including an embarrassing 23-20 loss to the underdog New York Giants in the NFC conference championship this past January. On his own home field Mr. Favre was outdueled by the previously unheralded Eli Manning. In fact, as a postseason passer Mr. Favre has never approached the record of the Packers' Bart Starr, who won five NFL championships from 1961 to 1967.

Well if 12-10 is medicore, I guess we have to consider Peyton Manning's 7-7 record downright piss-poor, especially considering he's played with multiple hall of famers on offense for almost his entire career (Faulk/James plus Harrison). He's 3-7 outside of that Super Bowl year, where he was just brilliant in throwing 3 touchdowns and 7 picks. So that's another guy off the list of contemporaries better than Favre.

No career record above .500 in the playoffs is mediocre. This isn't the regular season here. To be above .500 in any single given year, you have to make it to the conference championship game if you didn't have a bye (which requires winning on the road against one of the two best teams) or make it to the Super Bowl if you did have a bye. Think about that for a minute. That's a lofty standard to have a playoff record above .500 for a single year, let alone a career.

Yes, you read that right. This guy actually just wrote that an overtime loss to the eventual Super Bowl Champions was "embarrassing". If the loss to the Giants was embarrassing, I guess Tom Brady has some mud on his face as well. And this joker better not even think of calling Romo a quality QB.

The Giants were better than everyone thought, and Favre wasn't really as bad as everyone said he was in that game. He wasn't great, but his numbers compared favorably to every other QB that played that day (even the great Tom Brady threw 3 picks in similar conditions). The difference was that the Giants and Pats had a running game and defenses that stepped up. The Packers had 28 yards on the ground and couldn't get off the field defensively. That's not going to work in January. And if Ruvell Martin catches a pass that's right in his hands for a sure TD or if Brandon Jackson doesn't run into his blocker when he had nothing but endzone in front of him, Favre's numbers look a lot better.

I'm sick of hearing about Starr's 5 titles when people are discussing Favre. Again, I don't want to take anything away from Starr, but for two of those titles he had to win ONE WHOLE PLAYOFF GAME. For two of those titles, he won two playoff games each year. Not to say he would've lost if they played more games, but you can't compare the championship-deciding format back then to what it is now. And again, you can't compare the supporting casts. Those Packers teams were hall-of-famer laden. Favre has never had a future Hall of Famer on offense.

Football historian T.J. Troup feels that Mr. Favre's place among the all-time greats is difficult to assess: "In the modern NFL, the rules favor passing over defense, so statistics alone can't tell the story. Put it this way: Favre has won three MVP awards, but except maybe in 1995, he has never really been the best and not as good as many passers from 'the dead ball era,' like Otto Graham, Johnny Unitas, Bart Starr and Roger Staubach were in theirs."

Favre wasn't the best in 1996? Credibility? Fluuuuuuuushed. I'd love to hear who was better that year (or in 95, since that year only gets a "maybe"). Favre had 39 TDs and 13 INTs, despite losing his top receiver for the season in the 7th or 8th game and having his #2 target miss a couple games and then play with a cast on his arm the rest of the year. There were games where they started Don Beebe and Terry Mickens at WR. One-Armed Freeman/Rison/Beebe/Mickens isn't going to make anyone shudder. His left tackle was a journeyman who was plugged in mid-season. But no, he wasn't the best that year. Not even close.

I'm not going to deal with trying to compare him to some of the greats from the past, but for every advantage modern players have with the rules, I'm guessing we could come up with a lot of things that hinder the QBs. Faster defenses, more blitzing (I assume), etc.

It's also worth pointing out that Mr. Consistency here once defended Peyton Manning's playoff record (3-6 at the time) by writing the following:
Four times--in 1999 against the Tennessee Titans, 2003 against the New England Patriots, 2004 against the Patriots, and last year against the Pittsburgh Steelers--the Colts have lost in the playoffs to a team that went on to the Super Bowl. Two of those losses were by just three points. Did the Colts choke, or simply lose to better teams?

I guess it's worth pointing out, then, that half of Favre's 10 playoff losses (Dallas in 93, Dallas in 95, Denver in 97, St. Louis in 01, and the Giants in 07) have come against a team that ended up in the Super Bowl. 4 of the 10 losses have been to the eventual champion.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Scary Situation

Red Berenson, Bill Martin, and Lloyd Carr have all been diagnosed with melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Martin requested screenings for the entire department after he was diagnosed. A nice gesture and clearly it was a good idea. Hopefully everyone's cancer was caught early and they don't have any problems making full recoveries.

The article goes on to list some of the risk factors. From what I understand, melanoma is definitely something to be aware of.

In other (less serious) news, the USA Under 17 Team was formally announced. Michigan commits Luke Moffatt and Jon Merrill, as expected, were named to the team. The state of Michigan produced the most NTDP players. Surprisingly California was second on the list. Stuart Higgins will represent my hometown of Troy, MI. Bryan Rust (Matt's brother), Austin Czarnik (Robbie's cousin), Jack Campbell (Michigan target), Merrill, and Will Yanakeff are the other players representing the Mitten.

And a nice article about Louie Caporusso from Vaughan Today. Despite being a substitution into Canada's camp, Caporusso cut short a European vacation so that he could take part, intent on proving he belongs with the best Under-20s. He's gonna have a big, big year this year if he stays healthy.