It wouldn't be Michigan hockey without a mid-August departure.
Rivals is reporting that sophomore Tyler Swystun has left to join a WHL team. Michigan is not devastated if Mel Pearson's quote is any indication:
"I don't think he was ready for the strength and the speed of the college game, but we were counting on him for an improved year," assistant coach Mel Pearson said.
Improved but still on the fourth line. Swystun was a huge disappointment a year ago, clearly the team's worst player, and had a long way to go to do anything in college. No doubt he'll rack up a PPG in the WHL.
If Trevor Lewis had shown up on campus Swystun's departure would have been a blip, but now Michigan is down to 11 forwards. Unless a walkon steps up they'll have to convert a defenseman. Pearson throws Jack Johnson's name out as a possibility, but my money is on David Rohlfs. He's has bounced back and forth from forward to D already and has the size to be a grinding defensive winger. Moving Summers or Kampfer is a bad idea since both will be relied upon to soak up minutes next year, when Michigan figures to have defensemen leave en masse. Johnson is needed on the blueline.
I try to ignore CFN because it has all the bad bits of the mainstream media without any of the useful ones like actual reporting. But Google News does not discriminate, and my search for "Lloyd Carr" turned up this Matthew Zemek column which was the proverbial straw on my ever-fragile camel's back. He tut-tuts about the shoddy treatment given to Lloyd Carr:
The heat Lloyd Carr has had to deal with at Michigan has been understandable in certain pockets (losing to Notre Dame on an almost annual basis, for example), but is unfathomable in its sustained and overall ferocity. Carr has delivered a national title to Ann Arbor, and earned Rose Bowl berths in the 2003 and 2004 seasons. He has a winning record against Ohio State, and graduates his players. Yes, five of his 11 seasons have failed to either gain double-digit wins or claim a Big Ten title, but that means that the other six seasons have been successful. And yet, Carr is an unpopular figure these days in the shadow of the Big House. ThatÃ‚Â’s a perfect example of how scrutiny on coaches is so often misplaced and, moreover, excessive.
Says who? The idea that Lloyd Carr is "on the hotseat" comes entirely from the media. Extrapolating from Michigan's historically bad 7-5 record and a couple FireCoachX websites, one media caveman wildly speculates that Carr must win or leave:
Year in and year out, no Big Ten team is more disappointing. The common denominator: coaching. Hmmmm. Let's call this a make-or-break season for Lloyd Carr. He can handle it, right?
Some may think Carr isn't on a hot seat. Maybe that person is Mrs. Carr.
A second grunts in agreement, implying that he may not believe Carr should go but the fans are pounding on the door, demanding that he be placed in the "hot seat" section:
16. Hot seat (cont.)
We don't necessarily agree with these names but here goes ...
Larry Coker has had the temerity to go 9-3 in consecutive seasons.
Lloyd Carr is coming off Michigan's worst season in 21 years.
A third adds a note of hectoring disapproval:
I have some bad news for the webmasters of FireLloydCarr.com, FireLloydCarrNow.com, FireLloydandTommy.blogspot.com: Carr isn't going anywhere, except to work tomorrow. He'd rather dot the i on Script Ohio than walk away -- or be told to walk away -- from the only college head coaching job he has ever known.
Michigan lets it be known that Lloyd Carr is not going anywhere; this causes the original grunter to write possibly the dumbest column in the history of man:
So, Michigan's brass boldly states that Lloyd Carr is "here to stay."
What did you expect the guys sitting in the high-back leather chairs to utter in August? That Carr was on the hot seat? That Carr had to win the Big Ten this year -- or he would be fired?
Yeah, right. It's just more blabber from the Ann Arbor ivory tower.
Soon relatively blameless local beat writers are getting in on the act, writing sentences about the "controversy" that cite air:
Meanwhile, archrival Michigan has something of a coaching controversy on its hands, as Carr has come under fire following MichiganÃ‚Â’s 7-5 season in 2005.
Relatively blameless local beat writer does not indicate where the fire comes from, but I'll tell you. It comes from his colleagues, be they print guys or talk radio droolers. The reason the airwaves are filled with talk of Carr on the hotseat is the same reason Drew Sharp has a column: negative stupidity gets attention.
Sure, there is a certain segment of the fanbase that prints up signs comparing Carr to Osama Bin Laden and nearly gets punched by me before the Penn State game, but they are the lunatic fringe. FireCoachX or FireCoachX.us or CanCoachX are the lunatic fringe of the Internet fanbase, which means they're lunatic indeed. Just because talk radio is filled with tough guys from Warren who demand excellence does not imply anything about the fanbase at large. For perspective, this site gets something on the order of 3,500 uniques per day. A large number of comments is 50, and usually those feature a number of posts from a small subset of people having a discussion. Regular commenters make up under 1% of the site's readership. Now take that, magnify the fanbase by several orders of magnitude, and restrict comments to 20 or so: talk radio callers are statistically insignificant electrons orbiting the fanbase nucleus. To extrapolate the desires of an entire fanbase from the segment of it that is only allowed plastic spoons at dinner is akin to assuming that every newspaper story is a complete fabrication because of Jayson Blair.
