Summer hiatus is over. It's time to crank the coverage back up for the final season of the CCHA. Michigan has a newly renovated Yost and a new look for the team, who will be playing without a Hunwick on the roster for the first time since the 2002-03 season (!).
Michigan comes into the season ranked third in the first USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Preseason Poll. The Wolverines trail only Minnesota and Boston College, who tied for first with BC getting 20 first-place votes to Minnesota's 12. That seems about 5 spots too high to me given the question marks in net and with scoring goals in general, though I certainly haven't studied everyone in close proximity to Michigan.
Based on the USA Today poll, here's how they have the top part of the CCHA:
1) Michigan (3rd)
2) Miami (9th)
3) Notre Dame (10th)
4) Western Michigan (11th)
5) Ferris State (14th)
6) FYS (19th)
7) Ohio State (22nd)
8) Northern Michigan (T-28th)
First a few housekeeping things, and then we'll get on with the season preview in the near future.
MGoBlue posted a video taking you inside the new Yost and it looks absolutely fantastic in there. The aluminum seating combined with the natural light has made it so bright inside. I'd imagine the aluminum will also be louder. I still want one of those old bleachers. If anyone from the Athletic Department happens to read this site and knows of any still hanging around, please get in touch. I'd pay.
In the linked video, Red talks about his team--he says he likes the defense they're going to have out there and thinks the goalies will be just fine playing behind that defense. Up front, clearly the trio of Treais, PDG, and Guptill will be looked to for goals, but he's looking for K. Lynch and Moffatt to help out as well. Nieves was singled out as a freshman that could contribute.
Red also mentions that the Blue/White game will take place next Sunday and, assuming compliance okays it, you'll see guys like Jack Johnson, Matt Hunwick (there always has to be one!), and possibly Mike Knuble out there. With no alumni game due to the renovations, maybe this is a chance for some of our former players to get back out on the Yost ice.
After the Blue/White game will be the traditional Skate With the Wolverines. After that will be an AHL exhibition game between Grand Rapids and Erie, which will feature the return of Luke Glendening to Yost. Additionally, Erie is coached by David Oliver.
A few of our recruits were in action last night in the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game. Michael Downing, Tyler Motte, JT Compher, and Evan Allen were all on Team Housley, which fell to Team McClanahan by a 5-2 score. Allen scored both goals for Housley's team.
The United States of Hockey has a thorough recap, with mentions of Allen and Compher on the positive side, and Downing as someone who struggled a little bit, though he was coming off an injury.
MHNet has you covered for what our recruits have been up to in the early-going this year. Here's the list of where they're all playing:
USA Under 18 Team:
USA Under 17 Team:
Bryson Cianfrone - Cedar Rapids
Kyle Connor - Youngstown
Michael Downing - Dubuque
Alex Kile - Green Bay
Max Shuart - Muskegon
Alex Talcott - Indiana
Spencer Hyman - Hamilton
Dexter Dancs - Penticton
HPHL (High Performance Hockey League):
Brendan Warren - Compuware
I'll get the links updated on the sidebar in the near future.
Next up: I was fortunate enough to be invited to join the Verizon Wireless Midwest Fans sports blogger program. Basically here's the gist: They're giving me a couple of devices (along with service plans for five months) to try out and provide my honest opinions about them. The first gadget they gave me is the new Motorola Droid Razr M. It's a pretty nice little phone--the screen is surprisingly big for the size of the phone and the picture is absolutely fantastic.
The internet in my house wasn't working yesterday, so I actually watched about half of the first period of the All American Prospects Game on it and it streamed perfectly over the 4G LTE. Not going to lie, watching that game on the internet was really making me wish Michigan would go back to streaming the non-TV games live. There are a lot of schools with a lot less money that have their games on the internet. Even pay-per view would be a step up from what we've got now. Hopefully the new renovations to Yost included the infrastructure to make it happen. It's 2012. We shouldn't be going backwards in terms of accessibility of games for people who aren't fortunate enough to be at the venue.
But anyway, I switched to Verizon about two years ago because of their support of the IndyCar series and my favorite driver, Will Power, so it's kind of cool to be asked to examine how using their devices can enhance my sports-viewing experience. They already have for awhile because their IndyCar Mobile app is fantastic. I watch races live because I can watch the whole thing from Power's car and hear his conversations with his crew.
I think that covers everything! I'm on a work trip this week and working the night shift Tuesday-Thursday night. Because of that, I'll probably be staying up late tomorrow night so I can sleep as much during the day Tuesday as possible. Sounds like a good time to write a season preview.