A cursory glance doesn't reveal many similarities between Michigan basketball and Michigan hockey these days. After all, one team took the court this weekend with a share of the B1G title on the line and fans that lined up something like 22 hours before tip-off. The other team took the ice this weekend with no title on the line and not even a live televised feed of their games.
Take a closer look, though, and some broad similarities appear. Basketball and hockey are both games of runs. It's just the way the game goes when there are no pre-established offensive and defensive turns. You hit and you'll get hit back. You exert pressure and that pressure will eventually be exerted on you. Michigan basketball ended on the wrong side of a run, suffering a knockout punch that was one part bad luck and two parts missed opportunity. Michgan hockey, on the other hand, survived the inevitable pressure Northern Michign exerted after Michigan took a 3-0 lead.
A 3-0 first period lead wasn't something the Wolverines could rest on. Too many times this season they've taken an early lead only to be swept away by the undertow of another team's run, late goals and late pressure that were too much to overcome. With their postseason hanging in the balance Michigan responded on Friday, doing what was sufficient and holding serve in the third period to weather the storm and in the process made that dim glimmer of hope we hold that Michigan can extend its NCAA tournament streak to 23 consecutive seasons a little brighter.
I'll try to get a GBGA of Saturday's game up....sometime. Not sure when, but I'm working on it. Look forward to more pictures, more laughs, and most importantly moooooooooore goals.
(Burke photo cred: Julian Gonzalez, Detroit Free Press)
Not much new to see here, but it's nice to see him rated so highly, particularly since he didn't play the first 22 games of the season, as well as considering his company on the list.
If you don't want to click through, here's the best quote:
Merrill's offensive contributions continue to be significant, but it's his increased focus on the defensive end of the ice that is equally notable here. While he can often be found joining the play, Merrill's decisions in when to do so improves with each game. His solid defensive zone play, particularly in one-on-one situations, is also showing some improvement as well.
EDIT: Lee Moffie and Greg Pateryn are also listed as "Other Notables"
The ESPN Insider NHL blog is projecting Jon Merrill to the Ducks with the 11th overall pick in this years upcoming NHL draft. That's down from their projection of the 9th overall pick in the previous month's mock.
No. 11 - Anaheim Ducks
D Jonathan Merrill, USNTDP
The Ducks have the luxury of two picks and might be a potential trading partner for the Islanders. Some scouts like Merrill as much as or more than Forbert. The order in which those two prospects are selected will be determined at the under-18s in Minsk.
On a depressing note, they have Jack Campbell going 24th in the first round to the Atlanta Thrashers. In last month's mock, he went 7th overall, so there's that.
Link Here ($)
Super D prospect Jon Merrill is going to be on NHL Live talking about his draft prospects and Michigan. You can catch it on NHL.com, XM 204, Sirius 208, and NHL Network.
Merrill figures to be a first round pick, with one scout saying he could go in picks 14-26.
Also, the NHL's official twitter today said that a goalie scout compared Jack Campbell to Marc-Andre Fleury. Goddamnit.
Title should be pretty self-explanatory. CollegeHockey247 released a top 10 for the class of 2010 and Jon Merrill comes in at #4 overall.
Will be cool to see where the rest of our guys come out. I believe there was an earlier list that said we had the #2 class behind Minnesota so we should be able to get a better idea about how good our incoming freshmen are
Brian talked a little bit in Monday's Unverified Voracity about the Michigan hockey team's recruiting class. I've seen most of those kids at least a couple of times, so I figured this would be a good chance for my first ever diary entry, before moving on to future diary entries about my hopes and dreams(tentatively titled, 'Minnesota Drops Athletic Department').
Anyway, for the 2009 class:
A.J. Treais: I would definitely compare Treais to T.J. Hensick in terms of playing style, but not in terms of talent. I could see Treais getting off to a slow start next season, but eventually becoming a nice playmaker for Michigan.
Chris Brown: The comparison to Eric Nystrom is pretty much spot on. Neither is going to score a lot of points unless they get paired up with a superstar, but both play very hard and are solid responsible players. The big difference is that Brown skates better than Nystrom did, and is a little more physical. I'd expect him to get picked somewhere in the second round of the NHL Draft this summer.
Kevin Lynch: He's really tough to get a read on because he plays a really unorthodox style of hockey, and as a result, you'll get a lot of different opinions on his play. Personally, I think he goes a little lower in the draft than most people expect--somewhere in the last couple rounds-- but should have a decent career at Michigan as second or third line-type guy.
I haven't seen Lee Moffie play, but all indications are that he's a pretty solid player. It looks like he's having a really nice year in the USHL, which bodes well for his future. I'd imagine Michigan will look to add another forward or two for next year as well. If you consider that Palushaj is almost guaranteed to leave and that Ciraulo and Glendenning are walk-ons, that leaves Michigan with only 10 scholarship forwards on deck for next year.
The 2010 guys...
Brian is right that at least paper, this looks like a great class of kids. I think it's a stretch, however, to say three kids will go in the top 10 of the draft. Individually...
Jon Merrill: Merrill is the most likely to go in the top 10 of the draft. I haven't seen him play in a while, but he certainly has all the tools to be a big time player.
Luke Moffatt: I go back and forth on Moffatt all the time. I think his style of play is more suited for faster, tighter checking games like the NCAA and pro level. He's not much of a dangler, which makes him look unimpressive against less-polished competition, but he's very strong on the puck and can make quick decisions, which will serve him well later on. He's not off to a great start this year with the NTDP, but a lot of great players struggled until about Christmastime in their first year at the NTDP, and then really took off. It's tough to tell where he'll end up in the 2010 draft. It could be really high or really low. He'd be the biggest concern about never making it to Michigan. I'd say the chances of him wearing a Michigan jersey are about 50/50.
Kevin Clare: He's just a rock on defense. I'm not sure that he has the superstar potential the same way Merrill does, but he should be a very strong player. I could see him going late in the first round of the draft two years from now.
As a side note, every year, the NTDP likes to call up a couple guys from the U17 team to play for the U18 team at the end of the year, and these three guys would all be among the top candidates.
Jack Campbell: He's incredibly talented. A lot can change for goalies between the ages of 16 and 20, so nothing is a guarantee, but he certainly looks like a gem. I have no clue where he rates for the 2010 draft, since it's still way too early to evaluate goalies much.
Mac Bennett: He's kind of flying under the radar right now, but I think fans will really like him. He should be a pretty high draft pick this summer, and could step in and play for Michigan next year if he were done with high school. He's one of the most poised defenseman I've ever seen and is a great skater.
Jacob Fallon: He's another kid that is flying under the radar, but could end up being one of the most valuable players in this class. He's an excellent passer, and the NTDP has really tried to put him in the playmaker role this year. I think he has the tools to become a more all-around scorer though. He lacks prototypical pro size which means he'll probably get drafted fairly late, and should keep him at Michigan for a number of years.
It's nice to see Michigan really loading up on players born in 1992 for the 2010 class, because the group of kids for the 2011 recruiting class is looking fairly weak, and there might not be as many options.