Thoughts on the sweep of OSU, keeping in mind that I didn't get to see or listen to the game Friday night. I caught the Saturday game on the NHL Network yesterday.
So basically whichever line has Aaron Palushaj is our "top line". Talk about instant returns. Palushaj, Miller, and Caporusso all scored both nights and they combined for a 7-6--13 line on the weekend. All three of Miller's goals have been game-winners, and he was effective driving the net. Caporusso has been on fire. I may not be right about everything (or most things), but I nailed a breakout year for Louie. 8 goals on 25 shots so far this season. He's getting to put the puck on net a lot more this season and he's putting them in the net at a continually high rate.
Palushaj still only averages a couple of shots on goal a game, but there's a very good chance he'll match last year's goal total by Thanksgiving. That kid's hands are unbelievable. I said it about Pacioretty last year and it's time to say it about Palushaj: Enjoy him while he's here, folks. Is it crazy to think that he could end up a serious Hobey candidate by the end of the season? If he keeps this up, he'll be right there. KC8NIY sent me a bunch of stats, and figured that Palushaj has been on the ice for 19 of our 30 goals this season and has only been out there for 2 of the goals we've allowed. Granted the ratio is going to be higher for a guy that's on the power play but not really on the PK, but that's still a really impressive stat. He's been out there for 63% of our goals this season?! Yikes. I wish we had a number like that for Porter or Kolarik last year...I'd be curious to see what it ended up being.
I was really impressed with Pateryn last night and it seemed to be a common thought amongst the Yost Posters. He seems to be getting more comfortable and I actually really liked seeing him on the power play. He's got a laser! I like the umbrella look they were showing Saturday night. It was opening up some nice shooting lanes and Pateryn finally got to unleash his slapper.
And I know he makes some mistakes, but I really, really like Tristin Llewellyn. There was one shift he had (I think it was in the second period) where he was a one-man wrecking crew. He hit about 3 different people in our zone to win a 30-second-long battle for the puck, then when the play ended up coming back down toward our end, he destroyed one of the Bucknuts. I love the physicality that he brings to the party (wow...too much Alton Brown there).
One of the things that I miss most about getting to see games at Yost in person is being able to watch the guys behind the play. Carl Hagelin is so much fun to watch when he turns the afterburners on while backchecking. He looked like he was moving at a different speed from everyone else on a couple of shifts there. He went from the near boards to the bench-side of the ice and still managed to catch a guy from behind on one occasion. It was crazy.
I also was kind of impressed with Lebler. I can't point to a specific play since it was like midnight when I was watching the game, but I noticed him out there a lot--in a good way.
David Wohlberg got his first career goal on a bad, bad giveaway by the Buckeyes, and he was flying after that. He had a block on the PK and turned it into a Rustian breakaway that he nearly converted. It was nice to see him get one.
Speaking of nice to see him get one, Travis Turnbull. No, he's not a "scorer", but he put in 15 last year and it's nice to see him get off the schnide sooner rather than later. I think Hagelin-Rust-Turnbull has the makings of a really solid line that's outstanding defensively. I was happy to hear that Rust should be able to play this weekend. I couldn't come up with a way of finding out how he was without spoiling the result of the game, so I worried about it the entire game.
It sounds like Brandon Burlon will be able to return this week as well, and that should be a big boost to our defense corps (and in time, both special teams units).
I don't want to make judgements about the way a 6-0 (at the time) game was called, but the officiating in the third period was just terrible. Every time guys would jab after the whistle it seemed like Michigan was getting the extra penalty. I get that they were trying to not let the game get out of control but I was far more upset than I should have been in a blowout.
Hogan was outstanding in net. OSU didn't provide a ton of pressure, but he was huge when he needed to be. I remember one big, big stop he made when the game was still 2-0. And he gave up the requisite horrifically soft goal.
One of my favorite moments: During the second intermission, Caporusso was being interviewed and Art Regner asked him something about the second period the night before and was it important to have a great second period tonight so OSU couldn't get back into the game. Louie goes, "Well, the game's not over yet, so we still need to focus in the third period." Great answer, even if it made me laugh a little since it was 5-0.
As far as Friday night goes, it sounds like Sauer was just outstanding, even though he gave up 3. Red Berenson credited him with being the reason for the win, and that's telling, since Red doesn't praise guys when they don't deserve it, especially not Billy. Great to hear that both goalies had top-notch games. Hopefully they'll bring out the best in each other if this goalie competition continues.
This makes me really happy...faceoff numbers of our primary centers:
I'd love to know the last time our primary centers were all over 50% on faceoffs. I'd be shocked if it's happened since I started college.
Congrats to Dwight Helminen on his first career goal last night for the Carolina Hurricanes. The Michigan NHLers have been on fire as of late. It seems like every night when I look at the NHL box scores, there are 3 or 4 Michigan guys that scored goals. Eric Nystrom got his first of the season a couple nights ago as well. I also just read that Jed Ortmeyer has been cleared to stop taking blood-thinning medication and he can resume practicing when Nashville gets back from their upcoming six game road trip. Ortmeyer hurt his knee last year and had another blood clot issue that prevented him from participating in training camp. Jed would be the 20th ex-Michigan player to play in the NHL this year. Our guys have combined for a 27-36--63 line this season.
MGoBlue had an article about various athletes' favorite Halloween costumes. Matt Rust and Louie Caporusso critiqued Ben Winnett's Dracula costume from when he was 5 years old. It's pretty funny. Caporusso praises him for his wingspread, which is kind of great.
As Ufer would say, that's all there is, there isn't any more. I can't wait til MGoBlue sorts out their video issues so the games will be archived and I don't have to completely miss the Friday night games due to my own hockey games. It makes it a lot harder to recap when you can't see em!