...talks about how UConn hasn't been in contact and how they're out. (HT: UMHoops)
So there's this kid John Tavares in Canada. He's 14 and good at hockey. So good that the OHL is going to allow him to be drafted this year in an attempt to get more fans to their rinks. To relatively sane people this is obviously wrong, but the culture of hockey, especially in Canada, is anything but sane. There are a few people out there getting fed up with the direction things are going. Damien Cox of the Toronto Star is among them. His most recent article ripped the OHL to pieces.
Seriously. This is his lede (he's in Austria for the IIHC World Championships):
It's heartening to know that while the world tries to celebrate the badly battered game of hockey here in Europe, the sociopaths who run the Ontario Hockey League are helping to soil the sport just a little more.
Wow. Sounds like me talking about Terry Foster. The rest of it is equally savage and paints the CHL in a dim light indeed. Cox beautifully sums up any NCAA proponent's argument against the CHL right here:
Anybody with a conscience has had to be troubled by the OHL's act in recent years, how the league has continued to allow teenagers to punch each others' lights out every night so they can impress NHL scouts with their toughness, how teenagers are getting the same $60 a week they were getting more than 40 years ago, how teenagers can be traded from Kingston to Sault Ste. Marie to Plymouth, Mich., in the middle of a high school year without anybody batting an eye.
I should state for the record that the US system is not leaps and bounds better. Goalie recruit Billy Sauer, for instance, moved from upstate New York to Chicago this year to play for the USHL's Chicago Steel. His family did not accompany him. Many of the elite US players end up far away from home playing for the NTDP right here in Ann Arbor or at Shattuck-St. Mary's in Minnesota. The life of a teenage hockey player is generally a strange, somewhat sad thing spent far away from home, eating some other mom's dinners. Elite Minnesota high school players and eastern Junior B players manage to avoid getting shipped off at 16, but most kids chase their NHL dreams thousands of miles from where they grew up. At least in the US they aren't spending two weeks at a time on the road, away from anything resembling a classroom, and when they get to college they graduate. The OHL's education packages, which are generally partial and expire if you play more than a year of professional hockey, present a Solomon's choice for fringe NHL prospects--give up the dream you've chased across timezones, provinces, and states since your childhood or risk getting coughed up at 24 or 25 by minor pro hockey without a degree of any kind.
Hockey youths: Go to college. There are sorority girls and education and stuff. It's the bomb, yo, to use the particular vernacular you are accustomed to, dawg.
Update 4/6: Added WR Jamar Hornsby, RB Anthony Elzy, DT Jason Pinkston. Noted that GA leads for WR Chris Slaughter. Noted that USC and M are listed as co-leaders for WR Andrey Baskin. Added link to some free video of WR Menelik Holt.
Link is here.
It's bash the media day at mgoblog, I guess, and Mitch Albom's next in line. Undeterred by his national spanking after making up stuff... oops! He's done it again.
His latest faux pas:
I went down to Joe Louis Arena earlier this week. The halls were dark, the tunnels empty. I was about to leave when I heard the sound of conversation.
"And that makes one year," a voice whispered.
"One stinkin' year," said another.
"Yeah. Happy stinkin' anniversary."
I crouched low. Through the dim light I saw a stick and a puck. The stick had hundreds of notches on its shaft. It had just cut a new one. I'm not sure how, since a stick has no arms. Then again, sticks aren't supposed to talk, either.
"Three hundred sixty-five notches," it said. "Three hundred sixty-five days. One full year. No Red Wings."
"One full year," the puck said, glumly.
Nice try, Mitch, but everyone knows that sticks don't talk and even if they did they wouldn't talk to pucks, because pucks are black and sticks are really racist. When is someone going to hold this guy accountable?
I do not come here to praise newspaper media. I come to bury it.
I've harped on the general shoddiness of professional sportswriting before, and I have a crystal clear example now.
Terry Foster's latest:
The Tigers dipped to 3-8 in one-run games following Thursday's 2-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox at Comerica Park. It is a disturbing trend considering they were 12-27 in one-run games last season. It is not a coincidence. It is a trend. And it is a trend that must stop.
This concludes Terry Foster's in-depth examination of the situation. But wait! Let's hear from The Detroit Tigers Weblog:
Using data from Retrosheet, I looked at every team's performance in one run games from 1970 to 1993. The result is 903 team-seasons of data to look at.... (extensive analysis) ... As you can see there is no correlation from one year to the next.... This leads me to believe that performance in one run games has more to do with luck and less to do with skill.
So what does this mean for the Tigers who's .325 one-run winning percentage was the 13th worst since 1970? Since it is pretty rare for a team to perform that badly once, chances are the Tigers will do better. Of the 83 teams who had a one-run winning percentage less than .400, only 4 were worse the following season. In fact, of those 83, forty of them posted a .500 or better winning percentage in one-run games the following year. Now the Tigers 0-5 start this season has put them in a hole for finishing over .500, but the Tigers stand a good chance of improving over last year. Furthermore, much of it will come down to luck as opposed to a failure of the offense, bulllpen, or the manager.
You got served, Terry Foster! YOU GOT SERVED!
INCH has an article up quoting ND alum and current Gopher coach Don Lucia that he expects ND's next coach to be none other than... Jeff flippin' Jackson! Why am I exclaiming and questioning all over this post, you ask?
Well, Jackson coached Lake State two national championships in the early 90s, presiding over the heyday of the Laker program. When he departed the job he moved over to the NTDP and then the OHL. He was rumored a candidate for the Michigan State job but he wanted no part of the NCAA's restrictions on recruiting and practices--he was openly dismissive of the whole idea even though Jackson is a Spartan alum!
And now he's back? At Notre Dame, a school that plays in one of the worst facilities in DI hockey? A school that broke its NCAA tournament cherry last year and then proceeded to flip belly-up and die this year? Quick, ND, sign this guy to a 20 year contract before he sobers up. Jackson won three-quarters of his games with the Lakers and only a miraculous Maine comeback in 1993 prevented him from winning three straight NCAA titles. He's good, good enough turn Notre Dame into a power if he can get a new building.
Update: Another, less optimistic take can be found at "CCHA and WCHA Info."
Update II: Jackson is official.
Finally! The board isn't up to date at the moment but I moved it a little closer to reality:
Update 4/5: Added QB prospect Jeremy Ricker, removed two ND commits, moved several players to different positions.