Saturday, January 30, 2010
MSU 4, Michigan 3...ERRRRR, MSU 3, Michigan 2
I can give you two reasons that Michigan isn't going to the NCAA Tournament this year and why they don't belong there anyway:
1) Our goaltending is horrifically inconsistent. Yes, as a whole Bryan Hogan played well tonight. You can't fault him on the first goal, and he gets a pass on the second goal because it sure looked like it hit Brandon Burlon's stick. Yes, he made some great stops when it was 0-0. Yes, he even made some great stops when the game was 3-0. But that third goal....it was the type of goal that's been killing us all year. 2-0 you've still got a chance. 3-0 is going to take a minor miracle--and a miracle that we almost got--to win on the road. It's not going to happen very often. The third one tonight was a shot that dribbled off his pads to the right, getting back to Tropp's stick just in time for him to slide it into the net before he went behind the goal. You can't leave that rebound. It's that type of goal--or the shorty against FSU last weekend--that are going to keep us out of the tournament. We're not winning CCHA's because there's no way in hell Hogan's keeping it together for four out of five games. No way.
2) 3 games, 3 goals, 3 points, 2 game-winners. Those are Captain Douchebag's numbers against the Wolverines this season. The fact that the Green Bay Packers let Brett Favre tear them up twice this year--including once in their house--told me everything I needed to know about the 2009 Packers. The fact that Michigan has let Corey Tropp beat them twice--once in their building, on a play against Steve Kampfer of all people--tells me all I need to know about this team. You can't let that guy do that to you twice. I don't care if Andrew Rowe beats you. I don't care if Dustin Gazley beats you. I don't care if Chris Summers shoots the goddamn puck into his own net six times or if Bryan Hogan Statue of Libertys the game winner. You can't let Corey Tropp beat you. And you definitely can't let him beat you twice.
Now, let's talk about the officiating. I'm not sure I have the words to describe what went on in the last three minutes of that hockey game. I think my buddy Kevin might have put it best in a text to me: "What is this clown show?"
I do know one thing: If you ever need a prime example of why Steve Piotrowski needs to lace up the skates again, it's the fact that the ref who is widely regarded as the best ref in the CCHA blew a call like that in a game as big as that.
But let's back up.
With just a couple of minutes to go in a 3-2 hockey game, Michigan State came down on a 2 on 1 that turned into a 3 on 2, after a Chad Langlais turnover in the MSU end. Rowe spun around Summers and sent a pass into the slot. Hogan made the initial save, but despite having it hit him in the chest, the rebound popped into the air and Hogan flailed to try and recover. Summers was in the crease and tried to bat the puck out of the air with his hand. As he was attempting to do that, Andrew Rowe came in and drilled him in the back. The puck hit the ice and Rowe jammed it in.
The official right on the play--Mark Wilkens--pointed goal. Chris Summers had his arms out asking for a hitting from behind call even before he stopped sliding. He immediately got up and went bonkers on Wilkens.
They go to the replay (at least I think they did....maybe the four blind mice just got together and "replayed it in their heads") and there doesn't appear to be anything to overturn the goal on. At best you're hoping they rule the puck left the crease so Rowe didn't have a right to be there anymore, or something. Yes it was a penalty, no the goal shouldn't count, but the ref on the ice called it a goal. There's no goalie interference to overturn it.
They waived it off. Not only did they waive it off, they gave Rowe a penalty! I would love to hear the explanation for that one. Surely we're going to get some line of bull that the back referee--Shegos--was trying to make a call and it just got overlooked. Spath's article indicates that Shegos blew it dead from center ice. And if that's the case, fine.
(This assumes they looked at the replay) But then why look at the replay? To determine if the puck was in before the call? It couldn't have been. They may be saying Shegos blew it dead at center. I can't say I ever heard a whistle. At this point, it sure looks like the CCHA just went to replay, overturned a goal, and assessed a penalty.
(If they didn't go to review) If they didn't go to review, then what took so long? Either someone blew it dead or they didn't. This isn't the NFL. You don't get to discuss plays with the whole crew and then retroactively make a penalty call--even if it ended up being the correct one.
Let's be perfectly clear. They got the call right. Rowe deserved a penalty and the goal shouldn't have counted. I just don't have the foggiest clue how they justify making that call after either going to the replay or discussing it amongst themselves. Either someone made the call live or they didn't. If they did, great. If they didn't, they're all blind, but it should still be a goal.
