maybe i should have had greg howard write the brandon obit.
Larkin is currently the highest-drafted player in the NCAA, at least until next June. He really established himself as the third overall player on this list starting with a fantastic World Juniors Tournament, where he was the only US player that generated consistent offense. He carried that offensive production back to Michigan, scoring 24 points in 13 games since returning from the World Juniors. Larkin has always been known as a big, responsible, two-way center. But the scoring ability he's added to his game this season has really increased his value as a prospect.
The Wings are in no hurry to start the clock on Larkin. Over the next couple years they are going to have a lot of prospects graduating/running out of waiver exemption that they are going to need to figure out what to do with. Right now the timeline fits for Larkin to have his first legit shot at making the big club in the 17/18 season (when Pavel rides off into the sunset and Weiss will be in the last year of his deal… if he makes it that far without being traded or bought out).
I think he'll be back next season. Wings see him as a second line center(he could even become a number one) and would like to keep him at Michigan until they feel he's ready to play on the top line in Grand Rapids.
Werenski has been an impact player for the Wolverines despite being the youngest player in college hockey. He's stepped in immediately and shown he can be offensive force, helping run the Michigan power play. His defensive game still needs a bit of work, which is no surprise given his age. But there's little doubt that Werenski has all the physical tools to be an outstanding pro defenseman.
I hope Holland trades up in the draft and takes him. The team could use a d-man with legit 1st pairing potential and would be great for him staying at Michigan for a couple more years.
Article looking at the short time limit that players have to use their school scholarship money that they get from playing in the CHL. Often talked about here in relation to NCAA scholarships, so I thought people might be interested. I hope at the very least, the policies change so that these kids get some school paid for. If the extra pub this issue gets pushes a couple more kids to College hockey, so much the better.
FUCK THIS SHIT!!!! I have been working on this for 2 hours now. had tables which took FOR EVER to work out and then when i went to USCHO.com to look at pairwise I come back to the Diary page and it is all gone.
It shouldn't be this difficult so I'm saying fuck it. I got better stuff to do. I have almost broken my keyboard figuring this shit out for nothing.....
So here is the last part that I hadn't written up yet. I will be posting Open Threads Friday and Saturday this week as I will not be attending the Michigan games.
Michigan is currently in a tie for 15th in the Pairwise. I have run a few tests based off this weeks matchups assuming the following
-Michigan State sweeps Wisconsin
-Minnesota sweeps Oho State
-Rensselaer is swept by Clarkson
-Harvard sweeps Brown
-Northeastern sweeps Merrimack
-New Hampshire sweeps Connecticut
-Vermont sweeps Maine
-Denver sweeps St. Cloud State
-Bowling Green sweeps Alabama-Huntsville
some of these are part of conference playoffs and wouldn't allow for a third game so i had to go with sweeps.
If that happens this is where I have Michigan ending up based of the following scenarios
-Michigan sweeps Penn State: tied for 11th
-Michigan splits with Penn State: tied for 16th
-Michigan wins and ties (goes to shootout): 12th
-Michigan loses and ties (goes to shootut): 19th
-Michigan is swept:20th
a sweep puts them in position to actually be a 3 seed. A win on Friday night will ease concerns and leave them with a shot at an at-large. Lose Friday and and Saturday is a MUST WIN.
My Prediction: Split
3 Things Michigan needs
-a win this weekend
-Minnesota to sweep (this is actually a HUGE deal for Michigan)
-Michigan State to sweep (NEED them to move up for next weekends showdown)
Last week went about as well as you can hope for as a Michigan fan looking for some positivity regarding an at-large bid to the NCAA tourney. As discussed in last week's diary, Michigan is in a dog fight for one of the last at-large bids into the NCAA hockey tourney if they do not win the B1G Tournament, the victor of which gets an auto-bid.
Again, as detailed last week, the Pairwise Rankings (PWR) are your Harry Potter-esque sorting hat for entrance into the NCAA tournament. PWR, in basic terms, compares every team in Div-I hockey against each other based on three factors: RPI (a computer metric taking into account your record, winning % of your team, your opponents, and your opponents' opponents- bonus points are awarded for wins against Top 20 opponents and road wins), record against common opponents, and head to head record. This then gives each team a PWR "score" or how many of those indiviudal bi-lateral PWR comparisons a team has an advantage in.
The tournament accepts 16 teams: autobid conference tournament champions from Hockey East, ECAC, Atlantic Hockey, B1G, WCHA, and NCHC; at-large bids from the remaining top PWR teams until a 16 team field is created. Many many moons ago, ECAC and the predecessor to Atlantic Hockey were considered "bid stealers" since non-regular season champions of their tournaments were typically well outside the at-large bid range in PWR but thee regular season champ would still get an at-large bid because of a ridiculously high PWR. This year (and frankly the last couple), only Atlantic Hockey is a bid stealer conference-- and even then, since their regular season champ is already still low in the PWR (Robert Morris, 25th), if a team not named Robert Morris wins their tournament for the auto-bid, the conference is still only getting in one team. Consider the Atlantic Hockey autobid as slot #16 in the NCAA tournament-- so for practical purposes, there are at most 10 at-large slots left. At minimum, the last at-large team will be the 15th slot in PWR; at worst, 12-13 could be the cut-off line.
