Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Greg Pateryn to WJC Tryout Camp

Greg Pateryn was added to the USA roster for the World Junior Championship Evaluation Camp. He'll be one of 18 defensemen at the camp, which runs from Aug 1-9. As he was a replacement for one of the other defensemen his chances of making the team are remote, but it's still a nice compliment that USA views him as one of the nineteen-best defensemen in this country under the age of twenty.

Palushaj, Rust, Czarnik, Wohlberg, and Vaughan will also be at USA's camp.

Louie Caporusso is currently attending Canada's evaluation camp. He scored on a penalty shot in Monday's Red/White game.

Lastly, there's an absolute gem of a find at MGoVideo. A kind soul by the name of Credit812 has uploaded the Mike Legg game (registration required to download) from the 1996 NCAA Tournament. I don't think I've ever seen this one all the way through, so it's going to be a nice addition to my collection. It's always fun to see the Gophers get traumatized.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fun With Flight Tracking!

Since Rumormongering is what the internets are for, and since flight tracking was so fun and so addicting during the Michigan coaching search, I guess it should be mentioned that there is currently a flight en route from Green Bay to Hattiesburg, Mississippi that should be landing in the next hour or so.

Things are gonna get really interesting, really quickly. My guess? On board is either Ted Thompson or a hitman.

Come on back, Brett! Optimism still reigns around these parts.

No matter what team he ultimately plays for, I'm excited about the prospect of getting to watch Brett Favre play football again. I'd (obviously) very much prefer that he play in Green Bay, but I'd rather see him in Tampa or (gasp) Minnesota than not playing at all. The Packers are fools if they let him go and if they don't start him.

Edit: The image that was previously posted was of the flight as it made its way into Green Bay. The flight to MS was delayed by an hour. Apparently the shipment of crack to be placed in Favre's suitcase was late in arriving. Either that or it was the storms.

The Green Bay Press Gazette has now confirmed that it is Packers Team President Mark Murphy on board. He's going to try to talk Favre into staying away from training camp. Heckuva plan, guys. Maybe if you're lucky, Favre will just hang out until Rodgers breaks something and then he'll take the high road and bail you dumb-asses out.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Curse of Bryan Herta

There's really nothing going on in the hockey world right now, is there?

Louie Caporusso was invited to Canada's World Junior Championship tryout camp. That's something Michigan Hockey-related. (HT: NorthernWolverine) I've even got a little analysis for you! There were 44 players invited to the camp. Caporusso was named as one of three replacements added after it became apparent that Steven Stamkos, Zach Boychuk and Cody Goloubef wouldn't make the camp. I'd say that doesn't bode too well for his chances of making the team unless he absolutely blows them away.

Also, as WCH reported, Bob Z's cousin Austin Czarnik has committed to Michigan State for the 2011-ish season. I don't know if we were recruiting him or not, but it's always disappointing to see a relative of a Wolverine end up somewhere else. Same deal with Bryan Rust and Kenny Ryan.

Now for the weekly "Curse of Bryan Herta" update:

The American Le Mans Series was off this weekend, but the IndyCars were in action up in Edmonton. Out of the four Andretti-Green Racing cars, Tony Kanaan had the best finish. He was 9th. Golden Boy Marco Andretti wrecked yet again (I believe that's six times this year), this time taking out teammate Danica Patrick. Danica somehow resisted the urge to charge down to his pit.

The poor results let to an hour-long team meeting after the race. Good times!

Is it wrong that I'm taking so much pleasure in the misfortunes of Andretti-Green Racing ever since they let Herta go? I love Tony Kanaan, but the rest of them (especially the ALMS car) can finish at the back of the pack and I'll love every second. Not that I'm bitter or anything.

Since releasing Herta, the ALMS car has finished multiple laps down in both races and Marco Andretti has wrecked three times, with a best-finish of 17th. The only thing that could make this better is if the Indy 500 was yet to come, so we could hear the May staple, "Andretti is slowing down on the backstretch!"

I love it.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Burn That Yost Built

Two of my favorite Packers blogs, Cheesehead TV and Packergeeks, call it "Keepin' It Real Thursday". I know better than to commit myself to writing on a specific day of the week--or even doing it every well. So instead, this is the first edition of The Burn That Yost Built. I like Jim Rome more than the Dallas Cowboys anyway. Basically I'm just putting a label on the posts where I give quick thoughts about various things happening in the sports world--or whatever else has peaked my interest:

-Is there anything more WNBA than having a slap-fight "brawl" in which a star player tears her ACL? The only thing that would have made it better is if they could have somehow incorporated a player dribbling the ball off her foot or shooting a layup off the underside of the rim.

