BC guys evaluate Bates's tenure positively.
I've got a crack team of speculators working around the clock on this one, so hear me out. Yes, they're monkeys. Yes, I'm teaching them to skate so they can radically improve the efficacy of CCHA officiating. What?
Er. In any case, does anyone think Lloyd Carr is acting a little... weird this year? tienmao screencapped exhibit A. It's Carr hugging ABC sideline reporter Suzy Shuster in the immediate aftermath of the Iowa game. Yeah. Weird. He's also got video up if you're interested.
Quite a change from "that's a stupid question" (it was a stupid question, by the way) a few years ago, albeit in different circumstances. To boot, when I watched Michigan Replay this weekend Lloyd was extra special choked up upon receiving the game ball from his players in commemoration of his 100th win.
(Also, you know that Starbucks commercial where Survivor shows up and starts going "Roy! Roy Roy Roy!" at office workers enjoying whatever caffeine explosion they happened to be marketing? Yeah... imagine the entire Michigan team doing that in the locker room after the game except replacing "Roy! Roy Roy Roy!" with "Lloyd! Lloyd Lloyd Lloyd!"
Go on. Imagine it.
Exactly. It's fantastic. Once I get a six pin to six pin firewire cable (thanks for nothing, Circuit City) it's the first thing off my DVR, I promise. )
This outburst of weird follows a bunch of similar statements about never forgetting the Penn State game or the Michigan State game or whatever, the kind of things you say when you're getting hopelessly maudlin about something that's about to be a part of your past. I mean, there's no real reason to go OMG BFF 4EVER about the wins we've eked out in this season of mediocrity. They've been nice, sure, but Carr's reaction strikes me as something similar to that of a cube-dweller on the verge of getting gold-watched. I will never forget this penholder. I treasure the memory of this fine and excellent stapler for all time. O Phone, without whom I am naught, I shall always hold your prominently-displayed number close to my heart. Paper clips! Finest of the shaped metal office aids! I sing thy name! And so forth and so on.
The upshot? (Joey, you may want to sit down, or at least grab something sturdy.) I think this is it for Carr. I think he's going to retire after the season. Now, I want to stress this is complete and total wild-ass speculation, but the rumblings have been going on for a few years now that Carr's tired of dealing with, um, our constant bitching and putting in the requisite head-coach 200-hour weeks. And now he's hugging sideline reporters. I just get this vibe that Lloyd's going to turn to the camera after our bowl game, scream "Seacrest out," and then teleport somewhere far, far away from us--probably an island in the Carribean where punting is always the right decision.
But I also said Purdue was going 10-1, so, uh... you know. Grain of salt and all that.
One 3-3 tie on Saturday versus Michigan State. Michigan is 4-0-1 on the year, 0-0-1 in the CCHA. The last three Michigan-Michigan State games have been unsatisfying ties.
- Tim Cook reverted to his old Tim Cook ways, getting stripped of the puck and letting a Michigan State player walk in on Sauer for the Spartans' first goal of the night and then taking a major and a game disqualification for uselessly checking a Michigan State player from behind. How long before Red throws the towel in, pairs him with Rohlfs, and sends them out strictly against checking lines? Probably not soon enough.
- Michigan was straight pwned in the first period. Their intermittent problems breaking out of the zone became constant and Michigan State decided to revert to their old Everything That's Wrong With Hockey ways and sit back at the blue line, intercepting passes. The freshmen obliged by throwing the puck around in places where there was no way it was going to get to a Michigan player.
- Hensick is under the impression that without Tambellini there's no one to pass to.
- Billy Sauer is very sound positionally, has good-to-great lateral movement, and occupies a lot of space. He made a lot of tough saves against Michigan State look very easy. Michigan gave up a ton of good scoring chances against; Sauer did very well to shut most of them down.
- Wilkins... can we just get one of those skating monkeys next time? Do they have skating monkeys? If not, why the hell isn't someone working on this?
- Johnson didn't have his strongest game but watching him in overtime, when he freaked out and tried to rush every puck he got into the zone and decided he was going to be a forward for five minutes, was impressive. Michigan completely dominated the OT period, pressing for a goal--Johnson wanted it more than anyone.
Yay we have a goalie again.
The CCHA performed close to expectations in nonconference play. Northern swept Michigan Tech in a home and home; Notre Dame was swept by CC and DU; Fairbanks split on the road against Anchorage. The net result is probably close to zero, though Michigan would be advised not to drop a game against the Irish if they'd like to win comparisons versus CC and DU at the end of the year.
Conference play kicked off elsewhere with a surprising Miami sweep of UNO. The Redhawks were coming off a 3-0 loss to North Dakota and the Mavs had just beaten UNH 5-3 and were looking good to start the season. League favorite Ohio State did everyone a favor by dropping a point to a Bowling Green team that doesn't look very good this year. Ferris State and Lake State played a pair of ties.
- "Happy Anniversary" directed at Jack Johnson's father... though there was no "Give Her Tongue" chant... probably for the best.
- A bunch of completely incoherent screaming from three tiny, shirtless Italian guys who freaked out whenever Cogliano did anything for three straight hours. I honestly wondered if the nipple-pierced ringleader was on cocaine.
The Next Weekend
A pair in Fairbanks, Alaska, against a Nanooks team off to a great 2-1-1 start. UAF's played nothing but road games so far and crashed Mariucci for a win and a tie on their opening weekend. Winning in Fairbanks is always tough and this seems to be one of the better incarnations of the Nanooks--a split would be okay, especially for all these freshmen on their first road trip.