They aren't. It's just the ones about Carr and the hotseat.
....aaaand I'm done beating this particular dead horse.
Responded to some requests:
- There is now a green and gold version of "Return To Glory" for those with the temerity to wear it into South Bend. The photo doesn't look very legible but the text is in a slightly metallic gold so it should come out fine. Also, its current incarnation is subtle enough to dupe unwise or intoxicated ND fans: beware.
- There are versions of the Hart t-shirts without references to mgoblog.
- There are maize versions of the East Lansing t-shirts and an additional one that claims "East Lansing is a lady of negotiable affection" for those with small children or parents.
- The nice thing about these shirts is they're done with vector graphics and are high quality compared to cafepress type items. This does prohibit the deployment of kittens.
Also, and those of you who already ordered shirts are going to hate me: if you enter the coupon code "SUMMERSALE06" when you check out you will get 15% off until Monday.
Click the shirt to go to the store.
Spartan secondary scalded by sprain! Er. It's a break, actually, and one at a position the Michigan State is already desperately thin at: corner. Projected nickelback Ross Weaver is out for the year. Two true freshmen now back up shaky starters Demond Williams and Greg Cooper. Spartan blogger Rob Visconti -- who's sane, a first for Internet Spartans -- is resigned:
Begin placing your bets as to which current Spartan running back and/or wide receiver will be converted to cornerback and vault into the lead for the "Jaren Hayes Memorial What the Hell am I Doing in the Secondary?" award now.
I've got five bucks on Terry Love.
The aforementioned article also has updates on other Spartan bits. The offense, as expected, is tearing through the defense like Charlie Weis through a six-foot slab of pork; freshman kicker Todd Swenson is 10 of 10 after two scrimmages and has won the starting job.
This Mark Mitera article is wonderful until the last sentence:
"As of right now, I committed to going back to school next year. Down the road, you know, we'll see how the cards fall and what's going to happen."
I would not expect Jack-like tenacity next offseason. Hopefully we can get him back for one more year, but that's a nasty quote.
Jarrod Bunch was on Entourage but I don't get HBO so I must refer you to Awful Announcing, which is apparently run by the world's biggest Jarrod Bunch fan. I mean, he watched the Westbrook-Bunch fight.
Rotoworld put together a few NFL teams composed of players from one college, which is a thought exercise everyone goes through at least once per offseason. (Just me? Oh.) There are two separate bricks, one for offense and one for defense.
The articles are a curious mix of accurate NFL evaluations and evidence the author spends Saturdays wastefully. Ignore the comments like "Mike Hart is a poor man's Chris Perry" (er... ok) and "We hear Roger Allison is a potential NFL draftee" (we hear that he's been out of football for over a year) and stick to the NFL stuff.
When you do, you will not be surprised. Team strengths are quarterback, offensive line, and linebacker (Michigan is said to be second in the running for LBU, behind only Miami). Team weaknesses are defensive line and safety (Ernest Shazor starts!).
Michigan finishes fifth in the Tuscaloosa News' rankings of the top football programs. Their system is an amalgam of history and what happened last year. Obviously, last year hurt Michigan badly. Keith Jackson quote:
"There is no doubt this is my favorite place, to see four generations rise up and appreciate it, for the pageantry, the ambiance," said announcer Keith Jackson, who came up with the term "The Big House" for Michigan Stadium. "Michigan has such grandiosity. It has all those All-Americans. You can't go anywhere without finding a Michigan graduate."
So. I would like to introduce you to the wonderfulness that is MGoStore. It currently contains a smattering of t-shirts, some maize, some blue, with snappy sayings that will totally wicked impress all your friends. Click on any of the images to be taken to the store.
(Note: apparently a few shirts, particularly the Hart one, aren't coming up in the popup. The main store url has everything.)
Anyone wishing to confuse students in Honors calculus will want to get their mitts on a "New Math" shirt; those in heart with Hart will want to express that feeling graphically:
And... well, I think I may have gone a little overboard with the Zoltan shirts.
...but that's not overboard. This could possibly be construed as overboard:
"Space Emperor of what" you ask? Of Space. Zoltan is Space Emperor of Space. But wait! There's one more:
Incensed comments from NDNation denizens in 3... 2... 1...
And this one is perfect for those of you with friends who are in MSU frats. You know the kind of meathead who doesn't even know that Ann Arbor isn't even a person, right?
If that's a little harsh for you or your grandmother there is an equivalent shirt, only totally classy:
And finally, let it never be said that I didn't take Lloyd Carr's tastes into account when designing the shop:
All proceeds go to a good cause: your local blogger.