Saturday, November 14, 2009

FYS 3, Michigan 2

Here's what you need to know: We suck right now.

The penalty kill is the only phase of the game that's solid. Probably because they're getting so much practice.

I've only seen 5 periods of this season so far (this game and 2 periods against Niagara), and I'm yet to be impressed. The goaltending has been sub-par, the defense has been shockingly careless with the puck, the power play sucks per usual, and we don't do anything on offense.

I'm going to talk about certain guys, but I'm certainly not singling them out. I don't think there's a single player on the team would can say that they played a good-to-great game tonight. But just a few comments:

-We have to play smarter hockey. I mean, right out of the gate, Llewellyn drills a guy who never touched the puck. You're playing a team with the best power play in the conference. You can't be taking penalties left and right. Llewellyn took two, neither of which were necessary (though the second one was weak). Sparks hauled a guy down in center ice, Summers had a cheapie but he still slashed the guy for no reason, Caporusso got too close to the goalie and took him down....just things you can't be doing. Even though the penalty kill was fantastic tonight--the only reason this was even a game--you're still costing yourself time where you could go try to get a goal. I thought most of the calls against us were legit.

-We have to get better goaltending. Again, I haven't seen very much hockey this year, but the impression I'm getting from reading/listening/history is that Hogan is good for at least one soft goal every game. It's even worse when it's a deflating goal. It's one thing to give up a bad goal when you're up 3-0. It's another entirely when the crowd is into it and it's still a 0-0 game. Just like against Air Force last year--a weak goal just kills the momentum. Tonight, he had the puck behind the net, went to move it to Llewellyn, and he fired the pass in by Llewellyn's feet. Tristin got a stick on it, and I don't actually know who would be "at fault", but I know if I was the defenseman, I would've been expecting it closer to the boards. Though no one ever accused me of knowing anything. I know that I'm losing confidence in our goaltending even though Hogan did make some really huge stops to keep us in the game. I'm not at all convinced that he won't get Billy Sauered next season once Campbell is here.

-I don't have a problem with the third goal counting. I know it's probably viewed as "controversial", but assuming it went in, I'm fine with it. Fox's feed never showed the puck in the net, but we never saw the overhead cam and that would've told the tale. I know their guy hit Hogan before the puck went in the net, but our guy created that contact by tripping him. There's no way Leveille could have stopped himself. Assuming that went in before the net was off, I'm fine with it. One interesting note: Yost now has the technology to allow the refs to see all available camera angles in the replay booth. From what I understand, it's the only arena in the CCHA that has that capability. To Michigan, bravo! And to the CCHA, bravo for allowing it. There was talk last year that it would be "unfair" for some arenas to be more equipped than others, and I never understood that. Michigan doesn't have an advantage by having extra video in their replay booth. It's just as likely to hurt us as help us. But it means at our home games, there's a better chance that the calls will be the right ones. And there's nothing wrong with that.

-What the hell is our power play doing? Yet again, it's worth pointing out I haven't seen much hockey this year, but early in the game we threw out Sparks and Winnett on the second unit. Chris Brown was running the point on the first unit. He's one of our biggest players. Shouldn't he be crashing the net? It doesn't seem like we have anyone on the team that can take a one-timer, so we just look for the perfect pass and it's never there. Here's a question: Why doesn't anyone ever screen the goalie in college? I was thinking about this during the game: When was the last time you saw anyone go to the front of the net and park himself there? Michigan game or not. I honestly can't remember the last time I saw it and there's no good reason why. I was thinking about crease violations, but they don't let you go in the crease (or within 2 feet of the crease if you're Tomas Holmstrom and/or playing the Anaheim Ducks) in the pros either. They don't blow the play dead, but they don't count the goal. I find it very strange.

Other Stuff:
-Fox Sports, I love you for showing the game, but did we really need two "Drew Palmisano is from Ann Arbor" features? 1 in each intermission? Thankfully the feed cut out for the second one and I got commercials instead.

-I still love watching Hagelin and Rust.

-Paging Louie Caporusso! Honestly, if it weren't for his penalty, I'm not sure I would've known that he played tonight. I'm sure he'd be the first to tell you that one goal and 11 shots in 9 games is not good enough. He's got plenty of company though. Wohlberg has one goal, Czarnik didn't do much of anything tonight (no shots)....

-You can't let Corey Tropp score that goal. I don't care that it was an amazing shot. I don't care that it was a nice toe-drag. You can't let that guy score against you in that arena. It's like letting Brett Favre walk into Lambeau and throttle you. You can't let it happen.

-I'm not panicking just yet. We're still only a quarter of the way through the season. North Dakota seemingly pulls this every season, where they have a rough first half and go gangbangers after Christmas. But the margin for error is getting smaller. Assuming FYS doesn't come back to Earth, we're 0-4 or 0-5 against teams that will be under consideration at the end of the year. That's not good for the tournament. We're 8th place in the CCHA 10 points out of first. That's not as bad as it seems, with wins counting for 3 points and us having 2 games in hand on the leaders, but we still can't keep tossing away points. Especially at home, where we've lost 3 straight now.

-I'm not complaining about the officiating, because I think they're strangely competent tonight (minus Sparks getting hauled down in the slot when he was going to have a great scoring chance) but does anyone else think it's strange that we've played Miami and FYS in the last two weeks and we've had Brian Hill, Keith Sergott, Barry Pochmara, and Dan Brown? I'm not asking for Shegos or Hall or Aaron or McInchak by any stretch of the imagination, but those are the guys we usually see. It just seems strange to have a Michigan/FYS game without Shegos or Hall pissing me off.

-Honest to God, I think we had 1 scoring chance tonight and I'm fully aware we scored twice.

