-Aaron Palushaj and Matt Rust were named to the USA World Junior team, so we'll be without their services for the GLI as they try to bring a gold back to the US. Rust will wear #9 and Palushaj will be #7. Louie Caporusso was not one of the players invited to the Canada try-out camp. Bad news for Louie, but good news for the Wolverines who need to get two wins at the GLI.
-Steve Kampfer is skating with the team, and he's not even wearing a red "no contact" jersey. He continues his remarkable comeback from a well-publicized off-ice incident. It's been reported he could possibly return for the GLI, but with twelve days between the annual holiday tournament and our return to CCHA action, it wouldn't be a shocker to see them be on the safe side. Still, I don't think anyone expected that he might return this soon. Having him back should be a huge boost to the team, and might even allow Summers to take another crack at forward. God knows our offense could use another scorer.
-David Wohlberg is going to get a shot with the top line. It's well deserved. Apart from Carl Hagelin, Wohlberg might have been Michigan's best player last weekend. He's been consistently great for over a month now. He'll get a chance to skate with Palushaj and Caporusso. I like it. Nothing against the guys he was playing with before--as the whole line was really great against Minnesota--but he's earned the opportunity to play with two of the best players in the country. I'm curious to see what he can do.
-TV for this weekend: Friday's game will be aired on FSN Plus in Metro Detroit. It's basically Fox Sports Detroit's overflow channel. Normally that would mean that those of us out of state (or with a dish) are out of luck, but for some reason, Fox Sports Arizona and Fox Sports Rocky Mountain are showing the game as well. I believe FSNA is showing it live and FSNRM is showing it on an hour tape delay. Maybe the people in Phoenix want to see Chris Summers play? Maybe Kevin Porter is that influential? I don't know. But I'm happy about it.
Saturday's game will be shown live on Comcast 900 (and the NHL Network in Canada) and then the NHL Network in the US on Sunday morning.
-If you're not doing anything on Saturday, I've read that there are a ton of tickets available for the game at Munn. As of two days ago, you could buy a block of 10 together. I can't imagine the Sparties have been falling over themselves to snap them up. Paint that arena maize!
-Michigan has (finally) launched an official photo store. This was a long time coming. It's a work in progress but there's already some great stuff up there. Some favorites:
- Desmond Howard's catch against Notre Dame
- Mercury Hayes against Virginia
- This ridiculously cool photo of Yost in front of Yost, which I'm totally ordering a copy of for my office
- Kipke, Crisler, Oosterbaan, Elliot, and Schembechler together inside Michigan Stadium
-Lastly, I have to comment on Sean Avery. The dude is a complete boob, but to get suspended for that? Come on. It was funny! Off-color, totally unnecessary, but funny! You think guys don't say worse than that every game on the ice? If the NHL only suspended McLennan for the goon-fest that Calgary laid on Detroit in the playoffs a couple years back, it's absurd to suspend a guy for multiple games for saying that Dion Phaneuf is getting his sloppy seconds. (Tenuous Michigan connection: Mike Komisarek would have been getting his sloppy seconds as well...allegedly.)
I mean, isn't 2 games what Claude The Fraud ultimately got for breaking Kris Draper's face? (Granted they were games in the Stanley Cup Finals) Now we're suspending guys for being immature. The wussification of the NHL continues. He didn't even say anything that bad! Do you think Avery would get offended if Rod Stewart called him up and said, "You know Sean, you were getting my sloppy seconds too." (Thanks Scotty.) He didn't even go Adam Levine and talk about how so-and-so sucked in bed. This is up there with Nascar docking guys points for swearing on TV but allowing them to intentionally cause accidents with no penalty (::cough::DaleJarrettRichmond::cough::).
The NHL can claim he's bringing bad publicity to the sport, but I'm sorry, suspending Avery just drew more attention to his comments. Ignore it and it might get mentioned in the last minute of PTI and that's it. Suspend him and it's the top story on PTI, the top story on ESPN.com, and the sports world is talking about it. The only way they could have brought more attention to a nothing story would have been for Gary Bettman to yell out "I'M A MAN! I'M 40!"
Plus they denied me the sure 5 PIMs my fantasy team would have gotten when Phaneuf threw down with Avery.