rundown of Michigan's riser
Shut up. I care. I just can't bring myself to watch it much this year. But I can be roused when there's some goofyass gopher poking his head out of the ground begging to be thwacked down.
What, you say, there is? Ah, yes, I see. The DSR's resident Michigan "expert," Jordan Acker, has popped up and his cartoonish buck teeth await my swift padded mallet rebuke. Let's get it on.
First, let's take stock of Mr. Acker's fact checking. "Tommy Amaker has not beaten a ranked team on the road since February of 2001," writes Mr. Acker. Well, that's certainly an unfortunate fact... uh. Wait a minute. Later, Acker says, "And, finally, when it did, Michigan emerged stronger, with a 12-5 record, and looking, after a road win at top-15 Iowa (granted, in front of about 500 people at Carver-Hawkeye), that this team would take the next step, and make the tournament."
Okay, okay, okay. First, that sentence contains no fewer than seven commas. That's too goddamn many unless you're Faulkner. And you ain't, Jordan. Trust me. Second, uh, it directly contradicts his first sentence. I realize that he didn't get paid for this piece of... writing, but he apparently managed to write the thing without even reading it.
Second, let's take stock of his inside sources. Acker writes, "According to my source close to the team, every bad thing that's been said about this team is completely true." Undoubtedly, this "source close to the team" is probably about as reliable as his previous source that told him that Matt Guttierez was really out because he got in a barfight. Guttierez of course later had surgery on that barfight.
Acker: "Dion quit. So did Courtney. And those two are the reason why they will be watching any tournament on TV come March." Dion, who plays 40 minutes a game flanked by Superstar Dani Wohl (no offense, Dani) and Super-Duper Star John Andrews (again, no offense, John). Courtney didn't quit, he's just Charmin soft and looked like that from Day one this year. Acker's inside source is some drunk guy he met at a Kappa Sig party. In between attempting to totally score with chicks and stuff, he offered his eternal wisdom.
Thirdly, and lastly, let's take cheap shots at Acker's intelligence. I mean, seriously. That sentence had seven commas in it! What the hell? You've got your tepid "Behind The Music" pop culture reference for "humor," your slightly-incorrect big word usage("a plethora of talent"... talent isn't a plural noun), and your stupid sweeping generalizations with nothing to back them up... it's like I'm reading a Drew Sharp column! (ZING!)
I'll just leave you with this Acker beaut on next year: "All five normal starters will return, as well as a deep recruiting class, including Romulus 's Jarrett Smith, whose improvements in his senior season have been drastic."
As well as a deep recruiting class WHAT? You need a goddamn verb! It can't be return unless they fail senior year. "Jarrett" Smith? The same "Jarrett" Smith who's having a maddening up-and-down, inconsistent season with tons of turnovers and shooting problems? That's grammatically, factually, and... uh, spellingly wrong. All in the same sentence.
In conclusion, mgoblog has a new verb:
Acker (v): To do something so mindbogglingly badly that people wonder whether you should be mercy-killed.
I'll use it in a sentence: "Boy, Jim Herrmann sure ackered the Ohio State and Texas games."
(Jordan, baby, if you read this and feebly attempt to respond, remember that this thing was a total ad hominem (that means it attacks you), so sayin' crap about how Amaker's a "looser" ain't gonna help you. This is about you and your subsimian intelligence.)
There's an extensive article on Chad Kolarik up at Hockey's Future, eef you're interested. Also USCHO is reporting that Kessel is indeed going to Wisconsin. Tension!
Update: Oops. I mean Minnesota. Sorry for the confusion, kids. Apparently the big announcement has been put off until tomorrow.
Braylon didn't run at the combine, but by all accounts he's making a run at the #1 overall pick. Apparently he walked into the weight room when the running backs were doing their benches and ripped off an impressive 22 reps for no reason--wideouts are not required (or asked) to do benches. Kiper has him #2 and with Mike Williams' mediocre 40s at the combine he's a lock to be the first WR taken. Given the questions around Rodgers and Smith, who both look more like Joey Harrington than Peyton Manning to me, and a guy who's obviously a ridiculous athlete with spectacular downfield ability... well, that might look pretty good to a San Francisco team that needs everything.
