A few comments this hockey season from the regular posters have asked about or lamented the fact that our present hockey team is sagging back to the 'Pre-Red' days of despair. Having been a small part of that era I thought maybe some of you might be interested in some of the background of those times and teams. Remember I am doing this one from memory of 35-37 years ago (yes, I am very old), and candidly I hope that some of the guys on those teams might be lurkers and/or bloggers here and would be kind enough to supplement or correct what I'm posting. Think of this as the JV version of what one of my favorite posters, RYG, does on a regular basis.
Leading up to my freshman year the team had been coached by Dan Farrell for a number of years, with all but one of those years being a winning record. He was a very good recruiter and my freshman year I think our team had more talent (myself excluded) that would end up playing pro hockey than any college hockey team I'd ever heard of. That said, Farrell resigned before the 1980 season, and it wasn't until decades later that I found out he apparently went back to Houghton to be an engineer. Wilf Martin became head coach. I think he was a Michigan alum that had played minor league pro. He was a nice guy but was in a bit over his head and, to quote Teddy Spears one of the guys on the team who ended up being captain, it was quickly found out that 'He couldn't handle the pressure'. Enter John Giordano, the erstwhile assistant thrust into the lead role.
Giordano fancied himself as the next Herb Brooks, the tough guy coach of the incredible 1980 Miracle on Ice U.S. Olympic team. You may remember that Brooks' players hated him at the beginning, but by the end of their time with him would've walked through fire for him. Indeed, that team of Brooks' is part of the greatest sporting achievement and event I've ever witnessed. Anyway, the problem with Giordano was that he didn't have anywhere near the gravitas (I am trying to be very diplomatic here) required to pull that off. The net result was that the players did not respect Giordano, they didn't like him, he was not a good recruiter, and though he was okay with the X's and Os of hockey, he was losing altitude in the win/loss column.
The shame of it is that Giordano inherited some pretty serious talent on that roster. Guys that had at least a cup of coffee in the pros, with some doing much better, would include Dave Richter, aka, "Magic", who was a 6' 4 or 5", 235 lb defenseman before those things existed in hockey. Magic was smart and tough and in a pair of skates looked to be about 8' tall. Other guys who made some pro rosters, some minor league pros, include Steve Richmond, aka 'Chi', Dennis May, aka 'Los', Teddy Spears, aka 'Spearsy', Brad Tippet, aka 'Tipper', and goaltender Paul Fricker, aka, 'Spaceman'.
By the '83-84 season Giordano had lost the team, so to speak. The guys all signed a letter addressed to AD Don Canham asking in effect that the school get rid of Giordano and that is in fact what happened.
Red has had a great run but as many have mentioned it looks like that run should come to an end. I hope he leaves gracefully and it would be very cool if the team sparked these last weeks of the season to achieve to the level of it's recruited talent.
Anyway, I hope the Michigan hockey fans amongst the mgoblog glitterati will enjoy this post. Have a great weekend regardless.
The next 3 games are all 50/50 for me right now, just a heads up...
(Patrick Barron) Not all JLF's fault...but hockey is sad, these days
FIRST: Michigan definitely had their chances in the first. They had a couple OMRs (one came shorthanded, though), and got into the slot and crease a few different times. By the numbers, Michigan generated 19 even strength attempts with 9 of those coming from home plate. This is great! They didn't get one to go but created many nice looks and flubbed a couple of their best chances. This is equivalent to the first couple periods of the OSU series a couple weeks back.
SECOND: Once again, Michigan generated some decent looks in the attacking end. They created 15 even strength attempts and got 6 from home plate. They're above 40% from the dangerous area. This is above their average. They missed a few great chances, including a breakaway and another 2v1. Michigan started and finished the period very strongly but got caught up in the penalty fest in the middle of the period. While Berry is making some good saves, they're also not getting a lot of their best chances on frame.
- THIRD: The eyeball test said Michigan had a great third period. They held the puck deep in the Badger zone for multiple long stretches and kept pressure in the attacking end for most of the third period. Except...no one could find (or hit) the net. Finally Wisconsin Michigan'd a lovely DZTO right to Winborg who slid it across to Allen along in the low slot and he beat Berry to tie the game. The shot chart backs this up as Michgan has a 16(7) in the third. I guess I was expecting a bit higher, but a 50 is actually one of their better scores on the year. That's also 44% from HP on a relatively high volume...which means they couldn't get anything past Berry or any of their best looks on frame. Ugh...this season.