Wild-ass guess: 4-3, Fairbanks and 2-1, Michigan.
Ballot links go here.
Like... yay and stuff.
The Original Al Montoya was Marty Turco--and he, you know, won stuff. The always-quotable former Michigan goalie got some ESPN chat time and used a portion of it on this:
Q: What were those four years like for you at the University of Michigan?
A: They were awesome. I went in so inexperienced and naive
. I was physically so small. I was 19 years old, 5-foot-10 and 156 pounds, walking into the Big Ten and one of the biggest hockey programs. Being in an environment where you are surrounded by good people and good intentions, where the goal is to go to school and win hockey games -- it's great. That program really helped define me as a young man and provided a great foundation for me as a goaltender. In the end, walking away with a lot of wins and two national championships got me ready, to say the least.
Q: When you were at Michigan, who was the bigger sports star, you or Tom Brady?
A: I'd have to say myself. Tom was relatively unknown. He didn't play much. He was way back on the depth chart. I was playing every night. Hockey was big. It was a harder ticket to get than football back then because we played in such a smaller venue. But he's got a few legs up on me since then.
Q: Especially since Tom Brady made People magazine's list of the 50 Most Beautiful People. How did they forget about you on that list?
A: [Laughs.] I'm not that pretty.
Q: Do you keep in touch with some of the other varsity athletes that were with you at Michigan?
A: To this day, I still hang out with the point guard from the basketball team, Travis Conlan. I golf with Travis, and Brian Griese [Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB]. The three of us always get together in the summer to reminisce for a few days when we're between seasons.
What about Bobby Hayes, Marty?
Uh... thanks, I guess. SMQ on Michigan:
...nobody in college football runs the screen pass better, year-in and out, than Michigan.
I guess that's something.
Michi-blog roundup: RBUAS offered up the best description of Chad Henne possible before the Iowa game:
[After MSU] For the most part I thought what I had thought all year. That "Henne # 7" was just a jersey, and that various talents ranging from NFL quarterbacks to high school band members put it on at random points of a game...
And this isn't Michi- or -blog, but whatever, here it goes: the O-Zone's Michigan Monday, complete with pointed comments about refereeing.
Yost Built has a recap of the hockey team's 3-3 tie against MSU that somehow barely mentions the blight upon the CCHA that is Mark Wilkins. Wilkins declared an exact replica of the Paukovich check that nearly killed a North Dakota player--the entire reason the NCAA freaked out and made ever check from behind a major and a game misconduct at minimum--to be a two-minute crosschecking penalty. He then gave Tim Cook a major and a suspension-causing game DQ later for something that seemed far less dangerous. I still hold by my Mark Wilkins Theory: extraordinarily ugly people become referees simply so they can travel around pissing off home crowds in a vain attempt get some measure of revenge at the "normies."
Yes, sort of like bloggers.
10/22/2005 - Michigan 23-20 Iowa - 5-3, 3-2 Big Ten
Last second victories are great--much preferred to last second losses. But it begins to wear on you when the team ends up staring grim, possibly peg-legged defeat in the eye week after week, playing bingo for the souls of Michigan fans everywhere.
Thus the difference between my reactions at the end of the Penn State and Iowa games. When the New Math cradled it home I spent minutes hopping up and down, screaming things that were only vaguely English. When Jerome Jackson fell mercifully into the endzone, I pumped a fist, muttered something about running on third and five, and needed some valium and a nap. Instead of elation the primary emotion was relief. It was still a good time, but once in a while I would like a relaxing time. I would like to make it Suntory Time.
That's why this column is posted on Monday instead of the OMG WOOHOO 12 PM Sunday stamp "The New Math" received. I spent Sunday on other tasks, reading books I've read before, fiddling with bits, etc. I've got no poetic to wax after the Iowa game, no nicknames to bestow. Just like invoking the name of your demon-kitten god over and over, the punch behind a nailbiting victory is reduced when it comes after a season of nailbiters. Fatalism takes over. We will either win or we will lose, but we deserve whatever Angry Michigan Safety Hating God decides to give us.
Still, it's nicer today than it would have been if the final score was something like 21-17, extremely probable-seeming until Kirk Ferentz decided to Lloydball his way into a game-tying field goal by running rather passively on first down inside the redzone. That was odd, especially given that Drew Tate had been near perfect all day. Paired with Michigan's run run run punt with three minutes left that was a carbon copy of the mistake Carr made against Penn State and vowed never to make again, it was akin to games of tetherball I watched as a child where one popular kid would play another popular kid. Whenever a game would come close to finishing, the loser would say "okay" and the winner would let up before the final death blow. The game would continue as I stood in line, silently planning my evil revenge (unconsummated to this day).
The cumulative effect was as if the Universe was indeed Trying To Kill Nana, if by "Nana" you mean me, by ratcheting up the pressure week after week until critical tubes in various life-sustaining portions of my body decided that structural integrity was as overrated as Texas Tech. Eventually you have two choices in life: go starkly bats or shut off, repress things, and set yourself up for post-traumatic flashbacks. I chose door number B.
That's a shame because that was a hell of a run by Breaston and a hell of a catch by Avant, but I've got all my tubes in working order. So I've got that going for me.
(no, I don't really know why the grim defeat is possibly peg-legged.)
The following probably says something terrible about our consumption-based society or whatever, but mostly I just think it's sweet (video will take a while to load as I am primitive and this is much larger than it has to be and not streaming):
If you'd like to download the file and keep it forever-ever, (and who wouldn't?) click here. Also, if anyone knows of some good open source video editing software, please inform me of its existence.