So now Michigan has a man-advantage with just over two minutes to go and a chance to pull off a huge comeback on the road. Just after the penalty expired, Chris Brown was standing in the slot. The puck hit him and bounced down, through the legs of Drew Palmisano, and into the net. Like, straight through the legs of Palmisano. We're not talking pinballing. We're not talking the puck died between his legs but was still loose and someone jammed it in. It hit Chris Brown, bounced down, went right through Palmisano into the net.
Shegos somehow missed this and blew the play dead within milliseconds of the puck going underneath Palmisano. The whistle may not have gone until the puck was in the net (I'm not sure), but thanks to the most retarded rule in sports--the play is dead when it's dead in the referee's mind, not when he blows the whistle--you can't review it.
That's a missed call. You can see from the behind-the-net cam that the puck was never even remotely covered. And the guy who is widely considered the best ref in the conference--as if that's not like saying someone is the prettiest ugly girl (by the way, there were options in the crowd tonight....for as many good-looking girls as there are supposed to be at Michigan State, they must have found every fug in the bunch during the crowd shots tonight....holy buckets)--completely blew it.
I'll say this once again, Miami fan: You can bitch all you want to about Matt Shegos officiating Michigan games even though he's a Michigan alum. We'd gladly ban him from doing our games as well. You can't waive the "favoritism" banner around ever again when you see something like that. That blown call might have put the final nail in our tournament chances. (Though to be fair, that just gets us to OT.)
It's too much, especially on the day the NFL said "Oh, yeah, about that NFC Championship? Yeah, we completely effed that one up." I'm sick of games getting decided this way. I'm sick of quick whistles (I'm thinking of Scott Hansen yet again, thank you Shegos), I'm sick of kicked-in pucks counting, I'm sick of good goals not counting.
This one was big. If Michigan comes back and wins that game, they've got a chance to flip the comparison with Michigan State tomorrow and it's a HUGE boost to the tournament chances. We're running out of chances, but we probably don't belong in The Dance anyway.
What else can you really say? Some quick hitters:
-The power play put in a couple, but one goal was a two-minute 5 on 3 and the other was kind of off a nothing play. They passed the puck well on a couple of PPs, but never had a lot of chances and there were at least 3 or 4 of those power play opportunities that completely went by the wayside without a hint of a scoring chance. Up until our fifth power play chance, I don't think we had one that you could even consider decent. Even the four minutes we had left on the five-minute major after the first goal...we didn't get a whole lot going and that was a chance to really turn the game.
-Hogan did make some very good stops in the first half of the game. That third goal was just a head-scratcher though.
-A few silly penalties when we certainly didn't need them. Greg Pateryn took a needless one about 30 seconds after MSU killed off a Michigan power play, so you know they're looking anyway. Dumb penalties by Tristin Llewellyn got Pateryn into the lineup. You don't want to find yourself back in the press box because of the same thing. Kampfer took a dumb late run at somebody in the third period. Unless it's Corey Tropp you have to be smarter. He didn't even get his money's worth. It was a cheap call, but you can't give them the opportunity to call it, especially when they've shown they're calling everything.
-Over half the game was spent with one team on the man advantage. That's way too much. Michigan had 19:23 in power play time. MSU had 13:20. Aside from the Gazley/Treais kerfuffle, I didn't even think it was an overly chippy game. Definitely not one that warranted 33 minutes in power play time, which would've been 36 without penalties ending on power play goals. You're talking almost TWO FULL PERIODS of man advantages in that game. I sure am glad we have the two ref system, so they can call literally everything but miss the most obvious call of the game: that Drew Palmisano never covered that puck.
-The goal on the 5 on 3 was quite nice. Moffie at the left point down to Lynch on the left wing. He centers for Rust, who one-touches it to Hagelin back-door for the goal. That's the way to do it when you've got two extra men.
-A lot of odd-man rushes. And a lot of odd-man rushes both ways.
I really don't know what the hell else to say. The officiating in this league is a complete joke, and it's a complete joke that Corey Tropp's able to touch the puck without getting drilled into next week, let alone the fact that he's scored two game-winners on the Wolverines this year.