FIRST: Michigan allowed 16 even strength attampts and 7 from home plate. This is not so good. The overall total isn't the worst but the near 50% HP ratio is not great. They also had some trouble clearing the puck and breaking out. Going to need a better 2nd period. With a crazy assist to physics, the first period goal does fall on the defense. The puck is shot wide of the net an took an odd bounce around to the other side of the net. Unfortunately, no one was marking Trent Frederic. He waited for JLF to drop and lifted it to the roof of the net. Probably need to check that guy.
SECOND: Almost an idential period for Michigan on defense, again. Wisconsin goes 16(6) in the 2nd. Still a little too easy for Wisconsin to get the puck into dangerous places, though. The goal was when Michigan was down a man, so it technically isn't going against the defense. However, it was poor man-marking that lead to the goal as no one checked the guy bringing the puck into the zone. That needed to be addressed in this section.
- THIRD: It started so well and then dropped like a sack of flour. Michigan actually gave up the most chances in the third: 17(10). At least half of those had to have come in the last five minutes as the wheels were flying off like one of Pharaoh's chariots in the Red Sea. Michigan was dominating in the attacking end and then all of a sudden everything came sliding back to their own end. After JLF took a curious clear, Luce marked his man in the slot, but didn't really touch him and Frederic was able to tap a centering pass behind LaFontaine. Then, a gorgeous behind the back pass finds Zirbel between two more M defenders who goes upper 90 on poor Jack. The 5th goal also came from just outside the crease after another silly DZTO. There were certainly enough of those all night, but eventually the lack of marking and puck clearing came back to blitz Michigan's beleaguered defense. In the end, they gave up 49 shots from even strength and 23 from inside home plate. That's 47%. That's awful. It's also the 2nd highest percentage M has surrendered this season. Only the trip to Vermont was worse.
FIRST: Michigan draws no penalties in the first. They take one, though...but it was soft. Nothing comes of it, though. Wisconsin barely got their power play set up.
SECOND: Michigan gets their first power play due to lazy miscommunication on the Badger bench. The Wolverines quickly set up their 1-3-1 and a dot-to-dot feed from Slaker to Marody gave Michigan a power play goal. When they can get their power play set up, they've been very dangerous. Michigan took two more penalties and it came back to bite them. Wisconsin scored on their second opportunity. A simple give and go at the blue line and neither Cutler nor Shuart stayed with Hughes and he walked right in on JLF and scored.
- THIRD: Not much special teams action in the third. Michigan got a power play early and created numerous great looks but could not score. It was similar to their overall offense from the night: a lot of swarming puck control with good chances but not enough on frame or obviously in the net. They also got another power play late, after the game was 5-2. I don't know how that one looked. Obviously.
FIRST: Jack LaFontaine started in net and look good to start. I don't put the goal on him. He was bumped on one side of the net, thrown off balance, lost his stick, and had no chance to make the save on the opposite side of the net. Crazy bounce off the boards. He did show nice positioning and made a few stops with attackers crashing the net around him. Apparently, he's over whatever hurt him midway through the game, last Saturday. He had 10 saves.
SECOND: JLF was mostly solid in the middle frame. He stopped 10 more shots and was betrated by lazy defending for the second goal. The only slip was a shot from a 90 degree angle that got into has pads. As he reached back to check, he fell back into the net and the puck squirted out across the goalline. Fortunately for him, the whistle had already blown. Since the ref had lost sight of the puck, blowing the whistle was probably the right move, but it would have been a soft goal, otherwise. Aside from that, he minimized chances and was up to anything that was thrown at him.
- THIRD: Another up and down period for JLF. Stoned a breakaway. Hung out to dry in his crease as the puck is turned over time and time again below the dots. Still, with Michigan dominating the third period, tied at 2, JLF has the puck behind his net and clears the puck around the left boards with no Wolverine player in its path and a Badgers steps in and keeps the puck in the zone. A couple of passes later and the puck is in the net. Now, the defense didn't help later, but it started with a curious clearing decision. The last couple goals were not on him, but just a good -not great- performance in net. He definitely showed what he was capable of doing, but JLF also had a couple of whoops moments, as well. He's still only a freshman. He had 26 saves.
