Mason NEEDS this, Pistons, after all you've put him through
I think tonight is the resounding confirmation of what we have all feared for the last few years. With a loss to Penn State at home and our 2nd loss to them this year, it's apparent that this program is stagnating. WIth the exception of the coming of Tiny Jesus, we've been gradually floundering more and more each year since the awesome Porter-Kolarik-Patch season. Waves of NHL draft picks fail to develop here in such high quantites that you can't just point to 'busts' anymore.
So here we are, very similar to where the football program found itself in 2007: A storied coach at one of the nation's most decorated programs has finally gotten to the point where everythings going downhill. So do you gut everything and go Richrod and hope it goes better? Keep yelling MICHIGAN MAN and just hire back Mel and hope he's magically better than the guy who tutored him for 20 years? Do the new thing and throw a lot of zeros at a big name coach? (Note: I am still very much assuming Red will never be fired. He will retire or 'retire')
Michigan returns to Yost for two must win games against Penn State. The Nittany Lions will be without two of their best defensemen, Nate Jensen and Luke Juha. The game is on BTN.
This is what hockey is all about. Two fierce rivals going head to head with a chance to play for Gold on the line. Sweden has already defeated its rival, Finland, and awaits the winner of USA vs. Canada.
I certainly haven't forgotten about 4 years ago, as I imagine is the case with every fan of US hockey. "Zach Parise out of a net-bound scramble, and the game is tied..." Pure elation followed by devastation. As one wise commenter on the blog stated, the effects of that game were clearly shown on the players faces. The aftermath of the final in Vancouver did not have the feel of friendly congratulations that were seen in Salt Lake City 8 years prior. Let's hope this team wants revenge as much as us fans do.
Olympic Semifinals: USA vs. Canada, Noon EST
Tv: NBC Sports
USA! USA! USA!
Here is the UM vs PSU hockey update. Enjoy!https://az388273.vo.msecnd.net/mailsystem/assets/233/attachments/635284994346550954/2.21.14%20vs.%20Penn%20State.pdf
Before you read this I want you to stare at the picture below for at least five seconds. I’m not kidding. Five seconds. You’re going to need it to peruse a sweep that felt so close but yet was so, so far from being anything but two Minnesota wins.
Image via cardmine.co.uk
#10 Michigan at #2 Minnesota
Friday, February 14th, 2014
UM 0 Minnesota 1 05:29 EV
Kloos from Condon & Parenteau
DiGiuseppe tries to make a play along the boards, but Minnesota retains possession of the puck. Condon sees Kloos coming through the neutral zone with speed and passes it up to him.
As Condon reaches the blueline he has two options; drive the middle of the zone and try to split the defenders or skate to the outside. Credit where credit’s due, Michigan’s defenders have this 2-on-2 under control positionally. They force Condon to the outside.
It looks to me like Downing gets faked into thinking that Condon is about to take a shot and drops to a knee to block it. Condon sees this and walks around Downing, who can only stretch his stick out in a vain attempt at poke checking the puck away.
Racine is relatively square to the shooter yet still gets beat farside. This scoring chance starts because of a blown defensive play, but it’s completed on an average shot that Racine misses.
UM 0 Minnesota 2 01:19 EV
Fasching from Warning & Rau
So much of this game comes down to timing. Pinching down for a big hit away from the puck usually doesn’t end well, but doing so against Minnesota’s track team of forwards just isn’t the time to do so. This hit leaves Clare behind the play and gives Minnesota an easy opportunity to enter the neutral zone with speed.
Fasching has a breakaway; after he swims through the D there’s no way either defender will catch him
Racine doesn’t want to get beat over his glove or blocker, so he doesn’t butterfly until Fasching’s practically in front of the crease. This leaves his five hole open, and that’s precisely where Fasching tucks the puck (though that’s not what he meant to do; if you look at the replay he clearly intended to make another move before the puck just rolls off his stick). Clare’s timing was off, Racine’s timing was off, everybody in blue’s timing was off and look where the puck ends up.
UM 1 Minnesota 2 09:45 PPG
Copp from Compher & Bennett
Compher has the puck at the point and looks like he’s going to pass to the right faceoff circle until he doesn’t. Instead he backhands an insanely beautiful pass to Copp.
Copp one-times the puck farside. Thanks to a nice little netfront screen Wilcox isn’t ready for the puck, and Michigan gets on the board.
UM 1 Minnesota 3 09:51 EV
Michigan wins the faceoff, and the puck rolls back to Downing. Pretty innocuous start to a play.
Downing tries to make a D-to-D pass but fans on it. This is a problem because, like, look.