-Speaking of fighting at the Palace, the rumor making the rounds is that the Pistons are thinking about trying to acquire Ron Artest. Would that be the most unlikely marriage in sports history? I can't see the Pistons bringing in the man that almost single-handedly caused the downfall of the Indiana Pacers. We've got one nut-job on the team already (Rasheed Wallace, who I love). Adding Artest to the mix with a rookie coach--albeit one who appears to have the respect of the team already--might be pushing it. Then again, think of the promotions they could put on if everyone was willing to have a sense of humor about things.

-Round two of "The Curse of Bryan Herta" went just as well as round one. This time, ALMS-virgin Raphael Matos stuffed the car into a competitor just six laps into the event, putting the AGR machine eight or nine laps down while they made repairs. The decision to replace Herta with a pu-pu platter of drivers is going about as well as the decision to replace Marino Franchitti with Christian Fittipaldi, who lasted a whole four races. Bwahaha. The only thing better than watching the XM Acura dreadfully underachieve is watching Andretti make "Michael Andretti Face" after Marco wrecks his IndyCar. Which happened again this weekend as well.

-My ability to jinx teams/competitors by betting on them on CentSports continues. This time, I managed to lose a tennis parlay because ROGER FREAKING FEDERER lost in the first round of a tournament. Time to pimp that site again, because it's awesome: CentSports (affiliate link) is a free--and legal--sports betting site. They give you a dime to play with and if you can get above $20 you're allowed to cash out. If you go bust (as I have many, many times by betting on sports that I know nothing about), they give you a new dime to start with. They also have little bonuses to help you along the way. It should be fun to have around during football season.

-I like that Darren Haydar signing by the Red Wings. He's a nice replacement for Mark Hartigan, who will be playing in Europe to get away from those nasty Wolverines who traumatize him to this day. Haydar hasn't really had much of a chance in the NHL, but he put up 122 points in the AHL a couple of seasons ago and scored .5 ppg when he got called up this year, which isn't bad at all.

-My plea to the Packers and Brett Favre remains the same. To quote two of my favorite singers (Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson): "One more year. One more year. Let's hold our breath and give it just one more year." Use some common sense, guys. Please. I think we're past the point where this can be salvaged, but I'm still hoping.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Another Michigan Summer

Max Pacioretty has signed with the Canadiens. Though most everyone expected him back, this isn't a major shocker since the word all along was that Pacioretty had wanted to go pro but his family wanted him to stay in school. It was only a matter of time after he dominated Montreal's development camp.

It's just disappointing. Michigan is still very good--and very deep--up front, but it hurts to lose a potentially dominant player like Pacioretty. I suppose the top line will be something like Summers-Hagelin-Palushaj now?

Pacioretty ends his Michigan career with 15 goals and 39 points.

Good luck to Patches. I think there's at least a decent chance that he will be the best forward that Michigan has put into the NHL in the Berenson-era.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My Take on the Favre Situation

This has been a rough week for me in the sports department. My favorite racecar driver, Bryan Herta, was let go by Andretti-Green Racing for absolutely no reason. Now we've got this mess involving my favorite athlete of all-time and the team that I love.

First off, I want to say how great it was to see the firing of Bryan Herta blow up in Michael Andretti's face this week. Since his replacement, Marco Andretti, couldn't practice due to his IRL commitments, the AGR car had to start at the tail-end of the field and was quickly lapped. Even though they were one of the fastest cars on the track, they could never make the lap back up and, after some more of the bad luck that plagued Herta this year, they ended up 3 laps down. They ended up 5th in class, but it would've been closer to an absolutely brutal 10th place finish without severe attrition amongst the other cars. Then Marco flew down to Nashville for the IRL race on the same day and promptly stuffed his car into the wall on lap 1. Absolutely hilarious. Not that I'm bitter.

As for Favre, indecision must be contagious because I've flip-flopped twice today.

It's pretty clear whose side I'm on based on my posts throughout the interwebs. I've worn a Brett Favre jersey the past four days (I have several) and I'm not planning on stopping anytime soon. I don't think he's done anything wrong by changing his mind (I'll get to that) and I think the Packers are absolutely insane for not taking him back.

Then I read some quotes in the lead up to the Fox News interview about Favre saying he didn't want to be traded because it would "cede control to the Packers" and that he "wouldn't come to Green Bay to backup Aaron Rodgers" and I started to think he was being very unreasonable; That realistically there was no way GB would release him and so he better get used to the idea that they'd trade him--and would likely let him have input into his new location.

