First off, I have to give some pub to a great new college hockey site that was the brainchild of Bob Miller and Mike Spath from The Wolverine. It's called College Hockey 24/7 and they've been pumping out some really great articles since the site launched.
On the front page right now is a story about NTDP U-17 defenseman Michael Paliotta, who has Michigan in his final four along with BC, Notre Dame, and Harvard.
They just came out with some rankings of the current recruiting classes and have the Wolverines at #2, behind Minnesota.
It's another great addition to the college hockey world.
Michigan takes on Michigan State this weekend. They'll play at Munn (despite the fact that it was recently destroyed by UA's flying polar bear) Friday night before heading to the Joe for Saturday's game. The game tomorrow will air on the Big Ten Network, while Saturday's game is on FSN Detroit.
Now for 10 things to know about the Spartans from Michigan State.
1) Their new logo sucks.
2) They come into this weekend in second place in the CCHA (though with Ferris's games in hand, they're more likely in third place) with a record of 16-8-4 (11-5-4-1 in conference). They currently site 10 points ahead of the Wolverines, though Michigan has two games in hand. With non-shootout wins being worth three points in the new-fangled CCHA, if Michigan sweeps this weekend, they're in prime position to pass the Spartans in the standings. MSU is also teetering very close to the bubble. They're 13th in the PWR right now. Two wins for Michigan this weekend would be absolutely huge for our chances to steal a PWR point from the Spartans. As it stands right now, a sweep would flip that comparison.
3) MSU has been up and down at times. They started off 9-2-2, then lost four out of five. They then ripped off five straight wins, but have only won one of their last five (a second game they won in a shootout). MSU is just 3-6-3 against teams under consideration.
4) One thing they have been doing a lot of lately is scoring goals. They went through a stretch beginning with the second Michigan game where they only scored 11 goals in 7 games, but since then they've scored 43 in their last ten contests (and that doesn't count the 8 they scored on the NTDP in an exhibition game). On the other hand, they've given up 18 in their last five after giving up just 19 in their 9 games before that.
5) Captain Douchebag Corey Tropp hasn't really cooled down after his hot start. While he hasn't scored a goal in the last seven games, he hasn't been held off the scoresheet in consecutive games all year and still has 8 points in the seven games he's gone goalless. He leads the team with 17-19--36 in 28 games, good for 17th in points per game nationally. JM Liles is the only Spartan to hit 50 points since the 2000-2001 season (and he had exactly 50). Tropp will have a chance. If, you know, he can resist the urge to slash someone in the neck this weekend.
6) Freshman Derek Grant (10-17--27) and Andrew Rowe each have double-digit goals. After a dismal sophomore season, Jeff Petry has 21 points and his +/- is 36 points higher than it was a year ago (+5 vs. -31). Tropp and Grant each have six power play tallies.
7) Drew Palmisano (HE'S FROM ANN ARBOR, HEY DID YOU KNOW HE'S FROM ANN ARBOR?!!!) has played 22 games this year and is 12-7-3 with a 2.17/.927. He also leads the team in Fox Sports Detroit features. He's been chased a couple of times this year (Wisconsin and Ohio State) but has overall been very solid, giving up 2 or fewer in 13 of his 20 starts. In four of his seven losses, he's made 30+ saves. He's 12th in GAA and 8th in save percentage.
8) The Spartans rank 12th nationally in goals per game at 3.29. They have the #11 defense in the country, giving up 2.39 goals per contest. Kind of interesting: Their goal differential (per game) is just .01 ahead of the Wolverines.
9) They're middle of the pack in terms of penalty minutes, taking 14.7 minutes per game, though only four teams have been shorthanded more times. (Keep in mind that no team in the country has played more games than the Spartans.) They have a very middle of the pack penalty kill at 82.8%. They're also middle of the pack on the power play, at 18.5%.
10) Top Spartan Killers: Chris Summers (13 points in 17 games), Louie Caporusso (8 points in 11 games), and David Wohlberg (7 points in 5 games). Bryan Hogan is 5-2-0 against the Spartans with a 2.15/.903.
Michigan State's top performers against Michigan have been Andrew Rowe (7 points in 7 games) and Dustin Gazley (6 points in 11 games). Those are the only two players with multiple goals against the Wolverines. Jeff Petry is -7 against Michigan in 11 games. Drew Palmisano--who I'll have you know is from Ann Arbor--is 2-1-0 with a 2.55/.925.
The last time MSU won 3 in a row in the series was in the 2000-01 season. They haven't won 4 in a row since the 97-98 season, when Michigan ended up winning the National Championship.
One thing non Michigan/MSU related: This fight didn't go well for Eric Nystrom. I'm not sure I've ever seen someone get clubbed in the head with their own helmet before.