Petway nails threes to death metal. Seriously.
Since Snowbird, Utah has a) high speed internet in its hotel rooms and b) not much else, I find myself with some time on my hands, as is usually the case after breakin' yoself skiing. I managed to catch the CCHA championship game against OSU and now offer some belated thoughts.
I thought the game was quite encouraging going into the tournament. Michigan ran over OSU, outhitting them signficantly, which almost never happens when Michigan runs into a physical OSU-type team. Usually Michigan contents itself with getting a little beat up and winning anyway. Not so against OSU. Nystrom, Brown, Ryznar and company were all over the ice stapling Buckeyes to the boards. Nystrom has begun to assert himself as captain on the ice in a way that is somewhat reminiscent of Ortmeyer. Michigan will need to sustain that physical play against a tough Wisconsin team that plays a lot like the Buckeyes (only one BILLION times better because they are from the holy WCHA).
Also encouraging was Montoya's play. It was the first very good game I've seen from him probably all year. He couldn't possibly have stopped either goal and made several good saves. He wasn't forced into making a great one (except maybe a pad-stack off a rebound). No shakiness occurred and was not tempted to scream "get back in the net!" even once. He looked, dare I say, focused. I know, I know. I talk the crazy.
The bad, well, I shudder at the prospect of Sertich and Sterling rushing into the offensive zone against just about any of our defenders, should the anticipated CC-Michigan matchup occur. Moss was missed. His return for the tournament is still up in the air, and followers of this blog know the irrational affection I have for the heady Moss. But there isn't a whole lot to dislike about the OSU game, to be honest, and I have high hopes entering the NCAA tournament.
I believe I'll be able to catch the game tomorrow, but I will be on a plane for any hypothetical second-round game until about six, so I will miss maybe half the game, perhaps even more if Northwest Air screws up, but, come on, what are the chances of that?
Don't answer that.
Anyway, my predictions for this weekend: Michigan throttles the reeling Badgers, and wins against CC by shutting off Sterling and Sertich and peppering McElhinney. Columbus awaits.
mgoblog is going on vacation next week. Please do not call the police and file a missing persons report when the blog is not updated. I'll be back next weekend, hopefully to preview a Frozen Four with Michigan included.
In the meantime, I suggest you reconnect with nature and your family. It's time.
Dominating victory for Michigan today, winning 3-1 in a game that was scoreless until about the halfway point when Brandon Kaleniecki scorched a bullet past Wylie Rogers. Jeff Tambellini followed that up at the end of the second with a "where-who-what-how?" shot that was past Rogers before he even knew it had left Tamby's stick. Michigan outshot UAF 44-15-ish. Rogers played out of his mind or this oculd have been another 10-1 annihilation.
The lone moment of concern was the UAF goal. A horrific unforced Nick Martens turnover sent a Nanook in on Montoya. Montoya unwisely attempted a poke check, missed it, and conceded his now-familiar weak five-hole goal. He was largely a spectator for the rest of the game.
Michigan plays the winner of MSU-OSU tomorrow.
Carty's latest: "The president of the United States can testify in front of an entire committee about his defense, but Michigan fans can't expect Carr to do the same?"
This is totally unfair, but that analogy makes this comparison necessary:
It's totally unfair, I know. Chris Burke is loved by millions and Life Goes On was fantastic television. Jim Carty is loved by his mother. Maybe. Sorry, Chris.
Anyway, OL_LBL basically summed up my feelings for me on the Victors. I'll cut and paste here because posts roll off that board:
I am sick of the media. The media does not "represent the fans." They represent frustrated egotistical wannabees who basically can't do anything else for a living. Like all media, Carty has set himself up as some kind of omnipotent uber-expert demanding specific answers to all his concerns.
Of course, the results speak for themselves - the defense needs to get a lot better in order to compete for the NC. Either Herrmann has to significantly change what he's doing, or ultimately Carr will get someone else. In the meantime, Carr is not going to answer to some pasty-faced [flip]nut like Carty or Drew Sharp or any other media [stupid]head, and hang Herrmann up to dry for the entertainment of the media. [Flip] the media. What Carr needs to do is go out and win games, and tell Herrmann what to do to get that done. If he does, they will be all back on their knees in front of him.
