IMO Mike Chiasson is a flat out bad hockey player. He panics around the puck, cannot make a clean break out pass, and seems rather skittish when it comes to Physicality near the boards. So its no real shock to me to see him scratched.
Janecyk Is The New Smotrycz
1/7/2011 – Michigan 4, LSSU 2 – 12-8-3
1/8/2011 – Michigan 2, LSSU 2 (LSSU wins SO) – 12-8-4
via the Daily
I'll take it. If you'd told me Michigan would only get 2 periods out of Shawn Hunwick, lose Alex Guptill halfway through Saturday night's game, and end up benching Brennan Serville again, I'd be thinking split or worse. Instead Michigan scrapes out a win and a tie in the NCAA's eyes and continues their trudge up the RPI and PWR charts in their effort to not be the team that breaks the streak.
Having Merrill back is an enormous relief, isn't it? After a half-season of watching various defensemen panic and suffer at the hands of forechecking, the gloriously smooth Merrill is a revelation. The puck is on his stick: breakout. It's like he never left… except for my scars.
Unfortunately, Merrill is not a panacea for all of Michigan's ills. They still sent Derek Deblois out in a shootout; their power play is still a debacle; they're still in the CCHA's usual massive pack of .500 teams. Mike Spath notes that in 21 shootout attempts this year Michigan has scored twice. There you go, Michigan's lack of dirty dangles in lights. I miss the days when Comrie and Cammalleri and Hensick provided a regular stream of top shelf highlights.
Whither the magic midget, I ask? Are we limited to one at a time and ours happens to play goalie? Probably.
Bullets that go over the net
Janecyk. That could have gone much, much worse. That was exactly like watching Hunwick play for the first time, in which it seemed impossible that the puck was staying out of the net and then it didn't. LSSU is a shoot-on-sight sort of team so his save percentage may have been a little inflated; even so two goals on 30+ shots is a quality outing.
Per Red, Hunwick will be back this weekend. Hopefully we don't have to test this Janecyk-is-also-Hunwick theory any further, no offense to a star of the game from Saturday.
Top line: extant. There is a top line now: Brown, Guptill, and Wohlberg. They're big and fast and generally hard to deal with around the net; what they lack in puckhandling skill they make up for with good shooting and crease mucking. Guptill will be back this weekend as well; if I had to guess I'd say both he and Hunwick had minor concussion symptoms.
I'm still not sure what they're doing with the other lines. Moffatt and Hyman with Sinelli is odd since that implies a fourth line when Moffatt, at least, seems to be one of the team's better offensive players. Pairing PDG with Glendening and Treais seems… suboptimal. Glendending should be the heart of a checking line and PDG should get Moffatt or Sparks to see if they can, you know, score some goals. Glendening has three points in his last 20. At this point he should not be on a scoring line.
Serville: yeesh. On the ice in front of the net for the tying LSSU goal on Saturday and then exiled to the bench for the rest of the game, marking the second outing in which he's found himself benched for most of a period. Before that he'd gotten walked through for two excellent LSSU chances. I'm shocked at his issues with the transition; can't remember an NHL draft pick who seemed so unready.
But what about Chiasson? There have been no injuries reports on Mike Chiasson, who missed Saturday's game. No one has even mentioned it. Is he healthy? Did he really get voluntarily scratched on Saturday? How is that possible? THEORY: accidentally wore a Lindsay Sparks jersey to practice.
Seriously, though… if Chiasson was a healthy scratch on Saturday I'm baffled. There's not a lot of time between Friday and Saturday night to have a team rules violation. Leaving him out by choice seems insane.
Massive pack of .500 teams, and some others. I'm not kidding. Six of the league's 11 teams are within a game of .500 with four exactly even. OSU is currently running away with the league on points, winning percentage, and goal differential after dumping the vast bulk of their team in the offseason. (I wonder what the OSU oversigning hawks think of that.)
Michigan is 11 points adrift, which is why I couldn't care less about shootouts. If Michigan's not winning the league I don't care where they finish unless they're unable to finish in the top eight and I have to either figure out how to get my playoff ticket money back or give an involuntary donation to the AD. Failing that, whatever.