Now, having read the transcript of the interview tonight (the situation just makes me sad, and we watch "Saving Grace" anyway, so I figured I didn't need to see it live) I'm back on Brett's side:

I fully believe that the Packers pressured him into making a decision in March and that he did the responsible thing and retired. If he wasn't 100% committed to coming back at that point, there was no way he could tell them he was returning. If he announced he was coming back and then retired at this point (rather than vice-versa), he would've completely screwed the team over. At this point, they're in an uncomfortable situation, but the option is either having Favre-Rodgers-Brohm or Rodgers-Brohm-Flynn on the QB depth-chart. Neither option is bad. If Favre announces a comeback and then goes Barry Sanders on us, our QB depth chart looks like this: Aaron Rodgers. Perhaps Rodgers-Flynn.

If Favre was, in fact, told that playing in Green Bay wasn't an option and yet they couldn't envision him playing for another team, the Packers are being even more unreasonable than Favre was when he asked for his outright release. The team should not have any control over a player's desire to continue his career. If they really wanted to, they would have the right to say "You can come back, but we aren't moving you. You'll stay on our team as the backup QB, and that's that." It would be a low move to pull against a player that has done so much for the organization, but if they really wanted to that's their right as he signed the contract. But you can't say "You can't play here AND we're not moving you." That's crap.

If Mike McCarthy did in fact tell Favre that they would have let him wait until training camp to announce his intentions, then the only thing that has changed between what would have happened and what is happening now is that the team has believed for three months that Aaron Rodgers would be the starting QB. They would have had to approach the draft and free agency as if Favre wasn't coming back. They would have gone through the OTAs under the assumption that Favre wasn't coming back. They would have added some Aaron Rodgers plays to the playbook in case he became the starter. It's absolute BS that they won't take Favre back if it's true that they were willing to wait until training camp for him to make up his mind, and just didn't inform him of that.

I love Brett Favre. People can talk about how "He wasn't the only reason the Packers were good" all they want to. That is true. Without his line, without Reggie, without Holmgren, maybe they don't accomplish everything they accomplished. He didn't win the Super Bowl by himself. But he did provide some of the greatest sports memories that I have; Memories that I will cherish my entire life. I've got DVD after DVD filled with all of our wins from the last 2 years along with some of the classics over the years that I've been able to find. I even have a couple from that dreadful 4-12 year. The reason I have them is simply so that once Brett Favre is gone, I'll be able to go back and watch him play again.

I know the Packers were around for years before Favre came and they'll be around long after he's gone. But for me, it's never going to be the same. I'll still love this team. I'll still cheer my head off for them. I'll still go to games and cherish the moment when I do. But I can pretty much guarantee that I'll never have as much fun watching football as I have had watching Brett Favre. Maybe I'm just an over-sentimental fuddy-duddy, but I want another chance to see him in the green and gold. I'm not ready for this era to end. If we were 7-9 last year I could understand wanting to move on, but we were 13-3 and 1 play from the Super Bowl. Favre had one of the best seasons of his career. Why are we so anxious to see the quarterback of the future, when the quarterback of the past and present still wants to play and is one of the top 3-5 QBs in the league?

I do understand why the Packers would be inclined to move on after Favre flip-flopped in March. What I don't understand is, if they were in fact willing to let him wait until training camp to decide, what has changed? Why not, at the point of the flip-flop, tell him, "Brett, take some more time, and talk to us again when camp gets here"? It's now training camp. The man wants to play. Sure Rodgers would be disappointed, but he's smart enough to know that Favre is a special player and taking Favre back isn't saying anything negative about Rodgers.

I'm sure Favre knows how this is making him look. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel had a poll and only like 47% of the fans want to see him back as the QB at this point. That would have been unfathomable in January. He's coming across looking really bad (though I think he helped himself in a big way tonight), but is it not understandable that they forced him into a decision, he did the responsible thing, and he now wishes he had made the other choice? He's having to swallow an unbelievable amount of pride to come out of retirement after that press conference he had. But the man wants to play. And I don't see how anyone can fault him for that.

I'm sick of seeing the fans turn on him for not doing anything wrong. Could he have handled things better? Sure. He should have spoken well before tonight and not allowed his family, friends, and text messages say it all. Could the organization have handled it better? Absolutely. They could have started by being honest with him--either by having the balls to tell him in the first place that they wanted to move on, or by giving him the time he needed to make a decision he could live with. In the end, I'm inclined to believe what Favre is saying. GMs are notorious liars. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, but I'd bet it's closer to Favre's version.