ODD MAN RUSHES
FIRST: Michigan surrendered one 2v1. Attacking Badger may have had his skate grazed but was losing control on his own. Didn't get a shot away, regardless. Boka did go to the box, though. Nothing else.
SECOND: Wisconsin gets a 3v2 that turns into a 5v5 and a shot from the point that doesn't go in. So...eh. But they follow that with a 2v1 that Boka gets caught flat-footed at the Wisconsin blueline. The pass was behind an open Besse or else the Badgers would have had an OMR goal.
- THIRD: On a powerplay, Michigan gave up a breakaway. JLF stoned it for his best stop of the night. Four OMRs tonight. The total is creeping up the last couple weeks. At this point, whatever, I guess.
FINAL CORSI SCORE
I had: Michigan 50, Wisconsin 49
www.collegehockeynews.com had: Michigan 53, Wisconsin 47
Usually by the 2nd period someone will state, "wow, look at the state of M Hockey...2nd period against a ranked team and no open thread."
So here ya go. 0-0 about 12 mins remaining in the first. Hopefully we'll see a better performance tonight than we did against msu on Saturday.
The game is on BTN
(Bill Rapai) Yeah, pretty much...
FIRST: Yawn. Like, nothing? Michigan had 13 even strength attempts and 3 of those came from home plate. Everything else was from quite a distance. Of those 13 attempts, 5 were on frame. This was Michigan from a few weeks ago. I really can't remember anything worth mentioning.
SECOND: Michigan created 9 even strength attempts. That's not good at all. At least 6 of those came from home plate? Yay. So, when they could look to the net at even strength, it was probably from a decent spot. This is an anomaly and I don't really know what to say about it...thank you for skewing the data? They're going to need more than 9 looks at the net per period.
- THIRD: So, Michigan created 19(6) in this period. Which...does not feel like was what I saw. Ten of those were on frame. I guess 5 were on the power play. That makes a little more sense. Michigan ends with a 42(14) at 33%. 42 is low-ish (overall, not for M this season) and 33% is average for the season. Michigan won 3rd period corsi by 10, mostly because the actual score was 4-0 for the entire period. So, this stat is a little skewed tonight. And honestly, there were 21 combined penalties, so even strength time was very limited.
FIRST: Michigan allowed 20 even strength attempts but only 5 from inside home plate. Of those 20, 14 were on frame. MSU threatened once on a 2v1 and another few times on some bad clears or sloppy passes. JLF had to be sound a few times, but that was mostly in the last 6-7 minutes of the first period. Before that...not a whole lot happened. This looked like a game between #5 and #6 in the Big Ten. Oh, look at that...
SECOND: So, the defense was not good. There were missed clears, DZTOs, and failed passes all around. Oddly, there were somehow only 13 even strength attempts on net for MSU...and only 3(!?!?) came from home plate. This is a weird game. MSU had 2 shorthanded attempts from the slot. Insert shruggie here. Michigan's problem was not as much the sheer volume but the bad DZTOs. Piazza and Dancs combined for a terrible one that resulted in a mini in-zone breakaway that was converted. Ugh. If it's not one thing, its another with this defense.
- THIRD: Michigan allowed only nine even strength attempts in the third period. Four of those nine came from home plate. That's not a great ratio, but the overall total is fantatsic. Over half of MSU's attempts came on special teams. Normally, I stand by these corsi numbers, but tonight's are a little deceiving. Michigan had a bad goaltending gaffe, a really bad SH goal against, an AWFUL DZTO, and a lucky shot from the boards that all went in...and pretty much nothing else. The overall defense has been bad, but it is not accurately reflected in the corsi numbers from tonight. This game is an outlier.
FIRST: I mean, not really. Michigan drew a penalty and barely got their power play set up. It was not inspiring. On the plus side, they did not take a penalty.