The latest Ask CFN addresses yet more Michigan issues, including the crowded backfield (paraphrased question: Is Mike Hart going to end up a backup? mgoblog answer: What? Stop doing drugs) and the Great Lloyd Carr Debate (again).
Also, Braylon's pro day apparently went "great." BE ran in the low 4.4s.
TJ Hensick is one of the ten Hobey Baker finalists, as expected. Tambellini is not, even though in my opinion he's Michigan's MVP. Two other CCHA players were nominated, goalies Jordan Sigalet and Tuomas Tarkki. Sigalet, as you may have heard, was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Conventional wisdom has the award going to Marty Sertich or Brent Sterling, linemates at CC, since they're 1-2 in national scoring. None of the four goalies nominated really has a Ryan Miller-like resume, and the single defenseman up for the award plays for Quinnipiac. So it's down to the five forwards, IMO, and if that's the case 99% of the time they go with the dude who scored the most.
Slate has a sunnily angry article up called "Teams We Hate" in this year's NCAA tournament. Yes, Duke is featured. So are UT-Chattanooga, Villanova, and Penn, though, so it's some equal-opportunity hatin'.
Flabbergasting this, however:
That's a hockey stick! Jesus, Vermont! Stop playing basketball with hockey sticks!
This free GBW article on VA WR Percy Harvin (generally regarded as the country's #1 recruit period at the moment) directly contradicts the conventional wisdom on the young man (eg, FSU-lockalicious). He lists his top give as USC, Miami, Tennesee, Florida and Michigan, and says this about FSU:
"You can throw Florida State on the list too I guess," he said. "I like them too."
Far out, man. He says he'll officially visit Michigan. I still doubt he ends up a Wolverine but a visit is better than nothing.
I thought I'd respond to a couple comments in a non-confrontational way. (Seriously, I appreciate any and all comments you guys post.)
An anonymous poster said, to paraphrase, that Lloyd should open up with the media more and that many of the questions he posed are exactly the kind of things Michigan fans would like to know. And that much is true. I do take issue with the idea (more Carty's and not the commenter's) that Lloyd is somehow unusual amongst coaches with his vague, meandering, meaningless answers. He's a bit chippier than most, but he's by no means unique with the "to win the ball game we have to play 60 minutes, protect the ball, and don't beat ourselves" blah blah blah. Every coach in America does that. And Carty's asking for specifics about why the defense failed that no coach in America would talk to the media about. I mean, seriously, should Carr detail his master plan to stop Stanton this year months and months before the game?
The whole thing smacks of sour grapes because Carr has better things to do than talk to Carty.
"Maize" posted something on the Jerret Smith thread about me being a little harsh on him. I know he wasn't brought in to be a shooter. I was hoping to see (well, hear about) an excellent assist-to-turnover ratio, hard nosed defense, and a great mind for the game. This doesn't appear to be going on. Smith plays well occasionally, all right frequently, and poorly too often. He's been wildly inconsistent. He hasn't been playing defense. He made a number of apparently Horton-esque turnovers in his most recent game. I just don't feel confident in any way that he'll become an above-average Big Ten player. I'm rooting for it, of course, but my expectations are low.
It sounds like Sheperd was a find, though. I'm excited about him and Price. I'm putting together a State of the Program post on basketball. I'll talk more about these things in that.
ESPN Insider is pretty hit and miss, but they've recently added NBA stat wonk John Hollinger to their lineup and he's been churning out fantastic stat-wonky columns regularly.
But not satisified with merely being dorkily interesting, Hollinger even busted out a line I wish I thought of in his most recent article on Carlos Boozer and his Cavs replacement, Dwight Gooden: "One year later, the only award Boozer contends for is the Santana Award (given annually to the biggest sellout named Carlos)."
That's quality comedy, folks. And that's not all! He's helpfully pointed out CarlosLoozer.com, which is flipping awesome.
Anyway, the article is here($) if you have Insider. If you don't, just go to CarlosLoozer.com. It's better than work.