Marlin Jackson ran between a 4.55 and 4.6 on the slow RCA Dome track and tested well in all the other drills, but people seem to have mixed opinions on him. I think some team will overlook that 40 time and get him late in the first round and they'll be getting a steal. Marlin, when given the opportunity, is an excellent physical corner. He's got enough speed.
Baas' strength, versatility, and intelligence have him the #1 or #2 interior lineman on most boards. Scouts, Inc. said($) Baas " improved his stock as much as or more than any player at this year's combine to date." He'll probably go in the first half of the second, but Scouts said he could sneak into the late first round.
Shazor? No buzz around him, really. He may look like a LB/SS tweener at the moment I don't believe he ran at the combine. He'll do so at Michigan's pro day. A good time is critical for him. If he can run very well, people will look at a 6'4" guided missile and overlook his occasional coverage issues.
This site has Braylon at 2, Bass at 24, Marlin at 39, and Shazor at 57. They make it clear that their list is not a draft order projection but rather an "NFL success" projection. Which is a total copout.
According to Bill Kurelic, Robby Paris favors Michigan has picked up early offers from BC, Iowa, and Miami... er, Miami(Ohio). An offer is not a sure thing, what with the bonanza at WR the last couple years. Michigan will probably only take one WR this year, maybe two if one can play in the secondary.
'05 recruit Jason Bailey has participated in a little Q&A session on the Yost Post. Compares himself to Nystrom and Brown, which I agree with. He's sort of a cross between the two and will be a fan favorite the minute he lights up some poor Guelph Griffin in next year's exhibition.
Kessel is announcing his college choice today. Widespread speculation had Kessel down to Wisconsin and Minnesota (BC and Michigan are the other two finalists), and if you want to get your speculation further specified, most people had him earmarked for the Gophers. However, reader Barry Eyestone points out this article onminnesotahockeyjournal.com that says other insiders believe Kessel will play for the Gophers... interesting because yet other insiders say that Kessel and UW commit Jack Skille really don't get along to the point where no one in either family even talks to anyone else.
Mom's always liked Michigan a lot... but it probably won't matter. Michigan's seemingly resigned itself to Kessel-loss, picking up USHL forward Travis Turnbull a few days ago. Turnbull is the son of former NHLer Perry Turnbull and seems like a mid-range forward prospect akin to a Kaleniecki. He could defer to 2006 if Kessel swerves everyone, but he's most likely coming in in the next, large class. BG, MSU, and Miami were his other finalists.
Sorry about my somewhat prolonged absence. I hope no one did anything rash when deprived of the soothing glow of the blog's constant companionship, but I have excuses: everything I own is broken, including two different computers. Un-breaking them is a time consuming process.
So I'm a little out of sorts. Anyway, let's talk thrilling 6-5 victory over high-schoolers. Not just any high-schoolers, though, the National Team Development Program, who've been cutting a swath of destruction through DI-colleges this year... at least offensively. They tend to give up as many goals (lots) as they score (lots).
I chuckled when MSU lost to said team, but I changed my mind on that. The NDTP is for real. For really real. Michigan was probably playing against five top-ten NHL draft picks last night: Jack Johnson, Phil Kessel, Peter Mueller, Eric Johnson, and Jack Skille. Almost everyone else on the ice will be drafted at some point, and there are some late-first/second type players in Stoa and Mitera, etc. Keep this team together and in two years they'd be wasting everybody.
My impressions of the Michigan recruits on the NDTP:
Jack Johnson: Must have toned down his game to play his future teammates, because he didn't rip anyone's throat out and smash a now-lifeless carcass to the ground. He didn't even think about it. I was a little disappointed given the descriptions I'd heard of his play at the recent U18 tournament and games against UNH, MSU, and Minnesota. I wanted to see him run somebody over. Maybe that little Gerbe kid.