Cammarata has too much speed to be caught by either defenseman. He skates it in and scores five hole on Racine which ughhhhhh recurrent theme I don’t like.
UM 1 Minnesota 4 17:29 PPG
Ambroz from Warning & Marshall
There’s potential for this to have played out differently if Copp doesn’t move his stick. At the onset of the play he has his stick inside his body in an attempt to cut off a pass to the slot. He quickly swings it outside to dissuade the puck handler from passing to the point, but this opens up the shot into the slot. Warning takes what he’s given and this is tipped in front by Ambroz.
UM 2 Minnesota 4 18:35 PPG
Compher from Copp & Bennett
A really nice outlet pass from Bennett gets the puck to Copp in the neutral zone. The defender squares up to Copp near the blueline. Copp sees Compher a step ahead but holds up his pass as he gains entry to the offensive zone. The defender steps towards Copp, and once he’s sure that the defender has committed he passes across to Compher.
Just look at how much room Compher has to make a move. The only defender in front of him is plying centerfield and has to come across the slot to attempt to check Compher, but there’s no way that’s going to happen before Compher shoots. He releases the puck and beats the goaltender high; like, pop the water bottle up high.
UM 3 Minnesota 4 02:47 EV
Hyman gathers the puck from a scrum in the corner and turns it toward the goal. He has one defender standing between him and the goaltender.
He pulls the puck around the defender and then has to deal with a poke check from the goalie.
Hyman somehow avoids the poke check and snaps a shot past the outstretched Wilcox.
This goal was what Mike Hart would look like if he was a goal.
Photo via mgoblog. Fuller? Upchurch?
UM 3 Minnesota 5 15:21 EV
Guertler from Reilly & Lettieri
What at first looks like an incredible defensive play turns into a big mistake and the final nail in Michigan’s coffin. Tyler Motte is without his stick and tries to Kirk-Maltby-circa-2002 this one out of the zone. I have captured here the exact moment that Brian screamed “JUST HAND PASS IT!!!!!”
Minnesota regains possession and passes the puck down low, where Minnesota is already in behind the defense.
Credit Reilly with an incredible move behind the net. He spins and dishes the puck to the slot, where Guertler is waiting to one-time it. Racine is guarding the post because he thought that Reilly was going to shoot, so he’s out of position to stop the shot from Guertler.
Saturday, February 15th, 2014
UM 1 Minnesota 0 01:31 EV
Sinelli from Hyman & Nieves
Nieves moves the puck to Hyman, who enters the offensive zone and is outmanned. He waits for Sinelli, dropping a pass back to him.
Sinelli takes a shot from high in the offensive zone and scores. That’s about the extent of the analysis I can provide for this goal. Hockey, man.
UM 1 Minnesota 1 17:46 EV
Warning from Rau & Fasching
Minnesota chips the puck in and gains possession again in Michigan’s defensive zone. Minnesota has a 2-on-1, with the skater getting behind the defense.
The netfront defender for Michigan does a good job of using his stick to take away the passing lane. This forces the shot, but having a skater behind the D comes in to play in the next frame.
Warning is able to (barely) get a stick on the shot, redirecting it past Racine. There’s no way Racine can stop a deflection this close to the net.
UM 1 Minnesota 2 02:53 EV
Reilly from Guertler & Lettieri
Minnesota chips it out of their own zone and then…this.
Well, at least the pass was well defended. The slap shot, however, was not. It hits the top corner above Racine’s glove.
UM 1 Minnesota 3 15:20 EV
Condon from Lettieri
Bennett tries reverse the puck to Downing, but the puck hits the boards and just dies. There’s no one in front of him, so he should have just tried to rim it out.
Minnesota swoops in and retrieves the puck. This draws the attention of the two defensemen, as well as the nearest forward. Minnesota starts their cycle.
There are three Michigan players bunched in the corner, and a Minnesota player who’s about to take a pass and skate freely into the crease. 3MichDbehindplay+1MinnOpen≠Good.
Condon’s shot deflects off of Selman’s stick and goes in high on Racine.
UM 1 Minnesota 4 08:37 PPG
Fasching from Rau & Boyd
It’s a power play goal against. It happens somewhere in the circled area after the first two shots were stopped. It is largely irrelevant.
We are now halfway through the quarterfinals. The Swedes and Finns already advanced by beating Slovenia and Russia, respectively. Here's how the bracket looks (my crude version):
The semifinals have the potential to be rematches of the last two Olympic finals, but the focus is now on 1998 gold medalists Czech Republic (seriously, Jagr was there).
USA vs. Czech Republic
Noon, EST. TV: USA Network
USA! USA! USA!