Let's talk some freaking hockey!
First up, let me introduce the official Yost Built Twitter page.
The Wolverines open the 2010-11 season at Yost this Saturday against Mercyhurst. They'll face Western Ontario in an exhibition game Sunday.
The USA Today poll was released today and the Wolverines are the pre-season #4 team in the country, behind BC, NoDak, and Miami.
The last time we saw these Wolverines, they were skating off the ice after one of the great screw-jobs in recent memory, which denied them a trip to the Frozen Four in Detroit and denied Shawn Hunwick the chance to potentially complete one of the greatest stories in the history of college sports.
When attempting to project how this season will go, it's kind of difficult. Are they the team that damn near made it to the Frozen Four, where they would have been a scary team to play, or are they the team that needed to win six games (and the CCHA Tournament) just to keep their NCAA streak alive? For good parts of the season, they played largely uninspired hockey (culminating in that debacle of a weekend against UNO) and took an unbelievable number of insanely stupid penalties (lots of them when we had a man advantage).
That being said, they ended the year with more goals (albeit in 3 more games played) than the season before when they were a number one seed. The big difference was the defense gave up 18 more goals, though they certainly found something down the stretch once Hunwick came in. Hopefully that re-dedication to team defense carries over another year.
The power play was much better than a season before, but it was good in bunches. They scored 31 of their 48 power play goals in their 14 multi-PPG games. The PK wasn't bad, though it wasn't up to Michigan's typical standards (I'm still having Brendan Smith flashbacks). With guys like Glendening, Rust, and Hagelin, though, it should be pretty solid.
The team returns largely in tact from an offensive perspective. Thanks to the decisions of Rust, Hagelin, Caporusso, Brown, and Burlon to return to school, Michigan loses just 24 of their 148 goals from a season ago (14 from Lebler, 3 from Kampfer, 4 from Summers, 3 from Czarnik who left mid-season last year).
The blue line will look somewhat different. Gone are two-year captain Chris Summers (40 GP) and Steve Kampfer (45 GP) (along with Eric Elmblad who didn't play last season). That's a lot of minutes to replace, but there is a bunch of talent amongst the noobs. (We'll get to that in the positional previews later in the week.)
Hogan and Hunwick both return, and they're joined by freshman Adam Janecyk who replaces Patrick Summers as the third goalie.
Michigan just announced their TV schedule. Sadly, due to Comcast's general suckitude, the TV that hosts my Slingbox is now a U-Verse TV, so I won't get the seven Comcast Local games. We do have six or seven on FSN Detroit, 5 or 6 on the Big Ten Network, and a couple on CBS College Sports.
The plan is to preview the forwards tomorrow, the defense on Wednesday, goalies on Thursday, and have 10 Things to Know about Mercyhurst on Friday. I might juggle the schedule based on life (it's easier to write a goalie preview than talk about the forwards), but Ozzie is in midseason form and I'm ready to talk hockey!