Johnson's non-physical game was very aggressive nonetheless. At one point on a USA PP he ended up in the corner of his offensive zone, battling for the puck for a good 10-15 seconds. When given open ice he rushed into the offensive zone without delay. He'll have to pick his spots doing that in college.
Mark Mitera: Happy happy happy. Mitera is mana from heaven for this Michigan fan: a big, physical defenseman who can skate and positions himself very well. He is exactly what Michigan's defensive corps needs for next year. Hell, he's exactly what they need this year. If he can go out and do nothing else other than mash people into the ground and keep them away from the goalie, I'll be ecstatic.
But wait! There's more! He's tied for second on the team for points by a defensman (5-12-17), behind Johnson. He's got a little two-way action in his game, too.
Jason Bailey: tbarr on the Wolverine predicted that people would love Bailey, and he's right. Bailey was absolutely flying all over the ice on Saturday, finishing every check he could and generally looking like Mike Brown at his most effective. He also made a couple of very nice passes that suggest his slim line of 5-6-11 on the year could be a function of his role on the deep and talented NDTP team and not indicative of his overall offensive talent. He'll be a player opponents hate to deal with.
Zach MacVoy: All right, I admit that MacVoy did not stand out to me in any way. I was trying to track two and sometimes three future Wolverines on the ice at all times while simultaneously watching every move Kessel made. With Johnson plunging into the offensive zone, Bailey smacking people, and Mitera making me giddy with his ability to not screw up, MacVoy sort of blended into the wallpaper. It'll have to wait.
Dan Fardig: Fardig scored on his first shift in Yost after Bailey wasted a Michigan player along the end boards. The puck popped out into the slot and he jammed home the first shot of the game. Instictively, I cried "Dammit, Montoya!" before realizing that Ruden was in net, at which point I decided I would best be served by impolite muttering instead of yelling.
Anyway. Fardig is going to be a walk-on, Charlie Henderson/JJ Swistak redux. That includes the Swistak on D experiment Michigan was forced into a couple years back, when a rash of injuries saw little JJ draw in for about five minutes a game on D. Michigan will have somewhere from 6 to 8 defensemen next year, depending on whether Reilly Olson returns and how capable BU transfer Adam Dunlap proves to be. If that number is closer to 6, Fardig may end up skating backwards.
Oh, yeah... Phil Kessel... sweet fancy Moses. Michigan managed to not get undressed by him (leaving that to Gerbe for the most part) but it didn't really matter. He got loose on a wing once, and stared at a sort-of bad angle shot with Ruden in decent position. Then he just put it in the most unsavable place he could, as if it was nothing. Red light. All I know is we had better keep beating the Gophers in football.
At least the Gophs will be heavily featuring goalie Jeff Frazee, who, to be blunt, sucks. Frazee handled almost nothing cleanly all night, leaving rebound after rebound in the slot on shots that hit his trapper, chest, etc. He let in an unscreened Tambellini shot from outside the top of the faceoff circle (a Tambellini special, to be sure, but still...). When Tamby completed his hat trick with 5.3 seconds left in the game, Frazee flipped out. Flipped out like Patton discovering his son wants to be a hairdresser. He tossed his helmet against the glass, swearing over and over again. When he returned to his net he assaulted it with his goalie stick and threw his water bottle across the ice. Serenity now!
In conclusion: Gopher games in the near future will all end 10-7.
Michigan's hiring away of MSU defensive line coach Steve Stripling is official. This has been a done deal for a while, but due to federal regulations requiring that all university jobs be posted openly for a particular length of time, it couldn't be announced until now.
This practice is both widespread and hilarious. I actually sent my resume in when Clarkson posted its head coaching job, but they failed to contact me. I probably should have revised my objective statement.