-Lucas Lessio: Are you sure you're not interested in accelerating to....ohhh....say.....2009?

That's all I've got. Time to get some sleep and wake up to go to the Michigan/Wisconsin game tomorrow. I'm not holding my breath that it's going to end well, but never underestimate the ability of the Wisconsin Badgers to lose to bad Michigan teams. Either way, it's the first sporting event I'm going to since Valentine's Day weekend. That's gotta be a new record for me....

Big game tomorrow at Munn. Games in hand or not, three-point wins or not, dropping 13 points back in the standings this early in the season is not the hole you want to dig for yourself.


MGoDoubleMs said...

Two of the hit penalties were absolute crap, and I was definitely a little taken aback by one of the other penalties being anything but bogus. The officiating in the CCHA has been as bad as the Big Ten and SEC this year. I think coaches need to start speaking out more openly about the reffing. Instead of slapping on fines and telling people to shut up and respect their authoritah, conferences might actually listen if enough coaches complain. They can't Urban Meyer everyone. Hopefully the SEC takes the 30k they fined him for and pays for more training for their refs.

The one thing I don't get is why doesn't Yost have two net cameras - and why does bad shit goal-review-wise only happen to us when it concerns the net without a camera?

Sparks looked kind of lost all night. I was surprised to see him out there, did Scooter get +game'd Saturday and I didn't see it?

We're playing with no heart. Michigan played maybe 20 minutes of inspired hockey out of 3 periods. The first half of the 3rd period was pretty inspired, and so was the first 5-10 mins of the first period. Besides that it was ridiculously boring hockey...

We're not executing for shit. People are dumping pucks to nobody more often than they are to somebody. Everyone's missing half their passes at least. More often than not, we wind up chasing pucks down because we can't keep them in the zone at all. It's bad... real bad.

Hagelin is stepping up as quite the team leader, but I don't hear any vocal team leaders down there.

Also, side note. Summers played forward for about 30 seconds. He was pretty sweet for those 30 seconds. He was originally a forward if I remember right... wonder what he'd be like if he still was?

Anonymous said...

Summers is an "it".....niether forward or "d'. And Tristy is a D-III guy at best. Palmisano has always been a top goalie since a kid, not like Hogan, who was an average high school goaler.M is not real good right now, no leadership, and small weak forwards. so sorry!

Packer487 said...

Sparks was pretty out of it. I made a comment to my buddy that if you filmed my rec league games, I'd probably look a lot like Sparks did last night. He blindly passed to no one (or a FYS player) about 7 times.

I was really surprised that Vaughan wasn't in. I was impressed with him at forward in the limited amount that I've seen.

Dave H said...

Why in god's name is Tristin playing first line D with Summers? He's a total liability.

Also, maybe we've been watching different games, but Rust has been nearly as invisible as Caporusso. Or if not invisible, as ineffective. He honestly looks like he's lost a step. He hasn't yet been able get by guys on the boards or beat them one-on-one to the net in the same way I'm used to seeing.

Incidentally, I'm a big AJ Treais fan. A real hockey player that kid is. Sometimes he fucks around with the puck a bit too much, but he'll learn. For a kid that's tiny he's even going into the corners and battling for the puck. Chris Brown has also been intermittently impressive (before last night when he looked lethargic).

And totally agree that nobody seems able to one-time the puck. As a result nobody's even shooting. Moffie has a great, low outside wrister that hopefully will start to find the net if we can get people in front of it.

Anonymous said...

Even though I'm a State hockey fan, I read/check your blog every day and I just wanted to say this was a very well written post. Michigan is playing exactly like Red said last week, like a bunch of individuals/spoiled brats. That is unlike any Michigan team I ever remember (I went to school at Michigan). I appreciate you not complaining about the amount of calls going against Michigan, I thought most of the penalties were deserved and the game last night was very well officiated. I sat behind the net that the 3rd Spartan goal was scored in, and everyone in section 9 knew that it was a goal right away. Hopefully tonight is another competitive game, and thank you for all the work you put into this blog.

streaker said...


Your commentary summed it all up. Even Red has raised the white flag, calling them "spoiled brats" last week and now "fragile" after last night. He has a bunch of kids that have skill, but no finishers and not a ton of grit. The epitome of the evening for me was watching Llewellyn jawing at Hogan after their gaffe, because that pretty well gave FYS all the momentum they needed. This team has no chemistry and is dissolving fast. No discipline, no offensive creativity, continuous turnovers and mistakes, poor goaltending. Hagelin is the only bright spot. As far as the officiating, I noticed the lack of big name crews, also. Makes me wonder... but they did a fair job last night. Thought Brown was a little ticky tack, and was in the players faces too much. Anastos and his organization are a joke, IMO anyway.

Would anyone have guessed that out of the three major men's programs, that basketball would be the one that emerges as the most consistent? UGH.

KC8NIY said...

Tim, you haven't seen anything different from what the rest of us have, even with your limited viewing time. The roughly 10 minutes of solid team effort against Niagara was the start of this slide.

While there's plenty of issues to work on, I think the intangibles are the biggest problem. They're much more difficult to correct, if you even can. Cohesiveness, effort, and leadership are the biggest issues in my eyes. If they can pull together as a team, get back to doing the small things right at game speed, and start having fun, they'll turn this around. If not, it's going to be a long season.

Not so fun fact: '89-'90 was the last time Michigan dropped five games in a row. While I certainly think this team is looking like those of the late 80's right now, lets not prove it tonight, okay?

Anonymous said...

When a team is struggling to produce offensively, and the goalie is giving up soft goals, shouldn'tit be important for the defense to actually focus on defensive play since you can't lose if the other team doesn't score? The forwards should start producing but how bout we get some defensive play from the defense?