Pretty much useless PWR update. Michigan slides up to a tie for ninth; lake state temporarily drops out only to be replaced by Ferris, WMU, and Miami. Hypothetical season-ends-today tournament features a hypothetical seven(!!!) CCHA teams with those three, Michigan, #6 NMU, #3 ND, and #1 OSU. I imagine cannibalism will knock that down to five by the end of the year.
Michigan improved its RPI a bit over the weekend and now stands a tenuous tenth. This upcoming OSU series is huge. They've been very good so far this year but are coming off consecutive ties against cellar-dweller BGSU, 1-11-2 against the rest of the league.
This is a weird year in college hockey. Not only is Michigan struggling to maintain its streak but 11-8-3 Denver and 11-8-2 North Dakota are currently on the outside looking in at 18th and 20th, respectively. Wisconsin is barely a TUC and Mass-Lowell and Merrimack are currently in. Strangest of all: Minnesota might make the tournament.
Power play: argh. It's time to take whatever Michigan's doing on the power play and throw it away and get a specialist consultant or something.
Against Lake Superior State this weekend, the Michigan hockey team went a combined 0-for-4 on the power play. The Wolverines averaged less than a shot per man-advantage.
It's ugly to watch. Throwing Treais out there on the point is the latest oddity; Michigan immediately gave up a scoring chance due to his inexperience playing on the point on Friday and abandoned it. With Merrill back they should just throw the top four defenders out there and try to scrabble together some forwards—it's not like they're overflowing with good options there, either.
He is not a great player right now but you are going way over board calling him a bad player. I see some good potential in him and wouldn't be surprised to see him as a solid 4th defenseman no later than the beginning of his junior year. He actually reminds me a little of Pateryn when he was younger.
Not every player is able to adjust to this level of play their freshman year. Give him a break.
The argument isn't whether or not Chiasson is a good player as a freshman (he's been very servicable so far). It's who's better - Chiasson or Serville, and the answer isn't even close. Serville just isn't ready to play at this level, turning the puck over constantly, rarely in good position in front of the net, useless offensively from the point, etc. Chiasson is the clear choice based on performance so far.
Strangest of all: Minnesota might make the tournament.
Going on the PP will cause me to:
- have an ephemeral moment of elation, quickly followed by
- the five stages of grief.
If you had told me before the weekend that Janecyk was going to be in goal for 4 periods, OT & a shootout, I would probably have been all DOOM!, but getting a win and a tie was pretty good.
Damn good to see Merrill back.
The Brown-Guptill-Wohlberg line is really impressing me: Brownie has shown signs of life; Guptill's got hands like a Hensick; and Wohlberg putting shots top shelf.
That PP needs to be jettisoned and started over from scratch.
You guys came through with "Shoot More On The Run You Cocaine Zombie"
Whaddaya got for Janecyk?
Signed, the guy respsonsible for spelingg up in hear.
How about "JAm Nitrogen Elements Carbon Yttrium Potassium"? No? OK, then
"JANE Cooks Your Kangaroo."
Seems that he gets the odd chance now, but his offense has dried up. Whatever Sparks has, it must be spreading because Treais has been no better.
Props to Moffatt and Sinelli, though. Gotta give Janny love, also.
LOL at Minnesota, but not at Duluth. They are the new arrogance.
Good point on the CCHA cannibalization. 7 teams right now in, only 3-4 probable. Suck it, WCHA. Even you Daloot.
Yes- both Hunwick & Guptill took head shots-with Guptill's even called a slash. The "C" word is not allowed to be printed according to various media sources. Coach is frowning upon it. Let the misdirection of information begin. At least he gave some indication that both players should be back at practice and may play this weekend.
Powerplay: headslap. Even Red is making jokes at it. Decline.
Shootouts should be reserved for the English Premier League.
11-8-3 Denver and 11-8-2 North Dakota are currently on the outside looking in at 18th and 20th, respectively
Denver might not make it, but it's NoDak after the new year. They'll finish with an 11-1-2 run, win the WCHA, and get a 1 or 2 seed in the Random Number Generator.
According to the roster posted on ohiostatebuckeys.com, they have exactly one underclassman from last year (Jeff McNeil) who did not return.
In what universe is that 'dumping the vast bulk' of their team?