this may be of some local interest
Michigan State hockey
Michigan State, you're our rival. We love to snipe at each other; we hate losing to each other; we look forward to games between our schools in all sports with a burning fervency.
You have a proud hockey program. You have won three national titles. You have multiple Hobey Baker Award winners. You had one of the most consistent, dedicated fanbases in the sport. Michigan-Michigan State hockey games were red-letter dates on any sports schedule, capable of selling out not only Joe Louis Arena but also our respective FOOTBALL stadiums.
Why are you deliberately killing your hockey program? News breaks today that Tom Anastos is being retained as coach for a sixth season. Your AD says, "I feel really good about where we're at."
Really? Your team went 10-23-4 this year. This season's sole accomplishment is successfully avoiding last place in a terrible hockey conference, and the only team you beat just fired its coach and hired a program guy with serious NHL chops. Your once-proud fanbase, which used to sell out literally every game at Munn Ice Arena, is so shattered that even games against your arch-rival Michigan offer plenty of available seats. And those seats are taken by Michigan fans, who watch Michigan win at Munn, a lot.
The worst moment may have been your team getting carved up like a Thanksgiving Turkey by Michigan at Munn, a 9-2 drubbing in which Michigan did basically whatever it wanted. But the score wasn't the worst part of that game. The worst part was the reaction of Michigan fans to the rapidly growing scoreline:
Long gone are the days when a positive result at Munn was the highlight of Michigan's season. Now, a winning record against MSU isn't just hoped for--it is taken for granted. I and several other long-time Michigan hockey fans stared at the abyss that was the MSU bench that day, and I felt unmitigated pity for the lifeless husk of a program wearing uniforms that once belonged to a college hockey power.
Your program is so bad that it cannot even elicit distaste from its biggest rival.
Now, I have nothing personally against Tom Anastos. I think he was a decent commissioner of the CCHA, and I have no reason to believe that he is not a decent person. But "decent" does not mean "qualified to coach a major college hockey program."
Tom Anastos has produced disastrous win totals of 19, 11, 11, 17, and 10 in his five seasons. The only NCAA tournament appearance in that span was a first-round loss in his first season, playing predominantly with players recruited and developed by his predecessor, Rick Comley. The only other significant coaching on Tom's resume is a short, unremarkable stint at UM-Dearborn that ended in 1990.
There is zero evidence that Tom Anastos is a good hockey coach.
Decent guy? Sure. Able conference administrator? Seems that way. Capable of winning at a level that befits one of the winningest programs in college hockey history?
Michigan State, something must be done. You cannot seriously believe that Tom Anastos is the answer. And now, you can no longer believe that Mark Hollis has the interests of the hockey program in mind. There must be a change in Michigan State's hockey program. Continued inaction condemns Michigan State Hockey to exile, never to be more than a relic of distant memory.
The greatest shame is not that Michigan State is holding steady with a losing program. It is not that Michigan, in a serious down period, is playing on a a vastly higher level. It is not that Michigan State cannot succeed in a conference in which every single program is either brand new or seriously underachieving.
The greatest shame for Michigan State's hockey program is that Michigan fans feel they have to say something to you. And not for our own pride or satisfaction. Not for our own benefit.
But for yours.
Michigan and Michigan State will take their hockey rivalry to another level in December when they play outdoors at the Big House.
The deal was recently finalized, a U-M official said, and the Wolverines and Spartans will take the ice at Michigan Stadium on Dec. 11 at 3 p.m.
The first time Michigan faced Michigan State outdoors, the teams played to a 3-3 tie at Spartan Stadium on Oct. 6, 2001. The "Cold War" game drew a crowd of 74,554 -- a record for college hockey attendance.
I couldn't find this mentioned yet, and it's worth a post:
UM and MSU are playing at the Joe on Saturday January 30th, tickets are still available (and extremely reasonable!) so if you're in the area, come help make it feel like home ice for Michigan.
Justin Boren suffered a knee injury in practice and may miss 3+ weeks while rehabilitating it. The 105 roster for tOhio State appears to have been filled with the return of two players (WR Ray Small and DE Rob Rose) who appeared to be dealing with academic issues that still, reportedly for Small, are not fully handled.
Wisconsin has suspended two likely starters at safety from camp, making their future unclear and a start September 5th against Northern Illinois highly unlikely. Shane Carter and Aubrey Pleasant both have a solid amount of starts and their departure, however short, is a thorn in the side of a team that has faced a lot of criticism for not playing to its potential.
ESPN's pre-season All American list has been released and it features three from the Big Ten (and two from this planet):
- Minnesota wide receiver Eric Decker
- Penn State linebacker Navorro Bowman
- Michigan punter Zoltan Mesko
ESPN Big 10 blogger Adam Rittenberg's all Big-Ten team features:
DE: Brandon Graham, Michigan
P: Zoltan Mesko, Michigan
Detroit News fluff piece on Michigan o-line
Hockey player AJ Sturges speaks out about Glenn Winston's reinstatement following a suspension from the team and jail time for an assault last year, upset about the unclear MSU policy regarding the allowance of players with prison records and suspensions back onto teams. Conflicting perspectives ensue.
Penn State cornerback AJ Wallace will likely be suspended for 1-2 games for academic issues.
Iowa cornerback Jordan Bernstine likely out for the season with ankle injury.
Having watched some recent MSU hockey, most notably the Championship game at the GLI and the most recent debacles, I thought it worthy to break down MSU's penalties this year to illustrate (THROUGH EXCEL!!!1!) how their penalties have gone through the year.
Bench penalties (too many players) & flops not included in penalties, clipping considered "tripping," unsportsmanlike and game misconducts, as well as grasping facemask and kneeing, considered roughing, game DQs ignored
7 boarding penalties. 5 in the past 3 games (wtf!?) and 6 in the past 6 games. 3 in one game against Miami? Come on dude.
Conboy has committed 29 penalties in 21 games. He had multiple games of 2+ (woot!) and one of those wonderful boarding penalties. Schepke, fwiw, just can't help himself (2) from doing that ("Sorry coach, they just keep falling down!)
What does this show? MSU might not be committing too many more penalties than their opponents (though you may argue they drag their opponent into scrums - see: Miami, UM). However, when 34 of your penalties are stupid scrums after the whistle (17%) and 29 (15%) are from roughing... you have a lack of self-control in your players. But when you had 2 boarding penalties all season and double that in a week? The coach has zero control.