SECOND: Penalties for everyone! Michigan had three power play chances, but scored on none of them. They did look threatening on their 2nd and 3rd opportunities, though. Unfortunately, they gave away a shorthanded goal on a 2v0. Lethemon made a few nice saves and the Wolverines still have not scored against MSU at Yost, this season. Michigan also gave away three powerplays to MSU. They also looked threatening but did not score. They did however tally right at the end of one of theirs...so, kinda a power play goal? Sure, but not statistically.
THIRD: Michigan somehow had five (!!) powerplays in the third period. Wow. Apparently, they had their chances. Anyway, they finally scored on the last opportunity to get their first goal against MSU at Yost, this season. Michigan gave MSU two more powerplays in the third. MSU scored on neither of them They did however score another shorthanded goal that was a
shotpass at the net that Nagelvoort just fanned on. In the end, MSU went 0/5 and M went 1/8.
FIRST: Jack LaFontaine started in net and he did not have much to do for a while. As the period progressed, MSU started controlling more and he was forced to make a few tough saves. JLF was up to the task, though. He hasn't started since the PSU series, but it was difficult to tell. After a couple of soft goals last night, it was not a surprise to see JLF in net. Lavigne has played very well, lately, but last night was an excuse to give someone else some playing time. In the end, JLF made 14 saves in the first period.
SECOND: Jack LaFontaine played the first half of the second period before getting injured. He looked good while he was playing. Boka was checked into the post and hit JLF in the process. He skated around, stayed in the game, but ultimately came out at the following whistle. The goal he conceded was a fling from the boards that went through at least two skaters and apparently evaded his vision, as he had no idea the puck was by him. He ended up with 18 saves on 19 shots. Nagelvoort came in to relieve him. He was not put in good situations, as neither goal he allowed was his fault at all. The first was a bad DZTO between Piazza and Dancs where Osburn walked right in a roofed one above Nagelvoort. The second was a 2v0, shorthanded. Nagelvoort has no shot on either.
- THIRD: Nagelvoort actually had a good period...after the first goal. So, he had to be off-balance, but...an attacker was fading away from the net and just half-heartedly flailed a puck at him and he slid right by/over it and it went into the net. No one was in the way. That's about how this game went. He actually looked good after that mess. Stuffed a couple breakaways and was solid, holding his posts a few times. Goaltending wasn't the reason M lost this game. The 4th goal was not great, though.
ODD MAN RUSHES
FIRST: MSU had two OMRs. The first was a 3v2 that ended in nothing really. I don't think the puck ended up anywhere near the net. The second OMR was at the end of a shift for M and Cox beat Calderone down the ice. Calderone did close well and impacted his shot...that JLF saved, anyway.
SECOND: MSU gets a 2v0 breakaway, shorthanded and beats newly-inserted Zach Nagelvoort. 2v0 shortanded is pretty bad.
- THIRD: MSU had 2 semi-breakaways...Nagelvoort stopped both. OMRs were a problem, tonight. Only 1 goal allowed, but 4 breakaways and a threatening 2v1. This hasn't happened in a while. Glad to see these are back, too...
FINAL CORSI SCORE
I had: Michigan State 42, Michigan 41 HOW???? THIS MAKES NO SENSE.
www.collegehockeynews.com had: Michigan State 43 , Michigan 41
Maybe it's not as bad as that night after a game at LSSU where he walked through the snow in his game suit, but it's hard to imagine it being worse than this for Red Berenson.
In two games at Yost, against Michigan State, Michigan has been outscored 7-1.
This would be bad enough in the Ryan Miller years, when MSU was capable of such shutout against anyone. But this MSU team has a season record of 6-17-3. They are coached by Tom Anastos, a man completely out of his league. They are in every way an embarrassment to their school, to their conference, and to the sport of college hockey.
And they've blown out Michigan twice at Yost this year.
That's a third of their win total for the entire season. And Michigan hasn't even been able to beat them in regulation, either--the other three games have all gone to OT, and Michigan's two conference "wins" over MSU have been meaningless shootout exhibition victories.
It took Michigan 119 minutes and 50 seconds to score a single goal at home.
It's the worst team he's had since those first couple of years rebuilding the program. It is a second, utterly humiliating loss at home to an arch-rival that is itself at an all-time low point.
It is the low point of the Red Berenson Era. What a tragedy.