Two of the most cherished figures in the history of the Packers retired and then came back: Reggie White and Vince Lombardi. Were either of them selfish, unreasonable, or tarnishing their legacy? No. The hate that's been spewed for Favre is, to me, completely ridiculous. Yes, he's waffled and the will-he-or-won't-he game is tiresome at best and attention whoring at worst. But it's hard to blame a guy for wanting to play if he thinks he still can.

I'd hate to see him play for another team, but I understand his desire to come back. In the end, he's always been a Packer and he'll always be a Packer. He's the best thing that's happened to this organization since the late 60s and our fans would be wise to remember that.

Dammit I can't believe we're in this situation......I see clips of Favre throwing snowballs against Seattle, carrying Jennings over his shoulders, yelling "PUT ER IN THE OLD VISE" and running around like a mad-man after his TD pass to Rison, and it kills me that he wants to give us more moments like that, but the organization won't let him. Ted Thompson can say it breaks his heart when people don't like the organization, well, the idea of seeing Brett Favre in another jersey--or not being allowed to play for the Packers when he still wants to--completely breaks mine.

Aaron Rodgers might be a fine football player. But he's not Brett Favre and he never will be. I'll root for him; I hope he takes us to 14 Super Bowls and goes into the Hall of Fame. But I can't freaking believe we're not going to take Favre back so that his feelings won't get hurt. This is so stupid it makes me sick to my stomach.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Patch Update, Another Rule Change

Max Pacioretty is in Montreal taking part in the Canadiens' player development camp. The Gazette had an update on the status of Michigan's star sophomore:

Trevor Timmins, the Canadiens' director of player recruitment, said yesterday that Pacioretty is physically capable of playing in the NHL, but the smart money says the Connecticut native will be a Wolverine for at least one more season.

Pacioretty, who is projected as a power forward, said as much yesterday when members of the media told him about Timmins's statement. While he said his strength was one of his assets, he also said he might have a way to go before he can battle along the boards with the likes of Georges Laraque.

So that's good news. Sounds like we are going to get one more year out of Patches.

Also, the Division I Men's Ice Hockey committee will recommend that teams be required to have a .500 record or better to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. I like the move. Teams play enough non-conference games that if they're a legitimate team, they should have no trouble compiling a .500 record no matter what conference they play in. (HT: Goon)

In other news, Brendan Morrison has signed a one year deal with the Anaheim Ducks. That's a bummer. He deserves better than that team. One positive is that he'll possibly be able to mentor Andrew Ebbett, who signed a two year extension with the team in June. After a strong season in the AHL (he led the Portland Pirates in scoring), it would be nice to see Ebby get a real chance to play for Anaheim.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Pateryn Traded, Dewey is Back

My internet is really limited (I'm updating from a phone) so I'm not sure if this has been reported elsewhere, but I read about a couple of transactions involving Wolverines.

The Louisville Courier Journal reported that Dwight Helminen signed with the Carolina Hurricanes and that Greg Pateryn's rights were traded to the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs are building up quite the cache of Michigan players.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

I'm out of town until Sunday and I'll have very limited internet access, so I doubt there will be any updates unless something really major happens. In the meantime, have a safe and happy 4th of July everyone!

A couple of quick hits before I go:
-I'm absolutely elated about the Marian Hossa signing. It really speaks to the quality of the Red Wings that Hossa was willing to turn down $70 million+ in guaranteed money to sign a one-year deal with Detroit. The old saying is that when someone says it's not about the money, it's about the money. Hossa is backing it up that he's more interested in the Cup than money. And who knows, if the cap goes up by a significant amount next year, maybe this will be more than a one-year thing. I can dream.

-I'm officially on the Ken Holland bandwagon. I've been critical in the past (and at some point, I'll write an article about that and eat crow on the things I need to eat crow about) but it's hard to complain about what he's done this offseason. All Detroit has done is lock in Brad Stuart (not excited about it but he's fine...decent player for a little more than he should be making, but less than he would have gotten on the open market), sign the second-best goalie on the market for the second-least amount of money, and sign one of the top forwards on the market, all while maintaining enough flexibility under the cap to sign Zetterberg and Franzen next year.

-As excited as I am about the Hossa signing, I'm even more excited about the prospect of Brett Favre returning to the Packers. I know he's an attention whore, but it would be amazing to get to see #4 under center for another year. Aaron Rodgers will do just fine, but it's Brett Favre. He had a fantastic season last year, and the idea of him at QB with Ryan Grant for a full year (if he doesn't get stupid and hold out) and Jennings, Driver, Jones, and Nelson at WR....yes please! Do it, Brett!