In Michigan's case, they sit tied for 15th with UMass-Lowell with 44 comparisons won. Ultimate tiebreaker between two teams tied in PWR is RPI, and Michigan leads here by a slim margin. The relevent teams around us in PWR as of Monday:
TEAM, PWR SCORE (UMich centric), RPI, comparisons won vs. Michigan
11. Minnesota, 2-4, .5435, RPI/Common opponents (tied 2-2 in head to head)
12. Quinnipiac, 1-1, .5481, RPI (overall comparison to Quinnipiac since RPI is higher)
13. Yale, 0-1, .5433, RPI (tied in common opponents)
14. Bowling Green, 0-2, .5407, RPI / Common opponents
15. Michigan, RPI = .5404
16. UMass-Lowell, 2-1, .5394, Common opponents (Mich won head to head & RPI)
17. St Cloud St Fighting Mollies, 1-0, .5369
18. Colgate, 2-0, .5339, (Mich wins RPI & common opponents)
19. Vermont, 2-0, .5357 (Mich wins RPI & common opponents)
Ok, first caveat: PWR is very volatile in this grouping. Every team from 14-19 is basically within one weekend of each other in RPI, and one RPI flip can shuffle standings around significantly. Second caveat: Atlantic, ECAC and Hockey East start their tournaments this weekend, so some teams like Vermont are on life support, and other teams like Colgate, UM-L, Yale, and Quinnipiac may only have 1 more game left before Selection Sunday.
- I'm surprised how well Michigan is positioned for an at-large. We essentially sit in the last at-large slot now if chalk holds in conference tourneys, and with a 4-0 finish to the regular season we probably can absorb a loss in the BTT semi and still get in as the 13 or 14 slot. We finish 4-0/3-1 in the regular season and lose in the BTT finals, we're challenging for a 3-seed. We finish 4-0/3-1 in the regular season and win the BTT, we're a high 3 seed no doubt.
- This next weekend against Penn St will bascially tell us our tourney fate. We win both, we're probably in good position for an at-large team barring a sweep by MSU. We split, we need a sweep against Sparty to keep at-large hopes alive. We drop both against PSU, we're sweating bullets and probably at a win-to-get-in situation in the BTT.
- Minnesota is probably in no matter what barring a complete collapse the next two weekends. They may slip from a 3 to a 4 seed, but they're probably feeling safe if they sweep this weekend.
- We are within a 1 game difference of flipping RPI with Bowling Green. Getting into the 14 slot at least is a HUGE difference. Atlantic Hockey has already killed the 16 slot as an at-large bid this year. As I mentioned in a comment to another post this weekend, a non-regular season champ in the tourney from an ECAC, Hockey East, or NCHC school probably isn't a game killer since they have so many teams in the running above us in PWR now anyway, unless its a true Cinderella (team in the mid 20's in PWR) making a run. Even then, they're probably knocking out a team from their own conference who's in the 13-19 PWR slot now.
- There's an interesting scenario developing though where you could possibly get 3 B1G teams in, as crappy as the conference is. You'd need: (1) Michigan and Minnesota to sweep out the regular season keeping Minnesota as a border 2/3 seed team in PWR going into the BTT. (2) Minnesota would lose in a semi. Pick your team, it doesn't matter. (3) Michigan would need to get to the BTT Finals and then lose to the team Minnesota dropped a semi to. This would possibley cause: (A) MSU/PSU/OSU/Wiscy to get an auto-bid as a 4-seed, (B) Minnesota would dropoff a 2 line to a 3 or 4 seed, and (C) Michigan would slip in as one of the last two at-large teams.
- You could also have the converse though where the B1G regular season champs don't make the NCAA tourney if say Michigan and Minnesota played mediocre hockey to close out the season with Michigan winning the conference by a game or tie-breakers and then losing a semi-final or final to a cinderella B1G team, essentially getting its at-large bid stolen by the B1G tourney champ. On paper if you said the conference regular season champ of a league with Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan St didn't get a NCAA tourney bid 4 years ago, Jim Delaney would have choked on his ham sandwich. But such is life in the B1G Hockey.
I'll leave the results from last week and this week's cheering primer to Canadian, who I'm sure will be chipping with his part in a day or so. SPOILER ALERT-- Cheer, cheer for Ol'... ALABAMA-HUNTSVILLE????
Open thread re: Deadline Day. Lots of moving parts yesterday...Yandle to NYR, Cole to DET, Coburn to TBL, and this morning Petry (prospective Wings D-man target) to MTL.
So, what are some other moves that could go down? For Wings fans, will Holland go after Phaneuf? For Toronto, is the fire sale over? For Chicago, will Sharp be moved, will they find a replacement for Kane's injury? Any rumors or trades you'd like to see happen?
Then again it might be kinda anticlimactic as the big moves (Evander Kane, Clarkson, Jagr) are already done. But who cares, TSN and Sportsnet will both be covering it like fiends while we take it a little easier down here in the States.
Michigan is looking for the season sweep over the Badgers today.